“It’s sad”, said the woman coming out of her driveway with her two young children. “A tree is such a big thing, it is sad when it dies.” A large bough was caught in a violent swirl of wind in a recent storm, splitting the trunk of a huge tree close to the road, she’d had to call the tree surgeons to finish the job. It took them hours, they were still working away chopping the wood into tidy circles when I walked back past six hours later.… Read the rest
No apologies for a third consecutive piece on plastic. I find I’m well behind the curve on this one, and I’m cheered to find so many other people are campaigning to cut their plastic use already. One of my neighbours spoke up at our residents’ association meeting last month: ‘What are we going to do about plastic?” She wondered what we and other residents’ groups could do together to nudge our shops into using less plastic?… Read the rest
It’s interesting how long you can cheerfully ignore something that’s been nagging away at the back of your brain. And suddenly the world conspires to bring it to the front of your mind so forcefully that you can no longer dismiss it. Yes, that is what just happened to me about the way we all use plastic: as if it was in some miraculous way disposable instead of being something near indestructible that is going to plague our children’s children and our planet.… Read the rest
“C’est trop tard”, “It’s too late”, said the elderly woman behind the grocery counter on Tartane’s beachfront. She’d just handed me a chopped up pineapple in a biodegradable cornstarch bag, and I’d complimented her on not using plastic bags. French law applies in Martinique, as a Departément d’Outremer (DOM) and since January 2017 French shops can no longer hand out any plastic bags, even for fresh produce. I would have taken the pineapple away bag free, but I knew the small knife in my rented apartment could not cut a pineapple.… Read the rest
It’s a question I‘ve been asking myself in the past months: how should I live? If I live as long as my father, I’m going to be here for another 30 years, and I want to live a good life. I’ve set out some rules for myself here, in the knowledge I will break them most days. But I will also try to build on them each day.
I found myself watching the television through my fingers last week.
No, not the latest Donald Trump outrage, which can certainly have the same effect, but seeing a 52 year old man’s dreadful debut as a motivational speaker, in the BBC TV series Employable Me.
Andy, a motorsport businessman who’d had a stroke 6 years before, had a good story to tell, but it quickly became uncomfortable to watch him. He started off by showing an inappropriate (half naked) photo of himself, talked for 10 minutes about his life before his stroke and had no clear message to share with a sympathetic audience.… Read the rest
I’m keeping it simple this month by sharing a superb Storify feed put together by Jude Habib of Sound Delivery, curator of the second edition of Being the Story. It captures the highlights of a fascinating day with ten diverse speakers, some super skilful, others raw but authentic.
I especially loved Eddie, the recovering alcoholic from Liverpool, now nine months dry and focussed on photography instead of drinking. He’d been on five detox programmes but offered no after care had gone home and soon started drinking again.… Read the rest
Past the houses, the lane dropped deeper towards the Avon. The tree branches met overhead, forming a green tunnel, and either side the steep banks rose above our heads, thick with bird’s nest fern and a tangle of bracken, bramble and moss. The light was a subtle shade of refracted greens with highlights of colour here and there on the banks of pink ragged robin and the scent of late summer honeysuckle.
There was a tiny movement on the road a few feet in front of us: a small mouse heading the same way.… Read the rest
I call myself the Creative Coach, but I have said little about what I think creativity is. Is it really a flash of inspiration, a lightbulb moment? I think those brief moments of insight only come from long looking and seeking.
I revisited the Hotel Biron, Auguste Rodin’s museum in Paris last month, where I was struck by a sculpture of a dancing couple, The Waltz, created by Rodin’s mistress Camille Claudel. It caught the pair in a flow of movement, the metal more like water than bronze.… Read the rest
“An idea is salvation by imagination” : Frank Lloyd Wright
Ideas, imagination and salvation feel necessary in America in the time of Donald Trump’s presidency. Where they will come from I cannot yet tell. But a weeklong visit to Chicago and a reunion with some old friends reassured me that hope lives on. My long held image of America as “the shining city on a hill” might be tarnished, but is not lost.
Summer is the best time to visit Chicago, when the breeze blowing off Lake Michigan cools rather than chills.… Read the rest