The Moodscope Blog



An eccentric absurdity

Tuesday August 16, 2022

Last Sunday I attended a Carol service in a small chapel a couple of miles away down a narrow country lane. It began with the preacher saying “I welcome you all to our Carol service in July” and, after a momentary pause, she added “How eccentric is that?” Later on in the service, she referred to its being an “eccentric absurdity”, admitting that she had deliberately not asked us to sing In the Bleak Midwinter as that was a step too far!
I looked up the meanings of “eccentric”- unconventional or slightly strange- and “absurdity” - the quality or state of being ridiculous or wildly unreasonable.

As we sang Silent Night, O Little Town of Bethlehem and the like, through the window I glanced the blue sky and piles of hay in the graveyard. It occurred to me then that service was certainly unconventional, rather than ridiculous, which is why I enjoyed it so much.
After the service, we gathered outside in the sunshine to partake of the mince pies and Christmas cake on offer. It was then that I noticed one member of the congregation emerging from the chapel. He was a Father Christmas lookalike complete with long white beard and sporting a bright red shirt with a Christmas pattern on it. He had really entered into the spirit of things which brought a smile to my face!
I like being unconventional. When my grandson was born, I decided I would not be called Granny, Grandma or Nanny (this last one reminds me of a goat) so chose Oma, a word of Germanic origin. I spent my working life as a teacher and had to conform, so now I enjoy the freedom of not having to toe the line. My choice of clothes nowadays is completely different  –  I enjoy wearing maxi dresses and skirts  (which remind me of my hippie-influenced teens!) And still on the topic of clothes, when I was confirmed at the age of 11, I refused to obey convention by wearing a modest all white outfit, choosing a green mini dress instead. I think deep down I have been a natural rebel all my life!       
So do you like being different? Would you describe yourself as eccentric or do you think others see you as that? Are you a rebel?
And the reason for a Carol service in July? In 2009, the Big Freeze made it impossible for the usual Carol service to be held at the end of December. So it was decided to delay it until the Summer months. The congregation enjoyed it so much that it’s been held every July ever since!

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.



Oftentimes children are the best teachers.

Each Thursday morning in August, my organisation is hosting, “Exploring Art Together.” This is an environment in which budding artists of all ages and all abilities can have space to ‘play’ with Art. Some of our activities are led and some are self-supervised.

The biggest surprise for me has been the self-supervised activity of “Junk-Modelling.” This is exactly what you might expect it to be: a pile of rubbish with tape to stick it together! We’ve got flower pots and cardboard tubes, boxes and plastic bowls. All the items were once useful as packaging to contain something else. Now, they are no longer needed or wanted.

The sight of one of the grandmothers carrying the large ‘house’ her granddaughter had built out of our building to take safely home is a sight that will tickle me for years. I wonder where she will find space to put it!

This activity is by far one of the children’s favourites. It requires three major ingredients: supervision for safety, a pile of discarded junk (with things to stick it together), and tons of imagination!

I have that kind of brain that sees lessons in most experiences. As the children created masterpieces of Art, I thought about the junk we have in our own lives. We all have ‘containers’ that once were useful for a task or resource whose time has passed. Now those containers clutter our lives. Penny is in the process of breathing exciting new life into a dressing table she had as a child. This is good but not what I have in mind here. Instead, Penny is restoring a piece to its original intended purpose.

What if, like the children, we could take wasted resources and make good Art? What if we could take experiences that we no longer think have value and stick them together with other experiences in new ways to find new meaning and value? The children are showing me that nothing is wasted and everything has value when mixed with energy and imagination.

Perhaps you have wasted talents (I don’t think they are ‘wasted’ but I use the language to illustrate the point) that could be put to new use. Innovation is surely a ‘new’ use for existing ingredients. It is the bottle-tops that become the new bricks to build with; wasted-plastic that becomes a new bench for the park. What use could one’s ‘wasted youth’ be put to? What value could be found in and for loss? For example, the lady who is passionate about collecting our medical waste – blister packs for pills – does so because it raises funds for Marie Curie as well as keeping the waste out of landfills. She does this also because her husband died of cancer and they were cared for by Marie Curie. I would not say everything is valuable but I would say every experience can be put to good use… as the children teach us.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.




