Posts Tagged ‘friends’

The Oxford dictionary defines ’empathy’ as; the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from his angle as well as your own. ” – Henry Ford

Along with gratitude, empathy is one of the most important people skills to master. We all want similar things from life and the simplest way to discover how someone else is thinking is to ask ourselves how we would think in a similar situation.

Empathy diffuses anger and frustration in people because most of us just want to be understood. American writer and lecturer, Dale Carnegie believed that we should never disagree with anyone because ‘people like people who are like they are’.

However, Dale stated that if we ever found ourselves in a situation where we felt so strongly about an issue that we simply couldn’t agree with someone then we should disagree with them as diplomaticaaly as possible.

“When you start to develop your powers of empathy and imagination, the whole world opens up to you.” – Susan Sarandon

Under no cicumstances should we merely use the phrase “Yes but” when voicing an alternative oppinion. Instead we should endeavour to ‘stretch’ the “Yes but” by saying something like; “I understand what you are saying but..”

By doing this we convey to the other person that although we disagree with them we understand their point of view and psychologically this is a very powerful negotiating technique.

The Oxford Dictionary definition of empathy mentions the ‘feelings’ of other people. This is important because if we can actually empathise with a person’s feelings as well as their oppinions the overall effect of the sentiment is magnified and the chances of the negotiation coming to a successful conclusion are greatly increased.

As an aside I have actually read Dale’s most famous book ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ about 15 times and each time I read it I learn something new.

There are many benefits to aquiring the quality of empathy, people will start to see us in a different light and we will become known as a person who understands and cares for others’ feelings.

Wether we work in sales or not we are all selling ourselves and our ideas on a daily basis. Empathy undoubtedly increases sales because people buy from people they like and trust and moreover they will tell their friends that we are the person to go to for XYZ product or service.

As well as improving our business results empathy will greatly improve our social and family lives. People will always be drawn to someone who is prepared to listen to them. The greatest conversationalists speak the least, they simply ask the best questions and then let others do all the talking.

The native Americans had a saying that you should never judge a man until you had walked a mile in his shoes, and this holds true today. In this era of hyper communication sentiments such as empathy and gratitude are our most important tools.

“The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy.” – Meryl Streep

Andy.

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“I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day.” – Frank Sinatra

Most people like the odd alcoholic drink and most of us are guilty of occasionally having one too many. Yeah, at the time we feel great, the party’s in full flow and so are we. It’s just a pity it all has to end but unfortunately it always does.

The next morning, the first thing that hits us is our banging headache, we open our eyes and eventually the room swims into focus. We experience flashbacks of the night before and if the memories are good ones we smile or even laugh at them but this only makes our headache worse so we turn over and try to get some more sleep.

Our bodies natural reaction is a good one and if we have the time we should go with it and try to sleep off the hangover. Alternatively here are the best hangover remedies:

1. Do not make it worse:

Hangovers make us dehydrated but we must avoid caffeine and orange juice at all costs. Caffeine will serve only to make us more dehydrated and the acid in orange juice will play havoc with our digestive systems. It’s also unwise to eat a fry up for similar reasons.

“It takes only one drink to get me drunk. The trouble is, I can’t remember if it’s the thirteenth or the fourteenth.” – George Burns

2. Water:

Water is the main antidote for a hangover. Alternating alcoholic drinks with glasses of water is not always fun but drinking a pint of water before we go to bed is a good remedy. If it makes us need the loo in the middle of the night we should use the opportunity to have another drink of water, our bodies will be extremely grateful for it come morning time.

Drinking water the morning after the night before is also beneficial but has nothing like the effect of the bedtime drink.

3. Food:

Eating plenty of food with our alcohol definitely has a positive effect but we must avoid eating late on because our systems will have to use up a lot of excess energy digesting it whilst we sleep.

Best foods to combat a hangover are eggs wich help mop up left over toxins and bananas/Kiwi fruit which replace potassium lost to alcohol’s diuretic effect. Also all non acidic fruit juices are good hangover remedies.

4. Freshening up:

It can seem like a real hassle but showering and general grooming will always make us feel better, the worst thing we can do with a hangover is mope around the house in our dressing gowns all day

5. Fresh air:

Get out of the house, and take a little light exercise, the endorphins produced by the exercise will automatically make us feel better and the fresh air will help to clear our heads.

