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Having an influence #soapboxsunday

It’s Sunday morning once again and so I’ll share my thoughts with you, as usual. I do have an influence on some things because I have this blog and I’m admin of several Facebook pages. Then there is Twitter and Instagram. I can say more with one picture than some people can say with a thousand words. I can’t influence the Brexit negotiations, more’s the pity but I can influence local issues. There is some political intrigue locally and we have a few local agitators who like to stir things up. I think they are planning to be more active over the next few months in the run-up to the local elections. Having an influence on local affairs requires that one behave responsibly but I don’t think everyone in authority does do that.

having an influence

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Risk and reward #financeFriday

My credit card bill is due today and I know it will be quite a hefty bill. There is no point in trying to ignore debts, we have to face them eventually so it is better to face them head-on. I am a bit obsessive about minimizing risks and making sure I have enough money for every eventuality. I’m a bit obsessive about saving money too. I thought about buying some insurance this week and decided I didn’t really need it just yet so I delayed the purchase. I assess the risk and reward. I even assessed the risk versus benefit of some medication I have been taking this week and I decided the benefits weren’t worth the risks. I prefer to suffer a little pain than give myself an ulcer or kidney damage.

risk and reward

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Say it with flowers? #ValentinesDay

What are the origins of Valentine’s Day?

The day gets its name from a famous saint, but there are several stories of who he was. The popular belief about St Valentine is that he was a priest from Rome in the third century AD. Emperor Claudius II had banned marriage because he thought married men were bad soldiers. Valentine felt this was unfair, so he broke the rules and arranged marriages in secret. When Claudius found out, Valentine was thrown in jail and sentenced to death. There, he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and when he was taken to be killed on 14 February he sent her a love letter signed “from your Valentine”. The rest is history and men have been trying to say it with flowers ever since.

say it with flowers

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Make it pretty! #WednesdayWisdom

Yesterday, I had to write a short piece about the town I live in. What’s it like? It’s not pretty and that is the problem, it gets uglier all the time. We need to make it pretty! We need grass verges not tarmac ones. I know that means mowing them through summer but at least that will keep a few people in jobs. The speed humps and potholes on estates make them look ugly too.

make it pretty

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Choosing a genre #photography

Many people take up photography and will photograph anything that takes their fancy. It can be better to choose a particular genre so you can improve your skill and perhaps become recognised as a landscape photographer, portrait photographer or some other genre. You might even choose to specialise in low-light photography or look for quite quirky things to photograph. Chris and Jan of the caravan gallery look for quite quirky subjects and their mobile art gallery is quite quirky in itself. Choosing a genre is about choosing what you like and what suits you.

Choosing a genre

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Get up and go? #Mondayblues

I am struggling to find the motivation to do anything this morning. Cognitive dissonance seems to be a problem that most of us have to cope with. I don’t feel well most of the time and so I want to stay where I feel most comfortable, at home. I think many people found it hard to get up this morning and wanted to stay in their warm bed. This ability to overcome our primitive desires separates us from other animals. We have to get up and go to wherever life demands.

get up and go

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Delusions of superiority #ramble

It’s Sunday morning and so I’ll let you into the neural labyrinth once again and share my thoughts with you. What’s on my mind this morning? Delusions of superiority. Jacob Rees Mogg thinks he is better than us because he’s an old Etonian and had a university education. He is not alone however, I know devout Jeremy Corbyn fans who look down their noses at others too.  I also know people, who worship a God, who have superior attitudes and lofty opinions of themselves. We are all the same more or less under the skin. These delusions of superiority do get under my skin, however.

delusions of superiority

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The need for kindness #timetotalk

It is Time to Talk Day, an initiative from Mind and Rethink mental health charities. Mental health provision is in crisis and we need to do something to change things. I think we all need to be less confrontational, less competitive and try to introduce kindness, consideration and understanding into our lives. Anxiety and depression are at epidemic levels in our urban areas and loneliness is a big problem in more isolated communities too. There is a need for kindness in every community.

The need for kindness

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Fulfilment and recognition #life

I think everyone likes to feel they gain something from life. A feeling that they have done a good job or created something of value. That can be difficult in many jobs and when people retire they can feel lost because all the emotional rewards they gained from working are lost. Some people feel they are in competition with others and feel fulfilment from the knowledge that they earn more than their peers. That isn’t the true fulfilment that comes from others recognising your achievements. Fulfilment and recognition go together.

fulfilment and recognition

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How to take professional pictures #photography

I’ve been taking pictures with my Nikon D3200 since 2013 and I have been quite pleased with it but we have the Blast! Festival of photography this year and I want to take professional pictures for that. The Nikon D3200 is a cropped sensor DX camera and I needed a full frame FX camera. I also had to decide on a lens. The DX lenses will fit on my new FX camera. I have tried a 35mm DX lens prime lens and it takes great pictures but I wanted to do something a bit different. I like taking candid shots of people and decided on a 28 – 300 mm zoom lens which will allow me to zoom in and take quite professional pictures with a shallow depth of field.

professional pictures
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Do we live in a toxic environment? #ramble

It’s Sunday morning and once again I’ll share my thoughts with you. I must admit that sometimes I over-think things. It was my birthday this week and I got a lot of messages on Facebook wishing me ‘happy birthday’. I try to be polite and so that meant saying, ‘thank you’ over 200 times. I became acutely aware of who my supporters were and who was missing from that list. Some of the missing ones are very nice to my face but perhaps harbour petty grievances. We do live in a toxic environment in the 21st century and it is because petty jealousies relating to personal status creates hidden divisions in our society. We need to support each other more.

toxic environment

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It can’t get any worse #finance

I have seen some upward movement this week on the stock market at the less popular end. Have investors just accepted that Brexit just can’t get any worse? It has wiped billions off the value of companies listed on the stock market. While some gained when the value of the pound was slashed, the smaller companies lost value and have struggled to raise capital. I don’t think it can get any worse, confidence is at an all-time low. Even a no-deal Brexit would at least provide a little certainty.

get any worse

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