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The Rich Tapestry of Life Page
Remember, these are just pages of odds and ends that don’t fit anywhere else, information, general knowledge, light-hearted quips and quotes from all over the place that make up the ‘rich tapestry of life’ for reading in those odd moments when you have nothing else to do. So relax and chill out, smile and laugh and ponder. Life can be interesting, intriguing  or an ichneumon. (Go on, I dare you not to look it up!!!)
This is PAGE FIVE - Another “Life and Human Encounter” Page
To return to “Tapestry CONTENTS”, CLICK HERE
Love and Listening     
    Yet listening is a crucial skill for both life and love. As a journalist trainee, I was encouraged to shut up and pay attention (it makes for a better interview) by being told that men who actually listen are rare and consequently highly sought-after by women. My tutor was apparently right: the study at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2005 suggested that, while women are more attracted to the strong, silent type of man, the key is not strength but, rather, attentive silence. The men rated most romantic by women were those who had perfected the art of listening. The highest scorers tended to ask women “what do you want?”, then actually heard the answers.“    
 (Source: A Times article ”Is anyone out there Listening?“ by John Naish)

Is This an example of Empathy  
A teacher decide to take her bad mood out on her class and so said, “Will anyone who thinks they are stupid stand up.”  After a few seconds, just one child slowly stood up.  The teacher turned to the child and asked, “So, you think you’re stupid, do you?”  “Well, no,” replied the child, “but I hate to see you standing there all by yourself.”

   Why is music so important? Why is music something more than something very agreeable or exciting to listen to? Something that, through its sheer power, and eloquence, gives us formidable weapons to forget our existence and the chores of daily life. My contention is that this is of course possible, and is practised by millions of people who like to come home after a long day at the office, put their feet up, if possible have the luxury of somebody giving them a drink while they do that, and put on the record and forget all the problems of the day. But my contention is that music has another weapon that it delivers to us, if we want to take it, and that is one through which we can learn a lot about ourselves, about our society, about the human being, about politics, about society, about anything that you choose to do. I can only speak from that point of view in a very personal way, because I learn more about living from music than about how to make a living out of music.
(Source: Reith Lecture 2006 by Daniel Barenboim at Cadogan Hall, London)

It’s wintertime - head for bed!  That’s the message from The Sleep Council.
“There’s no doubt about it, as the nights draw in and temperatures drop, people spend more time in their beds than they do in better weather,” says Jessica Alexander of The Sleep Council. Research has proved, that true to our animal instincts, human beings retreat to the bedroom for our own kind of hibernation during the winter months.
Adults, it seems, are five times more likely to spend more time in bed during the winter than the summer.  “It’s human nature to want to sleep in when it’s cold outside,” says Jessica Alexander.  “Who hasn’t snuggled further under the covers for a little extra sleep on a cold morning?”
So, just as bears ready their dens to hibernate, people need to plan for a good winter’s slumber.

Cosy up and keep warm:
- Wear night clothes such as pyjamas or a large T-shirt to keep you warm.  Natural fibres such as wool, cotton or silk will keep you warmer than synthetic materials.
- Have a warm bath just before you go to bed.  This will gently warm and relax you to help you feel sleepy.
- Have a warming, milky drink.
- Try to take some exercise which will get the circulation going to help keep the body warm – but don’t do vigorous exercise too close to bed time as you may feel too invigorated to sleep.
- Keep the bedroom warm, but not too hot, and free from draughts.
- Look for a mattress which has a “warm” side for use during the winter.  A soft sleeping surface is a better insulator than a flat one. Use a fleecy under blanket to retain the heat.
- Choose a duvet with a high tog rating or use several layers of bedding rather than one single layer.  Layers will trap warm air and are easily removed if you get too hot.                                                                                                     
- A hot water bottle is an ideal way to keep warm once in bed.  Make sure it has a cover on it to avoid scalding and also so that it won’t feel cold in the middle of the night.                                                                         
- Electric blankets are ideal.  Under blankets will warm the bed up before you retire for the night, while over blankets maintain a constant temperature throughout the night.       
- Don’t make your partner suffer! Reach for the socks and gloves if you get cold feet and hands.          
- Waking up is hard to do... especially when it’s still dark. You could try a light alarm clock that brightens gradually to simulate daylight.

