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Change – Is It Any Good?

Change – Is It Any Good?


We English have never been much for tears and we certainly like our history, the way life has always been – just look at our good old pound note – we’d rather have that than the Euro any day of the week. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t willing to change now and then.

I think we’re hardened up as kids. We were taught we had to be strong and not show weakness.. be leaders of the world!

When I was very young, growing up in Reading, England, my mother read nursery rhymes at bedtime to me and my brother. Here are some and you wonder why we became as strong as we were…

Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet eating her curds and whey, when down came a spider, sat down beside her and frightened Miss Muffet away.

Oranges and Lemons, the Bells of St. Clements. You owe me five farthings say the bells of St. Martins….Here comes a candle to light you to bed, here comes a chopper to chop off your head. Chip, chop, chip, chop. The last man is dead.

Ring-a-ring a rosey, pocket full of posey, attishoo, attishoo, we all fall down (not too bad except they were talking of dying from the plague)

Nothing like a good story to make you have a good night’s sleep!

As children, we never told our parents or siblings that we loved them and it’s probably because we were made to kiss our auntie goodbye when she was smothered in red lipstick, yuck!

Hardly any tears, but all of that changed when our Princess Diana died and we English became a sobbing, hysterical, soppy lot. We bought flowers like no one’s business and on the day of the funeral I could hardly talk.. I just watched TV all day long. And once I saw the little white posy on her coffin with the note “Mummy” on it.. well, it was game over – the end of the stiff upper lip and the start of the quivering bottom lip.

It felt refreshing in a way – to be able to cry, although I do still have trouble with it and try to hold it in but a change is as good as a rest and now I sometimes shed a tear or two.

Have you ever had to change, even though you didn’t want to?

My mother immigrated to Canada with her family in 1927, when she was 6. There’s a photo of her with this blog, she’s the little one on the left of the life ring. Those were the days when you had to get used to change.. when it was a case of survival. She eventually went back to England after she met my father during World War II. I decided to immigrate to Canada when I was 20 because jobs were scarce under the Thatcher government.

I stayed with my auntie and uncle in Calgary and the first time I walked from their house to the bus stop, someone passed me and said “hi, how are you today?” I did a double-take. I didn’t even know that geezer, I figured he’d mistaken me for someone else. But before too long a lady passed me and said “hi” too. It made me feel on edge.
Soon I realized everyone in Calgary must be awfully polite and I thought “ooh they must have had a very good upbringing”.

I went to the shops and the lady at the cash register said “Have a nice day!” Now that was a bit much, what did she care if I had a nice day? I looked at her and just said “thanks”.

I started working at an office as a receptionist. It seemed every second caller said “I just love your accent”. It was then I tried to speak Canadian instead of English just to get people off the phone faster and stop messing around. People told me not to lose my English accent, which was pretty much impossible, but I told them I had to change a few words or I’d be there all day! I was just trying to think how to get things moving along, I had to use my head… As I said, have you ever changed even though you didn’t really want to?

Before you know it, I started saying “have a nice day” and “You too” when I went through the cash register – cheered her up a bit, I think, and it didn’t really hurt, did it?

One thing I swore I would never do though is to use the word “garbage”. That word seemed just wrong, “rubbish” described what it was. Fast forward ten years and sure enough, I was using the words “Garbage” and “Sure Enough”. You just can’t help changing sometimes.. there’s no use struggling. You have to adjust.

You just have to be willing to change to keep things running smoothly and because sometimes you need something new – just like Prince William eventually taking over from the Queen (apologies to Charles and Camilla but you did break Diana’s heart). What harm does it do? As long as you don’t get walked all over in the process.
In fact, I would say that now 80% of me likes an occasional teary-eyed moment and 20% prefers the old “keep the home fires burning” mentality.

Isn’t that the way we get better? Learning the new and still passing on our old stories? I’ll happily make coffee for friends and sit down with my nice cup of Tetley’s tea.

In a way, I like Americans, they’re not afraid of change and they have a land absolutely full of immigrants, in fact they seem to be changing their leaders all the time.

Change doesn’t mean we forget the past, we have to look at new ideas and we need to remember our history too, how we got to this place, this is the way it used to be done and we made the best of it but tell me about your idea and I’ll take a look. Let’s face it, we Brits have moved forward in some areas too, we have court trials and don’t burn witches at the stake.

Life flows along like the River Thames and sometimes you have to swim along or you just tread water – and how far ahead does that get you?

If you remember your heart and use your brains to get people used to change then everything should work out pretty well, right?

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