Friday, 15 August 2014

Commonwealth Games Creativity – part 3 of 3

I inadvertently titled this post Commonwealth Games Creativity because within this transmutational group we have been discussing how to ring some changes to our blogs …

Dragons who can read long posts!

I could start with 'there be dragons', or more appropriately this be long! …

At and after the London Olympics one of the calls to the populace has been “Get Inspired” … the Commonwealth utilised the same ideas … there was the sport, but there were festivals, art exhibitions; the city had museums, parks, buskers … lots of interesting ideas and places to keep all amused …

I’ll share some of the inspirational stories that came from the Games, along with a couple of other posts that have appeared on my radar …

I wrote about the Cultural Olympiad being held during the London Olympics in 2012 which gave an overview of the Olympics and the Greek Olympiad … reminding us that originally the Greek Olympics were the “Pentathlon of the Muses” … and why the cultural element is an essential addition to a sporting games.  Hence think beyond sport … and what else can be learnt …

Get Inspired” is the slogan the BBC used at the Olympics and has continued on with other sporting events … however this article and particularly the title by-line made me sit up and realise it was so applicable to us …

“Maybe you’re great and you just don’t realise.  Maybe there’s a painter buried deep inside. A pianist? A pilot? A poet?” …. Stephen Way was a smokin’ and drinkin’ man – now he’s a marathon runner – and a good one … he’s also a healthy one you can read his story here on the Get-Inspired post … he came 10th in the Commonwealth Games marathon.

Note – the story-post could be used for our ‘get-on-with-it’ nudges … but it also highlights seven people who were late developers … it’s worth a read (I think) from many aspects.

Creativity was needed in a city that did not have an international athletics track and stadium … what to do? 

‘The Glasgow Solution’ – an out of the box thought … adapt one of the football stadia, where all the facilities were in situ … this solution is now being evaluated  as a way to deliver track and field sports events in other countries.

The surface was raised 1.9m (6’ 3”) on a bed of 6,000 structural steel stilts, flat-bedded, then covered with stone, followed by asphalt before the track and grass were laid … problem solved! 

Some views of the village can be seen here courtesy of “Insidethe Games” – sustainability was key for the organisers … some of the London Olympics fixtures and fittings were recycled …

Overcoming handicaps and rising to the occasion

An article on para sports with the emphasis on the Commonwealth Games can be found here.

An iphone copy

The Scottish man of steel – Micky Yule lost his legs in Afghanistan … but he competed in the Power Lifting – he came fourth, but as he said … there are other fixtures ahead to keep him focused and positive … and help him through the operations he continues to need (after 45 already) …

Another local heroine – Erraid Davies (13), a bronze medal winner in the Para 100m breaststroke, is the youngest ever medal winner … she struggled to walk and started swimming to help her rare hip condition (Perthes Syndrome).

Erraid in action ...

Erraid had not told her class mates that she was competing in the Games ... 

... and she was so excited about going home to show her friends her medal.  She lives 25 miles from her nearest pool in the remote Shetland Isles.

Which country speaks Gilbertese?  And who decided to live away from home for 4 years to achieve his gold?  The answers are the tiny Pacific island of Kiribati and David Kataotau who achieved his country’s first gold in weightlifting’s 105 kg Group A.

So pleased!

Another Kiribati – the teenager Taoriba Biniati had never been in a boxing ring before arriving to fight in Scotland.  Her national boxing club consists of a punch bag hanging from a breadfruit tree … know what one of those looks likes – look left or right!

Breadfruit tree

She has a fascinating history … it’s really interesting and worth reading to find out how she lives and then grabs the chance when she had one.  Check out Biniati’s story hereand see a little of Kiribati.

Kenya’s Vincent Onyangi had never swum in open water before diving into Strathclyde Loch for the triathlon.  Twenty minutes later he was bobbing around doing breaststroke while the leaders were onto their bikes and away …

Weightlifters need shoes … Fred Oala, a 17 year old 56 kg weightlifter from Papua New Guinea had to borrow a pair of shoes from a Clyde-sider – a volunteer – after his own footwear disintegrated.

Papua New Guinea
(Indonesia border as shown, Australia's
Great Barrier Reef to the east of
the triangular Cape York Peninsula of
the state of Queensland

His shoes were owned by two people before him and had been held together with yellow tape … he achieved a national record of 118 kg in the clean and jerk.