6. Herbal remedies:

Most are a load of rubbish but one that does ‘exactly what it says on the tin’ is ‘Milk thistle liquid extract’ If you take the recommended dosage mixed with WATER just before retiring you will feel one hundred per cent better in the morning.

“I spent most of my money on alcohol, women and fast cars, the rest I just squandered.” – George Best

Andy.

http://www.wealthnuggets4u.com

 

Everyone loves a scandal, none of us like to admit it but who could honestly say they have never gossiped about anyone?

People have gossiped since the birth of mankind, there is obviously something very addictive about it, it’s ingrained in our psyche and although it is wrong and often unfair people we will never stop doing it.

“A rumor without a leg to stand on will get around some other way.” – John Tudor

Gossip is one way of letting off steam about the frustrations of our own lives. We all strive for bigger, better and more rewarding lives and when we struggle to meat our own expectations other peoples’ misfortunes become an antidote for our own shortcomings.

We all love to bring people down a peg or two especially if they are perceived to be doing better than us.

Jealousy is a catalyst of rumour and scandal. Revenge is never pleasant and it’s often as harmful for the perpitrator as it is for the recipient. Therefor, it is unwise to disrespsct people just because we don’t like them, or we believe they have done something to upset us.

Celebrities are an easy target of the rumour mill. We could argue that the extreme scrutiny they are subject to comes with the territory but they are still human beings with the same frailties as everyone else and they are entitled to their privacy.

“It is the gossip columnist’s business to write about what is none of his business.” – Louis Kronenberger

Don’t get me wrong, some celebrities make a living just from being a celebrity and if you make a living just from being in the news then you have to be prepared to accept the negative consequences.

But genuine ‘A’ list celebrities, people who are famous for what they actually do or what they contribute towards society should be given a certain amount of freedom so they can live their lives in a relatively normal way.

Unfortunately, bad news sells, hence the media exploit and exagerate it, it boosts their ratings, which is fine, they are doing their job, they are giving us what we want. However, what do the media do when there is no bad news to report and their ratings start to suffer?. Obviously, they go looking for more bad news or worse still they invent it.

Revelling in other people’s problems make us feel better about our own. It’s human nature to enjoy feeling superior and self-righteous, it makes us feel good, It satisfys some inner need.

Communication is the life blood of society so we could argue it would be foolish to try to supress it. Improved communication makes the world a smaller place and that for the main part is a good thing. The more we talk to one another the more tolerant we become of each others views.

Gossip is just the down side of communication, it’s like a raw material before it has been processed and purified to make the finished product. It’s always better to get our facts straight before we pass on any information and if we do have to gossip it’s more constructive to concentrate on the positive because the negative can be extremely dangerous.

People take insults to their graves, we are all a lot more sensitve than we like to admit, a loose comment can create a life-long enemy and the fewer of those we have the better.

Knowing that people will always gossip and talk about us as much as they talk to us we can use the ‘grapevine’ to our own advatage. For example we can praise people that are important to us as long as the praise is genuine of course, sure enough the praise will eventually find it’s way back to them. Furthermore, if we know someone is prone to gossiping we can use them to spread news fast.

Words are extremely powerful and if we can limit the amount of times we criticise and/or disagree with people to a minimum then we will undoubtedly improve our own lives.

we all live in glass houses and if we throw a rock at someone they have a tendency to throw one back.

“Fire and swords are slow engines of destruction, compared to the tongue of a Gossip.” – Richard Steele

Andy.

http://www.wealthnuggets4u.com

Man befriended the cat many centuries ago. Initially it was because they were skilled at hunting rodents but down the years the bond between humans and felines has become stronger. They make ideal pets because they are relatively low-maintenance.

“When I play with my cat, how do I know that she is not passing time with me rather than I with her?” – Montaigne

We have two cats, a pedigree Blue Persian called ‘Furby’ and a black and white moggy called ‘Gizmo’ I can’t remember when they first started sleeping on our bed at night but at times it can be a real pain.

In fairness Furby isn’t that much trouble but for a small cat even he takes up a lot of room when he stretches out and my wife refuses to move him an inch insisting that he gets a good nights sleep! (What about me?)

Furthermore, he is prone to snoring. Again the sound he makes is totally disproportionate to his size. If I snore my wife unceremoniously digs me in the ribs until I stop but if Furby snores she just coos and says how cute he is.

