By Beverley Little

One crisp winter morning, as the early rising sun reflected its magnificent, warm, rich colours on the waters of the lake, a beautiful swan elegantly glided by, close to the shore line. Breaking through crystals of ice like diamonds and so creating the sound of slowly cracking glass.

On the verge of the lake a multitude of birds scurried along the shore looking for a share of sparse crumbs for their winter breakfast. Among these birds was a little pigeon, wings folded, head down, who randomly pecked with the others (although not nearly as hungry as she already had feasted on a breakfast of croissant crumbs in town)

A duck bobbed happily close to the shore admiring the beautiful swan and watching the industriousness of the other birds, in particular the intelligent little pigeon who visited the lake very briefly each morning.

As the swan glided close to the shore the other birds stopped what they were doing, anticipating that the majestic swan was about to speak. With her head held high, shoulders back and a slow velvet richness of tone to her voice, she commented on the beauty of the sunrise, and how lucky they all were to live on and around such a stunning lake. She suggested that the promise of a fine day may bring a bounty of visitors to the lake with bread to feast on. The birds hung on her every word, waiting for any wisdom she might wish to share.

The little pigeon with shoulders hunched, head and eyes down, feeling happy and excited about his news, spoke quickly and hesitantly. He was telling of the opening of a new duck pond in the centre of the park in town, with a new children’s playground, ice cream van, cafe (serving best pastries ever) and every day loads of visitors bringing their tasty sandwiches to share.

But the swan sailed by and the other birds carried on with their pecking not listening to the lunch recommendations he was sharing. Only the little duck who worked hard on really listening and reflecting on the words of all the birds heard his words.

Pigeon said to the duck “no one listens to me in the same way as they do the Swan and I could share so much”, and duck replied “dear pigeon it is not what you say, for your words are wise and generous, why do you think this is the case?”

Stepping Stones

Stepping Stones
By Andrea Wilson

One day a young boy was skipping alongside a stream, and as he skipped he glanced across to the other side. There he could see his grandmother. She was sitting in her garden which bordered the stream, surrounded by beautiful colourful flowers. Beside her was a table laden with cake and pop prepared for the enjoyment of her grandson.

The boy waved happily and continued down the banks of the stream until he came to the small bridge, where he crossed and then ran happily to his grandmother.

As they sat together enjoying the cake, his grandmother said to him, “Why don’t you cross the stream using the stepping stones. You are big enough to try now?

“Oh no”, replied the young boy, “I might slip and fall”.

The next week the young boy visited his grandmother again. This time he noticed the stepping stones across the stream. He looked at them and wondered whether he should attempt to use them to cross the stream. It wouldn’t be easy but he could give it a try. A small voice inside his head said “but what if you fall in and hurt yourself?”

The young boy turned round and ran to the bridge to cross the stream as usual.

His grandmother asked how he had crossed over. The small boy replied “I came across the bridge.” His grandmother said “I saw you standing by the stones” but the little boy said, “Yes, I wanted to try to get across but I was scared I’d fall in.” A few days went by before the next visit to his grandmothers. The young boy stopped again at where he could use the stepping stones to cross the stream. He looked at the stones and the water gently trickling around them. He stepped on the first stone and then the second, he was nearly half way over, and then with a hop, skip and a jump, he cleared the remaining stones and found himself stood on the other side.

The young boy looked back at the stepping stones and jumped for joy. He waved excitedly to his grandmother and ran as fast as he could to join her. She gave him a huge hug and smiling, explained, “You did it, I knew you could.”

The Chameleon and The Leopard

The Chameleon and The Leopard.
By Hayley Finmore

Once upon a time, deep in the lush and leafy rainforest, lived a Chameleon. The Chameleon had an amazing ability to transform his emerald green scales to match not only his rich and exotic surroundings, but also the colours and patterns of those around him. His ability had earned him much fame and the Chameleon had long felt accepted by his fellow animals.

Lately the Chameleon had become a little weary of his technicolour talent and he began to realise that he was beginning to forget how brightly his own emerald green scales had once shone.

And so one morning, the Chameleon set out on a journey into the heart of the rainforest in the hope that he could recover his now unfamiliar self. The Chameleon walked for hours and hours. Eventually the Chameleon reached a clearing in the rainforest, in the middle of which was a giant tree covered in a myriad of rainbow coloured leaves. The Chameleon was mesmerized and he lay down at the foot of the tree and stared at the colourful canopy above him until he fell asleep.

A short while later the Chameleon was suddenly woken from his sleep by a heavy thump on his tail.

Standing in front of the Chameleon was a tall and magnificent Leopard.

“I’m sooo terrrribly sorrrry” purred the Leopard. “I didn’t see you lying there. You are almost invisible”. The Chameleon realised that he was camouflaged against the bark of the tree, so he consciously reverted to his emerald green.