YouTube – how about learning how to achieve gold via YouTube?  That’s what Julius Yego from Kenya did … to improve his technique in Javelin throwing …

Rwandan cyclist, Adrien Niyonshuti, rode in the time trial – he is a Rwanda genocide survivor.  The 27 year old lost six siblings during the mass murders of 1m people in the East African nation 20 years ago.

While Dieudonne Disi, taking part in the men’s marathon, witnessed the killing of his entire family aged 14 and ran 50 km to neighbouring Burundi to escape the atrocities.  He came in 18th

an iphone pic
To uplift us a little: Cook Island competitors celebrate victory in lawn bowls … just by chance did their wonderful hats improve their bowling rolls?   Had to include these two cheerful ladies – I love their hats!

I’ve never got my head round the biased balls they use in lawn bowls … but you have to admire a sport that’s been around for 800 years … and is a core sport of the Commonwealth Games.

There are core sports and optional sports – selected by the host nation – subject to approval by the CG Federation.  Some team sports are/can be included.

Netball in action

There was competition in 18 sports (with 22 medal events for the Para-Sports up for grabs) … do you know what each one involves … here’s the Wiki Commonwealth Games link to check out each one …

Athletics – core event  (+ para medals)
Badminton – core event
Boxing – core event
Cycling – optional  (+ para medals)
Diving – optional
Gymnastics (Artistic) – optional
Gymnastics (Rhythmic) – optional
Hockey – core
Judo – optional
Lawn bowls – core (+ para medals)
Netball – core  (women only)
Rugby Sevens – core  (men only)
Shooting – optional
Squash – core  (the sport I enjoyed and played a lot when I was in South Africa)
Swimming – core (+ para medals)
Table Tennis – optional
Triathlon – optional
Weightlifting – core (+ para medals for Power Lifting)
Wrestling – optional

Ladies' Squash Doubles -
a devlish game!

Other sports are recognised … but only so many can occur in each Games …

Some more trivia questions - which might lead to a post or two – or provide an opportunity for some extra geography lessons (for you) or for your children?!
I believe this is the flat world!   With the
Commonwealth areas in colour

Where are the 71 participating countries?  At least I’ve given you a clue:

Africa – Botswana, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, The Gambia, Uganda, Zambia.

Americas – Belize, Bermuda, Canada, Falkland Islands, Guyana, St Helena

Asia – Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, India, Malaysia, Maldives, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka

Caribbean – Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and The Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks & Caicos Island

Europe – Cyprus, England, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, Malta, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales

Oceania – Australia, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Island, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuata …

Check out the country venues …

Barry Buddon Shooting Centre near Carnoustie Golf Course …

Strathclyde Country Park

Find out more about Glasgow, and how it started life as a fishing village way back when, then exponentially grew during the Industrial Revolution – being famed for the Clyde River and shipbuilding –  and becoming the second city of Britain for much of its history.

Love the logo
Culturally it holds its own in a diverse range of interests … museums, art galleries, universities, the largest public reference library in Europe, theatre, opera, festivals and performing arts, exhibitions … and as we can see plenty of sports facilities …

Well if I’ve bored you … what will a smile do? = bring out the best in most of us, brighten others’ lives and give our endorphins a lift …

... this will make you smile (I’m nearly at the end?!) … where next? Here’s where … Denise Covey is waiting to welcome us on the GoldCoast in Australia?!

Denise is with Nas Dean at the moment .. no doubt they'll check in in due course ... they're brushing up on their writerly skills, and then the chatterly skills!

Norfolk Island - looks good to visit?

A few of the many admirable, heart-warming stories of overcoming adversity, or just performing above and beyond expectations …

… or reminding us there are other places on this earth where excellence can be found, and where sportsmen who do succeed, do not want glory per se, but want to give back to their homeland and to their peoples … improving their lives and offering hope for a new future.

A Tunnock Teacake - cut in half or perhaps
bitten in half .. but not by me: though I did see
some in Waitrose and might buy some for
 the Nursing Centre staff for the Bank Holiday
Humbleness more often than not prevailed in ‘the Friendly Games’ … ‘the Everyman Games’ …

I mentioned Steve Way the marathon man who ran his way out of smoking, obesity and from alcohol … then this mathematician caught my eye … and again is an inspirational story that caught my attention …

A cooked haggis ready to be
eaten - not sure how the
mathematician got the haggis!
From “What it Takes to Win the World’s HighestComputer Science Honour” … it’s not about the Iranian lady recently recognised with the Nobel Prize … but the whole is applicable to those of us who wish to achieve … yeah he’s slightly cleverer … but this down-to-earth story is worth a read.

