Tag Archives: change

Along Came Jack

I was very pleased to see that Sarah, the creator of Sarah Elizabeth Moore, will be hosting a weekly writing prompt during 2019. I loved her prompts back in August.

Please feel free to prepare a post of your own and link it back to Sarah’s host page:



I Want To Go Home

me at 9Not the home I grew up in. Although I was very happy there, and had a very active and wonderful childhood – my family home is no longer my home. Our family is not even there anymore. Around ten years ago, my parents were able to sell the family home when we all left to live elsewhere, and they moved into a bungalow near to my grandfather, who was starting to struggle with his health. We lost my grandfather last year.

I left home in 2007, in order to be able to work as a volunteer in a part of the country where there were a stack of projects and not many volunteers (partly because the cost of living in that area is so high). I made many wonderful friends and fell in love with the countryside. I ended up living on the grounds of a beautiful stately home and being allowed to roam their gorgeous estate, and because they trusted me, I paid peanuts for my accommodation, which was another fortuitous factor in my volunteer career in the south of England.

Moving to London in 2010 to become a full-time international volunteer was like a dream.  It was like coming home…even though I had been happy before.  I was happy on a different level. Everything felt right. It was hard work, and for long hours. The routine, the dignity, the rewarding work, the huge numbers of people I saw and worked with. I found I didn’t miss receiving wages.  Not at all. My main assignment would be in London, but at any point I could be sent elsewhere. I loved the astonishing variety London life offered. I found that I was thriving in this life-style.

Then along came Jack…

I remember the first morning I met Jack.  We were having breakfast with some friends and he arrived late and he sat opposite me.  It appeared that the way I tucked into my stack of pancakes had the ability to captivate him. My friends always said they had noticed the way he was looking at me and knew he was going to chase me.

I will never understand how Jack changed over the next few years. He went from being glued to my side at parties and social events, to moving into the flat I was living in when a room became vacant. First he was friendly, then he was grumpy and miserable, then he told me he loved me. There was so much said by so many other people, but nowhere near enough open communication between Jack and me. Jack became a complete riddle to me. I could not decipher him. The breakdown in communication between us and the pressure from hundreds, perhaps thousands of others who frankly had nothing to do with the situation, led me to feel it was right for me to move out of the flat.

Subsequently, Jack became even more estranged. He seemed to feel humiliated. He manifest that with being reckless with what he said about me. He caused me humiliation on many occasions.

The situation became much worse when rumours circulated that I was having an affair with the husband of one of my colleagues. I was not of course. I will write a more detailed post one day about those ridiculous rumours and why I think Jack was responsible for them. By that point I had lost all sense of trust in Jack.

What was, and should have been, personal between Jack and I, was becoming more and more public. Due to an incident which I shall also describe in more detail in another post, I was called into a formal meeting with a couple of directors and told that these scenes could not go on occurring in public areas in front of many onlookers. The directors were firm that Jack and I needed to resolve our differences.

elevatorJack was incredibly hostile in response to my efforts to speak to him. One day…I saw him four times and he just kept on scowling. The last time I saw him up close was when I was waiting for the elevator within our apartment block. The doors opened, and there stood Jack glaring at me with an expression that seemed to convey hatred. I stepped back. There was no way I was going to be within the elevator with him.

I went out with friends that night and enjoyed the evening with my friends, but there was a huge surge of pain and despair that I was hiding from everyone…one of the girls who lived near me wanted to drive me home, but I said I would like to walk as it was still light. And walk I did, but in the opposite direction of home. I walked towards the local park. On the opposite side of the park a fairground had popped up that weekend and there was a carnival atmosphere amongst the people I passed on the way to the park.

It was a beautiful summer’s evening.  It had been one of the hottest days of the year. There were joggers and dog-walkers and teenagers sitting in the grass talking and laughing when I arrived and when I sat down on a bench.

I was so consumed with despair, I did not notice that daylight had fled completely and there was no longer anyone else in the park, until a stranger sat down on the bench besides me.

He did things to me that caused me great physical injury…and emotional distress. I left hospital in London and did not even go home to collect any belongings. For a year I stayed in the homes of various family members in the north of England in Wales while I recovered. I needed to be away from gossip and rumours – they would have made the challenges I faced of recovering from that night impossible. My family and those who knew what had happened that night were outraged and shocked. I have received great support from them because of what happened that night.

