Welcome to ‘Weak Skim with a Little Sugar’

A regular segment of stories that are opposite to the Strong Full-Cream no Sugar variety which is very political involving wars, murders and all things nasty. This segment is about lighthearted or inspirational pieces of news that I find interesting from the newspaper, online or from the radio that I want love to share. From this, the Weak Skim with a Little Sugar  variety of news was born!

Hello all

How time flies when you are having fun! It’s been two weeks since I wrote my last Weak Skim blog and I can hardly believe it. Where did the time go? Who knows but having Geoff at home full-time after working has not helped! So finally I have managed to write  my third segment of Weak Skim stories to share with you today. Enjoy!

#1 Politicians Behaving Well For a Change!

Last week I listened to a very interesting interview in the middle of the night with the former politician Rob Oakeshot who has just released his memoir called “The Independent Member for Lyne”.

Now everyone in Australia knows who this man is, but for those overseas readers, Mr. Oakeshot and another independent member of parliament shot to prominence when they held the balance of power during the 2010-13 Federal Parliament. Both retired at the last election saying they were worn out and weary from all their efforts.

However, the thing I found fascinating about this interview was not Rob’s discussions with the former Prime Minister, but the things he revealed about HIMSELF! For example when asked what his favourite movie was, Rob replied:

“Well, in fact I love watching ‘The Black Stallion’ (1979). It always makes me cry. I’ve seen it 30 times now and I always end up crying. I can’t help myself!  I’ve now introduced it to my three children who watch it with me.”

A politician crying over a movie? I could hardly believe it! And this is why it is good to hear politicians being interviewed AFTER they have retired from politics … because they aren’t following any political line any more. They become REAL dear friends and isn’t that exactly how we would like them to be ALL of the time? If only …

Hawke and Howard 'loving up'

Hawke and Howard ‘loving up’

Now as luck would have it, I caught both Bob Hawke (Prime Minister from 1983-91) and John Howard (PM from 1996 – 2007) speaking at the National Press Luncheon on TV last week. What a joy!

They spoke about their achievements at the time and their insights since then, but the most impressive thing about having these two men in the same room was that they ‘loved up’ on each other! Yes, I could hardly believe it. Coming from opposite sides of politics, they praised one another, agreed with one another and were just down-right friendly and nice.

How refreshing … let’s have more of it! It gave me faith that politicians may have some heart after all.

By the way, The Black Stallion is a 1979 American film based on the 1941 classic children’s novel The Black Stallion by Walter Farley.

I think I will have to watch the DVD of this movie to see why Rob Oakeshot did so much crying over it! Has anyone seen it and is it worthwhile?

#2 Wisdom from the Book Club

Today was the monthly meeting of our Book Club which is held at the local library. There was a deep and meaningful discussion going around the table concerning the book of the month called The Blind Man’s Garden. Some liked it others loathed it but the question was, “Who, according to this book,  ruled the world?”


Dogs Rule the World

As some of us sat and listened a low voice was heard from across the table and the ladies beside her laughed. I asked her to tell us what was so funny when she shared this piece of wisdom in her German accent which seemed to add to the drama of it, “Well actually, I was just saying that it is really DOGS that rule the world!”

Immediately the tension was broken. Deep and meaningfuls were forgotten as everyone roared with laughter. Yes indeed … for those who love dogs it IS true: DOGS RULE THE WORLD! However, if you live in my house my husband would say: No … CATS rule the world!  ‘Nough said.

#3 “The Antidote: Happiness for People who can’t stand Positive Thinking”

Now, what do you think of the title of this book (above) which I came across on the radio last week? My ears pricked immediately and I tuned in later to listen to the interview with the author Oliver Burkeman as he discussed his book. A succinct summing up of it said: “Success through failure, calm through embracing anxiety—a totally original approach to self-help.” Sounds interesting eh?

Oliver is an Englishman who lives in the US and writes a column for The Guardian called This Column Will Change Your Life. However, when I listened to Oliver talking on the radio, he approached this topic in a humorous way and I liked that. He told how coming to terms with and accepting our broken world is not easy but accepting the reality of life harnesses the power of negativity and makes us stronger. In fact, he had put this into practice in his own life in this way:

If you are scared about being humiliated by public speaking as he was, it is best to seek out humiliation! Yes … put yourself into a position where you face humiliation. Therefore, Oliver went to the underground got on and announced the name of each station out loud as he came to them. He felt stupid but he kept at it no matter how embarrassed he felt.

The response from other passengers surprised him. A couple of people looked up momentarily and then took no more notice. The humiliation was not half as embarrassing as he thought it would be and it left him feeling upbeat and good about himself. If he had tried to put a positive spin on it, he would have been far more stressed. The moral was: chasing feelings of security leads us to feel insecure! Accept the inevitable.

I love to hear directly from authors about their books as they are able to tell you details you would not get anywhere else. I’ve now got the book from the Library to read. More on this later.

#4 The Circus Comes To Town

Last week when I was driving past our large shopping complex I saw that a great big circus tent was being erected in the outer grounds of the shopping centre. “Oh goodie! A circus!” was my very first reaction.

Not sure why but I think like this every time I see one of those big circus tents. It never fails to give me a thrill. Why is this so you might ask? Perhaps I spent my childhood going to a circus every year? Well no actually I did not; I never once went to a circus as a child! However, this doesn’t mean that I didn’t want to go, it simply meant that with six children in the family my parents said they could never afford for us to go.

I took this photo of the circus on the way home from Book Club today.

I took this photo of the circus on the way home from Book Club today.

You see, there was always a circus every year (complete with all the animals) near my grandmother’s house and as we drove by after our Sunday visit, we would see the big circus tent and all the animals tethered alongside. In order to appease us, my father paid tuppence a couple of times for us to look at the animals. Oh, the thrill of it! Elephants! Lions! Tigers! Ponies! I loved them all.

Fast forward to 2005.  I still had never been under the Big Top at a Circus when the unthinkable happened. Geoff and I were travelling around Queensland when on the spur of the moment we decided to make the long drive to a little town far far out west called Cunnamulla. Not long after arriving we noticed a circus tent going up nearby. I got so excited and said to Geoff, “Oh, we HAVE to go to the Circus!”

And so we went. They had all the animals and I was as excited as any eight year old who was attending her first circus, only I was a tad older. However, I made the mistake of taking a photo of the lion performing when a message came over saying that the person taking the photos would be thrown out of the circus if they continued! Talk about embarrassing (and I wasn’t even seeking out humiliation!) Sheepishly I put my camera away and watched the circus.

It was a memorable night and I have never forgotten that wonderful experience dear friends. Afterwards I bought a poster from the Starlight Circus which I framed. I wrote on it, My First Circus August 2005. I have never been to another circus since. Perhaps I would be too disappointed?

My neighbour told me today that there are no animals at Webers Circus. Don’t think I’ll be attending it any time soon … just love ANIMALS at the Circus. Too many good memories of visiting the animals even if I never did go inside the Big Top!