The Power of Television
Remember earlier in 1945 - here is a diary entry of a young foreign office official in London:

"Ash Wednesday and St Valentine's Day. Blue skies and sunshine which enabled the airforces to destroy Dresden."
There is no further mention of Dresden, the northern capital of baroque architecture, in this diary and none of the six volumes of Churchill's history of the second war.
I have this week looked through half dozen almanacs, encyclopaedias, pocket histories of the war, which run to exhaustive detail on other battles, other bombings. Dresden is unmentioned.
The only recognition of it, by a war leader, I could find was this.
Sometime later, in the month of March, somebody asked Britain's Air Marshal Harris - later nicknamed Bomber Harris - "By the way how did Dresden survive?"
"Dresden?" Harris replied. "There is no such city."
He was almost right. British and American bombers over two days and nights of firebombing sent 85,000, mostly civilians, to their deaths by burning or drowning in the river.
Two days after St Valentine's Day the papers around the world reported, with no clinical details, the successful bombing of Dresden.
And ever since we, old enough to remember it and the subsequent revelations about it, are ashamed and prefer in written histories or indeed in the normal gossip of life not to have it brought up.
Can you begin to guess at the effect on the populations of a hundred nations if there had been television at the time and we had seen it?
I'm stressing again the point I made in a talk of three weeks ago. The invention of television has made possible and inevitable for the first time in human history for an ordinary person a mile away from a battle - or a thousand or 10,000 miles away - to see as if he were a yard away the sight of wounded or dying children, frightened babies, as well as the various forms of broken or mutilated bodies.
(Source: Alistair Cooke’s Letter from America - 21st April 2003)

    Very few people get the opportunity and privilege to have an impact. I like to think that each day I do my job in some small way I have changed something for the better. It doesn't need to be anything huge; when I was six it was as simple as getting my cat from the top of a tree. What equated to moments out of a normal day for this man became something extraordinary to me.
     Now that I've become what I admired, I've had to learn to deal with situations that are both unexpected and difficult. There have been times when I've seen something so powerful the tears begin to fall before the emotion even registers. It's during those times that I fall back on memories. The difficult experiences in my life make every other moment better than it would have been otherwise.
     Why do I do what I do? Because I need to find the moments that change the places and lives around me, and more importantly the moments that change me. It's what I live for. The desire to walk through each day with that ultimate goal in mind is the only fire that burns forever.

On Language
In Celebration of the Two Ronnies      (Extracts from sketch in ironmongers. RB is the customer, RC the shopkeeper)

BARKER: Four Candles!  CORBETT: Four Candles?   BARKER: Four Candles.
(Ronnie Corbett makes for a box, and gets out four candles. He places them on the counter)
BARKER: No, four candles!   CORBETT (confused): Well there you are, four candles!
BARKER: No, fork 'andles! 'Andles for forks!
BARKER: Got any plugs?  CORBETT: Plugs. What kind of plugs?  BARKER: A rubber one, bathroom.
(Ronnie Corbett gets out a box of bath plugs, and places it on the counter)
CORBETT (pulling out two different sized plugs): What size? BARKER: Thirteen amp!
BARKER: 'O's!  CORBETT: 'O's?   BARKER: 'O's.  (He goes to get a hoe, and places it on the counter)
BARKER: No, 'O's!
CORBETT: 'O's! I thought you said 'O! (he takes the hose back, and gets a hose, whilst muttering) When you said 'O's, I thought you said 'O! 'O's!  (He places the hose onto the counter)   BARKER: No, 'O's!
CORBETT (confused for a moment): O's? Oh, you mean panty 'o's, panty 'o's! (he picks up a pair of tights from beside him)
BARKER: No, no, 'O's! 'O's for the gate. Mon repose! 'O's! Letter O's!
CORBETT: Yes, next?  BARKER: Got any P's?
CORBETT. (He gets the ladder out, climbs up and gets the box of letters down, then puts the ladder away) Honestly, I've got all this shop, I ain't got any help, it's worth it we plan things. (He puts the box on the counter, and gets out some letter P's) How many d'you want?  BARKER: No! Tins of peas. Three tins of peas!
CORBETT (placing the tins on the counter): Next?   BARKER: Got any pumps?  CORBETT (getting really fed up): 'And pumps, foot pumps? Come on!  BARKER (surprised he has to ask): Foot pumps!
CORBETT (muttering, as he goes down the shop): Foot pumps. See a foot pump? (He sees one, and picks it up. He puts the pump down on the counter)  BARKER: No, pumps fer ya feet! Brown pump, size nine!
CORBETT: Next?  BARKER: Washers!
CORBETT (really close to breaking point): What, dishwashers, floor washers, car washers, windscreen washers, back scrubbers, lavatory cleaners? Floor washers? BARKER: 'Alf inch washers!      CORBETT: Oh, tap washers, tap washers?

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