Or just one image?

Brighton Seaside in Winter-15

Another side of the same story

How you communicate a trip?

A picture, a slide show, a story, many stories?

Here is one way, the slide-show of yesterday's pictures of my trip to Brighton.
It took me an hour to arrive at Victoria Station, one hour from there to Brighton. In ten minutes from the station, we were at the seaside.

A wonderful weather awaited us, not much wind and sun!

Lots to see on the seaside. The constant play of the waves and children daring to go near them and then run away with each new wave. The wall art, I enjoyed and a red cap I bought to myself: too warm. The old and new, enjoying the walk near the sea side, and the Brighton peer with its stripped chaise longues.

An awful lunch of fish and chips, to fast done for too many people in the nice restaurant we found ourselves, but in very good company. Me, loosing all the others while absorbed in taking photo and then, my solitary walk. Discovery of an interesting small quiet street and houses with huge walls, Brighton's great and very intriguing art Museum, and then, after I could make no more photos and barely walk, its Gardner street and flea market a bit farther.

I could tell a story, about so many of the images I have taken, more of what I thought then what I was told, more what I felt then what I experienced. The slide shows, different ones, that can me made from them, tell again something else.

For me, there is one main message: even in the winter, the seaside is wonderful. Get out! Discover. Enjoy.


A story, and how we can "use" what is happening in our life.

Monday, after my visit to the Martime Museum with my grandchildren, I found a pocket of my coat open.

"I was robbed!"

A horrible feeling. Violation of "me". A sense of vulnerability.

What I was stolen?

My keys! Where are the keys to my apartment, my car, all together? Nowhere.

The problem was not how I'll enter to my place, I had spare keys in my family, but who will enter in my home?

Who will break into, take whatever he feels like, I have to be afraid of who?

I was scared.

That night, I trembled before opening, full of apprehension that I find the other side of the door.


No one has entered in my absence.

And tomorrow? And after tomorrow? What to do?

"Call the Museum may be the keys have fallen there", as someone suggested to me? I found the number, waited, waited, explained, once and then again. Unfortunately not, it was not there, they did not find any keys that day.

After a full day when I dared not stir from home "that will come in my absence?" they called me "your keys are not here, we did not find any keys."

I put my head under the sand. "Tomorrow, I'll decide what to do."

Redo my keys? Announcing the loss, the theft? Even my car keys where there. Why did I put all my keys in the same place?

Who and when was able to seel me? Approach me? Why? Was it my home adress there too, or just the keys? My card that I give to others call me, contact me? In general, this is the email address, address of my pictures from my blog only, not my full adress. But if somey ...What else was with my keys in the same pocket, found open and empty?

Yesterday morning at five, I got up, determined.

Get out your head from the sand and start doing! And, also try, one last time, to feel al hope is gone, to be over it, renounce hoping having the key "somewhere."

I took out all of my many pockets, then I started to feel my cloak bit by bit.

In the sleeve, hidden and fallen somewhere profound, I found my keys.


I have them. Nobody has touched them. I was not reassured completely. All the scenarios imagined, I still can not quite get out of my head, they seem still almost as real.

So many things happen in our heads!

"You have learned a lesson" said my little son. The next time you will look better. The next time ....

A lesson? What lesson? Do not immediately think the worst?

What was all this good for, I asked myself, as is my habit.

At least, to have a story to tell. Perhaps, next time be slower to panic. Not immediately imagine the worst.


The impossible dream

"The impossible dream" lyrics from the Man of la mancha

It was a Toastmaster speech, about the director of Avatar and how he had to fight for the movie to be made, to stand his ground against all the odds, persist, that made me remember of this great lyrics.

Of course, the great melody, helps too.

I also translated it in French, was it about 20 or 10 years ago, when I first had seen it played in theatre and then read the words of this song.

Great communication, is great communication, and I do believe that this gives courage to dare, so it is - it was at a time I needed it very much - inspiring.

