Reflections…One Year On

Around this time last year, I wasn’t feeling particularly great. I decided, purely on a whim, to escape the dark recesses of an English winter and fly abroad for a holiday. This I hadn’t done since 2009. Last year, I remember going into the travel agents and booking myself a week at the lovely hotel pictured, in the gorgeous Canary Island of Fuerteventura.

Looking back, it’s something I didn’t regret doing for one moment. A little bit of impulse, a bit of inspiration, and then before I knew it, I was at Stansted Airport on a cold January morning ready for an incredible adventure.

What about this winter? Well, you see last year’s trip was a one off, a hunch. This time around, though I don’t feel quite as bad as last year, there isn’t quite that desire or impulse to fly off to warmer climes. Maybe I might fly abroad during the summer, but doing something like last year’s trip makes it all the more sweeter. Waiting a few years for the next one would make me look forward to it. But I’ll always remember that fantastic island in the eastern Atlantic, memories that will always stay with me.

Allen Brooks xx

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Ice Ice Baby….

Back to volunteering today at the national mental health charity I’ve just joined. Despite the odd technical hitch, it went very well and I managed to get a fair bit of work done, which was pleasing.

Another very cold day in London Town too. Ice everywhere, but despite that it was cheerful, bright and crisp, as you know my favourite winter weather type, so that shook me from a certain early morning fuzziness. Great to get out and enjoy these clear, bright days.

Back on track…and things seem to have settled down after a week where it was sheer madness. The Christmas season is passing me by, but I don’t seem to have those winter blues….yet. It’s all quite rosy at present.

See ya

Allen Brooks xx

Brrrrrritain in the freezer….

Hello. Today’s winter weather offering is the sort I like. Clear, cold, crisp, sunny. Perfect for wrapping yourself up in a warm coat, scarf and hat and getting out for a while.

It’s not like that everywhere. Britain being an island, there are wide variations in the weather. Some parts are deep in snow. Snow, I hear you cry? Yes, that white powdery stuff that falls in winter and renders the UK powerless and helpless. Other countries like Finland, Switzerland and Canada get more snow than we do and yet they cope. The UK though doing what it does best when something goes slightly wrong; panic like mad.

So if it’s clear and cold where you are, go out and enjoy it. If it’s snowing where you are, also get out and enjoy it. It’ll be gone in a few days time. The freezing cold helps to kill off germs and flu bugs, so I’m always glad when it arrives. Far better than that grey, rainy, damp muck that has been the weather type for much of this week. Just a personal preference!

Allen Brooks xx

My first….umpiring decision

1987. My first year of umpiring cricket. I was only 14 years of age at the time, but fancied donning the white coat and enjoying some cricket.

My first ever decision, you may or may not be surprised to hear, was a wrong one. It was my schools cricket trials day. Loads of lads of similar age were taking part in a practice match to ascertain whether they were good enough to play for the school team.

I enthusiastically made myself available to umpire and my first ever decision was to adjudge a lad leg before wicket to a ball pitching a foot outside leg stump. This of course was incorrect, and the lad in question made sure I knew I had cost him a place in the school team. His Dad was an umpire, and no doubt would have revelled in my misfortune.

I like to think I have got better at decision making on the cricket field over the years! But 30 years ago, I started with a mistake. To err is human, to forgive is divine, and I think I’ve been forgiven quite a lot down the years. I wonder where the poor unfortunate batsman I gave out wrongly is now?

Allen Brooks xx

Stating the bleeding obvious…..

Now it’s Winter here in the UK. It’s the 30th of November. It gets cold in winter. It has been known to snow, you know that white powdery stuff that reduces the nation to a gibbering panic every time it falls.

That doesn’t stop the news channels and online portals reporting that snow has fallen in eastern parts of the UK today. WOWEE! Whatever next. Extraordinary happenings. It’s cold and it’s snowed. Get over it people.

Well at least it stops us thinking about Royal Weddings or the insane dribbling of Donald J. Trump for a while. Pick a non news story and make it into something newsworthy.

In future days, I can foresee some similar earth shattering headlines, for example:-

THE WORLD IS ROUND

NIGHT FOLLOWS DAY

YOU CAN WALK BY PUTTING ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER…

and other such patently obvious things that appeals to people’s sense of the trivial and unimportant.

Rant over…

Allen Brooks xx

Tussles with Technology….

It’s been one of those days when small technological things have gone wrong, trying to throw me off my equilibrium.

First I had a problem with the entry key for the building where I volunteer after it corrected itself last week. Then the wonderful (not) operating system called Windows 10 decided to perform an update while I was trying to access my work emails. Then I had an agonising wait while the damn computer performed the update and came back on. Nightmare.

To complete the tale of technology woe, the office shredder decided to not shred some documents. Despite pressing the forward and reverse buttons several times, the wretched thing wasn’t for budging. I resorted to my own shredding, by ripping up the documents myself and chucking them in the bin.

Oh I nearly forgot, one ear of my IPhone earphones decides to pack up, so I had to buy some new ones. Technology in the 21st Century eh? You can’t beat it for its unreliability.

The rest of the volunteering went well, and I got invited to a bit of lunch with some of the senior members of staff. To say it was an interesting lunch was an understatement. Lots of off the wall humour and good banter. I look forward to the next one! What I will say is that the rest of the staff at the new place have been nothing but welcoming and pleasant towards me. I hope I can keep up those early good impressions.

So that’s the day. Lots of people walking round in thick coats, woolly hats, scarves and gloves. Winter has arrived in London and it is jolly cold, albeit bright, which is my preferred type of winter weather. I wouldn’t be surprised if the cold has caused all the malfunctions today. Mother told me there would be days like this….

Allen Brooks xx

Royal Celebrations…

On a day when it has been announced that Prince Harry is to get married next year, some memories have been evoked of royal celebrations when I was a child.

First of all, June 1977. I still have the pictures to prove how much of a munchkin I was at the age of 4. The whole estate where I lived had a party in the playground to celebrate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. I remember the day being typically summer like, cool and damp, and I also remember dashing in and out of the stalls and tables that were diligently laid out. Mother was there to keep an eye on me, and she must have felt the cold too as she had a big coat on. It was a joyous celebration for the reigning monarch, and everyone had a good time.

Fast forward to July 1981, and a hot afternoon saw the estate’s mass of humanity turn out for another royal celebration. It was the wedding of Charles and Diana. Another joyous day and I was eight years old then. No need for warm coats and anoraks that day, it was blissful and the country was in a state of celebration anyway. The England cricket team were on their way to a momentous Ashes triumph versus the old enemy Australia.

Also that year, we had gone on holiday to Eastbourne and all was well with the Brooks household…..until another fateful day later that summer. More later.

Allen Brooks xx