“That’s quite a talent you have there” purred the Leopard “But you could have come to great harm”. The Chameleon explained the purpose of his journey to the Leopard, who listened with interest.

Slightly bemused, the Leopard exclaimed “It’s no wonder you feel so lost and exhausted, when you spend all your time trying to be like everyone else”.

“We leopards are famed for not changing our spots. I can’t imagine what I would do if I had your talent” said the Leopard, with a wry smile.

But before the Chameleon had a chance to respond, the Leopard had leapt off out of the clearing. And the last thing the Chameleon saw was the flick of the Leopard’s emerald green tail…

Round the World

Round the World
By Simon Allcock

A cyclist is training for her round the world adventure. At 60 years old she’s still a lady in her prime, with experience and skills. She has spent year training so she has the required fitness. This trip is her life’s dream.

She has researched carefully all the things she may require for her adventure and she has built up the required items over the course of her training.

Each item she packs has a reason behind it:

  • The pump, because when she gets a puncture, she needs to re-inflate the tyre.
  • The mountaineering jacket because when she passes through the mountains it will be freezing cold
  • The sun visor and sun block to protect her skin from the sun when she crosses the desert
  • The GPS and detailed maps to ensure she doesn’t get lost
  • 3 kinds of identification documents so she can renegotiate her visas if her plans change.
  • The waterproof oversuit for when it rains
  • The ipad so she can write her blog
  • A locket which had been an heirloom from her father.

She would have everything she needed.

Finally all her gear was packed and loaded onto the bike and she set off.

Her pink bike groaned under the weight of the load, turning the pedals was so hard… At the first hills in Kent she stood up on the pedals and strained and puffed and panted up the first small hill. Fainting to the top she collapsed and soon a crowd had gathered.

“She can’t do it.” They said.

“She’s not fit enough.” Said another.

“She doesn’t have the right gear.”

“It was a stupid idea anyway.”

She cried.

After a while she carefully unhooked all the bags from the bike and left them there at the side of the road…….. All of her thoughtfully packed kit. She looked at it all there, and there was look in her eye.

She got back on the bike. It felt suddenly light and responsive to her efforts. She flew down the hill and up the next valley. Over dales and crossed the sea to Europe and onward towards the East.

  • When she got a puncture she borrowed a pump from a lovely lady who stopped to help in Germany
  • When it got freezing cold in the mountains she bought a jacket from a stall at the side of the road.
  • When she crossed the desert she took advice from the Uzbekistani women and wrapped a cotton fabric loose round her face
  • When she got lost she asked for help and received directions, food and offers of accommodation
  • When she had to renegotiate her visas she rang her son and asked him to courier the documents to her while she waited in some of the most exotic cities in the world
  • When it rained she got wet
  • And when she wanted to write her blog – she would find an internet café , and relax over a coffee and chat with the other travellers.

And when a handsome gentleman smiled at her from across the foyer of the Royal Hotel in Tbilisi, she smiled back, thinking about how much she missed her father.

Clive the Clownfish

Clive the Clownfish
By Susan Kellock

Deep in wettest Cumbria, Clive the clown fish lived in the aquarium tank, it was a magical kingdom filled with Nemo and friends. Since being recently added to this new world, reluctantly Clive kept himself to himself, watching the life going on around him. Life was sweet but to him the other clown fish seemed to live on the edge.

Within the devilish thorns of the sea anemone the other clown fish played, it was their emerald city, they had a wondrous time and Clive looked in on it, wanting to share the candy but for those thorns!

Clive would hear the other tank fish talk of the sharp malevolence of the anemone and how they dared not go close , despite his clown fish friends positive reassurance Clive would go to join them and then retreat, always retreat!.

As with all situations there is always a wise old something, enter Sadie the snail. Sadie had spent many years holding fast to the surfaces of this fine glass palace, located in a hotel in the Lake District, deep in wettest Cumbria.

She had seen and heard many come and go from her dual aspect world and had become almost encyclopaedic in her recall. Sadie’s watery role was to allow everyone to see out, to allow the sparkle, to keep the tank clean, clean equals fish happiness equal Sadie’s happiness……Job done!

Clive totally bemused by his situation of Clown fish v’s other fish spent many hours treading the waters alongside Sadie and her stories, sharing thoughts and memories of the oceans spent in her glass magnified world.

So as the sands trickled by, and the waters changed, Clive filtered the happy truth of being a proper clown fish, and so the emerald city rose up ahead.

On tasting the sweetness …Deep in wettest Cumbria the clown fish play…………………..

A Simple Tale

A Simple Tale
By Vicky Armstrong

Far far away, in a dark distant forest stood a wise old tree, it was known for its love of life as well as displaying tough love when it came to protecting the things that it held most precious.

