Car breakdown

So last week my car broke down on my way to work. I had only purchased the car a few weeks ago and after having our last car for 5 years, with no break downs, it made me wish we hadn’t changed it. I didn’t know what to do, so I rang the AA.

Friendly Advice

I had been a member of the AA for years but haven’t had to call them out since around 2006! When the chap from the AA came he looked at the car and broke the bad news. My gearbox and clutch would possibly need replacing. He took the car to a garage for me and the quote came in at £1800! But thankfully before he towed the car for me, he armed me with what to do and what to say to the place I got my car from, he didn’t have to but he stopped and gave me so much friendly advice, which I will never be able to repay him for.

The long and the short of it was, after various phone calls and emails to and from the place where I got the car from and the garage it got repaired at, I eventually got the car back with a new gear box and a new clutch but more importantly, without it costing me anything thanks to the place I purchased it from.

Consumer Rights Act

From my previous blogs you will know that I love saving money where I can, so I was so pleased with the outcome of this one. This week I would encourage anyone to read the Consumer Rights Act. Even if you are not buying anything big at the moment, a good knowledge of this will help safeguard your future purchases and will let you know where you stand, when something you buy breaks unexpectedly.

Cutting costs doesn’t always save you money

My small yearly fee to the AA given faithfully and not used for 10 years became priceless this week. My AA membership just might have been my best investment this year. Things like this are a great example of when spending money, can save you money. Don’t always think of cutting costs as saving money, think about the bigger picture and the risk you can leave yourself with if you don’t have something like AA membership.

My car breaking down was one of life’s situations where all ended well this week. It was very stressful when it happened but I dealt with the problem and felt better for it. It inconvenienced me for a little while as I had to then rely on public transport to get around until the car was fixed but it was another chance to adapt and overcome for which, I am thankful for.

Being serious in a world that doesn’t want to be

More and more I am seeing a world where people online (especially on social media) want to be the cool, funny one, putting up gifs and memes to point fun at serious situations or people who take things seriously. This to me has been highlighted by the recent EU referendum in the UK.

It seems caring or being passionate about something is some how wrong to the Internet community. It is like playschool all over again. Serious matter or serious people seem to be easy fodder to be ridiculed. I wish more people took things seriously and were supported by others. When a situation is a serious one like the EU Referendum, with so much importance to the future of this country it just shows how unimportant it is to some people when there is a reaction like this. It was like winning the vote was all that mattered to many people and now that it is done, nothing else matters but making fun of those that didn’t and twisting the knife.

Being told to shut up

On my Facebook after the vote I did not see anyone from the leave side of the vote discuss what positives it meant for the country in their eyes, all I saw were memes and people complaining about the vote being told to shut up or being called sore losers.

Just because we lost we don’t all want a second referendum like the Internet seems to make you think. The vote happened and I respect the majority, but that has happened, that is now the past and all I care about is the future of this country. I think caring about this country and the future is something we all need to do and something we should be encouraging others to do, not belittling them for it.

A world of instant communication

Lets be less quick to jump to humour. Lets read, listen and reflect, lets sense the tone and respond appropriately. It is so easy and quick to type something and send it before you have even had time to read something properly or think about what you are saying. This instant communication world we are in can be so good for so many things but in these instances I think it contributes to the more divided society we currently live in.

I love a good joke, good comedy and funny banter but I think timing and place is everything. Being comical to be the cool kid is not the way to go to, I think being comical should be about making people happy, not just to annoy others.

Sharing and impacting

Last Friday there was no blog on this site because I was away showcasing my book “Unbreakable Bond” at a dementia conference in Plymouth. At the conference I got to hear from the CEO of the Alzheimer’s Society Jeremy Hughes and from Angela Rippon OBE, but more importantly I got to talk to people at the coalface of caring and supporting people with dementia.

I listened to some of the speakers, I was sitting there just hoping my book could touch and impact people in the way they were impacting me. Not because I wanted to be on the stage, not because I want to be a big name, but because I know how it feels to be touched and inspired and it would mean the world to me if it was my book that was having that impact on others.

Learning from experience

When I was selling my book at the conference many people said they were going to put the book in to their libraries and staff rooms at work. Them saying that meant the world to me, as I want as many people to read the book as possible. I love conferences as I love getting the chance to speak to people who have read my book or brought a copy of my book. I wish I could speak to everyone who has brought my book, to thank them and to hear their story. I love people’s stories, I think we have so much to learn from each other and we need to put more focus on learning from other people’s experiences.

