Now we are [nearly] six[ty]

I am sixty at the end of this month.  I know lots of people are sixty and some are even older, but it's still ... a bit of a thing. I can’t have a party, which serves me right because I’ve always made a huge fuss about having to have one.  I was going to have a few people round the weekend before; I intended to spend the actual day with my family and I’d planned a holiday with a friend just after.  A perfect triad of low-key celebration, all [...]

How To Not Feel Dread

I am a creature of habit, almost detrimentally so. I never change my running route, I swim at the same time most days, I write my diary, I buy the same things from the supermarket, I have two bicycle circuits. One goes down the big hill then up a short, steep climb to the golf course; the other takes the same roads but the other way around which including a long tough hill on Saddlescombe Road. It’s this second version that I dread, enough to stop me enjoying the entire [...]

The Wrong Jam

There is a pot of jam that has been in my fridge a very long time.  It’s delicious, Bonne Maman.  It’s full flavoured, blue black, firm and smooth.  Blackcurrant jelly.  So why haven't I eaten it? The problem is the label.  The label says it’s Gelée Framboises. There is no way this jam is made from raspberries.  I know I should be able to ignore the label and simply enjoy the taste but instead I find I’m suspicious. I’m not really sure I can trust it. I’ve noticed the same [...]

How to talk to difficult people No 3

I wrote some blogs a few weeks back on how to talk to the difficult people in your household, especially those who find you even more difficult.  I hope that’s been going well, but remember it does take practice. Today I’m going to give some examples of things we say when we mean to be helpful but which never seem to make things better.  I’m going to offer some alternatives. Sentences that start: Why don’t you … If only you would … All I ask is that … ...  hardly [...]

How to live with difficult people during a lockdown No 2

Continuing in my series on how to talk to difficult people, especially those who insist you are the difficult one: In the previous post I talked about the benefits of asking the difficult person how they’re feeling and the importance of listening to the answer; how to check and demonstrate you’ve understood them, and if you haven’t, to listen again until they know they’ve really been heard. All this time, though, you haven’t had a look in. Now it’s your turn. You can’t wait to launch in with your much [...]

How to live with difficult people during a lockdown:

Loads of us are finding ourselves stuck indoors with difficult people who are (most unreasonably) accusing us of being the difficult one.  This could go on for a long time, so over the next week or two I'm going to blog on ways to turn arguments into constructive communication and the difficult person into someone you can manage and even enjoy to be locked down with for as long as this process takes. Step one: asking how someone is feeling and listening to the answer: 1     Before you get [...]

Let’s Dance

I did my accounts yesterday.  It's a job made not only bearable but actually enjoyable by the addition of Spotify. I shuffled through a playlist called Classic Covers. Halfway into November’s expenses I found myself listening to something I couldn't at first place - deeply familiar and at the same time completely new. It took me a moment to recognise a ponderous version of Let's Dance, a slow voice accompanied by an acoustic guitar, a hesitant harmonica between verses. The tempo was different and the rhythm was new too. I [...]

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