Worth a few clicks? I hope so.

So here goes with the somewhat generic welcome to yet another blog that claims to be ‘interesting, insightful and worthwhile.’ I will let you be the judge of that. In the meantime, all I am doing is talking about, posting and discussing things that I think are both trivial and important. If you have any questions or comments, please get in touch. If not, sit back, keep clicking and hopefully you’ll still be here a few clicks later.

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Cleaning up your act


The photo above was taken in Havana, Cuba. It is one of the most amazing, vibrant and interesting places I have ever visited. The colours, sounds and smells are everywhere with each street leading to a more intriguing one. Whilst wandering along one such street, we came across this man who was working hard to keep the city clean. The heat, especially in his overalls, would have been almost unbearable yet as we sat to grab some shade, he continued, making sure his job was done. I have no idea of this man’s history or circumstances and I would not presume to. For that reason, the words below are not in any way directed to this man. The photo in which he figures, for rather obvious reasons, simply  made me think of making mistakes and cleaning them up.

We all make mistakes. People do, companies do, even computers do. Sometimes these mistakes are huge and sometimes they are minor.  Whilst critics will relentlessly attack both individuals and companies who make mistakes, it is important to remember that few people make mistakes on purpose. Not for one second does that underestimate or belittle the ramifications of such mistakes but it is a necessary point to remember. It is all too easy to write someone off or judge them for one isolated moment or event. Surely people and companies must be judged on how they deal with their mistakes and how, if at all, they clean up their act. Is it better to punish someone forever for one wrong doing or better, perhaps, to reprimand them for their actions whilst encourage and promoting reform? I would argue the latter.

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The Elephant has just stepped outside

The Elephant in the Room is a well-known English idiom referring to an obvious truth that is being ignored or not properly addressed. This could be anything. Serious. Minor. Even something in between. Words like injustice, inequality, Africa and numerous others get banded about but does anything actually happen? Take poverty for example. If we think of poverty as an elephant, then it would be the world’s largest elephant in one of Ikea’s smallest rooms yet poverty is nothing new. In fact, this elephant has been around for almost as much time as to see a Wolly Mammoth; the predecessor to the elephant itself. Yet just as poverty remains, so too does the elephant, growing in size as politicians, commentators and members of the public talk about equality and ethics. As with all things that find themselves in small places for a long time, they are not easily removed. They cannot be simply erased from history with the signing of an agreement or conception of an idea. But they can be enticed outside, in the hope that one day, they may not be the infamous elephant in the room. Whilst others may appear in varying sizes, the more elephants we move outside the better. Nobody likes seeing a trapped elephant. Added to that, any additional brownie points with the WWO is always a good thing.

Recently I have become involved with an organisation that seeks to put the elephant outside. It does not pretend to change the planet or adopt any of the other Miss World attributes that are so commonly mentioned and sparingly achieved. It simply tries to acknowledge the size of the elephant in light of the fact that it exists in an increasingly smaller room.

It’s name is ElephantBranded and the idea is simple. One for One. You buy one ethically made, recycled bag or related product and we give one ergonomically designed school bag and kit to a child in Africa or Asia. Simple as that. We pay a fair, competitive wage to local villagers who make our bag out of locally sourced, recycled materials. Not only do they get a fair, reasonable wage but they also have the opportunity to learn valuable skills that permit them to have a sustainable, effective way to get out of poverty. Then we sell it to people like you. At this stage it gets exciting. Each bag has a unique number that enables you to see everything. All you have to do is to visit our website (we’re sending our first wave of bags now so it will all happen soon), type in the number and you can see who made your bag, where it comes from and then, most importantly, the little person who your donation bag has gone to. So far as we know, nobody else does that and it is something we are very proud of. For a better idea of what we are all about, please check out the video below or click on one of the links. The Elephant has just stepped outside. Now we have to keep him there.




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Life has been a bit busy recently but I’m back and I thought I’d share this video with you. Sometimes, we all need a little bit of inspiration. Maybe just to get that thing you need to do done. Maybe to do something bold and daring. Whatever it is, occasionally we just need some help. There is no shame in admitting that. This video offers some help. It is made by a group called Variable and is a collection of their 2012 work. I won’t write anything more about it but please take a minute to watch it. You won’t be disappointed. It’s amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it.

