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Stoicism

Easy choices, hard life; Hard choices, easy life. – Unknown

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21 memos from your child

  1. Don’t spoil me. I know quite well that I ought not to have all that I ask for. I’m only testing you;
  2. Don’t be afraid to be firm with me. I prefer it – It makes me feel more secure;
  3. Don’t let me form bad habits. I have to rely on you to detect them in the early stages;
  4. Don’t make me feel smaller than I am. It only makes me behave stupidly “big”;
  5. Don’t correct me in front of other people, if you can help it. I’ll take much more notice if you talk with me in private;
  6. Don’t make me feel my mistakes are sins. It upsets my sense of values;
  7. Don’t protect me from consequences. I need to learn the painful way sometimes;
  8. Don’t take too much notice of my small ailments. Sometimes they get me the attention I need;
  9. Don’t be too upset when I say, “I hate you.” It isn’t you I hate, but your power to thwart me;
  10. Don’t nag. If you do, I shall have to protect myself by appearing deaf;
  11. Don’t make rash promises. Remember that I feel badly let down when promises are broken;
  12. Don’t forget that I cannot explain myself as well as I should like. This is why I’m not always very accurate;
  13. Don’t tax my honesty too much. I’m easily frightened into telling lies;
  14. Don’t be inconsistent. That completely confuses me and makes me lose faith in you;
  15. Don’t put me off when I ask questions. If you do, you will find that I stop asking and seek my information elsewhere;
  16. Don’t tell me my fears are silly. They are terribly real, and you can do so much to reassure me if you understand;
  17. Don’t ever suggest that you are perfect or infallible. It gives me too great a shock when I discover that you are neither;
  18. Don’t ever think it is beneath your dignity to apologize to me. An honest apology makes me feel surprisingly warm toward you;
  19. Don’t forget how quickly I am growing up. It must be very difficult to keep pace with me, but please do try;
  20. Don’t forget I love experimenting. I couldn’t get on without it, so please put up with it;
  21. Don’t forget that I can’t thrive without lots of understanding love, but I don’t need to tell you, do I?

Source Olga Zhuravskaya

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The power of “Not yet!”…

…as the answer to “Can’t you [achieve something]?”

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Paper People

Harry Baker is very entertaining in this TED talk

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Please!

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Revenge – Serve Cold

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Craven Fitness Centre

Gym machinesIt’s been a long time since I was last in a gym. My view was why would you pay to exercise inside, staring mindlessly at a blank or mirrored wall when you could be climbing a fell, enjoying the view and getting lungfuls of fresh air in the process rather than the heady smell of sweaty bodies. Recently however, we haven’t been getting out walking as much as we’d like; I want to say everyday life gets in the way but that’s really only an excuse; it can get in the way sometimes but only if you let it!

Anyway, to placate the great deity that readily punishes us for abusing the only body we’ll ever know, I need to spend more calories than I’ve eaten recently. Along with that, there’s a ton of podcasts I should catch up on; both from a work and professional viewpoint, and others from a hobby/entertainment/personal growth stance. So, I am going to kill two birds with 1 stone; I’m going to spend time over the winter staring at that blank wall/mirror, plug in some earphones and catch up with the backlog of material.

All I can say is gyms have come a long way since I was last in one. Everything has gone ultra digital. There’s displays built into all the equipment now, letting you know exactly how well (or poorly) you are doing in your workout. There are preprogrammed profiles inbuilt so the only thing you have to do is select how mean you want the machine to be to you and then hit Start. Everything is timed, measured and recorded for posterity using your own personal smartcard.

There are the usual TVs on the walls but also immediately in front of you. So if what’s on the main screen isn’t to your taste, you can watch The Great British Bake-off instead, reminding you why you need to visit the gym in the first place. And if all that fails to peak your interest, you can plug your i-device & headphones into each machine for a more insular “head down and crack on” session. And that last option suits me just fine!

