Isn’t it wonderful when the world delivers…

18.01.2014 – this morning, I’ve woken up and checked my emails, only to find one from Secret Escapes, in which it talks about things to do ( and not to do) in Venice. Perfect timing this, as we are off to Venice in three weeks.

Although we’ve been to Venice many times before and know the city reasonably well, it is such a labyrinth that there is simply loads to do, with jewels around virtually every corner. Within the article, there was a couple of things that caught my eye – a visit to one of the palaces on the Grand Canal – we stay in one of them the Gritti Palace, but it will be great to see one in its original splendour. Another recommendation is to go to the opera. We’ve been to a Vivaldi concert before but an opera sounds good so let’s mark that down.

I’m looking forward to our four days/ three nights in Venice. It’s such a special place. From the moment you get off the place and onto the water taxi, it feels that you are in the middle of a film set. I just love wandering around, sitting down in one of the many caf├ęs and simply watch the world go by.

Can’t wait!

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James Cracknell life story

15.01.2014. Funny how things happen. I mentioned yesterday that a family member was undergoing a massive brain operation, which in the end lasted 11 hours. Tonight, I switched on the TV and started to watch a programme on James Cracknell, the UK Olympian who 3 years ago endured an horrific accident that caused massive brain damage.

If you get the chance to see the programme, you should do so, as it is inspirational, not just in terms of what he has achieved after the accident but for his sheer focus on goals and challenges throughout his life. It provides a real insight into the mindset of a professional athlete, something that most of us can only just imagine, much less achieve.

I have no doubt whatsoever that he is alive today and appears to be enjoying life to the full again, because of this absolute focus and belief.

A long walk to freedom…

4.1.2013. Just got back from watching a great film, Mandela, a long walk to freedom.

We took our youngest daughter, not sure whether she would remain interested in what is a long film – her response on the way back – “what a great film”. I couldn’t say it better myself.

The story is well known but the film does well to pull over 50 years of history into 2.5 hours, keeping the momentum but creating some touching moments. The photography is great and made me feel that I need to put South Africa on the list of places to visit.

So, the question is whether it is an Oscar winning performance but then again what makes an Oscar winning performance? I think that the performance from Idris Elba is very good, very believable so he would certainly get my vote.

Towards a simple life….

12/12/13 – We are fast approaching that time of the year when all hell breaks loose and families are thrown together for a feast of jollity. No wonder the divorce rate goes up. Expectations are set way to high, fuelled by the media promoted vision of the great family Christmas.

I think it’s all gone way too far and I’m striving to go back to a simpler world, where the important things matter. Not how many presents you’ve got, or whether your presents are more expensive than mine. No, a simpler existence where we celebrate the time together, think about the good times and look ahead to the many good times ahead. Oh and watch the Queen!

I’ve started this move to a simpler life today actually, by moving on a couple of lease cars. The cars were lovely, but expensive and in reality were more about the image that they portrayed than anything else. I’ve replaced them with a couple of older vehicles that will do what I need them to do, in comfort and will over the course of the next few years, lose very little in value.

I sense that this desire for a simpler life is becoming more relevant these days, or is it just that I’ve reached an age when it suddenly hits you that the ‘things’ don’t matter – it’s the experiences that really count.

So, I turned off the PC, sat down and watched a great film with my daughter snuggled up on the couch – it was great! The feeling and the film. Interestingly, the film was all about the realisation that you become what you become through experiences and not the things have you have. There is a great line in the film – the number of gold medals that you win does not make the man. By the way, the film – Cool Runnings. I’ve watched it many times and it’s still funny, still a great story and still inspirational.