Source: wearevariable.com

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While The World Sleeps

This morning I found this video by Rishi Kaneria. Although it is short, it is incredible. Beautifully filmed with music by Hans Zimmer (anyone who has watched Gladiator will appreciate his talents) and words from Nehru, take 2 or 3 minutes out of your day to watch it. You won’t regret it.

Nehru was an academic, lawyer and political leader in India in 1930s and 1940s. He was officially designated as the political heir to Gandhi in 1942 and the words in this video are recordings of two of his most famous speeches: one on the eve of India’s independence and one referring to Gandhi’s death. Some parts of his speech are difficult to hear so here is part of the first speech. It’s amazing what happens while the world sleeps.

“At the stroke of the midnight hour, while the world sleeps, India will awaken to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.”

Source: http://vimeo.com/38284093

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Well played sun

The long commute home

There is a medical condition called SAD which stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder. People basically get sad because the weather is horrible and according to Wikipedia (must be correct), 9.7% of people in New Hampshire, USA suffer from it. Interesting stuff. I am not a scientist and I will never be one. My brain doesn’t work like that but it is amazing the effect the weather has even if I can’t understand it. Today, even though it is March in England, the sun is shining and it is warm. Although many people have huge amounts of work to do, people seem happier, more positive and less sad.  That has to be a good thing. All I am saying is enjoy the sun. It might not last that long and it stops you having a disorder called SAD.

The photo was taken in Northern Costa Rica in an area called Tortuguero. To get there, you have to take a bus, another bus, a boat and a huge amount of patience. After a 6 or 7 hour journey through the huge rainforest and waterways, we arrived in the evening to be greeted by this amazing sunset. These two men were just coming back from work (they use boats instead of cars or bikes) and it seemed a lot better than the tube or train. The only inhabitable land there was a 500 metre strip with the Pacific coast on one side and the rivers and rainforests on the other. On the sea side, the waves were massive and we were told, using the direct translation, that there were lots of sharks that wanted to eat us. On the rainforest side, again using the direct translation, there were hundreds of piranhas that fancied a nibble too. In spite of this, and as long as you have a boat, this place is amazing and the sun shining today reminded me of the sun setting over there. Enjoy.

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Mausi – Get a little Sol

For those of you that are looking out of the window looking at clouds and wishing the summer was around the corner, this song from Mausi may help. As I type, the sun is well and truly hidden, escaping from sight behind massive and angry looking clouds. Not good and I want it back. Over the next few months, it should begin to make a few more appearances on weather forecasts nationwide. Until it does, sit back, and enjoy a bit of Sol from Mausi. You may just find yourself on a beach, at a cafe sitting in the sun or just chilling in the garden far away from a cold day in March in England.

Source: http://vimeo.com/27889463

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Around the world in 80 beaches

I’ve always loved the sea. Its power is immense, it has waves and it has fish. It also happens to be best friends with the beach, someone I am also very close to. From a young age, I’ve spent many a day getting to know the sea and have found it at times welcoming and at times incredibly unpleasant. Unpredictability is a good thing though. There is something very intriguing about it. I have to say that as an Englishman, the sea tends to be rather unpleasant, constantly trying to batter anything in its path. If you want to see this in action, head to the Cornish coast. Whilst its cliffs and rocks protect the land from the relentless attack of the sea, people from far and wide enjoy the waves that all the commotion creates.

Over the course of the next few weeks and months, I’m going to post a few sets of photos taken from various beaches and seas from my travels. Some will be of the sea, some will be of the beach and some will be of the people and animal that venture between the two. This one starts at home in a place loved by the British but unknown to most of the world; Cornwall.

Here, the sea is cold, angry and hostile but also incredibly beautiful, Due to this, surfers flock in their thousands to ride the waves that are some of the best that the British Isles have to offer.

For those who value warmth and aren’t massive fans of pneumonia, wetsuits are vital. Those who don’t are brave men and women who also happen to be slightly mad. Whoever they are, those that venture into the waves appear to love it and why wouldn’t they in such amazing settings.

For those of you that haven’t been to Cornwall then go. For those that already have, I’m sure you’ll be back again.

