Wednesday, 15 June 2022

Self-care...

People have different views on what self-care means.

For some it means the annual holiday away and that's when entitlement creeps in.

For others it means time to yourself; a leisurely bath, quiet meditation, an engrossing book or even a solitary walk.  

Then there is the opposite side of the coin, having time to connect with others ...

Having just experienced a few days away with pals in the beautiful Perthshire countryside, I was struck by all of the above ways to invest in the application of self-care... and when I say invest, I don't mean spending money, I mean spending time. A much more important commodity!

We had such a lovely time with our friends that there is no photograhpic evidence, so no selfies! as we were enjoying ourselves so much that we never even thought to photograph ourselves or load a memory on facebook or instagram. We were just grateful for the opportunity to spend time in like-minded, convivial company. 

Well I was, I can't speak for Andy, Billy and Catherine! although believe me I do try...

So back to self-care and entitlement. It is a paradoxical subject. If caring for self, means harming, annoying  or costing others their happiness, it has a tendency to rebound. 

Removing entitlement from our requirements immediately takes us down the road to experiencing happiness. It's one of those fabulous conundrums, helping others is the ultimate in self-help (self-care).

Grazie Billy and Catherine for your friendship and your company at Duchally, and the many, many happy "roads" we have travelled.

The ultimate in self-care -  invest in real friendship. That Charlie Brown and Snoopy knew a thing or two!


Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Friday the 13th May 2022

What an auspicious day! My favourite date... Friday the 13th. Lucky for some.

  

    At last... 

 old, rotten window out and new window on its way in.

 The window saga started last year with a proposed date for August then it was delayed to September, then cancelled and a date in October promised and indeed the builders and the window eventually did arrive!

 However, it was not to be! Our lovely view of the Clyde coast via a picture window couldn't happen as part of the wall was holding the whole building up!

 It could have been a disaster. 

What can I say...


Everything went on hold as we headed to Canada and on our return in January 2022, we started the ball rolling again. Only to be delayed over and over due to a raft of reasons. 

Window not ready, glass not arrived, builders not available etc... 

... so imagine our delight when eventually the window and the tradesmen arrived. They even arrived early on the day -

        Friday the 13th!

Now the saga continues with the proverbial straw. 

We have coped with delays ... and in this uncertain world, our replacement window is really not important.
However when I found out that the handle I requested was different from the one in situ, "Eileen" lost her rag. 

Over a handle! yep... Such a small, insignificant item that just pushed me to my limit. So much for calm under pressure. To crown it all, I had even recently told a friend that my "youthful/immature" tendency to emotionally erupt had disappeared. Yeah. I hear you... pride and falls and all that...

 

I forgot that it isn't what you see, it is how you see it that matters!  So moving on, with a changed perspective, I am now focusing on the view, not the handle.

        Monday the 16th May

The plasterer cometh... and "goeth" on the one day! Work done, we are nearly there...


Now it's just up to us to finish it off with some painting... and I am finishing off the blog with a quote from one of my favourite philosophers, Marcus Aurelius.


Next time a handle ( trivia) comes into view, I will remember to dwell on the stars!


                                            

Wednesday, 13 April 2022

Staying Well Connected

23 year ago Grainne Crawford came into my life. First as a client, then as my receptionist, promoted to Well Connected's Practice Manager and then my business partner and some would say "partner in crime"!

In the begining.

We had many an adventure, enjoyed journeys across the world, even survived moments of crazy lifestyle choices and car crashes, both literally and metaphorically. Living to tell the tale...

We held presentations to golfers, business women, yoga courses in Italy, dream weekends in Scotland and we excelled at "networking" both here in the UK and abroad.

However let me start at the begining ... and as our business strap line said. Life is a journey - enjoy!

Our friendship started with Grainne experiencing physiotherapy and becoming aware of the various therapies that I could offer my clients and she was very much a part of my first toe in the water launch into the business world, one of employing staff and building an expanding business.

However combining being business partners and friends can be tricky, as Grainne and I found out, when many a time we were at "cross" purposes with me wanting to paint the bigger picture and Grainne deciding to consolidate on what we already had. 

Yin and yang as the Chinese philosophers would say. The best of both worlds is more what Grainne and I would agree to. 

Agreeing to compromise is definitely the name of the game in just about any walk of life and we were learning to walk a business tight-rope together, neither of us having any experience before.

