Category Archives: Uncategorized

What soundtrack would you put together for your life?………..Part One

If for some inexplicable reason Hollywood were to come knocking on your door, 😉?

For this part, mine would start with, Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, the first record we were given after receiving a record player. And it was played simply because our record collection was so small, though curiously it did grow on us.

Though we then moved on to a succession of ‘Top of the Pops’ albums, which seemed such good value for money in the late seventies.

Pittabread 1 August 2017

Then from my school days I would include:

Bohemian Rhapsody, by Queen I remember it coming out as a mega record when I was at school. Something so completely different and memorable.

Something from Grease – we all wanted those tight black trousers, despite our Head’s warning about the dangers of ‘ changing ourselves to fit in‘ – she may just as well of ‘whistled in the wind’. We just wanted those trousers.

Master Blaster Jamming, from Stevie Wonder’s Hotter than July album, takes me straight back to messing about and jumping around in the common room at the college where I was doing my A Levels.  I loved the joy and excitement of not being at school.

Walk under Ladders and Me, Myself I, by Joan Armatrading – reminds me of the two people who introduced me to her music, at college. One of which offered me the most forthright and insightful piece of career advice I have ever received when I revealed that I was considering a career in forensic science.

Oh, you don’t want to be bothering with all that Janice, all you are going to do is end up dealing with sh** and stuff.”  And that was enough to put me off.

Madonna, to this day my sister B, struggles with Madonna as I rocked up home for the Summer holidays from Hatfield Polytechnic as it was then and literally played Madonna, morning, noon and night. By the time I left, B had had more than enough.

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Skipping forward a little to my late twenties, early thirties

Show Me Love, by Robin S. – takes me back to my clubbing days, there was a time I could go out clubbing in the middle of the week and still get up for work the next morning. Absolutely no chance of this happening now, but still reminds me that you can take the girl out of the club, but not quite get the club out of the girl or woman.

And for the moment, I’m going to finish with, Waves by Mr Probz, the song my daughter picked out as the soundtrack to the family video, she put together, which brilliantly captures the two weeks the six of us spent in Runaway Bay, Jamaica in 2016.

Should Hollywood ever come knocking, I’ll let you know 😉

Until next time

Janice Taylor

www.blueskycareerconsulting.co.uk

Mum, ‘stop filling in the blanks!’……..

I first wrote about being a mum in September 2014 and again in July 2016, this is going to be an ongoing theme as I am the parent of a ‘teenager’.

We are entering new territory and it must be said, my parenting style varies from having ‘Rapunzel’ like moments when I want to keep her locked up in a tower until she ‘comes of age’ to ‘you’re getting older now, why can’t you just get on with this.’

Neither stances are particularly helpful, but honestly, I don’t always manage to maintain a calm, consistent and graceful approach to parenting. Sometimes I’m shouty, illogical and inconsistent, largely through anxiety and fear for the future.

Isobel on beach 2016

Like many others I don’t always achieve the right balance….

So, my clever and resourceful daughter has found a way to help me with this, by using the following phrase:

‘Mum, stop filling in the blanks!’………..

Much as it pains me to say this, but this apt response from my daughter, is enough to stop me ‘dead in my tracks’.

It stops me each time I rush to give my reaction – before she has even had a chance to think about and respond to a question, a request, an observation just about anything really.

Ironic as I coach for a living, but hey ho 😉

Am sometimes, just a bit too quick to jump in with what I imagine or think she is going to say. This would not be acceptable in coaching, so certainly don’t need to be doing this as a parent.

It is quite shocking how much I can do this as a parent- I’ve already created a scenario in my head and voiced my irritation, frustration, or conclusions to it before she has even said anything.

In other words, I’ve already filled in the blanks………

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But since my daughter started using this phrase, I have been reminded to stop, as it so beautifully describes what I have been in the habit of doing.

I’m not alone in this, I’m sure but it seems to me that it is often our habitual responses that can cause problems in our interactions with our children.

Now I need to learn to take a breath, count to ten and listen to what is being said, before I go rushing in.