The wise old tree stood proud, head and shoulders above all the other growing saplings that sprawled out across the tip of its roots and beyond, for as far as the eye could see. The tree’s foliage was magnificent, reaching out like a huge colourful canopy over the undulating landscape which eventually led down to a beautiful meandering river which was as blue as the bluest lagoon.

Can you picture such a wondrous place? If you close your eyes you can almost feel it’s refreshing coolness, in fact it was so incredibly breath taking, that the wise old tree had likened it to what it imagined tree utopia to be like.

The wise old tree had enjoyed many, many years of standing there looking out and admiring the view, believing that it knew all that was needed to be known. It hoped that it had demonstrated to the saplings how big they might grow and how strong they might feel one day. They too could enjoy being head and shoulders above the rest if they took notice of all the wise words the old tree had shared with them.

Then one day, quite out of the blue when the sun was going down at the end of a long drizzly day, one of the small saplings noticed that a number of its friends were starting to gracefully slide down the hill on which they all stood. He cared to notice that they were heading straight towards the beautiful blue meandering river, the small sapling knew instinctively that something was dreadfully wrong and shouted over to the wise old tree to ask what could be done to stop them sliding down the hill and falling into the river where they would be swept away, never to be seen again.

The wise old tree thought for a moment, then taking a long deep breath it suggested that if the saplings weren’t strong enough to survive the fall then they would have to be left alone to their fate!

The small sapling didn’t believe that it was their time to go, they were just starting out and full of promise. The sapling asked the wise old tree to do something before it was too late. “Hold out one of your long, strong branches he shouted!” But the wise old tree knew better than to risk damaging one of its many magnificent branches, “Just ask them to drink as much as they can, as fast as they can ” it replied, in the hope that they would suck up the excess moisture in the ground and stop themselves from gliding down the banking.

The small sapling despaired, it was impossible, nothing was changing, the ground was too sodden, and they were heading inexorably into the river.

The sapling pleaded with the wise tree “There must be something more we can do, think wise old tree, think!”

This is the only way I know because it’s happened before and if they are strong enough they will survive!

Needless to say, there were casualties; none of the small sapling’s group of friends survived the landslide. The small sapling was unhappy with the advice that he had been given and he believed

that there must have been another option , it was such a waste. He considered what would have happened if they had thrown a vine around one of the branches of the wise old tree and then around his friends to stop them from sliding. What would have happened then, he wondered? Surely the strength of the wise old tree would have helped the less experienced younger trees to survive the land slide and prevented them from being washed away, so prematurely!

The young sapling was left feeling sad and he wished that he had asserted himself more when asking the wise old tree for help.

Following a short silence, he shouted across to the old tree “what were you afraid of? Did you think one of your boughs might break?”

The wise old tree didn’t respond, instead it sat back and thought for a while and then a while longer……..

Suddenly a question presented itself, what had to be true for the small sapling? And indeed, what was its own truth?

The Hare and the Tortoise

The Hare and the Tortoise
By Linzi Gate

So today I am going to be telling you the story of ‘The Hare and the Tortoise’. Now I know that you are thinking that you already know that story however this is slightly different so sit back and listen to the NLP version.

Picture a lovely summers day in the heart of the beautiful Lake District, a great day for many things and especially a race.

Two great friends, Hare and Tortoise were standing at the start. Hare was hopping from foot to foot and raring to go. He was totally focussed on the route and the journey ahead of him. He had spent several days thinking about the race, planning his strategy in his head and he had estimated it would take him 45 minutes with 1 rest break. Tortoise had also spent time thinking about his strategy and he had come fully prepared with his rucksack.

The starter called the two to the line. The sound of the starting pistol pierced the air and Hare disappeared off down the path at top speed. He ran and ran and after about 20 minutes he checked his watch, ‘time for my rest break’ he thought and sat himself down for 5 minutes. Hare was pleased with himself as he had made good progress and was right on target. He checked back along the path and Tortoise was nowhere to be seen, ‘excellent’ he thought and carried on at top speed towards the finish line.

When he reached the finish line, who should be sat there waiting but Tortoise ! Hare was astounded. ‘How on earth did you get here?’ he asked breathlessly.
‘Well I just followed the path’ said Tortoise calmly
‘But I followed the path’ replied Hare, very confused
‘Ah, I took another path’ said Tortoise
‘There isn’t another path’ said Hare ‘there are fields on either side of that one and the grass is so long you can’t get through them’
‘Yes but I have all the resources I need’ said Tortoise. ‘I created a new pathway, you could call it a new neural pathway’ he continued. ‘Once I got to the pond, I spoke to the frogs and they told me ‘There is always choice’. So I carried on. When I came to the squirrels in the forest, I wasn’t sure I was going in the right direction. They told me ‘everyone has a different map of the world’ so I carried on again. I came to the edge of the field and wasn’t sure where to go, I had several choices, so I nearly stopped there and gave up however the mice in the long grass told me ‘the person with the most flexibility controls the situation’ so I decided to follow the hedge and soon I came to the finish line’.