 So Grainne is now about to celebrate her 60th birthday in May and decided to start her year celebrating with a couple of friends... as mentioned before "Life's a journey - enjoy". So Lucy and I got to join Grainne on her inaugural birthday bash... 

There are so many people wanting to share in Grainne's celebrating that it was a privilege to share a posh hotel d/b and b party time and it reminded me of a few previous moments that we have shared over the years as we chose to share "amicizia". The Italian word for friendship...
Good friends                               

 There was a memorable trip to Toronto, when we were part of a Scottish contingent promoting Scotland as a golfing destination and ourselves, Well Connected Golf, as an essential part of the golfing experience!


... and how could I ever forget sharing a trip to Japan to visit Grainne's son. Memorable doesn't even begin to cover it!


Karaoke in Japan!

We journeyed together, through our various Well Connected business ventures culminating in a business we coined as  "Well Connected Life" and even received the accolade of Investors in People award which I believe exactly described what we did... invest in people!

receiving our award

I have been retired from the business "walk" of life for over 10 years and Grainne moved over to the east and a complete change of employment within Edinburgh public services. However we have stayed in touch, regularly phoning each other and visiting each other's homes. 

We don't see the distance between east and west as a barrier, and recognise that "staying well connected" is what we all need to do at this time...

Buon compleanno Grainne!

p.s. if you want to hear more about our adventures, drop me a line/email me and I will share those that I can....


Tuesday, 22 March 2022

Joy and sorrow

Wasn't even sure I wanted to write a blog this month!  

There is so much going on globally that it is difficult to write an upbeat blog when the war in Ukraine is in its third week. The Ukrainian people are subjected to such atrocious inhumane actions that we are shocked from self-centredness to reaching out to others in anyway we can.

... and make us question the sanity of governments both home and abroad!

However I decided that apart from putting my hand in my pocket and meditating on a cosmic fog descending on the Russian troops, my best option was to share where my joy was coming from, even in the midst of the catastrophic sorrow, we all must be feeling just now.

Rosie and her mum, Lianne came visiting from Canada.

We have a granddaughter who is full of life and determination. A joy to behold and a treasure to hold and brings her own unique style to whatever she is doing. 

 

On the train

At the beach, in the rain.

 



 


 

 

 

At the park, in the sunshine


 

 



Thank you Rosie for bringing so much joy...





I am not sure what Europe will be like in a month's time. but I am sure that sharing love and joy needs to be a daily commitment to all our children.

Monday, 21 February 2022

After the storm

 

Irvine beach
We had a visit from Dudley, Eunice and then Franklin. Every one of them left a mark. But then that is what storms do...

Enjoying the convenience of our car, recently returned from the mechanic's ministrations, Andy and I decided to go for a drive and visit Irvine beach.

Once there, we decided to go for a blustery walk, as the wind was still strong, although gratefully not the gale force wind of the weekend. 

We were well wrapped up and delighted to be out and about after the weekend's inclement weather, when no sane person would have ventured out!

 There was certainly much debris around. Evidence of the effect of the stormy weather of gales, squalls, high tides and torrential rain that started last week and lasted through until this week....

... but for all of us who ventured out today, you can see by the photo, that the fabulous beach was well worth the visit.

 

 Today's sunshine may well be just a hiatus, but it was so good to blow the cobwebs away and get to appreciate the calm after the storm.

There are many different ways of lifting spirits. From a bracing walk to the yoga pratice of meditation and the many mental health offerings, in between.

So many philosophers have inspired me and their wisdom has always helped my mental health. They  are the best way for me to blow away any persistant, negative mental cobwebs!

Philosophers like Lao Tzu and the Tao way of living, Snoopy and the Peanuts gangs with their unique look on life and a firm favourite, actress, Maggie Smith whose words of wisdom always make me smile. Who would not relate to her comment: " My dear, I don't give advice, I only have opinions!"

Isn't that true of us all!

Another philosopher I return to often, is Marcus Aurelius. A Roman Emperor who nearly two thousand years ago coped with stress beyond our understanding, and that is even taking the modern pandemic into consideration. 

For Marcus, there were plots, feuds, insurrections and threats of invasion as well as great triumphs, plans for public works...  while meeting the mighty challenges of defending the Roman Empire. 

