Sunday, 21 February 2010

Ramblings in Christmas Common

A whole week has gone by and I haven't got round to updating my blog. Not that it really matters. I mean it's not as if anyone has missed it. I'll bet you didn't even notice. Like me you were probably so caught up in the busyness of life you weren't even aware that there were no postings from last week. But I have missed it ... just a little mind ... sometimes it's good to have a few creative ramblings. Sometimes it's good to take stock of what is going on. Sometimes it's good to sit and think. Often it's good quite simply to sit!

During the week I decided to take some time out and catch up with a friend I haven't seen for ages. We've both been caught up in the 'busyness of life' lately. We arranged to meet in a beautiful place called Christmas Common in Oxfordshire. We donned the walking boots and walked and talked, admired the countryside and watched the red kites swoop and soar in the blue skies above. Initially I had felt a little guilt with it being a Friday and a working day however the moment of guilt soon passed. It felt good to be out in the fresh air and bright sunshine.

As you can imagine all this activity requires sustenance. There's a lovely little pub to stop by and treat oneself to lunch should you meander along this way in the future.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Happy Valentine's Day
Today is St Valentines Day but I guess you knew that already. What does it mean for you? Hearts, flowers, romantic gestures and cards? Something else? Or are you one of the cynics who say 'bah humbug' just an excuse for the stores and shops to commercialise the day to death and overkill romance? Maybe the day reminds you to do something a little romantic because life can become so busy to-ing and fro-ing and we may forget to factor in a little romance? Is it all about love of the romantic kind? Is it simply about declaring undying love for a partner or a spouse? I think its a lovely opportunity to say 'I love you' to parents, grand parents, children and good friends too!

And what of St Valentine, the patron saint of this special day? There is much mystery surrounding St Valentine. I have enjoyed reading something of the history and I hope you do too.

As for me, well I confess to being a hopeless romantic. I do enjoy the celebration of the day and the participation of it too.

Happy Valentines Day!

Monday, 8 February 2010

Praise for Prague

We've been away for a few days visiting the beautiful city of Prague. This was my first visit and despite it being really cold with plenty of snow still on the ground I did enjoy wandering around this lovely old city. The copious layers of clothing, woolly hats and scarves from the overpacked suitcase were most welcome for the morning and afternoon meanderings. Chillier evenings when temperatures dropped were spent in the warmer places checking out the local wines and beers and admiring the internal decor and architecture!

It was like stepping back in time to another century, another world of frescoed buildings and domed and spired dwellings although I have to add that frequent evidence of mobile phones and laptops reminded me that I was very much in 2010! But there was something magical and romantic about the beautiful old buildings in styles of Baroque, Rococo and Art Nouveau and impressive hugh sculptures that had taken years to build and create. Such artistry that stood the test of time and political events exceptionally well was a delight to witness.

There are so many places to visit on a short trip but we managed quite a few. The Man at frasersfotos has captured quite a lot of photographs which bears that out. I think a return visit will be required in the spring when temperatures are warmer and woolly hats are optional!

Monday, 1 February 2010

We all smile in the same language

"All people smile in the same language". Unknown

In a previous post I commented upon the difference a smile can make when it comes to providing good customer service. It set me thinking about how we use language and communicate to each other, how we connect without even saying a word, perhaps by the way we nod, smile and gesture to each other. Recently I had an interesting encounter with an Italian gentlemen with very limited English who 'asked' me for a lift to the bank on a cold and wet January day. As an Irish lady, Italian was never one of my languages of learning, English yes, a little French but no Italian apart from 'ciao'. However after many gestures, dramatic use of body language, broken English, a little French and lots of laughter we understood each other. I chuckle even now thinking about how this conversation might have looked to anyone watching this encounter as an 'observer of life'.

Some years ago I met Nic Askew, a man with a camera and story who created Soul Biographies. In his work he captures beautifully the essence of human nature in different languages. Check out his piece on the language of smile.