JOHN MEANEY

9.3.07




TICK...

... and tock... because February is an interesting month. For me it's the anniversary of significant events, both joyful and tragic. The words "Silver Wedding Anniversary" – er, that's not the tragedy: it's the joy – seem to belong to some older generation, certainly inapplicable to Yvonne and me... except that a quarter of a century has somehow passed since our wedding.

So we had house guests for a quiet celebratory weekend, including the cyberman who attacked Chris and Penny Hill. The startling event was captured on camera – I'll upload the evidence when I get myself organized. Ah, there we are. See? Is that terrifying, or what?

WORKSHOPPING GENIUS...

... was hugely exciting. I spent a week at St Margaret Clitherow's Primary School, orchestrating the wild, creative energies of a couple of hundred boys and girls, aged seven to ten, as we generated a bunch of excellent stories. It was a great time, and there's at least one person whose novels I expect to be reading in a decade or two... and I'm so looking forward to that.

A billion thanks to Jenny Worthington for suggesting the event, and to Annemarie for giving the go-ahead, and huge respect to all the teachers who create a great atmosphere in the school every single day. Great job, everyone.

JEDI MIND TRICKS...

...in Welsh Wales and Old Blighty. I think I mentioned, back in January, that I spent a while in Wales. It's possible that I shed a few tears (in a manly way) during my favourite neice's wedding. The guys wore skirts. All right, kilts. You knew about Welsh tartan, right? What, really? You'd never heard of it? But it does exist. Honestly. Surprised the heck out me, too...

Also, I've a good friend, quite the globetrotter, who lives in Cardiff. I only managed to catch up with him for a couple of hours in a crowded Starbucks. He'd been wanting to experience hypnosis and undergo a phobia cure, in the quiet environment of his home. Instead, he just had time to turn up with his son and have a chat... or so he thought. But I could hardly let him go home disappointed, and the thing about learning hypnosis from Paul McKenna -- oh, haven't I mentioned that? -- is that you can do it anywhere, background noise and swirling crowds notwithstanding. Powerful techniques.

Meanwhile, Yvonne had volunteered to assist at the Weight Loss Event that Paul McKenna ran during February. (All assistants are NLP-trained by Paul, and most are NLP trainers. There's at least one GP and one clinical psychologist in the group.) I was due to go along as a guest, but was honoured to be asked to assist also. It makes a tremendous difference in people's lives. And the experience is wonderful.

HOT AND COLD

I spent last week in Oxford, pretending to be a software engineer again. My college room was under the eaves, where the servants are supposed to live, which is very appropriate. Having pure Irish ancestry means that in the 19th century, my ancestors were probably in bare feet. If you're familiar with the Irish climate, you'll wince at that.

This week, though, the climate is a wee bit warmer. I'm uploading this report from Singapore, which some people refer to as a perpetual sauna. I love the place, Sumatran earthquakes notwithstanding. There's family history related to this place, too.

Tomorrow, I'm planning on visiting the site of the POW camp that my Dad helped to liberate. Those events belong to a past that no one here likes to talk about. Instead, it's a vibrant 21st century city, utterly clean and cosmopolitan (though you might not want to be a live-in maid or an animal here). And, with the preponderance of Buddhism, it's easy to get great vegetarian food.

Fly straight, Pilots...

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