Tag Archives: positive

Why Did The Snail Cross The Road?

I have been asked so many times what my goals are for the new year. They are exactly the same as they were last year, and the year before! I wrote about it one day after I almost squished a snail who was making his way across the pavement in the direction of the road.

This little fella had a very close shave with Caramel today.  It would not have been Crushed Caramel.  It was almost crushed Mr Snail.  Oh so close!  He really was a little fella.  I was very relieved that I noticed a little white blob and then crouched down to realize he was making his way at a reasonable pace across the pavement.  I thought his shell was really pretty.  So much so, that as you see, I was moved to take a little photo to share him with you today.


I was rather concerned though about his general direction.  The little guy was heading away from a very lush green flowery suburban garden and he was set head on towards the road.  Why would the snail want to cross the road?  Should I intervene?  I don’t think he would stand much chance against the Chelsea tractors that rumble along this road.  Should I have picked the little one up and relocated him to another nice patch of greenery?  I had a bit of a moral dilemma…and I am still very doubtful that I did the right thing.  Maybe I was interfering.  Perhaps there was a very important legitimate reason why he would risk his shell to make it to the other side of the road.  I could have set him back from reaching his ultimate goal.

Of course…that made me think about a situation I faced recently.

Next month…it will be three (now it is three and a half) years since I was the victim of a crime, that has knocked my life completely off course. Now I don’t want to talk about that here. But recently a friend told me she had seen some of the men who helped me out after they found out what had happened to me. They used to co-ordinate the projects I was involved in and they often piled a great deal of work onto my plate and asked me to do long long hours.  After they found out I was in hospital after being found by a security guard, they discretely made it possible for me to be absent from the work I was responsible for.  They travelled across the country to visit me while I was staying with my family and I was able to talk a little about what I had been through the night I was attacked.

At the time I appreciated their reassurance that nobody was expecting me to rush my recovery. They made it very clear at the time I can take as long as I need to get back on my feet. You cannot rush someone to overcome a horrific ordeal. They assured me that time was not the issue. They wanted me to do whatever I needed to recover in every way.

My friend had seen these men and she told me that they were asking after me.  It has been a while since I was in touch with them.  What did she tell them?  She told them that I was doing really well, that I seemed happier than she had known in years.  She told them that she thought having a change of scene and a change of pace was really good for me and that I seemed to be thriving.

I know she meant well…

But I ached inside when I thought of what those men must have thought.  They are looking after everything for me.  They are keeping my belongings safe.  All the furniture that I own is there at my accommodation waiting for me to return.  90% of my clothes and shoes are there.  All my family photos and everything precious and sentimental to me is there…waiting for me.  I miss my home…that is my true home.  I miss my career.  I miss my world of friends and the sphere of activity I was very busy within.  I miss it intensely.  I ache to be back there.

I am here, not by choice, but because I needed to recover from what happened to me and build my strength and stamina back up before I can go back to that extremely demanding lifestyle – demanding, but immensely rewarding and satisfying.  It is the most purposeful existence I have ever enjoyed.  Yes, I was sometimes naturally tired after the long hours I put in helping people.  But it gave me a level of joy no other job has given me.

I know my friend loves me and wants what is best for me.  I know she meant well in what she said…but I am now nervous that they might think I prefer being away from that demanding career and the inconveniences of the area I lived in.

I guess I am a bit like that snail.  I am trying to make my way steadily and at a pace that is maintainable to reach my ultimate goal: HOME!  I am worried her words, to those men who care about my welfare so much, might make them think they should not expect me back.  I am so anxious I am going to have to write a letter or an e-mail to let them know I am doing well, but the life I have here is nothing compared to the one I had before.

Some of my friends here find it hard to understand this.  I can see they want me to let go of the past.  They want me to “close a chapter and start a new one”…I have heard that so many times I have a strong dislike for those words.

This is how I have tried to explain things to them:  Imagine a married woman who is the mother of small children.  She loves her family.  She works hard and is tired, but she is content with her purposeful role.  One day an event occurs which separates her from her family.  Imagine she wakes up and is told that it is much too dangerous for her to go back to them right now.  In the meantime, she is provided with a safe and pleasant home and she has interesting work that keeps her busy but is not exhausting.  She is safe, she has everything she needs and much more.  Could that woman really forget where she belongs?  Could she ever forget her true purpose?  Could she forget her family that she loves?

I have to get back to my home, my life, my world…I will march on.  It may take a lot longer than I would have liked. I will be like that snail heading with determination towards the road…heading on a long perhaps arduous journey at a frustratingly slow pace…But I am determined I will make it back to where I belong. One day I hope to make it home, no matter how long it takes. One thing is for sure, there is no way I am going to give up my goal and head in another direction for something that is vanity to me.

Who would have though a little snail could provide so much inspiration?


Well…I have been managing to publish at least one post a day for a long time. But this year, a lot of those posts were ones I already had in my drafts folder. I am not finding time to do more new writing. So…you will see a few posts that I wrote and published in 2018 that I am re-publishing (including the infamous STORM IN A TEACUP SERIES!)