I think everyone has something important to share and I just hope that by me sharing my story it encourages others to share and to feel that they have something important to share, because everyone does. We can all learn from each other and something that really got me last week was the thought that the more I learn, the more I learn than I know so little. You can never know too much or enough, so please join my movement of people who want to learn from others and share with others.

Endorsement

I got to speak to Jeremy Hughes at the conference and he promised me that he was going to get my book out of the Alzheimer’s Society Knowledge Centre and I believe that he will. I hope he is touched by the book and that the Alzheimer’s Society can get behind it, because their support and Jeremy’s endorsement would really help get the book in to the hands of people who could be helped by it.

My book “Unbreakable Bond” is the book I wrote about the experiences of caring for my mum who was diagnosed with early onset dementia at the age of 51. The book is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones and many other great book stockists. To find out more go to:

www.unbreakablebond.co.uk

 

 

TV and Parenting

In the UK this week the BBC have cause outrage with parents by extending the broadcasting hours of it’s children’s channel CBBC to 9pm. Parents, teachers and doctors have all had their say on the matter with many remarking about how it could damage children’s health and education.

I think the outrage is so interesting in the modern era of video on demand, streaming, Youtube, DVR etc. etc. etc. It is no so easy for parents and children to watch children’s TV at any hour of the day. I don’t think this helps children or parents but it is like Pandora’s Box has already been opened on this front.

Standards

I think if it had been anyone else but the BBC doing this, it wouldn’t be news. People seem to hold BBC to different and higher standards to anyone else. The BBC have fought back to the criticism by saying that people have the off button if they do not want to watch the extended broadcasting of the channel which I wholeheartedly agree with.

The problem with the BBC is that CBBC, CBeebies and all it’s programming has such a following and popularity that children everywhere adore their programming to the point of obsession. So the BBC are a victim of their own success in many ways which isn’t the worst place to be.

Making the right choices

The reason why this subject is so important to me is because I am a new parent and work in the TV industry. I want to make all the right choices for my child and I know everyday you have to make so many decisions and that there is so much pressure to make the right decisions.

I have no right to tell any parent what to do or how to parent but I think it is important that parents keep control and don’t look to others to make their life easier. Troubles and challenges are always going to be around each and everyone of us and how young people interact with media is a big one.

I see so many children with tablets in their hands unsupervised these days. The young generation seem to have control and seem to be exposed to so much media these days which I don’t think is healthy. I am not going to be one of these parents that doesn’t allow their children to watch any TV but I want to be a parent that uses it in the right way and to be involved in their engagement with TV.

Media is powerful but no one is more powerful than a parent.

Getting the best out of the Internet and TV revolution

My wife and I are always looking at ways in which we can make our money work harder for us. One thing we both recently did is move away from our iPhones. When we both recently had to upgrade we chose phones that did everything we would want but at a fraction of the monthly cost, saving us a good £40 per month and £480 per year. That money would afford us a brilliant holiday, a home improvement or many other great things.

Cutting ties

Now we have cut our ties with our iPhones we are starting to look at our TV and Internet packages. Our contracts are up in January with our current provider and we are determined to move away to lower our costs. We are currently with Sky because my wife and I are big sports fans, so we got it for the football and the F1 mainly. Since we have been with Sky however they have lost a lot of sporting rights and prices have continued to go up.

So the first thing we are looking at doing is getting our Internet and TV possibly through two different providers. Yes there are great deals out there to have them combined but the problem is you are then tied in to both services and if you start having problems with one you have to keep paying for both until your contract ends.

The other thing we are thinking of doing is purchasing a Freeview+ Box or a Youview box. Yes they are expensive but after that upfront cost everything you view is free and you are not tied in to a contract. These boxes also let you pause, rewind and record TV, these are the features my wife and I most love about Sky. Yes these options won’t have all the sport we want but they will have highlights, some games and some races. I remember growing up not having all the sports channels, I just think I got too used to having them as an adult but now I have realised that I am happy to go back to not having them.

Options

An exciting development is that there are many more specialised streaming options out there at the moment with many media companies having their own subscription service like Netflix so you can buy smaller packages, which are more closely tied to your interests. For instance I am a subscriber to the WWE Network, which I watch a lot and I hear other big players are following suit soon like Disney. I would rather pay for 3 or 4 four small subscriptions to things I like rather than one subscription to 200 channels, most of which I have no interest in.

