Wednesday Hodgepodge

A Leafy Hodgepodge

Welcome to October and the Wednesday Hodgepodge! Everyone is welcome to play along today. Answer the questions on your own blog, then add your link at the end of Joyce’s post so we can all come say hello.

1. Are the leaves turning colour where you live? Have they begun to fall? Will you have to rake when it’s all said and done? Is that a chore you love or loathe?

falling leaves portraitThe leaves most certainly are starting to change colour here and I love it! This is my favourite time of the year, and one of the reasons I love it so much is the glorious colour in the trees as they change. I am so lucky that the area I live in is so rich in the variety and number of trees and at this time of the year, Blackley looks so beautiful. I won’t have to rake any out of my garden because the tree that used to grow in my next door neighbour’s garden was a pine tree and it was cut down last winter. I don’t miss the pine needles dropping everywhere and clogging up my drains! I wouldn’t mind raking up proper autumnal leaves if we had them. I love the sound of them rustling, and I am transported to my happy place when I get a noseful of the smell.

2. When did you last shake like a leaf?

I led a teaching spot at Messy Church at our church the weekend before last, and it was my first time delivering anything like that in front of people who are not necessarily church types. The subject was Harvest and the emphasis was on sharing, which is quite a concept to get over at the top of your voice in a boisterous environment that we enjoy at Messy Church. I was nervous to begin with and I admit that I was shaking like a leaf before I opened my mouth for the first bit. Breaking the ice was difficult but once that was over, the shakes disappeared and I loved every minute of it.

3. After 20 seasons with the NY Yankees, Derek Jeterplayed his last official game Sunday afternoon.  Jeter has been described even by opponents as a class act, both on and off the field. The NFL is back in action this month too, with several players in that sport also making headlines. What are your thoughts on athletes as role models? Should a professional athlete be expected to act as role model or is that going beyond their job description? What responsibility do the organisations these athletes work for have when it comes to dealing with off the field behaviour? Discuss.

We have an ongoing debate here in the UK about role models in football (or soccer as you know it in the US). Our footballing “stars” are too often paid astronomical amounts of money for performing their sport, and out of necessity, they tend to be very young when they enjoy the peak of their performance. Their youth coupled with the disposable cash they have can lead to all sorts of unwise decisions being made off the field – fast cars, night clubs, lads holidays abroad, excessive tattoos etc – and because of the popularity of football, these athletes find themselves the centre of media attention sometimes for the wrong reasons.

The question is whether or not they should be held up as role models and my opinion is that they have some responsibility to hold themselves accountable for their actions precisely because they have such a following from impressionable young people as their fans. Also, I feel that anyone who represents our country at sports, whether it is football or swimming, or para-cycling or triathlon or whatever SHOULD be held up as role models for others to follow their example. If you represent your country, you will naturally be held as a role model, and it is your responsibility to make sure that you project as positive an image as possible.

Unfortunately, for every Gary Linekar we have, there are sadly three or four Louis Suarez’s out there. (For those who don’t know, Gary Linekar was one of our most successful footballers of the 1980s and 90s, never racking up any yellow or red cards in football and never being booked for fouling a player throughout his career. He was captain of England for many years and now hosts Match of the Day on a Saturday. As many will know, Louis Suarez is “famous” more for his biting incidents on the pitch than his skill as a goal-scorer).

We are lucky in the UK that we have sports stars such as Jessica Ennis-Hill, Tom Daley, Ellie Simmonds, Chris Hoy, Steve Redgrave, Kelly Holmes and so on who do project a good image and who do stand as positive role models to our young people. Sadly, their earnings from their sports are not a patch on the salaries professional footballers earn. Maybe there is something in the fact that the more an athlete gets paid the less likely they are to be a good role model. I’ll come back to that thought another time.

4. What season of the year is toughest for you in terms of your health? Why?

Summer. Urgh! I loathe being hot, and summer sunshine is so intense it hurts my eyes. Give me Autumn any day please.

5. The top six healthy food trends of 2014 according to Eating Well are:

clean eating (more veg, less meat, less sodium, limit alcohol and processed foods), trash fish(you know those fish that are caught in fishermen nets and thrown back? It seems chefs are finding creative ways to make them more appetizing), cauliflower (the new IT vegetable), kaniwa-(essentially baby quinoa, so like quinoa only smaller), fermentation (think pickling only with twists on flavour we’re not accustomed to), community supported farming-(farms operating with community support/membership)

Okay-so how many of the healthy food trends for 2014 have you experienced, encountered enjoyed? Any you’ve tried and said ewwww? Any on the list you’d like to try before year’s end?

Our food budget is severely compromised at the minute so faddy eating is a non-starter for us. However, it does have its compensations because fresh fruit and vegetables and unprocessed meat are much cheaper than ready meals and our alcohol intake has been naturally cut out by nature of the fact that we can’t afford it.

I’ve never heard the term “trash fish” before, but I think we already do that in the UK. It helps the fact that we are an island nation and we are surrounded by fish though!

I love cauliflower and it worries me that it is now being described as the new IT vegetable…does this mean that one of our most basic staples is now going to go up in price because it is now a trendy “must-have”??

6. In seven words or less, bid September adieu.

Thank you September. You’ve been gorgeous.

7. What’s something on your October calendar that makes you happy just thinking about it?

It might sound odd, but I always love the October weekend when the clocks go back. I love the change in atmosphere and change of pace it brings.

8. Random thought for today:

I heard a great quote this morning which sums up just how I feel about my family:



family unbold


3 thoughts on “A Leafy Hodgepodge”

  1. What is messy church? Sounds intriguing! Pro athletes are so often young which is why I think the ‘adults’ running the club need to provide a little guidance. I guess it’s a tricky line to walk but they are employees of an organization and surely that organization wants to be well represented.


    1. Messy Church is FANTASTIC! Basically it’s an expression of church for people who don’t want to “go to church on a Sunday”. The focus is on families, and we do various craft activities to back up the teaching, and we sing lots of songs. We always finish by sharing a meal together and the whole thing is noisy, boisterous, fun, messy and exhilerating 🙂


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