Tag Archives: Kingston upon Thames

End Polio Now

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Phillip Holt End Polio Now

One of the efforts that Rotary Club members worldwide is to eradicate the terrible disease of polio (poliomyelitis) through out our world. To this end over the years since 1985, Rotary Club has raised many millions of dollars, which has been matched dollar for dollar by the Bill Gates Foundation and in conjunction with health authorities, to buy the vaccine and facilitate the distribution and administration in all countries.

There has been a 99% success rate.

Now, there are only three countries left with polio, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. But only yesterday I read that there were potentially 22 suspected cases in war torn Syria.
Along with many agencies and health authorities, members of Rotary Clubs worldwide will blitz areas or countries with the vaccine, and in India on their immunisation days, up to 65 million children can be immunised, protecting them for life.
Once a child has been immunised, their finger is dipped in a purple dye.
Phillip Holt End Polio Now

End Polio Now with me and a big crocus on my head

To raise funds for this wonderful cause, Rotary Club members run events and collect money from the public, and yesterday was End Polio Now day.
Because the children have their fingers dipped in a purple dye, the crocus has been adopted as a symbol, and around the UK, millions of crocus bulbs have been planted to form in future a carpet of purple to remind us of this effort, and collections are made in exchange for a crocus flower pin.
Although I felt an idiot, I recently as a Rotary member, went onto the streets of my local town to collect money. Wearing a crocus headgear, I stood waiting and hoping for donations from from the giving fatigued public.
Thank you those who have helped to save those who need to be immunised against polio.
My little effort was just a drop in the ocean, but an ocean that joins other oceans to cover the world.

A Long Journey for Coaches in Italy

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Coaching Milan

NLP Coaching participants with Certificates in Italy, Renata Laria, Andrea Gervasini, Franco Di Gilio, Flor Fernandez e Monica, Alessandro Orlando, Claudia Sabatini, Cotardo Giulia, Valeria Sturniolo , Phillip Holt, Marcello Buglione — at Hotel Residence Golf Milano
Life is a journey, and from beginning to end, with many tours to places we never knew about or visited before, we will have many experiences, meet many people, visit many places, some are great, some are bad, and from this journey and side tours, we can learn.
As I travel the world, to many different places, I am being exposed to different cultures, different food, different languages, and in my later years I have endeavoured to learn from these experiences, unlike the younger me who thought he knew everything.
As a younger me, I despised the get rich quickly tour guides who touted on street corners, at tourist attractions, in airport or in hotels, offering their services for a fee to tell you about what I presupposed I already knew. Why should I pay for these leeches when I could walk around myself and find out?
My long lost daughter, Vanessa came to stay with us in our home in Kingston upon Thames, and it was decide that we should go into central London to see the tourist attractions, Big Ben, The Tower of London, Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral etc. I knew these places, I had lived and worked in London for over twenty years, why should not I be the guide?
Instead of being the tour guide, we decided that we should take one of the city tour buses.
It was just like when I recently joined an Official Tour Guide of my home town of Kingston upon Thames, a town’s history I had researched, a town I had lived in for many years. I soon realised how much I did not know, there was so much missing information in my knowledge, knowledge that I would need to expand upon and enhance.
So it was in London with my daughter, I learnt so much, little pieces of information adding to my knowledge base, which only got me more interested and intrigued, to go back and research for more knowledge.
When I have time now, which is not very often visiting new or old places, I will often join an official tour, to get to know the basic information of the area, then if I wish, I will revisit where I have been taken to, to discover more, to chunk down, I will buy books, ask questions, just to enhance my knowledge.
And so it was some many months ago, I was invited to give a group of Italian people a range of courses so that they can become coaches, people who can help others enhance their lives.
It was a journey of discovery for them and for me, because I was to be their guide through a learning process, and for them to visit places and knowledge they had not been before, and I had to go there too, and I would be learning too, taking a journey to places inside ourselves often.
To go on a journey within ourselves, our beliefs, our understanding of the world we live in, we might find ourselves challenged as our knowledge as we knew it will have been contradicted.
Were we right, or, is the rest of the world right? Who knows?
It was on this journey with the Italian Coaching participants, that many beliefs were challenged, and if the individuals so wished, changed. It was their willingness to explore new places, revisit places and reevaluate their previous beliefs and knowledge and make changes that made this journey together so enjoyable.
You now have new possibilities or strategies within, use them wisely, and help others on their journey through life.
The truth is out there for us to be guided through our journey, but which is right or wrong only your heart and further knowledge will help.