This is long … but we all need to think creatively and I hope some of you, many of you, can find some inspirational ideas here …

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


  1. Wow, some amazing stories! Some of those athletes came with no chance and won anyway.

  2. This is a wonderful post highlighting so many athletes who came from difficult circumstances to compete in these games. Some won and some didn't, but just being able to compete must have felt like success for many of these athletes.

    I adored the picture of David Kataotau, the weightlifter. I went back after completing the post and looked at his picture again because it makes me smile.

    Then there's Fred Oala who had borrow shoes. It makes me realize how lucky we are while at the same time, I admire the guts and determination of athletes who rise above the conditions in their countries to compete in these games.

    Thank you, Hilary, for sharing these stories. They sparkle with hope, love and respect for all of the participants in these games:~)


  3. Fascinating stories and incredible what we can achieve with effort a determination. We know a young man who used to take part in para sports, don't think he made it to Olympic standards, but he was an excellent bowler some years ago. Lawn bowling also takes place just down the road from us. Never tried it though.

  4. Some people seem to think athletics and athletic competitions are unimportant, but as you've shown, the personal stories of some competitors can be incredibly inspirational. Great post! (But then you had to go and show that nasty haggis... HA!)

  5. How nice that you shared these :).

    I have to admit, I think the haggis looks gross.

  6. Another wonderfully enlightening post. Thanks for sharing!

  7. A wonderful post. The Olympics are an exciting time. I love the way you told us about contestants with such odds and yet they succeeded anyway. That is the Olympian Spirit.

    You know I had Perthes Syndrome as a child.

    Thank you for the interesting post.

  8. @ Alex - yes, they had the opportunity to participate and even by turning up they had won .. and done some things they never thought they'd do by going overseas.

    @ Sara - some of the competitors achievements beggar belief - they are extraordinary ... but shows what can be done under terrible circumstances and with lots of perseverance.

    David Kataotau - amazing man isn't he ... he plays the guitar too and did that in the BBC studio .. also lots of very happy pics of him - exuberant character!

    Exactly people like David, Fred, Julius, Adrien and Dieudonne and many others - really show what can be done .. and as you say rise above the conditions and achieve - showcasing their country and their sport.

    You're so right they do sparkle with hope, love and respect - absolutely the right descriptive words.

    @ Jo - it's amazing what people can do to overcome their adversity ... and knowing a disadvantaged bowler must have opened your eyes. Interesting you've got lawn bowling near you ...

    @ Susan - any event has much to offer .. if we look beyond our own thoughts (and perhaps dislike of that sport) ... as you say so many people have overcome so much to succeed, even just by participating and being there.

    Sorry about the haggis - but I wanted to show one as it is when cooked ... it tastes good though!!

    @ Jeanne - glad you enjoyed the post .. and to you too - sorry about the haggis!

    @ Paula - lovely to see you and thanks for stopping in ...

    @ Sandie - this is a multi-disciplinary Games, much like the Olympics but for Commonwealth members ... and gives the opportunity to people, who almost certainly wouldn't have been able to achieve Olympic qualifications.

    How interesting that you had Perthes Syndrome (the same as Erraid Davies the 13 year old swimmer) - hopefully she will lead a full and interesting life too ..

    Thanks everyone - so delighted you appreciated the fighting spirit the contestants have shown to get here and compete ... cheers Hilary

  9. Hi Hilary. So many inspirational stories here. My pick of them is Taoriba Biniat the female boxer who had never been in a ring before. That story illustrates how different the Commonwealth Games are, not only from the Olympics, but any other games in the world!
    Continuing my new experiment of naming the music I am listening to while posting or commenting - right now it's: 'Going Up The Country' by Canned Heat.
    CLICK HERE for Bazza’s fabulous Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

  10. It's easy to forget, when we're watching the events, that for the athletes it's often the end of their story... the finale of endless training, determination and sacrifice.

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  12. Hilary, you have a talent for picking up the human interest stories from these big events. Such a fun post, thank you.

  13. The whole spirit of the Commonwealth is so positive and sometimes you can actually see some of the athletes having the time of their lives at the various events. It is a great tradition. Is it just me or does that Tunnock Teacake look good? Yum!

  14. You've got so many great examples here. From the everyday smoking/drinking guy to the girl w/the hip condition. They're all inspiring!

