How many people do you know…?

untidy clothes closet

It’s not about whether you keep a tidy or untidy closet but my question to you is: How many people do you know who own 2 pairs of shirts, 2 pairs of trousers, 2 dresses and 2 pairs of shoes? I remember the days as a child we would get 2 new outfits a year? One would be worn on Christmas Day and the other on New Year’s Day. Then those 2 outfits would represent our Sunday best for the rest of the year. The beauty of that system was we never had untidy closets. We knew what we had. We were proud of what we had because they were well chosen treasures. We didn’t lust for more.

Nowadays the human species don’t know what they have and constantly feel they don’t have therefore they must get. Our marketeers have done a wonderful job of selling us more and more stuff that fill already depressed places in our homes. Stuff that never fulfils their place, their purpose. Instead their place is to sit buried, hidden, unused.

If you are victim to such a life style, uplift your soul by keeping only the treasures that give you joy. Give away the “stuff”.

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What is school for?

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We have this million dollar industry that has been running for decades. But what is school for? In order to keep the industries ticking over like factories, we need factory workers to bide their time for roughly 16-18 years in brick institutions that are built like prisons and feel like prisons and at times treat you like a prisoner with no rights – sit there, write this, read that, don’t run, put your hand up etc… Then when they are ready they call upon you via a job interview, and like a factory worker you turn the same cog until you are no longer required or you break down – which ever comes first.

What’s my calling?

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This is a nugget of wisdom from Seth Godin: “This isn’t about waiting for the right answer, because there is no right answer. There are challenges we can sign up for and emotions we can experience.”

There are kinds of engagements we can seek out and kinds we don’t want to. If you’re the type of person who likes to be busy and likes action, then go get it. If you’re the type of person who likes a small intimate crowd to have a lasting meaningful engagement then go out and find any number of combinations that fit that bill. But…. if you’re waiting for the perfect moment on the carousel to come round, then you’ve missed 3,4,5, cycles whilst you were waiting. All the horses were just as good as each other. It’s the same carousel. Just get on the damn horse.

All things bright and red

Red usually signifies Christmas for me. It’s a colour I find bright, uplifting and festive. This 2017 Christmas was special (as were all preceding Christmases) because of the effort the family made to be with each other. 

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THE PLANNING
This year our eldest daughter, Kimberley went all and beyond to make the family get together happen by renting a massive house that sleeps eight people. Not only did she organise and bear the financial burden but she bought bits and bobs that added to the festive mood like tea light candles, gold stars strewn over the table and lots of snacky bits to pick on. Bernie, my younger sister, is queen of food organisation. She would be highly recommended to the task of UN food aid distribution if anyone is asking… She squirrelled away festive food for two months prior to the event held on the 24th and 25th December. There was food of every category, description and colour. By planning it this way she was able to make the process pleasant and relaxed and affordable. The two women planned every last detail just so that the rest of us travellers would revel in the delights.

THE ORCHESTRATING
There’s always a back story and here it is. This Christmas Noel, my brother in law (who  was married to my late sister, Sophie) and his two girls Ione (16) and Erin (12) were spending this event for the first time in England. Therefore we were all keen to have them share the company. They travelled down from Nottingham to Wraysbury where the rented accommodation was built (many years ago…… ) for the purpose of the Pullen gathering. Their drive took almost 3 hours and the traffic and the weather was kind to them.

My own journey with my “baby” daughter Amy (20) started at 8am on the 24th from Alicante airport in Spain. The sun was shining and although the early morning was chilly, it soon warmed up and many of us were stripping down to our shirts. With hands laden with jackets, scarves and woolly hats we boarded our EasyJet flight which took less than 3 hours and landed safely at Luton airport. I love being organised on a flight with food, drink, reading material, e-games etc.. A seasoned traveller. Bernie was already in the carpark for us. Poor dear!!! She had no intention of parking and paying a whack of money for the privilege, so decided to time our arrival where she would enter the pick up zone once we had landed and got our luggage. Little did she know that entering the pick up zone allows you 15 minutes waiting time. And for that privilege one must pay a fee of 3 pounds. She then proceeded not to stop at the pick up zone as she didn’t want to pay only to discover that having read the sign left her no alternative but to pay in order to get through the barriers. She then had to come back to the pick up zone as she still had 2 passengers to pick up. 6 pounds later….. we were seated in her car and off to start the gathering.