Sunday August 14, 2022

t’s Saturday afternoon and I’ve been up since dawn, out in a huge field, in blistering heat. I’m tired but I’m certainly not complaining, it’s a day we’ve waited for for two years and I’m getting to hear all manner of pipe bands play (including my own son).  

A short moment ago, I discovered that the blog I wrote for Sunday is miles away at home on my laptop and I’m here with only my phone. So, inside the noise here, heat and busy, I’ve found a fence to lean on and a swift and hasty replacement blog it is. My apologies!

I watched a couple of young kids a moment ago. He was about ten, she was about 7. He in his pipe band uniform, she in shorts and a t-shirt. They were larking around daft, gently pulling each other over, making faces. Then a relative asked them to pose for a photo. Calm was made, they smiled like abdines and the photo moment I’m sure will be treasured. Most likely nobody noticed the joyous lead up to the photo or the after part, when they wandered away laughing and chattering.  

The series of moments made me think of our mental health. When we arrive at any snapshot moment, it is just that - a still moment. We don’t always think of the lead up or the after, and yet we can be intensely consumed by the snapshot moment.

Might we hold that thought a while? Ponder on what that means to us, what the bad parts of that is and, most importantly, what the good parts can be.

The snapshot of the children was beautiful, but posed. The best parts, for me, before and after were the nuggets of gold. Here’s to that.

Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.




Saturday August 13, 2022

Nothing to do with fences or Royal mail. I am talking about Moodscope Posts.
To some extent this is a continuation of my recent Post about communication. It also follows on from the very popular Post written by Jul on 2 June. 
First some background. During the first few years of Moodscope, Jon Cousins, the founder, issued daily emails to members. In May 2013 Jon left his creation and it remained in the capable hands of Caroline and her team. Quite soon members started to submit their own Posts for publication. This still continues and has been a great success. 
At this point I would like to give deserving credit to the regular weekly ‘Posters’. I am, of course, referring to Ratg, Lex, Mary W and Leah. For several years now (I know Mary and Lex started over 7 years ago) they have written Posts each week so their total contribution exceeds a thousand. They provide the backbone for each weeks Posts.
The ‘publication’ every day of a new Post has produced a library of over 3,000 Posts with associated comments. This is a treasure trove of information as there is an enormous variety of topics. It would be very useful if it could be analysed in some way. I appreciate there is a cost to this but it would be interesting.
Personally I find writing Posts therapeutic. I started in May last year and have now written about three dozen. Ideas pop into my mind from time to time and I keep a small notebook/pen and an online document folder to make sure they are recorded.
Sometimes I will start a Post, write around 200 to 300 words and then it dries up. I leave it for a while for it to ‘stew’ and then return to add a bit more. I usually do a bit of ‘googling’ on the subject to find something different or interesting and it can take four or five attempts before it is finished. 
I like to include something personal, humorous and thought provoking.
I look forward early each morning to reading the daily Post. I will either write a comment almost immediately or let the content of the Post go round my mind a while before replying.   
If you want to post a comment today I would like your views on:

1.  Do you think it would be useful to have a facility for analysing the content of previous blogs?
2.   It is said that there is a ‘book’ in all of us. So therefore there must be a ‘Post’. Do you have something you want to write about? 

A Moodscope member

PS. If you do wish to write a post for Moodscope just email it to [email protected]

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.



Where is it?

Friday August 12, 2022

A well-known Australian columnist was asked years ago when he had written a weekly column for many years, where does he get his ideas? Does he ever run out of things to write about?
He said one day as a deadline was looming and he had no idea, he opened his miscellaneous drawer and started writing about all the different objects that ended up there.

Most homes have one a drawer where all the bits and bobs that have nowhere else to go, end up.

Some people have a small drawer, some have an organised drawer divided into sections, while other have small cupboards and some, like a friend I know, has a big wooden box where she puts things that don’t fit anywhere else.

So, what’s in my drawer, for me there are odd bits of string, surplus pens and pencils, cardboard and other paper that is to be recycled. I wonder how  a large drawer has so much stuffed in it that  the drawer is often jammed.

I wonder why so many people have such a drawer when all the items may have a place elsewhere.

I would like you to share what you have in your drawer or box etc and what do you call it? Is the drawer helpful for finding things or do you feel it is so full you may need to organise it better?