And I certainly, need to go back and revise my sessions in mindful parenting.

So, there you have it, until next time.

Pittabread

www.blueskycareerconsulting.co.uk

PS, before anyone asks, my husband might well say the same too, but less worried about that 😉

The love triangle ……………

Now I have your attention, this is a story about the three ducks we had in our garden as children, Bill, Jemima and Gertrude.

Jemima was named after one of the toys featured on the BBC’s children’s programme, Play School, presented for many years by the late Brian Cant.

Though for the life of me I cannot remember how we came by Gertrude, and Bill was always going to be just Bill.

Anyway, back to my tale of unrequited love and ducks.

Pittabread July 1 2017

I remember returning home, after a weekend away to find three Khaki Campbell ducks installed in the garden.  My initial excitement at their arrival very quickly turned to dismay, when I realised that we (my sisters and I) would be responsible for collecting the eggs every day and cleaning out their hutch.

Out of all the animals we had when growing up these were the ones I disliked the most, well apart from the African Grey parrot but that’s another story.

They certainly, brought out the ‘Margot’ in me, for those of you who remember the ‘Good Life. I could never just shove my head in to look and grab the eggs. I wasted a lot of time holding my nose and groping around with my hand. Anything to avoid having to look inside.

It was bad enough having to collect eggs from an incredibly ‘smelly’ hutch and I still have the urge to ‘heave’ whenever I think about it.

 But then we didn’t see or eat a hen’s egg for years. 

To this day I cannot stomach duck’s eggs and never understood why we just didn’t get some chickens?

Anyway, back to the love triangle, the one consolation I used to get was watching our three ducks chase each other around in circles as it very quickly became clear that Bill had his eye on one of the ducks, let’s say for the sake of argument, Jemima.

However, unfortunately for Bill, Jemima was not in the least bit interested but Gertrude certainly was.

So, poor Bill used to spend a lot of his time and energy chasing Jemima around the garden whilst in turn being chased by Gertrude.
Pittabread July 2 2017

Don’t think this ‘drama’ was ever fully resolved the whole time they were with us.

In fact, they may well have been still chasing each other around in circles by the time I left home to study.

I think in the end they ended their days in an animal sanctuary after mum decided enough was enough. It was time for them to go.

So, there you have it.

Until next time

Pittabread

Janice Taylor

www.blueskycareerconsulting.co.uk

 

Travels around Italy with the best coach driver ever…

This story goes back to a time when I was in my late twenties and an advert for a coach trip to Italy, caught my eye.

I remember feeling a bit down and in need of a ‘pick me up’ so after a quick call to my sister two places were booked for the week-long coach trip.

Along with our ‘girlie’ holiday to Fuengirola this Italian coach trip turned out to be one of the funniest trips I have ever taken. From the pristine coach and it’s ‘caring’ driver through to the toilet that not one of us was ever allowed to use.

I cannot imagine putting up with this now.

Pittabread June 2017

But at the time we took this to be part of the trip and it became a ‘running’ joke amongst us holiday makers.

Certainly, remember the Venezuelan couple and their expression ‘Prego’ – which we adopted and used whenever the driver said no to someone using the loo, eating food, stopping to use facilities, just about anything really.

Though it was not so amusing when due to our late arrival at our first ‘official’ stop we were then not allowed to use the available facilities. We ended up having to go and use a nearby field in the dark. Still can’t quite believe we just went along with this as a group, especially as we had such a mix of ages amongst us.

It was a miracle that we didn’t leave anyone behind in the dark and even luckier we didn’t step in anything and bring it back onto the ‘blessed’ coach.  This was our first clue about the character of our driver who appeared to me to be doing everything for own his comfort and ease, with little or no  care for his passengers.

He clearly didn’t want to clean the toilets, didn’t want to clean the bus so no food was ever allowed on the coach. The coach radio only came on at the times he wanted. I’m sure extra stops were added in, to places where he got a cut of the takings.  Which might explain why we were so late for our first ‘official’ stop. He then had the almighty cheek to expect a sizeable tip at the end of the trip. It wasn’t happening.

