Sunday, 30 April 2017

Mental Fences.

The very heights of love.

The other day there I walked along the path that leads passed the chicken run at Falkland. I love watching chickens roam around scratching for titbits and treats they find. 
As I watched them I remembered a film I once watched where the chickens were trying to break out of the chicken run. One of the chickens named ginger told the others that there was more than the fence stopping them, there were also the fences in their minds telling them escape was not possible.
It's been a good reminder for me on those occasions when I've been dealing with my own mental fences...those created by self-doubt, uncertainty, fear. 
Can you relate? Where have you fenced yourself in mentally in recent days or weeks? 
Perhaps your mental fence is procrastination, a deadening habit that keeps you stuck. 
Maybe yours, like mine, is related to self-doubt, and the on-going internal noise it produces that keeps you immobilised. Perhaps yours is the belief that you don't deserve success, so you sabotage yourself to avoid having to find out how successful you could be. There are a million variations of the theme, but the result is still the same: we stay stuck like the chickens in the movie.
Those limitations are never external. They always live inside us. The antidote to being trapped by our mental fences is to create a compelling enough vision that, like Ginger and her flock of chicken friends, we're willing to resort to amazing measures to break out. The formula:
 I challenged myself and others  to take some bold, even outrageous steps to break free of your mental fences. If it's procrastination, declare a "freedom day" and take action on everything you've been putting off: from cleaning your office to making phone calls or responding to emails you've avoided.
If it's self-doubt, sit down and write out everything you value and why it's important. Then challenge yourself to eliminate anything that doesn't absolutely reflect your values, or add something that is a profound statement of who you are.
Recognise that your mental fences can only keep you stuck as long as you're looking at them. 
They can only contain you as long as you're not taking actions consistent with your vision. 
Go ahead, take the action you've avoided and leap into a future filled with possibilities. And remember, the fences are all in your mind!
Have a marvellous day.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

The Old Guy.

I have been captivated by the faces of older people. Only because I tried to do a self portrait while looking at my own old face on my computer screen. I really did not realise just how old I was beginning to look. Needless to say I gave up and turned my attention to this old man.
Old age is something we all have to face up to, it happens, not a thing we can do about it. But we can learn from the years we have had and make those we still have that bit better. 
Now what might I change?
I would not say everything that I think, but I would definitely think everything that I say.
I would value things not for how much they are worth but rather for what they mean.
I would sleep little, dream more. I know that for each minute that we close our eyes we lose sixty seconds of light.
I would walk when the others loiter; I would awaken when the others sleep.
I would listen when the others speak, and how I would enjoy a good  ice cream, ( I do that anyway.)
 With my tears I would water the roses, to feel the pain of their thorns and the incarnated kiss of their petals.
 I wouldn't let a single day go by without saying to people I love, that I love them.
I would prove to the men how mistaken they are in thinking that they no longer fall in love when they grow old -- not knowing that they grow old when they stop falling in love.  
To a child I would give wings, but I would let him learn how to fly by themselves. To the old I would teach that death comes not with old age but with forgetting. 
 I have learned that everybody wants to live at the top of the mountain without realising that true happiness lies in the way we climb the slope.
I have learned that when a newborn first squeezes his father's finger in his tiny fist, he has caught him forever.
I have learned that a man only has the right to look down on another man when it is to help him to stand up. 
I have learned so many things , but in the end most of it will be no use if I do not make it useful.

Have a marvellous day. Football and golf for me today. 

Friday, 28 April 2017

A biscuit to dunk.

A Mere Moment.

My mother always made sure that we were well fed. We might not have had all the new toys or clothes but we always ate well. Apart from the baking, it was always tasty home cooking. What do I mean about the baking? Well my mother was hopeless at baking. Her rock cakes were indeed rock cakes, and her scones , well they seemed just like the rock cakes. 
I remember one night in particular. We had our usual Friday night meal, one I always looked forward to. Then she produced a plate of home baking, burnt biscuits. I remember my father taking one and putting a large dollop of margarine, no butter in those days, on it and some homemade jam. He ate every bit of it and said it was good. 
My mother said she was sorry they were burned and he told her he loved them.
Later I asked him if he really did like the burned biscuits. He told me that my mother had had a long day and had tried hard to make that treat. "Nothing wrong with a burned biscuit now and again."
It is so true, life is full of imperfect things and more importantly imperfect people  I learned early in life that I am far from the perfect being. I have a terrible memory and I forget all sorts of things I should make a point of remembering. But one thing I have never forgotten is the message of my father that there is good in accepting others faults and celebrating others successes . This is the road that leads to friendship.
What is a burned biscuits between friends? What does it matter that people are not perfect if they are there when you need a help?
Do not put the key to happiness back in your pocket just because someone else does not measure up. 
So pass me that biscuit, does not matter that it is burned I am going to dunk it in my coffee anyway. 