…….. 6 months have passed since the time of writing about Christmas and I find that I have no idea what lesson I was going to give. I do know that I thoroughly enjoyed reliving the first 3 paragraphs. Cheers to Christmas family gatherings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tourist

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The skies are blue and clear. It’s a beautiful, mild day for a bit of an adventure. I can’t possibly sit indoors. Now that would be a waste of potential energy. If you don’t know me well, allow me to give you a taste of my energy. It never sits still. The more I think about it the more I’m convinced that I was a cat of some sort or other prowling the wide open spaces, looking for freedom, looking for adventure, looking for opportunities to learn about the wild environment. I go into the town centre with mum and dad who think going to the shopping mall will surely quell some of that energy. After half an hour of browsing the shops (yuk!!!) my dad asks if I’m ready to go home. Are you crazy? I think to myself. go home to four walls? go home to sitting on my butt? Now way and I shake my head. Imagine giving a kid a new toy and after half an hour telling them to give it back. No way!

And that’s my answer out loud “No way”. My soul needs to see the blue skies, the white fluffy clouds, the zooming motorcars spluttering and oozing the G19 plus 1 Paris agreement on climate change allowance. I want to be out there in the jungle looking for my freedom, my adventure, my opportunity to learn. I’m left to my own device and told to phone once I’m done in the town centre and a lift would promptly collect me. Only I didn’t bring my mobile phone. Why would a free spirit like me need technology? Right? I hug them both goodbye even though I would be returning to the four walls in less than four hours.

People are the same everywhere we go….

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That is true when the sun is shining. Spain is renowned for having over 200 days of sunshine and even more days if you happen to live along the Costa Calida. People are open, friendly and full of energy. My previous house in Sucina was a 3 minute walk to the local post office and it took me an hour or more to get back home because there were so many friendly faces to have a chat with and catch up with the latest gossip.

On my travels to New Zealand on the 23 June, I flew into Gatwick with a 12 hour transit so my lovely aunt Patty picked me up from the airport and we spent an afternoon walking in the sunshine of some beautiful gardens kept by the National Trust society. There were a lot of hello exchanges and not only that but little tit bits of conversation. That’s a very different England to the wintery England. And most welcome too. Everyone seemed to have more time to engage and engage genuinely.

From Gatwick, I flew to Dubai with a short 2 hour lay over before boarding a direct flight  to Aukland. That photo above was taken by a friendly couple whilst I waited for my connecting flight to Palmerston North. We joked and chatted about the fantastic sunshine the capital was having in the middle of winter. Everyone who passed by stopped to comment on the weather and it gave me an opportunity to engage in some local kiwi talk. Thank you Mr sunshine. I didn’t pack my sunglasses for nothing.

Skype and five years later ………

 

What better way to communicate with distant friends and family but with Skype. The service is free Skype to Skype and for an extra 10 euros a month it was heaven on my landline bill to discover that I could phone any landline number worldwide and any mobile number in the States or Canada. Why was this important to me? Simply because my parents and youngest sister Sophie lived in New Zealand, my middle sister Bernie in England, my brother Joe in Canada,  my in laws scattered across Scotland, Australia and various parts of England. The creme de la creme was seeing them all visually on screen. I was in their living room. I was experiencing their weather, their food, their joys and sorrows in real time. So much so that I totally didn’t realise that I hadn’t physically seen my parents in the flesh for a good 5 years. Ouch!! Not good!!!

After feeling the shame and admonishing myself, there was only one thing to do. Book a flight. I had 6 months to save for the trip. I could do it. Prices looked good if I booked the flight for anytime in June. Perfect as I knew that my Academy was closing in the 3rd week of June. Click, click and booked! All done! Now all I needed was the pocket money. This I found easy as I was pumped and focused. I could climb Mount Everest with all this feeling of “I can conquer anything”. Bring it on! Yeah!! Thus started the 2euro coin tin challenge. I bought this huge tin money box from the Chinese shop for few loose coins. My eyes were constantly on the look out for the magic shiny coin. And boy did I spot them. I bought them left right and centre from anyone who would sell me a coin. I hounded my husband Bill who usually had loads of jingling coins in his pocket as he hated counting coins when making a purchase so he always handed over notes and collected coins in his poor pocket. Amy, my youngest daughter, was excellent as she usually gave me the option of buying the coins off her. I hounded all the shopkeepers to give me the magic coin instead of ordinary euro coins. The tin was only three quarters full when I decided it was time to cut it open. I literally had to use the kitchen tin opener to do the job.

To my great surprise I had collected over 400 euros in coins. Really proud of myself!  Before you say is that all, I must interject with I did save the “real”  holiday money in a proper bank account which also grew quickly. But the fun bit about the tin was it made the holiday feel real as each magic coin represented the reality of the goal. When one is focused with a goal that is achievable and concrete, it’s easy go at it like a gazelle. And that’s just how the universe likes to work. Don’t drag your feet. Don’t take too long between deciding and acting. That’s not the universe’s style. That’s the message to the procrastinators of this world. Go gazelle.

So dear Skype it was with pleasure that I was able to use you to announce my travel itinerary to my dear parents. My thanks go to you.