But despite all this it was still a fantastic trip.  We travelled, to Florence, Venice and Rome for me the first time ever. This one trip made me determined to return to Rome (which is another story) helped by a great host who knew her stuff and could bring the history to life.

Pittabread 2 May 2017

We also met up with another group of women similar in age to us along with the Venezuelan couple. People with humour and fun and who shared our love for the coach driver.

And the trip did the trick it picked me up and gave me a new sense of optimism and perspective.

I notice this is something I have tended to do over my life, if feeling a bit ‘stuck’ for right or wrong I like to take action, either in the form of new study, travel or a hobby.

I find I like ‘shaking things up and getting a fresh perspective.

So, there you have it, until next time.

Pittabread

Janice Taylor

www.blueskycareerconsulting.co.uk

Would you do this, if someone washed up on a beach?……

It’s been just over a year since our second trip to Jamaica, and this little episode still makes me smile every time I think about it and it’s all to do with our snorkelling trip.

Three of us out of a party of six ended up washed up on the beach, okay I am exaggerating a little here. But the three of us, me, my daughter and my sister Jackie did get picked up by another boat so we could reach dry land about 40 minutes or so into our snorkelling trip.

Pittabread May 2017 1

To be fair Jackie was there providing moral support, as my daughter after the ten-minute journey on the speedboat to our snorkelling location flatly refused to get back onto it. I on the other hand after twenty minutes or so in the sea was flatly refusing to get off it. Neither of us had enjoyed the boat ride and the less said about the actual snorkelling the better.

Our brilliant guide, could see that we needed to get back to land. However, he was stuck between a rock and a hard place, as my other sister and her son were blissfully scuba diving beneath us.

He had no choice but to hail a passing boat and ask the owner to take the three of us back.

As it was not practically possible for our kind ‘rescuer’ to take us right up to the beach, the three of us had to wade the last few metres towards land.

My daughter, and sister Jackie weren’t too bad and were ‘more or less’ okay, by the time they reached the beach. I, on the other hand was still not so good and was far more shaken up than I realised. So much so that I didn’t notice, that I was being whistled and waved at by one of the holiday makers on the beach.

In my rather dazed state it took me a while to notice the woman, waving her camera at me and summoning me to take her picture.

With water, mucous and everything else streaming from my eyes and nose, I did manage to take a few snaps with the camera on her phone. As I then attempted to hand her camera back, she gestured ‘no, no’ as she wanted a few more shots of herself ‘posing’ by the sea edge and I just continued snapping away.

I doubt very much that they came out particularly well, but not sure I really care.

But it makes me laugh, that this woman who appeared to be completely oblivious to my state, was so focused on getting a few snaps of herself. Of all the people on the beach to ask, why me?

Still, she did say thank you, and seemed pleased with the results, but of all the things I would think to do as I watched someone emerging traumatised from the sea, asking them to take a holiday snap is not one of them.

So there you have it, until next time.

Pittabread

www.blue-sky-career-consulting.co.uk

My big ‘Bad Education’ ……..

Who are the teachers that you really remember from your school days, the good, the bad and the sometimes indifferent?

This is the question I asked myself, after recently watching the very final episode of the superb ‘Bad Education’, with Jack Whitehall and the rest of the amazing cast of teachers and school children.

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So, from my days at primary school, I remember Miss S, who so effectively taught me to read – once it had been discovered, that I’d somehow reached junior school age without being able to read properly.

However, once the school realised, there was no ‘messing about’, I was ‘yanked out’ of classes and placed with Miss S – until it was sorted. I cannot remember how long it took – but thank God, it was rectified before I left Junior school.

Must admit I don’t remember much warmth and empathy from Miss S, but I thank her for teaching me to read properly and using the time effectively to get me up to speed.

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Jumping forward now to secondary school, the next teacher I distinctly remember is my ‘O’ Level maths teacher, Mr H.

Particularly the day, that our tall rather ‘gangly’ looking Mr H, suddenly disappeared from view as he slipped and fell.