However…what hardly anyone seems to understand is that the damage was already done. It is the situation with Jack that had crushed me. I needed help long before. I needed Jack to stop long long before. I showed clemency to Jack for so long it left me empty and exhausted.

I should never have gone to the park on my own that night.  But I wish in a way I could change everything that happened with Jack. I sometimes have wished that I had never known him. Could I change the moment when he joined me and a group of friends for breakfast that morning and sat opposite me? If I could go back to that moment, I think I would have swapped seats with someone, or just walked out so that he did not have chance to dwell on me.

If I could re-live those moments – I would have run from Jack. No matter how long he chased me for, I would keep on running. There is no way I would let him take me away from my home!

My life, my chosen career, my world. If I could change one thing about my life. I would be back home. I am not going to give up hope.




We Are The Champions!

Is anyone thinking of making healthier changes to their lifestyle? If you live in the UK, did you know you can receive free support and recommendations from a source you may not have thought of?

Have you ever been sent on a course by your boss?  Did you share my sentiments which were along the lines of….”Oh well, they will provide a free lunch!”  “At least I am still going to get paid for sitting down and listening, rather than having to run around and deal with a mix of customers…when I say a mix, I mean a mix…in any medical related role you mix with the nice, the not so nice, the friendly, the scary, the happy, the crazy, the smelly, the funny, the ones that touch your heart and bring a tear to your eye and the ones that frankly…there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with them, but they just love coming to have a chatter.

I was sent on a course a while ago.  It was a one day course.  My manager didn’t tell me much about it before.  She just asked me to take notes because she wanted me to conduct a training session with the whole team afterwards. I passed the exam at the end of the training course and received my certificate…and as everyone else who has completed the training course successfully I am now a “Healthy Living Champion”.

I was impressed at the course content and surprised that there were parts of the day that brought tears to me eyes and sent me away full of conviction and motivation that I wanted to apply what I had learnt once I was back at work.  It taught me a very special lesson:

You can make a difference. 

If you can make a difference to just one person, it is worth the effort.

So motivated was I,  that the training session I delivered to the rest of the team, was in a way that moved them to tears.  I don’t think they have ever quite seen me in the same light since that day.

I would like to invite you into our training meeting and let me know if you think we can make a difference.  Here goes:


What kind of weather do you like?  (I asked the team to call out what they like.) Do you like the glorious sunshine we are enjoying at the moment?  Or do you love it when it snows and we all get to go out and have snowball fights and build snowmen?  Or maybe you are secretly a puddle plodder…who likes nothing better than jumping in puddles when nobody is looking like Gene Kelly from “Singin’ In The Rain”?

I am no expert in the weather…but apparently a major factor in the type of weather we will experience is PRESSURE.

Well…right now there is a storm that is circling our globe.  It is a storm that is bringing with it devastating diseases and premature deaths.  It is wreaking havoc on the lives of individuals and families.  Unhealthy, harmful habits and unsafe practices are causing damage on an unprecedented scale.  And one of the major factors that is driving this storm is PEER PRESSURE.

It could be within families, communities, associates at work or within a person’s social circle that they are learning either healthy habits…or harmful ones which will lead to devastating consequences.

What can be done to combat the harm that is being done?

One strategy that the NHS is trying to promote to fight the effects of this storm is a huge team of Healthy Living Pharmacies.  They also hope as many of us as possible will train to become Healthy Living Champions.

What is a Healthy Living Pharmacy?  In essence, it is a Super-Pharmacy.

In a Healthy Living Pharmacy, every member of the team focuses on opportunities to promote healthy living choices with as many customers as possible.

Who are our customers?

I would like you to take a little look at these pictures (I know it looks a bit scrappy…I cut some pictures out of information leaflets I had a stash of and made it about half an hour before I was asked to start the training session).

Life is precious

Each member of the pharmacy team should be thinking about our customers.

We are encouraged to MECC: Make Every Contact Count.

To do what exactly?  We want to:

  • empower people to make informed choices about their lifestyle
  • signpost them to help and support to maintain healthy habits

What exactly are we supposed to talk about?  Well, any of these subjects.  Have a look at the main areas in which the NHS would like us to be prepared to encourage people to make wise decisions that will contribute to their own health and happiness both now and in the future.

