Recycling

Every little helps. It’s a reasonable maxim to live your life by; save a little money when you can, eat a little less of the bad things and exercise a little more than you do to stay fit and healthy, make a little gesture to brighten the day of a stranger, and so on and so on. A little at a time. It all helps. It’s also a phrase to hold on to in the growing clamour around the state of the world we live in, the damage we all do to the environment every day, not to mention the lies and misinformation that are spread, for some reason, by people who seem to be happy to let the world …

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Beverage

I’m on my way to work. I step off the bus and head for the same location as I have these past four years. As I enter, if she’s working, Alice says hi and takes my precious travel mug from me, and starts to prepare my … wait for it, large skinny, sugar-free vanilla, latte. I wouldn’t say I’m addicted, more that I like routine, and as this coffee house is on my way to the office, it’s a convenient place to stop. Isn’t that what an addict would say? I’ve tried going cold turkey, both by choice and by happen-stance, neither times were particularly fun and both resulted in a splitting headache by the early afternoon. At a previous …

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Smells

“In the greenhouse, my grandfather and me. Smells of summer.” – Martin Stephenson. Is it the gentle aroma you get after a warm summer shower on dry soil? (Also known as Petrichor). Is it the subtle waft of a perfume from a passerby that transports you to forgotten time and place? Is it the smell of fried onions, or grilled bacon, that dances on your tongue? My sense of smell isn’t the greatest, I don’t think, I mean I’ve never had it tested so it might well be as good or as bad as anyone else, but as I don’t tend to remember smells, and don’t tend to use them the way I use imagery and words as a way …

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Childhood

A blue desk, with a flip up lid, painted red in a later life, sitting there looking out through warbled glass. The smell of a warm wet dog from the back of the car. Sitting at the top of the stairs whilst my parents and friends talked and laughed late into the night. My blanket, my panda, my blue horse. The taste of dog biscuits. Action Man adventures in the back garden. The chaos of the primary school playground. Camping trips and caravans. The box of old lego at my Gran and Grandpas house. The click clack of knitting needles, and the rustle of a newspaper. Walking the nearby woods, chasing the dog. White bread, green apple slices, butter and …

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Book

A couple of years ago I sat down at my desk. It was the first day of a dark November and my intention was to write 50,000 words of a new novel, my first. Having written posts for this blog for several years, and increasingly looked to improve the quality of the writing it was an interesting project. Write a book, they said. I’ve been reading books for as long as I can remember. My father is an avid reader, and weekly trips to the local library are a formative part of my youth. The children’s section was downstairs and it was there I’d head whilst my father went off to roam the aisles. It was liberating to be fully …

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Television

I grew up in a house that always had the TV on. My Mum knitted, professionally, and the TV was the back drop to that. As she was working, she preferred things that she maybe didn’t have to pay close attention to, so Saturday afternoon movies became a staple, as did cricket and Formula One, anything that didn’t need to be watched 100% of the time. Of course I wasn’t knitting so I did sit (I don’t have the patience for such things) and watch these things, the movies, the sport, and have fond memories of sitting on the old round brown rug, resplendent with white Claddagh, as the screen flickered through lazy Saturday after lazy Saturday. As I grew …

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Technology

10 PRINT “Hello World!” I can’t remember if it was a birthday present or a present from Santa, or if it was from an Aunt or Uncle, but I can still remember the first time I used it and the mild awe I experienced when I got it working. The present was an electronics starter kit; a little circuit board with LEDs, switches, a speaker and other bits and bobs on it, and lots of little wires and spring connectors so you could wire up circuits and I can still remember the fun it was to create something like that, something magic. Push a switch here, and an LED lights up over there. It came with a set of instructions …

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Work

Amongst the many internet trends – the commercialisation of happiness, the quasi-religion of productivity approaches – there is one phrase that makes my toes curl and my blood start to simmer. “Do what you love.” It’s a distillation of a thought first offered by Confucius “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” and the sentiment is a noble one yet for many it is largely unobtainable. I used to love my job, I loved the busy nature of it, I loved the different areas of helping build a product, and for many years as I progressed through the company, getting more senior roles, I truly thought of it as doing …

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Family

A couple of months ago, in the midst of my sisters wedding, I looked around the room and took in all the faces there. I saw many familiar faces, some of whom had been at my own wedding, many years ago, and I saw too the gaps of those no longer with us. It’s been years since she passed, but the face I missed the most that day was my Gran. Ohh how she’d have loved it. I spent a lot of time with my Gran when I was a child. My Mother’s mother, she looked after me a lot in the pre-sister years, weekends spent in in the big house in Rutherglen, my Uncle’s old warped snooker table in …

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Nature

The air is cool as it moves around us. Under foot, crimson leaves lie fallen, their work done, and far above our heads the empty branches whisper in the wind. Decades of stories are whispered back and forth, as we stand below them, looking up as they sway and talk, telling their tales in a beautiful language. On we walk, enjoying the crisp air on our cheeks, our hands warm in gloves, feet swathed in socks and boots. The path changes to gravel, then grass, and back again as we meander our way through the forest. Mushrooms peak from fallen logs, fir trees stand vibrant in the morning glow, in the distance a burbling stream tumbles its way to meet …

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