Musings on a Beach

On holiday recently Mrs Williamson and I paid a visit to the village of Robin Hood’s Bay. Near Whitby and situated hard by the sea it is a step back in time with small dwellings on a steep bank, with cobbled streets and tiny alleyways. 

We took a walk on the beach and on looking at the scene I thought how unearthly it looked. 

I thought this a strange notion to have until I realized that it was unearthly because the land I was viewing spent a great deal of time under the sea and so it was likely to seem ‘unearthly’. 

Beaches always seem to do this to me: my mind recognizes the immense time scale that these landscapes have existed. Time passing is evidensed by the waves advancing and retreating on the shore, yet the beach endures – changing only slowly. 

A view such as this prompts me to wonder about the long ago past when life first ventured upon land: would the view have been so different? Seaweed, rocks, creatures scuttling around in the pools and the ever present waves. 
One last thought: I always like to watch dogs on a beach – their joy is immense and always lifts my spirits to see. Try it, and let me know if you agree. 

Training on Funding Applications

On the glorious weather last Saturday dedicated volunteers and workers from Burlsem Jubilee Project, Middleport Matters and Sanctus, organizations operating in Stoke on Trent, spent their valuabe time in a training session with yours truly. We spent a few hours discussing and practicing the skills which go to make a sucessful funding application.

Thanks to Jim Lowe of the Burslem Jubilee Project for arranging the session and for his generosity in inviting other organizations to attend the training and the trip to Wrights’ Pies for lunch.

Not-for-profits & the Public Sector

There has been much said and written over the last few years about the relationship between the Not-for-profit and Public Sectors following on from the decrease government allocates to provide services and the increase in work for Not-for-profits as the try to cover the deficit in services. It has been in the thoughts published by the council-funded across Staffordshire community & voluntary organizations’ support source, Support Staffordshire (see Chief Officer’s message and the only certainty is uncertainty ).

We are informed that we have an opportunity to become more involved in delivering services as councils commission more services rather than deliver. For Not-for-profits this represents income and the knowledge that excellent services informed by grassroots need are delivered. For Councils we, forgive me if I include myself, have the added advantage that we are cheaper.

Those who have worked on Public Sector contracts will tell you that they can be difficult with targets changing and a lack of understanding from the Public Sector and a they, in turn, have concerns about the need for professionalism in the Not-for-profits.

The word ‘partnership’ is used a lot. My contention, and as part of being professional, is that we are not partners. We are contractors or sub-contractors. They have the money and can ask what they want. This means that the Not-for-profits are continually asked for ‘added value’ which equates to the Not-for-profit giving something from its own resources which it can ill afford. In other words: something for nothing. I wonder how many private companies would do that?

I suppose my summary of the above observations is that Not-for-profits are more than willing to engage in providing services which help individuals and make the world a better place but we should do it professionally by fully costed projects that give excellent value for money and fantastic results that do not threaten the long-term viability of the organization embedded in contracts that do not change as time goes on.

Idle Thoughts

I know that I am getting on in years as I find items that others seem to find of little import and mentioning them to all and sundry. Fortunately I have the internet to aid me in my quest and I can throw my obsessions out to the world at large in the knowledge that it matters not to them but I feel as if I have declared my viewpoint loudly.

It may have been noticed that I write ‘organization’ rather than ‘organisation’. I am not from the United States of America and I can change the dictionary on my computer with ease. So, why would I use the letter ‘z’ instead of the ‘s’.?

I was idly considering all the words I have composed over the years by pen and keyboard and the frequency of letters scribbled or bashed. It then occurred that some letters are not used as often as they should be as they are written one way but pronounced another, such as organization, realize, and so on. We probably wrote these words at some time with a ‘z’ but for some reason have replaced the letter with the ‘s’. So I strike back for two reasons; nostalgia for the older way of spelling, the words I spell with a ‘z’ are pronounced with a ‘z’ and it is levels up the playing field for a neglected letter.

In a similar wordy vein: what has happened to the word ‘quickly’? Now replaced with the word ‘fast’, which is not half so much fun to say and write. Now, I know that language is ever-changing and that it is an inevitable and even beneficial process: I would be hard pressed to readily understand someone from King Richard’s time and no doubt I would have the same difficulty five hundred years from now. But, that does not mean that I cannot make a plea for some words that still have life left in them. quickly is one of those: say it to yourself three times – see what I mean? So, join me in using quickly whenever appropriate, use AQAP rather than ASAP, let’s make the world a more interesting sounding place – quickly.

Look Up

I was wandering around Walsall and, never having visited before, spent some time just looking around and perhaps because it was a new place I cast my gaze further up and down than usual. From this I noticed that above the shop fronts with their plastic signs and facades there were some interesting sights. Old buildings with intricate details from a byegone age presented a delight to the eye and I wondered how often I miss items around my own home town. I offer some  examples below just from Bridge St.

Look up 2
I presume the former home of a newspaper.
Look up 4
A detail on the  building to the left.









Look up 1
Tudor by name, Tudor by nature.
Look up 3
Arches, bay windows – what more could you want?
Look up 5
One of five venerable guardians…
Look up 6
… and a colleague.








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Finally, above a bank – imposing brickwork and a copper cuppola.

Taking notice is part of the five ways to wellbeing, for more information click here.

In Front of an Audience Again!

After a long break I was yesterday back in front of a group of people in the role of trainer / talker, something I love and yesterday made me realize how much I have missed it.

I had been invited by the lovely people of Newcastle Friendship Club to talk about the ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’ and how we can use the ways in our daily lives to help our mental, physical and emotional health. I am pleased to say that it was a lively session with the audience joining in the discussions and shall admit I had a hugely enjoyable time.

Newcastle under Lyme Friendship Club is open to men and women, they run social activities, arrange talks and trips to help people feel less lonely and more connected.


For information on the Five Ways to Wellbeing click here.