Beginning. Again.

There’s nothing so exciting as starting out on something new; think new school, new job, new love, new journey. Those pleasurable sick feelings in your stomach, the inability to sleep, to eat, the fact that you can’t focus your thoughts on anything except the approaching unknown. What if schoolmates don’t like me, I can’t do the job, the love turns out to be stillborn, the journey wearisome and unrewarding?

Any of these situations can result in disappointment, but, being human and hopeful, the very next time around, we simply fall into the same old sick torment. It’ll be different this time, they’re going to love me, I’ll be such a success, nothing can go wrong…

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Is it ever too late to begin again? Many folks think so, saying things like: I’m too old to wear jeans, take up running, post my face on a dating website. Even when they might look amazing in denim, get super-fit doing 3k a couple of times a week, meet Mr/Ms Right-Now online, after only a couple false starts. Okay, maybe more than a couple, but my point is, just have a go, dive in. Just do it, try. You’ll never know until you try. Dig out the denim and running shoes. Polish up your dating profile, smile and put yourself out there. It could be the best beginning ever.

See you back in the race. Good Luck!

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Sport? Not by any definition.

Today I am making Paella. I’ve got chicken pieces, prawns and Chorizo sausage. It should be easy – how hard can it be? It’s only a sort of risotto with protein in, instead of my usual mushrooms. I’ll tell you how it turns out.

Lately, I’ve been struggling with my liking for flesh. I won’t lie, I love nothing more than a crispy bacon butty, a nice thick rare steak or a succulent piece of salmon with pasta. But something on Twitter recently stopped me in my tracks. It was a whale hunt, taking place in the ocean around the Faroe Islands. The first post I read, last week, was about a mother and baby pilot whale, a type of dolphin, who’d become separated from their pod and, seemingly, escaped the hunters’ nets. But not for long, as a photo showed all too graphically. Mother and baby, dead, laid out side by side on a blood-soaked beach. That day, the Twitter post informed me, 193 animals had been slaughtered. For sport. I moved on quickly to the next post and put the image out of my mind. It was nothing to do with me, after all.

But a day or two later, there it was again, further news of how the hunt was progressing and the shocking information that nearly 1000 Pilot Whales had been killed by this hunt in just two months. Nearly one thousand dolphins. I had a mental picture of them, rounded up, trailed to shore in the nets thrashing and trying to escape, to save themselves and their young. Then suffocating on the beach, before the ‘sportsmen’ – read ‘killers’ – arrived with their clubs and their lances, the surf turning red. I couldn’t ignore a thousand dead dolphins: I opened the attachment and read further details. It appears that the whale carcasses are used to provide food for farmed salmon, you know, the type I buy, once a week, in the supermarket. I don’t know why this should have affected me so much, killing whales on an industrial scale, for sport and to fatten captive salmon, to feed me and other people like me, just ordinary people, who enjoy a bit of fish once or twice a week. I didn’t know about this annual slaughter: did you?

Why did it trouble me? I thought of the dolphins I’ve seen, off the west coast of Ireland, surfacing, splashing their tails, swimming alongside the tourist boats with their calves. Maybe they were Pilot Whales, dolphins, maybe not, does it matter? They were just alive, happy, splashing along, going somewhere, wherever it is that dolphins go, but not expecting anything like a boatload of hunters – ‘sportsmen’ – to be waiting, planning their deaths on an industrial scale.

I think I’ll cook the mushrooms.

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