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June, 2013
July, 2013
August, 2013
October, 2013
An offer I can refuse
7/27/2013 12:36:44 PM

It is still July. It's another glorious sunny day: 29 deg C on the patio. And guess what - I do not want to take up your offer of discounts on autumn clothing. Actually, I am rather hacked off that swimwear is now consigned to the sales section of your website and there's hardly any stock left. I suppose I was remiss in not thinking beach in March. Infact, I was probably ranting about being sent catalogues of skimpy clothing during subzero temperatures.

So, thank you but no thank you: I will have to take my custom elsewhere to buy a new bikini for my summer holiday.

Success at solitaire
7/26/2013 3:04:42 PM

We have a beautiful solitaire set - a turned wooden base populated with multicoloured, handblown glass marbles of different designs that sparkle as they catch the sunlight. Although less so when I haven't dusted for a couple of weeks. So this morning, in a flurry of Friday housework whilst polishing these, I paused to play a game (as I always do - I need rewards and incentives to do the chores).

And, for the first time ever, I completed it - just a single marble left in the middle of the solitaire board where it should be. I was astonished; I can generally get down to two remaining - usually sitting on opposite sides of the board. I have no idea what I did differently. I've played this off and on for over 50 years without success so it may never happen again.

However, I am going out to buy a ticket for the Euromillions tonight!

The first wasp of summer
7/22/2013 5:01:35 PM

Today I had my first irritating encounter this summer with a wasp. It attempted to share my prosciutto and melon with me while I kept trying to swat it away. Ignore them and they'll go away, I was told as a child. I did, it didn't and then stung me. Since then, I am a whirling windmill of arms but they persist in buzzing back and often I retreat indoors, defeated.

My Mum kept a jamjar by the back doorstep, containing the final dregs of strawberry jam mixed with water. It had a hole in the lid just big enough for a wasp to crawl in and then to become trapped in the stickiness. We would shake it up and watch in fascinated horror as the wasps got angry but could not escape. Such are the things that shape us!

The first swallows of summer
7/12/2013 3:16:57 PM

What a difference a week makes: the cold windy weather has been banished and through the window we can see only azure blue skies. And swooping swallows that call to one another as they rise and fall in delightful parabolic curves over the rooftops chasing insects.

Summer has finally arrived. 

Not sure about strategy
7/12/2013 3:08:12 PM

Out for supper with some friends who all work in HR and Talent Management. Talk turns to the latest buzz words in strategic operations (actually more interesting than you'd think).

"Onshore and offshore I'd come across before. And then someone started talking about 'nearshore'?! Apparently this is when they don't know whether something's onshore or offshore."

"Ah", said a wise voice from the other end of the table, "What they really mean is that they're not sure!"

End of sensible conversation.

Christmas is coming - hohoho!
7/9/2013 6:56:28 PM

Well, it's July, the sun is beating down and, obviously, uppermost in my mind is what will be the most popular Christmas gifts this year. Come on, Amazon, get a grip - 168 online shopping days to go! We're all going a summer holiday so bah humbug to you.

Connecting the world
7/8/2013 12:29:47 PM

There's been a lot about mobile phone etiquette in the press over the last week. I've always believed in 'phones off' at social gatherings and have been saddened to see whole families at a restaurant table, all talking or texting someone on their mobiles but defintely not in conversation with one another.

But there is an exception to this 'switch-it-off' rule in our house and that's for major sporting events. On Saturday, our supporting team of three watching the Lions famous victory over the Wallabies was boosted by texts:
- sister and husband in Bristol
- daughter and boyfriend in Bournemouth
- brother winding up mate in Australia
- exchanges with friend in a bar in Georgioupolis, Crete
- nephew checking in from Boston, US.

There is something quite magical about connecting and sharing the experience, all living through the same intense emotions and willing our team on to win.

Meditation at Cow Pond
7/1/2013 11:46:12 AM

Cow Pond probably doesn’t sound at all romantic but this man-made lake, in a secluded corner of Windsor Great Park, is an oasis of tranquillity. It’s the half-way point (or there abouts) in my morning run and, if I’m really lucky, I get it all to myself. For years, the undergrowth made it impossible to circumnavigate but hurrah for the Queen’s Jubilee: not only has it been completely cleared, there’s an ornamental bridge at one end and a summerhouse at the other. So it’s here that I grab a five-minute breather at the end of a complete circuit and let my mind drift. The water lilies are just starting to bud, the ducks pootle about on the water while a large grey heron majestically surveys all from high in the trees. In the distance I might see a plane in the distance heading into Heathrow but all I can hear is bird song – and I am overwhelmed with a feeling of peace and well-being.

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