The Stiff Upper Lip




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It was only three weeks, but it felt an age. For me, a relative nobody in the grand scheme of the events of 22nd August, it has been a time of emotion and reflection, for the friends and family of the 11 souls lost, it must’ve seemed a lifetime.

The first home match since the Shoreham Airshow disaster was a time for everyone to pay their respects, celebrate lives cut tragically short, and begin to move on.

The club had requested a 2.30pm seat arrival in order for proceedings to begin. I have never seen the ground fill with such speed before. The screen tribute to Matt Grimstone and Jacob Schilt was perfect. The tone was correct, the timing spot on. My tears began to fall after about 20 seconds. Standing on my own, I felt daft, but looking at those around me, I was not alone.

From the stereotypical beer-swilling, well-built football fan to the dads with their young children  all were shedding the same tears. Compelled by the intensity of feeling emanating from every stand around the stadium, the silence was loud. The British stiff upper lip had cracked.

A beautiful rendition of ‘Abide with me’ was sung, words on the big screen for participation… was too hard to do. Cards in the East Stand turned to create the much-maligned ‘together’ slogan that the club have used as their call to action this season, a slogan that couldn’t have been more apt.

Giant shirts, wreaths, candles, flowers, banners….. and Sussex by the Sea.

It was a moving time in our history, a time where the county, the people, the emergency services and the club have all pulled ‘together’. United in shock, grief and understanding. I hope that for the families and friends, they could take some small comfort in the collective consciousness of respect shown.

So.. for me who likes to write about happiness, where does that come into play in all this?

Maybe…’accept what is, let go of what was and have faith in what will be.’

Out of something so dark and devastating has come something so amazingly powerful and beautiful.

See Miracles In Life Everyday

Proud to be a Brit.

Proud to come from Sussex.

Proud to be part of the whole football family.

Proud to belong to Brighton and Hove Albion.

Dream BIG, sparkle MORE, shine BRIGHTLY

Money, money, money

I settled down to watch dear Anne Robinson investigate the nation’s spending habits.

From the mega rich to those living off of the streets, how we view money often shapes modern-day life. Keeping up with the Joneses was the phrase I heard a lot of when I was growing up. The 80’s was my era – the fads and trends of Lois Jeans, Lacoste polo shirts, Ocean Pacific t-shirts, Sergio Tacchini tracksuit tops and of course the branded trainer. I reflect back to those days and think (apart from the actual fashion faux pas) I am glad I am not a teenager in today’s world.  The inherent need to have the best seems to have magnified a million times from my school days.  In the age of clothing that MUST be of a particular high-end name, owning tech of a certain status, how can the teenagers of today understand that happiness isn’t bought?

WIth all his wealth, businessman John Caudwell sitting in his 90 million mansion,  when asked to measure his happiness, he said ‘not very’ as life events have shaped how he sees life.  Despite all the money and lavishness he admits that it is the lack of a partner that dictates why happiness is missing.  He has spent, can spend on whatever he wishes, but as John stated, ‘money doesn’t buy you happiness.’

The sugar-rush of buying fills the void that is missing for many.  Just like chocolate, alcohol and cigarettes, a splurge on the high street is a drug, a drug that may well be the biggest ‘narcotic’ of the modern age. How many of us have a wardrobe filled with clothing that have not seen the light of day?  Despite the total waste of money, the throwaway society we live in sees the masses move on to the next ‘must have’ fairly quickly.  As a nation we are not yet content.

Happiness comes in many forms. For some being happy is in the longevity of being in a loving, stable environment, for others it is the more fleeting moments afforded by spending.

If more of us were able to find that longevity maybe our bank balances would be happy too?

Happiness is not a destination, it is a frame of mind.

See Miracles In Life Everyday

Dream BIG, Sparkle MORE, Shine BRIGHTLY

Recharge and re-engage


Beautiful sky and blue ocean

We are shaped by our environments, where we grew up and the choices we make about where we live. If you are lucky enough to not to be tied to a place of residence due to work convenience, then where would you CHOOSE to be?

I am very grateful to have been born by the sea. It featured heavily in my childhood as my grandparents lived within a five minute walk of the beach and river. Memories of making sandcastles that were disastrous and seawater that had the exotic temperature just shy of the Arctic!  Nan reaching for the towel to complete the cringing and painful task of eradicating those pesky granules of sand hidden in the depths between my toes… ouch.   The stroll back home via the ice cream kiosk and a dark chocolate choc ice wrapped seductively in golden, shiny paper….bliss.

