Monday, December 9, 2013

The Zeppelin Museum and the truth about swivel chairs revealed!

The truth just occurred to me.

The truth about swivel chairs.

You know all those severe, haughty looking business men in their intimidating black swivel chairs, steepling their fingers. The ones who can barely deign to look down upon mere mortals who weren't born into a position of entitlement and privilege. You know the ones, the media barons, the mining magnates, the arms manufacturers ...

The truth is that when there's no one in the room they act up just like the rest of us when we think no one's watching! Unlike the teacher mentioned below, they just haven't been caught ... yet!

Their black leather covered, official looking, high backed, swivel chairs are really the corporate excuse for a trip down fantasy lane and into the realms of childhood!! But they probably won't admit it ;-)
... and maybe, just maybe if they could allow themselves to make a habit of enjoying the fun and fantasy and Mindfulness, (read on!) the world would be a happier, healthier place.

While on the subject of fantasy, aren't these playgrounds superb! (yes, I can see they're not covered in umpteen centimetres of soft material for the children to fall on, perhaps German children don't whinge if they fall and their parents expect them to hang on tight.) They're in Friedrichshafen Germany, the city which is home to the arty, interesting, wonder inducing Zeppelin Museum.

A kiddy sized zeppelin complete with lookout, steampunkish wheeled swan/boat, and slide; and while I was tempted to shoo the kids away and have a play, I put on my grown up face and took photos instead, secretly imagining I was in the lookout, flying over the town.
Speaking of flying, sometimes you can be really lucky. I could hear a low droning, humming sound coming from over the lake, and overhead, pushing through the clouds was ...
 ... not a fabulous building with interesting reflections, but a dinky di blimp!
It was funny to watch people diving for their pockets and dragging out their phones all with the one purpose - to take photos. I don't know if the blimp we saw was as big as this, but the models give a real sense of scale of the Hindenburg - it was HUGE.
This is just one tiny section which has been reconstructed so you can climb up, 
 walk through and get a sense of the living and sleeping quarters and the immense scale of the structure
 functional art
intricate criss crossed beams (?)
 ... and the beauty of the workmanship.
This is a different kind of fantasy and shows the result of a productive, creative imagination (and impressive engineering).
But back to playgrounds as a powerful device to promote a rich and full inner life for the young and not so young! Cogs, shells, sea creatures and propellers ...
 which could lead the imagination to who knows where ...
Clearly much loved and buffed to a lovely copper colour where countless children have sat and imagined who knows what ...
This magnificent playground is a superb example of a rich imagination, a city prepared to celebrate art and sculptures, excellent craftsmanship, and shows how playgrounds don't have to be garish plastic sanitised clones of each other.
 Weird and wonderful humanoid rabbit/seal/Idon'tknowwhat creatures
So, in the spirit of nurturing your inner child, take a moment to slow down.

Without comment or criticism, notice what your thoughts are doing. Notice what you can hear, see, touch, taste and smell.

Feel the weight of your bottom on your wheely chair.

Put aside the serious you for a moment.

Give your hips an experimental wiggle.

Feel your muscles stretch and tauten as you twist back and forth.

Feel the fabric of your clothing as it pulls against your body and the way your lungs expand with the anticipation of action.

Place your feet against the floor and feel the pressure of your feet as they push against the floor.
twist right
twist left
twist right

Notice how your face forms a goofy kind of smile, a little embarrassed (was anyone watching?) but oh, so satisfied!

Note the physical sensation of slight, but pleasant dizziness. There was possibly also a sense of exhilaration, of daring to do something different and perhaps a bit naughty? What would people say!?

Make room for your thoughts and feelings; allow them to flow through you. If your inner critic is wagging it's derogatory finger, observe it without buying into the "shoulds" and "oughts" for a moment.

Breathe, have a little shake and relax.

Reconnect with your values and choose a course of action.

And notice ... the desire to do it again ;-)


You bet. But it's also ...

Mindfulness in action!


Friday, November 29, 2013

A jolly swagman in Tubingen, Germany.

Channelling the Australian theme in Tubingen, Germany ...
Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong
A watering hole although not quite a billabong!

What picnic would be complete without beer!

under the shade of a Coolibah tree 

and he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled
you'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me.
Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me
And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me.
Lots to look at while waiting for the billy to boil!
Down came a jumbuck to drink at that billabong
up jumped the swagman and grabbed him with glee
and he sang as he shoved that jumbuck in his tucker bag
you'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me
Selfie with swagman and jumbuck!
Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me
And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me.
Up rode the squatter mounted on his thorough-bred
Down came the troopers, one, two, three.
Whose that jolly jumbuck you've got in your tucker bag
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me.
Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me
And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me.
Up jumped the swagman, sprang in to the billabong
You'll never catch me alive said he,

And his ghost may heard as you pass by that billabong
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me.
Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me
And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me.
 Documented by the colourful crew from Mars TV
These students were interviewing passers-by about refugees, inequality and prejudice, and while they were focusing on refugees from war-torn countries, marginalised and poor people, such as the swagman in the ballad,
were/are often poorly treated by dominant, powerful groups. 

From Wikipedia with additional information:
Waltzing Matilda is Australia's most widely known bush ballad written in 1895 by Banjo Paterson and has become our unofficial national anthem.  Waltzing Matilda is slang for travelling on foot with your gear slung over your back in a bag (apparently this is known as waltzing  or auf der Walz in German). 

The song is about an itinerant worker, a swagman, making a cup of tea in a billy, (a kind of tin saucepan), at his bush camp by a billabong (waterhole) and stealing a wandering sheep, (jumbuck) for dinner. The swagman wouldn't have been wealthy and would have seen the sheep as fair game and something nutritious to pad out his meagre supplies. 

We know the sheep's owner is a wealthy landowner (squatter) because he arrives on a thorough-bred horse accompanied by three troopers (police) - he wouldn't have been at all happy about having his sheep stolen, particularly by a poor, itinerant worker!

Naturally, the worker wouldn't want to have been locked up so commits suicide by drowning himself in the billabong, leaving his ghost to haunt the site for evermore.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

UGG Boots. A great Australian tradition.

What is it about UGG boots that has caught the attention of people around the world and convinced them that they should be worn outdoors?

Admittedly, they keep the toes toasty warm on a cold day, when the heating is down low to save on energy bills, but they're not aesthetically pleasing no matter how much bling they're weighed down with.
Unlike a sheep, they're not waterproof. They have no support. And even if they have heels and solid soles, are in no way a match for dedicated outdoor footwear.

 In short, they're a furry, snuggly slipper. 
And like a slipper, they're designed to be worn indoors. They can be slipped on and off the feet easily so that when, for instance, you need to take some scraps out to the compost heap,  you can slip them off and put on something more suitable for the trudge through the damp grass out into the wilds of the back yard.

Speaking of slip, when UGG boots are worn outdoors have a tendency to slip when the sole, heavy with the weight of a human body, is placed on a wet autumn leaf of which there are many in London at present. Don't be fooled by the use of the word "boots".

They. are. not. outdoor. footwear ... Even if you're feeding a cute squirrel.

Watching relatively well dressed people shuffle around like little old folk in a nursing home is perplexing.
They scuff uncomfortably along through the bleak weather, feet slopping around, unsupported in their furry wrapping, the sheepskin getting wetter by the moment.

How did it happen that this useful item of footwear has become an outdoors fashion (sic) item?

Very clever marketing if you ask me!

But I'll never be convinced. Put the bling on; laden them with bows, jewels and heels, no matter what decoration they're strewn with, they'll always be indoor footwear for me.

Bemused sheep, giggling that people have been "fleeced"