Have a marvellous day. 


Thursday, 27 April 2017

Not Golf Again?

It is a crazy world.

it seems that everybody seems to know a golf addict of one sort or another. Yesterday I joined the addicts and the crazy world of golf. Somebody even told me they loved playing crazy golf and I had to stop and think for a moment. 

Two members of the local golf club were out playing a very serious competitive round of golf. The score cards were showing a very tight game.

The game was progressing and they were nearing the last hold. As they walked down the seventeenth a funeral cortège passed along the road. One of the golfers stopped and placed his club back in his bag. He stood at the side of his golf trolley and took of his cap. He bowed his head until the  cortège had passed.

The member he was playing said to him, "That was a wonderful mark of respect Jimmy." 

Jimmy looked at him and replied, "She was a great wife to me for over forty years, what else would you expect."

In my younger years while I was a minister I used to play golf every Monday morning with a number of fellow ministers and a priest.  Of course this led to a lot of off the cuff remarks in an attempt to put off fellow players.

My friend, and he still is my friend, waited his time until I was ahead of him in terms of the game.  When there was still time for hime to recoup he would make some comment about my Sermon from the day before. He might say he had been talking to a member of mine who had told him it was not one of my better sermons, it worked every time. My round from then on went downhill all the way. 

A young man and a priest are playing golf together. At a short par 3 the priest asks, "What are you going to use on this hole, my son?" 

The young man says, "An iron, father. How about you?"

The priest says, "I'm going to hit a soft seven and pray."

The young man hits his iron and puts the ball on the green. The priest tops his iron and dribbles the ball out a few yards.

The young man says, " Don't know about you, father, but in my church when we pray we keep our heads down."

It is indeed a funny game, and it seems that the number of golf widows never seems to diminish. Good on you Lesley that you have got yourself some clubs and intend to join in rather than complain.

Life is after all about taking positive action.

Have a marvellous day.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017


I am sure you are well aware of the comment that golf is nothing but a good walk spoiled. As a walker there are times when I would agree with this sentiment. When you go out and hit the ball well and manage to putt also you feel that it is far from a wasted walk.

There is a real sense of achievement from a good, well played round of golf. 

The banter after the golf is always well worth the time.

I was sitting talking to a good friend yesterday after a round of golf. He had been playing with a lad named Jim. He told me that he would not be playing with Jim ever again. 

I asked him what had brought this about. 

"He cheats," was his quick response. "How can you say that?" I asked him. He told me that Jim had said that he found his lost ball about three yards from the green. 

I told him that was possible to be the case. He looked at me and said, " Not when his ball was in my pocket."

Alex comes home after his regular Saturday golf game and his wife, Amanda asks why he doesn't include John Gumby in the games anymore. 

Alex asks, "Would you want to play with a guy who regularly cheats, swears outrageously over everything, lies about his score, and has nothing good to say about anyone else on the course?"

"Of course I wouldn't," states Amanda. 

"Well," mutters Alex, "neither does John Gumby."

There are of course those who get so obsessed by playing golf that they have nothing much else in their lives. 

There was the lad who was playing down the hill on the last hole at Killin golf course. This hole runs parallel to the main road.  he hit his ball from the tee and it flew across the fence and onto the road.

It bounced twice and smashed through the window of an oncoming car. The driver lost control of the car with the shock and swerved across the road hitting an oncoming car. Both cars rolled over causing a tremendous mess of both cars.

The golfer finished his round and returned to the clubhouse where he told the tale to his friends.

"What should I do?"  he asked them.

One of them promptly told him to correct his handgrip and follow through with his shot. 

There are indeed more important things in life that the things we can so easily become obsessed with. 

Have a marvellous day.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Sock and shoes.

