Tuesday, 10 January 2012

The Dishwasher, The Cat and the Cottage Pie

This is actually a serious post, but I wanted to add in the amusing part to improve the tone of it.

Those who know me well will know that I very rarely post a negative or sad story because whenever possible I prefer to be an upbeat and positive person in the lives of my family, friends and acquaintances.  However, I believe that unpleasant as it is this story needs to be told.  Fortunately it will be rescued at the end by a cat.

On Sunday evening I was mentally swishing across the ice with the latest stars of Dancing on Ice when something called me to go out into the hall.  As I approached the front door I realised that there were reflections of blue flashing lights everywhere.

As you know this is never a good sign so I opened the front door with some trepidation, only to find that there were 3 fire engines outside my next door neighbours' house and n the drive was a distinctly melted dishwasher.

We went straight out and asked the fire personnel if there was anything that our neighbours required or anything we could do, and they assured us they'd pass on the message.  We asked what happened and this is what they told us.

The circuit board on the dishwasher had malfunctioned and caused what could have been a very serious fire.  Fortunately our neighbours were indoors at the time and had managed to evacuate the house and call the fire brigade before too much damage had been done.  The fireman told us that dishwasher fires are one of their more frequent call outs.  I asked if they had seen my neighbour's cat who normally naps in that garage but they said no.

The next day I visited my neighbour to check that all was well.  She told me the whole story.

She had been about to dish up their evening meal when she realised that she was short of a plate, so she went out to the dishwasher and took out a plate to wash.  Having done so, which as you can imagine took mere moments, she realised that she was also short of a fork and asked her husband to fetch one from the dishwasher.  He went out to the garage to do so and called back in immediately that there were flames coming from the dishwasher and she should call the fire brigade and get the children and animals out of the house.

She did so, the fire brigade turned up and extinguished the fire, and all that remained was to find the cat.  As you may imagine the family were fairly frantic that he couldn't be found and most concerned that he had run away in fear.

However, it didn't take long to find him.  There he was, sitting in the bowl eating the final few mouthfulls of their supper, whiskers dripping with beef and potato.  For a normally nervous cat he had sat solidly in their supper dish and applied himself to eating their food with great courage and gusto.  Even flames, smoke and 15 fire personnel hadn't persuaded him to leave a burning building.

Fortunately all was well, everyone is ok and the cat didn't pop -well  he had eaten the supper of 2 grown adults, two growing teenagers (and you know how much they eat) and a child.

The reason for telling you this story is to pass on the information given to us - never run an electrical appliance such as a dishwasher or washing machine overnight or whilst you're out.

I'm sorry to tell such a disturbing story and I certainly don't want anyone feeling worried, especially as it is so easy to remain safe by being in when these things are working and turning them off when you're out of the house.

I hope you enjoyed the cat part though.  One last giggle.  Our wonderful neighbours have rallied around providing crockery and such like as required, what did we provide?  A spare cat collar because their old one was broken and they need to label their cat as he's one of three extremely similar cats within one small area.  You can't get more neighbourly than that!


Thursday, 5 January 2012

Out With the Old...In With the New!

Woo hoo it's new year!  That means that all the angst and irritations of 2011 are gone and we can all leap into the perfect year, because at the stroke of midnight on 31st December 2011 everything changed...didn't it?

Of course it didn't.

Firstly the person who creates your life is you, so unless you went through some kind of sudden and dramatic metamorphosis on the last bong of Big Ben it is likely that things will continue pretty much as they always have.  True, you might get a new job this year, buy a puppy or kitten, move house, give the kids away, or whatever you have planned.  However, your life will only change fundamentally if the person you are inside changes.

That's easy then, all sorted and we can get on with 2012.  Hold on!  Wait a moment!

Let's look at this a little more carefully.  Before you rush headlong into change for changes sake, has it occurred to you that you might just be fine as you are?  You need to look at that first.

If you decide that actually you are doing pretty all right as a person and your internal world is a fairly happy approaching joyful place then you don't need to undergo a huge personal change in order to have a great 2012.  What you do need to do is to take note of the situations in which you find yourself (romance, work, hobbies, fitness, etcetera) and make sure that you're happy in all those places.

We tend to blame ourselves when we aren't happy and feel that in some way we must be wanting because we're not having a blast.  Yet sometimes the only problem is that we're in the wrong place doing the wrong thing.