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.



I am here

Thursday August 11, 2022

Here I am, sitting at a cute cafe with my laptop, a cappuccino and a glass of ice cold water. The beach is four metres away. It’s a small, stony, beautiful beach, full of children and parents and grandparents and lovers and friends. Multi coloured parasols protect most body parts on most people. Some, like me, have moved away from the lunchtime sun and are having a drink or a coffee in this shaded cafe. Do I smell chips? That ice-cream looks yum! I look out towards the sea and I see my son, splashing about in the pure clear water, climbing a rock and jumping in, pencil style. I wave in his direction though he won’t see me. He looks happy and I, in a sudden moment of self-awareness, realise that I too feel happy. Happy. Content. Mindful. I am here.

I had resisted this holiday. I always resist a holiday. My work is freelance so there is no ‘taking a week or two off’. This has made me indecisive over the years. Others call me spontaneous as I tend to book two or three days to go somewhere at the last minute. But, in reality, that way of holidaying is stressy and expensive plus my teens complain that we never have a ‘holiday plan’ like their friends do. This year I allowed myself to be nudged to take the holiday plunge. It did feel like jumping off a high rock. The truth is I experienced pangs of anxiety when we were booking the flights and the accommodation. Nine nights away is the longest holiday I’ve had in… forever! The ‘what-ifs’ were flying through my frazzled brain. All the work deadlines what-ifs of course but also health what-ifs and safety what-ifs and many what-if it all goes wrong and we drive each other mad what-ifs and…what do I do with our dog and what-if there is an emergency and… yes, I over-think every single thing which is why I don’t do this… but here I am.

And it’s wonderful. We brought our snorkels and we can see small, tiny and big fish swimming around us, we are languishing on the beach and exploring the city, we watched the beautiful sunset last night, we are eating nice food in little cafes but we also splashed out and dined in a fancy restaurant with a stunning view. I am working - I have my laptop and I am meeting my deadlines but it feels different - calmer, lighter, freer.  I am (way) out of my comfort zone. And it feels good. To those who nudged me, thank you.

Now I’m going to join my son in the sea… perhaps have a little jump off that rock.

I am here. 

Salt Water Mum
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.



Future, Present, Past

Wednesday August 10, 2022

That seems the wrong way around, doesn’t it? We’re far more used to the order, Past, Present Future.

There is, however, a reason for this order.

Without a dream for the future, we have no sense of direction. We need a dream and then a plan, even if it is only planning a menu for the week and making out a shopping list. Without a direction and a plan, we have chaos. If we want to have a holiday, a new job, if we want to do something with the garden, we need a vision and we need a plan.

Much of the present is taken up with the routine business of everyday life. The present is often reacting to the unexpected and unplanned. Walking towards our future, however, means bringing our plans into our present and acting on those plans today.

The past is about recording what happened. The past is about organisation; about tidying away; doing the accounts; keeping a diary or gratitude journal and making that scrapbook or photograph album.

Most of us are happiest in one area, can deal with a second and only grudgingly spend time in the third.

My husband is the dreamer and the planner. 90% of the things he says he would love to do, like starting a water sports business or buying an Aston Martin, will just stay as dreams – or, at least, I hope so. Some of them are more realistic. He plans our holidays, and our new garden design. But some of those plans then gather dust for years.

I tend to live in the present. I book the tickets for the holiday. Give me a list of things to do today and I’m a happy bunny. Ask me to plan a marketing strategy for the next six months and I’m a rabbit in the headlights. If it were left to me, there would be no changes. There would be no holidays, no redesign of the garden, no financial preparation for our retirement. I would just go on, responding to emergencies and living a quiet humdrum existence.

Neither of us is good at recording things. My husband has piles of papers on his desk which are never filed. I have started a hundred diaries and journals and have given up on all of them within three weeks. My bank account goes unreconciled and the yearly accounts for my business should have been done five months ago. Most of our photos are still online rather than in albums. It is difficult to learn from the past or remember it if we do not record it in some way. We would live in a mess if we did not tidy away and organise things. The past is vital to our present and our future.

In which time are you most comfortable? Are you a dreamer and planner, a doer, or a recorder?

And what can you change so the past and future are both balanced in your present?

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.



