Monday, 22 July 2013

Whats in a name.......................

As we all await the arrival of the Royal baby, inevitably there is lot of speculation as to the name.  I heard on the news that there are a number of parents holding back on registering their babies so that if they can give the Royal names to their offspring if they have the same sex child.

I find this so curious - I don't know about you but your first child is so special and unique to you, so choosing a name is a very individual thing.

When my son was born 35 years ago we called him Benjamin.  The name wasn't as common as it is now. The name was so special and reflected family and religion and also when Ben was born the name fitted him to a tee. He was very strong and had a mop of thick ash blond hair which thankfully he has to this day.

On the day he arrived a woman in the next ward came in to have a look at Ben - she asked me what he was called and I duly told her.  She then said "oh thats different I'll call mine that!"

I was absolutely mortified - I know loads of children will have the same name but somehow in that moment to you it is almost exclusive.  So somewhere  there is a man who owes his naming to a chance conversation.................

Looking forward to hearing the good news!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

This is your reward..........

On our last holiday I observed a woman who seemed to hardly move from her sun lounger.  She read and read and read. I marvelled at the way she gave way to total relaxation. She was so still it was easy to sketch her. 

The only time I really read books is on holiday. The rest of the time I have always felt guilty reading  as there was always something that needed to be done.  At least on holiday my self imposed demands disappear.

With the fantastic heat wave I decided to break the habit of a lifetime and dug out the sun lounger and quite decadently gave way to laziness - well at least for an hour or two.  I am not a natural sun worshipper and am very conscious of the damage which this can cause to the skin. It is so uncomfortable no matter how much shade you import or arrange the seating and coverings, the feeling of overheating and stickiness prevails.  Trying to put these thoughts aside - I revisited "The Great Gatsby". I have taken to downloading several books on to my Kindle - "just in case" and fortunately this was one of the books in my menu. It is a few years since I last read it and so it was almost like starting anew.  I thoroughly enjoyed being whisked back in time and being confronted with the complexity of relationships and the frailty of human beings and the consequence of their actions. 

My husband commented that in all the years he has known me - this was probably the first time he had seen me indulge in this way and thought it was a healthy he quoted from a recent TV ad.....something along the lines of.....this is your reward for having had to attend all those meetings, all the juggling of work and home............

I smiled at this ......and then mowed the lawn........

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Resisting Change!

It has been a strange week - I have had a few exchanges with people who want to stick to the status quo.  As you enter retirement you have more time to think about things and to look more carefully at options before deciding on the right path.  All this may sound obtuse and I am afraid must remain so otherwise I will offend the parties concerned.  So I am going to outline in a general way some of my thoughts about change and our attitude towards this particularly in later life.

Lets take technology. So often I hear people say

"I know nothing about technology"
"It frightens me"
"I wouldn't know where to start"
"Why can't we just stick to what we know - it works"
"Its too late to start now"
"I leave this to my grandchildren they are much better than me"

Now I can understand some people who have reservations if the new and unfamiliar provide a perceived challenge but this is no reason for not considering it or embracing it.

I suppose I have been fortunate that in my business life that technology has always been an integral part of the way I had to operate.  I have always been aware of the benefits and the opportunities of using whatever is available to remain effective and current.

I am so conscious of our older brethren who talk themselves and others out of taking advantage of what is available. Some are happy to portray an image of being old fashioned and even worse incapable.  With so many lines of support available to educate and instruct at a basic level and beyond it is clear that the older brain can take on board new skills and stimulate a more enquiring mind. Prevents seizing up!!

Whether is is using laptops, tablets, Kindle, email, twitter or Facebook - there is plenty out there to find something that suits!

Life expectancy is increasing so why live in the dark ages and miss out for a long period of time. So what are you waiting for - it doesn't bite!!

Saturday, 6 July 2013

yesterday at Wimbledon!!!

We were v fortunate to get tickets yesterday for Wimbledon.  Sadly not centre Court .....but No I.  We watched the women's doubles semi finals.  Nevertheless really excellent as was the whole day.  Full of excitement and great atmosphere particularly on Henman Hill.  The weather was particularly a challenge....having secured really good seats we found we were then exposed to 24 degree temperatures in open sun.  How people are able to feel comfortable sitting there under these conditions is a mystery.

Apart from excellent tennis you can't help but observe the behaviour of people around you.

You are a captive audience, and although mesmerised by the performance of the players some of the observers seem to feel that they need to work alongside them by eating for Britain.  To our left was a couple of young women in their late 20's.  One v slim and the other was considerably overweight wearing thick leggings, a top and .....a wool cardigan! One of the matches lasted approx an hour during which they ......had a Pimms,  2 sandwiches, a box of Waitrose strawberries each , a giant pack of crisps each .....then a rest, loo break ...on return a choc ice-cream each  followed by popcorn each, bottle of Coke each.........

The larger lady suddenly said she was too hot and didn't  feel good  and the duo made their exit.  No wonder the first aid supporters have a problem at these events!

It opened my eyes to the people who have the considerable challenge of supporting us and protecting us.....................when will people learn not to do things to excess and be a drain on resources!!!

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Against All Odds

How many of us watched Andy Murray yesterday and experienced a complete range of emotions? No doubt Andy experienced them too,  although we were only participating - he was involved!

When he lost the first 2 sets I am afraid I lost heart.

We have all been here before, however he somehow managed to control his nerves and the motivation and drive kicked in and he turned things around by winning next 2 sets and then having a truly magnificent 5th set with Verdasco, which ultimately made Andy the overall winner.  Well over 3 hours of gruelling combat. Each player going for every shot and not throwing in the towel!!

What struck me so much was the admiration you have for someone who has true talent, a competitive instinct, a hunger to succeed and someone who can overcome the human frailties to take them to their goal.  Now Murray may or may not win Wimbledon but he must be satisfied that he has given an excellent account of himself even at this stage.  All those years of dedication and endless practise have paid off.

If only we could generate these qualities and aspiration with the young of today. For quite a few years now it has been seen as being unfair to others if someone succeeds and is perceived to be "better" than others. This approach may have denied some raw talent the opportunity to demonstrate what they can really achieve.  I am thinking of schools who would not allow a competitive aspect to sports day.  You do have a feeling that the tide is turning and with role models like these tennis players maybe we can start to instil these values.

I really believe that everyone has a talent, an aptitude, a skill which can be nurtured and developed.  What really is required is parental care and attention to provide support along with teachers.  We do have to move away from the celebrity culture which seems to promote a fantasy existence which is unattainable. Instead concentrate on identifying the strengths of youngsters and provide a motivational environment where they can thrive!