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My Guiding Star

Ten years ago at during Christmas week, instead of being smothered by a compromised, resented loss of freedom and all the hot air that goes with it, we were under a blanket of snow – the worst for years and the country just about ground to a halt. Hubby and I were going to Australia to see the Melbourne and Sydney Ashes Tests… we hoped.

But with a bit of glass half full, help and heart a good friend’s cabbie husband got us through the snow drift to Heathrow on 23rd. We were asked if we were prepared to give up our flights to those stranded on arrival which we felt guilty about declining but had spent hundreds on this. We boarded the plane which had two attempts to take off on the frozen runway and the Munich air crash flashed through my mind as it had started snowing again. But we took off through miles of grey sky up through the clouds to the brightest sun I’d ever seen. Had not seen the great yellow Mr Happy for months. I felt that plane had been touched by the Almighty himself because within a few hours we had escaped the white blanket over Europe and were over the Indian Ocean.

On arrival in Melbourne on Christmas Eve, we wearily traipsed off the plane in winter coats and worn Karrimor walking shoes and thick socks dragging our suitcase trollies. I wanted to give the lovely, smiley official checking the passports a massive hug when she said ‘Welcome to Australia, have a wonderful time’.

It was a tall order, we reflected with realism in the company of our legion of Barmy Army Aficionados at our joyous Christmas Dinner at a Melbourne Hotel on the Eve of the Boxing Day Test. England had won the Ashes the previous year at home, but it had been over 20 years since they had done so in cricket fortress Australia.

Similarly on private reflection, some aspirations for me about to turn 40 were also almost pipe dreams. Changing career, having my own counselling practice and most painfully would I ever be a mother. But here we were in Australia which I never thought I’d ever visit.

Not only did Andrew Strauss and the lads retain the Ashes, they did it in style through a combination of self belief, sacrifice, positive thinking, consistency, teamwork, talent, sheer relentless hard work and probably a few prayers. Same as the lads in 1971 when I was a baby.

For me in 10 years I’ve changed career twice, qualified as a counsellor and now have my own practice on top of a full time job. I also became a mother. And it all started when I looked above the parapet and said a prayer on top of the clouds in that guiding star of a sun on that plane all those years ago.

A Merry Christmas to all my many lovely clients past and present and remember all the broadsides these islands and their people have endured over the centuries and come through fighting often in spite of those who think they’re in charge….


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