Some years ago a present arrived by post from one of my cousins. It was a plain notebook, the type with blank pages that you write in, and it had a fancy cover, with a title “The Procrastinator” in large strident type both on the spine and the front.

This sent me into a spiral of negative thoughts, did my cousin think I was a procrastinator, did others think I was a procrastinator, had it been sent in a sarcastic way, some side barb? The other practical problem was what to do with it, I couldn’t take it to the office and pick up another nickname in addition to the “onion breath” one that had accompanied me unknowingly when I didn’t go to the dentist for a few years (phobia). Similarly, I didn’t want to use it in front of my friends.

The notebook sat hidden at the back of some shelves for a decade, then I gave it to a charity shop. I had procrastinated about the procrastinator book – it was true I was one, and the book had fulfilled its destiny.

From psychometric tests, I found out I make decisions slower than most people, and that annoys them. However, also from the same assessment, my decisions achieve better outcomes as they are well thought through. A benefit!

Then one day I read, that procrastination is avoiding uncomfortable feelings, you are putting off doing something that you anticipate will make you feel bad. Suddenly I understood, at another level, that it wasn’t an intrinsic flaw, but more a natural behaviour. My challenge is to know when to procrastinate, and when to take the plunge.

At the weekend out of the blue a young relative contacted me and asked me to be guarantor for him. I was shocked, likely he didn’t understand I would be liable if he ran up debts (fair chance he would), I stayed in my shock state for a couple of hours then showed my husband the message. He immediately said I should phone up the young man, and explain we couldn’t do it for practical reasons. I did (after some gentle pushing and a couple of runs through of phraseology with husband) and the young man was fine about it we had a nice chat, and I invited him to stay.  If I hadn’t had the encouragement from my husband, I would still be chewing it over, and going down some rabbit holes of calamity, about whichever route I chose. But actually, within a few minutes, the weight was lifted and I felt so much better.

I think what I am saying is procrastination is not shameful, or necessarily bad, it is only bad if it makes you feel bad and brings rumination and catastrophic thinking.  Then it is time to take the plunge and know whatever the outcome you are taking control, and attempting to improve your well being.

What do you think? Is Procrastination good or bad?
A Moodscope member.

PS.I have been thinking about this blog for 6 months.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.



Crisis and Observation

Monday August 8, 2022

A visual blog today! For this to work, you need to stare at the white dot between the red and green squares and count to 60! Yes, you need to stare that dot for a whole minute. Then you can look at the other white dot and notice what you see.

Spoiler alert: even though the two lower images are exact mirror images of one another you should see a different colour cast on each side.

This is because your brain is showing you the information it thinks it should show you to make the most sense of current reality. It is interpreting reality as it sees fit.

If your brain sees the world as a mix of red and green as the dominant colours you pay attention to, then red and green will influence the way you ‘see’ everything else! The brain applies a kind of meaning to everything we perceive.

In other words, we don’t see the world as it is but rather as we see it. Or as Anaïs Nin put it far more eloquently, “We don’t see the world as it is, we see it as we are.” Or as Neuroscience would put it if there was a personification of Neuroscience, “We don’t see the world as it is but rather as our experience suggests it should be.”

Suppose your cultural upbringing had a strong emphasis on the black-and-white division between ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Your brain would do its utmost to interpret everything coming into it through the senses as either good or bad.

I’m going to recommend you have a day off. Have a day off from ‘bad’. In the perceptual exercise this would mean choosing either to have a red or green day, whichever best represent the colour of ‘good’ for you. For argument’s sake, let’s call it a, “Red Letter Day”! I promise you, if you had only red images at the top, looked at it for 60 seconds, and then looked at the dune scenes, you would not be able to tell them apart aside from the fact that they are mirror images.

Let’s choose today to only see the good in every situation by asking ourselves the question, “In which ways is this good?” And then let’s see what kind of day we have (or perceive to have!)

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.



Drawing a line

Sunday August 7, 2022

This week, I spent a little time with my mother. We were attending an outdoor event at the same time, so we ended up standing with each other. For a number of hours.  

It still shocks and disappoints me that she can be nasty and cruel on such a frequent basis (to everybody apart from her grandchildren). But I have started to expect it and accept it. I could have stayed longer, but decided I would protect myself and leave early. I also put my hands in my pockets when she was being nasty and I stuck my fingers up at her from in there. I felt like such a kid! But I needed a physical reminder that her words had nothing to do with me despite me giving them attention.

