9 Days Holiday To Take – Whooohoooo

While all my “if wishes were kisses I’d sure be a floozy’s” dreams of what could be done are delightful to contemplate, I still need to be realistic somewhat.


Our company holidays run from April to March.  Being in the UK, we have an organised system for holiday days from work.  Mine currently run at 25 days per year plus Bank Holidays.

Much has happened this year around work.  There was a company restructure which took a few months for word to reach us individually on how we were impacted, if at all.  During that period I looked for new roles, was successful in an internal role and an external role.  I enjoy working here so opted for the role within the organisation.  Then the training was scheduled and that will take a while because the job is in a completely new discipline and bears little to no relation to what I was doing before.  If all goes well and if everything is signed off on to a permanent contract at the end of March, happy days!

During all this period, I’ve been banking days holiday because transitions and training take up one’s calendar.

Now I have 9 days to take before the end of March.  It is currently nearly the end of January.  That’s a huge quantity of days to take.  Almost unprecedented among my peers.

What to do, what to do?

I could see if we have a few shekels left for a get away in the sun.  I could schedule days out in the UK.  I could schedule absolutely nothing and just sit in a chair in the conservatory and read books.  I could visit friends.  I could do house repairs and maintenance as the shed needs a new roof and the stairwell could do with a lick of paint.

9 days is 7 days too many to waste.  I can mooch around for 2 days happily but after that I start to feel the guilt of a slothful life.

While all my “if wishes were kisses I’d sure be a floozy’s” dreams of what could be done are delightful to contemplate, I still need to be realistic a little and accept that this year I’ve cleared down £25,000 in legal and other expenses, bought a house, bought a car, put my kiddo through an expensive state school and seen her pass all her 16 year old exams, nearly lost my job, secured another job and I learned how to fix a wall which was missing bricks, renovated a home to go from vandalised to liveable, sourced some food storage and put up a curtain rail.  That’s quite a heavy load for one year and not one that I’d wish on another person.  Had fun though.  How often can a person say they cleared £25K liability, bought a house and car, raised a kiddo and saw friends often – most frequently down the pub?  Not many, I’d bet.  Sometimes my wants outstrip my ables.  At some point I have to accept that I shall remain dissatisfied, or shall have to learn some grace in dealing with this malarkey we call life.

So, 9 days.  I have 9 days.  9 days to call my own.  Now, deciding how to spend them, that’s the next challenge.  What to do, what to do…..


Toughen up a bit, People.

Lamenting and pearl clutching are becoming a hobby born of a feeling of impotence, of feeling like there is nothing that can be done, a default reaction, and yet those move the cause along hardly at all.

I love that all kind of -ism’s are being called out and revealed in broad daylight.  I love that everyone from creepy weirdo’s to predatory world and industry leaders cannot now easily hide their evil doings by throwing money at the problem or intimidating somebody in to silence.  I love that people are finding a voice, are being heard and have courage to say the difficult truthful thing.  Love it.

There are times where feelings occur, it is natural to have compassion for our fellow person on this planet.  These feelings are a motivating force.  But that brings me to my point.  Force and power.

People, I perceive, are clutching at their pearls and lamenting about awfulness which every woman on the planet has known is going on for generations.  And then people are clutching and lamenting further and then a little more.  I perceive that lamenting and pearl clutching are becoming a hobby born of a feeling of impotence, of feeling like there is nothing that can be done, a default reaction, and yet those move the cause along hardly at all.   Speakers need people to hear them, absolutely.

We cannot become a nation of cissy’s, of passive people, of those who wring their handkerchief between their fingers in helpless distress.

We have to be able to face the unpleasant things in life and we have to be able to deal with it there and then.  We have to reclaim laughing in the face of adversity.  We have to be able to demand a seat at the table of our own life.  The best creativity, art, music always stem from periods of adversity.  Maybe the best of our life can be brought forth in times of trial and difficulty.