I  arrived home from the Golf course yesterday, late afternoon. It had been a very windy afternoon back here at home. I had been aware of wind on the golf course but being on the coast and under the lea of some hills nothing like the wind we had at home. 

My wife caught me as I was getting my clubs out of the car, "You will have to look at this she said!" Now there is a statement that will take us a long way forward. 

I could look at that all day long but would not have a clue about what to do about what I was looking at.  There are some things I am good at and some things I am just hopeless. Sorting woodwork falls well into the latter category.

I felt like the little lad looking into the shop window.

A young lad of about ten years old was standing in front of the show shop. He was barefooted peering longingly through the window at all the shoes. He was obviously feeling the cold.

A lady approached the boy and spoke to him. "My lad, why are you looking so longingly into this shop window?"  The reply came after a little thought, "I was praying to God to give me a pair of shoes like those in there."

The lady took his hand and led hime into the shop. She asked the lady who was serving for half a dozen pairs of wooden socks that would fit the young lad. She then asked if it would be possible to get some warm water and a towel. He brought those to her and she proceeded to wash the young boys feet and put on one of the pairs of socks. 

The lady then having dried his feet and put on the socks purchased a pair of stone sturdy looking shoes. The shoes were put on and laced up. He was given the other five pairs of socks in a bag. The lady patted him on the head and said, "I hope you feel much more comfortable now?"

As she turned to leave, the astonished lad caught her by the hand, and looking up in her face, with tears in his eyes, answered the question bout his comfort with these words. "Are you God's Wife?"

This is a true tale, and the young lad grew up to be a fine man who spent much of his time trying to help the poor.

I am not looking for God's Wife but maybe the father of Jesus , a carpenter might be a help. Guess this will be my task for today.

Hope you have a wonderful day. 


Monday, 24 April 2017

Important Possessions.

The above is a drawing of a wooden statue I have that sits beside my favourite chair. It was given to me by those who were members of my school trip to China. This little statue counts among what I consider my important possessions. I have no idea of its monitory value, though I do know it was purchased at an antique fair in China. 

Its price and cost are not important to me. 

I often find myself looking at this little statue, a figure that depicts the god of long life. 

It frequently sends me off on flights and dreams of thoughts.  As I sat drawing it the other day there I was thinking of a  little story with a simple, yet meaningful message. 

A wise woman was travelling along a mountain path when she looking into a mountain stream she spotted a precious stone. 

The next day she met a fellow traveller who was hungry. The woman opened her bag to share a mortal or two of food with the hungry man. The man saw the precious stone in her bag and asked her if she would give it to him. 

She did so without a single thought about the matter. He left with a heart full of joy. He realised that this precious stone could set him up for life.

A few days later he back tracked along the path he had been travelling to find again the woman who had given him the stone.

He told her he had spent the two or so days doing a great deal of thinking. "I know how precious this stone that you gave me is, but I want to return it to you in the hope that you can give me something else. Something even more precious."

The woman was puzzled but agreed to try and give him what he sought. 

"What can I give you she asked?"

" I want you to give me what it is you have within you that enabled you to, without a pause, give me this precious stone." 

What is precious in our lives is not always what we think it is. Sometimes it is more what we are than what we have that is important. 

Have a marvellous day.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Closed Doors.

Upside Down?

I think I have been serious for long enough time for me to lighten up and relax for a day at least. 

I have always been fascinated by doors and locks. I love how old locks age and the rust runs off and onto the wood of the doors. In the south of France there are so many doors that have faded in the warm summer sun. They are so full of character and warmth.

I have stopped and painted so many of those over the years. How I wish i had kept a little notepad of those drawings and sketches. I have never ever done anything with any of these paintings other than get the pleasure from painting them. 

The one above was intriguing I am sure the key for this lock has to be put in upside down yet the handle was certainly the right way up. I wondered for ages what was behind that door. 

This got me to thinking about door tales I had away in the back of my head. 

There is the tale of the two religious lads going round knocking on doors trying to get converts. They come to one particular door where the door is opened by an angry lady who tells them in no uncertain terms what they can do with religion. She is not interested. She put force to the door and bangs it shut. 

It immediately bounces back open again. She grabs it again and again with a little more force bangs it shut again. Again the same result, it bounces open again. She is convinced one of the two has his foot in the door so she is determined to make them leave. With all the strength she can muster she prepares to give his foot a bruising when he gently says to her, " Before you do that you should move your cat!"

