Tag Archives: Life

Oranges, apples, bananas

I read an interview the other day. It was one of those ‘what do you usually eat?’ features, designed to encourage people to eat more healthily. The guy being interviewed scored a perfect 10. He was some sort of yoga teacher and clearly lived a life he loved – it wasn’t just his diet that was balanced (from what I could gather after reading one interview, that is) but his whole approach to life.

Photo credit: basketman at freedigitalphotos.net

Photo credit: basketman at freedigitalphotos.net

After reading his interview, to which I thought I wasn’t paying a great deal of attention, three words stuck in my head, ‘oranges, apples, bananas.’ It was simply him listing his preferred fruit intake but something about these words really stayed with me. What it the fact that these fruits were childhood staples? Because I liked the way the words sounded together? Or perhaps I was struck at how these simple words could sum up this perfectly balanced life…? I still don’t know. Sometimes words surprise me.

Oranges, apples, bananas…

What do these words mean to you?

Ten people, ten questions – The results!

First of all, I’d like to say a massive Thank You to everyone who took part. Whether you completed the survey yourself, passed it on to friends, tweeted about it or offered a suggestion for one of the questions – I couldn’t have done this without you!

So, who were the ten who took part…? No-one gave their age or location in the end (well, it was optional… Perhaps I’ll include some demographic questions next time) but I did receive seven images! I had asked for ‘something that represents you, but is not of you.’ I was not disappointed. Here they are (mine is among them. See if you can guess which it is)

And now…. The results!

About You

The first question was: ‘If you were paid a comfortable amount to do whatever you wanted, what would you do with your life?’

30%  said that they are already doing what they want for a living. The rest believe it will be possible to do they want at some point in the future.

Writing was a popular choice – perhaps not surprising, as at least half of those who responded write in some form or another. Doing anything that allows for more time – to travel and spend time with family – also rated highly. One person said, ‘Collect original works of art, especially sculpture.’ I’d love to know who that was!

I found these results massively reassuring – if three in ten people from a (fairly) random sample are doing what they want already, then there is hope for the rest of us! Um, I think I’ve just given away my answer there…


Although 30% of those who responded said they were Jewish, one person pointed out, ‘It’s more in the sense of identity rather than religion.’

When asked how they felt about religion, half of those who took part ticked the ‘I’m not sure’ option. While the overall feel was that it’s a good thing, two of those who responded feel that it is ‘a tool to control societies‘ and one said ‘It separates us as human beings living on one planet.’


This question gave the option of placing yourself on a scale from right to left. 40% described themselves as liberal, with the 50% placed themselves on the left – to varying degrees and just one person placed themselves *just* right of centre.


Two people admitted to not using their vote
– One because  they ‘don’t see the point’ and the other feels
guilty about it. There was just one comment left in this section:

‘I just think it’s a massive privilege and I wouldn’t dream of not voting no matter who the candidates were.’ 

Everyone else used their vote – most of the time
(40% always vote, 40% only sometimes)

Death penalty

A question about the death penalty saw an evenly split response, with 60% saying they do not beleive in it. Comments varied massively with many saying that they would be afraid of a miscarriage of justice. However, the comment I found the most interesting came from someone based in a country that does have the death penalty. This person said:‘There is a death penalty here and it’s been used just once. I think that’s about right.’

People and animals

How do you feel about animal testing?

A fairly mixed response to this question but the comments proved more revealing, with one person pointing out that ‘its more about how the animals are treated than the testing itself.’ Only one person said that they didn’t care about the animals.

Despite this, if it came down to the choice of killing an animal to save a loved one – 100% of those who took part said they would do so.

These responses left me wondering if anyone made the connection between the two questions…

Friends and Family

The ten people were asked: If someone you loved was in pain and asked you to help them end their life, would you do it?

This was always going to be a tough one. 80% said ‘It depends.’ 

Comments included: ‘I don’t think you can truly answer until you’re faced with it in reality, with the person looking at you and asking….’

‘I don’t know if I’d have it in me’

‘Not just about pain but about quality of life. Indignity can be just as hard to bear. Pain can be controlled.’


When asked whether they had ‘ever done something – to another person – that they now regret, a massive 80% said ‘Yes,’ with one saying they regret that they have taken their anger out on others. Only one gave details of a painful regret that he or she still carries with them even though it wasn’t their fault. Most chose not to reveal their regrets, with one person saying, ‘Oh yes, many things… There’s no point in looking back now but if I had my time again I’d do things differently. I think I regret more the things I haven’t said/done than the things I have, though.’

Personally, I don’t mind sharing that I echo that last sentence. I am pretty sure that when my time comes, it’s the things I haven’t said or done that would haunt me, not those I have.


I found the survey results eye opening, especially as I know almost half of those who took part quite well. Some of the results were not so surprising – I expected most of those who responded to place themselves more to the left on the politics question. However, although I like to think I keep an open mind, some of the more detailed comments really made me think, and will continue to sit with me for a while no doubt. I now have more questions I want to ask so there may well be a follow up to this at some point in the future!

Spring cleaning

Hello dear readers. It’s been far too long. I’ve missed sharing with you.

I never intended to be silent for such a long time (I can’t believe it’s been three whole months since my last post) but time just ran away from me for one reason or another. On the one hand, I could say I ‘allowed’ myself to do a bit less, but on the other, I probably sacrificed myself for a while, as ‘doing ‘less’ for the past few months has ended up meaning doing less of the stuff that makes me… Well, me.

