Showing posts from March, 2012

Don't kiss me - cross cultural fumblings!

This weekend I've kissed a number of people on the lips, the eyebrow, the ear and even the forehead. This embarrassing intimacy is all the result of difficult European greeting customs which us Brits should never be subjected to!

In spite of travelling regularly and schooling myself in language and cross cultural understanding, the actual moment of greeting still baffles me. I know it's coming, as they approach and dip their head, I seize up, unsure whether to swerve left or right. Consequently I either meet them full on the mouth, or some awful near miss which more resembles a yuppie 'mwah' than a genuine Italian 'Ciao'.

Returning home on Monday with the scars of fumbled greetings still fresh in my mind, I recalled this old but still brilliant Pam Ayres reflection on the matter. It's still best in her own words:

But Don't Kiss Me..

I want to ask a favour of the friends that I might meet,
To all of my acquaintances who pass me in the street,
Give me a cheery…

Somalian Pirate Parallels

Sometimes the news reports shock us with striking gospel parallels out of nowhere. Yesterday's news carried such an impact, detailing how Judith Tebbutt is preparing to come home after a six month kidnap ordeal from a remote Kenyan beach resort. Taken by Somalian pirates and held with her husband, Mrs Tebbutt is now facing up to a return to normal life - if this will ever be possible for her.

During the kidnap process, her husband David was shot dead by the Pirates. Along with the immense grief and sense of loss, she is also reported to have paid an £800,000 ransom, plus a further £20,000 'accomodation costs' to the Pirates. When the ransom money was dropped by plane earlier this week, her release was confirmed.

It is hard to imagine how someone can adjust to freedom and normality after such an ordeal, especially when it has been at such great cost, emotionally, physically, financially.

Deep in this awful story we find the seeds of hope from a greater story-One that we have a…

Britannica Sadness v Bite Sized Thinking

After 244 years of publishing facts about the world, Encyclopedia Britannica is finally stopping print versions.  Imagine the events they have chronicled? From the Enlightenment to the Crimean war, the Britannica boys were there at the cutting edge.

Encyclopedia Britannica  defined my childhood. It was how we found stuff out in the olden days. We had big dusty versions at school with intriguing arbitary pairings on the spines to show what was covered therein - kiss to Mountbatten? Britannica was considered so vital to a child's development that we nearly got a set at home. In the end, I think Dad was put off by the salesman refusing to tell him the price until he had completed his little talk, especially when we all knew that the full deluxe leather bound set would cost more than a new car! So thanks to the pushy salesman, I got through my schooling and exams in the library with the tomes out around me on the desk!

In this wiki instant age it is a surprise it's taken them this l…