How To Thrive In A Harsh World

thriving1.jpgWhen I was thinking about this post, the contrasts in people’s circumstances and attitudes was often on my mind. The contrast in values – what we find important or priceless. Most of us deep down want to be happy. But there are a lot different ideas about what will bring happiness.

I would have finished this post a lot sooner if it was not for me debating my response to the very first question we received from Melanie, the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind in this week’s SHARE-YOUR-WORLD questions:

As always, she has asked some great questions:


If you had to sum up the whole human species in 3 words, what would those words be?

I am really torn about which three words to choose. On the one hand I see these three words:




…but at the same time the following three words also come to mind:




I went somewhere on Sunday. I think I might write a post about it actually, but I have had a very busy week. I went into a building with 15,000 people. I saw happiness. Those people were so clearly loved. That was my biggest impression.

There are people on this planet who are absolutely thriving, and it is not because of their health or their circumstances. It is because they know they are loved, they know present suffering is temporary and they have a very firm hope for the future.


There are others that have been told they are alone, without purpose and without hope and told that the only thing life holds out is pleasure and self-fulfilment from personal accomplishments in various fields.

Where is the strangest place you’ve relieved yourself?  Obviously in an emergency situation.

Erm…wow this question really does call for sharing doesn’t it!

I have to say there were rather scary facilities for relieving yourself when we were in Ghana. There were some toilets there which were kind of rustically built for use by volunteers who were working on a large project. A large bench with holes in – a bit medievil style. For modesty they had put a partition between each hole, creating separate cubicles. However the cubicles had no doors. Anyone queuing could see someone sitting over the hole. During our time there, some of the British women said it would be appreciated if the cubicles could be made a little more private. So someone had the idea of putting some netting up instead of a door. However, they only hung a short amount of netting. We realized that although the netting obscured the head and shoulders of whoever was inside the cubicle, everything waist down was still exposed.

smiler 1My main memory of Ghana is not so much the toilets – it is the warmth. Not just the hot weather. Rather, the incredible warmth of people. I saw beautiful and delightfully wide smiles. It clicked with me, that material things, modern conveniences and technology do not bring happiness. If you do not yet know the secret of true happiness – I wonder where it is that you are looking? There are many millions of people who live on not much more than $1 a day – and yet compared to many in the more affluent lands, they are thriving.

What is the worst smelling place you’ve ever been?

I have to admit after working in healthcare for a number of years I have been exposed to some pretty noxious smells. I have also lived next door to a farm, which could be quite odorous.

baby rusks.jpgI remember when I worked as a steward at the Manchester Arena years ago noticing a really strange smell that made me feel quite ill. It came from outside the Arena. There was some kind of beer being brewed nearby, and to me the smell from that process was like mashed up baby rusks. In the past I could have told you the name of the brewery that was emitting that strange smell. I want to say it was Boddington’s, but I really can’t remember anymore.

How drunk is drunk enough?

binge drinkingDrunk is never a good idea. Don’t do it!

I say that both in my role within a healthcare setting, and also on a personal level. I won’t go out any more with friends who drink too much. It’s horrible to see their behaviour. A drink or two is quite enough to loosen up. But drunk is totally unacceptable in my view.

Look after your beautiful body. Have fun and enjoy life. but do not abuse what is an amazing and exceedingly precious gift.

Gratitude Is An Attitude!

If you’d like, please list five things that are priceless to you.


GOOD HEALTH (phsysical, mental and emotional)

MEMORIES (the good ones!)

GENUINE UNSELFISH LOVE (and the wonderful people, family and friends with whom you share it)




When It’s Time To Say GoodBye…I’ll Be Waving Up At The Sky

We now have a leaving date! When I say “we”…of course I don’t mean we, I mean he. Goldfinch has booked his flight back to Australia. The plan is for him to spend some time here in London with me, just before he travels, and I will be with him right up to the last minute, when he says goodbye to fair old English shores.

I do understand security concerns at airports. But it is so hard having to say goodbye near the check-in gates and not be able to wait with him in the departure lounge. Not to be able to wave to his plane as it takes off. It just is not as romantic as the olden days.

In all honesty, it may be a good thing that I am not allowed past the check-in gates, I might be tempted to throw myself on the floor and grab hold of Goldfinch’s legs to stop him leaving me!

No…instead…I will have to be content with watching Goldfinch vanish behind a wall. And that will be it…GONE! Not knowing when, if ever at all, I will behold that beautiful smile again.


There is no way I will be able to pick out the aeroplane carrying Goldfinch far away from me. I will be looking up at the sky waving at every plane, (just in case) until they disappear without a trace.

I am going to spare you a dramatic description of the stab of pain that will gush into my heart at that point. I felt it once last December when he went away for five weeks to spend the holidays with his family. There is no doubt in my mind that is going hurt more this time round. But I have known this moment was coming for over a year. So now is the time to be brave, to muster all my strength and help make every moment wonderful for Goldfinch.

Last December, I walked out of the terminal in tears. But as I made my way down the escalators to the Piccadilly line of the London Underground, I started hatching a plan to surprise him based on every little scrap of information I had heard him mention.

This time round…aaaaaaah! I think I will finish this post before I become too weepy.