Wednesday 26 June 2013

A bible, a book, a ball & a blubber

What a twenty-four hours!  I feel like I’ve been on a roller-coaster and am now slumped and beaten on the floor. Here are the eventful developments.

A bible

If you’ve read my blog before you’ll know I hold New Zealand and Kiwis in genuine affection.  I love how strongly they box above their weight.  By way of example, and as reported on Facebook:

New Zealand just passed two new laws - gay marriage and legalized marijuana.  The fact that gay marriage and marijuana were legalized on the same day makes perfect biblical sense because Leviticus 20:13 says:

If a man lies with another man they should be stoned.

We just hadn't interpreted it correctly before!”

Well, you’ve got to laugh right?  Go New Zealand!

A book

My great friend Felice Arena releases yet another book in the Andy Roid series in Australia today.  Nothing stops this juggernaut of creativity from writing and imagining more terrific stories for children of all ages.  I’m so proud of him.  And your children, nephews and young friends will seriously think you are ‘bionic’ if you refer them to this interactive website:

This series by @fleech is available at Penguin:

And lots of other books at:   

A ball

London’s weather sucks.  There’s no point pretending it doesn’t.  But at least at this time of year we have Queens and Wimbledon, which for tennis fans is a treat. 

So despite waiting and waiting at Queens to see Lleyton Hewitt – play repeatedly delayed because of bad weather – I was thrilled this battler of all battlers made it to the semi-finals.  When it comes to fight-backs Lleyton is legendary and I never think of him or see him play without feeling inspired.

Writers seeking publication and actors fighting for auditions should remember how tough an injured sport’s star has to work to recover lost ground and we might not take our rejection so personally.  

Anyway, I’m just a big fan.  I enjoy all his games.  They are always so eventful and entertaining, with long rallies and clever shots.  His wife Bec is charming, sincere and down-to-earth (which I know first hand) and she wouldn’t have married him if he wasn’t a great guy.  So I have been totally pumped for this English summer of tennis.

Apparently to reward my enthusiasm, a free-entry Wimbledon ticket came my way.  How lucky is that without queuing?!   So into the sunshine I strolled yesterday only to discover I needed a different ticket to see Bernard Tomic on Court 3.  Drat and double drat.  I was all ready to join the Fanatics and cheer him on.  Oh well, I’ll just chat to this nice man on the gate and see what happens… and before I know it I am seated in an empty seat on Court 3 cheering as loud as the best of them.  I know – awesome luck and timing for merely a smile!

Anyway, forward and back goes the tricky little yellow ball... until Tomic takes the match from Sam Querrey after five hard sets. That makes my day.  Long awaited warm weather and sunshine, a Guinness later on Henman Hill, the brilliant atmosphere of Wimbledon, and I am truly in seventh-heaven. 

So I gear up today for another great match: Lleyton Hewitt and an unknown called Dustin Brown.  I am so excited about watching Lleyton take Round 2 and go on to Round 3 and the finals that I clear my diary and place a not insignificant bet on his likely victory.  (Irish heritage: I like the odd flutter.)

Well, if I’m not now left blubbering…

A blubber

Yes, more than a little blubber.  I’m gutted.  The Court 2 match was freakish to say the least – the tall Jamaican (a giant compared to Lleyton) stuck to his tactic of doing anything and everything possible to stop the Legend getting into a rhythm… and after four sets it worked.  Hewitt put up a good fight, just as you’d expect, but ultimately Brown took the match and in doing so has created a name for himself for having an unpredictable style and a brutal serve.

Good luck to him of course.  (I have to say that.) 

But here’s the thing: Lleyton is Lleyton so, though this loss will hurt, he will no doubt take from it all that is positive about his recent performance.  He will power on.  He is in good physical form – against all the odds and after numerous operations and long recovery periods.  He made the semis at Queens – against the odds – and he knocked out Wawrinka in the first round at Wimbledon when few predicted he would.   The odds on him at betting shops have dropped drastically since that win, so clearly even those with money to gain know he’s back in form and clearly someone to watch. 