Gizmo, the moggy is far bigger and although he is a tad overweight he is a powerful cat and at night time he can be a real handful. As soon as we go to bed he will jump up and lie on my chest. I stroke him and he purrs incessantly.

The problems arise when I stop stroking him, he doesn’t like this and he will paw my face in order to make me start again. His pawing regularly draws  blood! but shouting at Gizzy has little effect, he doesn’t like being told off but still it doesn’t deter him.

“After scolding one’s cat one looks into its face and is seized by the ugly suspicion that it understood every word. And has filed it for future reference.”- Charlotte Gray

After being pushed onto the floor for lacerating my face he will wait a while and then try his luck again. Whenever I wake up his face is always less than six inches away from mine and as soon as he realises I’m awake he starts to purr.

If I get up during the night when I return he kindly vacates my place and goes and stands on the bedside table, he allows me to get back into bed and then comes and lies next to me again.

This may or may not sound cute and most of the time I don’t mind but sometimes it’s nice to have a bit of space.

we recently re furbished our bedroom and decided to invest in a king-sized bed. Problem solved we thought. No chance, we still seem to sleep with minimal space and the cats just have an even comfier nights sleep.

Yes we are barking/meowing mad and tired in the mornings.

“I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior.” – Hippolyte Taine

Andy.

http://www.wealthnuggets4u.com

We buy things for many reasons, we buy lots of things we need and lots of things we don’t need. If you have serious designs on making money it is vital that you understand why people buy.

# Necessity:

We can’t live without things such as food, water, shelter etc, so we have to aquire them. However there is a subtle difference between actual necessities and perceived necessities.

Human beings can be extremely impulsive and exposure to products and services can make us think that we cannot live without them. Furthermore we are very susceptible to the power of peer pressure. ‘The kid next door has got a new bike so our kids have to have one.’

We actually feel guilty or bad if we don’t buy our kids everything their conmtemporaries have. Thus, we as a society leave ourselves wide open to exploitation by the advertising industry.

“An object in possession seldom retains the same charm that it had in pursuit.” –  Pliny the Younger (62 AD – 114 AD)

# Emotions:

Our emotions play a great part in our shopping habits, lots of people comfort-shop, they buy things to give themselves a boost. Our mood is easily manipulated and our senses our susceptible to music, visual displays, enticing smells etc.

We buy for fun, we buy things that give us pleasure, we buy things that make us feel good, we buy to escape reality.

Mementos are also big sellers, there is nothing we like more than something that reminds us of a cherished memory – The power of nostalgia is immense.

We are all capable of greed, we all love a bargain, we all buy bulk items that we will never use.

# Real benefits:

We are fortunate to live at a time of great technological advancement, the labour-saving devices that have become available to us over the last 50 years have been astonishing.

Most of us like to improve ourselves, we will buy something if it will educate us or our children. Education is now available to a large proportion of us whereas less than a hundred years ago it was only available to a priviliged few. Furthermore the internet has made it possible for us to access information like never before.

We also buy things that we hope will make us money, we invest in all manner of things from jewellry to stocks and shares.

“To have little is to possess. To have plenty is to be perplexed.
Lao-tzu.” (604 BC – 531 BC)

# Image:

Everyone loves to look and feel good. image and prestige are both key buying motivators, if something makes us look good in the eyes of other people then we will buy it.

# Health: If we don’t have our health then we have nothing. People will pay to become healthier. Too often though we think we can get a ‘bargain’ a ‘quick fix’. Prevention is always better than the cure, moderation in all things

# Influences:

I started my career in retailing so I know a bit about sales psychology. I think the most important thing you can convey to someone in order to get them ito buy from you is TRUST.

We all like to buy from people we trust, someone that is going to make sure we get value for money, someone who is going to guide us through the minefields of their particular product or service. Trust is a key ingredient of repeat business.

Top advertisers and retailers are extremely adept at influencing our decision making when it comes to buying things, they create the right ambience for their products and services. They appeal to our ego’s, they make us think buying their goods will improve us in all manner of ways.

Personally, apart from life-saving products I think freedom and space are the most important commodities. If we can acheive these things then we owe it to ourselves to find the time to enjoy them.

“Before we set our hearts too much upon anything, let us examine how happy those are who already possess it.” F. Rochefoucauld (1613 – 1680)

Andy.

http://www.wealthnuggets4u.com

“Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.” –  Adelle Davis (1904 – 1974)

Even though we all need food to survive our relationship with food goes much deeper than that, we have developed this amazing love affair with it. All animals need to eat but we have turned eating and drinking into an art form.

