quotes

Being Dennis (the Menace)

 

Dennis the menace

Who knows who this is?

If you were (or still are) an avid reader of  'The Beano' comic you might recognise him?

It's Dennis the Menace!

The mischievous little boy with, it has to be said, a bit of an evil streak. He gets up to all sorts and unlike many anti-heroes, he doesn't really get any better as time goes on. He is just Dennis.

Why am I remembering him today?

Well, it was on March 12th 1951 in the UK that the long running children's comic first featured the little boy with the devilish grin and the catapult. The comic came out a week later on March 17th ... but it was today that history began. Well,  Dennis the Menace history anyway.

I loved the Beano, and other comics actually, not just for the jokes but also for the cartoons - not just Dennis, but also 'The Bash Street Kids', 'Minnie the Minx' and 'Billy Whizz', with the fantastic quiff of hair.

And the great thing is that The Beano is still entertaining kids today. Published by DC Thomson in Dundee in Scotland, the comic first appeared on 30 July 1938 - it's now more than 80 years old but Dennis is still Dennis. Sort of.

His name of his cartoon strip has changed a bit over the years ... 'Dennis the Menace' to 'Dennis the Menace and Gnasher' (his dastardly dog) and now to 'Dennis and Gnasher'. By the way, did you know that Gnasher apparently is an 'Abyssinian wire-haired tripe hound' ? No, me neither. You learn something new every day.

The idea of an archetypal naughty schoolboy who gets into all sorts of trouble and causes mayhem especially for the adults around him is, of course, a winner for a comic strip. It's what all kids want to do but mostly feel they can't - right? It's escapism, pure and simple.

Down the years, there have been TV shows and films about Dennis, but you might have noticed that usually the little lad is not the dark haired broody chap we know here in Great Britain, but an angelic looking blond kid, who is nevertheless as mischievous as our Dennis.

Dennis usaWell that's because in the USA, Dennis IS an angelic looking blond kid!

He ALSO appeared for the first time on March 12th 1951, in newspapers across the USA. Originally the comic strip was distributed by a company called Post-Hall Syndicate and today it's distributed to at least 1,000 newspapers in 48 countries and translated into 19 languages by King Features Syndicate. It's why the cartoons and TV shows and movies generally feature the little blond version of Dennis.

But weirdly, although Dennis the Menace appeared for the first time on exactly the same day on both sides of the Atlantic, there was and is NO connection.

How spooky is that?

It seems that creative people on both sides of 'The Pond' were having almost identical ideas about creating a boy character with mischief on his mind, at the same time! Plus, the name apparently was independently conceived based on different personal experiences. Ok, so the word 'Dennis' lends itself to rhyming with 'Menace' but I still think it's a bit freaky that different cartoonists came up with the same concept independently. 

That aside, on this auspicious Dennis the Menace Day, I wanted to leave you with a quote from the boy himself.

I've no idea which version of the Menace this is attributed to or whether I need to say it in an English or an American accent, but when I looked online for 'Dennis the Menace Quotes' THIS is what popped up.

And I love it. 

A little while back I blogged about just being yourself and not being forced into anyone else's mould. and this quote in the same vein. 

Dennis is just Dennis, in the UK and in the USA (and around the world now). He's just Dennis, even though that's a bit naughty, disruptive and hilarious. And he works hard at remaining Dennis and not becoming someone else, despite the pressure - in his case, to conform and behave.

So this Friday ... I don't know about you, but I'm going to think about being the best ME that I can be!

 

Dennis the menace quote

 


Start Dreaming

It's the weekend and I have just one thought for you today as we maybe get a chance to step off the hamster wheel of life.

Have a great day!

Saturday dreams


Dear Monday

Ok ... so ... it's Monday again!

Start of another working week ... and it's easy to be a bit down about it all, if you're not careful.

But I've been looking for something to balance off the potential negativity with a more positive outlook and I found this inspiring quote.

Sorry, I couldn't find out who wrote it originally ... but whoever you are, you're a genius!

Have a great week everyone!
Dear monday


Life is like a book

Just thinking today about how easy it is to go through life never taking any chances or stepping outside of our 'comfort zone'. 

Just wondering ...

What might I be missing?

 

Life is like a book


An Irish Blessing for St Patrick's Day

Today - March 17th - is St Patrick's Day.

It's the day that Ireland and Irish people or those of Irish descent across the world celebrate - well, BEING Irish - and one of their most important patron saints. In 'normal times' much partying is done , much Guinness is drunk and shamrocks are worn, but importantly it's a day when many people go to church to remember St Patrick and give thanks for him, because it is, first and foremost, a spiritual/holy day.

Don't worry, I'm not going to start a whole essay about St Patrick. That would take far too long because it's a very complicated story, with many twists and turns, legends and stories of miracles.

