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Your Business Is Your Story…Don’t let it stagnate!

Episode 1 – “I don’t know where to start!”

What is the Number One fear about speaking in public?

Actually, there is no number one fear. There’s a whole range of physical and psychological reasons why some people hate speaking in public. But who knows what the business and personal benefits could be from improving how you present yourself to a live audience or camera.

For example, have you been attracted to someone’s story before you were even sure what it was exactly what they did?

Speaking is your ‘audible’ business card. It is your verbal brand.

  • Having a story makes you Memorable, it helps you create a reputation.

People hate being sold to on a first meeting, so the first meeting shouldn’t be about selling…unless it’s selling yourself.

  • It creates Empathy and Loyalty.

I can almost guarantee that somewhere in your story is a point where the client thinks, “Yes! I’ve been there.” Or “That’s what’s happening to me now.”

  • It helps make you recognisable, as the best person to go to, for what you offer, ahead of your competitors.

There is more than just yourself offering the solutions people are looking for, but you have been open about your ups and downs on the way to where you are now. Do you think that might give you an edge?

  • It helps increase Know-Like and Trust better than most other forms of branding.

Banners, flyers, business cards, generally, they all carry one message no matter where you take them or who you show them to, correct? But, audiences are different, locations are different, so you need different messages. The best way to be different is to tell a slightly different story where ever you are. You can change which story you tell or change the way you tell it.

  • It can make you become even more professional.

Your story is your brand. You have told your story honestly. Now you need to live up to your story or the brand is ruined.

  • It can increase your business’s premium image, you can charge a premium price.

You tell your story for the first time and people are interested. They may buy into you. But when you deliver on the promises your story encapsulates you can increase your offers.

  • The longer-term impact of speaking will mean you have a higher budget for other marketing costs as it will be your reputation and your story that will be bringing you in your new business.

Unless you have a rich benefactor behind you from the start, you will need to grow a client base. In my experience, the surest way to grow an audience is to speak to people.
But everyone knows that to talk to clients on a 1-2-1 basis is costly in time and money. By your ability to talk to a group and persuade them to call you budget costs can be directed to other areas.

  • For your customers, there is a less perceived risk as you have a reputation for trustworthiness and openness.

Do you hear people say “Yes! You can trust them. Look at their banner.” Or “Yes! You can trust them, They do what they SAY.”

  • Overall you end up with an Improved image.

You have had problems speaking to a large audience for many years,  but, after some training, you stand up for the first time and deliver a presentation you have prepared, practised and performed confidently, how much more confident will your posture be next time? How much more energy will you be able to put into the presentation, next time? How much more impact will your speech have next time.?

  • You will be able to attract the best talent and the best investors with your story.    You are aiming to create a Unique Selling Promotion with your story – i.e. people will come to you instead of your competitors because they have heard your story.

Your personality will become your Attraction Point, so your business needs to have become a personality. Your business needs your story to be told. But…it needs to be told well. Next time we will explore how that can be achieved.
So, a good place to start any conversation at a group meeting is “Tell us all a little bit about yourself.”

How confident would you feel if you were asked that question?

Why Worry! You can’t worry about what can’t be changed, can you! Can you?


Ernie (SAID) Boxall

10 minutes read!

A paid gig. A garden centre in Brighton for 4 x 30 minutes of Christmas stories for families with children up to eight years of age. What an opportunity for some travel and meeting people and showcase storytelling. Train tickets purchased and the timetable worked out, I will arrive in Brighton about midnight and then look around the town for a place to eat. One of those open 24 hours, where I can lay my head down for an hour or so. What’s to worry about?

The Journey:

Let’s start outside my street where the bus stops to take me to the station. The 17.10 to Leamington. I arrived at 17.05 to sit with an elderly woman who had been there a while. We spoke a few words and then I glanced at my watch, 17.20.

At 17.40 we both figured that the company had simply withdrawn that bus and the next one was the 18.00. A long wait, but I had plenty of time before the 21.10 train to Birmingham for the first connection. At 18.00 the bus came, except it wasn’t the 18.00, it was the 17.10, nearly an hour late because of traffic. Still, no worries, I was on.

Twenty minutes later, the bus was in traffic jam again, under a mile from the station.

“You’d be best get off and walk,” the driver told both of us. I needed no second invitation. I picked up my rucksack, slung it over my back and set off, eventually walking through the station reception area, buying my tickets and sitting down to wait a few minutes for the connection. It arrived without too much wait.

New Street Station:

New Street Station: 20.30: Plenty of time to catch the 21.10 to Milton Keynes for stage three. Had a coffee and wandered down to the platform. There was a train in, going to Euston (I think) via Milton Keynes, but it was the one before mine so I thought I’d wait-better stick to the plan, right? Out went the train and just wait for mine.

“The 21.10 to Euston via Milton Keynes has been delayed after a passenger was hit on the rails,” I think those were the words, but I can’t be sure. What the delay was going to be though, no one seemed to have any idea.

“I’ve got to be in Milton Keynes by 10.30,” I told the man on the platform “do you have any idea when it will be?”

He didn’t know, but suggested I should have caught the train which had just left, that was going to Milton Keynes! Grrrrr.

Milton Keynes:

I arrived at Milton Keynes around midnight. Just a few minutes after the train to Clapham Junction had pulled out. Why was that significant? Yes! That was my next destination. This time the guard on the platform was really helpful.

He told me to forget my plans, go to Euston, change for the underground to Victoria and then to Three Bridges.

That was the last but one stop on my schedule before Brighton.

This part of the journey was easy, a doddle compared with what I had just put up with. The experience had been frustrating but nothing to worry about.

Three Bridges:

At last, one more stop before Brighton. One more train journey before I can lay my head down somewhere. But No!