As a teenager, the seafront held a different fascination – boys! Boys arriving from afar to partake in the funfair. Heaven on a plate. All within eyesight of the sea. The sea that evokes these happy memories of a bygone era.  A sea that I know I take for granted. Unlike friends, grandparents and family, the sea that will always be there despite my age and failings.

It has been used as a venue for re-treat.  The lonely walk along the prom, the seat on the stones and the watching of the ebb and flow of nature, controlled by the all-powerful pull of the moon. Whether the tide was in and crashing or out and glistening in the distance, the impact has always been the same for me.  Despite woes of problems, love lost or decisions to be thought through, the space created by the sea in my head is vast. It expands my brain and allows insight and acceptance. It energises and entertains.  However I feel sitting down, has always altered by the time I stand up.

The sheer awesome power of nature almost overwhelms the ineffectual presence of the human.  But it is MY place to recharge and re-engage. I can sit for an age, doing absolutely nothing. Those rare meditative moments where your own baggage does not weigh you down, where I feel at peace, where I am happiest.  It is where I am looked after and where I am not judged.

My sea, my water, my noise, my salt, my cleanser; my happiness.

Where is yours?

Dream BIG, sparkle MORE, shine BRIGHTLY

With respect to those who never came home…



Ah, I’m off to the football. I know.. whilst on the coach I will write a piece about anticipation, expectation and happiness for my blog posts I decided.

The day was 22nd August 2015.

It began…

The sun is radiating in a cloudless azure sky. It is the first Saturday home match of the season.  The optimism of the wonderful beginning to a long campaign is immense.  The usual doom and gloom on social media has temporarily disappeared.

Not even a 20 minute delay waiting for the coach has dampened the enthusiasm of the stalwarts onboard.  T-shirts, shorts and legs out are all ready to go.

That was as far as I got….

Little did we know that possibly the 20 minute delay was heaven sent – after all I had seen a white feather fall on the way to the coach.

Passed by emergency vehicles pelting out the screeching sirens…one chap thought he had seen a plume of smoke way in the distance. And then a text message from my twitter friend….then social media went beserk…. a plane had crashed at the Shoreham Air Show.

The realisation gradually emerged that it had indeed crashed onto the A27. Graphic images fed our thirst for knowledge. It was heart-warming to hear the concern for all involved. As the coach approached the roundabout where all traffic was directed down onto the coast road, it brought home the sadness and shock that so many must have been feeling.

As the coach crawled along the coast road, the acrid dark plumes of smoke were still rising in the distance. The aftermath of the likelihood of loss of life. The much anticipated Vulcan bomber flew overhead in a tribute and that was that.  Would we make to the match in time? Would kick off be delayed? In fact, yes…15 minute delay.  We were able to get back onto the flyover and head westbound to the Amex rather speedily. The elevated position as we drove up the slip-road to the flyover really brought home the utter devastation that was unfolding on a piece of road I knew like the back of my hand.

I took my seat just before 3pm.  I looked up into the clear sky framed by the wonderful stadium and thought about ‘happiness’. By then it was known there had been fatalities. These people who had set out on a normal day to go shopping, to watch an air show, participate in an air show…would never return.   I thought of the families who were experiencing happiness on a sunny day and unbeknowingly whose lives would soon change forever.

The match was irrelevant, it was a win and 3 points.

Whilst walking back to the coach I looked at the sun and took a photograph. We had all been awash in that sun’s rays today, overlooked by that sky…yet out of the sky came such drama.

The detour route home took in the news crews doing their piece to camera by the River Adur and all onboard took the longer journey without whinging.  

My thoughts went back to happiness.  As a race we spend so much time moaning about our lives, what we deserve and how things weren’t fair. Well…this event that had shaken so many lives wasn’t fair. It was life and death, in a split second.

We all hope that we will pass away peacefully in our sleep after a lovely day. Realistically, we are statistically more likely to acquire some form of disease to see us to our demise. Never in our wildest dreams do you think you’d be taken out by a plane.

Making the most of life has been thrown in my face. Taking joy in everyday small moments and being thankful for being here on this beautiful planet. If we make our own happiness and not rely on others to provide it, we have control over our lives.  To those poor souls who had no control over theirs…I hope that the end was quick and that the people were happy in the moments beforehand.

The photograph has now become even more poignant with the early release of information that two involved were fans of my club, one who had given his time to play for the Robert Eaton Memorial Fund and the other a groundsman at the club.  For Matt, Jacob and the other 9 souls…RIP  For the rest of us:

Life is precious. Be amazing. Dream BIG, sparkle MORE, shine BRIGHTLY.