• Charli

Keep Apart 2 Chevrons

As we were driving South to Cornwall recently we went through a section of the M5 that had the request ‘Keep apart 2 Chevrons’. For some reason this always makes me smile and if I am the driver then I will play a game with myself to see if I can indeed keep a distance of 2 chevrons between myself and fellow travellers. Invariably I get bored and the distance starts to close as I seek to put myself in front of the leading vehicle, staying just the wrong side of the national speed limit.

Another ’game’ I like to play when making long haul journeys is to ensure that when I move between lanes on the motorway the tyres of my car move exactly between the white lines, and this requires a distance of 3 white lines to be precise.

Driving with children can be an exacting science and these days the easy option is to allow them to plug into their gadgets, but I’m a wee bit old fashioned in that respect and we have a fairly strict 2 hours screen time policy. Saying that, this rule can be bent to accommodate some flexibility due to unforeseen delays and traffic hold ups, but generally we listen to music, we chat and play I’-Spy’ or ‘First Person to See’.

Many years ago when driving with L+T we made up a game called ‘Stating the Bleedin Obvious’ which I think was borne out of boredom by over-playing the two other games and the quick witted retort from L in relation to a a comment made by T who was trying to open up conversation about something we had just passed. It kept us amused for a while.

Driving as I do at least once a year from North to South and back again there are too many inconsistencies across the highways and byways… don’t get me started on Services signage. There are numerous sections across Britain’s motorways that have ‘calming’ measures – another well-intentioned effort from the residing local authorities to reduce or even avoid unnecessary pile-ups. The intention is sound, the outcome applaudable when it works, however, herein lies the rub … what is the cost associated with putting measures like this in place if they are not sustainable or used consistently across the country? As soon as another party comes into power, so many changes are put into place ‘just because it can be done’.

Why are we at the behest of so called new initiatives every time a different political party is voted in to power? Whether its road calming measures, recycling collection, planning or car parking to name a few, so often change occurs for change’s sake and not because it effectively serves the community. I am fortunate enough to live in a beautiful coastal town which of course attracts many visitors, and has seen a dramatic increase in house building since I moved 15 years ago. As a result there is an excess of accumulated litter which is mostly put into bins. The bins have open sides – ease of access to place litter in, but also creating an opportunity either for the wind to whirl away the inevitable greasy fish and chip containers or for the seagulls to protrude their vicious beaks in an attempt to peck at the few remaining crumbs. There are a few easy win solutions to this: invest in bins that have a flip side – rather like a swing top bin but with the flap on the side; pay for the amenities crew to clear the bins at the end of the day rather than leaving them overnight or invest in larger bins that have a strong lid system impenetrable to seagulls. Look outwards at best practice and ensure that it serves the community.

Initiatives that cost money and don’t last can be googled at leisure and this link illustrates this:

In my personal and professional life I have often blamed myself for not being able to fully complete a project, or to lose interest and not give enough attention to concluding it effectively. I remember many primary school projects started with the best intentions but rushed at the end just so that I could say it was done. I’m not sure the problem is entirely mine – its the nature of our political maelstrom.

I made a decision just over a year ago, having suffered a period of poor mental health, partly provoked by personal despondency in the way teaching profession was heading, and associated low self esteem, to pay attention to developing my inner creative self which included a course in floristry, making time for photography and, of course, writing. It allows me the time to reflect, to consider my own personal and leadership development and my life’s journey. This really is it – the only life we have. I want to enjoy it.

I started this blog over a week ago at home whilst planning a trip, trying to pack, attending to end of term responsibilities and struggling to get the words out. I am about to conclude it, sitting in a cottage garden in Penzance with the sun gently warming my winter bones, alone other than with my wee dog at my feet, my big dog not far away in the shade. I have given myself permission to have head space, to allow my thoughts to drift in and out, to meander and form into something, I hope is enjoyable to the reader and I trust that whatever the journey that is being undertaken, it is done with care, just the right amount of planning and with the understanding that we are all involved in this together therefore our voices count.

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