Recognition at last – Nominated for The Liebster Award

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Well what a pleasant surprise Ive been nominated for an award.

It’s the Liebster Award, given to new blogs with less than 200 followers.
In nominating me, my new blog friend, Hi Life in Libraries https://cherylbecker.wordpress.com/2015/03/22/just-happy-to-be-a-nominee, has nominated me for this award because she has been enjoying my blog.

Now with every award comes a certain responsibility and that means that there is no such think as a free lunch, so in acepting this award it means I have to answer ten simple questions (the easy bit) and nominate 10 blog for people to look at.

So lets start with the easy bit.

  1. What’s the story behind your blog name?
    I thought that using my name would let people know that I post from the heart and not my head.
  2. Who is the one person who you think reads most of your posts?
    I know who its not, My Wife Ann, she thinks Im keeping an online diary. Its probably my Grand daughter Saskia, she likes to correct my grammar. (She is twelve and is young enough to still think she knows everything).
  3. Last meal on your last day?
    Roast Beef and Yorkshire Puddings with all the trimmings.
  4. Dog or cat?
    Dog!
  5. Where do you fall in the birth order in your family? (Oldest, youngest, middle child, etc.)
    Oldest. My younger brother who is 10 years younger keeps reminding me at every birthday celebration?
  6. Have you ever deleted a post after it has already appeared on your blog? Optional: Why?
    No but I have edited one or two.
  7. I post mainly via my
    iMac. I can’t be doing with all the fiddling around with my iPad.
  8. What is the strangest place you have been in the last year?
    A seafood restaurant in Rhodes, Greece. It had Squid and Octopus nailed to the walls drying in the mid day sun. Strange but the food was to die for.
  9. What is the last really kind thing someone did for you?
    My wife bought tickets to the Queen and Adam Lambert Concert in January for my birthday.
  10. What will you do next after you finish answering these questions?
    Up the jolly dancers to bed, a busy day on location tomorrow.

Whew! That was hard! The next requirement is that I share the rules of the award. They are:

Rules:

  • Each nominee must have under 200 followers
  • Thank and link to the nominating blog
  • Answer their 10 questions and propose 10 new ones for your nominees
  • Nominate 10 blogs and tell them that they’ve been nominated
  • Write a post containing the questions
  • Include these rules in the post

Next, I nominate ten new blogs for the award, and list the ten questions they must answer.

Blogs:

http://fredarnow.com

https://queasypaddy.wordpress.com

https://gynellieingermany.wordpress.com

http://eccentriccontemplative.com

http://travellingbanana.com

http://angieskitchenshenanigans.com

https://sarahbrooks55.wordpress.com

https://helpfuljolly.wordpress.com

https://umpteenthings.wordpress.com

http://storytimewithjohn.com

Here are your questions

  1. What’s the story behind your blog name?
  2. Who is the one person who you think reads most of your posts?
  3. Last meal on your last day?
  4. Dog or cat?
  5. Where do you fall in the birth order in your family? (Oldest, youngest, middle child, etc.)
  6. Have you ever deleted a post after it has already appeared on your blog? Optional: Why?
  7. I post mainly via my
  8. What is the strangest place you have been in the last year?
  9. What is the last really kind thing someone did for you?
  10. What will you do next after you finish answering these questions?

Church of St Michael, Witley Court in Worcestershire, England

Church of St Michael, Witley Court in Worcestershire, England
Church of St Michael, Witley Court in Worcestershire, England

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Symmetry.” 

 Im sorry if this is a little unsymmetrical but the facade intrigued me. The church is in the grounds of Witley Court a derelict stately home which was destroyed by fire in 1937.

In 1735 the 2nd Lord Foley constructed the church an undertaking begun by his father. The church was given a remarkable baroque interior in 1747 when he commissioned James Gibbs to incorporate paintings and furnishings acquired at the auction of the contents of Cannons House. This was the magnificent Middlesex home of the Duke of Chandoys from where the artwork was shipped by canal to Great Witley.

