Archive for March, 2008

Magic Powers

I’ve told a similar story in the past, but I can’t find it in my last year’s archive, so I’m guessing you’ll not remember it. Here goes:

When I was a child, I wished that I had a super power. Something wonderful that would make a huge difference to other people, and I could help them with my special gift of telepathy or invisibility or teleportation – or something. As much as I wished, I knew in my head that it wasn’t ever going to happen, because life’s not like that. Magic powers are the stuff of comic books and fantasy, and nothing more.

As I got older, I began to realise that I’d been searching in the wrong places for the magic. Someone was not going to bestow the super power upon me in a dramatic scene worthy of a cinema film, rather that it would slowly grow and blossom within me over time.

Of course I could not fly, or spin webs from my wrists, or speak to angels – but I do get a wonderful sense of joy and satisfaction when the magic works.

It took me a long time to realise that my special talent is people. I can read them. Not in some weird fortune-teller way – ‘cross my palm with silver, luvvie’ ; no – I just seem to know how to work with people to get the best from them. Something is at work that I cannot understand. All I have to do is be there, observing them and interacting with them and they respond in a positive way, whether child or adult. I think about what people say and do, I notice subtle changes in body language and expression, and I seem to do it without thinking about it – but it works. I have noticed a dramatic change in people within a very short time of talking to them. I know it isn’t really magic, but it feels like it sometimes!

Today was a good example. A bunch of people who so far had been learning a lot of theoretic background and activities that they then had to put together into a practical situation and were struggling with it. They were full of self-doubt, they were nervous and it was spreading rapidly from one person to another. I could tell the panic was spiralling out of control. The more they talked about it, the worse they made eachother feel. So I intervened. All I did was get them to see something in a different way, and gave them a relevant example in a positive, confident way, and got them to believe they could achieve it too.

But it worked. They tried it, and eventually left smiling, having enjoyed the day.

I do have Magic Powers. You just can’t see them.




Rule of 7s – the Events Committee

I have a feeling this will be a saga comprising many episodes. It has taken me a little while to get to the point of being able to describe sufficiently the frustration I feel at each of the meetings I go to – but let me set the scene for you.

The Events Committee is a collection of individuals who belong to a voluntary organisation I spend a lot of time with, who have come together to organise two events each year, and some years three. Each event is for a specific purpose and to a greater or lesser extent follows EXACTLY the same process year on year.

The history of the events in question harks back about 60 years, so there’s nothing very new in what we’re doing, but sadly, like the people who organise it, the events are tired, ancient and could do with having the kiss of life. I was co-opted onto the committe – I maintain – under false pretences, but its easy to see why they did it. Imagine a bunch of old women at a WI meeting chatting about jam and scones, and you’re pretty close. One old biddy is going on and on about how many gingham jam-tops to make, and whether she should have any plain white ones this year as well, and the other is nodding and periodically asking for other people to contribute to the discussion, but no-one will, because the group are trying to organise the whole church fete, not just the bloody jam-tops. Its pretty much the same thing.

I have tried to be one of the ‘new blood’, coming in with a fresh look, new ideas, confidence and enthusiasm, hoping collectively with some of my newer colleagues that we can bring the Events of 2008 into the 21st century. I have attended dilligently, I have contributed, I have given my opinion and argued my corner for change that has to happen, lest the Events themselves die a death. I have taken on work beyond my remit, and provided a platform upon which other things can be built…..

And yet, we still keep going back to the jam tops.

My enthusiasm is waning. I still attend, but I am battling against an inner apathy. So far little of it has been on show, but I know its there in my heart. There are only so many times you can hear “Well, what we normally do is….”  without it affecting you.

I found myself remembering my old studies into teamwork (I’m a psychology graduate on the quiet – but don’t let that put you off), and remembered the magic number 7. I can’t remember who proved it (I’d be grateful if you could help me remember, folks!), but generally, if a group consisted of 7 or less people, decisions got made and the group could achieve. As soon as the group got bigger than 7 members, it became fragmented, and sub-groups formed, obstructing the group’s progress and generally causing unnecessary disputes, seriously affecting the effectiveness of the team.

The events team often consists of 9 people or more, and on days when the full committee can be there, we often get less done then when there are 5 of us. Co-incidence? You be the judge.  


I went for my 12-week check up with my surgeon. He asked me how I was.