I do have a blessed life here.  Despite being the other side of a trial that has turned my life upside down…I find myself here in this beautiful part of London, in a beautiful little abode, with interesting and satisfying work, and lots of lovely people in my life, not the least of whom is my beloved Goldfinch.  I rise early and have a leisurely breakfast and my coffee.  Then I shower and dress and then I climb three steps and I start work.  Three steps!!!  What a terrible commute to work – and they are all uphill!!!

Adult, Breakfast, Bedroom, Blanket, Bed

This part of London is completely new to me. I have been exploring whenever I have free time. Spring and summer are giving me more daylight hours to go venturing out to discover. Last week I found a pretty park.  I went there tonight with the book I wanted to finish and my fleecy picnic rug.  It is about a 40-45 minute walk from the house.  It is not the best park in London. But with beautiful trees and grass you can’t really go wrong. Lots of families, joggers, cyclists, people chatting on benches, drinking coffee or eating ice-cream at one of the little cafes.

I arrived at about 5.30pm this evening.  I had to finish the book I borrowed from the  local library…I read it in that beautiful park, the sun warming my back and the gentle breeze caressing my hair. I let tears roll down my cheeks as I read slowly every emotion packed sentence.  What a story.

Then once I had finished it, I sat up and did a little “people-watching”. When I was bored I lay down on my back and looked up at the blue sky, the branches heavy with verdant green towering over me.

Park sky

It’s nice to be snugly warm and yet to be able to detect that lovely faint breeze. I realized the sun was sinking and was now behind a very impressive cedar tree. I felt tears in my eyes again. There was a huge cedar tree outside the building I went into every morning at 6.45am for breakfast….and there was a huge cedar in the private park in front of the apartment I lived in with two flatmates for my first two years there. Before I moved into the flat where the trouble started. The trouble that led to a life-changing event.

My sister was in Lebanon for three months at the start of last year.  She told me all about the cedars there and showed me lots of pictures. Then two of my best friends went over there for two months and came back just as enthusiastic as my sister about the scenery and the food.

I want to go to Lebanon.

There are a hundred places I would like to visit…ideally to have several weeks in each location, maybe longer. There are a thousand things I would like to do.

But this word BALANCE and another word PATIENCE and what else?  Oh yes, SELF-CONTROL. There is no way all these places would exist if I wasn’t going to have the opportunity to see them all and enjoy them all at some point! I am sure. It would be too cruel. This earth is there to explore and discover. I am sure one day…we will set out on a voyage together and spend one or two thousand years  I would like to be with Goldfinch, discovering new places, new foods, new scenery, new cultures and music and experiences. I would like to do a lot of exploring with him and then at the end of each day find somewhere we could sit back and I could hold his hand and rest my head on his shoulder and we can talk about everything we saw that day.

River, Embankment, Tree, Water, Lake

I have a lovely balanced life here…which is what I have needed, starting over again. I have needed to do this gently. Right now, I have the ideal situation for building up my stamina (especially with work spread over five storeys of the building – I am getting plenty of chance to run up and down stairs), pushing my body a little bit more each day, always with the knowledge I will be able to rest up after work…getting back into routine.  Growing stronger every day.  I am enjoying my work very much…and I am loving my rest/relaxation time very much. I can see I will be spending more late afternoons in the pretty park I found.

There was a point when I could not have imagined I would be able to come to a park on my own and feel so peaceful, so full of blissful content and feel safe.  So many memories would be triggered of that night.  That summer evening when I went to a park on my own and sat on a bench and allowed hot spicy tears roll down my cheeks.  So many memories of the security guard who found me the following morning and called an ambulance.   So many memories of everything that happened that night.

But look at how far I have come.  I can go to the park on my own and feel happiness down to my toes.  I can hold my head up knowing I have not just survived, I have thrived…with the support of my family and friends.  I even have a Goldfinch who makes me feel as if I could fly.

Despite the cruel events which shattered my world…I am in one piece…I am in a safe place and I have  a balanced healthy and happy life. I enjoy my work, I enjoy my rest/relaxation time.  I enjoy Parklife.


These Are A Few Of My Favourite Feelings

sfdkgvgggLately I am glad of everybody and everything that is uplifting and encouraging. Working for the NHS is tiring and I am missing my family and friends (including Jack), my normal life of projects all over London and working with lots of volunteers from various ages and backgrounds, and sad not to be going to Australia to see my Goldfinch.

I need cheering up!!! WordPress bloggers are helping lift my spirits by sharing their favourite things! I was also nominated to take part in the TEN OF MY FAVOURITE FEELINGS challenge by Sadje, the creator of Keep it alive, as you can see from her post below:


This lovely challenge was created by the fabulous X A N D R I A as you can see from her original post below:


Mountains, Canada, Girl, Outlook, Snow


1. Hearing the voices of my family on the phone. Especially the voice of my little niece singing to me. Even better is being with my family. But because of the social distancing restrictions I have not been able to them for months.