The grounds and parklands on the estate are beautiful and there is a serenity and a sense of peace which makes a welcome change in our 24 / 7 lifestyles.

I took this last summer with my Iphone so I apologise if its not unto the usual standard of photographs in this challenge, but I thought I would share it anyway.

The End of the Age of Innocence

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Places.”

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I discovered an old family photograph stuck in a tin box that was in a chest at the back of our garage, things from my long deceased parents, belongings that somehow I couldn’t bring myself to look at.It is almost thirty five years since they died but somedays it seems like only yesterday.

In this faded photograph is me, my Mother holding my younger Brother and my Aunty. It was taken on a holiday in the summer of Nineteen Sixty Four at South Stack Lighthouse near Hollyhead, Angelsey.I can remember like it was yesterday, not because of the endless sun filled summer’s that seem to propagate my early years but the terrifying journey that I endured getting to the lighthouse. It has been etched in my mind like a vivid nightmare even to this day. So one night as I lay in bed I thought it might be a good idea to revisit the spot and see if it was really as scary as I remembered all those years ago.

Last year we spent on a great time on the island, even the weather was kind and the bays and secluded coves were every bit as beautiful as my memory had painted them. We arrived at South Stack twice, the first time on Tuesday only to discover a rather swish looking visitors centre and coaches full of American and Eastern European tourists, something that I couldn’t remember from my previous visit but because of a extended stay on the glorious beach at Trearddur Bay it was too late to go onto the island therefore we made arrangements to try again on Thursday.

The day arrived but the weather was a little less kind but myself and Dave Wickham a friend who is always up for an adventure decided that we firstly needed to find the location were the photograph was taken. That was the easy bit, on the way up to the entrance to the steps down to the lighthouse I spotted a grassy area that when we checked must have been were I was sat some forty odd years ago. I duly took a photograph and then decided that we would make a start down the 400 plus steps down to the footbridge that connects the island to the mainland.

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Our respective partners had far more sense that to follow us, they decided that an afternoon tea would be far more enjoyable and left us to it. So off we started down the pathway to the location of my worst nightmares. We started out  down the gentle slope and rounded a bend and then down another gentle slope, reminiscent of the roads you see in the alps when traversing mountain sides. 

This didn’t seem anything like my memories and I thought all these years I had been a wimp. We then rounded the third corner which can only be likened to stepping out onto the ledge of a thirty story office block, even with the reassuring thick stone walls it still induced a feeling of vertigo that made my head spin, just like in my dreams. This time however because I didn’t want to appear a wimp in front of my friend I gritted my teeth  looked at the ever steepening steps and got on with it.

It is a spectacular environment, the roar of the large waves crashing agains the cliffs and the feeling of the wind on your face is fantastic, worth every step. After making it down the traditional stairs you are then met with a ladder some twenty feet almost vertical to get you to the footbridge across to the island. It was at this point we met with a slight problem, the footbridge had a gate on it which was locked and I was unable to finish what I had started. So I was left with the only option left to me, I did what every Japanese tourist would do I took a photograph to prove I had made it.

We started to make our way back to the top of the cliffs.  All I can say it was a good job that some one of a similar age to myself had planned the pathway because every hundred yards or so was a bench, handy if you are as fit as myself.

So I had completed my journey back into my childhood and discovered one instead of fear and dread was now memories full of sunny summer days, holidays on beaches and a feeling of freedom that somehow we seem to have lost.

Today I was again reminded of my childhood with the saddest of news that Winnie Johnson passed away tragically without knowing what happened to her son Keith Bennett at the hands of the Moor’s Murderers Ian Brady and Miora Hindley.

I seems coincidental the same time that my photograph was being taken these two monsters changed everyones childhood forever. The crimes they committed were so unimaginable they led to children everywhere being kept close to home and parents in case it could happen again.  

It was drilled into children at school never talk to strangers and if you were approached by a stranger run to any door and knock for help. I personally was never let loose to explore and use my bicycle like before and always had to tell my parents were I was going and who with.

