Musical bumps

Musical bumps…and I don’t mean the game we played as children which I believe the fun police have said is now too dangerous!!

I am referring to when we hear a piece of music or a song and we are immediately transported back in time to a memory, a place or a person. These ‘bumps’ can of course be great prompts to bring back happy memories and in my work with dementia clients this can prove invaluable.

On the other hand one can hear a piece of music which may remind us of a loved one we have lost and we may feel reflective and saddened, but even those feelings are useful in helping us to allow our bereavement process and healing to continue.

Let’s face it the music score creates the scene, the atmosphere and the moods in any great film as the amazing John Williams has continued to prove over some four decades. Personally, I would be lost without my music whether it is lifting a mood or emotive to shed a tear or two.

My music list and appreciation is both long and eclectic and in case a certain man is reading my blog today…we had Barber.



I often encourage friends and family members,  and, of course my counselling clients to stand back and reflect. All too often we think and act with our emotions rather than with our intellect then regret it later.

It is very easy to take one another for granted or even our work and a holiday away can provide us with that essential time to think about what we have, what we have achieved rather than worry about what we perceive as our failings.

Over the weekend, whilst having a break from painting the garden fence (very therapeutic) I watched ‘Goodbye Mr Chips’  wherein one of the characters advised:-

‘Distance lends enchantment to the view’ 

Indeed putting a bit of distance between ourselves and sometimes our problems or even other people can really make us appreciate the beauty in everything.

That’s a positive thought to start the week on…now to tackle the accounts.

International widow’s day

I heard that today is International Widow’s Day and regular followers will know that acknowledging grief and helping those who are bereft is dear to my heart. I just wish bereavement was met with more empathy, sensitivity and constructive recognition when my own mother was left widowed at 43 with five children.

I remember my own mother telling me how people would cross the road to avoid talking to her after my father had died suddenly. Of course this said more about their reluctance to talk about death and ‘not knowing what to say’. As I so often write there are no right or wrong words but just to let somebody who has been widowed know that you are thinking of them/or have them in your prayers if that’s appropriate for you helps.

Avoiding discussing or mentioning the person that has died helps nobody, especially the widow. Something else I always remind people to do is to go and visit after the funeral which is a time that the widow and/or her children will need you most.

Additionally continue to invite somebody who is ‘single’ to your events.. for whatever reason they are now uncoupled, and maybe being widowed being one of the sadder reasons. It is far harder to rebuild a life as a single person than those who are still part of a couple can imagine. Not all widows or divorcees are after your generous.

Don’t assume because somebody’s husband had been ill for a long time it is easer on them either because it isn’t. In many ways it is harder as they have maybe seen their partner’s deterioration and a different type of feeling of loss has already started making it difficult to grieve normally (whatever normal is!). As ever the biggest gift any of us can give is our time.

Keeping the life and work balance

For some time now I have included career coaching naturally within my work both with corporate clients and counselling clients; for the latter it is of course no secret that problems within relationships either at work and/or at home overlap. We all need to feel valued and appreciated in all areas of our life to keep a positive balance and purpose to our life.

It is very easy for any of us to take our loved ones and/or work colleagues for granted I guess in some ways it is a compliment that we feel comfortable enough to do it…however we do so at our own peril at times. As I always maintain, it is far better to be honest and tell others how we really feel about a situation as holding back can often come back to bite us at a later date.

I know I rant about the power of communication but unless we share how we feel how can we expect others to know? Keeping the peace often seems the best option but can lead to feelings of resentment later down the line. Yes, life is a compromise but as wise lady once told me  ‘Don’t allow others to change who you are’ when we do we run the risk of living somebody else’s dream instead of our own.

It is very hard trying to keep everyone in our family,work and friendship don’t try. Better to be a giver I know but we cannot possibly be expected to be the source of everyone’s happiness it’s just too big a job for one man/woman.

We can all just aspire to doing the very best we can whilst considering the feelings of others along the way. As ever feeling grateful for what we have to enjoy today makes our own feelings of contentment easier to achieve.





A lot of my coaching work with my dementia clients and their families is obviously based around memory and sharing positive memories.

Smooth radio were doing their top 500 songs at the weekend; as Abba’s ‘Dancing Queen’ bellowed out of the radio I remembered that very hot summer of 1976, age 18 driving around Devon with my first boyfriend in his mum’s white mini. He later died a very young age of cancer.

Everybody has a story to tell and as I was discussing this weekend music often is the background to our lives and hearing a piece of music we can remember when and where we heard it. This can of course make us feel melancholy if the music brings back sad memories but what we don’t always appreciate is that sometimes that pain needs to come to the surface and letting go of our emotions is a positive thing.

I heard somebody say recently that ‘memories are the scripts of our soul’ as Aristotle famously quoted and believed.  As such our pain and joy associated with those memories must be equally embraced.

For anyone feeling sad about a loved one they have lost try and balance it out by remembering something really funny they did as they would want you to go on living and laughing.

I will end today’s blog remembering my amazing Mother leaving the room, dancing as she did, singing ‘Bring me sunshine’ and of course she did.



‘The Little Book of Kisses’

‘The Little book of Kisses’ by Dolly Christmas is available to download from Amazon Kindle; A good fun read but with some interesting facts you probably didn’t know about the various bonuses of kisssing…health related (including dental hygiene!!) and calorie loss…now there’s a good reason to read and get kissing.



World Poetry Day

World Poetry Day: How could I go without posting a few lines from one of my own poems? Yesterday being the first day of spring I have chosen something romantic..everyone loves a fool in love. Inspired by a very special guy albeit a cad!

The Stranger’s Garden

Last Summer a butterfly drifted into the stranger’s garden. Enticed by his flowers and well kept lawn. She was caught unawares in his net.

She’s happy it is a sunny place to be. There are new things to see every day. She wants to stay – she likes it there.

In the house, and from a safe distance, He watches her beauty. Still uncertain of her colours.

He believes he has captured her. Her flutter-like moods amuse and intrigue him.He’s gentle so as not to damage her delicate wings.

Annie Manning  February 2003

Oh the madness of love eh time to reach for the kettle and  choccy biccy or two.

Drat..the beauty of mobiles just had a message from my dentist a check up due…somebody loves me!