#Team Duke/Durky – Cheese Strings Ham Pie


“Hope that a thousand dreams not lost
Reach out when the birds sing
And lead you home” – taken from A Place To Stay (Victories At Sea)

Cheese strings ham pie? Now there’s a book title to think about. It will have Jamie Oliver turning in his griddle. Or Gordon Ramsey having an f**king kitchen nightmare.

“Dragonfly out in the sun, you know what I mean, don’t you know. Butterflies all havin’ fun, you know what I mean. Sleep in peace when day is done: that’s what I mean. And this old world is a new world and a bold world” – as sung by many and what wonderful words from the pens of Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse.

Welcome to another, yes another grounded view from the, well, ground. Here we are, nearly mid December and nearly the passing of another year. And, I hope that year has been a beautiful one for you. I know the View From The Ground blogs have been my opportunity to share the year of #TeamDuke / Durky and I am grateful to everyone for sharing the year with us.

And grateful, or gratitude, is the bus stop I have chosen to step off the bus at for my ramblings contained within this latest blog. Yep, it’s featured in earlier blogs but it is something that has really hit me in the face like smashes by a tuna whilst gliding around the blue seas.

The thing is, sometimes situations get you down and then it is easy to grab a mat and start sliding down the helter-skelter of despondency. It perhaps feels easier to focus on the have not, can not, and will not, rather than the have, can, and will. True? Well, that’s certainly been a situation I’ve been in.

In truth, I had a choice and, for some bizarre reason, I chose to feel sorry for myself. Mad!

So, apologies if the last couple of blogs have been a bit down in the mouth and, perhaps, a little negative.

But, this blog is a new dawn, a new day – following a right, royal kick up the bum…………….. by me.

What is the point of focusing on the ‘nots’? The nots tie you up in the knots!! And then the knots restrain you and all you can think about is the nots. Well, time to tell the nots to get (un)knotted.

Easier said than done? I can understand why it’s easy to think that but let me talk you through a simple exercise I am working on. It’s something, if I am to be totally honest, that I did a couple of years ago to great effect but, as with a lot of things, I lost sight of the importance of this exercise when I started to look too much AT the ground rather than taking my view FROM the ground. In other words, was looking down instead of up. Too much looking back rather than in the here and now, and at what’s in front of me.

The exercise? To be grateful. And by that I mean TRULY grateful. Not in an evangelical sort of way – unless that’s how you chose to see things – but more of a personal way to me.

It’s not rocket science when the opening gratitudes are waking up and being able to see, walk, talk and think.

But after that, it’s chocks away. Just think, being grateful for something as simple as a mug of tea. However, having a roof over my head, clean water, a kettle, electricity, a mug, and ……………….. a tea bag all come into the gratitude. Then, there is the vision to see what I’m doing, the physical ability to make the tea and to be able to taste the nectar that is tea – not polluted by milk!

And, that’s just a mug of tea! But, in reality and from a personal perspective, I really had taken my eye off the truth of mine and # TeamDuke / Durky’s life – we are so lucky and we need to be grateful for it.

I was in Glasgow last weekend with Audrey and the number of homeless people on the streets was distressing. Their life possessions scattered around them. And then, I have had the audacity to complain about some trivial nonsense in my life. But, we do it don’t we? Don’t we??

The traffic is bad on the way to work. Bad? I should celebrate I have the means to get to work and I have a job to do when I get there and I am indoors, in a warm office, with good people.

I’ve got boring chicken soup for lunch. Boring? I have soup / food. I have the means to heat it – at work, where I have a job.

I could carry on about everything throughout the day where gratitude should be expressed but I’ll leave that as a thought for you.

And then during an evening walk with Ben we started talking about 13 Leeds Festivals we’ve been to and all of the incredible bands – famous bands; bands on the rise; bands who have reached a level but in our minds are brilliant. Yes, we are so grateful for the chance to see these bands – from Green Day to Gaslight Anthem to Eminem to Architects to Madness to Foo Fighters and so on. So lucky.

In a conversation with Audrey we were reflecting on all of the things we have done this year where, ideally, good weather would have been rather welcome. And, every-time, we had excellent weather. And we are grateful.

It’s amazing how, once you start thinking lucky; feeling grateful; not taking anything for granted – it all makes sense. If you haven’t tried it, I would recommend Just sitting down for a few minutes and thinking about how lucky you are – I truly hope. It has certainly helped me remove my poor me head out of my bottom. Poor me? Maybe not quite that bad, but I do look back on a couple of recent blogs with a bit of disappointment. The rest – I love them 😇.

As a closing thought, and very much linked to gratitude, I find it important to remember about the fragility of life and how it is easy to take good health for granted. The more I see and the more I feel, the more I know it is important to respect and celebrate good health and sound mental capacity every day. You just don’t know what could happen tomorrow. Imagine, waking up and not being able to remember yesterday or a yesteryear. Imagine, waking up and looking at your family and not knowing who they are. Imagine, waking up and not being able to do the simplest of things for yourself that you could do yesterday. Imagine, not waking up.

I say all of the above because, more than ever, I am so very grateful for everything I do have in my life. Thank you!



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