Politics

The UK is facing a general election, driven by a vote two years ago that saw the UK vote for something they didn’t understand, that wasn’t defined, and still isn’t. In the US, the President is facing impeachment, having lied, blustered, and stoked hatred at every turn. And today I’ve to write about politics? Back in the UK the current ruling party have been directly to blame for austerity and the death of those at the margins of our society, homelessness has risen, the NHS has been decimated, amongst other measures, whilst the self-serving, insufferable, uncaring, leaders of the party continue to perpetuate a vicious dereliction of compassion. It’s hard to consider politics as it should be when these days …

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Religion

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. I can still recite this prayer, word for word, despite not having actively set foot inside a church for the best part of 30 years. I’m not sure if that is awe-inspiring (the power of the human mind!) or terrifying (mind washed chanting), but there you have it. My childhood was dominated by time spent in the church and in the church halls. Sunday School before the main service on a Sunday morning, Saturday clubs, and the Boys Brigade, all meant that for a while I spent most of my ‘organised’ leisure time there. It was great fun, aside from the boring God stuff of course. I also joined Scripture …

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Hope

Isn’t the world a wonderful place? Aren’t these trees, that grass, those bushes and flowers, amazing in so many ways? Is there anything better than a baby smiling at you? Or the perpetual joy with which your dog greets you when you get home, every night? It’s very easy to look at the world we live in today with negativity. It’s overwhelming at times, a constant barrage of awful news, or pain and suffering, of disease and decay, of natural disasters, and man-made catastrophes. In the UK the headlines serve only to inform us of the corrupt and dishonesty that our political system is built upon, in the US a white nationalist moron is President, and round the world evil …

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Loss

The hurt of loss, the longing of one, the distance from those, the untouchable. I wrote those words a long time ago. Time is a great healer yet those who have lost loved ones will know, all too well, that it only takes a tiny moment to bring memories snapping back into vivid view in a heartbeat, all to remind you once again of the gap they have left in your life. It hurts, and while that hurt softens it never leaves you. I can’t really remember all that much about my Grandpa passing. He’d been ill most of my life, suffering a number of strokes that left him in a wheelchair and able to speak. He remained a presence …

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Shoes

There is an old joke that goes: “Before you judge a person, walk a mile in their shoes. After that who cares? They’re a mile away and you’ve got their shoes.” Badummtshhh! It is, of course, a riff on the idiom that is typically stated as “Before you judge a person, walk a mile in their shoes” the idea being that you shouldn’t judge people until you better understand their life experiences, the challenges they carry every day, and how they view the world. It’s about developing empathy and perspective or, to put it another way, it’s about learning to manage your own emotions. To wit, the shoes in question don’t really matter (history suggests the idiom originates with native …

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Money

I don’t like talking about money. I find it similar to discussing religion or politics, it’s can be a very divisive topic and you can soon find yourself dragged into the long grass as emotions start to kick in. I mostly don’t like talking about it because I’ve not been that great with money for a long time and, whilst I’m lucky to earn a steady wage, there is always an element of shame in admitting this. Over the past couple of years, and especially in the last year, I’ve wisened up and gotten a much better handle on both my spending habits (top tip: start here!) and started to reduce my debt, debt I’ve been carrying for a long …

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Infrastructure

Invariably I find myself looking for ways to streamline things. I seem to be wired that way, and if I can find a quicker and better way to do something, even if it means bending a rule or two then that’s fine by me. Of course, sometimes better means slower, and that’s fine too, it’s not about speed, it’s about better results. In that age old metric of work, you can only control three things, resource, speed, and quality, so it’s always a balancing act. Now, I should point out that this was all borne back in my childhood. Our family home had two flights of stairs – the toilet was on the half-landing – and frequently items that needed …

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Toast

It’s the simplest of things. Take a slice of bread, put it in the slot, drop the lever and wait. After a short time the lever POPS! and there you have it, perfectly browned toast, yours to adorn it however you wish, and ohhhh the choices are myriad. My usual toppings for a breakfast slice or two involves butter and whatever sweet condiment I have to hand, most often it’s honey, occasionally it’s jam and if the mood has taken me as I wander the supermarket isles, there may even be the option of a lemon curd or bramble jelly. But it all starts with butter, and sometimes that is all that is needed. The bread is, of course, important, …

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Sport

I blame my Dad. He was a P.E. teacher so I guess it’s understandable, and natural, that his job seeped into his home life and gave me a love of sport. Correction, a love of watching sport. My earliest memories are rugby, likely the Five Nations, with cricket and Formula 1 a close second (the latter two are, to be fair, more attributable to my mother), and of course the grandeur of the Olympics and all those weird and wonderful sports you never got in P.E. class! Watching world class athletes perform at their peak of their powers is never anything but thrilling, and thanks to Dad, always informative. It’s an approach I’ve retained, don’t just watch but learn, as …

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Unrequited

I wrote on love the other day and I guess I’ve been lucky that my life has been filled with people who love me as much as I love them. Of course it wasn’t always so and there were some very angsty teenage years where I confused the emotions when I had a crush on someone with feelings of love, really I was feeling lust but that word wasn’t quite in my vocabulary back then. One woman springs to mind. We worked together for a few years and immediately got on well, there was definitely a connection of some sort, a feeling of ease around each other and a little flirting too. Outside of work we hung out from time …

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