Home is where you make it

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Wasps home making insects in Malaysia

Wasps home making insects in Malaysia

Home is where you make, it is often a saying I hear. Certainly these insects are making their home here on this plant leaf in Malaysia.

These little insects are building a wonderful structure, attached to the underside of the leaf by a simple single arm.
They have been working tirlessly throughout the heat of the day, whereas I have had to stay indoors in an air-conditioned room to stay comfortable.
The heat and humidity is something that after a time overcomes me, draining me of the ability to think, to function as I would in the temperate climate of the UK.
Perhaps the home we create should be where we are conditioned to physically, and not to live in such a place will put undue strain on our bodies and mind. I do not think these wasp like creatures could survive the freezing cold of a British winter.
Malaysian Wasps August 2013

Malaysian Wasps August 2013

Perhaps the home we create should be where we are culturally brought-up, with food stuffs we eat, pastimes we pursue, clothes we wear, beliefs we follow. Travelling to other countries other than the UK I see the British still holding onto their traditions, living a certain lifestyle, and for non British moving to seek a new life in the UK, that they too hold onto their traditions, cultures, lifestyles and beliefs.
So is home where you make it?
Is home where you were brought-up?
Is home where your roots are?
As I talk to ex-patriates, people who have moved to other countries, many will want to return to their roots, their home of up-bringing, even after many years of living abroad.
This brings many problems.
Often the ex-patriates have children whilst living in foreign lands, who are raised in the culture and traditions of that foreign land. Some with gain foreign spouses with their traditions and cultures.
Where do their hearts belong?
Where is home?

I found a new friend Oakley

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Last night at a concert featuring Kingston University Chamber Choir, Chorus and Ensemble entitled, Ancient and Modern, Innovation & Modern: c1656 – 3/5/2013, I made a new friend.

Composition Competition 2013

Rotary Composition Competition 2013

The concert had been organised at St. John’s Church, Hampton Wick, to present prizes to three winners of the Music Composition Competition at Kingston University, with prizes given by the Rotary Club of Kingston upon Thames.
I was asked as a Rotarian and member of the organising committee to take photographs of the event, and as an added advantage, I got to hear the concert, plus meet many people.
But I made one special friend, if only for a moment, Oakley.
Oakley is a Labrador guide dog for the blind, and his owner sat infront of me. He lay next to his owner, listening to the music in a deep slumber, as he was off duty.
Then he awoke, stretched, saw me and came and rested his head on my leg, looking me directly in my eyes with his big brown and black eyes.
Oakley my friend at ease
 Oakley my friend
I was in love. My heart went out to him, and in an instant I had made a friend, perhaps for a short time, but one of trust between the two of us.
Now the evening has gone, the music has stopped, the prizes given, I will probably never meet Oakley again, but that moment will stay with me forever.
We all have those special times when deep friendships are made, perhaps for a few moments, perhaps from a weeks holiday, perhaps over an acquaintance of ten years, perhaps over a near lifetime of togetherness, then we go our separate ways, but that special friendship can never be taken away, neither the memories or feelings can be erased, forever etched into our personality.
Thank you my friend for our brief time together.

Culture is changing fast in the UK.

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Christmas lights in Kingston upon Thames

I have been writing a little about culture, especially when I heard a participant say on a recent course,  “this is *?&$£: culture, and it will not change.”

After taking some of my relatives on a small walk after our meal in London’s China Town into Piccadilly Circus, then up Regent Street to Oxford Circus and Oxford Street, I was wondering what is happening to the British traditional Christmas celebrations, our cultural heritage, it is changing.