In the midst of all of this he managed to write his famous "Meditations", a treatise on living well.

It is a wonderful gift to us on how to weather whatever current storm we are facing... but also how to best appreciate the good times in between the storms!

Leaving you with a quote that shows that Emperor Marcus Aurelius and Dame Maggie Smith are definitely on the same page...





Monday, 14 February 2022

February's fun

  You never know what is round the corner,  fortunately for me, my corner featured family and friends

 Not the best picture of my car's breakdown on the Haylie Brae but it should convey my safe, hiding place away from the overtaking traffic... 

 The darkening clouds were promising rain, however it soon turned into snow as the temperature plummeted.

It was Sunday the 6th February. I had just set off to drive with a pal to Glasgow, when the car refused to change gears on the Brae and the clutch pedal failed completely. 

Scary times, however we did manage to make it to a straight part of the road, just 1 mile from home and we were very grateful not to have to abandon the car on the Brae's bends.

 If you are familiar with this road you will realise how lucky we were.

... and that is exactly how I spent the first 30 minutes after the car slewed to a stop, realising how lucky I was.

 

I had forgotten my mobile... duh, really! I hear you say. 

 My pal had her's, so I was able to phone home.

Kenneth, our son and his partner, Natalie had been staying with us to watch the rugby on Saturday and were fortunately still in Largs. Kenneth brought me my mobile, collected my pal and took her back to Largs. 

Meanwhile Andy had phoned Green Flag and they were going to come and rescue me. Although not for 2 hours, so I had time to reflect!

Sheltering from the wind and rain, I counted a list of 10 blessings, as it could have been so much worse than the inconvenience of a car breaking down. I was most definitely not going to join the car by breaking down myself and going down worst case scenario!

Kenneth, brought Andy, well wrapped in his Canadian thermals, to relieve me. He waited for the Green Flag driver while I went home to defrost...

Monday the 7th Feb, car delivered to garage and unfortunately, for us, they are busy and not able to look at the car until...

Friday the 11th Feb, came the call with the news of much needed repairs and an estimation of an escalating bill...

Today is Monday the 14th Feb, and Andy and I have filled our past week with lots of walking and even a bus journey or two but still no sign of a returning car...

However, no matter how many corners there are ahead of us, it is always worth counting one's blessings. 

Here are my 10 from that fateful, February day.

  1. Wasn't alone, was with a friend.
  2.  Friend had phone
  3. Green Flag recovery
  4. Not far from home
  5. Had on my downie coat.
  6. ...  and warm winter hat.
  7.  New insoles in shoes.
  8.  Son available with car
  9. Husband available to stand and wait
  10. only snow ... not a blizzard!                                         ..........................................................................................................

 14 days of Feb gone, halfway mark! I am now wondering what the next 14 days will hold...

 

 



Thursday, 20 January 2022

Precious moments..

 Not so much a sequel to the previous blog...  more like

                             "a peek (through the camera) of our precious moments".

 Andy and I were thrilled to share many wonderful moments with the family over the past three months.  We stayed with Gordon, Lianne, Murphy and Rosie for the first two months and then Kenneth came out to join us and Andy and I moved into an airbnb with Kenneth for the last month of our stay.

We received many wonderful gifts, and not just from Santa. There was the gift of time spent together. The gift of laughter. The gift of play. However there was also an unwelcome gift of Covid. 

Lianne became unwell on Christmas eve, and was ill on Christmas. Boxing day Kenneth succumbed, me the next day, then Andy followed the day after that and eventually Gordon developed symptoms and we all tested positive.

I like looking at the positive aspects of things however the only positive thing I could see about Covid was my enforced leisure as I slept round the clock!


Now we are through it and looking back on all our precious moments, even more precious now...

Here are Murphy and Rosie having fun in the rain. Children can teach us a thing or two about having fun. Muddy puddles being an essential factor.

I invested in welly boots for the rain and furry boots for the cold...

As you travel through the photo album, that is this blog's offering you will notice that togetherness is the theme, with different combos at different times.


The girls

The boys

What are we watching!



Strictly fans.

preparing...

finished!   

Buckets ready
 and when Kenneth arrived...
woolly hats and Christmas jumpers

Engrossed

Brotherly love.


and two of my very favourites...

going for a stroll

well earned doughnuts