Category Archives: Thoughts

What a man is for

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Today I feel like a real man, a man who is meant to be what a man is to do.

For over ten years we have lived in a flat in Kingston upon Thames in the UK, and for ten years we have owned a house in Bukit Mertajam in Malaysia.

For over ten years my tools, my hammers, my screwdrivers, my power drills, my pliers, my wrenches, have sat locked away in a storage cupboard, there has been nothing for me to work on, to repair, to build.

Last year, we shipped many of our things, our possessions from the UK to Malaysia as Mee Len wanted to move “home”. Along with the goods, I shipped many of my tools, acquired over a lifetime, my favourite hammer, my do-it-all screwdriver, my wire cutters et al.

On arrival to BM, (Bukit Mertajam, the Malaysians use initials to name towns, BM =’s Bukit Mertajam, KL =’s Kuala Lumpur, JB =’s Jahor Baru, SP =’s Sungai Petani.), late Christmas Day, it was obvious that my one year absence had left some repairs to be undertaken. A window frame which was rotting, etc. Now was the time for me to use my tools, to do what a man should do.

I installed bathroom fittings in our three bathrooms, got hot water to two of the shower units, got the internet phone working again, increased the speed of the internet, installed a new internet network system so the family next door can share our access.

Bathroom fittings, toothbrush holders, mirrors, cabinets, shower units, towel rails

Oh the joy of being able to do what a man is supposed to do, I wish I could do more. Any jobs need doing?

Being Santa is a tiring business

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Being Santa Claus is so tiring, flying all Christmas, starting Christmas Eve, through the early hours and the whole of Christmas Day, and with all the preparation for the journey, made me very tired.

Doing all the duties that fall upon being Santa really took its’ toll on me.

The whole journey, flying across many countries at over 35,000ft, I never saw another Santa, so it is true, there must be only one Santa, and he did deliver all those presents.

And I only had one mince pie, after all, I must watch my diet and weight.

Merry Christmas

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Merry Christmas to all no matter where you are.

Although I have not put up any Christmas decorations, nor erected up a Christmas tree, it has been a period of time where I have entered the Christmas Spirit.

I have been to Christmas meals, where people of many faiths and beliefs celebrated this special time.

I have sent Christmas cards, wishing people my best for Xmas and the coming New Year.

I have enjoyed the Christmas street lights. (See Getting the festive spirit )

I have toured the shops, but tried not to buy anything.

But, for me the best part has been being Santa Claus.

Wearing the big red cloak, with its’ hood trimmed in white, keeping my head warm in the freezing weather, the fur trimmed wellingtons or gum boots, and having the big white beard, I entered into a different character.

As other Rotary members turned out to help collect money for local charities around the Christmas Tree outside the Bental’s Center, they had no idea as to who was below the Santa Claus outfit. They had no idea it was me, I had to tell them who I was.

It was this realisation that me, Phillip Holt, was no longer existing to the outer world, plus I think my natural acting or getting into character tendencies I have in my training courses, and memories of my childhood and my short time with my daughter Vanessa, that I became Father Christmas, Santa Claus.

And that is when the magic happened.

Standing there in the middle of Kingston upon Thames, ringing my hand bell, kindly given to me by Leila and Philip Edwards whilst I was in Bahrain, I could see the young children with their parents walking between the shops, and it only took a wave from me to instantly to get a reaction, a wave back, a sparkle in the eyes, a smile on the face, and a tug on their parents arm telling them that Santa was there.

Their parents brought the young children to Santa, and they stood there with complete trust in this strange character, in the belief that Santa will deliver the presents they desire, the bikes, the PS3’s, the WII’s, the dolls, and I entered into their world of belief.

I asked the children what their name was so that our little conversation would become personal, and what they wanted for Christmas, and I listened and fed back what they asked for. (NLPer’s note)Of course, children have to be good, to have and will behave, if not Santa will not leave the presents, and they have to go to bed early.


I ask them if they will leave Santa a mince pie, a traditional small pie filled with mincemeat, a mixture of chopped dried fruit, often alcohol and spices, and sometimes beef suet, as Santa Claus will be very hungry.

I then ask if they could leave Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer a carrot and there would always be a willing yes.

Sometimes if dad was in earshot, he would ask if a glass of port of whiskey be left too, and again a yes would be given.

Christmas morning, the mince pie will have been eaten, the carrot will be gone, and the glass will be empty, all adding to the belief, but I wonder who drank the whiskey.

The small encounter with Santa Claus will end with a sweet being given, and a found farewell and wave, helping the spirit of Christmas continue for another year.

For me, I will be flying with Santa Claus, for tonight, Christmas Eve I will catch the 22:00 hour flight from London to Malaysia, flying all Christmas Day, with perhaps as an acknowledgment to this special day Malaysian Airlines giving a mince pie, arriving in Penang at 22:00 Christmas Day night.