I don’t yet know what will happen in the Springtime. The aim is always to spend evenings exerting surplus calories somewhere, somehow. Perhaps, given the poor summer we’ve had this year, more and more calories will be spent staring at a sweaty version of me in the mirror.

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‘Allo ‘Allo! by The Adel Players

Now, going to the theatre is not really my thing but a friend had recently joined an amateur dramatics society and had been given a significant part almost immediately.  They were putting on a production of ‘Allo ‘Allo! and Andrew was given the part of Crabtree, the unintelligible gendarme.

We got tickets for 1 of the middle shows; they did 4 in all.  It may not have been as polished as the last performance but there were very few opening night jitters either.  The script was cleverly done with some cracking 1-liners.  All-in-all, it was a very entertaining production!  Everyone came away saying how much they had enjoyed it.

Next January, they will be performing “An Inspector Calls”.  I think we’ll have some tickets for that when the time comes.

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Growing your own veg

Anyone for vegetable soup?

We grew our own vegetables when I was growing up but I hated having to work in the garden.  It always seemed too much like hard work.  However, a redeeming feature was being able to pull a carrot out of the ground, wash it under the outside tap and gnaw away at it there and then.  Instant healthy snack!  Gardening is still not my favourite pastime but I can appreciate it more today.

When I first moved in, there was a flower bed with quite tall plants in it that draped out onto the path.  Don’t get me wrong, they were quite nice to look at but a complete pain.  And especially when they were wet.  Which, let’s face it, was most of the time given our recent summers.  Last autumn, I’d had enough of those shrubs and decided I was going to try growing some veg. instead.  So, out they came.  I put down a load of homemade compost and let the soil rest for the winter.  Easy!

I choose carrots and leeks because I thought they were going to be the easiest to begin with.  I wasn’t organised enough at the start of the year and didn’t plant them in seed trays like you should.  These went straight into the ground.  I also went overboard and planted far too many seeds far too close together.  I must have done something right though because a shedload of them sprouted.  Over the summer, I thinned them out while I was weeding.  They had a couple of feeds of vegetable plant food but no great level of care and attention.  What you could see overground was impressive.  I was quite pleased with myself.

It was a little too good to be true however.  The carrots were too misshapen to ever find them in a supermarket but then they started coming up all cracked.  Apparently I’d “forced” them to grow too quickly in that the soil was too rich.  They got carrot fly after that and it all went to pot.  I’ve since found out that you can throw carrot fly off the scent by alternating between onion and carrot seeds.

On the up-side, the leeks have done really well all things considered.  We’re using them fairly regularly even though the ones I’m pulling are those that will give the rest the best chance of surviving the winter.  In hindsight, I didn’t plant them deep enough so I built the soil up around them to strengthen them and bring on the white stalks.  The lesson here is to plant the seeds in trays (as you should do anyway), transfer them from there into a six-inch deep hole, fill it with water and that’s it.  I’m told they’ll grow to fill the hole.  That’s something to try next year.

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Getting into Composting

We generate a LOT of biodegradable waste in our house. We eat a ton of fruit and vegetables, drink gallons of tea and have old paperwork coming out our ears. And that’s just from inside the house; there’s the garden waste on top of that.

We recycle what we can. We have a paper bin with a box-insert for cans and glass. We also have some large hessian bags for green waste. They are collected once a month on alternate fortnights; so for example, paper and glass are collected this week and green waste in two weeks time. As a result, the hessian bags get rather smelly in all but the coldest of weather. At the exact same time as when there’s none of the smelly stuff to collect.  Recycling plastics just isn’t on the local council’s agenda but we have found a collection point near our local Sainsbury’s. So, there’s a plastic sack in the garage waiting to go there.

Even so, our normal household waste bin, collected weekly, gets far too full for my liking.

So we’ve bought a compost bin.  We’ve only had it a couple of weeks and it’s already half full; although I did “do the garden” last weekend.  I know that as some point I need to start adding compost maker but I’m little way off that yet I think.