Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Hearts and flowers

In the build up to Friday's Royal Wedding, I've enjoyed watching one or two of the many TV programmes looking back on royal weddings of the past. (Well, I was enjoying them until I realised that it's 30 years since Charles and Diana got married. Yes, 30 years! There's nothing like a cultural reference to shock you into realising you're not as young as you were). But, aside from the frocks and flowers, pomp and ceremony, the thing that most impressed me was the tradition of the bride to lay her bouquet on the grave of the Unknown Soldier in Westminster Abbey. This was started in 1923 by Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, whose eldest brother Fergus, was killed in the First World War during the Battle of Loos in 1915. A completely spontaneous, heart-felt gesture at the time, by a woman who had watched the young men of her generation head to war and never return, not even to be buried. Elizabeth left her flowers on the way to the alter, whereas subsequent royal brides have placed them on the way back. Either way, it's a sensitive act and, sadly, while men continue to die fighting for their country, is still as relevant today as it was then.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Roll away the stone...

I've been sat in front of my computer screen for an hour trying to compose an eloquent blog post about 'resurrection' but every attempt to get my point across has so far sounded a bit, sort of, preachy. This is frustrating, and quite the opposite of what I'm trying to say, which, in a nutshell, is...
It's Easter Sunday. Some people are in church celebrating their belief that Jesus has risen from the dead. Some people are at home eating chocolate. Some will do both. I'm not judging. But you don't have to be religious to believe in resurrection. We all experience 'rising again' or being brought 'back to life' after periods of loss, heartache, and the end of our world as we knew it. So, rather than Easter being divided into those who believe and those who don't, how about everyone acknowledging that there is hope and life in spite of death. Because it's happening all around us, every day. Not just once a year...
Not quite as poetic as I'd like to have put it. But I hope you get the gist. Happy Easter!

Friday, 15 April 2011

Way to go, Walter

When it comes to our longevity, I believe it's as much to do with luck and genes as it is about the things we're able to control, such as exercise, eating, etc. Having said that, there are things we can do to make whatever years we have as fulfilling as possible, both for ourselves and those we share this crazy little planet with. And so, with that in mind, I salute Walter Breuning – the world's oldest man who has just died in the US at the age of 114.

When asked the secret to a long life, Walter suggested:
1. Being kind to others
2. Eating two meals a day
3. Keeping your mind and body busy
4. Embracing change
5. Not being afraid of death
I hope people take these suggestions to heart when they read/hear about Walter across the media today. In particular the idea of being kind and not afraid of death. Walter said, "We're all going to die. Some people are afraid of dying. Never be afraid to die. Because you are born to die".
Well said, Walter. Life only really starts once you accept that it ends. Move over Bruce Springsteen – 'Born To Run' is out. There's a new anthem in town...

Sunday, 10 April 2011

All the fun of the fair

There is a saying "One day your life will flash before your eyes... make sure it's worth watching". My life flashed before my eyes this weekend when I went to our local spring fair. The first 'flash' happened when my friend (who has no sense of motion sickness) persuaded me (who can't even sit in the back of a car without going green) to go on a ride with her. It was a ride designed to let your stomach know you were alive, your heart believe you might not be much longer, and your head wish you were anything but. It was ghastly.
However, after making it back to terra-firma and taking a (long) moment to compose myself, we all walked around the fairground, taking in the sights, sounds and smells – candyfloss, bright lights, goldfish, music, fluffy toys, waltzers, tin cans, dodgems... And mingling through the multi-coloured mayhem were couples, families, and groups of teenagers, all out for a good time. It took me right back to the days when the fair arriving in my home town was one of the highlights of my childhood/teenage years. The rides may require stronger hydraulics (and stomachs) now, and the music isn't quite so easy on my ears, but the sense of excitement and wide-eyed wonder that I used to have came back to me in a flash. And it was worth the watch...

Tuesday, 5 April 2011


Good news friends and followers, for we have just accepted an offer on our house. Now we've just got to find a new Maison CB! I shan't bother you all with blow-by-blow accounts of surveys, solicitors and such-like – this isn't Facebook, after all. Just thought I'd share my news as I did tell you when we went 'on-sale' in February.
Exciting times...

What do you live for?

Mr CB has just e-mailed me this clip. It's an advert from a company doing its best to pull at our heart strings and show it is in touch with humanity. I tried not to succumb. However, despite the dodgy guitar and Rocky-like weight training bit, the tissues were out...