Just some highlights.

Patrick wasn't Irish but was born in Roman Britain. When he was about 16 he was captured by Irish pirates and taken as a slave to the island of Ireland, where he mostly looked after animals for about six years. It's while he was looking after those sheep that it's believed he 'found God'. He escaped and managed to get home to his family where he studied Christianity and eventually became a priest. Later he returned to the place where he had been imprisoned to spread the Christian message to the Irish, who mostly practised a form of paganism ... the ancient Celtic religion.

And if you're wondering why the shamrock, or the three leaf clover, is a symbol of Ireland on this day in particular, it's because Patrick is said to have used the little plant with the three leaves to explain the Christian Holy Trinity - God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit - to those he was hoping to convert.

Patrick didn't have it easy. Standing up to the local warlords, often apparently getting beaten up, sometimes being imprisoned and threatened with execution. But he continued his mission and although there is evidence of a Christian presence in Ireland before Patrick, he is generally considered as the founder of the faith there. He became a bishop and is known as the 'Apostle of Ireland',  and his feast day is marked on March 17th, the day it's thought he died.

But we can't be exactly sure. There's lots of mystery surrounding Patrick, even question marks over when he lived. It's generally believed that he was a missionary in Ireland during the fifth century, and by the seventh century, he had become revered as the patron saint of Ireland.

So today, to mark the day and to celebrate the man who was St Patrick and the legacy of faith he brought to Ireland, I leave you with one of my favourite Irish Blessings.

 

Irish blessing road
*Oh and if you're wondering, the 'road' in this picture is La Grande Route de St Ouen in Jersey.

 


The Bare Necessities

One of my jobs at BBC Radio Jersey is to co-ordinate and produce what we call the 'Morning Thought'.

It's broadcast at around 0640 every morning ... so it is a bit early for a lot of people ... but it is surprisingly popular, as anyone who has contributed to it may tell you. Many a vicar, church minister or leader or individual who's done a recording have told me that after their 'morning thoughts' have been transmitted they will get people saying 'heard you on the radio!'

Each 'thought' is only about two minutes in duration and it's just an uplifting thought to help ease people into the day. It's sometimes spiritual but not always. We feature people of different faiths, and topics like fair trade and peace, and charities who are maybe marking a significant anniversary or a special week. 

The contributors usually record in advance (rather than getting up at the crack of dawn) and since the start of the coronavirus lockdown, when the Radio Jersey studios have been closed, they've been unable to come in to record. But they've been wonderful because they've all learned to record at home on their phones and tech devices, and email the audio to me, after which I'm able to edit and make it ready for the Breakfast Show.

Why am I telling you this?

Well it's because on Monday this week, our morning thought was about the importance of friendship. And our contributor, a great guy called Graeme who leads a church in Jersey, started with one of my favourites songs from my childhood.

Back in the early 1970s I was at boarding school in Kenya. It was one of those schools that had 'houses', Everyone was in a 'house' and there was a system of rewards and punishment for good stuff, or bad things, we did. Points added to the house tally if you did something amazing, points deducted if you stepped out of line. So what you did wasn't just for YOUR own glory, but for the general benefit of the whole house. And if you stuffed up then it wasn't only YOU who suffered but all the other kids in your house. It helped to bond us together, and made us realise the need for corporate responsibility. Oh and of course, it helped to encourage us all to behave ourselves and it kept us all in line. 

If you know the Harry Potter books, you'll know all about this. 'Ten points to Gryffindor for...' or 'Twenty points taken away for...' 

At the end of the year at one particular school I attended, the house with the winning number of points got a treat ... a chance to see a movie!

I'm sure you get where I'm going with this now. One year my house won the house cup and we all sat down one afternoon to watch 'The Jungle Book' ... the animated movie which had been released just a few years earlier, in 1967. And yes, I really AM that old!

I loved it! I've seen it numerous times since that hot afternoon in the school hall, with black out curtains keeping the sunshine out, and I never tire of it. The tale of Mowgli, the little boy brought up in the wild with his band of animal friends. Based on the fabulous collection of stories by Rudyard Kipling, one of my favourite authors and poets!

As I said, for his Monday 'morning thought' for BBC Radio Jersey, our Graeme was thinking about friendship and he took as an example those friendships in 'The Jungle Book'.

And at the start of the piece he actually broke into song and gave us a little rendition of one of the most popular songs from the film - 'The Bare Necessities'.

It's a great tune with fantastic words. and it's sung by the big bear Baloo and Mowgli 

Look for the bare necessities
The simple bare necessities
Forget about your worries and your strife
I mean the bare necessities
That's why a bear can rest at ease
With just the bare necessities of life

It's hard to 'forget about your worries and your strife' I know, but actually there's something in this song about just trying to keep life simple.

