Tuesday 7 November 2023


November 2023

I'm updating my website link BLOG to become MATERIALS

Under the new link, I'll transfer the best from this BLOG stuff including writing, pictures of work in progress and selected materials produced for events, presentations etc.  

In the meantime please use my website contact page to request materials 


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Wednesday 4 January 2023

New Year 2023 - Hoping for a Pheonix

New Year 2023 - Hoping for a Phoenix

As NEW YEAR turns do you feel like I do?

Our national climate had been affecting me deeply, ever since the Brexit vote. So, in 2019 I stopped sending a New Year Round Robin. It had cheerily flittered out to friends, colleagues, and relatives. I replaced it with a Round Blue Tit, representing our new Prime Minister Boris Johnson. He tittered, we teetered. Then for Christmas 2020, I chose a Round Magpie, a Corvid, close namesake of the ravaging Covid. I gave up in 2021. It was a tough year, too many lost friends and relatives. In mid-2022 that Tit Johnson’s “oven-ready meal” turned out to be Turkey Truss. Broiled and burnt out in days she left even more fellow citizens struggling after her Kwami-Karsi budget. The lettuce lived on but our Queen died.

As Elizabeth II lay in state I fell into my Covid state and, hallucinating “Christmas Ready” birds for my 2022 missive, I saw a Vulture over the “Johnson Sunak Sunny uplands”, swooping down, from its elite height, guzzling, head dug deep, ripping apart ethics, morals and promises in: parliamentary procedures, PPE contracts and Cop26, to name the few amongst the many. Something is rotten in the state of UK.

Some friends say I’m fixated on the state of politics; the climate crisis; the way we treat the most vulnerable. I admit despair at autocratic, narcissistic leaders who dog whistle jingoistic attitudes, especially against those who want to come and live here - when we need more workers. I am angry with those who clapped NHS workers and now talk of them as enemies of the people. Why shouldn’t I be angry - why aren't we all?

Of course, I can and do blank out these negatives with a wonderful family, my workshop, great hill-walking with friends, good wine, good books and great music.  But, all too frequently the night-nadgers wake me and black dog days, return. I've apologised for grumpiness. I’m not good company, even for myself. The best of you tell of their own kicking against the pricks. That emboldens me - thank you. Most of youn share a negative view of "where we are now". Many allude to some level of despair. 

Recent work

Pre-Covid, I’d begun cutting back professional work. I expected a gentle reduction of busy to a less manic and involved life. Then Covid suddenly ended us all going out - it was a shock. So, being inactive made me, and still makes me, feel frustrated, underused and sometimes unwanted.

Work was always about morality and ethics - 30 years of teaching, Pastoral Care, School Assemblies, Leading Professional Development, followed by 20 years of freelance contracts to problem solve, counsel, train leaders, fix systems. Beyond education into business and the wider worlds. iAbacus summed it all up, offering Self-evaluation and Improvement Planning.

So, what to do? 

Frustrated in relative inactivity, and becoming grumpy, I was becoming the negative I deplore in others.  I grew viscerally angry about the lack of morality embedded in this 12-year-old Conservative Government. I resented them doing so little about what I felt were the right things, for most of us. And yes, this is political. And, no, I couldn't understand why so many more weren’t angry too. Why are so many accepting all this inaction, on the really important social issues?  Maybe I'm seeing Vultures as evil, immoral birds, gorging and partying on the vulnerable, picking on those left weak by austerity and the cost-of-living crisis? Whilst we, potentially active, with a good moral purpose, have been manipulated to be dormant bystanders surveying a barren environment, or should that be Baroness? Watching, idly by, left to moan, or should that be Mone? Not watching the news and avoiding difficult issues whilst bleating, "They are all the same". 

Tutting at the news and waiting for the General Election isn't good enough. Maybe more of us should be even more useful, active, now?  What could we, will we, resolve to do?

I made some resolutions.

I'll try and take my own advice and “Do less well rather than more badly”,. I'll “keep it simple, as it gets complicated anyway” So, I’ve deleted my Linked-In and Instagram Accounts.  I thought I'd leave Twitter again but whilst I shudder at the hate in some contributors (I'll block them) I cannot find any platform that opens up so much... so I'll stick with it. I'll post on Facebook and BLOG. I resolve to better cherish family and friends; indulge my love the workshop; get into wild mountains with good friends and go on jaunts. My black dog days will be with our two calm labradors Ebony and Coal who slink through life with love and care.

I’ll find ways to work on the #SilentWitnesses who, so far, have found it impossible to comment and act. So, I'll be encouraging more to speak up, discuss and use fact-based arguments. I will continue to challenge that daft maxim, “Do not discuss politics, religion or sex”. Such idiocy has rendered generations mute about three pillars of successful existence. I am pondering a third book “Stepping Stones”.  I'll look for and respond to requests to help.  I want to be more positive so here’s a final positive thought….

What if Vultures are the good birds?

What if people who think like me, and I now know there are a lot of us, what if we swooped down and began attacking the mess left by the corrupt?  Vutures clean up our world! Som the more who circle, dive and get stuck in, the quicker we’ll be successful.  Indeed, there are plenty, already out there, protesting, striking, lobbying and getting noticed. I like this image of a noble, environmentally frindely recycling Vulture looking for the right place to swoop.

So, let’s shriek truth to power, breathe some fresh air into the moral vacuum. Then sometime soon I’ll select a Phoenix, as my Christmas/New Year bird - maybe in 2024?