Recycle and relax

Having changed the light fitting in my kitchen a few days ago I was wondering what to do with the old glass globe fitting. As usual it sat on the side for days, until Tuesday evening when it struck me that it could be used in the garden perhaps….so here it now stands, alongside the mini water wall, complete with a tea light, and how lovely it looks……

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Strata SE1 – Eco or Ugly?

Having taken this photo during my visit to London last year, and following on from yesterdays post and the theme of architecture I decided to find out just what this building was. I have since learned that it is called Strata SE1, is located in Elephant and Castle, Southwark and is the tallest residential building at 43 stories high. The feature that really sparks your imagination though is the 3 turbines sitting at the top of the building, looking like something from a futuristic James Bond film, ready to chop you into pieces should you skydive through them (as only James Bond would of course!). At one point in it’s history the building was voted ugliest building, however it was actually designed to be eco-friendly, with the 3 turbines designed to provide 8% of the electricity demands of the building. Unfortunately the residents in the penthouses complained that when the turbines were running, it was too noisy and the vibrations sent them insane, so the turbines were only allowed to run at certain times of the day. I cant decide whether I love it or hate it, maybe it should have been called the marmite tower…..you decide……

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The Friday Flower – After the Rain

Well Friday has rolled round again and what a week it has been. It started off on a positive note but unfortunately went down hill, however this seems to be the norm at the moment and so when Friday comes around it’s a relief. The tension in my neck and shoulders seems worse than ever and I think I need to see about some serious massage therapy, but until then I have my flowers to cheer me up and put the smile back on my face. Gardening has always been an outlet for me, more so now I have the greenhouse! This evening has been a treat as although it is cool, grey and damp the droplets remaining after the rain storms look beautiful on the emerging flowers and leaves, the plants seem as relieved as I do that it’s Friday, their stress has been lack of real water for weeks and so now they look refreshed and revitalised. Here is the sole surviving Allium, sadly last years terrible slug fest seems to have destroyed the other bulbs, but this one is a treat, I hope you like it! Have a lovely relaxing weekend and thanks again for all your views, likes and comments!

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Generalist, Specialist or Opportunist….which one am I?

You may wonder what has an image of 2 birds on a birdfeeder got to do with the title of this post, well yes I agree it may be a little tentative but let me see if I can explain my thought process….

So today I was sat at my desk considering job titles, roles and responsibilities and the necessary skills that fulfil them. What is it that leads us to believe that one person may be a better fit for a role than another? In the acting world people audition for roles, in the business world people interview for roles, so what is the difference between an audition and an interview? Stay with me here….in my opinion they are one and the same, to some degree we all act out the part that we think others want us to be. During an interview the candidate will behave in a certain manner, provide answers that they assume are what the interviewer wants to hear. In an audition you do the same, you play the part in a manner that you believe fits the character, only in an audition it is a little easier to distinguish between the actor and the character. In an interview the lines are more blurred.

Back to the title of this post, the question is during an interview are you seeing the generalist, specialist or opportunist at work and how do you ultimately make a decision? Does the person define the role or does the role define the person that you inevitably choose? Do you go with the individual who has all the skills on paper but who may lack the right personality, the person with the personality that fits the environment but who has less experience, the specialist who knows much about less or the generalist who knows little about much? It’s a tricky question and one that can lead to a bad decision.

My own preference would be to go with the generalist, someone who has a little knowledge about many areas as I believe that these individuals display a talent to absorb and utilise in a broader spectrum, with the ability to diversify and build on their knowledge. Of course it depends upon the role, but there is never a perfect fit and like the birds in the image, one may be the perfect build for birdfeeder,agile and fast, the other a perfect fit for the woodland environment camouflaged and stealthy, but as these 2 demonstrate, a willingness to learn new skills from another and adaptability are the key to success!

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Insignificance

Have you ever had the feeling that you are insignificant? A small fish in a very large pond? No matter how you try you make no impact upon the world around you? Well just think of this little fella, pretty insignificant on a scale of 1 to 10, small, not especially eye catching to you and me. if I wasn’t aiming a lens at the flower I probably wouldn’t even have noticed him. But, think a little more and you realise that he is important and very significant. Without him the chap up the food chain may go hungry, and the chap above him would also go hungry and so on and so on and in the very worst case scenario a whole eco system could fail…all reliant upon this little guy. For however long he lives he is important, he has many jobs to do and others rely upon him. Alone he has significance and in numbers their worth is multiplied. So put that into context. You alone support many around and above you, you together with other ‘small fish’ provide the foundations for the larger fish in this pond of life. Without your contribution others would not succeed, they ultimately need you regardless of their own abilities. So the next time you start to feel insignificant, just think of this little moth and remember that you are the foundation of something bigger, you are significant.

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Why Fit In When You Were Born To Stand Out

Its true, from an early age we are taught to conform, be like everyone else. We wear uniforms to school and to work, we follow the same paths that have been the norm for generations, the message is fit in. But what of those who choose not to conform, but to go their own way. They wear their hair different, choose a different way to look, their clothes are not from the high street but from independent outlets that appeal to the minority not the majority. We are led to believe that there is a right way and a wrong way to get through life, that if we don’t go the right way we will somehow end up on the outskirts of society…but what is this society? And do we truly wish to be part of it? At a young age I had a desire to become a dancer, but sadly due to being some what height challenged I was advised that I would not be accepted to the establishment, because I wouldn’t be the same height as all the other dancers, basically i didn’t fit in, literally. When i think about it I have never really fitted in anywhere, at school, at college, even at work, not for want of trying, but there it is again, trying to fit in! Why are we all so hell bent on being like everyone else? When you truly look at others do you have that strong desire to be like them? I guess we all develop the ability to role play, to act the part, to be what people want you to be, at home, at work and when out in public….but think of this…..when you are alone who are you really? Like the title says, why fit in when you born to stand out from the crowd.