# The senses: Eating and drinking is one of the few things that involves using all of our senses, we can see, hear, smell, touch and taste it. A good meal is indeed a truly absorbing experience.

# Provision: Our ancestors prided themselves in hunting down their food. Feasting on the catch was considered a great celebration, a time to be happy and grateful.

# Preparation: Many people love the act of preparing food, and making a delicious meal can be extremely rewarding.

# Dining/eating out: This is a very sociable thing to do, wether it’s in a posh restaurant or at a roadside cafe. Sharing food and conversation is a very important part of our society.

‘If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.’ – J R R Tolkien (1892 – 1973)

# Diet: Obviously a balanced diet is vital for us to lead a happy life. Modern-day life has made the availability of food plentiful for many of us. The down side to this is that we tend to over eat and under exercise.

However, too much is made of dieting, the more we think about something the more we want to do it.

Food is part of our lifestyle, and as such if we want to lose weight we need to change that lifestyle. Starving the body is no good for anyone.

Small portins eaten often is the key to a healthy diet.

Modern-day lifestyles do not lend themselves to ‘not eating between meals’. Once we accept this we will also accept that we can and will eat many times a day. Thus the smaller the portions the better.

The three square meals philosophy believed in by our parents and grand parents no longer holds true.

Let’s hope we can maintain our centuries-old love affair with food because at the end of the day we should eat to live not live to eat.

‘Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.’ – Mark Twain (1835 – 1910)

Andy.

http://www.wealthnuggegts4u.com

I’ve written numerous articles on this subject in the past many of which I’ve posted on various forums and blogs across the internet and they have always created a lot of interest and reaction, not all of it positive I might add!

There is a lot of moral high ground concerning the subject of looks and ageing but all I can say to the people who congregate up there is that people spends billions of pounds every year on anti-ageing products and procedures so lets stop being so hypocritical about it.

The fact of the matter is that the majority of people want to look better, this may or may not include wanting to look younger. Personally, up until the age of about 23 I hated looking young, I felt that it held me back, it’s only in the last 10 to 15 years that I have actually started to apreciate the fact that I look younger than I actually am.

‘To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early or be respectable.’ (Oscar Wilde)

Regardless of wether you want to look, feel or act younger than you actually are there are certain simple things you can do in order to look and feel healthier.

1. FACE

# Facial hair: Always keep your eyebrows neatly trimmed, bushy/long eyebrows add years to a person and the ‘uni-brow’ is not a desirable look. Definitely no nose or ear hair this is the height of unsightliness.

Some men can look attractive with beards or stubble but they do add between 5-10 years to a man’s perceived age.

# Moisturising: Come on, we are living in the 21st century there’s nothing unmanly about a man who moisturises. Good hair and facial care is bound to pay dividends.

# Sun: Use good sun creams and no sun beds.

2. BODY

The body is most definitely our temple and if we put crap into it we can’t complain if it malfunctions.

# Quit Smoking: The biggest single thing you can do for your body is to free it from the torture of cigarette smoke, trust me it will thank you incessantly.

# Food and water: Eat fruit as soon as you get up, it creates a good chemical reaction in the body, conversely, never eat fruit on a full stomach, ie as a dessert because it creates the opposite effect. Buy fresh fruit and veg and stick it in the fridge so that you see it every time you go for something to nibble on. Drink lots of water.

# Exercise: Do a little every day, some is most definitely better than none, plus try and get more fresh air, again 5 minutes is better than nothing.

# Posture: Stand straight(er) and walk faster. If you saw a person hunched over and shuffling along would you think they were important or even worthy of respect? Good posture makes you look taller and feel better.

# Clothes: Wear smart clothes, they do not have to be expensive, if you are used to or like ‘comfy’ clothes start wearing ‘smarter’ clothes indoors and they will soon start to feel more comfortable.

‘Youth has no age.’ (Pablo Picasso)

3. MIND

# Psychology: People tend to be as old as they want to be, you can be old at 20 and young at 90. I am not suggesting that a person should suddenly start acting as young as their kids, they’d just look stupid but I am a big believer that people of all ages should strive to get along with one another.

We are all living our lives on this planet at the same time. The universe has been around for billions of years so why should age gaps prevent us from communicating effectively and sincerely with one another.