Anger often blinds us to the truth. 

A young air hostess is on her first ever trip abroad. The captain recommends places to visit during their overnight stop. Tells her where to eat and drink and where is best to stay.

The next day they are all assembled ready to get their flight, but she is not there. He calls the hotel and asks for her room. A sad voice explains, "There are only three doors in this room. One leads to the bathroom, one to the wardrobe room and the other has a note on it saying, "Do not Disturb." What am I to do?

Have a wonderful day and beware of closed doors. 

Saturday, 22 April 2017

The Vinegar Tasters.

Today my tale is nowhere my own neither is my art. My art is a poor attempt at copying an ancient painting. My tale is one that i have read many many times and have pointed others to it. 

I have never posted it here because I have always thought it was not the right tale.

Yesterday I found a need to go and read it again and as always I was left with much to think about. So I share it as it is and apologise for those who find it either boring or meaningless. 

I will try to simplify as best I can. 

Three famous sages are standing around a large bowl holding vinegar. The three are Confucius, Buddha and Lao Tzu. The three famous teachers, of Chinese Philosophy.

The first man has a sour expression the second a bitter expression but the third person is smiling.

To Confucius, life seemed rather sour. He believed that the present was out step with the past, and that the government of man on earth was out of harmony with the Way of Heaven, the government of, the universe.     

Under Confucianism, the use of precisely measured court music, prescribed steps, actions, and phrases all added up to an extremely complex system of rituals, each used for a particular purpose at a particular time. A saying was recorded about Confucius: "If the mat was not straight, the Master would not sit." This ought to give an indication of the extent to which things were carried out under Confucianism. 

To Buddha, the second figure in the painting, life on earth was bitter, filled with attachments and desires that led to suffering. The world was seen as a setter of traps, a generator of illusions, a revolving wheel of pain for all creatures. In order to find peace, the Buddhist considered it necessary to transcend "the world of dust" and reach Nirvana, literally a state of "no wind." 

Although the essentially optimistic attitude of the Chinese altered Buddhism considerably after it was brought in from its native India, the devout Buddhist often saw the way to Nirvana interrupted all the same by the bitter wind of everyday existence. 

To Lao Tzu, the harmony that naturally existed between heaven and earth from the very beginning could be found by anyone at any time, but not by following the rules.  

According to Lao Tzu, the more man interfered with the natural balance produced and governed by the universal laws, the further away the harmony retreated into the distance. 

The more forcing, the more trouble.  

To Lao Tzu, the world was not a setter of traps but a teacher of valuable lessons. Its lessons needed to be learned, just as its laws needed to be followed; then all would go well. 

To find harmony with life is the way of peace. 
 In the painting, why is Lao Tzu smiling?  Because the vinegar is as it is meant to be it is that part of life it has been set to be. All is well.

I hope today is a day of harmony for you. I know this is not an easy tale but reading it so often helps me get my own life back in harmony .

Have a great day.  I hope that was not a wasted read?

Friday, 21 April 2017

There is always one.

I had my Thursday trip to Dunfermline yesterday. Normally I put in you AirPods and listen to some music as I read a chapter of my book for the duration of the journey. I am always aware that there are others on the bus who do not wish to be inflicted with second hand music, so I keep the volume at a reasonable level that only I can hear.

Yesterday this was very difficult. A young man who had got on the bus at the same place as me sat right opposite me. he immediately got out his phone and began phoning one friend after another. Each conversation was conducted full volume so every cuss and swear word was heard even above my music. 

I was aware that he was going to the same destination as me having heard him purchase his ticket. So I just accepted this was not to be my usual relaxed journey. 

Not far from my destination silence fell. I looked across to see he was now sound asleep and gently snoring.  As the bus reached the stop he was still sound asleep and looking very comfortable.  How tempted I was just to leave him until he awoke in Glasgow, but I did not I awoke him. 

He thanked me with yet another swear word in the sentence of thanks, but he did at least say thanks. 

A little tale.

Johnny the Lizard lived between some rocks out in the country. Like all lizards he loved to quietly sunbathe, laid out on some flat stone. He felt so relaxed doing so, that more than once he had fallen asleep, and that’s exactly what happened on the day he lost his tail: some kids caught him, and Johnny could only escape by losing his tail and running to hide.

