Freedom and Communication

In my last blog I talked about my amazing and diverse weekend in London, but what I didn’t really touch on was the incredible feeling of freedom, acceptance and communication that penetrates our late night society.

Finding myself in the Capital after 2am, two things struck me. Firstly the friendliness and warmth of the people around, and secondly the communication. There is a lot of buzz at the moment about society, particularly the young, being addicted to their technology, but boy does it come in handy when you are at a freezing bus stop at 2am wondering when, or even if, the next bus will turn up to whisk you off to your warm cozy bed!

This very technology that attracts so much negative press, in my recent experience, actually brought people together.

Let me explain … A young gentleman, very well dressed, approached me at my first bus stop, he was propping up his friend, who was a little worse for drink and seemed to be mustering all his strength to concentrate on staying upright – multi-tasking with conversation was a step too far for him! It became apparent these guys were trying to find their way home … but they had run out of battery on their smart phones and had no idea where to go to pick up their bus home …. ta daahh .. I produce my phone – we chat, they tell me about their night out on a party boat on the Thames, I tell them about the great band I have been to see … we communicate – real face to face communication!! They solve their dilemma by using a phone app that guides you to your nearest bus stop, what time the bus is timetabled to arrive and a tracker to check on where the bus is right now! I have learned something new, (and now knew how long I,would waiting for my bus!!) and I feel I have helped a fellow citizen.

The next people to stop by were on holiday, they were astounded that our tube system actually closed at 12.30am and were struggling to make sense of their tourists map to find their way home. Out came my phone … again …. after chatting a while, we helped them on their way in the right direction – another good deed done!

The list goes on … I encountered so many different kinds of people that night, a gay couple who really should have got a room! Something I have not come across before – their confidence of going about doing their thing .. out in the open, and the acceptance of people around was uplifting. A guy who had either been in a fight or injured himself somehow being looked after by a group of policemen that remained with him for over an hour, keeping him safe, and treating him with patience and care well beyond the call of duty.

Now I am not saying everyone should approve of every kind of late night behaviour, but its the acceptance that it goes on that I love – a real live and let live attitude that permeates the city late at night under the cover of darkness. #LetsgotoLondonagainsoon

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Love London

imgresWow what a weekend – a mix of nostalgia, bang on trendiness and a whole bunch of new “friends”!!

An old friend of mine, from when we were 14, got in touch to say she had got us tickets to go and see Absolute Bowie . I am not usually into tribute bands but she insisted they were fab and a must see, so I buried my reservations and agreed to go.  To make this whole event even more surreal, it was based in the Ruislip Social Club, a type of community centre that has a Live Music night on Fridays!  Not exactly the O2!!

But what I saw blew me away.  The professionalism of the band, singing, the acting, and the costumes were incredible – and that was just the audience!  It turns about Absolute Bowie are an international act who gig all over the World (and not just in local community Centres either!!) I am a converted groupie and will be recommending these guys to all my friends and booking to see them again soon!  (next time I may even dress up!)

So from a blast from the musical past I went to meet my wife and 21 year old daughter, who has flown the nest and is living in London.    She had arranged for us to go to a gig in Ritzys Picture House in Brixton.  I was very wary … the last time I visited t, it was during the day and for work – and even then the vibe was one that made you do your job and leave as soon as was humanly possible.   The Brixton I knew has been transformed into a buzzing hub of activity with an atmosphere that I can only describe as “festival like”  The venue was fab, all low ceilings, busy bar and intimate indie crowd together in a common interest of watching the performance from Amberlandband, a fab 5 piece band that write and play their own stuff.  Another great performance from a completely different genre! Thoroughly enjoyable (Thanks Alice!! )

Home time arrived and we found ourselves at the mercy of the night-buses, and despite the delays (20 mins in Brixton and then an hour at Trafalgar square for a connecting bus), I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.  To experience Brixton at 3am, and find it as busy, if not busier than at 4pm was amazing – all the fast food chains were full to bursting, the streets were filled with cars, bikes, and people, and all round was this feeling of friendliness and comradeship – a long way from the Brixton of old!  Trafalgar square had the same camaraderie, people chatting, asking others for help with maps, bus times etc. Thank goodness for smart phones –  there are Apps to tell you where you go to get the nearest night-bus, Apps to tell you what time your bus will arrive, Apps that are progress checkers on the bus you are waiting for … you name it there is an App for it!  I just wish there was an App that cloaked you in a warm cosy blanket!  Being a young and naive 55 year old I had left the house with out a coat – London at 4am in October is COLD!

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Right place at the right time

One of the pivotal moments for me to start believing in the power of mindfulness occurred about 15 years ago,  a few years before I embarked on my NLP and Hypnotherapy journey, as I like to think of it!  I was having a pretty rough time, terrible back problems had put paid to me continuing as a carpet fitter, a good friend of mine was suffering with a brain tumour, and to top it all it was January, a time when the whole country were in the midst of the post Christmas financial and emotional blues.  I am lucky enough to live in a very beautiful place, so decided to take a long walk to visit my friend and try and shift my mood.  The walk took me along a well trodden path of the Military Road.  Its is a beautiful coastal route running from the Western most tip of the Isle of Wight at Freshwater towards the Southernmost tip at St Catherines.  The views are always stunning, no matter the weather and this day was no different.  During my walk I noticed a Tall Ship out at sea.  It was involved in some sort of training practise, and was making repeated small journeys, lifting and dropping sails and anchor! I felt so lucky to be the only audience other than the seagulls to view this magnificent ship in all its glory.  It got me thinking, I had never been on a ship of that size, in fact the most exciting boat journey I had ever been on was the ferry from the island to the mainland!  How wonderful would it be, to be aboard that tall ship, or any large ship and to set sail across the oceans.  I sat on a bench and drunk in the view and let my imagination run free.

A few weeks before, I had 3 days work for a carpet firm, fitting carpets on the Canberra and other Cruise Liners.  All the talk of the lads on that job had been on the “cushty job” of being selected as one of the fitters to go on the World Cruise.

At the time I was engrossed with a book called the Power of Positive Intention.  All about visualising your goals to help you achieve them, about mantras and positive thinking to influence your behaviour.    As I sat on the bench, the sun shone on the crystal blue green sea as far as the eye could see, but behind me the sky was slate grey, huge dark clouds, cloaking the downs.  I sat and dreamed and imagined and put into practise some of the positive thinking that I had been reading about, and noticed that a strange weather phenomenon – it had started to snow! It was most surreal, the sea still reflecting the beautiful sunshine in front of me with, but the sky black as night behind, with snow flurrying in the wind!

I left my daydreaming post and hurried along the path to meet with my friend, still in awe of the strangeness of the situation.

That night I received a call at home, the carpet fitting company I had worked for needed me to help on a fitting job on a Cruise ship in dry dock.  I turned up the next day and was one of the 3 guys selected to fly to Tenerife, to join the Canberra on the World cruise.

Right place at the right time … yes …. on that bench, dreaming my dreams…..

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