# Meditation: Meditation is as important for the mind and soul as food and water is for the body.

# Laughter: Smile and laugh as much as possible, there is no better medicine or anti-aging product available to mankind than the positive effects on the body of smiling and laughing.

‘Those who love deeply never grow old; they may die of old age, but they die young.’ (Sir Arthur Pinero)

Andy.

www.wealthnuggets4u.com

There are essentially six basic things that all human beings NEED. These are: Air, Food, water, clothing, shelter and sex. Everything else is a bonus. Unfortunately, the more we attain the more we tend to want and this if we are not careful can become extremely self damaging.

“Man is the only animal whose desires increase as they are fed; the only animal that is never satisfied.” (Henry George)

Although all our tastes vary, generally speaking we all want the same things.

If we can identify what these core things are not only will we improve our own quality of life but also that of others. Furthermore, we are paid in proportion to the amount of value we add to society. Therefor, the more value we add the more we will get paid.

Here is a general list (in no particular order) of what I think most people want:

To be loved, financial freedom, happiness for their children, a good partner, a nice house, friends they can trust, a career, a car, to be happy, regular holidays, recognition, to be needed, pets, hobbies, excitement, laughter, to help others, good food, challenges, status, to look good, to feel good, security, comfort, freedom, sport, entertainment, choice…

I suggest that you draw up your own personal list of what YOU want and then prioritise it, I guarantee you’ll be surprised by it. You have to be really honest though because much of our early lives are spent being pre-conditioned. From an early age we are told what we should and shouldn’t like, we need to strip away this pre-conditioning in order to get to the truth of what it is we really want.

Once you know what it is you REALLY want you can start to go after it.

Most elderly people don’t regret the lack of material goods in their lives they regret the lack of emotional fulfillment. They say things like they wished they’d laughed more or stayed in contact with their old friends or cared about people more.

“Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the acheivement of one’s values.” (Ayn Rand)

Money and material goods are important, particularly if you suffer from a lack of them but we should always keep them in perspective and moreover be grateful for what we DO have. Instead of always chasing the rainbow we should concentrate on FEELING HAPPY NOW.

“The bird of paradise alights only upon the hand that does not grasp.” (John Berry)

If we can acheive true happiness for ourelves and those around us I think we will have acheived our main purpose in life.

Andy.

No matter what we think about money it is vital to everone’s existence. Money often gets a bad press but placed in the right hands it can do amazing things.

Money is meant to be fluid, to flow from one person to another, it is not meant to be horded.

“Money can’t buy you happiness but it can buy you the kind of misery you prefer” (Author unknown)

Many people prevent money from comming into their lives for a variety of reasons. Some people don’t think they are worthy of it, it’s not the money they cant handle it’s themselves. To allow more money to come into our lives we have to believe we are worthy of it.

How do we do that?

We must practice what it is like to have lots of money, get used to the ‘feel’ of being rich. In fact if we want to be good at anything we must practice how to do it. Hang out where rich people do, save up and buy quality clothes and products. Start dressing, acting and thinking like a wealthy person.

Ignore your shortcommings:

Too many people get hung up on their weaknesses instead of concentrating on their strenghs. Just because a person has a limited education, comes from a poor background, speaks with a common accent etc doesn’t mean that they cannot become wealthy. On the contrary most rich people have major shortcommings in other areas of their lives.

“Money frees you from doing things you dislike. Since I dislike doing nearly everything, it comes in handy.” (Groucho Marx)

Money can come to us from many different sources.

Too many people think they can only get money from their jobs. This is such a limmiting belief. Money can come to you from everywhere if you let it. Start thinking positively about it and it will start to flow to you.

Right out of the blue last week I got a cheque from the taxman for over £1,000, the week before my wife found a £20 note whilst clearing out a drawer, the week before that we received an insurance cheque for £850.

Start expecting it, asking for it, wanting it, thinking positively about it, stop moaning abouty the lack of it, being grateful for it and it will start comming to you.

Yesterday, I dropped a penny down the side of my car seat and spent 15 minutes retrieving it, not because I’m a skinflint but because I respect money and what it can do for us.

Andy.

They say that patience is a virtue. I couldn’t agree more, it’s just one that I dont posess, I try, I really do and I’m not making excuses BUT there are just certain things that people do that would make even a saint swear.

However, this year I decided to turn over a new leaf and not let those little niggles get to me.

