This one has been doing the rounds over the last few days and works remarkably well:
This one has been doing the rounds over the last few days and works remarkably well:
I’m not going to say any more – download the PDF describing how it works, have a read and try it out on your team.
Over the extended Easter break we decided to take a short break in Scotland.
We had thought about camping, but decided instead to upgrade our expectations and stayed in a lodge near Tyndrum.
The weather was fabulous with blue skies all the way and shorts every day. This made for a lot of photographs of some beautiful scenery:
The following are a set of holiday snaps that we took while we were away in Northumbria.
A beautiful place.
Today is my first day back after a 2 week break with the family.
We spent most of it in Tuscany, Italy at the wonderfully idyllic Podere San Martino (there web site needs a bit of work).
It was great to be away with the family and to enjoy the sights of Tuscany.
We spent some days by the pool, and others visiting places, and still others doing a bit of both.
I’m writing this during my lunch and my body is telling me that it’s time to go for the sleep that I have so easily become used to.
First it’s the turn of the Dandelion popping up almost overnight, bursting into bloom for a few days, transforming into balls of seeds that explode into a passing breeze.
The Dandelion is followed by the Buttercup. A different golden glow spreading across the open fields thousands upon thousands of them.
I remember the times as a child when we used to pick the Buttercups and hold them under our chins to see if we loved butter. We never noticed that the result was always the same. We used to blow the Dandelion heads pretending to tell the time – blow, one o’clock, blow, two o’clock.
Later on the buttercups are joined in the fields by the tall grasses and they dance together in the passing wind. In teams they sway from side to side making patterns in the meadow their heads swaying around like a merry drunk.
Out in the open countryside these bringers of spring and summer colour are gloriously at home and in their place.
In my garden it’s a different matter, here they are not fabulous meadow flowers, here they are weeds.
My garden isn’t a meadow, my garden is my garden. This is not the place for the Dandelion or the Buttercup, but that doesn’t stop them trying. The Dandelion still thinks that the gap between the paving is a good place to grow, the Buttercup feels that same about my lawn. Here they don’t grow to anything like their full potential, here in my garden they are mutants stood on or cut down. They are disfigured by the restrictions that I place upon them, or the environment that they have chosen. The only thing that can be done with them is to cut them out and remove them.
The plants are exactly the same – it’s the place that has changed.
So many times in my own life I’ve been in the wrong place, sometimes physically, but also mentally and spiritually. I’ve been in the place of restriction or the place where I have been cut down. I’ve placed myself in a garden when I should have been in the open fields.
We aren’t plants growing wherever the seed landed, we have the blessing of choice. We can choose where we are going to grow and if we make the wrong choice we can change to another place. Sometimes we need the help of a higher power to move us, but the choice is ours to make.
In some areas of my life I currently feel like I have moved into a place of restriction and I need to do something about it. There’s no point in me sitting here complaining about it I need to do something, I can make the change.
Other areas of my life feel like they were made for me and the remarkable thing is that many of these places are not the places I would have chosen if it weren’t for the lessons that I learnt in the places of constraint. So even in that place there are lessons to be learnt.
The Dandelion and the Buttercup are both wonderful flowers but they need to be in their place, and so do we.
Most Wednesday evenings Sue runs a ladies event (Revive) at church. That leaves myself, Jonathan and Emily at home; so we’ve decided to make this a time when we go out and have a bit of fun ourselves.
One week we decided to go and check out the new art work on Blackpool Prom, not somewhere I would normally choose, but for a bit of an adventure, why not. It was sunset and we had lots of fun interacting with the different pieces. There’s a slideshow of some of the pictures at the bottom of this post of some of the many pictures that we took. We particularly liked the huge glitter-ball, the setting sun meant that we were able to dance in and out of the reflected sun on the pavement.
Last week it was a wonderful warm spring evening and we called in at Hurst Green, home of the famous Stoneyhurst College and probably the inspiration for some of the places described in Lord of the Rings.
We decided that we would walk up alongside a small stream I think is called Deanbrook.
There are some woods and plenty of places to explore. There’s even a big amphitheatre which was probably once a quarry, but the star attraction has to be Deanbrook itself. The stream makes it’s way down the valley over limestone which has been worn out into pools and small waterfalls; it’s quite idyllic.
It was a shame that it was still April, because on a summer’s evening it would be a great place for a paddle and swim. Jonathan pleaded with me several times to do precisely that; I thought about it, but sometimes there are limits.
On our way back down the stream we decided to take a closer look at one of the pools. The main attraction of this particular pool was that it looked deep and right next to it was a very long stick so we could get a good idea of how deep.
Jonathan bounced across a rock and picked up the stick plunging it deep into the pool to demonstrate that it was well over 6ft deep in the middle. Again he pleaded to go swimming.
My progress was a little more cautious, but resulted in me sliding down the rock and careering out of control towards the pool. I was just preparing myself for the inevitable cold dip when I regained grip right on the edge.
Just as I was regaining my composure Jonathan decided to step across the narrow stream feeding the pool to take a look at it from another side. It was only a short step from one side to the other, but the mossy rocks meant that both his feel lost their footing and propelled him down into the stream.
Much to all of our surprise the stream was very deep at this point and Jonathan sank down all the way up to his outstretched arms. There he hung, with his elongated arms holding head and shoulders above the water, trying to catch his breath while the rest of him was getting used to the idea of being plunged into a pool of cold water.
As a loving caring compassionate parent I took the only action I could and laughed. Emily, however, saw things a little differently and went white at the thought of losing her brother to the elements.
In retrospect Emily’s reaction was probably a bit more appropriate.
So there we are, I’m standing shakily on a slippery rock, Jonathan is acclimatizing himself to the temperature of Lancashire stream water in April and Emily is getting whiter by the second.
After what seamed like an age I managed to regain my composure and reach in to give Jonathan a hand out of his predicament. It was then that Jonathan realised that his (new) mobile phone was in his back pocket and had been subjected to the same experience as himself. Thankfully it dried out over the next couple of days and is now working fine.
Jonathan regained his composure steadily and a few hugs reassured Emily that everything was going to be alright.
Thankfully it wasn’t a long walk back to the car, but you could tell where Jonathan had walked by the trail of wet footprints that followed us.
Oh, and did I tell you, we also played in the park and watch crown-green bowling. It was a wonderful adventure.
I’m writing this on a Wednesday lunchtime, we don’t yet have a plan for this evening, but perhaps something a little less adventurous might be in order, I wonder where the nearest zip wire is?
If you click on the heading “about” you’ll notice that it doesn’t say anything of any value. This is primarily because I’m not quite sure what to write. So I thought I would ask the people who read what I write to tell me what they would like to know (Yes, that’s you).
If you want to know it then there is a reasonable chance that someone else would too.
Just leave a comment on the bottom of this post and I’ll see what we come up with.
I reserve the right not to include your ideas though, I’m not leaving myself that open.