But the real reason I'm talking about this is because ever since I heard Graeme singing that song on the recording emailed to me, it's been going around in my head, like an earworm. Now, don't get me wrong, it's not a bad song to have constantly in my brain, but I figure if I share it with you here then I might get it out of my system.

Or maybe not.

 

PS - if it's now in YOUR head, sorry. But hope you enjoyed it!


A Kind Word

Spring is a time when we all feel a bit more optimistic.

Well, it is for me anyway.

It's a time when I feel like anything is possible. The days are lighter, and so is my spirit.

But you know, we don't have to wait for a season to come around to have this feeling, and if we care about the people around us we can also help them have optimism and self belief every day of the year.

That's what this old Russian proverb is all about.

We all know that if someone says something mean, or snarky to us, or if we are constantly criticised, it can make us feel pretty awful. But receiving a kind word, a compliment or a positive affirmation can have the opposite effect.

How does it feel for you when someone says something kind to you, especially unexpectedly? It makes you feeling amazing, like that springtime feeling in your heart. Right?

So, today, how about finding a kind word to say? To brighten another person's day?

Maybe pay someone a compliment, congratulate them for something they've done, find something positive to say.

You could be part of creating that Springtime feeling in their spirit.

And, while you are dishing out the kindness, I'm pretty sure it will make your day brighter as well!

Spring russian proverb


I Wish You .....

At the start of the working week ... I wish you all this and more...

I wish

*thanks to Robert A Ward for these amazing thoughts!


Taking a few minutes

Well what a week it's been!

If you've been reading this blog recently, you'll know that yesterday was a pretty significant day for me. I left my job at the BBC.

I've been working there, this time around, for nearly seven years. Presenting on radio, producing radio programmes and features, connecting with the community that is my home island of Jersey, as Communities Journalist at the local radio station, BBC Radio Jersey.

But now it's time for a new adventure. Not sure what that is yet, because the decision to leave (not to renew my work contract) came really quickly in the end.

But in the past I've made a pretty decent living as a freelance author, broadcaster, PR and communications, trainer, ghost writer, features writer and much more, so for now I'm going back to that 'portfolio' lifestyle.

I'm taking a deep breath and heading into the future.

The whole week has been extraordinarily busy, with all the things I needed to do to 'tie up' my workload and hand over to others. Yesterday was quite emotional as I said 'goodbye' to colleagues and friends.

To be honest, I'm exhausted. And I've not much more to say.

So, for today, I'm just going to take this excellent piece of advice


Be thankful


 

 

 

 


First Step

Today I'm feeling rather wrung out. 

After an emotional week, saying goodbye to a full time job, and friends and colleagues,  moving into a new adventure, not really knowing what that adventure will hold, it's suddenly hit me like a sledgehammer on the top of my head!

After a few weeks of changing circumstances at work which left me in turmoil and having to quickly make life-altering decisions, the pressure to reach a conclusion was immense. But it needed to be done. 

And once the decision was made, I was determined to focus on all the work that I needed to complete, all the handovers, all the goodbyes not just to colleagues but to the hundreds of people I worked with closely as a Communities Journalist on a BBC local radio station. I had to deal with disappointment and shock from some, and there was much explaining to do. But I was overwhelmed by the encouragement and support in my ultimate decision from friends, family and acquaintances across the world. 

All the emails and telephone conversations. So many hours sat at the computer, into the early hours. 

And then - suddenly - it's over. All is quiet. No more rushing around. In my case, no demands for Zoom meetings, no projects to produce and edit for broadcast. No people to call. Nothing to plan for radio programmes for the future. Just ... nothing!

It hits you. There's nothing!

Yesterday - the start of a working week with no full time work - I was in a daze, and today I'm exhausted.

Sometimes life and change is like that, isn't it? You somehow manage to crash on day-to-day despite the mayhem that might be all around. You hardly have time to breathe with all the 'busyness' of what is happening, you don't have a moment to really take in the significance of what is actually going on. 

And then - suddenly - it's over.

Today is one of those days for me.

It's Holy Week - the week running up to Easter - so I'm trying to take time out just to rest and reflect on all that means in terms of my faith, and my life, and how that shapes who I am and my future.

But so much has happened in the past few weeks that has meant so much change, so quickly. I can't muster the energy right now to make any plans, and I'm trying not to get my head in a spin about what will come.  As a person of faith, I'm praying about the future, but at the moment not asking for anything, just trusting for guidance in the future.

The journey into the new adventure has not yet started. But it will. Once I am rested in my body and mind and spirit. It will.

Then I came across this quote which says it all for me today.

It's encouraged me to believe that once I'm ready to take the first step into the new adventure ... I will have the faith, and courage and the energy to place my foot on the first step of that new staircase in my life.

 

 

Faith staircase