Shocked and frightened, he listened to how the children laughed on seeing his tail continued moving about, even though it was no longer attached to his body. After a while they threw the tail away. 

When the children had gone, Johnny started looking everywhere for his tail, wanting to reattach it to its rightful place. However, the countryside was very big, and as much as he searched for it, Johnny could find no sign of his tail. He left everything else in his life, devoting himself to the search. He forgot about his home, his possessions, his friends. Days and months passed, and Johnny kept looking, asking everyone he met whether they had seen his tail.

One day, someone he asked surprisedly replied, "Why do you need two tails?" 

Johnny turned and saw that after so much time spent searching he had grown a new tail. What’s more, his new tail looked stronger and better than his old tail. Seeing this, he realised how silly it had been to dedicate so much time to a problem for which there was no solution. Johnny turned back and headed for home.

On his way home he found his old tail at the side of the way. It was dry and dusty, and looked really bad. However, Johnny, having spent so much time looking for it, was happy to find it, and he picked it up and resumed his journey. Soon he met a frog. The frog, surprised, asked Johnny:

“Why are you carrying such a horrible old tail when you already have such a lovely tail of your own?” 

”Because I spent months looking for it,” replied Johnny.
”You really spent months looking for something so ugly and dirty?” said the frog. ”Well,”Johnny explained, “previously it wasn’t as ugly as this.”
”Hmm, but now it is, wouldn’t you agree?... How strange you lizards are!” said the frog before jumping off into the distance.
The frog was right. Johnny still thought of his tail as though it was the same tail he used to have, but in reality it was now disgusting. 
Now Johnny understood, so he decided to drop his old tail there, leaving with it all his past worries. 
As he continued his journey all he took with him were thoughts of the future.
I hope the lad on the bus continued his journey content he had reached his destination safely. Sometimes we need to keep our eye on the future and not always looking to the past. 
Have a marvellous day.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Every little thing helps.

Yesterday I played golf on the beautiful Aberdour Golf Course. The course runs along the edge of the sea and every hole is blessed with beautiful views and vistas. I really had never appreciated just how beautiful it was until yesterday. I was hitting the ball true and clean, I was playing on my own so not competitive at all except for myself. So I relaxed and enjoyed it.
Then later some remark was made about art and what had been a great day lost its glow. 

Being an artist seems to bring this out in people, everybody can do it better and nobody ever wants to pay what it costs to produce never mind a very little extra. 

it is good when people let you know it is appreciated and thank those who take the time to do so. Life is indeed the place of hard knocks.

A little tale, more for myself this morning than others. 

Once upon a time there were four seeds who were good friends of each other. Taken up by the wind they finally landed in a jungle clearing. There they remained, hidden on the ground, hoping they would be able to grow up and become beautiful trees.
But when the first seed began germinating, they realised it wouldn't be such an easy task. In that clearing there lived a group of monkeys, and the smallest monkeys would amuse themselves by throwing bananas at any plant they noticed was starting to grow. Using this game, the monkeys learnt how to throw bananas and they also kept the clearing free of vegetation.
They threw so many bananas at that first seed that it was almost split in two. And when it told the other seeds what happened, they all agreed it would be better to wait for that group of monkeys to move on, before they attempted to grow.
Well, they all thought that, apart from one, who thought she should at least attempt it. And when she tried she was pelted with bananas, and was left folded over in two. The other seeds got together and asked her to stop trying, but that little seed was completely determined to become a tree, and time and again she would try and try. On each new occasion the little monkeys had slightly improved their aim, and so the little seed ended up doubled over yet again.
But the seed didn’t give up. Every time they pelted her with bananas, she tried even harder, despite her friends begging her to stop, and telling her to wait until the monkeys left. And so, for days, weeks and months the little plant was attacked by the monkeys, and she always ended stooped and doubled over. For a few days she would manage to avoid the bananas, but then the next day some monkey would hit her, and it would all start over again.
And then, one day, she didn’t double over. She was hit by a banana, and then another, but none of them managed to make her stoop. She had taken so many blows, and been doubled over so many times, that she was full of hard knots and scars that helped her to grow more strongly than the other seeds. So, her slim trunk got thicker and more resistant, until it could withstand the impact of a banana. And she was already so well developed that nor could the little monkeys uproot her from the ground. And there she stayed, growing, growing and growing.

