Kindled Meme

– exploring the purpose of connection




We always have choices and on this day I choose to feel a bit daft.

Driving along but then ducking off the road – parking in a muddy verge and then loping off into a field with iPhone in hand. I hadn’t expected this and I am arrested by the moment.

Whilst I was snapping away I was aware of passengers in cars going past looking at me. Yes I’m supposed to – and allowed to – feel a bit daft.

But here’s the gig. For whatever the reason – by design or pure chance – a whole field is on fire with poppy redness. A camera can never capture it but from behind the wheel of my car – across the snapdragon yellow bonnet and stretched out forever – is a sea of flowers that I just didn’t expect.

Are they planted and planned or were the conditions ‘just right’? Did they pop, go viral – a groundswell event expressing passion and vitality in this flash of colour. An uprising.  Expected and predicted? Or did you have to be part of the in-group to know it was coming?

But here it is and it’s quite striking and I don’t mind stopping my day and trying to capture it.

What I find is that you need to seize these chances because when winter comes the images are even more precious. (And I’m plucking out these images now and it IS winter  and it is a blue-grey, wet-spray kind of world right now…)


Seeing these poppies – in a field at the start of Halfpenny Lane –  reminded me of the time (2002?) when Farringdon Hill – closer to home – exploded with poppies. A huge field at the foot of the Folly – totally committed to red – unexpected and dazzling to everyone that went past.

Memorable not just for the colour (or the shock of it), but also for the way people responded to the spectacle. The Folly hill, a field that sits at the side of the road – a busy road. People veered off their journeys – pulled onto the verge and walked into the field like pilgrims at Varanasi walking into the Ganges.

It was 10 Years ago – before mobile phones grew eyes – and people clasped their chunky AA-battery powered digital cameras and sought ways to steal a slice of the crimson. The Faringdon Poppies were stunning – I didn’t expect it and I doubt others didn’t either. I’d never seen it before and still don’t know if it is by design or chance that it happened.

But there in that moment we have impact and contrast. And cars and people all stop. And I still remember it.

The snaps below are pictures of my Oxfordshire poppies from last summer. But the picture at the top of the page is from a local artist who captured the Faringdon Folly experience – it’s quite beautiful and a wonderful thing she has painted.

A moment captured.





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Do it now


I saw Mike this morning at the school gate. Its been a while – we both live in the same village but our lives follow different orbits.

Its been a while but this morning he tells me he has resigned – he hated his job and he wants better. I shake his hand and Im genuinely pleased for him. He is often so miserable that its kind of sad. He has been miserable working for a Systems Integrator at a Banking client. Before that he was miserable working for a Systems Integrator at a government client. And before that he was miserable working at a Systems Integrator at another government client.

He is hunting and dreaming for a Systems Integrator that makes him happy… but on the story I see unfolding its not really what he needs.

We all deserve to do something that makes us happy. We none of us should envy other people that we perceive to have found something that we can’t. I met a guy called Joroen last week and he talked about how his old job was a 90-10 balance. 90% doing routine and 10% inspiration and mischief. He lived for the 10% moments and so now he is “exploring” – looking to start something – but working with others because – to him – the human connection feeds his soul.

We all deserve that inspiration and sense of connected purpose.  Sometimes I feel that spark, the rush of energy, my eyes kind of well up and if I didn’t hold on to something I know I would start to fly. These moments are equally uplifting and exhausting. When I’ve had a good day I sleep very well at night (Though my brain rarely switches off – it just “heals in motion” – dreaming)

When those energy moments happen I try to appreciate why.

What just happened? What did they just do? Why did that matter to me? What does it mean?

Scrabble around fast and grab the clues – this is this shit that really matters. What just touched you is what you should be creating and be part of every day.

There are always excuses and reasons we believe that stop us from doing more of what matters to us – but here’s the gig:

“Whatever you’re meant to do – do it now. The conditions are always impossible”

What excuses are you making?

(Thanks Doris)


In the moment

“ True wisdom lies in gathering the precious things out of each day as it goes by. ” E.S. Bouton

I read more and more about not worrying about tomorrow (I have two engagements Im worrying about right now…) and also to spend less time regretting the past (Ive been encouraged to reflect upon context and events… but when does that become rumination?).

The key seems to be living in the now – having awareness and appreciation for what we are creating  moment by moment. 

Distracted by a tweet promising insights for Content Marketing trends in 2014 (sheesh…) I find myself sidestepping into the Forbes website and being hit by the above quote.

Gathering precious things is often why I tweet, post to facebook and also post to this blog. Gathering precious things is also what I did last week with the kids in Iceland – and sure enough we were 4kg over our baggage allowance as we were obliged to pack for home our favourite bits of lava rock and basalt so that the kids can tell their holiday story to their friends at school.

Not all precious things get posted to social media or put in an overweight backpack. We also collect moments as feeling while helping out old friends – sharing some insights, helping onboard new colleagues and having the pleasure to meet people for the first time; buying a flight that will take us on a Zurich weekend adventure, and working with a colleague via skype to co-create a plan to help out the team and try to make everyone as awesome as they can be.

If I hadn’t written it down – I might have forgotten that any of this would have happened on November 5th 2013….. if I hadn’t read the words on Forbes I might never have been aware – in the moment – of the cool things I get to do each day.

