Friday, 18 December 2009


First I want to apologise for my lack of blogging (and commenting).....I just seem to be running about like a headless chicken at the moment!! So, updates....

Well, the interviews went so much better than I had been expecting (I am happy to report that I didn't turn into a blubbering wreck.....although I did have to employ the tactics suggested by the lovely Queenie a couple of times!!). I have now conducted six interviews and I have been completely humbled by the honesty, bravery and humour of the people I have met. (Honestly, with some of the issues they have had to face, I have no idea how they have managed to retain any kind of humour at all!!). They have all made me feel really welcome in their homes and every single one of them has told me how much they appreciate being given the opportunity to talk about their experiences. The stats for the report are coming together and I've managed to identify quite a lot of areas for improvement......some harder to change than others. The good news is there are two or three things that can be changed immediately which will have a big impact so hopefully things will start to improve quite quickly. Queenie suggested that a good way of showing my appreciation for their time was to offer some of mine in return which I thought was a great idea. So I am now going to go and keep one gentleman company for an hour so that his wife can go and get her hair done, I am producing a document that gives step by step instructions on how to access the internet and e-mail for another gentleman and I am going to visit one of the ladies for coffee and a chat in the New Year.

It's not been all work and no play.....Malmesbury held it's annual late opening evening a couple of weeks ago which was just fab!! The main street was closed to traffic and they had set up stalls all along the pavement where you could buy raffle tickets, hot crepes and various Christmas presents. All the shops were open, there was free soup and rolls provided by one of the hotels, you could get free wine and sausage rolls at the bank and the vets were doing free mulled wine. They even had a foam machine set up at the top of the street so that it looked like it was was lovely.

Then last weekend we got a visit from the lovely Susan (that's her and her hubby in the photo) who we've not seen since we left Bangkok. Actually, we've not seen Susan for about 18 months (She moved from Thailand to India and then stayed with us when she came back to Thailand for a holiday) and it was lovely to catch up with her. She arrived Saturday afternoon and headed off again Sunday afternoon after we had had a gorgeous Sunday Roast in the Smoking Dog. The only down side was that all of us had the lurgy in some form or another so it was a bit of a sedate evening.....mind you....we still managed to have some champers so it wasn't all bad!!


JJ Beattie said...

I'm so glad that the research is working out well. Brilliant.

And I saw on FB that Susan was in the UK. *Waves* Just think of the pain you saved your livers!

LadyFi said...

Your research and commitment to the people you are interviewing inspires me no end!

DJ Kirkby said...

Carol. You're such a special person. It makes my heart glad to know you. You giving your time back to those people. Such a simple idea and one which we should all do.

Mark said...

Well done - I've been off blogging too after my marathon in November. Have a good Christmas.


Queenie said...

Carol, it sounds as if you are doing brilliantly and well into the swing of the interviewing. It amazes me over and over again that such a simple act as bothering to take the time to listen, really listen, to someone's story, can be so very powerful. Your Malmesbury late opening night sounds fab, much better than ours which is all burgers and hot dogs and fairground rides and no free anything!

Carol said...

JJ - I sent a very rough draft to my lecturer just to check that I wasn't going off on a complete tangent and he said that he thought it was very promising....I'm taking that as a good sign!!

It was lovely to see her but such a shame that we were all under the weather!

LadyFi - Awwww, that's a lovely thing to say. I'm lucky...I've found something that I'm really passionate about which makes the commitment not feel like one (if you know what I mean!)

DJ - I feel the same way about you honey!! (and to think we would never have met if it wasn't for our blogs!!).

I can't take credit for the idea...Queenie suggested it and I thought it was a wonderful idea so decided to do just that!!

Mark - Thank you :-). I'm not surprised that your having a break....a blog a day for a month is no easy task!!

I hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas and New Year!

Queenie - I know exactly what you mean. One couple thanked me and told me that it was the first time ever that someone had just sat and listened to what they had to say. It is amazing how powerful it is!!

It was lovely....we didn't expect free anything so it was a very pleasant surprise and there was such a lovely family atmosphere!!

C x

Debs said...

What a lovely way to show your appreciation to the people you interviewed, and so helpful to them

Sorry to hear you had the lurgy, but am glad it didn't ruin your evening with your friends too much.

Hullaballoo said...

Thank you for the update, you have been a busy bee. The Christmas late night opening sounds lovely, very like the German market we have here in Edinburgh.

sea-blue-sky & abstracts said...

Hi Carol, glad all is going well with the interviews and that you're also having fun in the run up to Christmas. Seasons Greetings, Lesley.

Pat Posner said...

Lovely post, Carol (apart from the lurgy bit - hope you're all better now).

Have a great Christmas

Amanda said...

What a lovely post, most inspiring, Carol. xx

cheshire wife said...

Malmesbury's late opening evening sounds great! Pleased to hear that the studies are progressing.

French Fancy said...

How did I miss a new post from you - here I come, two days late

I'm so glad the interviews went well and it must be so lovely for these people who have been let down by the system to have a chance to vent and know that something will come out of their bad experiences. You are so sweet to offer them your precious time - they are lucky to have been in your catchment area (is that the right phrase?

Carol said...

Debs - That was how I felt when Queenie made the suggestion!

Glad to say that the lurgy didn't last ages...a few lemsips and I was right as rain again!!

Hulla - It was lovely....the first time Chris and I had felt vaguely Christmassy (if you know what I mean). Hope the move back home went well!!

Sea Blue Sky - I'm glad the interviews are going well too!! By the end of the project I will have spoken to 12 people...should be able to get quite a lot of information :-)

Pat - Hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year too :-)

Amanda - I'm just relieved that it's all coming together...there were times...

Cheshire Wife - It was brill...and we both thought the free wine and stuff was a lovely's not often you get something for nothing!!

French Fancy - Oh don't you worry hon! I've missed loads of posts over the last few weeks!!

I was really surprised at the power those interviews have. Listening is such an easy thing to's amazing that it has so much impact isn't it!!

I have no idea if catchment area is the right phrase or not but I know what you mean :-D

C x

Lane said...

So glad your interviews went well. And offering them your time in return is wonderful.

I'm jealous of your shopping evening. Ours was nothing like that.

Carol said...

Lane - Giving my time in return just felt like the right thing to do!!

We didn't buy anything but the soup followed by a glass of wine and a mince pie went down very well!!

C x

Juniper said...

Glad to hear the interviews are going well and so kind and thoughtful of you to give back to those you interviewed. Lots of good karma on that one, and sounds like some interesting experiences ahead.

Your town sounds really lovely, we used to live in Winchester, up until moving to Malta and it was so nice at Christmas time, very quaint and picturesque. My aunt and uncle live near Salisbury and that was also such a pretty place at this time of year to visit.

Nice to hear as well that you have had visitors, always nice, even when under the weather (similar thing happened with us last weekend, all kids coughing and snotty) but what can you do?!
Happy Holidays
x J

Molly Potter said...

It is just so apparent that you are a beautiful person

Carol said...

Juniper - I've now finished them all....12 in total!! Now all I have to do is finish the report (I'm really hoping I get it done today and then all I'll need to do is the last minute tweaks and photo adding which is the fun bit)

We've driven through Winchester and it's stunning....I can imagine Christmas there will feel like a proper Christmas (If you know what I mean!). This will be our first cold on in three years...and we've snow *grins*

It just works out that way sometimes doesn't it...we still enjoyed ourselves which is the main thing.

Molly - What a wonderful compliment...I'm not sure I deserve it but thank you :-)

C x

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