Thrilled to announce that my second book, in collaboration with the amazing Spencer Wilson will be out on the 12th of March. ‘Homeworking: The Ultimate Guide’ is the perfect read for anyone who works from home, or is planning to take the plunge – leaving the traditional world of work behind. “Ask the man onContinue reading “Homeworking: The Ultimate Guide”
Why is dancing in public the only part of life where people just aren’t allowed to say no? I’m going to let you into a little secret, a lot of people (of whom I may be one) don’t like parties, weddings and the like. They see them as necessary evils, somewhere they need to show their face and endure the goings on for as long as is seemly, before slipping away quietly. There is nothing, NOTHING wrong with this approach to life. It is totally valid.
Imagine the scene: the sun is shining and the birds are singing. You’re on your bike, riding at that perfect pace: not too slow so you’re burning carbs, not too fast so you take in the vista around you. Your freshly-shaved legs are looking good in perfectly fitting shorts and your tan lines are maturing nicely – in fact, it would be easy to be mistake you for a pro. You chat with fellow riders who are great company, while other road users happily, safely and respectfully keep their distance. The only thing on your mind is what type of coffee to order when you arrive at the friendly little café that lies just beyond the crest of the next rewardingly challenging incline.
I find Steph Bridge holding court. She’s in her element talking to customers and friends, it’s easy to see how the former quickly join the ranks of the latter. As she talks, Steph constantly does three things at once -answering phones, monitoring emails and organising appointments. Within minutes I can see that Steph, who spends half her time propelled by a kite, is the closest thing to a real life superhero I’ve met.
Nobody, and I really mean NOBODY is interested in other people’s holiday snaps. They are the photographic equivalent of watching Songs Of Praise at your nan’s house or uncomfortable chats with taxi drivers – something to be endured and got over with, as quickly as is humanly possible.
There are times in life where everything just works. It’s as simple as that. An invention that seems so obvious you can’t imagine life without it, or an occasion that just runs like clockwork. The Stable is a restaurant I’d happily add to the list of places that have this ‘X Factor’ – by which I don’t mean they’ve got an emotional backstory. Rather, it’s effortlessly relaxed and welcoming. The type of place where you make the mental note: ‘I must come here often’.
For hour after hour, I’d play on ‘The Triangles’, where tufts of grass became forests in which The A-Team could take cover and broken kerb stones transformed into a ramps that allowed my Knight Rider car to heroically leap any number of death-defying obstacles. I lost teeth, scuffed knees, argued, won (and lost) friends, not to mention Panini trading cards, on ‘The Triangles’ – all (crucially) without the direct supervision of my parents…
Now, I’m sure there’s a fair number of you queuing up to label me an overly sensitive snowflake. Fair enough, but I’m serious here. We, as a society, seem to have lost something. We’ve allowed ‘niceness’ to become a negative trait; something to be purged from our systems in case it shows up as weakness. “Show me a nice person and I’ll show you a pushover” is beginning to feel like the pervasive motto. I realised, standing outside that department store, waiting for in vain for my turn to enter, that I really miss niceness.
Can we have it back please?
“Wait until your father gets home!”
That’s what they used to say, wasn’t it? Except in my house it was always wait until ‘your dad’ gets home – ‘father’ was a word more associated, to my young mind, with priests and Star Wars baddies.
“After a brief journey of well-rehearsed small talk, we came to a halt. Stepping from the coach onto an ocean of gleaming gravel, I surveyed what was to be our overnight dwelling: The Beach House. Such a pleasing, quintessentially English façade: the type of place where Miss Marple would have lived, if she’d won the lottery.
It had been a short journey, but it seemed we’d traveled back in time to an age of opulence. It pleased me greatly. The paintwork on the quirky windows and doors was as fresh as the sea air. A well-oiled, front door swung open and our gregarious host swept onto the driveway.
“You’re here, you’re here. So glad you could make it.”
As I took in The Beach House, beautifully finished in the Arts and Crafts style, I had to conclude that so was I.”