Joy and meaning.

Joy and meaning…


I was recently sharing in one of Brian Draper’s helpful email series’.  This one mentioned Dr. Alastair McAlpine’s profound observations gained from working with seriously ill children: What terminally ill children taught this doctor about how to live”. “…the so-called small things were the ones that turned out to have enormous significance at the end.”

Obviously, it’s not the same, but sharing our house with two children, and working in a school, the simplicity of a refreshing childlike perspective is often pricelessly gifted to us. Yes, it might be difficult, it is difficult, to see past our cares, our worries, and the pressures and expectations our culture advertises. Also, the childlike growing teen is learning to fit in with our culture and testing our constructs – the growing-child’s behaviours are often challenging. What we are talking about here is an essential childlike spirit… Perhaps.

But it’s not just children that can realise a more honest way. What simple truths might we discover, as Brian says “if we as grown-ups, can subtract the ephemera of adulthood, to enter life more fully…” ?  Alastair McAlpine writes “The kids were not hung up on “stuff” … the happiest, most meaningful moments were simple ones that … embraced the importance of human connection”.

As adults, we engineer the question ‘What brings you joy and meaning?’, something children perhaps don’t ask but just do, be and are. They naturally(?) do, be, are, and embrace their joy and meaning in just being alive. Perhaps again, it’s that simple process of pause, stop, yield, relax, breathe

Riding to work recently, I slowed my bike to let two children and their father, also cycling their bikes, pass on the track in front of me. Unwarranted, they both individually proclaimed with joy and meaning “Thank you!”, “Thank you!”… The simple honest natural(?) action really made my day, I couldn’t help but smile – in fact further down the track I smiled and audibly laughed – happy daze!

The lack of interaction, as well as the intolerant and often ignore-ant interaction, we so often experience as adults, is bathed away by the joy and meaning that a simpler attitude (or lack of ‘attitude’) can bring.

Last month I shared Edward De Bono’s thoughts “A Child … enjoys the use of his mind just as he enjoys the use of his body as he slides down a helter-skelter or bounces on a trampoline”

Often (and especially on my commute) the happiest, most meaningful moments are: the simple ones that … embrace the importance of human connection.

I am reminded of a moment a few years back: the Morning Puja.
“The day was still grey and the bin lorry ahead was trailing musty decay but the bin men smiled and life or something inexplicable filled the air.

Pause, stop, yield, relax, breathe… give thanks … with someone.



Daily Bread…


Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us… ?

Today was a normal Saturday.
Thankful to Em who did a 4 hour stint teaching swimming.
We had dancing first thing, or at least thought we did (Doesn’t start till next week).
So we did a small Tesco shop and a library visit to stock up on books for the next 3 weeks.
Soup and salad for munch. Nice.
Then the first trip out on the bike this year (except for the daily commutes).
Met up with Em at Gymnastics. Then a trip back…. Many roads and paths full if debris and in parts very slippy and dangerous. But the fresh air, nature, endorphins…. Gr8.
Endorphins kept buzzing on my return, and so homemade pizza dough (thanks to netmums) with the kids for their tea.
Then dough was pummelled and rested and a loaf of homemade bread was created! Thanks again to Holly’s recipe from GBBO. Gr8 therapy.
The kids tucked away and a curry from a jar was sizzled, ate and enjoyed.

I am thankful for our daily bread.

All u need is:

500g strong white flour.
10g salt
5g caster sugar
7g sachet of dried yeast
350mls lukewarm water

Simply mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl with a metal spoon just till it’s together, and leave for ten minutes.
Tip onto the table and knead it 10 minutes. This is therapeutic, enjoy it.
Put it back in the bowl and cover the bowl with clingfilm.
Leave on the side (in a warm place) until the dough has doubled in size, about 30 minutes…
Tip the enlarged size dough onto your table and push down a few times on the dough to release air bubbles. Do not knead it. Then fold and shape your dough to your preferred bread shape and place on a baking tray.
Don’t cover the bread. Leave the tray on the kitchen top till the loaf’s double in size, another 30mins. Top the loaf with seeds or supt if u want.
Make some quick cuts on the top of the loaf and put it on the middle shelf of a 200deg c oven.
Bake for about 35 mins. Check the bread occasionally and rotate or change shelves if it’s over/under doing.
Bread’s done when it sounds hollow when you knock the underneath.
Thanks Holly, full details here.


Look local first!

After unsuccessfully visiting two larger city cycle shops this morning, I popped into the ‘small on the outside, big on the inside’ local town shop. I was after a quality chargeable front light for my bike – for commuting daily using unlit country lanes.
It’s fine immersing yourself in the supposedly ‘this is what you need, ‘cos this is want everyone else has’ on the interweb, but perhaps ‘real’ life is more… real, amenable, alive…?

  • The first large Half-auto store I passed; which adversities “For everything to do with bikes…”; didn’t have ANY rechargeable lights and what it had was relatively basic and arguably not suitable.
  • The second shop (an old standard of Nottingham origins) was helpful and informative and although they could order some (can’t we call) didn’t stock ANY rechargeable lights, and again what it had was relatively basic and arguably not suitable.
  • Embarrassingly, my last choice, because I was passing on the way home, (and to be honest I thought it was a big ask for a small shop to stock a large range of accessories) to my surprise had just the thing!

They were welcoming, knowledgable and helpful.
The Serfas ‘True 250’ is just what I was looking for. 

The spec and the price was just right – and having compared it’s credentials further I’m very pleased with it. It was a great to be able to see and try a range of options before I bought.

Thanks Cyclops, I had little faith but next time ‘Cyclops Cycles’ in Syston will be my first choice.