A scarecrow stands out from the foliage at Calke Abbey kitchen gardens

A scarecrow stands out from the foliage at Calke Abbey kitchen gardens

 

41 Day 236 – We are All Mortal

Yesterday I witnessed first hand just how close someone came to death. I was going about my weekly shop in a different supermarket to the one I usually visit, when a very young girl tugged at my coat and in a very calm way asked me to please help her Nan. I looked at the girl and then saw a lady slumped over the chiller cabinets, grasping at the trolley and fighting to stay upright. I dropped my handbag and without a thought rushed to try to slow the fall of the lady who was now sliding towards the ground at an alarming speed. I had no chance to break her fall as she was a large lady but somehow the trolley wedged against the freezer units and she slid between the legs of the trolley to the floor. She was now fitting violently, all I could think to do was to support her head to prevent it hitting the stone floor, talking to her as calmly as I could hoping that she may know that someone was at her side. I shouted towards the people still shopping, oblivious to the situation, called for help, but people simply turned and watched on, some even turning away. I raised my voice in frustration and a note of anger and shouted again for someone to assist and call for help, whilst trying to assure the young girl that her Nan would be ok, I had no idea whether the lady would be ok, but the words just came. I asked the girl what her nan’s name was, Linda she replied. The fitting slowed and her breathing sounded like a freight train, I was simply glad that she was breathing, another lady came to my assistance and then the Manager of the supermarket arrived with a pillow and blankets. Within 5 minutes a paramedic arrived, we stood back, allowing him to do his work, the lady still unresponsive. Watching that paramedic work with such precision and speed reassured me that she was now in good hands, skilled hands, unlike my basic attempt to help, but after several minutes the lady was still unresponsive and the mood changed. The little girl was now understandably distraught, the staff keen to move her away and protect her from the scene. Onlookers gathered hoping for a view like some kind of ghoulish entertainment but the staff had used the blanket to screen her off, protecting her dignity. A second ambulance team arrived and she was placed on to the stretcher and rushed to the awaiting ambulance. The Manager thanked us for our help, took our details and we returned to our shopping, however it felt somewhat surreal to be choosing items having just been through what seemed like a near death experience for that lady. My first thought on waking this morning was for Linda, a lady who I did not know and will never in all probability meet again, a lady for who at that moment I was able to help in some small way and I dearly hope that she is recovering as I write this. I can still see that little girls eyes, pleading for help. That encounter would never have happened for me if I had gone to my usual supermarket, in some respects it feels like fate, maybe I was meant to be at that place at that moment specifically to help that lady, who knows, but I am glad that I was there. That encounter has also served to show me something else, something worrying, the fact that when I called out for help no one came, some even turned their backs and walked away. What has British society come to? When people can turn their backs and walk away? Is it fear that prevents a person from helping another in need, is it ignorance, or is it a deeper coldness that is running through our society, giving us the ability to turn a blind eye and feel no sense of guilt or shame in doing so? What if that person had been me or you? The least you would hope is that some other person came to your assistance….. or is that no longer the case?

Today I feel angry, I feel as though I want to do something, but what can I do? What makes one person help and another turn away, I cant answer that question and I feel useless, powerless to address it. I guess it shows that all people are different, how one person behaves will be the exact opposite of another, we may not understand why we behave the way we do, we are propelled by something that makes us act in a certain way and we must accept that we are all different. But what we can change we must, what is in our power to do must be done, our own fears and agendas put aside for the greater good. What we must all never forget is that we are only here for the time that is granted to us, what we do with it is down to us, for we are all mortal.

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41 Day 228 – You Need Hands to …….

Hold, wave, clap, give, receive, grip, open, close, twist, shake, touch, feel, catch, stroke, say hello, say goodbye……how many words describe what your hands can do? I’m sure these are just a few, but have you ever really stopped to look at your own hands, consider what they have done for you over the years, and yet how we neglect them! Our faces we cover in moisturiser in the vain attempt to hold back the years, our bodies we exercise in the hope of remaining young a little longer but our hands are exposed constantly to everything we throw at them, cold weather, hot water, abrasive substances, chemicals, rough surfaces, the list is endless. Yet they work tirelessly for us all our lives until we have no more breath left in us…..take a look at yours and consider for a moment what your hands mean to you……….

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41 Day 154 – Sunday Morning Views from a Small Town

Following on from yesterday I decided to walk back in to town and see what the streets were like on a Sunday. The sun was out for a while and the church bells of St Marys were ringing out….it felt like a real Sunday morning. But the streets were quiet, not a soul to be seen except for the odd church goer or the pigeons clearing up the crumbs from yesterdays snacks. I walked back down the main Castle Street now deserted, no market stalls, no market traders shouting out their wares…..eerily quiet. So I walked through the church grounds and back towards the council offices soon to be made redundant…..the commemorative benches empty and trees planted in honour of some old long since forgotten event….the bandstand silent, just one guy sat on a bench, his head in his hands….why I wondered, had something happened, some bad news received….or just a long night? I walked round to the War memorial with its manicured lawns and freshly painted benches, waiting for someone to come and sit in quiet contemplation….but no one came…..only a blackbird sat aloft the memorial statue…I touched the brass plaques with row after row of names…..of those who had died in the Wars….who were they? What would their lives have been had they not died in the line of duty, the saddest thing was that there were 2 family names, each listing 4 or 5 members, simply listed as civilians, innocents. Its amazing what your home town gives up to you in the quiet of a Sunday morning.