Well I have booked a window seat, to see if I can spot my fellow Santa Claus delivering all the children’s presents

It’s over. The Special Half Hour (SHH)

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It’s over.

Last night, it was an honour and privilege to be in the BBC Radio Theatre in Broadcasting House, London, to be part of and to say a fond but sad farewell to Richard Bacon’s Special Half Hour (SHH).

Instead of half an hour, we had a whole hour, all very special to the SHH‘ers.

The only thing I could say, was, at the funeral as we sang Jerusalem, there was a tear and a smile on many a face.

Richard Bacon,Te last SHH (Special Half Hour).

Goodbye Special Half Hour’ers, where-ever you may be.

See other articles on the SHH (click)

Seasons Greetings and a Happy Christmas

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To all who follow my blog, who are linked to me by Facebook, who come across me by chance, my I wish you the very best of the Season, and may all your wishes come true.

If you have asked Father Christmas for your wishes, believe in him like the small children, and you never know, he may visit you, Christmas morning.

Santa joins the SHH (Special half Hour) Club

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Santa Claus wears the Richard Bacon, BBC Radio 5 Live, Special Half Hour (SHH) badge in Kingston upon Thames.

As part of the annual charity collection by the Rotary Club of Kingston upon Thames, members raise a Christmas Tree and dress-up as Father Christmas.

It was my time as Father Christmas today, and it was an honour and privilege to wear the SHH badge to bring joy and happiness to the shoppers and children.

Rotary Club’s, Kingston upon Thames, Father Christmas wears the SHH badge

Rotary Club of Kingston upon Thames
Even more on the Special Half Hour Club of BBC Radio 5 Live 
Special Half Hour, Radio 5 Live
More on the Special Half Hour badge of Radio Five Live
All Entries

Windows of opportunity the key to succeed

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One door closes another door opens article can give us the principal that an opportunity may become closed or unavailable to us, but more often or not, if we allow or we stay aware, new opportunities will show themselves. See Being Aware, Awakening.

It is the onus of ourselves to take advantage of these chances or opportunities, as there could be a limited time period of time, or a Window of Opportunity. Miss this window of opportunity, and it may be gone forever.

Often we may find that a window or door of opportunity has been offered us, but when we go to enter we find that the door has been closed on us again, but we have been offered a set of keys.

Which key is the one to open the opportunity? That is the question.

I have worked with many people who have had problems, and they continue to live with those problems, they fail to leave those problems behind they, to look for other ways to solve their ways of doing things, living their lives. They fail to leave, and close the door and windows, and lock them afterwards.

Then there are those that leave the one door that has been closed behind them, see that new door or window of opportunity, only to be presented with a set of keys to unlock them.

They try the first key, but that fails to unlock the door or window. They try the second and that fails, The third and fourth, and so on, each failing.
Just like Pavlov and his conditioning of dogs, by ringing a bell each time they were fed, the dogs would link food and the ringing of a bell resulting in salivation, and when just the bell was rung, the dogs would salivate, so is the same with the trying of the keys failing to open the door or window of opportunity, people often give up.

Even though they have only tried one or two keys and have failed and there are many more keys left to try, they are conditioned to failure and give up trying.

Perhaps we give up to this conditioning too early, the next key could have opened the treasure chest.

Perhaps we failed to notice that the keys we tried were too small or too big for the keyhole, we failed to sort the keys into the most likely ones that would lead to success.

We should be more aware of our actions and choices to take advantage of opportunities, take action, and keep trying. As Charles C. Manz said, “Most failures are not really failures – they are simply challenges in progress“.

But we should also be aware that we are being “sold a pup”, being “led up the garden path” by the person offering the keys, the fact is that perhaps there is not a key to open the door or window.

Shops, businesses often advertise special offers, keys, to get shoppers into their store, but when we get there, the offer has already gone, has many conditions attached to it, or the product or service is poor quality. Low cost airlines advertise very cheap flights, but fail to tell prospective travelers that there are limited seats available, or that there will be a booking fee, a baggage charge, extra taxi fares to pay because of the distances to travel from far away airports  etc, which when added-up will cost more than a scheduled airline.

Sometimes we are drawn into doing something when there is nothing for us in the beginning.

Getting the festive spirit

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For a number of years now, I have been providing training in many countries around the world, where there are different cultures, beliefs, and religions.

Being born a Christian, the Muslim country of Saudi Arabia was an especially interesting experience, which taught me to be tolerant to other peoples beliefs, as in the 1980’s when I spent over five years in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
In the Kingdom, any religion other than Islam was not tolerated, and any non Muslim holiday was banned along with any trappings that went with that “festival”. Thus Christmas cards were never seen on shop shelves, no Christmas trees or pictures of Father Christmas could be seen, and certainly I was not allowed a day off on 25th December, Christmas Day, to celebrate, although I did sneak off at lunchtime I remember, to go and join others sitting on the beach to enjoy Christmas dinner.