Whatever happens, though, Lletyon Hewitt has added enormous quality and verve to the professional tennis circuit for more than a decade and he gives true resonance to the term ‘under dog’.  In everything he does… in every physical injury, pain or defeat he resists to go on and try and try again… win and win again… and in doing so he wins more and more respect from the people who share his love of the game, and millions around the world who appreciate his rare breed of talent, resilience and perseverance does him and the game great credit. 

I’ve been away a while so I’m not close to what’s happening in the politics of Canberra today, but Lleyton Hewitt (and lovely Bec) make me proud to stand in the audience of Wimbledon and cry:

Let’s Go Lleyton Let’s Go!


Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi!

And if it makes others cringe… providing it’s done in appropriate breaks of play… I don’t care.  ‘Cause if the world could bottle Lleyton’s spirit we’d all be a lot better off.

So with that I’ll stop blubbering, post this blog, and go back to the Tsonga-Gulbis match… which, after all, is what they mean by “focus on the next ball”.

Thanks for that lesson Lleyton.  May you go onward and ever upward!



Saturday 15 June 2013

The Cutting-Room Floor

Imagine life is a movie.  

I often do, so I’m told.  And it’s not hard if you let your imagination run.

Imagine that life, as in art, is filled with choices about what stays in and what goes out… what is first rate and what is second rate… which ideas, passions and actions get to see the light of day… get to blossom and absorb your energy… and which get abandoned on the cutting-room floor never to be thought of again.

(Well, except for the Bloopers which is another story…)

Imagine the freedom of leaving all mistakes behind…

Perhaps you saw the quote in my arts blog ‘The Permanent Present’: “Breathe in the rich blessings of each new day – forget all that lies behind you.”  I came upon it as part of my new year’s resolution to read something spiritual or inspirational every day, and I love it.

Imagine conducting the business of life through trial and error without present or post judgement…
Imagine letting the things of lesser quality go…

Imagine redoing things until you get the best take…

This theme occurred to me in a random moment (as most ideas for this blog do) when stepping out of the hairdresser's recently. 

My hairdresser, Toni, is a terrific woman – professionally and personally. When I step back into the world after a few hours of pampering in her salon, I am transformed.  I feel a million bucks.  And I look to all-the-world like the best version of myself…

To the salon I slouch.  Out of the salon I strut.  Heads turn… cars slow down to let me pass in front… I know I look good.  Height and confidence soar… such is the impact on a woman of a ‘good hair day’.

So I wondered, imagine if you could always feel the ‘best version of yourself’…

If even most of the time you could hang on to the best version of yourself...

Of course I mean the best version inside and out.  Integration is key.  So imagine if you fully understood which elements combine to help you be that ‘better person’… which elements or associations obstruct the formation of the ‘best version of yourself’…. and you pursued it the way a director pursues a good edit and a great film…

I have a question,Girls: do you always take your hair on an outing after you’ve had it done?  I never go straight home.  It gives me a ‘gotta be out there amongst it’ feeling.  And inevitably something fun or adventurous happens on those evenings, oftentimes unplanned. 

I guess I feel the lift more keenly when I’ve gone longer between treatments… when my hair is an absolute fright going in… so in my future life when I have a personal hairdresser on tap (yeah, yeah, I know, dream on) the high might not be as noticeable.  Yet there’s still something to be learned from this experience. 

On the one hand this concept is about growing and building character.  On the other it’s about attitude and perspective. It’s about positive attracting positive.

Rather than tell you naughty post-hairdressing stories… which in Italy, in particular, were memorable as Italian men seem to love red heads… I will jump from the (nearly) profane to the sacred, and share a meaningful reflection I found this week. 

It comes from a bookmark being circulated by the organizers of Spirit in the City.  Like Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Murray at Queens, they are fighting the dreadful weather to try and hold an event in London today… good luck to them! 

This bookmark contains some beautiful wisdom expressed by Mother Teresa, about leaving behind what’s on the cutting-room-floor and chasing the ‘best version of yourself’…

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centred; forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God; it was never between you and them anyway!

And the clarity to come up with those words could only have come from a woman filled to the brim with love and forgiveness; a woman who saw goodness and value in everyone.  

She certainly became the best version of herself.  And she probably didn’t go near a hairdresser.



·   For hairdressing email Toni at or phone 07810 454 389 (and mention this blog for a £5 discount).