  15. A wonderful and inspiring post, Hilary. These stories are amazing and show how much can be accomplished when you really want to do something.

  16. How very exciting...lots of inspiration there from young people, too! Hard work...great results.

    Haggis is just not something anyone eats over here. Makes me curious to try it!

  17. It's very true that people can have talents they're unaware of. It never occurred to me I might be able to write until well into my 30s. I'm not claiming to be gold medal standard but I'm doing OK and am having fun ad that would never have happened if I hadn't given it a try.

  18. @ Bazza - I agree so many inspirational stories - and certainly Taoriba Biniat shows what can be achieved.

    The point you make about the Commonwealth Games v other games, especially the Olympics, is so right ... the Commonwealth Games opens the doors to non-professional 'athletes' to give it a go ...

    This must give first-world athletes an insight into other parts of the third-world, as well as giving those amazing aspiring participants a huge opportunity to test themselves even further and to see a different country with its culture ...

    Canned Heat - I think we've lost that this year!! I like your idea of showing us what you're listening to ..

    @ Annalisa - so true .. the athletes are at the end of that particular journey .. the endless practice as well as determination and sacrifice, and learning experience.

    @ Juliet - thanks .. the people stories are so relevant and such great 'teaching' ideas ... glad you enjoyed it.

    @ Murees - great point the spirit of the Commonwealth is so positive .. and the athletes love interacting with each other ... it is a great tradition.

    I haven't tried a Tunnock Teacake - but thought I might buy some for our Bank Holiday when I visit the Nursing Centre .. they'll enjoy them and I can try a slither! So I'll report back ...

    @ Rosey - I wanted to write up some of the stories - as they do inspire and are good to read about ...

    @ Mason - many thanks - the Commonwealth Games offer these opportunities to so many ... especially the smaller countries as well as the aspiring para-athletes or even those who just take up a sport for another reason ...

    @ Betsy - it was inspiring to one and all ... there had been hard work, but as you say exciting results.

    I can understand you'd not have haggis .. unless you've got friends who are Scottish in origin, or perhaps support the Burns night celebrations in January ...

    It's worth trying and really is quite nice - a cold weather dish though ..

    Cheers to you all - thanks, these Games show us, through all the athletes, what can be achieved with dedication, perseverance and sheer determination ... Hilary

  19. @ Patsy - exactly .. if you don't make a plan to try something you've been wanting to do - you'll never know. You're an example of that - and a very good one too ...

    You've found your passion - and are making a very good go of it ... congratulations!

    Cheers Hilary

  20. So much inspiration here, a lesson to keep going despite adversity.

  21. @ Susanne - it does make me sit up and think ... I am very lucky compared to many - you're so right: keep going and persevere ... Cheers Hilary

  22. Sometimes it seems that those with adversities have the most need to prove they can achieve. This absolutely amazes me while so many of those "without" just sit and watch the world go by. So much good information here, Hilary and the Norfolk Is would definitely be a place I'd like to visit. I'm done with traveling but that picture has allured me into at least reading more about it. Thank you

  23. Aww, I wish we could all travel to Australia together!

    This reminds me - I completely forgot to check how Canada fared in the games!

  24. There is so much negative news out there that it is a pleasure to read about the courage and determination of these athletes. And Hilary your post is visually a pleasure to look at. Somewhere too, there is a place for my grandson with autism, we just have not found it yet.

  25. I'm going to keep this open on my 2nd monitor and make sure I visit all these links. Thanks, Hilary. Great photos. Some very inspiring people.

  26. @ Manzanita - it does seem if you have the opportunity and not much else we will go out and fight for our dream. Norfolk Island does look just so amazing doesn't it - one day perhaps I'll get 'down under' for a visit ..

    @ Deniz - now that would be a wonderful idea if we could all visit Australia together ...

    Canada at the Commonwealth Games came 3rd after us (the English) and Australia ...

    @ Nat - it's almost incongruous how life carries on, when there is so much turmoil in other countries and life is so difficult elsewhere.

    Autism is such a difficult illness to understand - my thoughts to you and all others in similar circumstances.

    @ Joylene - that's great to know you'll be checking out the links ... and so pleased you're inspired to do so ...

    Cheers to you all and thanks so much for your comments - Hilary

  27. I love the Olympics and these are some great stories. I'm hoping in the near future the game of Ultimate Frisbee will be recognized as an Olympic's well on its way... Oh and the picture of the Tunnock Teacake looks delicious!