You won't blend with colleagues if you aren't in the right job, company or career.  You won't be in a happy relationship if you or they are Miss-ter wrong.  You won't have great friends if you insist on spending time with people who are so un-you that you all appear to come from different dimensions!  You won't love your home if you don't love where you live or you don't decorate and de-clutter to suit you.  You may struggle to feel healthy if you don't make time to keep fit and insist on remaining in stressful situations.  I could go on but you get the picture.

The point is that even if some or all of these things are wrong it doesn't mean that YOU are wrong, it only means that you're doing the wrong things.

One key pointer towards sorting these things out is to watch for the signals because there will be signs and portents that show you what isn't working if you know what to look for.

Take me for instance.  I love Mediumship, to me it's second only to the people and animals I love.  It floats my boat, fills me with joy, gives me peace and a feeling of amazing health.  It's the cherry on the icing on the cake of my life.  Yet when I launched myself on the world as a full-time working Medium nothing went well.

I was invited back to demonstrate at different places, I did get a lot of referrals for readings, but nothing would quite click with me, but Cricket St. Thomas Hotel has to be the best message of all.

I was working there as a Resident Medium and nearly every day I was there I was rushed off my feet, lunch was a distant dream and I was normally at least an hour late home.  I had people coming to find me because their friends had a reading on their last visit and I'd been highly recommended.  I was so happy.  I was busy, busy, busy doing the work I loved, meeting fantastic new people, getting referrals for telephone readings from all over the country, working in a 4 star hotel where coffee and cake was always on hand, and having a thoroughly amazing time.  Then it all stopped.

The hotel group decided to change the way they presented the entertainments brochure to their clients and instead of having an A5 sized insert in the brochure I was moved onto the back page and had only 4 lines.  You might think that it was logical that this would affect things, but to be honest the heading on the section was very clear, if people are going to read a brochure they will look at the back page and there was a great deal more on there than me to draw them to the page.  The brochure had always been full of exciting and interesting things for the guests to do, and no matter how large your advert if people aren't interested they aren't interested.

However, my work went from flat out to zero inside 24 hours and never picked up again.  It was so weird.  So after a few weeks I sadly packed up my little room, said goodbye to the staff I'd worked with, and exited stage left with my spotted hanky tied to the end of a stick. Boy was I miffed!!!! (Deliberate use of 4 exclamation marks there!!!!)

I had lost my work completely.  I was sad for months and although I tried other things I lacked the motivation and interest to bring them in.  By October of 2011 I was basically sitting on my thumb all day discovering that demotivated people don't write well, and wondering what the heck to do next.

Then Nicky Marshall uttered the immortal words "we haven't done much this year, we need to do something."  I replied with a joke "Okay, let's pencil 'do something' into our diary in January next year"  and to cut a long story short the "Do Something! Tour" was born.  Then something very strange happened.

Within weeks we had 5 events set up, we launched in November at the Witches Brew, were in Thornbury at the beginning of December, and by that time we had 2 events set up in Covent Garden, London for next year, plus a charity event and a speaking engagement for another organisation.  Not only that a major department store had talked to Nicky about presenting an event for their staff.  Absolutely amazing!

This of course means that I'm/we're in the right place at the right time doing the right thing.  It didn't happen at New Year or in line with any man-made date.  It didn't happen because we needed to change.  It happened because the time was right.

So whilst you're embracing resolutions you may have already forgotten or regretted, and thinking that the New Year means you MUST make a new start.  Whilst you're worrying that it sounded great to say you'd job hunt the moment the clock clicked over to 00.01 on 1st January and now it doesn't feel like such a good idea, or you're fretting that you may not actually want to break up your relationship, move house, and become a struggling artist.  Stop, breathe and relax.  You don't have to do anything or everything at once, and you should avoid the trap of thinking that huge change is required when maybe smaller changes would have a better long-term effect.  AND you don't have to throw out the old without first considering how much the old is still serving a useful purpose.

New Year can be a fantastic time to create change and a wonderful time to think about refreshing your life, but it can also be a pressure and a trap.  You don't have to take leaps of faith without a clue what you're doing just because you said it on New Year's Eve during a drunken party.  You have the whole of 2012 to move forward carefully in a considered manner, making one change at a time.  Every day is a New Year if you play your cards right.

So my advice is to put the New Year's resolution on the back burner, do a life review, create a vision board in February, and once you've got your head clear as to what you want then go for it!

Wishing you happy days, peaceful nights and positive change at the right pace and right time