My husband has long suffered my intolerance of something called a “rut”.  This is my fear of getting stuck in my beloved routines and fossilizing therein.  This is possibly a reasonable anxiety, research tends to show that experiencing new things, having challenges and spending time with a variety of people all help to keep us healthy.

However, I may have an extreme version of this need to not get stuck in a rut.  I fervently hope I am getting less extreme as I age, but I may not be the one to ascertain the verity of this fact.   It used to be the case that if we went to the same restaurant twice I would bleat loudly about how boring life is and that we were ‘stuck in a rut’.  As I say, long-suffering.

This week though, reminds me of the energy that get from variety.  There are lots of new things, mixed up with the routine.  The week so far has seen working in three different locations.  But the same coffee ritual each morning to ground me.

I have had one church meeting of the CAFOD group, one Scouts meeting.  As a family we have been out to a dessert restaurant late one evening after my work trip to London (Pirlo’s– if you’re in Birmingham, go visit!) and also a pub lunch on Monday in between work meetings.

I visited Walsall New Art Galleryat lunch time yesterday for a short curator’s talk on the visiting Holbein, which I love. Seriously love that painting.

We saw the NTLive showing of Nick Hytner’s production of Julius Caesar at the Electric Cinema.  Thanks to everyone who strongly recommended I go to see that, it was brilliant.

The rest of the week contains my cousin’s wedding – I cannot wait, I love weddings and love hanging out with family; Nashville In Concert (my love of that TV show possibly deserves analysis in its own blog) and the potential for a lazy day of reading and catching up on what is sadly the final season of the aforementioned Nashville.

Ruts be gone.


Inspired by Scouting

Not quite half way through a meetingtastic week and my brain is beginning to fail.  So instead of waking up and trying to write a blog, I decided to do some volunteering this morning.  This is totally possible because I am mainly volunteer in a sort of busman’s holiday style in a few realms.

I am a Scout – not a Scout Leader, I never go anywhere near a campfire (which makes me more sad than I had expected), but instead I am a Trustee of a Scout District.  A large part of that role involves emails and phone calls and meetings.  It’s about overseeing budget, checking that plans fit the aims of Scouting and everyone has the resources they need to create the amazing opportunities that the Scout movement gives to young people. Opportunities to have new experiences, to have fun and to challenge themselves with a ton of support from a group of volunteers dedicated to making sure they are safe and generally having a ball.    I have the absolute luxury of feeling a small part of it whilst sipping coffee and writing emails.  I am humbled by those who are much more active in their volunteering.

Scouts has an interesting image in the wider community, some still think it is a boys’ organisation – it is not and has not been for years.   Some think its old fashioned in its activities.  It’s not, but sometimes it is traditional, but I am not sure that is ever a bad thing.  Surely a bit of a mix of activity is a really good thing?  I have a general concern that we tend to encourage our children to focus on one activity far too early in life, Scouting offers the opportunity to try lots of things, some active, some less so.  Some modern activities, some much more traditional, but not less interesting or useful.  Tying knots stood my offspring in good stead when they did a course of technical theatre, the course tutors were amazed as the offspring capably tied the ropes for the pieces of set.

That said, they have also learnt a huge amount about team working, leadership and how to cope with challenge, as well as so many activities I cannot list them all here.  My mantra for years has been “no, not paying for that, you can do it through Scouts, it will be SO much better”.

And all of this through the dedication of volunteers to the cause of making the world a safer, more enjoyable place for children.  And looking at the leaders – young people who grow into enthusiastic citizens, keen to be an active part of their local community.