Tag Archives: relationships

Share Something Every Day – Community (and Wife)

A gentle day at work today. I was a bit tired after going to London last night.

The Sunflower Café group are getting to know each other better and relaxing a little. They’re excited about the music group that we’ll be restarting soon.

We found an Order of Service from the opening of the building I work in. Four Ministers and and Organist!


I spent a lot of time this afternoon on tidying some loose ends and writing copy to promote things (and then getting up and walking around regularly to keep my brain going). I posted a thing on one of the local community groups on Facebook about our Friday Lunches and it’s had lots of nice responses.

But the main thing today is it’s my wife’s birthday (her work has sent her birthday cupcakes), so I’m not writing much and taking her out to dinner instead 🙂

Pale, Male and Stale

Oh dear!

It’s hard isn’t it?

You’re stuck. Nothing seems to work any more. All the things you’ve been working for seem pointless. The successes you’ve achieved haven’t given you the security you craved. You’re worried that you put your ladder up against the wrong wall. Maybe it’s too late. What’s happening? Why can’t you get anything done any more? What really matters? Maybe tomorrow. Or maybe if you go somewhere else, get a new job, start fresh! But how?

I can help. I’ve thought all of these things. I’ve felt all of the feelings that go with them. I have recovered a sense of purpose and achievement.  I haven’t completely overcome all of it, but I’m a long way down the road – I get up in the morning and most days and get useful stuff done, most evenings I’m pleased with what I’ve got done. While the outsides might not look that different, I have inner peace. You can too.

I’m opening up some of my time to helping people on a one-to-one basis. Call it coaching or mentoring or guidance if you like (especially if it helps someone else pay for my time!) –  I prefer to avoid terms that might keep you from working on what’s wrong: you might not need a coach or a mentor or guidance but you might still need some help.

We can work face-to-face if you’re in London, but Skype and phonecalls do just as well (sometimes even better).

Let’s have a 30-minute chat to start (for the price of a coffee) and see whether there’s scope to work together.  You can message me in total confidence via any of the usual channels.

PS the title of this post is not meant to exclude anyone who doesn’t identify as pale or male. It’s the staleness that really needs to be dealt with.


School of Temporary ThoughtAt Amplified we had an interesting series of exchanges around relationships.

I asserted my belief that in a 3-way relationship, say Alice, Bob & Carol, then Alice is responsible for her relationship with Bob and also responsible for her relationship with Carol, but that Bob and Carol’s relationship is none of Alice’s business.

That’s my belief. It’s what I try to practice in life, although when you do start to try to practice it, you see how entrenched in our social dynamics is the belief that we can tell two other people how to run their lives or believe that in some way we are looking after either of them by trying to make their relationship “work” or “better” or maybe “work better”.

“What about gossip?” I was asked. Yes, good question. Again, I try, I really try not to indulge in gossip anymore, it doesn’t do either of us any good, although I don’t deny that it can be absolutely delicious.

None of this is to say that I think myself any better than anyone because of this belief, it’s just what works for me.

There was an interesting point where we were talking about it and there was some disagreement. Someone asked for a show of hands as to who agreed with me. Funny. I think maybe one or two hands went up. Did I change my mind? Nope. Did I suddenly think, maybe I should start interfering in other people’s relationships? Nope. Forty years of llife has taught me not to stick my nose in. Peer pressure isn’t going to swing it.

Wearing my social objects on my chest

12112008546My most popular social objects at the moment are the badges on the lapel of my overcoat. Most of them were around last winter when I was wearing the coat, so I don’t know whether it’s the fact that I’ve added a couple more or something else that makes all sorts of people stop and smile and comment and ask questions.

Only today, for example, I happened to be riding in a lift with the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, as you do, and he (for they are one person) said “Oh what are those for?” and I said, “Oh they’re just things I’ve been to” and he said “Mmm… just brightening up your overcoat” “Yes” and so it was that my relationship with Jack Straw MP was everso slightly enriched.

I’ve put some notes on the photo on flickr to help people who want to know what each is about. I might as well spell out the detail here too. So from the top, the targetty looking one is from Platform for Art, the programme for putting art on the underground. The one next to it featuring Domo is a new one from my friend Claire who gave it to me to extend my collection. This exchange also gave us the opportunity to share this with one of our friends who’d never seen it before – yes there are such people! Below Domo is my flickr badge – I’m always surprised by the people who have been on flickr for ages, but who need to have that explained to them. Isn’t it obvious? And yes, I know it’s upside-down.

To the left in the picture but to my right is my Breakfast Club badge from the cafe in D’Arblay St of the same name, not because I belong to a club that involves eating sausage and bacon or because I carried a torch for Molly Ringwald (though the latter is true and if the former exists, I’d like to know about it) They have them in a basket on the counter, so they’re not as exclusive as you might think. Next down and not very clear is one that Katherine gave me. It depicts creature that is half whale and half training shoe. I have no idea what the picture means, if it means anything at all. Below that, the black one is from likemind. I can’t remember whether it was the lovely Amanda or the lovely Jamie who gave it to me (now that’s going to start a fight) and the one at the bottom is from the goodie bag at Interesting 2007. It says “Interesting 2007” So that’s the only one that wasn’t given to me by a girl then.

Each of them is a conversation starter, each has a little story attached, a little story that tells you a little bit more about me. And together, the fact that I wear them says something about me. Perhaps that I’m a nutter and to be avoided, but judging by experience, also that it’s OK to stare and OK to come up and ask me what they’re about. I don’t have to do anything more than wear them to get into interesting conversations with people.

If you haven’t a clue why I’m even talking about “social objects” go and read Hugh on the subject.

Better plumbing at No. 10

26072008959The backlash against the new site from the Prime Minister’s Office has begun. Neil McIntosh just popped up in my feed reader tearing it apart for limiting conversation and some poor planning/research around the branding of the video channel. And then Tosh minor chimes in on twitter: “@DowningStreet – turn on your comments”

In my view, what’s happening here is that we’ve got some better plumbing installed, and while that in itself does a little to raise the quality of the drinking water, there’s so much more to be done and part of that is recognising that plumbing isn’t just about delivering water, it’s about providing a circulatory system to support and enhance something that’s going on already.

I’m not certain that just turning the comments on is the way to go, immediately. Of course it would be great to open up the conversation online but I do think the whole thing is still too fragile to withstand the shenanigans of people like this.

The work now should be to build some more solid two-way relationships between No. 10, online journalists and bloggers. My first question would be why press people like Neil haven’t been more intimately involved in the project already. Many people are still impressed when the guys on the @downingstreet twitter feed reply directly to questions and comments. When Obama was here and I was hanging around outside, I had a significantly different experience simply because we had a feed coming from inside and questions were answered in real time. Yes, our government departments are too opaque, but from where I’m sitting, I see much greater will to move towards real transparency than we’ve had in the past. This is a small enabling step towards it – let’s support it rather than knock it down straight away.