• Charli


I was very surprised yesterday afternoon when the doorbell rang. We rarely have visitors especially on a Sunday. He was working, and Jack and I had just returned from our walk by the sea. I was gob-smacked to receive an Amazon delivery. I had been notified that it would arrive on Tuesday, but to have a delivery on a Sunday threw me somewhat.

The package contained a lead I had ordered for Jack which is unfortunately too long and will have to be returned.

Today my mobile rang with an unexpected number and the tell-tale cheery voice introducing himself alerted me to the fact that this was a cold-call. I let him have his say and waited for the obligatory “And how are you today Mrs P?’ I replied, politely, that I had been fine until his call, that I would be blocking the number as soon as I had hung up and that as far as I was aware cold-calling is an unacceptable way of doing business.

I fully understand that people are only doing their jobs and I do not blame them as individuals but as a society aren’t we becoming too consumerist and too used to intrusions and invasions into our lives?

I would love to see a return to sensible shop opening hours  – do we really need to have everything available all day every day? Of course there are only certain times that some people can go shopping  and so extended shop hours are essential to a point, but there are businesses that are open from 0800 – 2200, and seven day opening is in danger of destroying quality family time. Are we so sucked into consumerism that we see a day out shopping as entertainment instead of cooking as a family, eating as a fancily, walking, talking, playing games? Maybe the world is moving too fast for me but we owe it to the next generation to encourage a return to family life that doesn’t involve being surrounded by hordes of people, day in and day out, inadvertently intruding into personal space.

A few years ago I was coaching a client who was concerned that his family were becoming unstuck. They didn’t seem to do anything together any more and he and his wife never had time alone. I asked what they did as a family at weekends and his response was that they went shopping – spending money they could ill afford and so further denying opportunities to socialise as a couple.  I asked him what changes he would like to make and he talked about time as a family going for a walk on the beach, or spending time in the house just playing with train sets, cars, dolls etc. He said he wold love to take his wife out at least once a month but they spent so much money ‘shopping’ that there was never enough. I suggested he put these ideas into practice as well as making time for himself. A few weeks later we met again and he told me that things had radically improved at home. They still went shopping at the weekend but only once a month so it was a family treat, and took in film where possible. He had learnt to ignore the intrusion of advertisements on TV and radio and focussed instead on quality.

It can be done, we can shift our mindset and elicit change if we want it badly enough.

When we were children we were made to go for a walk as a family, and much as we would drag our heels, my sisters and I soon had fun playing ‘tig’ or ‘hide and seek’. Dad would point out a shape or colour of a leaf or a tree, allow us to gather pebbles on the beach, or find old pots long ago washed up on the shore and take our treasures home. Many years later he marvelled at how my sisters were both so creative as artists and I was beginning to explore the written word, but he could not understand where this creative flow had come from. I reminded him that he taught us to use our eyes, to really look for the detail in everyday objects (there goes Minutae again!), and take as much pleasure from the natural world as possible.

We just didn’t have the same intrusions and distractions as we do now, so it is even more important to do what feels right and have the confidence to strike out from what is expected.

Intrusion – a poem

Your order Madam – the doorbell rings

Ah Mrs P, a moment please – my mobile rings

It’s 5am the shop needs opened – the alarm trings

Laptop/tablet/phone –  bleep, blurp, whoosh, ping.

I pull the plug, put on my coat. I hear nothing.

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