I think its time for us all to become more media savvy. To pay for what we want and not for what we don’t. Don’t just let your contracts roll on month after month, think about what you want and get out of them if you don’t want to be in them. If you want a better deal, make it happen. My advice if you re happy with the service you have but not the price is to ring the provider up and try negotiate a better deal. The market is more competitive than ever and companies want to keep your custom, use this to your advantage.

Kingdom Building not Church Building

As many of you know, I am a Christian and attend a church near to where I live. Normally on this blog I don’t talk about things pertaining to church and my faith but today I wanted to blog about something I have been thinking a lot about recently.

I love the church I am in and I believe that it is important to be part of a church. The one thing I can’t stand however is the way some people react to and treat people who go to different churches and the division churches can cause.

Faith is happening all around us

One story I always remember is a story of a friend of mine who started going to one church in a nearby city, but after a little while decided to move to a different church that was better suited for what they needed. Some time after he moved churches he went back to his old church, for an event they had and the first thing someone said to them was “we haven’t seen you at church recently.” Instead of asking my friend how they were or if they were still going to a church, the only thing that mattered to that person was why my friend hadn’t been to ‘their’ church. A word to any churchgoer – faith is happening just as much outside your church as it is in it.

Another thing I can’t stand is when you move churches and for people who you thought were your friends in the church cut you off, not want to see you any more or not reply to messages. We are all called in to relationship and if you only want a relationship with someone when they are in your church, then you aren’t doing relationship right. If you are a Pastor you are called to pastor people, I don’t think who you pastor should be determined by if they are currently attending your church or not. If you care for someone, what church they go to shouldn’t matter.

A heart for people

My faith was restored this year however in my current church when they showed they were more interested in Kingdom building than Church building. Some time ago we had some visitors come to our church for the first time, whilst they were looking for a church in the area. Instead of praying that they would find a home in our church, the leadership prayed that they would find the right church for them, whether that be ours or any other in the area. The heart was for them not for the church, the heart was for Kingdom building not Church building.

You see the one thing so many people forget, is that there is only going to be one congregation in Heaven. We are called to help people in to the kingdom not in to church.

I am not in church leadership and I can’t imagine what a stressful position that is. I can understand the want to lead the biggest and best church. So this is why I have the upmost respect for those that have the confidence to not get caught up in Church building and to keep their eyes focused on Kingdom building. Instead of worrying about which church people attend lets be thankful that people go to church and that people want a relationship with God as that should be all that matters.

Learning from the Super Bowl

Even though I was born in England and live in England, it is a yearly tradition for me to stay up and watch the Super Bowl live. I love the sport and especially love the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl is a spectacle, which is a bit different to anything else in the sporting world; it is an event that can bring so many people in one country together, with many other people wanting to join in from across the globe.

I love when sport brings people together and captures the imagination. In big events like this, memories are made, that for those involved and those watching will last a lifetime. To be able to have those conversations with people that start with “remember when…” that to me is what sport is all about. There is nothing like getting caught up in the action with sport, when you can forget about your troubles for those moments and be totally immersed in the drama of the game.

One standout person for me from the Super Bowl was the coach of the Seattle Seahawks Pete Carroll. After the Seahawks threw away the chance to win the game in the closing seconds, Pete Carroll came out in an interview and shouldered the responsibility for what happened and the decisions that were made, which I thought showed great leadership. For NFL players and staff the Super Bowl is when you come under the biggest spotlight and have the most pressure to win, so to handle yourself with dignity and class in amongst of all that pressure really shows the measure of the man.

The other standout story from the game has to be that of Chris Matthews, also from the Seattle Seahawks. After being released from a team in the Canadian Football League and with his NFL dreams seemingly over, he took work at a shop and as a security guard. His life changed in February of last year when he got a phone call from the Seahawks asking him to try out. Based on this tryout he eventually ended up on the practice squad and then had to wait until December to be made a part of the main squad. With only a few games under his belt he turned in to a star of the Super Bowl as he set up the first touch down for the team and scored the second. If there was ever a story for never giving up on your dreams this was it.

With most attention paid to the score and to the winners after the game, I think it is important that we don’t lose the stories and the people behind the game, as most of the time it is these things that deserve the attention.