Main Health Topics

The two subjects on a gold background were highlighted as the two biggest areas of concern in the UK now.

  • Smoking  is the biggest cause of preventable illness and disease
  • Dementia is now the biggest killer in the UK

Smoke rising from a cigarette in an ashtrayWe have a wealth of resources now so that we can help people who are trying to give up smoking and those who are effected by dementia.  This includes local services and support groups.

We have a signposting folder full of information and contact details to be able to help our customers in any area.

We also have the NHS Choices website through which we can access information on many local health services.  The information on the NHS Choices website is authoritative and reliable.  Every member of the pharmacy team should be familiar with navigating it and should use it liberally to help our customers.

In addition our local health authorities determine which are special areas of need in our local area.  They provide regular updates on what they would like us to focus on.

(At this point I had arranged for a student who we had with us for a few weeks to come wandering into the training session….he pretended to be a customer who was concerned about some of his symptoms.  I demonstrated how we could help him by using both information from our sign-posting folder and the NHS Choices website. He could have won an Oscar for his performance!)

Now you might be thinking…

“People are going to make their own decisions and we are not going to make any difference to them, what is the point in going to all this effort?  It is not going to make any difference whatever we say.”

Can you or I really make a difference?

Well…I would like you to imagine the following scene.  (You may have heard a version of this before.)  After a violent storm, tens of thousands of star-fish were washed up on to a beach, beyond the reach of the normal tide level.  Once the sun began to rise, the star-fish were at serious risk of dying.  A local man observing the devastation noticed a little girl bending over and picking up starfish one at a time and throwing them into the sea. He approached the girl and said “I know you mean well, but you do realize you are not really going to make any difference.  There are tens of thousands of star-fish stranded.” The girl little girl looked at him.  She thought about his words for a moment.  She then bent down and picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea.  She said to the man, “I just made a difference to that one.”


Remember I asked you to think about our customers.

Life is precious

How much would you say their life is worth?  What price would you put on life?  If I asked someone how much they would pay to be with their loved ones they have lost again?  What would they say?

If you or I could a make a difference to just one person, or even one family, so they had a few more years of life together because of changing their lifestyle…would that be worthwhile?


Now…I have something else to tell you.  Yesterday, a customer walked in and wanted to see if anyone had time to take his blood pressure.  Now I don’t want to say too much as confidentiality is paramount…but it led to exactly what our training has asked us to be prepared for.  He and I had a discussion about making lifestyle changes.  He was so grateful for the information and goals I discussed with him.  He is going to come back and we are going to help him reach his goals.  I felt kind of emotional afterwards.  He really was a lovely man.  He has been thinking things over and he knows he needs to make changes…and he wants to.  He said it has been on his mind that he cannot take his health for granted any more and he dearly wants to make the most of every moment of life he can.  He thanked me so many times.

Isn’t it wonderful to realize that: You can make a difference.  If you can make a difference to just one person, it is worth the effort.

Notes from meeting

The Sparkling Indishe Has Nominated Me For Another Sunshine Blogger Award


I have been nominated for The Sunshine Blogger Award by theindieshe as you can see from her brilliant post below:


Please check out her blog, I am sure you will love her posts as much as I do.

These are loosely the rules of the Sunshine Blogger Award:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  • Use the “Sunshine Blogger Award” logo on your post.
  • Answer the questions the selector asks of you.
  • Nominate bloggers you want to give the award to.
  • Ask the following bloggers that you selected questions of your own.

My responses to the questions asked by her are:

1. What is your secret desire?

Hee hee…

I have many desires.  I would need a whole book to list all of them.  But this is one that I often fantasize about!

I am not very good with dairy.  Milk, cream, cheese, yogurt, ice-cream…these cause calamitous side-effects in me.  Although I love cheese…I can have a tiny bit once in a blue moon and I seem to be able to get away with it.

This might not seem a very exciting secret desire, but anyone who has difficulties with dairy – they truly knows what I mean.

So my secret desire is a huge dairy-feast without the concequences!!!

2. What would you like to be in the next birth?

I am not sure I would ever like to have to go through birth again.  Either myself being born or having to give birth!  I congratulate myself that I graduated from nappies or diapers.  I survived puberty.  I am glad that is all out of the way.

brain universeLife as a human should obviously be very special. The awareness and potential we have is far greater than any other creature on the planet.  Much as I am fascinated by animals and plants, and there is so much to learn from other creatures, it is clear that humans are very different.