I suppose I’ve learned a boundary! Do you have one? Do you need one? Is a lack of boundary leaving you wide open?

Sunday food for thought…

Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.



I intend on writing a book

Saturday August 6, 2022

In a culture addicted to success and positive thinking, this little companion for the heart, will speak of the gifts of failure, the wisdom of loss, the meaning of letting go, and the mercy in grief.

I have known loss and grief for all my living years. Now may well be my time to honour their presence in my life, in our lives. So here is a brief for all my Moodscope friends:

“Loss is a betrayal. Loss happens when something we have had the courage to love deeply, more than anything else, and more than ourselves, is taken away from us. We are left dumped on the roadside, unable to breathe. Breathing is like inhaling singing hot smoke, like drowning with our lungs full of ice cold water. Our hearts are seared open. “Why” is about all our minds can articulate.

And yet, a new day dawns. Our mind left numb by the shock of loss, gradually awakens to meet life’s flow again. Our bodies will themselves to function, however basically. For me, it was the call of the mother. Two very young children needed to be loved, fed and clothed, irrespective of the immensity and intensity of my dysfunction from the loss.

I used various paddles to make my way out through the rapids- will, a call to duty, guilt, even shame on my hopelessness and vulnerability. Some days were better than the others. Many days succumbed to a dark reservoir of grief.

The mercy of time and a love for the children that would not give up on me, egged me on.

I learned that the journey to healing is ongoing. Gradually, I began to see that all my efforts at trying to make sense of, of piecing a “new life” was essentially a search for meaning. Perhaps we are all searching for meaning in some way, I thought. Perhaps we are even making meaning as we engage with the flow of life, I felt. Perhaps deep down we are meaning making creatures. After all, meaning gives context and enables.

Meaning making may well be the healing mechanism of time. As we allow our hearts to receive this wisdom, to let this understanding nurture our minds- its habits and its routines, embrace with love the reservoir of sorrow that our bodies have held for years after the sudden ruptures...

Perhaps at the end of the day, our journeys are our destination...

Perhaps endless self love, is the gift of loss...

Perhaps endless self mercy breathing in love for all the painful knots within, is the gift of trauma...

Perhaps our capacity to love endlessly is the wisdom of grief...

Perhaps our ability to transcend ourselves, to become larger than life, perhaps that unvanquishable spirit... that is what it means to be human...

And it is all held here, right here in our hearts, the wounds and the trophies, both.“

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.



Stuck in mud

Friday August 5, 2022

Do you remember that children’s game stuck in mud? If you were caught you were tagged and were stuck in mud, unable to move till someone crawled under your legs. By the action of another player on your team you were unstuck.

I sometimes feel stuck in life or in a relationship unable to move on and think it would be nice if a simple action by another person could make me unstuck and free me. Of course, as an adult maybe crawling under one’s legs would not be appropriate or even possible! but the idea of a friend helping you when you are in need of help, so you can move forward seems a clever idea.
Once I was in a chaotic relationship that I really wanted to leave but I kept procrastinating. A friend took me aside and said she knew I was scared about changing but she had been in a similar position and knew I felt indecisive. She held my hand and said I would be ok. It took me a couple of years before I moved on, but her words made me feel I was not alone.
I know that stuck in the mud is just a simple childhood chasing game, but I wonder two things:

Do you have a game, can be an active game or a sitting game that you played as a child that you remember fondly because there is something you learned from it?

Have you ever been stuck in life and what helped you become unstuck?

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.



Social Media – Friend or foe?

Thursday August 4, 2022

Some years ago, when Mum was still alive, my eldest sister and brother-in-law came to visit. My sister and I don't exactly get on and it's probably best if I say, we are better off not in the same room!

However, I digress. When she visited, she said 'You should get onto Facebook, and then you would be able to keep in touch with the children'.  I think this all came about because Mum had asked my sister, how the children (should say here, they are now both married with children) were getting on. My sister said' oh well they are o.k., but  Vivien should get on Facebook then she would hear from them regularly. 

First point I would make here – my sister can be very abrupt in her manner and everything comes with the word 'should'.  Very hard word. 

