Catch of the day?

My teenage years are some time ago now, but as far as I can recall, none of my girlfriends mothers ever said, ‘ wow he is such a catch’…or of they did it was certainly kept from my by said girlfriend(s) of the time. Egos in teenage boys are never something to be encouraged I believe.

No, this is about fish….well actually a little bit about fish and in fact anything that people think is something worth you having or trying.

We are located in a semi rural area and in these ‘new times’ we live in, we have like many others been trying to support local businesses, avoid travel, shop for others etc. One of the places we have been frequenting is our local fish shop – the proprietor knows his fish, and in fact not just his fish but the actual origin of it and in some cases the providers of it. Considering that we live in the very middle of England, we are about 70 miles away from our nearest fishing port that is quite a feat but that doesn’t faze him.

Ok, there is probably a bit of salesmanship in this, but actually the quality is great and he does know the provenance, and more importantly will discuss how to prepare it, and based on preferences shared with him he gives suggestions on what we may like and so on.

So that is all well and good on fish, and actually we have independent butchers that will do the same…and also a couple of small artisan bakers that do wonderful bread that you can see and smell it being prepared behind them . That all great and for those nostalgic of the past it is a return to how our grandparents generation would have done their food shopping in the pre-supermarket era.

Good food for our physical well being is good news of course, but food for the mind is needed too which leads me to our local bookshop. I have mentioned them in passing, really just because they have a name for the shop that just says it as it is….. ‘Read’ ! One of the great things about this little shop, is that although its little, they not only have a lot of books in a small space but they do have an an impressive knowledge of the style, content, plot and readability of so many of the works of fiction on the shelves.

Ask them for something with just a few parameters and they come up with some ideas and personal reviews. So far , they haven’t failed to please and in fact have introduced me to some new authors.

What’s not to like about that! There is a series of TV ads running in the UK at the moment from Google encouraging you to use and review your local traders; American Express have done similar campaigns in the past where they reward their customers when using independent businesses…ok the cynics out there may say this is just PR for these organisations…it may be but if it helps keep these local businesses alive, then surely that is to the good.

Anyway, I am off to read my book now….. Happy Sunday

If all else fails, read the instructions ……

As Canadian Singer Songwriter Avril Livigne puts it’s……Why does life have to be So Complicated?

I don’t actually mean complex relationship problems, issues relating to world peace or solving scientific mysteries or even working out what does the Colonel use in KFC to give it’s unique flavour?

No, I mean really simple stuff. My father in law is in his eighties and asked if I would call round to help him with his new telephone for the house they have recently downsized to. Ok 20 years too late, but that’s a different story.

Anyway this simple land line telephone is anything but. It seems that there is no such thing as just buying something with the features you need but you have to get a load of other stuff . This land line phone can be paired with his mobile (cell phone) to intercept his calls, it can act as a baby monitor, it can be an intercom and numerous other things he really doesn’t want.


So what’s the big deal…well the big thing is that the phone has a terrifying 40 page instruction manual which he felt he should read, but he got lost at Bluetooth pairing. He was concerned this may be some kind of dating feature his wife (my mother-in-law) may not approve of.

Anyway, I have got him up and running on the features he needs!

So Technology makers…give some thought to the fact that not everyone actually wants everything…they perhaps just want what they want!

Our elder generation in a way just want to enjoy life without unnecessary complexity.

Although we all try to stay young in mind in heart and spirit, for us that same day will come at some time in our life.

Having just looked in the mirror and seen a few grey hairs, perhaps my time is faster approaching than I thought!

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Happy Valentine’s day!