  28. Love the idea that besides watching and cheering on that there's inspiration to be had. And that this inspiration and creativity seems to be encouraged.

    I want to try that cake!

  29. Let me add that the story of the man with the sneakers is just mind-boggling.

  30. The stories about the competitors in these games was such a tribute to the human spirit. I certainly can't sit around and complain about my lot in life anymore, not with examples of these people.

    Oh and thank goodness there are dragons. I was beginning to worry we'd lost them.

  31. @ Elise - these were the Commonwealth Games ... the ex British part of the world ... so the stories will always be slightly different - and show people who have really struggled to get to compete.

    Ha ha .. the Ultimate Frisbee sport ... it'd be a change - I wonder how large the field would be ... and how far the frisbee could fly ... or perhaps it could be played by the audience ... ? that could be fun - a lunch hour competition ... ?

    I haven't tried a Tunnock Teacake yet - a treat in store ..

    @ Theresa - you've got it ... it's looking beyond just the sport - amazing stories to be had ...

    And wasn't the weightlifter intrepid - just determined to compete ...

    @ Lee - yes they are stories of tremendous human spirit aren't they ... and reading these tales of hope, despite the horrors or difficulties, we can't complain about our lot ... we are so lucky ....

    Glad you're happy to have the dragons around again!

    Cheers to you and thanks so much - Hilary

  32. I am not interested in any sport competition, not even the Olympics, but I admire the athletes in para sports ! That's really amazing what they are able to do !

  33. It was long, but well worth the read. SO much inspiration from real life stories. I am in awe of them.

  34. I love the story of Erraid Davies. So inspirational!

  35. @ Gattina - that's fine .. yet the stories of genocide, competing with shoes taped together, watching your family being killed, or never having seen a boxing ring ... surely ring a bell in your mind - regardless of the fact it's sport.

    The para-athletes are incredible in their tenacity to achieve ...

    @ Christine - thank you and I'm so glad you appreciated the read - I agree so much for us to learn from these stories ...

    @ Sarah - Erraid is an inspiration isn't she - she was so touchingly bemused by her success - it was a joy to behold. You'd understand that ... not being that much older ...

    Cheers to you all - Hilary

  36. there are def some really cool stories that came out of the games....stephen wray's story is really cool in how he changed his life...

  37. Those are some amazing stories. It's nice when people overcome all odds and make it to the top.

  38. I want a bite of that teacake!!! :)

    I loved all of this. With my husband being a world-class athlete, I'm always hearing amazing athletic tales in our home. But I'd never read any of this… so fun. :)

  39. Hi Hilary.
    What a nice invitation to travel with the imagination!
    Those athletes's stories are inspiring.
    Exploring our potential is an adventure of fascinating discoveries...

  40. These inspiring stories are why I have followed the Olympics since childhood. In my opinion, the Games are always successful. Cheers.

  41. My goodness, some truly inspiring people that you have written about ..
    The Scottish man of steel is amazing.
    Great post, Hilary ...thank you ...

  42. All of this is just incredible, so many fascinating goings-on! I especially love reading about late developers (as I am one myself) but I confess, you can keep all the haggis over there on your side of the Atlantic! :)

  43. Won't it be wonderful to welcome the games to the Gold Coast? A lovely teaching lesson on the Games, Hilary. Thank you. I like the way the disabled/abled compete at the same time in the Commonwealth Games, rather than one coming after the other. Very inspirational stories. I love it when a little country has a big win.

    Thanks. Nas and I had a great time. She flies back to Fiji today and they are trying to convince us to go over in November. May well do.

    See you next time!


  44. @ Brian - it's fascinating how far people have come physically and mentally and end up actually competing at the Commonwealth Games. Stephen Way's story is amazing and he's continuing on - given him a real zest for marathon running: which certainly changed his life.

    @ Sherry - aren't they wonderful stories to read and see how they overcome ..

    @ Morgan - I have to try one of those tea-cakes! This weekend perhaps ...

    I didn't know your hubby was a world-class athlete - that must be a real privilege being involved with him at that level and now the children. Interesting to read about ..

    @ Julia - yes - you're right here: we can imagine so much and see a great deal of the world ...

    The athletes overcome so much - even those from the first world nations.

    I agree we should all open our potential doors to new discoveries ..

    @ JJ - any of the high profile Games give us some outstanding athletes ... it's good to see what can be achieved.