“Fine” I said. “My ankle is great. My foot really really hurts though – and it keeps swelling up. Its worse when I’m walking, and its making me limp.”

He prodded the joints at the base of each of my toes in turn. When he got to the one in my second toe (next to my big toe), I cried out. It was agony. I went quickly to the private hospital for an Xray to rule out a stress fracture of my 2nd Metatarsal.

Next day, I took the Xray film back to the surgeon. I’d already had a good look at it – and couldn’t see a fracture, so it was no surprise when he told me it wasn’t broken. Apparently I have Metatarsalgia, where the joint at the base of my 2nd toe has become inflamed and painful.

So, he gave me a cortisone injection – right into the joint in my toe. It was pain and discomfort I cannot adequately describe – but it was excruciating for a few minutes and felt like my toe had been bent suddenly at a 90 degree angle. Of course it hadn’t, but it felt like it.

Cortisone is a powerful anti-inflammatory, not a pain reliever, so it takes a few days to work on the inflammation. Its now two days later, and the pain is considerably less. I’ve been advised not to do too much for a couple of weeks to give it a chance to heal.  

I can’t believe my luck!

S xx

Dear Veet…

In an attempt to enhance my beauty regime, I decided to buy a pack of your ‘berry’ hair-removal wax-strips ‘for face’. I should mention that I do not have a facial hair problem yet, and I would like to keep it that way by removing the three or four little hairs on either side of my top lip which aren’t visible to the general public but that I know are there. One day when my hormones stop being produced in such great quantities, I do not want to look like the bearded and moustachioed women-librarians in my local college.

I opened the package, to reveal a selection of little wax strips which resembled small, thin adhesive-dressings, to warm ever-so-slightly, peel apart and stick to the area of my top lip in need of depilating. I am then advised to quickly remove the said strip, wrenching the hairs from their folicles and getting on with my life, safe in the knowledge that the furriness of my face is all in the past.

But no. I am simply left with a pink, sticky mess around my mouth, looking like I’ve been eating strawberry Angel Delight out of a shallow dish without a spoon. Following repeat attempts, I now smell distinctly of forest fruits, my skin is sore and I still haven’t removed a single hair. It has also taken me ten minutes and a rough flannel to remove the pink wax from my face, and I’m now getting rather cheesed off with the whole idea.

I’ll put the £5 I wasted on this useless product down to experience, and buy a razor instead.


Spaniel xx 

Snob, dear? Me,dear? No, dear.

Oh, but in my heart, I know I am…..

Take Friday. There I was, popping to the ladies to brush my hair so that I didn’t look like a mushroom when I removed my wedding-hat, and there, next to me, reflected in the grime-streaked washroom mirrors, was a woman with peroxide hair and whiter-than-white teeth, saying to another woman:

“Eeeyahh. Whassa cownsiller do anyway?”

“Whaddya mean, whadda they do?” says woman 2, with dark hair and too much mascara on.

“How’d’ya become one, then?” says peroxide woman.

And I was immediately transported to this bit of Monty Python’s Holy Grail. (“Well how do you become King then?!!!”)

They of course, continued oblivious to me and my thoughts of King Arthur.

A third woman approached the mirrors to adjust some stray hairs and check her make-up, and in doing so she blocked my view of the other two, whilst joining into their conversation. Woman 3 was, as it turned out, a borough councillor. She furnished them with the details of the route from ordinary person to elected councillor, gave them a quick rundown of the average working week, and finished by reapplying her lippy in the mirror. 

“Issa proper job then?” said Peroxide Lady, not quite believeing her. I moved slightly, and realised she was acutally holding a section of her hair in a set of electric hair-curling-tongs which had been plugged-in somewhere out of sight. I couldn’t believe it.  

“Oh yeah.” said Councillor Lady. “Iss bloody hard work, actually.

“Oh.” finished Peroxide Lady. ” I fort it was juss visitin people and getting fed nice dinners an stuff.”

“Nah. Thass Mayors that do that!! Mind you, ya do have to visit your ward all the time, but you don’t get fed much.”  

“What ward? In the hospital?”

I could contain myself no longer. I glanced at the Councillor Lady as she began to explain what a council ward was, and left quickly, the brim of my hat gripped in my hand and my lips pressed tightly together, for fear that a shriek of laughter should get out.

The word common formed itself in my mind, and hung there for a moment as I escaped.

I told you I was a snob.