It did inspire me to dare, and not to listen to those telling me "impossible" now and again. Showing, it can be done.

Oh, not everything I wished for come to me as I wished it, I did loose some of my battles, had hopes crushed, but still, continued my quests.


Speak to me of love

Yesterday table topics in Greenwich Toastmaster Club were "Valentine" and how would we spend it, how to express love to the other.

How we would like to been shown.

I did volunteer to speak but as I did already had a role, finally, I was not called. Oh, well.

I did not have perhaps much to say.

But at the end of the meeting, we did a "reverse" warm-up, "wind-down" the president called it, telling of our best memory, or the memory we would to have repeated.

Mine was "walk holding hands" and "kissing in the forest" that got smiles. In my mind, I stayed still with the last subject of Valentine day, at which I could not speak.

In it, others spoke of "I do not do Valentine" (could be almost me), and "I'd go far away in a seven star hotel with her" - does it exist seven stars? is it not better a small cottage with no one around?, or they told of bad experiences in crowded or too quiet restaurants.

I did not here one, telling of a romantic walk, not true! one young man did go to Thames walk that evening in his imagined story! We all liked that idea, and it did not cost him a penny!

A young woman, confessed, she would like a proposal. No more, no less. "but I'll not have it!, not yet, not now".

That all made me think of walk together, holding hands, smiling at each other. At the love in the forest, not the best place, but quiet and unexpected, at what I was - already 56 years old! The idea of it, was the most romantic, that he thought about it, desired it, of course, not so much as the kisses we shared.

But the feeling "I am not too old, after all!"

This morning, I found by chance the song "Speak to me of love" in French original "Parez-moi d'amour", this version is from 1930!

Lucienne Boyer: parlez-moi d'amour

Is a song "communication"? of course it is! it does communicate so well feelings (even thoughts) and it can be so persuasive too!

Parlez-moi d' amour
Redites-moi des choses tendres
Votre beau discours
Mon cœur n' est pas las de l' entendre

Speak to me of love,
Tell me tender things
Your kind speech
My heart is never weary to hear

Vous savez bien qu'au fond je n'y crois rien, pourtant...
mais malgré moi je veux y croire

You know well that in fact I do not believe, and yet...
Despite myself I want to believe in it

One can learn a lot from the songs and singers, too!



So much to say about Rhetoric!

It's power was known already more then 2000 years ago! And it can be found in political discourse, in lawyer's speeches, at Toastmasters, but even in Romance Novels.

Here is an example I found recently. Try to say it, read it aloud, listen to its rhythm, repetitions. Short and long phrases. How effective they are and how they complement each other.

From the book, Ritual of proof, by Dara Joy, 2001
Relationships of men and women from another planet where women hold all the power, so funny yet so much wisdom too in it, an inverted Regency like love novel. This powerful rhetoric is at this end of the novel.

Green Tamryn moved with controlled precision.
Inner strength guided the secret sequence of her forms, creating a heroic abstraction across paving stone. The hushed movements in low predawn light mimicked the rustle of wind as everyone in the house lay sleeping.
This was the best time, this quiet time. 
It was her time to renew vision. 
It was her time to clear the mind.
It was the best time for reassessments.
With a deadly snap, the dual meteor-blade echoed through the trees. Expertly slung, their fatal trajectories gathered speed and momentum in the classic stance of Gle Kiang-ten. Corded ropes arced and spun out.  Like lovers, they moved together as the first rays of day crested the horizon.
The perimeter rustled, sighing to the same pulse-beat. Flora quivered with expectation as dawn approached, heralding the majesty of simply being alive.
Forum morningsong.  Sung with the perfect symmetry of the Golden Master.
She was the shadow.
She was the weapon.
She was the wind that could change.
Over and over the rite went, building into a dance of mortal beauty. Swaying. Dipping. Twirling. Leaping. The expertise had never been simple in the execution of the forms, but in the form of the execution.
She was not connected to Forus, but to a parallel wisdom, springing from its source.
Her hidden dance was in the knowledge of when to step and when to pause.
When to fight and when to wait.
And when to let others finish the round, for the good of the entire event.
All had turned out as she had hoped.
The threat was gone. Passion had been revealed. Pride was restored. A new life had come to bring joy. And, unexpectedly, an ancient love had finally revealed itself to all of its children.
Still, there was another out there, not yet revealed…
And Arkeus was about to rise.
So Green prepared to listen to this coming aurora, no matter its sound. For she was a woman first, with a heart of fire and the wisdom to know that the dance we follow is ever our true ritual of proof.
And it can never be held in the court of any land. Just in the court of our higher selves.
by this end, we realize, she was a Master fighter and could have won the fight herself, instead, as we have seen in the last chapter, she let him do it for her, thus, restoring his pride.Fun, learning and love story can be imagined and written, and also knowledge of rhetoric.