We need to know who we are despite what others say about us.  If somebody withdrew their approval, would we be bereft or flounder?  No!  We wouldn’t, we’re tougher than that!  Our emotional core strength is invaluable.

With the caveat that we should do no harm to ourselves or others, it matters not whether somebody accepts our lifestyle.  Do we accept ourselves?  Are we going to embrace the good in life while the others yell in to their own echo chamber?  Are we going to bruise at an unkind word or are we going to be resilient and cheerfully persist?  If somebody insists on telling us all our faults, can we be resolute in our own sense of humility and self worth?  Can we continue to learn and grow, developing an amazing life?

Standing in front of evil ill intent and boldly declaring as Gandalf “You Shall Not Pass”, or as Doctor Who “She Is Defended” is a minimum starting point.  A swift “thanks for your input” and going your own way is another possibility.  A further step would be to separate our wants for our life from the wants of others for our life.

To whimper and twist a hanky will do nobody any good.

For items playing out on the worldwide stage, there are things we can do.  We can write to our government representative if the matter relates to a national situation.  We can join Amnesty International’s Facebook page (how  easy can that be!), always be polite if you are contacting an organisation.  We can donate to organisations pulling in the same direction.  We can be a person who can be confided in, who survivors and fellow travellers can trust.

Be true to your word and be braver than you think you are.

And laugh, laugh lots, laugh at funny things.  Take away the fear of living in a dented world.  Go out dancing, have kitchen discos, use the nice things you own and treat yourself and the people around you kindly.  Speak the truth.  Have the courage of your convictions and the courage to continue learning.  Hold the line.

But for the love of sunshine, stop clutching your pearls.




Spartans had the right idea

Perhaps not as brutal or unreasonable as first thought… the people of Sparta had a strategy.


Spartans used to put their newborns on the hillside and leave them overnight.  If the newborn survived they were deemed Strong and Spartan Like and worthy of song and celebration.  If the baby got the snuffles or worse, meh, it was worth a try, at least they knew right then.

When I first heard of their supposed practice I was pearls clutchingly horrified but now not so much.  I can see the merit.

Thankfully we have great access to medical care in the UK.  It may not be shiny or new fangled or particularly swift if you attend the one for all and all for one NHS, but the staff know their stuff and are lovely, the medicine is readily available and nobody dies because they couldn’t afford a co-pay or were uninsured.  Darwinian it may not be, but it works for us.  A healthy-as-can-be workforce is an appreciative and productive workforce.  A healthy student is a hard working student.  Hardworking students go far in life and end up running the world.  There’s everything to play for.

But the people of Sparta, not as daft as they seem perhaps.


Sunday School – 144 chances to get it right

I’ve had the great blessing of being a Sunday School Teacher for 3 years, teaching 8-9 year olds and letting them teach me too.  It’s been a challenge and a blast.  The kids are amazing and full of intellectual rigour – as much as a 9 year old can be, that is, and filled with a quiet resolve to be kind and keep learning.

But this Sunday I was released from that calling as we say in Mormon circles.  It’s time to try new things and see where I can be of service elsewhere.

But, why the pictures above?

Each week for the past couple of years, I have written my name on the board along with a self portrait reflecting kind of how I look that day.  Every weeks portrait came with a smiling face.  They were very specific in proscribing whether I’d omitted my reading glasses and the portrait needed correcting.  Heaven forbid if I started class without including this weeks portrait.

The portrait came with the 10 second comment, every single time, that it was there so they’d know who would be happy to chat with them in the corridor at Church or outside and what to look for, that I would always be delighted to chat with them in the busy corridor.

I thought it was just a fun way to start class and get the attention to the front of the room rather than the “pillowcase of puppies” approach to wiggling and distracting each other thing they had going on.

But like I said, this week was the week that I became a former Sunday school teacher.