I duly signed up to Facebook, but rarely hear from my nephew and niece, but did manage to find some friends that I hadn't heard from for a long time. So pluses and minuses. I rarely post, and then only to people I know.
A friend rang me this week,  to tell me about a post on a Facebook group (Private) which concerned me. Someone had been asking about me – I think the wording was along the lines ' does she exist?'.  The person that was asking, was someone I knew many many years ago and I certainly didn't want to get in touch with them. As I didn't see the actual post because I don't belong to this group and have no wish to join, I got a bit worried. No Viv, be honest, you broke down!  I thought, why on earth would this person want to get in touch with me? Two people replied to his post – one said, yes I did still live where I did, and another one told him that my Mum had died and also told him the number of my house.  That is worrying, particularly as I live on my own. It made me think of a situation some months ago when a stranger turned up at my house and asked if (and gave my name) still lived at this address. Fortunately I had the presence of mind to say that I had moved away some years ago. It turned out this stranger (who gave his name and I knew him) was just looking for me but I sent him off with a flea in his ear. 
OK – I know I shouldn't have opened the door and now with hindsight, will never do this again. My closest friends call out to me when they come to visit. I am now in the process of deleting my Facebook account – very time consuming as I need to let my contacts know what is happening.   
Question?  Should I involve the Police? Part of me says Yes, Part of me says No. Because I have told my closest friends what has happened, I know that they are looking out for me.  
Any ideas Moodscopers?  Not sure what to do.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.



Saving Energy

Wednesday August 3, 2022

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.”

We all know those opening lines from Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. We are fortunately not facing a grisly revolution but for many of us, these are the worse times we can remember for 45 years. Back in the 1970s we had inflation, we had strikes and we had droughts. This all seems depressingly familiar.

Prices are going up, but wages are staying the same. Something must give.

In our household, with one daughter at university and another (hopefully) going next year, we will feel the pinch. They will both get the maximum student loan, and maybe even a bursary, but our elder daughter has found this only just covers her rent, with very little left for food and none at all for anything else. The “Bank of Mum and Dad” is topping up that student loan. This will double next year as our younger one flies the nest.

My husband’s wages will not rise, so I must look at my business to fill that gap.

Yesterday I attended a training aimed at speeding up the services we provide. I was one of four consultants sitting around the table as we discussed our concerns. The biggest one for all of us was that we didn’t see how we could deliver the same level of service without spending the same time and energy. Our businesses are heart-driven, and we want not just to give our clients information but to transform their lives.

Under the eagle eye of our MD, each of us found, however, there were areas where we were spending unnecessary time. The newer consultants were repeating elements because they didn’t trust themselves and their training. They just needed confidence. After 21 years of doing this, I trust myself, but give my clients too much information and overload them. No wonder all my clients report they are exhausted after their consultation, and no wonder I am also exhausted. I am spending not only too much time, but too much of their energy and my own.

I am now looking at other areas of my life. Where am I giving too much? If I give less, will the result still be the same? How can I streamline my life to use less energy – and maybe spend less money?

At present, I am still in the place I was yesterday morning. I cannot see where I can possibly give less and still be happy with things. I think we are all too close to our own lives and need an outside pair of eyes.

My buddies are very good in my worst of times, telling me what to drop. Perhaps I can ask them to look also at my best of times (in these bad times), to see where I spend unnecessary energy.

We will all be saving energy this winter, to reduce our fuel bills but where can we save emotional and physical energy right now?

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.



Entente (fairly) Cordiale

Tuesday August 2, 2022

Having survived 87 months of June, I did not intend writing about July, but it keeps making the headlines, and I realised that for the whole of my adult life July has been: scary (at the moment), chaotic, bizarre, party-ing, see-sawing bringing up children and making a living, and very, very international.

There are 11 years between eldest and youngest of my five children. This means that from when the first started school (1961) till the last went to 6th form college (1984) there were non-stop sports days, open days, speech/prize-giving days. There were changes of schools (could be traumatic) getting the uniform together (definitely traumatic) organise driving rotas. Satchels, notes, sports gear, cooking ingredients (had to be weighed). All during the busiest month – dictatorial markets, (ditto irrigation) foreign labour, student labour, government form filling, (much worse now). But international?