Even with my own children I turned into Dads taxi, a service that my own daughter has taken over with her own children. I am lucky in many respects, I am fairly heathy, I have a close family and I have never known what it is like to lose a child and I even remember long lost hot summers on my bicycle with some sandwiches wrapped in greaseproof paper so I didn’t need to return home for lunch enabling me and my mates to go to Hollingworth Lake for the day.

I think I am the type of person who tries to forgive and forget but some things I cannot forgive, I cannot forgive Ian Brady for what he did to those poor children and there families and for what he did to the subsequent generations he has robbed of the childhood I had for a short while.

The age of innocence in my eyes ended in nineteen sixty five at the hands of two cowardly murderers who changed everyone’s lives. I pray that Winnie Johnson finds the answers she was looking for and may she rest in peace. 

That was a quick 40 years

John-and-Ann

These two pictures I have found shocked me to the core!

The first picture is of Ann my wife and I in 1975 on a drive out into the countryside one Sunday afternoon in March just before we were married in June of that year.

The Second Picture is of us again 40 years later again on another Sunday drive out, this time down to Silverstone Racing Circuit in England.

Its not the time that has passed that has shocked me its something much more surprising. Its not the lack of hair or the fact I have put on quite a bit of weight but after looking through boxes and boxes of family photographs these are the only two photographs of us together having fun without the Kids.

Its amazing to think that the two young people in the photograph starting out on a life together all those years ago have turned into the two old crumblies in the other.

The real frightening thing is that it doesn’t seem all that long ago!

Are you sure you know your audience!

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As a seasoned media producer I have always held the belief that the audience is the all important factor in any production, how did I overlook this fact when I started Blogging.

I suppose in my defence I blog for pleasure so I suppose its a little bit like the Cobbler and his shoes.

So who are my Audience?

I would like to think they are people of a certain age who like myself have started to view the world differently. Some say I can be a little cynical but I do have a saying that holds an element of truth to it and that is behind every successful bright young thing there is often a worn out old thing running around keeping the ship afloat.

So my blog is for those amongst us who have encountered moments of ecstasy, the depths of despair and all the points between.

Now I learned a lesson a couple of years ago when I started to notice I had had reached the age were most bright young things started to see me as almost transparent and that my considerable skills were being dismissed as old fashioned but I was useful when it came to pitching for projects.

I was pitching to a company to make a film promoting redevelopment opportunities, something to explain to potential investors of the various redevelopment schemes on offer. Now bearing in mind I have been pitching ideas for this type of work for more years than I care to remember I was rather shocked by the behaviour of the panel who I had to present too.

They invited me in and I started my presentation. I started my pitch but half way through I realised things were not going well. One of the panel got up for a coffee whilst others sat looking at iPhones reading emails and messaging. The deal breaker though was that two individuals started talking to each other and not about my presentation. Talking over someone presenting is quite possibly one of the rudest things that you can do to any individual who is already under considerable pressure.

I eventually finished my pitch answered one or two questions and then left, not expecting to hear from them ever again.

Now normally after this type of exercise I phone the company for feedback and ask why we were unsuccessful, that way you can improve your technique and get on with the next one.

So after phoning I expected them to give the usual string of reasons, your to expensive, you don’t understand our brand etc. But to my surprise the gentleman said my pitch was by far the best they had seen and they did not question weather or not I could complete the project to the quality they required, the reason they give took my breath away. I was told my pitch was “too northern”!

This came as a shock considering the content of this extravaganza was to promote projects for a northern town. I now truly felt like the lunatics had taken over the asylum!

However once the dust had settled I started to think about the project and who the potential audience would be. I had made a grave error in judgement, I should have aimed it at the merchant bankers and investors who live in the south east of England.

Since then when looking at potential projects the first question is always what is the budget and the second is always who is your audience.