And this week is the week that many, many, many of the students came by to get affirmation they wouldn’t be forgotten.  I would be walking and one of the girls would jump in with a surprise hug, another girl would jump in too.  The boys came by to test whether I’d smile if they greeted me and beamed when I did.  They wanted me to notice their Christmas gadgets on first show, and notice I did.  They wanted to know that I would ask them to sit up in the chairs rather than taking up 3 spaces each!  One girl came by and forlornly stated that she really didn’t want me to not be a teacher anymore, and I said cheerfully “we’ll always have the corridor”, “oh yeah, great” and smiling she dashed away.

It started as a silly throw away to cheerfully begin class, and became an ethos of inclusiveness and togetherness.

I had 144 chances during those 3 years service, 48 weeks a year x 3 years, to help those wonderful children – a different group each year – know that I had a Testimony and their quiet moment experiences where they felt an assurance that what we were speaking about had application in their lives was important.

We likened a Testimony or belief in Churchy things to two possibilities:

  • A boulder, is a testimony one big block of rock, giant, immovable?
  • Sand on the beach, is the beach made up of lots of little sand grains, each one representing a smaller testimony?

We determined a testimony is like the beach, with some boulders.  There are big strong beliefs, these are the big ticket items.  Then there are tens, hundreds or thousands of smaller testimonies of the smaller things.  Both types make up a beautiful vista and both make up a valid, strong, and beautiful testimony.

I’ll miss being with those students.  They have richly fulfilling and complicated little lives as they navigate school life and sibling rivalries. They’re great people and I very much look forward to watching them learn and grown in the forthcoming years.  They’re amazing people, hold on to your hats!

(I know many people here have no organised religion and you are very free to record your personal experiences, I’m trying to share here a lovely experience and hope that it makes you smile a little.  It takes a village and all that.)



Do Not Scratch The Surface

Flipping heck.  There I was, bimbling along, having a nice time making new acquaintances and learning new skills at a First Aid refresher course and they talk about recognising heart problems, described the symptoms and inexplicably and unreasonably I started feeling upset and raise my hand and say in a quiet voice “I’m not having fun anymore, this happened to me” and like a freaking cissy I start fighting back tears and feel stupid.  “I’m not having fun” was a light-hearted way to indicate distress to the instructor who was flipping amazing and brilliant and responsive and kind.  But stupid happened and the tears came and every time I was alone for the rest of the day tears came again.  Continue reading “Do Not Scratch The Surface”


Smidgen Worried About A Promotion

While I was baking and eating a Black Cherry Crumble with my daughter on Friday night, I received an excited call saying I’d been successful in a recent interview and there was an offer on the table.  The role is a pay grade promotion within my organisation and would lead to increased skills and potentially new opportunities…. I should be delighted… so, why am I worried?

It is in a new yet adjacent field and something with which I do have a little experience but have yet to witness the scale with which they do their thing…. it’s the difference in scale between me being able to knock up a couple of batches of cupcakes vs them owning a cupcake bakery.

I am excited but I think I am daunted too.  It’s been along time since I was last fully daunted.  The feeling is unfamiliar and uncomfortable.  I have confidence that with the role is one I could rapidly grow in to.  It takes me physically away from the customers and supplies who I very much enjoy working with but is customer/business consideration centric.

With their permission, I’m going to throw myself in to it, see how far gumption and willing get me, and see how I can be of service.  Once I have a few days under my belt I’m sure these feelings will subside.  It is a great company to work for and its vision and planning for the future is second to none.  It is a very good place to work.

I’ve been with my current team for over 7 years and they are familiar and I know what I am doing but that is changing with the new company structure.  It is time to stretch and grow in a new area of the business.  I’ll let you know how things go.  Fingers crossed.




























Passion not Panic

Almost nothing is so urgent that it requires an absolute split second decision. There is time. Time can be our friend in most cases.


Chatting with a colleague friend yesterday I uttered the words “the decisions I’ve made recently have been borne of panic not passion” and a moment of clarity ensued.

I desire to live a life of passion, to passionately pursue my goals and to enjoy my 72 free goes around the Sun. Continue reading “Passion not Panic”