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Keep Your Head Up

Sometimes things don’t go to plan. You prepare correctly. You train hard. Sadly on the day, Lady Luck decides to be difficult. It is often incredibly annoying but everyone knows that life sometimes decides to be like that. The issue is how you deal with it. This weekend, Lady Luck had a massive argument with a friend and I whilst running the Bath Half Marathon. Firstly, she decided to make it very hot (way hotter than it normally is in March). Then she decided to give my friend horrific cramps in almost every part of his leg after mile 4. With 9 miles to go, we thought that was pretty unfair. She’d obviously got out of bed the wrong side and was grumpy. Anyway, as it was sunny, we decided to venture on and we did it. Our times were much slower than we’d hoped for but sometimes these things happen. Simple as that. We raised what we wanted for charity, enjoyed the atmosphere and instead of being overly friendly with the nurses and ambulance crews monitoring the race, we chatted to the Lucozade and water stations and soldiered on. Often, when Lady Luck is a pain, it is easy to give up and let her win. If you do, that’s fine but if you don’t then it is a million times better. Our example is a very small one but if you take it and use it in life’s tougher challenges then it is a good one to remember. Keep your head up and crack on. Life is too short not too.

Source: http://vimeo.com/27616639 (As anyone who follows this blog will know, I am a big fan of Ben Howard. Enjoy the song and enjoy the video too. Definitely worth a watch!)

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Taking the plunge

Diving in at the deep end is always pretty scary. Especially if it’s at the bottom of a waterfall and you can’t see the bottom. In spite of this, when you do, it is normally worth it. From my experience, it tends to be pretty exciting and it’s always easier than you think.

The photos in this post were taken on my trip to Costa Rica. I was living with a family in the Northern part of the country and, as it was such a nice day, Oliver and I decided to go exploring with some friends. We were told about this place by some locals and after a long and arduous trek, we stumbled upon this amazing waterfall. The Costa Ricans used it as their version of a public swimming pool. Definitely much better than the one where I live in England. We spent the day there, chilling with the others and venturing under the powerful falls.

For the locals, especially the younger men, it appeared to be a thing of great status to stand under the water as it came crashing down. It seemed to be particularly impressive for the ladies watching. For the slightly older men, I think they saw it as a free bath, using the water to have a good scrub. They do say natural water works wonders.

Eventually after lots of posing and attempting to attract the girls, the younger men decided to take the plunge. The girls smiled and we, as the international boys, were all pretty jealous. I guess it just shows that most of the time,taking the plunge is worth it. In this case, the benefits were smiles and attention from some very pretty locals but the idea remains the same for almost any situation. When things seem scary, they’re almost always exciting too. Instead of playing it safe in the shallow end, maybe people should take the plunge and be a little more daring. You might just enjoy it. I know the guy below did.

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A little duet

A Parisian Duet

Duet. Two people doing something. Normally involving music I think. In my mind, it also seems to be to do with closeness and love but that may just be me.  The person who rights the dictionary would probably tell me off. Luckily I reckon I’d get over it. The photo above was taken when I was living (albeit briefly) in Paris. It is of what I presume to be a couple, who I happened to be behind when waiting to cross the road. He was obviously in the bad books. His hands alone show a man protesting innocence. Yet her face, with a very small hint of a smile, leads me to believe that this man was already proven innocent in her mind. They seemed, in a very Parisian way, to be performing their own Parisian duet not only for themselves but also for people like me. I was a happy spectator and, placing my camera as subtly as possible on my hip, managed to take this photo.

As the traffic raced by the duet continued. The man, still unsure if he was forgiven for what he had done, kept spouting forth with big gestures and meaningful words. The woman waited and watched. Always reserved and always calm. As the cars slowed and the little red man decided to change his clothes for something greener they started to cross the road. By the time they got to the other side, their duet was coming to an end and the grande finale was looming. The very small hint of a smile turned into a massive unsubtle full blown grin and, with a big kiss (luckily not that French), the duet came to a close.

After a busy day at work, I still remember (and it was several years ago) smiling as I saw this. It remains one of my favorite duets and reminds me of how amazing real world duets can be. Those little moments are what memories are all about. Somewhat strangely, the video below is for an app that encourages one to one communication. It is called Duet and was made by Crush + Lovely. I stumbled upon it the other day and, like all duets, it shows the closeness and love that make them so special. Enjoy.

Source: http://vimeo.com/32088268

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