Thanks to the extraordinary strength of her trunk she could continue overcoming all difficulties, until she became the most majestic tree in the jungle. Meanwhile her friends remained hidden in the ground, and they continued as ever, hoping that those horrible monkeys would abandon the clearing, never realising that those very same monkeys were the only ones capable of strengthening the seeds' trunks by their method of throwing bananas, something that would prepare the seeds for all the problems they would confront during their growth.

Thanks again my dear friends have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Wee Gus

On reading back through some of my latest posts it came to me that I seemed to have been doing a lot of complaining to myself about how difficult the days have been. I really never intended those posts to sound in anyway negative. I really am not a negative person. 

Every day is a new day and a learning day. A day, full of wonderful possibilities.  A day to be cherished. Unlike, Gus the grumbler. 

Gus the grumbler was never happy with anything. He had lots of friends, and parents who loved him dearly, but all Gus could think about was what he didn't have, or things he did have which he was unhappy with. 

If someone gave him a car, it would be too big or too slow. 

If he went to the zoo, he'd come back disappointed because they hadn't let him feed the lions. If he played football with his friends, he would complain, saying there were too many of them for just one ball...

What caught Gus unaware was Chuckles the prankster cloud. 

One day, Chuckles was drifting past, and heard all of Gus's complaining. Chuckles wafted over to see. When the cloud was right above Gus, he started dropping heavy black rain on him. That was Chuckles' favourite trick to play on grumpy little kids.
Gus wasn't at all impressed by this new development; it just made him complain even more. He was even angrier after he realised that the cloud was following him.

Well, this carried on for almost a week. Gus couldn't get away from the cloud, and he got more and more infuriated.
Gus had a little friend, a happy and generous girl called Gladys. 

Gladys was the only one who had been willing to hang around with Gus during all those black, rainy days. All the other children had run off to avoid getting soaked and ending up completely black.

One day, when Gus was at the end of his tether, she said to him: "Cheer up! What you should realise is that you're the only one of us who has his very own cloud, and even better, its rain is black! We could play some fun games with a cloud like this, don't you reckon?" As Gladys was his only company these days, and he didn't want her to leave as the others had, Gus reluctantly agreed.
Gladys took him to the swimming pool, and left him there until all the pool water was black. Then she went and got other kids. They came and played in the pool. The water being black meant they could play hide and seek! Grudgingly, Gus had to admit it had been a lot of fun, but what was even more fun was playing Wet the Cat.
Gus would find cats and run alongside them. When the cats felt themselves getting wet they would jump about in the craziest way, and run off at top speed, with funny looks on their faces. Before long, all the children in town had gathered around Gus, thinking up new games they could play using the cloud.
For the first time ever, Gus started to see the positive side of things; even things which, at first, had seemed so bad. Chuckles, the prankster cloud, thought that he could now leave; his work had been done. 

But, before leaving, he gave Gus two days of multicoloured rain, with which the children invented the most fun games ever.
When Chuckles finally left, Gus didn't complain. 

Now he knew to focus on the good in life, and the good thing about Chuckles' departure was that no longer was Gus soaking wet all day. Now he could go and do dry things, and that's exactly what he did.

Life is just so full of possibilities. So many of them that we could easily run out of time filling them all, so I suggest we make a start today. 

Have a wonderful day.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

The little things of life.

A Little Fun Doodle

I had a long and very tiring day yesterday taking my motorhome down to Ayr to have a new cover fitted over the refrigerator cooling vent. A small job but involved a long drive there and back and the time spent waiting about. 

So while I sat and waited I took a little break from painting faces to doodle with some dreamscapes. Dreams are after all important things to have. Or if I substitute hopes for the word dreams it may make a little more sense. 

I do not know what made me think about it but as I was doodling I was remembering back to the dreams and hopes of my youth. Those fulfilled and those still yet to be.  Or not! whatever the case will be. 

I was remembering the first day of each term in the early years of school. Do you remember when the class takes were handed out? How you hope for a meaningful one, especially if you liked the teacher. 

As with everything, some jobs were more interesting than others, and the children were eager to be given one of the best ones. When giving them out, the teacher took into account which pupils had been most responsible during the previous year, and those children were the ones who most looked forward to this day. 