I get up at 5am and make my way to the bathroom. It does not irritate me that the toilet roll holder is empty, In fact I smile to my self feeling quite confident there will be some in the bathroom cupboard but nope the cupboard is  also empty, no problem, I go down to the garage and get a fresh pack.

On my way down the stairs I think back to the film I watched last night what a great film it was, just a pity the last five minutes hadn’t recorded but I dont mind, I’d only sat riveted for almost 2 hours, I didn’t really want to know the end.

I must’ve set the DVD incorrectly because I’d been interupted for the third time that evening by one of those wonderful telesales people who insist on saving you money, they always become annoyed though when I suggest ringing them back an hour after they have finshed work for the day to discuss the matter further, funny that.

I pass the kitchen sink and spot a dirty cup and plate on the side which one of the kids must’ve left out for me to stow in the dishwasher, I’m still smiling even when I discover jam in the butter.

As I leave for work, I glance at one of our neighbours houses and think for the hundredth time ‘why have they not taken down their Christmas lights yet, it’s May for God’s sake.’

As I head for the petrol station, someone pulls out right in front of me, then proceeds to go at twenty miles an hour, I’m a little late but I dont mind. I try to fuel up but the attendant wont switch my pump on, I’m sure he will eventually, when he’s finished his first cup of coffee of the day, after the second maybe? I then go 1p over the amount I intended putting in, no problems, £20.01 is just fine and dandy, well ok I top it up to £25, that feels better.

As I am leaving the forecourt a young lad pulls in, stereo blaring, no one else bar him has the foggiest idea what the tune is, get me out of here, sorry I mean, we all like a good tune first thing in the morning especially when it’s played by someone else at 500 decibels.

At work we hold an early meeting about the effectiveness of yesterday’s  meeting and what we plan to discuss in tomorrow’s meeting. This afternoon we are having another meeting to discuss wether to divert time away from customer support and use it to hold more meetings.

I must dash I’m late for another meeting. Colin the finance director is chairing it and I promise to smile every time he uses the words ‘cool’, ‘dude’ or ‘sweet’. I also promise to laugh politely whenever he mimicks speech marks with his fingers  or says “Let’s not go there”. I’m still smiling…

Thank God, It’s the weekend at last, the alarm clock goes off as usual at 5am because I forgot to switch it off last night but that’s cool, sorry, I mean that’s okay.

We are doing the weekly food shop but can’t move for OAP’s, they have all week to shop but hey, the more the merrier on a Saturday that’s what I say. It did not irritate me or annoy me for that matter that the woman vacating the parking space that I was waiting for spent five minutes on her mobile before leaving even though she knew I was waiting for her spot, no it didn’t, really.

Inside the store, we choose the checkout with the smallest queue but then discover it’s the smallest queue because it’s being operated by a trainee who has to keep calling for assistance.

Whilst waiting patiently I notice the couple in front of us are wearing matching sweaters and make a mental note to get a pair for my wife and I, sweet.

On the way out we bump into someone I haven’t seen in years, I can’t remember his name so I don’t introduce him to my wife, this appears incredibly rude  but what was the alternative?

As we load our groceries into the car I notice someone else has left a shopping trolley in my way but I don’t mind struggling to the trolley park with two trolleys, honestly.

We unload the shopping at home without breaking our necks on one of the cats that insist on brushing round our legs or tripping over the kids’ discarded sports bags.

Finally we walk into the village and reach the sanctuary of the pub, this should be great a few drinks and a nice meal, no cats, no kids just my wife and I, pure bliss.

Wrong, there are more kids here than at the local creche. Their parents don’t appear to be anywhere in sight. When eventually they do materialise they refuse to take their screaming brats out of the pub no matter how loud they cry or complain.

I go to get another round of drinks and to order some food, the guy in front of me proceeds to order food and drink for his party of about twenty people, he keeps getting it wrong, changing his mind, going back to ask other members of the party what they’d ordered. Like I said, bliss.

Eventually 10 minutes later, the order is complete, double and tripple checked by the waitress, I breathe a sigh of relief, the waitress breathes a sigh of relief before aunt Ethel suddenly appears and asks if it would be a great incovenience if she changed her meal.

YES IT WOULD YOU OLD…of course not maddam.

We finally make it home, kick off our shoes and switch on the TV. Up pops Simon Cowell, smiling that all-knowing smile of his – Perfect.

Life doesn’t get any better.

Andy