    @ Margie - there were lots ... and where do I start: I missed loads out ... but the Para- athletes work wonders to help themselves ...

    @ Scarlett - these sorts of Games really bring these stories to light and into our consciousnesses ... I'm a late developer too ... long may we come to the fore!

    OK - we'll keep the haggis this side of the pond!

    @ Denise - thanks for coming by after your amazing writerly weekend with Nas and other Ozzie comrades ... a November visit to Fiji - sounds like a delightful idea ...

    The Games at the GoldCoast looks extraordinary - the introduction in the Closing Ceremony was really enticing!! I think you'll do the same and combine Para and able-bodied sports together ...

    It is wonderful when one of the small countries produces an amazing athlete - and the Pacific Islands will love competing on your shores ...

    Absolutely see you soon ... and cheers to one and all - Hilary

  45. Though these are all amazing stories, Micky and Erraid's triumphs moved me the most. It's incredible how they managed to overcome so many obstacles!


  46. This is a great post – so informative. I like it when athletes from small countries can compete and may even get in the top 10. I am not sure about the hagi (never tested one) but the Tunnock Teacake, maybe – it looks like marshmallow in it?

  47. One of your greatest posts, my friend. Nothing less than what we've come to expect. A verbal and visual feast to partake of again and again.

    I know you're de-cluttering, to move's such a liberating feeling to get to the point where you're feeling "free"...your creativity, already at a high, will be even higher.

    I just put up a short post that I know you'll appreciate, too. Nothing creative, just that decision I've been working toward. You know how I've struggled to come to terms with blogging, a medium I love. But...I guess I'm just not the committed blogger anymore than you and Denise Covey and Alex Cavanaugh and others of my wonderful blogging friends are.

    I value our friendship, and hope for those many years of it ahead...Many hugs and waves from me and Jen from across the pond ~~~~~~~~

  48. @ Julie - I'm pleased the stories are here on the blog - so we can remember how others cope. I agree Micky Yule overcoming all those operations and then Erraid just determined to swim and walk ... they are shining lights ...

    @ Vagabonde - many thanks ... I enjoyed the Commonwealth Games and because I was writing up about it for the blog .. I learnt loads and paid more attention to different cultures and countries ...

    The Haggis is a 'different' taste - but I enjoy it!! The Tunnock Teacake I think has a marshmallow filling ... but I'll tell you in a day or two - as I'll buy some for the Nursing Centre and then try one myself!

    @ Ann - many thanks .. I hope people enjoy re-reading the posts ... and so appreciate all your positive thoughts in this direction ...

    I am having a real paper clear out and putting fingers to typewriter to get some posts out that are outstanding ..

    I've been over to comment - and we'll be sorry not to see you blogging more often, but quite understand. Equally we'll be in touch somehow via social media ...

    Look after yourself and take care of you and of Jen -

    Cheers to you all - Hilary

  49. Love those cheerful Cook Island ladies! Lovely post.

    Haggis - I did try it when I went to Scotland on a visit. Not as awful as I thought, but there was nothing about it that made me want more. :)

  50. Amazing stories. Amazing people. We never know what's really inside, pushing us onward, until it happens.

    Great post, Hilary!

  51. Hilary,
    I love these stories. That young female boxer and her sweet face. I was so hoping for that Cinderella ending too! You are my favorite source for new and interesting info! Love it!

  52. @ Lynn - weren't the Cook Island ladies just so cheerful ... I did love their 'hats' ...

    Haggis definitely has its own place in culture and on our taste buds - glad you tried it ...

    @ Teresa - lots of positive here .. all we need to do is make a decision and set our sails towards the wind .. when we can find out what we can achieve ... glad you enjoyed the post ...

    @ Lisa - delighted you enjoy being here and I'm glad you appreciate reading about these sorts of stories or blog posts .. and thanks for the compliment ..

    Cheers to you all - and have happy weekends .. Hilary

  53. Wonderful, inspiring post! Breadfruit, by the way, is absolutely delicious!

  54. Hi Bish - sorry hadn't got back here! I imagine breadfruit would be good - sometimes fruits looks really odd, but taste just wonderful .. Cheers Hilary

  55. Amazing, entertaining, and educational--this post is a must read :). I'm so glad I found your blog!

  56. Hi Catherine .. thanks so much for visiting and commenting on three posts - much appreciated.

    Just very glad you enjoyed the read and learnt a few things ..

    Cheers and I'll see you around - Hilary