Our second house was a 17 roomed wreck, we needed money, I needed help.  Aux pairs, Finnish (they curtsied to Mr G!) French (useless) Australian (marvellous, except she was petrified of UK driving). We had foreign students, French,Italian, German to learn English. No way, they just caused mayhem with our lot. I had no compunction in taking the money, I could not make them learn English. Anyway, I reckoned their fond parents would have paid double to get rid of them. Bizarre, when Malaysia decreed education was to be in Malay a copra millionaire sent his grand-daughters to be educated in a strict convent in Staffordshire. Poor things, the guardian sent them to us in July/August. So quite normal to have dinner for at least twelve, and 5 nationalities.

But it was moving to France  that really started major parties. Mr G’s birthday was 10th July, Bastille Day 14th, plus best French friend’s birthday. I decided (warped sense of humour) that we Brits would throw a big party on French national day. It became an institution. One year some people apologised before the day that they would be away. I said we were not having it anyway. I imagined a queue of people on the pavement hoping for the usual food, drink and gossip. I always had a ‘theme’ Spanish tapas was the favourite.  After a scary crisis in Jakarta our  6 year old grand-son was sent to us – never been away from both parents. I said ‘Right young man you are co-host, you take the presents and put them nicely on the table’. First gift, a dozen bottles of wine! Then he was hidden behind bouquets and pot plants. The local priest turned up, already had moules frites, said he would have a ‘friendly’ drink and stumbled out of the house after dinner around 2 a.m. The ‘cordiale’ bit of this still gladdens me. Everybody came – French provincial sociability is very stratified. Anyway, last market day French pals, a Danish family with two adorable blond daughters, a Mexican family with two teen-age beauties. I wonder what tomorrow will bring? Market day. Now I have to save my plants.

How has July treated you?

The Gardener
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.



I’ve had a lovely experience this week.

The Churches Together group in Swanage came together for a Celebratory event called, “Carnival Praise.” This was part of the famous – world famous, even – Swanage Carnival. I had the privilege of playing Bass in a very talented band representing the different denominations.

Lest you think this is a religious blog, fear not, it is not. It’s a very human blog. The different churches vary from one another to quite a surprising extent. It’s like the difference between Thai and Italian Cuisine! Both celebrate food but with very differing spices and ingredients. Both are satisfying. And both have their fans.

This is ‘Moodscope’ for me. We ‘Moodscope Users’ come from different countries, different cultures, different age groups, and different backgrounds, but like the band, we share the same Song Sheet. That common focus grants us enough in common to understand one another. And, dare I say it, gives us enough in common to ‘sing’ well together.

May I ask you, “What is your favourite of the 20 Moodscope Mood Indicators?”

It will be like asking you, “Do you prefer Italian or Thai, Indian or Chinese Cuisine…?"

We may be singing from the same Song Sheet but we all have favourites, and I’m a very curious chap!

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.



Prawn ’n coptail crisps

Sunday July 31, 2022

On Saturdays when we were wee, my brothers and I would frequently stay at my granny’s (tiny) house as my parents worked. It was a fun time - neglected in a good way we’d invent games from whatever we could find.  Hide in wardrobes, play with old shoes, sometimes skitter about the kitchen making scones. 

When the ice cream van came round it was a big deal, we didn’t get ice cream van visits where we lived! The novelty of all the kids running to queue would never become old.

Mr granny’s favourite crisps were prawn cocktail flavour which I always thought were called prawn ‘n coptail. We’d get a bag of crisps each and a bottle of fizzy juice to share. What a treat!

Every time I see that flavour of crisps, even all those years later, it sends me back to that happy time. It’s a restful place to visit.

Just for a moment today, feel free to take a little rest time. Perhaps a little trip into a childhood memory like this one… and if you’d like to tell me about it then it will become an extra rest for me too.

Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

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Saturday July 30, 2022

Okay, I have done it! I have opened a can of worms and taken the huge step of writing something about communications C.
Just over 12 months ago when I started writing Posts, I compiled a list of possible subjects. The word “Communications “ is still there.
It’s a vast subject; this is the first part of 12! (I jest). I hope I can do it justice in 500 words.
When I worked in a large office of nearly 100 people, before the use of e-mail, good communications were vital. Management decided to set up a “Focus Group” to make recommendations for improving C. The group comprised myself and 5 others. We met about 6 times over a period of around 3 months.
When we finished our final report we asked for feedback. As expected there was a great deal of apathy, a little criticism and some support. I think all our recommendations were adopted. 
So I am not sure we achieved a lot but it did make me realise the importance of good C in all walks of life.
There has always been the need to communicate but the need to communicate well has gained importance with time. The earliest communications were primitive cave wall etchings many years BC. And now look at what we have! Technology and the internet have increased the diverse ways of communicating multi fold in just the last 40 years.
Whatever form it takes there is always the need to communicate well. Various theories have been suggested as to what constitutes good communications.
When discussing MH matters I think some of the most important are:
1 Listen. Hearing is insufficient. Listen carefully to what is being said to you.
2 Know your audience. Show empathy to others opinions.
3 Acknowledge difficulties of others.
4 Offer praise for others achievements.
5 Be clear and concise.
Blogs like Moodscope have transformed the idea of “group therapy”. It facilitates the exchange of information about MH matters between members. Of course it depends on having good Blog administrators. Caroline and her team deserve full credit for making all this happen.
C can of course deliver humour and as one man said:
“My wife and I have such a wonderful marriage. I always know what she is thinking, because she tells me.
She always knows what I am thinking, because she tells me that too!”

And there was the old Two Ronnies sketch in the ironmongers shop. RB requested “Fork Handles” and RC gave him “four candles!”.
Would you like to communicate today?

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.



Q and A

Friday July 29, 2022

If you have read any of my blogs over the years or recently you would know I like asking questions. I have written blogs about Can one ask too many questions and a blog about Why. I have also written about the importance of being curious and seeking information. At the end of my blogs, I ask questions to encourage discussions and seek information from the wonderful Moodscope community.

Today I am thinking of doing something different by giving Moodscopers a chance to ask me and others a question. At first, I thought I would turn the tables and just answer questions, but I thought that maybe a bit self-indulgent, but I welcome any questions to me.
The idea  is we have a Q and A session (Question and Answer) online where someone poses a serious question, a simple question, a fun question - whatever is on your mind, or you can ask more than one question.

Anyone can answer any question. 

It maybe not posed as a question but like this. “I wonder why whenever I lose a beanie, gloves, a hat, etc. it is always my best one or my favourite one. I rarely lose something that is falling apart.”

So, let’s have some fun, learn more about each other or ask me or the community something you have wanted to find out. If you are new to Moodscope you may have questions you would like to ask.

Or maybe you have been a member for years and have always been curious about something in life to do with mental health or anything.

What is your question?

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.



The Family Re-onion

Thursday July 28, 2022

"Your thoughts about the problem are more of an issue than the problem," a counselor said to me once. She was later fired for yelling at clients, which was a problem.

"We choose our thoughts, we choose our feelings, and we choose our behaviour as a result of those thoughts and feelings," a Gestaltist told me. (Gestalt based counsellor, different from the first). So the trick is to change your mind even if the situation remains the same.

A gigantic family reunion has been planned and already "family," members are refusing to speak to each other on the app that checks reservations. At first I was hurt over being shunned but then "reframed it," as I learned in counsellor training: Why complain when the garbage takes itself out? And more so - why chase it? And I have hence renamed it the Family Re-onion. The way some of them are waters my eyes. 

Therapists have said that the dysfunctional family tree I come from has contributed to my mental demise. The abuse, betrayal, lack of support and so forth has not helped. But I am helping myself with better boundaries. I do not visit them anymore except my parents over the phone and by mail. And I have trained myself to rise from the little child forced to rely on abusers to the adult who does not. 

My older sister has told me several times:”You have had to deal with what no one has had to deal with." Meaning the ick in the family and the domestic abusers that I continued on with until two years ago when I declared myself single.

In the bigoted, redneck province and town I live in, I have also learned to navigate around unsavoury people. My mindset is:"fix it for me." Other people can do what they do, here is what I will do.

My rewording of the serenity prayer:

Help me to have the serenity to accept what I cannot change, which is most things and other people.

Help me to have the wisdom and courage to know what I can change about me so I can do better, and help me to know the difference so I don't waste any time and energy. 

And moodscope helps alot! Thank you all. 

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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