So it has been for a number of years since the 1980’s. I have found myself in non Christian countries during the month of December.

For my non British readers I better explain.

The holiday period of Christmas held every year in December, is in the UK the most important holiday of the year. It is a time when families and friends get together for love and friendship, not withstanding the religious aspects, but as this period is celebrated by many non Christians I will leave this aspect out.

Gifts are exchanged on Christmas Day, and of course, children go to bed on Christmas Eve (24th) knowing that during the night Father Christmas visit every child, coming down the chimney to deliver and leave their presents.  

The two main days of Christmas are the 25th December, Christmas Day, and 26th December being Boxing Day.

Boxing Day, also known as St. Stephen’s Day, is believed to have got its’ name by the practice of the upper classes who had exchanged their gifts on Christmas day (25th), allowing the lower classes or servants to have the next day off (26th), and giving and distributing gifts of money, clothes, food to those less fortunate often in boxes for easy transportation.

In the UK, nothing moves on Christmas Day except those people traveling to visit friends and families. Schools, offices and factories are closed. No buses run, no trains race up and down the railway tracks, often the last train to leave is at 10pm on Christmas Eve. No shops are open, no theaters or cinemas open their doors. No restaurants serve food. It is a special day where everything is closed.

Boxing Day is nearly as bad, as the country slowly awakens, some buses and trains run, but on a limited timetable. Some shops open to start the Sales of heavily marked down priced goods. Very few restaurants open as everybody has over eaten the day before and have loads of turkey meat and Christmas pudding left over to eat.

This festive period is started over a month before Christmas Day, with shops selling all the paraphernalia that goes with Christmas, the cards we send to each other, the decorations we put up in our homes and in the streets, the gifts we exchange (often unwanted), the seasonal food we only buy for that period, and the children becoming excited at the prospect of Father Christmas visiting.

Christmas lights in Kingston upon Thames late at night

The spirit of Christmas is built up day by day, and people get more and more excited, being conditioned to expect and want the special festive season.

But for me, working in countries during the month of December,  where Christmas does not exist in their culture or belief system, I miss this build up, this conditioning, and as I have got older the festive season has lost its allure, I have not entered into the spirit of the season.

This year, due to the postponement of courses I had been asked to give, I find myself in the UK, and I am beginning to enter into the spirit of the season, and perhaps if you indulge me, I will report on some of my up and coming experiences.

See other articles:-    Being Santa Claus in Kingston upon Thames 
                                      Santa joins the SHH (Special half Hour) Club

As one door closes another opens, Woolworths and usefulshopp

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There is an English saying that says, “as one door closes another opens“.

In the town center or market square in Kingston upon Thames there are many shops, some small and some large.

One of these shops is Borders, and as in the articles Relationships change – Borders and Yes it is true, they are lost to me, I wrote that the company is closing much to my displeasure.

Borders bookshop Kingston upon Thames to close

Only one year ago the shop next door to Borders, a very old established shopping chain, (99 years), once found in many British high streets, called Woolworths also failed and went out of business, and for a year the large shop in Kingston stayed empty.

Today an established Swedish outlet opened a new shop in the old Woolworth’s premises. Clas Ohlson’s hardware shop is called usefulshopp. The new Clas Ohlson stores sell useful items, from electrical and multi-media products, hard-to-find kitchen and bathroom accessories, to tools and gardening equipment, or to me gadgets, my wonderland.

Clas Ohlson usefulshopp, Kingston upon Thames

I spent a happy few hours wondering around the shop eyeing many products I am sure in the near future will find their way back to my home.

So as Border’s doors must surely soon close, I wonder who, what or when will the company be to take over the premises, and if what they sell will be attractive to me as te open their doors.

Border’s shop, with its’ historic 300 year old stairs, has occupied the premises for only a few years, yet they have found a place in my heart, but like most things in our life, nothing lasts forever, and something else will take its place. Every week it seems a shop closes in the every town, sometimes a new shop takes up residence, and sometimes the old retailer reopens its’ doors revamped and better, renewing perhaps a stronger relationship in the partnership of retailer and shopper.

A Rainbow over Norbiton

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The weather here in the UK today is a mixture of sunshine, showers and heavy rainstorms with claps of thunder. The high winds are driving the weather fronts quickly over Norbiton Hall, like moods we often find ourselves in, sometimes up, and sometimes down, sometimes in a dark period sometimes in a more enlighten period.

It was whilst communicating with a great friend over the internet that a very dark cloud swept over, so dark that I could not see the keyboard even though it was mid day. The rain came down from the skies leaving the road outside like a river. (click to see video).

Soon the cloud passed over, but the rain still fell in the bright sunshine, and the beauty appeared, a wonderful rainbow over the roofs of Norbiton Hall.

Life goes on, and somewhere there will be a rainbow for us all if only we are aware and look for it.

A rainbow over the roofs of Nobiton Hall