From badgers to pewterers

I always talk to people in queues, on trains, well anywhere!

Eurasian badger

 

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I always talk to people in queues, on trains, well anywhere!  England is an interesting place!  This is who expanded my horizons this week.

  • An environment manager for a major infrastructure company, who amongst other things, is looking for a pheronome to discourage badgers.
  • A young buyer who negotiates purchases penny-by-penny for a fashion chain
  • A psychologist investigating whether executive coaching increases flexibility & success in senior managers.
  • AND two gentlemen from The Court of The Worshipful Company of Pewterers!

Ancient Companies of London

Did you know, which I didn’t, that there are 108 Livery Companies in the city of London?

Livery companies date from the 1400’s or so and were originally trade associations or guilds.  Membership of a Livery company may be by patrinomy – an ancestor may have been a pewterer, for example.  It is also possible to join by redemption, for example, by having something to do with the pewter trade.

The trade associated with some Livery Companies, such as “long bows” might have died.  The Companies live on, though, with people joining and rising through the ranks.  The Worshipful Company of Pewterers continues to support the pewter trade.  They organize competitions for design and arts students every year.  They support charities.  My travel companions were returning from a meeting of Neurologists (yes, doctors) who were doing research into the effect of heavy metals with financial assistance from the Peweters.  One of my companions had also visited an arts class at a school whom they support in north London.

And nominally, at least, Court members have freedom of the City of London.  They can sell oranges on the street if they wish, and herd sheep across London bridge.  I didn’t catch whether Free and Livery members have these privileges.

And now to give the pamphlet about the design competition to my neighbour who is a fine arts graduate!

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Positive psychology and the credit crunch: some people got it sorted ages ago

Greater London

 

Image via Wikipedia

What’s morale like where you live?

During the last week, I have seen person-after-person say they are exhausted, catch a cold, and just slump, sometimes close to tears.

My favorite radio programme, Any Questions, (here on Fridays 1900 GMT) is normally my laughter medicine for the week.  This week it was sombre.  Jokes ran to not moving the capital because we don’t want to live with banker, politicians and the press.

What is the most cheerful story you heard this week?

But all is not sombre.  On Twitter, one lively entrepreneur opened two new businesses in the last month.  This being the beginning of the academic year in UK, people are starting new courses, making new friends and enjoying themselves.

On another erratically running train, overfull with two lots of passengers (those for our service and the previous service that had also broken down), I opened a conversation with someone carrying a book on classical music.  He has an interesting story.

So what has opera singing to do with hands-on farming?

He introduced himself as an opera singer.  I found it interesting that he l lived so far from London.  Oh, he said I am also a farmer.  And my father sang well, but for fun.  I sing professionally and run my farm of 150 acres.  By day, I work the farm, and then I go by train to London (2.5 hour journey) to sing and return home to midnight (another 2.5 hours).  Often the only sleep I get is on the train.

He had a shock of immaculately coiffered gray hair as you expect from someone appearing on the stage.  And with a happy smile on his face, he said, his son also sang, but he was a dancer.  His son was off working professionally in Europe. (This is Britain – country undefined – just vaguely over there!)

My happy informant was both proud and embarrassed by his double career.   He is lucky to have two jobs he loves but he is not sure which supports which.

I readily reassured him a business school would say he has a wise portfolio of investments.  When one business is down, the other business is up – which is true it seems.

What is your most outrageous combination?

So remembering that the antidote to exhaustion is wholeheartedness, what are your passions?  What interesting passions are you combining?

And PS What do farming and opera singing have in common?

Apparently, you must be calm in both – calm to sing and calm to handle livestock.

What’s your brand of magic?

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