What precious things have you got happening around you and because of you? And have you taken the moment to just acknowledge them?

What flotsam and jetsam are you wise enough to gather up today?




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My little scientist: “We don’t make popcorn, Dad”

My boy didn’t want to get up this morning. I pulled back the duvet – his eyes were screwed up but he was grinning.

Of course he was awake but his annoying sister as always had turned the lights on and robbed him of his peace and quiet. He likes to dream and think in bed and make plans – the plans of the hunter and the inventor.

“I don’t want to go to school.”

There is nothing wrong with school – its not the issue. Its just ‘delaying’ but I know I can fish him out.

“How was the science yesterday? Will yo do more science today?”

Yesterday was start of term two in his third year of school and his first ever bit of chemistry. He sits upright and his features wake up.

“I poured on liquid into the measuring… I made it change colour. Brandon poured in his liquid and bubbles came out – poured onto the tin and then all over the table.” Word tumble out of him – excited.

“Was there an explosion?”

“Oh, yes! It hit the roof”

Science was a big hit and in the grand journey of life and study and swotting and exam stress (that I experienced) it was the first footsteps forward.

“You know your grandpa is a scientist?”


“Yes – he is a Professor – he invents things. He is a scientist”

“What Grandpa?”

He laughs. There is a professor character in his book at school – an excentric fool – you know the character….

“And Aunty Genevieve  – she is a Doctor. A science doctor – not one for sick people”

This is baffling for him. Doctors check out rashes and look in your ears and have cold hands.

“Do you have to stay in school a long time to be a Doctor?”

I love the way kids can screw up their face to show distaste – so expressive.

“Well yes – kind off. Basically if you don’t know what you want to do in life and you stay at school for too long they call you a Doctor”

He doesn’t like that. He wants to run away and live in the woods when he turns 11 – he doesn’t want to be in school too long.

“Well not all Doctors are boring – I have a friend called Dylan who is a Doctor of Computer Games”

“Oh, no. Thats no good. Im going to be a bus driver.”

Okay. This is a new one on me.

” Yes. Ive told Miles all about it. I’m going to build a bus and we are going around the world looking for food. We will drive into the woods and hunt food”


“Its going to have three floors. The first floor is for me – I sleep there. Second floor is for Miles and he sleeps there. And the top floor is for the fishing rod and stuff.


“What about going under bridges. You know, like when we go to Swindon – the bridge that the train goes over?”

The face screws up into a picture of tricky thought.

“Well the top floors collapse – they unzip. You pull them down and then they spring back up again”

His solution. I’ll buy it.

“What about a popcorn maker – will you have one of those on the top floor.”

He does this laugh of wonder. “Oh yes, if you like!”

But then he goes quiet and he thinks about the popcorn maker and corrects himself.

“Thats a daft idea. We’re hunters. We don’t make popcorn, Dad”

Of course. How silly I am.

“Okay, then. Come on, its time for school.  Lets go”

“Okay then…”


Parenting – “When Robots get me”

Its 4.30am and I roll over. Fresh space and a stretch. The daylight is slipping under the blinds.

But as I turn – Whoa! – I can see our boy is in bed with us. Trouble.

Hey, whats up?

“Nightmare…. Wont stop…… I always dream of Hogwarts….. Not this.”

What is it?

“Robot. He’s getting me!”


“In the garden. A transformer. So big. He’s got an axe.”

What is he doing?

“He’s chasing me. Hes got an axe. Hes really big”

Mmmm… Shall we put roller skates on him? He’ll get stuck in the mud and on the gravel.

(My boy thinks)

If he’s got muddy feet he cant come in the house. Mum wont let him.

(He thinks some more)

Why is he chasing you anyway?

“He’s big. He’s a black transformer. He turns into a car and can go fast”

Why dont we say he is a “Chicken transformer” – he can only turn into a chicken. A funny chicken. That lays easter eggs

(My boy smiles)

Why dont we ask him why he is grumpy? Would he like a hot chocolate? One with marshmallows on top? Robots love marshmallows and they love hot chocolate. Maybe he can come and chat in the kitchen. If he takes his muddly robot shoes off…

Hot chocolate is a favourite in our house – my boys eyes are wide open and the frown and fear has gone.

But its 4.30am and I need to sleep. I tell him to roll over and form a cuddle. My face is against his back. My thumb is in one of his hands and his other hand is hooked back over my head and he holds onto my ear.

His shoulder blade against my face is sharp – not soft like Fran’s. Do shoulder blade wear smoother with time. Like molars wearing down with too much chewing. If we use our arms a lot through life will the motion smooth us down? (Elephants have 4 sets of molars in their life – when the final set wear out its time to give up status and lie down with some dignity.)

My thumb feels the shape of his hand wrapped around it. Strong hands – the five year old is built for climbing, wresting and hunting. This boy will be strong when he grows up. His torso is skinny and lean – he is like one of those rubber bones that dogs chew – no fat, no soft fleshiness, just firm. But he’s warm and I love him very much.

Some memories you can take pictures of – but these memories I never want to loose.

And I become aware that these moments are moments I take for granted. Because life with kids is hectic and distracting but they wont be like this forever.

The photos on my iPhone are great keepsafes. But warmth, connection and love like this doesn’t get stored on a phone too well.

And so Im writing it down becasue I dont want to forget.