2. The excitement that builds when my train/plane is just about to arrive and I know that Goldfinch is waiting for me. Falling asleep with his arms wrapped around me.

Nature, Flower, Landscape, Plant, Tree3. Walking in the woods when they are empty of people, and listening to birdsong, seeing squirrels scamper, feeling golden sunshine on my skin and discovering purple carpets of bluebells. Sensing how much life is throbbing all around me. Realizing I cannot hear any cars nor can I see any grey concrete. Imagining the day when the whole earth will be a paradise.

4. Slipping in between fresh sheets in my bed and breathing in the sandalwood fabric spray. My “thank you for this day and please help me to make your heart glad” prayer before I drift away into sweet sleep.

5. Sitting in the Royal Albert Hall as the audience suddenly goes silent and the orchestra begin to play. Especially when it is a John Williams tribute concern or a Music From the Movies event!

6. Signs that winter is over and spring and summer are on the way – snowdrops and ducklings, lambs and cherry-tree blossoms make way for everything I love!!

7. Snuggling up on the sofa with Jack and listening to him tell me how his day was. Gladness that he is back in my life and we are at peace. Thrill at the thought when the whole human family is at peace and pain and resentment are all forgotten.

reuifghwl8. Diving into cool water on a hot day. My favourite water experience was when we went scuba diving in Turkey. Tiny little fish swimming in and out of our fingers – it was amazing!

9. Lacing up my hiking boots to go walking with friends and then after a steep ascent, arriving at the top of a hill or mountain and taking in a breathtaking view! (Can I also mention one of the most amazing moments of my life when we were sledging in the North of Sweden and the sun started to rise turning the snow in to a dazzling rainbow of colours!)

the team.jpg10. Being at a large event with thousands of other volunteers I have met and worked with over the past twenty two years. The hugs, the laughter, the singing. Realizing we don’t need a police presence at our events despite tens of thousands of people of all ages and cultures being present. Seeing the joy volunteers display as they clean and repair the area and leave it better than before we arrived. Dreaming of the day the whole earth will be clean and full of joyful people who work together to keep our home planet beautiful.


We were asked to provide ten of our favourite feelings…but I am going to give you a bonus feeling! I sing to myself on the way to and from work…and I often choose to sing songs from “The Sound Of Music”. I also love love love the anticipation as the opening few minutes of footage take you on a tour of Salzburg before Julie Andrews begins to sing “The hills are alive…with the sound of music”!!! It is so gorgeous!!!

Hopping Popping Positivity

Coming home from town and slinking through the huge gates that hide my sweet little abode. Making myself a huge cup of tea and turning on my lap-top to check WordPress while I was drinking it. Finding a little message from Melanie, the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind, who said she has nominated/tagged me for a challenge that looked great fun:


As far as I understand, this challenge originates with Beckie, the creator of Beckie’s Mental Mess. I believe Beckie’s POP challenge, is to challenge to us all to bounce a bit of positivity around! We will be asked to share something positive and joyful on a selected theme. Read Beckie’s original post to find out more about how the POP Challenge will work:



  1. Each Thursday, I’ll pick a Theme (Naturally something positive).
  2. I will, therefore, Tag Two Bloggers to continue the themed positive message along.
  3. You, the recipient of the tag can select anyway fit on how you want to share this positivity.  (Example: Quote, Affirmation, Music Video, Memes, Pictures, etc… As long it sticks to the Theme).
  4. Please create a ping-back to the original post (Beckie’s), as well as notifying your tagged bloggers that you have selected them.


    Well…anything positive has to be a good thing, so I am keen to think of a little something to offer up. I am not sure quite where to begin…so you are probably going to end up with a Caramel flavoured PICK-AND-MIX:

    • I am pleasingly happy because I have been working with some really cool people recently – and I love it! Nothing like workmates who you think are awesome.
    • happy tvI am cheerfully happy because, The Great British Bake-Off and Masterchef (apparently it’s Celebrity Masterchef, but I am rather foggy about who any of them are) are on television, which is great because normally there is nothing worth watching on the enormous monstrosity of a television which is in this little nest.
    • I am super-dupa happy because the man who has been behind my worries for the last few years has waltzed back into my life in fantastic style – and he is just as mesmerizing as he ever was!
    • waiting on a benchI am giddy happy that I am about to finish the last parts of the first long fictional project I have ever attempted. I am delighted with the way Annabelle Riley’s story has turned out. I have loved working on her story!
    • I am deeply happy because I have a wonderful family, fantastic friends and great colleagues. And I cannot wait to share with them that my ex-flatmate is being awesome at the moment!
    • I have been ecstatically happy all week because we have been enjoying gorgeous September sun and…this morning I heard September song which has been running round my head all day. I don’t know if it is a happy song or not, but I loved it!

    …so I thought I would share with you:

    And …I am going to tag two incredibly positive bloggers  to take up the POP challenge:


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