The Day I Went Pop!

andy warhol

When a local gallery advertised that it would be hosting an Andy Warhol Exhibition, I have to admit I was a little curious. I have no real knowledge of Pop Art, but was drawn to the whole 60’s thing, so this afternoon I went along to indulge in a bit of culture.

The first thing that struck me were the colours and totally ‘in your face‘ pictures hanging on plain white walls. It was a shocking but exciting at the same time. I recognised a few key pieces and it was good to be experiencing something very different for once. There were drawings, silkscreen paintings, photographs, films, posters, prints and installations to get your head around, so plenty there for Warhol fans as well as the uninitiated. In fact, as the event runs for another month I shall definitely treat myself to a second delicious helping of kitsch before it ends.

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Corporate Training…

training

When you freelance regularly for a local government organisation, there are times when the rules and bureaucratic necessities change so dramatically that re-training becomes essential. First and foremost I had to find the new venue, and that in itself proved to be slightly trickier than anticipated; although I did manage to arrive on time thank goodness.

Once inside it was a quick acknowledgement of co-workers before the new and complicated changes were explained. Fortunately, after the obligatory powerpoint presentation, with accompanying hard copies of every screen shot, all became a bit clearer; although I may well need to refer to my massive training manual to get to grips with a few of the finer points. It’s a good job they don’t mind paying us handsomely for all this additional work!

Happy Families…

daffs

What better way to spend a day off from work than to meet up with both the older and younger generations of your family for a few hours catching up with each others news. I’d arranged to spend time in town with my elderly mother, but she had no idea that her twin granddaughters would also be there to greet her. The look on her face was priceless when she stepped off the bus and saw three smiling faces. The sun was shining and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky as we walked around the park admiring literally thousands of glorious yellow daffodils, while laughing at the antics of the resident grey squirrels.

Lunch was provided courtesy of a quaint little independent cafe in the town centre, where we ate delicious freshly made sandwiches and paninis washed down with coffees and milkshakes, before a leisurely stroll around the shops. By mid-afternoon it was time for mum to catch her bus back home, so we waited with her until it arrived. Then it was hugs all round before plenty of manic waving as her bus pulled away. I really do appreciate how lucky I am to still have my mother here, and that I have extremely loving and caring children to share her with. Some days I really do feel blessed.

All About Communication…

business

When you’re a member of a very grown up ‘Women’s Business Network’ you get offered opportunities to attend Learning Development courses, and today’s topic was ‘Voice and Communication’. The two very capable hosts were a voice and impact trainer in the business, government and health sectors, and a top social science professor, who’s an experienced public speaker and presenter of history documentaries for the BBC. The aim of today was ‘to develop more powerful communication skills through your voice, body language and conviction’.

We explored ideas around curiosity rather than ambition, confounding expectation, passionate involvement and thinking not about how confident we are but what we’re entitled to. Such topics could easily have been a bit dry had it not been for the extremely amusing anecdotes from the professional trainers, and the informal manner which the session took; especially when, at one point we were all standing in a circle re-acquainting ourselves with gravity while ‘huffing’! Despite these things being so far out of my comfort zone they’re practically on the horizon, I actually enjoyed the session so much I wish it had lasted longer. Hopefully they’ll run another course like this very soon, and when they do I shall make sure that my name’s first on the list!

Geocaching…

geocaching

Well! I’m proud to say that I’ve just added another first to my list – geocaching! When I got up this morning I had absolutely no idea that I’d be spending the day being guided by GPS around several large fields, looking for small objects hidden in and around trees, in pipes, under rocks and logs and all manner of other places. Walking around woodland meant we saw lots of fabulous wildlife, including ladybirds, a giant bee and lots of different birds. We squelched our way along muddy footpaths, looked in nooks and crannies and stuck our hands into nettles and brambles on the hunt for the next cache. The weather was extremely kind to us and the sun was out for most of the day, which made a big difference.

After accomplishing a 100% success rate of finding all 13 objects, a nice sit down with a hot cappuccino, overlooking a stunning lake, late afternoon with hazy sunshine, was just the ticket. You really can’t beat a bit of fresh air, a decent walk and a good old natter with a friend, and it’s even better if you can combine it with a new and interesting hobby. I’m very grateful that I can spend quality time with such wonderful mates and I’m really looking forward to the next adventure.

Embracing Change…

stonewall

When you work in an inclusive environment, which caters for individuals with a wide variety of lifestyles, it’s nice to learn a bit about the more complex choices some people make. This explains why I have just attended a highly informative workshop on transgender issues, with the emphasis on relationships, work and emotional problems experienced by transgender people.

Today’s trainer was Leng Montgomery from Stonewall, with guest Jamie Raines, who featured on a recent Channel 4 documentary called ‘Girls to Men‘. It’s a complicated topic, full of potential social minefields, but in this day and age we should at least try to understand those who choose a different way of being. Very thought provoking…

Mothering Tuesday…

karen waddy

Some mums have Mother’s Day on a Sunday, but this year I had my special day on a Tuesday. When your grown up daughters are very busy people, it’s really lovely that they still arrange to give you a treat even when they can’t manage it for the traditional weekend version.

They arrived with a beautiful bouquet full of pink, cream and white flowers, which was a lovely surprise. We ate iced lemon cake and french fancies (as you do), while discussing everything from holidays to politics, and generally putting the world to rights. The afternoon passed within the blink of an eye and sadly it was all too soon for them to return to their respective homes.

I actually prefer being a bit different, and I think that Mothering Tuesday is a fabulous idea, especially when you get to spend it with the people you love most in the world. I’m a very lucky mum indeed.