Among them Rita stood out. She was a kind and quiet girl; and during the previous year she had carried out the teacher's instructions perfectly. All the children knew Rita was the favourite to be given the best job of all: to look after the class dog.

But that year there was a big surprise. Each child received one of the normal jobs, like preparing the books or the radio for the lessons, telling the time, cleaning the blackboard, or looking after one of the pets. 

But Rita's job was very different. She was given a little box containing some sand and one ant. And even though the teacher insisted that this ant was a very special ant, Rita could not help feeling disappointed.

Most of her classmates felt sorry for her. They sympathised with her, and remarked at how unfair it was that she had been given that job. Even her father became very angry with the teacher, and, as an act of protest, he encouraged Rita to pay no attention to this insignificant pet

However, Rita, who liked her teacher very much, preferred to show the teacher her error by doing something special with that job of such little interest.

"I will turn this little task into something great," Rita said to herself.

So it was that Rita started investigating all about her little ant. She learned about the different species, and studied everything about their habitats and behaviour. She modified the little box to make it perfect for the ant. Rita gave the ant the very best food, and it ended up growing quite a bit bigger than anyone had expected.

One day in spring, when they were in the classroom, the door opened, revealing a man who looked rather important. The teacher interrupted the class with great joy, and said,

"This is Doctor Martinez. He has come to tell us a wonderful piece of news, isn't that right?"

"Exactly". said the Doctor. "Today they have published the results of the competition, and this class has been chosen to accompany me, this summer, on a journey to the tropical rainforest, where we will be investigating all kinds of insects. 

Among all the schools of this region, without doubt it is this one which has best cared for the delicate little ant given to you. Congratulations! You will be wonderful assistants!" 

That day the school was filled with joy and celebration. Everyone congratulated the teacher, and they thanked Rita for having been so patient and responsible. 

And so it was that many children learnt that to be given the most important tasks you have to know how to be responsible even in what are apparently the smallest tasks. And without doubt, it was Rita who was most pleased at this, having said to herself so many times "I will turn this little job into something really great".

I know my dear friend Jim will remind me that if we look after the little things the big things will take care of themselves. 

Have a dream filled day and may your hopes come to be. 

Monday, 17 April 2017

Such is Life!

I wonder how many people go through life like myself? I take each day as it comes and nothing much ever seems to change, other than maybe I give a try for a bit at some new art form. 
I often feel that I would probably not even know the day of the week if it was not for the odd thing i do every week on certain days. 
Such is life, as they say!
Then now and again something happens and you see life in a very different way. Sadly often for me it is when I see something that has become the norm and I feel sad for the loss of what was there before.
Such is indeed life, as they say.
I think I must live my life like the blind rabbit!
Fluffy, the orphan rabbit and Cedric the orphan snake lived in the forest.  They were, by an amazing coincidence, both blind from birth. 
One morning, bright and early Fluffy was hopping through the forest when he tripped over the body of Cedric who was basking in the sunlit undergrowth. Fluffy landed quite hard on the prostrate body of Cedric. 
"Crikey," exclaimed Fluffy the rabbit, "I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to squash you. I've been blind since birth, so, I can't see where I'm going. 
In fact, since I'm also an orphan, I don't even know what creature I am.' 
"That's OK, mate," commented Cedric the snake. "Actually my story is much the same as yours. I, too, have been blind since birth and also never knew my mother. Tell you what, maybe I could slither all over you and work out what you are, so at least you'll be able to find that out."
"What a marvellous idea," replied Fluffy the rabbit. 
So the Cedric slithered all over Fluffy and said, "Well, you're covered with soft fur, you have really long ears, your nose twitches and you have a soft cottony tail. I'd say that you must be a  rabbit."
"Oh, thank you, thank you," cried Fluffy with tremendous pleasure. 
Then Fluffy the rabbit suggested to the snake, "Perhaps I could be allowed to feel you all over with my paw and help you the same way that you've helped me."
So Fluffy the rabbit felt Cedric the snake all over and summarised, "Well, you're smooth and slippery, you have a forked tongue and no backbone.  I'd say you must be either a team leader or possibly someone in senior management."
Oh to have the gift to see ourselves as others do!
Have a marvellous day.