For a start the traditional street lights put up for Christmas lacked the festive message. They had nothing to do with what Christmas stands for, the tradition, OK the religious meaning, not even a Santa Clause and his reindeer.

In London’s Regent Street, the lights were just clusters of balls hung in the middle of the street changing colour. Perhaps they are one company’s identity or logo. Pathetic.

Xmas London Regent Street lights
Regent Street Xmas lights
In Oxford Street the street lights were not much better. Sorry about the blurred picture, I was shaking with cold.

Xmas London Oxford Street lights
Oxford Street Xmas lightsAt least the traditional Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square was there with some Carol-Singers, singing to the onlookers. The Christmas tree is a tradition, where the people of Oslo, Norway, send a tree to be placed in Trafalgar Square every year as a thank you for the effort of the British people in the Second World War to their country.

Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree

Trafalgar Square Xmas Tree

In Kingston upon Thames (20/12/2007) the lights were more festive, and this town is very multicultural, being a major shopping center for the area. If they can do it, why not Central London?

Christmas lights in Kingston upon Thames

Christmas lights in Kingston upon Thames

Britain is becoming too PC, too politically correct, as the UK is being settled by peoples from many nations of the world, for fear of upsetting these people, with other traditions, other cultures, other religions.

The tradition of holding the nativity play in the UK primary schools, where the young children would act the birth of Christ, has in some schools been dropped, withdrawn, as it may upset some of the minority of other faiths that have settled in the UK.

There was the case of a large worldwide media company having to cancel the traditional Christmas Party, usually held by organisations at this time of year, because two (2) people object to the word “Christmas” being used, even though there were I believe nearly 3,000 other staff who had no objection to the word.

The Christmas cards we send to our friends, some years ago would have said “Happy Christmas”. Now we read “Seasons Greetings”.

The culture and traditions of the British people is changing as is should do as more and more people settle in the UK, bringing their culture and traditions into the melting pot of life.

But I do think that these new people, incomers, should be more tolerant to others beliefs and culture of the countries they settle into, and those people who are trying to be politically correct go and visit certain countries in the Middle East, etc and witness their holidays.

But such is life, we have to just accept change or we will get upset, beat ourselves up, and complain.


Culture. Eating Chinese Style

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Eating Chinese Style

Some of the family from Malaysia is visiting the UK for the first time.

It was the first time they had experienced the pomp of the British culture, the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, and many more sights and sounds. (see previous entry for pictures, click here).

It was the first time they had experienced real cold when outside walking, “0” degrees Centigrade, as one said, smoke came out of the mouth. The poor things were wrapped-up so much, they could hardly move. Malaysia is permanently hot in the “30”‘s, and is very very humid.

We went for a meal in London’s China Town. Why after traveling all this way were they taken for a Chinese meal, and not for a typical British meal?

typical Chinese family meal

A typical Chinese meal table layout with all the food in the centre.

That got me thinking. What is a typical British meal. Where could I take them for such a meal, and I struggled to find an answer. There are Chinese, Italian, French, Indian, Bangladesh, Japanese, Turkish Kebab, Greek, American style steak houses, hamburger restaurants. But what about British, English, Scottish, Welsh or Irish?

OK we have Fish n Chips, but where are the restaurants? They are far and few between. I could only think of a few, and some of these are perhaps not the standard I would take people to for a special meal.

Where are the roast beef and Yorkshire Pud restaurants?

As I have described in previous blogs, and talked about in my trainings, food in a typical Chinese restaurant is served in the center of the table, and diners will help themselves one mouthfull at a time from the serving tray.


Eating Chinese Style

Eating Chinese Style

A typical Chinese meal table layout with all the food in the centre.

In a few days I will be off to Malaysia, swopping places with the family visiting the UK. There I[will be eating only Malaysian food, as there are no British restaurants for me to visit. Oh Poo Poo. I better find one here in Kingston upon Thames for them to try and me to enjoy before I leave.