I have missed writing. I really have. I haven’t written anything more than a shopping list for 3 months and it feels like a part of me has been asleep, hibernating, perhaps. The recent change in weather seems to have woken up my muse, though, and she is itching to create, and to share.

I have mentioned my feelings about this time of year before. You could say that the new year doesn’t really start for me until the first signs of spring start to appear. That’s the time I start to think about change. New beginnings. I guess that’s kind of in keeping with Mother Nature, no? Not bad company to keep.

So, having let the recent sunshine spring clean my soul, I have finally got round to updating the look and feel of this blog to something a little cleaner, fresher. Because that’s where I’m at. As for the content? Well as its been so long, I have decided to start off with a week of small stones, to get me going. Starting Monday, I will post a small stone every weekday, and then do something different at the weekend. What, I don’t yet know. But I promise there will be something.

Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you back here next week!

Word of the Year 2009

Dear Readers,

I’ve taken a bit of a break this month, as you may have noticed, taking some time to catch up with friends over the holiday season because for me, that’s what this time of year is all about. 

This season is about reconnecting with those I love, so when I read that the Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year for 2009 was ‘unfriend,’ I was, well, disappointed.  Not by the fact that we have verbed a noun, that’s nothing new (‘google,’ anyone?), and doesn’t offend, but by the fact that 2009’s defining word is one that means cutting ties with friends (albeit online, on facebook, and perhaps only temporarily… but still).

So, I got to thinking about my friends, and what they are to me.  Friendships cannot be measured, and each relationship I have is different, but they are themes that apply to all of my friends.  I had started with a list (yes that’s right, I am a ‘list’ person. I have come to terms with this and you may see more lists here, in future) of what my friendships are not, e.g. My friends are not hateful, selfish, or likely to swim in my tears…  Then I thought, ‘Hold on, I’ve got this all wrong.’  So, here’s a list of what/who my friends are, which is much more rewarding to write:

My People:

Celebrate my successes

Commiserate my failures and continue to love me

Are interesting and interested in me

Are supportive

Have wide shoulders and endless tissues

Strong enough to hold me up when I stumble

Intuitive enough to have their arms out to catch me before I realise I’m about to fall

Know when I need them… And when I need to be alone

Inspire me

Reflect my light and brighten my dark

Love me

And so much more…


What’s your response to 2009’s word of the year?

Terry’s Taxi

Sometimes I meet people who can teach me so much in such a short space of time. For them, I might just be passing through… For me, these people can have a massive impact on what happens next in my life, and I never forget them. Terry is one of these people and I would like to share his story with you.

So, I was in Richmond on Sunday, running late for something, and in a fabulous mood. My day had started well, the sun was shining, and all was well with the world. Even TfL‘s weekend engineering works messing up my travel plans couldn’t get me down.

Having arrived at Richmond station, needing to be in Gunnersbury about half an hour before, I started out for the relevant bus stop, but something made me change my mind and opt instead for the luxury of a black cab for this short journey. I’m so glad I did, because had I got on the bus, I wouldn’t have had the pleasure of meeting Terry.

As I leaned into the cab to ask about the length and fare for my journey, I was struck by an effervesence not dissimilar to what I had already been feeling that morning, and somehow even lighter, like this was someone for whom life really was a breeze.

Terry and I had a chat about life and love, and although he came out with a lot of cliches, ‘Life’s too short,’ ‘There’s always someone worse off,’ ‘This isn’t a dress rehearsal,’ ‘You only get once shot at this,’ somehow, they didn’t seem like cliches coming from Terry, he really meant them, and really lived them. He told me about how he had lost both his brother and sister at a young age, and, rather than let the grief defeat him, it completely changed his outlook on life, made him want to grab it with both hands. He told me about how, after years of working for someone else, he had finally realised his dream of being his own boss, working when he wanted. He now works really hard when he feels like it, so that he can indulge his passion, taking himself off on holiday for at least two months of every year, thus making his work fit around his life, rather than the other way around.

I asked Terry if it had been difficult, learning The Knowledge. He really had to think about it, and as he did so, I noticed he kept chuckling to himself. ‘Yeah,’ he said, shrugging and shaking his head at the same time ‘I suppose it was… I used to get up at the crack of dawn and drive around all day…’ he trailed off and laughed. When I mentioned the research which shows that London’s Black Taxi drivers have a larger hippocampus after studying The Knowledge, his face lit up and he agreed, then told me about how it changed the way he accesses information. ‘I never forget a face,’ he said – then told me about a woman he had picked up once, and as soon as he saw her he remembered where she lived. This woman was shocked, as she hadn’t taken a taxi for several months ‘But once I’ve taken someone somewhere,’ explained Terry, ‘I never forget,’ thus demonstrating that his memory of faces has become closely linked with the map of London he has in his mind. Amazing.

The last words Terry and I exchanged were about his philosophy on life, which he said his father taught him:

‘As long as the rent is paid, and there’s food on the table, all that’s left to do it have fun!’

What great words to live by. The journey went all too quickly, and Terry’s laughter was still ringing in my ears well into the afternoon. I can almost hear it now.

I did ask Terry if he minded whether I wrote about him, and, if anything, he was just a little curious and said he didn’t mind at all.

Terry – if you happen to be reading this, thanks for keeping my energy high yesterday, and for reminding me what life should be all about. Mate, it’s clear to see, that not only do you truly love life, you really do LIVE every minute of it.