Our ability to reason, weigh up matters of justice and morality, appreciate art and music, design and create, ponder and meditate and ask questions like “How did life begin?  Why am I here?  Where am I going?”  are exceptional.  I would never downplay how special it is to be a human with enormous potential.  Sadly, we also have the potential to cause harm to ourselves and others (it is painful to see how many seem to do exactly that).  But we have to make choices and live with the consequences.

I have heard it said that of all the discoveries scientists have made in the known universe, there is nothing that can compare with the human brain.  I know some people do not seem to use their brains!  However, the potential we have is incredible.  Our capacity for compassion and unselfish love are unlimited.  However, it all depends on how we feed our own thinking and what we allow to develop.  Thoughts develop into feelings which lead to words and actions, some of which become habits or practices.  I wish people would care for their thoughts more and make their minds as spectacular and delightful as they were designed to be.

bearsIf I was not a human…hmm.  I have to admit, there are occasions when, I would love to hibernate for the whole of winter.  I believe that is what bears do.  Plus, if I were a bear, I would never have to worry about what to wear in the morning, because I would have a beautiful coat of fur.  I would be allowed to eat as much as I wanted and be big and cuddly and that would be fine.  I am not sure I would get on very well being a vegetarian bear.  However, I am a human, I am never going to be a bear, so I will not worry myself too much about that.

3.What one thing would you like to change?


I guess we all have regrets.  There may be major or minor events in our lives we wish never happened. Sometimes we realize we just made the wrong decision, and now faced with the consequences we may long to be able to turn back time and change that pivotal moment.

For myself, it has to be the night I was buckling under the emotional pressure of having been taunted by ex-flatmate and his fans and friends.  I was out with friends, but I didn’t feel as if I could go home because I kept on seeing him.  Just before I had left my flat that night I saw him in the elevator.  Instead of going straight home when I left my friends, I went to a park on my own to let myself have a good cry.  Hours later as the morning broke, a security guard found me and called for an ambulance.  The crime that occurred that night…well, it has turned my life upside down.

Three years later I am still longing to go home to my flat, with all my furniture and to be back where I belong.  But that is it… it happened.  I can’t change it.  A temporary blip in my otherwise satisfying life.  But I am not going to allow it to prevent me from living a life full of work, joy and helping others.

But if it were in my power, there is an event I think I would like to change.

adam and eve

There is a decision that I guess was the worst in all human history.  The consequences have meant pain and sorrow.  Countless injustices and crimes. Disease, abuse, war and many other horrific crimes.   Humans living out of harmony with what we were designed for.  Sure I would love to go back in time and stop them.  However, it was their decision to make.

Talk about a disappointment!  However, I have no doubt that it is a temporary blip.  I am convinced that this beautiful human family and this beautiful planet can be restored and healed.  All of the damage undone.  They made their decision, but it will not prevent this earth from being filled with happy and healthy humans.  Hey if I am determined to achieve my goals despite the obstacle I face…HOW MUCH MORE SO THE ONE WHO HARNESSED VAST AMOUNTS OF NUCLEAR ENERGY INTO STARS???  Hello!!!  I have no doubt, we will look back at this shameful period in history and think “did that really happen?”

It happened… we can’t change that it happened.  But one day it will fade into a distant memory.  All the pain will be forgotten.

My questions to my nominees are:

  • I was thinking of inviting you over for a cheese and wine night (soft drinks available for those who do not indulge)…Do you have a favourite type of cheese?
  • Did you wear a school uniform?  What was it like?
  • What’s your most embarrassing typo on your own blog posts?
  • Do you like weddings?  Why? (Or Why Not?)
  • Describe your perfect shoe / footwear?
  • Do you like “abstract” art?  Could you please explain it to me?
  • If you owned a shop, what would you be selling?
  • Do you have a favourite ice-cream?
  • Do you have any former school friends who are famous?
  • If you were going to dance at a special occasion, what would be the song that would make you want to get up and start dancing?
  • If you were being a tourist for a day in London – where would you like to visit?

My nominees are:



Josephine M

Lica Ramos


Well…I hope you enjoy the award and the questions I have asked you.  As a little inspitation for the sunshine blogger award, these are two great sunshine songs to light up your day.