Valentine’s day I know triggers many emotions ranging from hope, disappointment, cynascism, indifference and probably a whole raft of others too.Many of us have probably experienced all or some of these depending on our range of life experience i.e. how old we are!In my early teens a Valentine’s card (or extremely rarely ….cards plural!) would arrive, anonymous of course and then detective work that Agatha Christie would have been proud of then commenced…handwriting analysis, postmarks, even steaming off stamps to look for clues underneath the stamps (none were ever found!) , questioning of likely suspects, interrogation of friends of the suspects and so on.Sometimes when the sender was identified it was a disappointment, at other times perhaps a kindly gesture sent by my sister…or a just an unanswered mystery, decades later.Later in life…….I remember at about age 19 I had a girlfriend who would send me two valentines cards…although both were anonymous, the first card was more her style and I was confidently able to determine it was from her and put it on display and thank her for it. The second was sent as a test…to see if I admitted to her I had received another card! I hasten to add she and I parted company fairly quickly after that….and she probably went on to have a successful career working for a ‘honey trap service’…Yes they do exist, I hadn’t realised until I saw a TV documentary about them a short while ago!Later in life when it’s husband to wife and wife to husband cards, although the mystery goes, it’s still an opportunity to recognise that person is the one you have chosen as life partner.Having said that, in the same way as the Animal Welfare TV advertising of the 1970’s used to remind us that ‘A dog is for life, not for Christmas’ , the same applies here too. Why have a specific day to tell someone you love them? Do it every day..maybe not in words but in gestures, actions or kindness.It’s a bit like my pet hate of New Year resolutions….if you decide you want to make a change or take a new direction, why wait for some fireworks……or a new calendar to arrive before you do it.In the words of Nike….just Do It.Anyway, I wish you all a Happy Valentine’s day and happen that it is all you want it to be.

Sliding Doors…..

My favourite movie of all time is ‘Sliding Doors’ …now I know that is quite a rash statement to make…but I have thought about this a lot and that is my final answer!

So to answer the obvious question of why? Well first of all, if you haven’t seen it, its one of these parallel time movies where one set of things really happens and one doesn’t and actually what this is there to demonstrate is how one simple event in your life can totally transform it.

In the case of this story, set in London, its all about a girl (Gwneth Paltrow) who was cheated on by her partner and only found out about it as she just caught a tube train (hence the name, Sliding Doors) with seconds to spare.

In the parallel instance she just misses the train and doesn’t find out about his infidelity and life takes on a completely different path.

I think this is a wonderful demonstration how for many of us our lives will take on a completely tangential trajectory from one (or in reality numerous) sliding door moments of our own …I realise this is probably stating the obvious but I think in some ways its a real ‘wake up and smell the coffee moment’ that we all think we are so clever controlling and planning our destinies but actually they are outside our grasp. Ask anybody how they met their partner, got their ideal job, etc. and it will often be from a sliding door moment. Depending on your spiritual beliefs or none, you may see this as coming from an external source – whether a believer in those influences or just fate, the results are still the same.

If you haven’t seen the movie, you should (on Netflicks I think now) as its a surprisingly feel good film and very funny in parts..even to the point where John Hannah (the new love interest), is traveling on the tube and ‘breaking all convention for London’ and talking to people!

Look forward to your comments and anybody willing to share their ‘sliding door moments’ …I’ve got a couple of them of my own (but for the avoidance of doubt, not like the one in this film!) and they will appear in a future blog post

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Healthy looks and the hunt for the perfect partner

For my generation, as spotty, gawky, awkward adolescents eager to charm the unnatainable crush at school (Anne-Marie, for the record its taken 40+ years for me to get over you….) our parents, aunties, big sisters etc. always came out with helpful suggestions to try to counter our insecurities.

We would be told ” beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, or “looks don’t last”, or the old chestnut..”well its the inner beauty that counts”.

Actually all totally true, but all totally pointless to a lovestruck 13 year old….

Anyway, I recently wrote a blog titled Looking for love, eat more fruit about how striving for a healthy diet will help you find love. After a quick read (click on the link) it will be evident to you that I was referencing opportunities to meet people rather than the nutrition in itself!

Anyway, a reader however has kindly taken me to task on this and pointed out that some recent research has identified that people with rosier or yellower skin are subconsciously determined to be more attractive – it seems that these colours denote a diet high in fruit or protein and therefore meaning you are a healthier and more desireable mate!

So it seems eating more fruit IS the answer.