Track of the Week 1st March 2015

Each week I choose a song from a movie which may be popular or not. The only criteria is that its a great song and it fits the scene in the film perfectly. Let me know if you agree. 

 
Local Hero – Mark Knopfler

Knopfler-Local_hero 

 “Local Hero“ was written by Mark Knopfler and was the title track used in the 80s classic film “Local Hero”. When watched in conjunction with the fantastic locations in the film the soundtrack dovetails beautifully with the almost mystical landscapes shown throughout the film. 

Many believe that the music helped to make the film the success it was.

The film was produced by David Putnam and written and directed by Bill Forsyth and starred Burt Lancaster. 

 The Story is one of the 80’s Oil Boom in Scotland and how a local village deals with American big business. Lancaster sends his chief negotiator Peter Riegert to the remote Scottish village to secure the property rights for an oil refinery they want to build. However a local hermit and beach scavenger Ben Knox played by Fulton Mackay forces the ill prepared negotiator to negotiate on his terms. 

 It is a masterpiece full of brilliant performances from a cast which make the characters instantly likeable in a setting that makes you want to visit.

The real star of the Movie is the breathtaking scenery which even when watched on a small screen still makes you want to visit Penrin in Scotland were the film was made. 

People who do visit often ask the locals the way to the church on the beach, they smile and then told its about 150 miles on the other coast. Now that is the magic of film making, geography is only relative to the screen. 

 According to film critic Mark Commode it his his all time favourite film and I can agree it is certainly in my top ten. 

 Roger Ebert In his review in the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film his highest four stars, calling it “a small film to treasure.” He gave particular praise to writer-director Bill Forsyth for his abilities as a storyteller. He added, what makes this film really work is the low-key approach of the writer-director, 

Bill Forsyth, who has the patience to let his characters gradually reveal themselves to the camera. He never hurries, and as a result, Local Hero never drags: Nothing is more absorbing than human personalities, developed with love and humour. 

 Forsyth’s big scenes are his little ones, including a heartfelt, whiskey-soaked talk between the American and the innkeeper, and a scene where the visitors walk on the beach and talk about the meaning of life. 

 By the time Burt Lancaster reappears at the end of the film, to personally handle the negotiations with old Ben, Local Hero could hardly have anything but a happy ending.

 

 

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Who I am and why I’m here

Me

I suppose I had better introduce myself. I am John Eccles a 60 odd year old married man who has had a very eventful life in and around the education and media sectors for most of my working life.

My blog consists of various posts covering aspects of life with family and friends in the Northwest of England.

Well here goes, I live in the middle of the pennines in a small village called Diggle. I know its a strange name but its one of several small villages that cling precariously to the moorlands in an area collectively known as Saddleworth, in-between Oldham in Lancashire and Huddersfield in Yorkshire. Depending on the company you are in will determine which side of the border you admit to living in! (yes it is that contentious an issue).

I arrived here thirty years ago with my family to try and give our Kids the best start in life that living in a small community offers. So along with Ann and my two children we embarked upon what our families thought was a huge undertaking. Travelling all of ten miles to move into our first home which at the time seemed to be a very expensive small terraced stone cottage.

To a certain extent our plan was highly successful, not only have we raised the kids here along with various dogs, horses and goldfish but even our grandkids also spend a great deal of time here also.

So whats my blog about. Its about my everyday observations as a 60 odd year old person who goes through life looking for the best in everyone and in every situation. But believe me of late some days thats not been very easy.

I have found that most people in this world are the same no matter what gender, ethnicity or religion they belong to, we all have a need to feel as though we are valued and loved. I have discovered more often than not people will respond to a smile or a kind gesture and before you know it you are having a chat and showing each other photos on your mobiles.

Now my wife sees me before anyone else as the day starts and she suggests fairly frequently that Its the first cup of coffee that makes me a nice person, before that I am very grumpy.

 

So if you want to get an insight into the mindset of you average grumpy northern bloke who makes media stuff then this could be the place for you.

So I hope you enjoy my blog and please if you do let me know.