Listen to books

I am not sure how much this can help others, whose first language is English, but I have discovered "Books on CD" or Audiobooks.

One has hours to listen, re-listen if one wishes, repeat phrases and inflexions, learn better pronunciation.

At the same time, have fun.

Perhaps, because the first book (7 and half hours long) I listened to was wonderful. I already ordered two more from Amazon and some others from the Home Lending library for elders. I am looking now also on some cheap second hand Audiobooks, that I hope, will help me to learn also speak better, not only understand.

I am also convinced, every one can learn from them how to change voice in different cases and occastions.


Now or never from Box.com

this is the unedited version, almost but not the same, the begining music and intro is missing - it sound better to me from the Spark London web site!

Under the lights

The true test, for me, was not the Humorous Contest, which I won in the Club and lost in the Area, or the Competent Communicator  ten speeches I finished from March till end November, last year. The true test was: could I create and tell a personal story in a Theatre, before a paying public, under the projectors?

This month the Spark London features my story in a pod-cast on their website. This morning I listened to it, again, it does sound well with a live audience reacting to it!

Of course, you cannot see me moving, but the listening already and the audience reaction gives clues and the mood. They liked it, non-withstanding my hesitations, "my English" and so on. Somehow, my story got through to them, which is the most important, and they went away with the impression of "never too late" that I intended to convey.

I told my tale without paper and standing, walking, going farther then nearer the public, but some of the storytellers sit down and read their tales. You can see one, excellent example of this on Spark youtube.

Personal stories "touch" us and opens us up, to those telling and even to ourselves.


Tony Blair and Barack Obama

Friday, testimony in the British House of Parliament, of Tony Blair, who was Prime Minister for, I think, about ten years, about how and why he decided, about war.

He is a wonderful communicator, and listening, but even more looking at him, through hours, as he answered questions and told what he wanted to tell, even if he was not asked about it, get his point accross, was a great lesson for me.

"Direct" on TV, instead of just the few scenes that the journalists from Television choose, that is a great difference. I am happy to have now a television on which I could listen to the Parliament's speeches, usually a lot less good. But comparing is also great lesson.

Not reading, and only from time to time glimpsing to his notes, very confident, great smile and eye contact. Some very appropriate hand gestures but not too many. Yes, I understood why they wrote that Tony Blair is a great communicator.

He did mostly convey why he did decide thus, putting it in a greater, international, historical, context.

The same day, I looked through the web, on YouTube, at the State of Union Speech of Barack Obama, in the US parliament, one and half hour speech. And it did not seem too long! He is also an excellent communicator. He conveyed the difficulties, and also the confidence: he will deal with them, and not only for tomorrow's challenges but also for those who come after us.  Besides learning a lot from his speech, and what he said, I also observed his smile, his pauses, his head and hand movements.

Weather on Television or the Internet, we have lots of possibilities to listen to great speeches.

I found there also speeches of great orators of the past, at least those who were filmed, from the last century, as well as texts of old speeches from far away centuries.