Looks like I should have listened to my parents and not shunned the apple for a packet of crisps!

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Time for an embrace…take #2

We had dogs visiting and I had time for an early morning walk prior to setting off on a work trip.

Our local reservoir is a mirror of the season and looking in the mirror what I saw was waves on the water whipped up by the stiff breeze, a hint of brown on some of the leaves and a little chill in the air.

Now it’s only August, but here in the UK as we encounter global warming we see a shift with warm weather spells from as early as April or May so in some way it’s no surprise in August to get a hint of the autumn that is waiting for us when we turn the calendar page at the end of the month.

My natural response to this is to bemoan the end of summer but on this walk accompanied by my daughter I was reminded to embrace the seasons for what they are….so true, and indeed we in the UK are fortunate to live in the land of distinct seasons…even though occasionally we experience all four in one day!

Enjoy each day for what it is.

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Your call is not important to us…..Abigail

Phone conversations are generally between two people, ok there are exceptions and conference calls can be joined by the many, generally willing participants. Having said that my dog used to be part of many a conference call when I work at home and I never remember him agreeing to participate !

Anyway the general principle being that the participants are intended.

It seems though that when on a train, it’s a different rule book.

I now know far more than I ever wanted to know about a certain persons love life. In fact really all I don’t know is that persons name. She looked like an Abigail so that’s what I am going to call her. Abigail was a fellow passenger on my journey from Yorkshire to London a night or so ago. It was actually a very quiet carriage and Abigail is not. I think also technology was fighting against Abigail and it appears Mark was on his balcony.

We don’t know who Mark is but we knew for sure he was not in a contact centre wearing a headset sorting out Abigails car insurance.

I am not sure if Mark was on a balcony in Verona, New York, London or perhaps just Stoke-on-Trent but in any case he has a problem with wind…meteorological not gastro-intestinal as far as I could gather and that was impacting on Abigail being heard…or so he says! So it was a loud conversation. It seems Mark has been a bit cool this last day or so (..and this is romance cool, not meteorology cool). Still following all this….good.

Anyway a lot of detail was shared on this and a lot more. Even the name of a UK celebrity came into the conversation as part of this menage-a-beaucoup….but in the interests of not being sued I won’t mention his name.

It’s about a 2 hour journey and sadly Abigail had a well charged phone and a lot to take Mark to task on. You never listen to me she said…well forgive me but I think he has been listening for close on 2 hours now, or abseiled off the balcony…not sure she would have noticed. Never have I been so relieved for the tunnels just outside London.

Anyway here we are a day later and hopefully they are together with Mark being warmer and Abigail being listened to.

And here I am on the train next to a group of marketing people on an ‘away day’ . So far my recorded score in buzzword bingo is 93..come back Mark and Abigail please…..

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Looking for love? …then eat more fruit

In the 1960’s and 1970’s in Britain there was a well used ‘to the point’ advertising strapline of eat more fruit adorning any self respecting greengrocers shop and delivery van. I imagine some civil servant back in the day from the Department of Health had hastily drafted a memo with this suggestion for the well being of the country and hey presto,job done. These days it would require the services of a top marketing company, some focus groups and a campaign project team on a few ‘away days’ to come up with the same…for a mere 1000 times the cost of the 1960′ version.

However put this thought (and strapline) just to the side for one moment……..

A friend of mine has just confided in me her despair with on line dating. Despite signing up with two well known services, she is not happy with the quality. She keeps being sent frogs but not princes. It seems that although it’s accepted you have to kiss a few frogs before you meet your prince, she is not impressed by the ratio of 23 to zero.

Working on the basis of ‘maybe it’s me’ that is wrong, she went on an eat well, look healthy, feel good regime and signed up to daily fruit & veg boxes from a local deli.

Well, it has worked, but not in the way you might think. The deli employs a selection of strapping young men to deliver and for my friend, she has never had so many princes ringing her door bell as of late. No quality issues there and the cost of the fruit and veg works out cheaper than the dating website.

And I can inform you at least one date has transpired…and not of the edible kind of a Moroccan palm tree!