I can recall, the shocked silence, and then his good-natured response to the one person who could not contain her mirth and whose laughter was the first to burst forth. Namely, me.

Who else remembers science lessons, where you were allowed and encouraged to use equipment, such as Bunsen burners? I remember watching enthralled as a piece of sodium or maybe it was potassium ‘fizzed’ around in a bucket of water.

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Moving forward a few years, I remember Dr P. – our ‘A’ Level physics teacher, we all had a bit of a crush on him and were a bit in ‘awe’. I also remember his ‘THINK’ scrawled in big red letters across one of my early assignments. Clearly I wasn’t, thinking at that time.

Still Dr P. – got me successfully through an A ‘level syllabus, as did Dr G my chemistry teacher.

Not without some controversy mind, as I also remember ‘storming’ out of one of Dr G’s ‘chemistry’ tutorials.  He is the one teacher – I’d quite like to go back to and ‘wave’ or perhaps more truthfully, ‘shove’ my subsequent qualifications, up ‘where the sun doesn’t shine’.

It may well take a few more years, before I can emulate Elsa, from Frozen and ‘Let that one go’. I’m not bitter ;).

But that’s a whole other story.

So, who are the teachers you remember, with love and respect or maybe otherwise?

Until next time

Pittabread

www.blueskycareerconsulting.co.uk

 

My Marilyn moment…………

This whole incident, still makes me laugh to this day, just one of many silly and funny things that happened in my life before marriage and motherhood. Its good I think at times to share and remember some of the silly, reckless and sometimes risky things you did in your past. The silly situations you found yourself in and to be thankful for the times when things worked out and to learn from those when they didn’t.

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Today’s title is a reference to the iconic scene in the 1955 Marilyn Monroe film ‘The Seven Year Itch’ and happened to me sometime in the mid-eighties. That’s probably about as specific as I’m prepared to get with regards to this event.

A group of us were in Paris to celebrate the wedding of a friend, and to attend a ball. I can’t quite recall how all this came about, how arrangements were made, tickets booked, but somehow we all ended up staying in different locations throughout our stay.

In any case on the night of the ball, I ended up in one place and most of my belongings in another. So, in the morning I didn’t have a huge choice of things to wear and one of the things that hadn’t quite made it across was my underwear.

I was in one location, my clean underwear in another…..

Still, luckily for me I had a long skirt to hand and one reasonable top, so undeterred I got dressed and set off with the others. Reasoning that if I was careful, everything would be okay, all I needed to do was to ensure my skirt stayed down and didn’t blow upwards.  I could sort myself out as soon as we returned to the flat where we had initially ‘set up camp’. I was hoping that after a bit of lunch we would head back to the apartment and I would be reunited with a clean pair of pants.

Unfortunately, for me at least our French hosts were very keen to show us the city and it was going to be some while before we could head back to the flat. I did notice some sideways ‘glances’ as my hand never strayed far from my skirt. I was very diligent in making sure it stayed in place.

This went on for a few hours, me making appreciative noises and small talk in my very limited French, while all the while making sure that my hand remained permanently ‘glued’ to my skirt.

So, I was mightily relieved when someone, at long last suggested that we were so close to the flat that we may as well head back. All we needed to do was cross the road and we’d be ‘home’.

‘Great, wonderful’ I thought and in my relief and haste I stepped without thinking onto an air vent right in the middle of the road.

To this day I don’t know why I didn’t just step calmly off the vent, that’s all I needed to do really. Luckily the one other person who understood and knew what was going on, had the sense to drag me off before any damage was done.

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Again, I can only surmise that our French hosts were somewhat mystified by this strange behaviour and hurried to get us back to the flat.

And once I’d been reunited with my clean underwear, I and my ‘friend’ explained the situation to our hosts amongst much laughter, coffee and maybe some wine.

So, there you have it, an unusual end to our trip to Paris.

Until next time

Janice Taylor

www.blueskycareerconsulting.co.uk

PS Incidentally, it was quite some years later, that my ‘husband to be’, proposed in Paris.