Monday, 27 April 2015


Wednesday, 8 April 2015


Yesterday on a cycling / hiking expedition with mini Madam and half a dozen of her friends.

SELF IMPORTANT DOG WALKER: (who could see jolly well we didn't)... you haven't got a dog with you have you?

ME: .......................

SIDW: It's just that he (dog) doesn't like other dogs. He's fine with people.

ME: You haven't got a bicycle with you, have you?

SIDW: No ...... (puzzled).... why?

ME: It's this bike, you see. Bit fearsome around other bicycles.

SIDW: ...........................................

Tuesday, 7 April 2015


It is surprisingly difficult to be simple about what we feel.

Asked, "what do you feel?" most people answer, starting with the words, "I think...."

That's different.

Another tendency is to state feelings using past participles. "I feel disappointed. I feel rejected. I feel ...... -ed". There's a problem with this as feedback. The recipient will hear it as blame. And that may be because it actually is blame, though euphemised.

I have heard it proposed that there are only four core feelings, abbreviated as mad, sad, glad and scared. This may be a slightly simplistic view, but nonetheless a good starting point in using disclosure of feelings as a means of improving relationship.

Since most people do not act deliberately to hurt others, declarations of feelings help press the reset button in relationships where this has happened.

I teach many of my coaching victims a simple practice, to mend relationship issues, and it is often very helpful.

It is scripted thus: "(this) has happened between us and I feel (this). What I want to happen is (this)".

Over, then, to the other.

Simple, assertive, blame free.

Often surprisingly difficult to get to.

Friday, 3 April 2015


Someone wrote that no pheasant has ever done anything interesting. Perhaps that's why I've stopped avoiding them and now just run them over.

A friend of mine got his car all entangled with a pheasant, just before arriving to drop his son off at school. Conscious of the image problem, he rummaged to try and get the pheasant out of the radiator grille. This made matters worse, because the corpse would not come. He tugged and yanked at the dead creature but was rewarded only with a facial and bodily spray of pheasant blood, guts and feathers. As the school bell rang, he attracted shocked parental stares. A murderer in the playground. Further evidence of the horror of this man's character could be attained from a glance at his car, the mangled remains now wrenched across most of its bonnet, as well as hanging from its front bumper. Not a good look.

"But they're so stupid," he might have said, by way of defence. "They strut out stubbornly right into the path of your car."

Pheasants play a bizarre game of "chicken" with motor vehicles, asserting their right to strut nonchalantly wherever they will, even in the face of a 2 litre engine, a tonne or so of metal and a couple of hefty Goodyears. They know they are right, until, well..... the end.

Some years ago I knew a man who wore a cravat. He was what I would call old. He was in fact, I suppose, in his sixties. But it wasn't the age that defined him. It was the certainty of his views. He knew what he thought, about anything. And what he didn't know, he didn't want to know. He knew enough to know what he knew, and to know it was enough. It was this certainty, this lack of curiosity, which marked his age. To me, that kind of certainty marks out old people. You can have the experience of visiting an old folk's home with people in their mid twenties. And you can bathe in the joys of youth with eighty year olds.

The cravat was worn rather as the extravagant colours of a cock pheasant. His wife, whom I have difficulty remembering, was of the invisibly brown tendency. As far as I can recall, she habitually agreed with her husband.

I meet quite a lot of people like this. Externally colourful, perhaps. But within, deeply conservative, deeply certain, deeply incurious.

I find myself now at a point of my life where some options open upon what I may focus, to what I may dedicate myself, over the next few years. A junction point. There are no guideposts. I am uncertain which way to go. And that uncertainty is not only within the decision, but also written into the chosen route, as an energy for propulsion along it, once chosen. Uncertainty, curiosity and wonder may serve. They may make for a more interesting time than pheasant-like certainty. May, indeed, be the elixir of youth. No matter how old one gets.