Hare was gutted. ‘I was so organised, I planned my route, was totally focussed on the outcome, gave my absolute best performance and I have still failed’ he said forlornly.
‘No’ said Tortoise, ‘there is no failure only feedback, let me enlighten you’.
‘You are by far the fastest runner and were obviously going to beat me easily. You were organised and focussed and you certainly gave your all, however you only had one route to take and there was no flexibility in your plan. I, on the other hand, had rather a lot of help’. Hare smiled and knew his efforts hadn’t been in vain. Tortoise continued ‘Oh and I obviously had the advantage’.
‘What advantage?’ asked Hare
‘Well I told you earlier that I have all the resources I need’ and with that Tortoise turned back to his rucksack and pulled out a copy of his favourite book, NLP at Work by Sue Knight. ‘I have been Florenced !’ he said triumphantly.

Flying Bananas

Flying Bananas
By Simon Long

The Alps in winter are simply majestic, but for my money in summer they are even better.

The sheer scale of the Mountains, the distant snow-capped peaks with far off glaciers feeding steams, which cascade over the alp to the valley below.

The beauty of the meadows, resplendent with alpine flora, the sweet smell of freshly mown hay, the far off, almost “musical” sound of cow bells, as the herds are tended by the locals.
We love the Alps, and our first trip there, as a family, was something Mum and Dad anticipated eagerly.

Eventually the time came, 3 children, aged 6, 4 and 3 year; old enough to enjoy this wonderful playground.

As ever, it was a long journey to the resort, but in compensation it was a beautiful day, clear blue skies, not a cloud in the sky.
As we drove along the wide valley floor, in the distance we saw the far off shapes of para-gliders.

When we got closer we could make out the individual wings, with their pilots, skillfully defying gravity as they rode the thermals – a sight to behold and wonder at.

“Children, children – see the paragliders!” – they looked up from their gadgets.

Then the silence was broken from the rear seats as Bruce shouted “look at the flying bananas Dad, flying bananas!!”

We nearly drove off the road with laughter…. Life was good….!

Are We There Yet?

Are We There Yet?
By Jim Maguire

As I sit to write this story I am reminded of journeys taken as a child and whether “we are there yet?” I recall it clearly as we travelled away, “are we there yet”. It never seemed to matter where “there” was or what “there” felt and looked like we just needed to be “there”.

And this got me thinking about our journey and why we are all here today. I pictured us all on a bus with Florence driving; I quickly changed my mind and put her down as the “tour guide”; expertly taking us past all of the best sites and must see venues spending time at each. The time spent was agreed by us all before we jumped back on the bus and let each other have a go at driving. At first we all were reluctant passengers but soon got the hang of just letting others drive. At times we will all see or hear something that we want to stop and look at in great detail; a view or a sound. And that may mean that we all need to sit and look at the view and that is ok. That thought brought me back to “there” and how will we know when we reach “there”.

This made me consider my journey as a child again and journeys I have taken many times since. And despite taking the same road many times each one has led me to different sites, sounds and experiences. Those journeys continue and actually that is ok. We just need to be patient we soon will be “there”.

The Circus

The Circus
By Kerry Glaister

Once upon a time there was a circus, the circus was a small family business but it was very much respected across the land. It travelled miles and miles entertaining many families and children. Whenever the circus was in town there was always an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation.

The biggest star attraction was the big cat finale and the lady lion tamer. Everyone was always amazed how this lady had such power and uncanny knowledge on these wild creatures. She trained small little panther baby cats right through to big strong and proud lions. There always seemed to be an unspoken language between them, she just knew how they worked and how to “talk” to them to get the best out of them to make them perform.

One day the circus rocked up in the Lake District, it was not an unusual night apart there was a slightly bigger crowd, the lights were bright and everyone was excited to see the big cat finale at the end of the show.

The lion tamer stepped out into the ring and all her cats came running out to perform. When she grabbed for her whip, she realised it had somehow snapped and the whip just fell by her side, she feared she could not make the cats perform like she did all the times before. The big strong proud lion sensed her fear and scratched her with his big playful paw. She was mortified, upset and very very embarrassed.

She quickly finished the show but her nerves were shot and she didn’t want to return to the ring without her whip, it was the only one she ever had. She feared she could never go near the big lions without her whip again.

She searched high and low but alas not a whip was to be found.

Sometime later…… the circus ‘rocked’ up again in the Lakes she stepped out into the ring with the lions, she smiled confidently at the audience and the people clapped and cheered…………