The line between Three Bridges and Brighton is undergoing maintenance at the moment. There is now a coach laid on which takes over an hour. Just one more little dig in the ribs, one more turn of the screw. At least I would be able to sleep for a while and to be fair I did. Until! At last, Brighton Station.


We all, I think, climbed off the bus weary and worse for wear. I know I did. But that was OK because I had sussed out a 24-hour eatery on the seafront and it was just under a mile away. It was, however, 2.45 am, there weren’t too many people about to ask which way the seafront was, and the people who were around, weren’t really ‘around’ if you know what I mean. The aroma of marijuana was thick in the air, even though the number of people in the area could be counted on one hand.

I walked in one direction until I came to a shop and asked directions. I was on the right road.

“It’s a straight road until you reach the seafront and then turn left.”

I know what you’re thinking! Once again he’ll meet a gremlin, a spanner in the works. No! He was spot on, straight for about 1,000 yards and turn left. Only, when I turned left it seemed that every nightclub in Brighton had closed at the same time and poured its contents out onto the street, in various stages of inebriation and dress (or undress for the older readers). Every eating place from McDonald’s to the fish and chip shop was heaving with humanity, squealing, shouting, laughing. I needed Buddies Restaurant but I have to say I was a bit wary of asking anyone where it was. But, in the end, through trial and error, there is was. A bright restaurant, with lights blazing and outside tables. It was packed.

Buddies Restaurant:

Now, Buddies, I have since found out, is famous in Brighton. It certainly was on Saturday morning, but the staff found me a table for one and a menu of staple restaurant foods. I decided that the fish and chips, with garlic bread and a pot of tea, would probably last me the longest and thus mean the least time wandering the street. It worked. I was able to make the meal last from 4 am until just gone 5, and then sort of melted into the background until 6 am. The staff didn’t seem to care. They were still busy with people coming-or staggering in. (I have to praise the staff here. They were brilliant). The noise all night was deafening, many of the customers were in that state where they were either ‘jack the lad’ or ‘Sally the ladette’.

Through it, all the staff smiled took orders and served promptly. It did strike me later, that fish and chips at 4 am was a bit out of the ordinary.

The Last Leg?

Refreshed, food-wise anyway, I left the restaurant to make my way back to the station to catch a bus to the garden center. It was still only 6 am so I thought a stop off at another, quieter café would at least give me the chance to get my head down for an hour or two. I bought a coffee, found a quiet corner, set my alarm and put my head down. A sort of sleep came. I woke at around 8.30 am and leaving the untouched coffee went for my bus on the final part of the journey.”Wyevale Garden Centre please.”

“That bus doesn’t go from here, take the 7 into town and catch the 2!”

“OK, no problem. I had been told that morning that the bus to the garden centre left from outside the station, but no problem. “When’s the next bus to the centre?”

“20 minutes. It would be quicker to walk!”


So I walk back the way I’d come earlier that morning to catch the bus to the garden centre. It was, by now about 9.10 and I’d seen that the journey would take 20 minutes, which would be fine. Except, the only bus to the garden centre was ‘due’ in 18 minutes which was cutting it fine. The traffic in the town was snarled anyway and I had no idea whether that would increase the travel time.

Now I was worried…not frustrated or angry (too tired for that), worried that I would miss the stipulated 10 am arrive time and forfeit the contract.

Last resort, a taxi.

I arrived at the garden centre at 9.50 am, had the stand set up by 10 am and ready to go at 10.30 am.

Wyvale Garden Centre:

The rest of the day was smooth sailing. I told my stories, the children sat through (mainly) and the parents were happy with the event. I was home in two hours less than it took to get to Brighton and time to sleep.

Frustrated-At times

Angry-Not really

Worried-Only once.

Result: A story to tell. An invite to return in December. A life lesson learned. Plans are great until the first shot is fired, then just handle it. Nothing to worry about!

Location, Location, Location.

A Six-Figure Business Event with tickets on sale charged between 0 – £200 is worth visiting, isn’t it?

The location of your event is important, isn’t it?

You would have thought so, especially since my ticket was complimentary. The opportunity to mix with successful entrepreneurs in a top venue for 8 hours of business advice from people who have the same drive and goals as you do!

That’s what I thought anyway. How wrong I was.

Holding the event at a hotel in Birmingham, just 20 minutes work from the centre of England’s second city, added credibility to the advert.

I looked forward to a day of education and networking in comfortable surroundings in Digbeth, Birmingham. I arrived in the area and asked for directions.

“Yes, there it is,” the local man said pointing to an imposing red brick building with green-topped towers, not too far away. “Go down Cheapside and turn left, the hotel is there.” I thanked him and moved towards the street. Cheapside, that name didn’t exactly strike me as auspicious but that wasn’t uppermost in my mind, although the name did seem apt as I walked down it. At the corner, there were police lined up across the street, again not what I expected to see.

There was a pub on the other side of the road and it quickly became apparent why they were there.  The street filled with protesters from the Football Lads Alliance, and I had to wait until they moved off.

I approached the hotel door and saw an amazing site, four young people, perhaps twenty-something years old, sitting on the steps smoking. Their appearance wasn’t what I expected, but I carried on into the reception. Two ladies sat behind the counter with tattoos openly on view and rings in their noses.

I asked about the event and the room, one of the ladies turned to a tall man leaning on the desk “Show him to the room”. The man obliged and took me along a corridor to a small area with banners showing the event organisers and the promise of a six-figure business.

A man in his suit and shown into a side room with about 15 wooden chairs set out in rows and seven men and women attending. The signing in sheet showed that this was it, the full extent of the six-figure business system, the hotel location and the promise of business systems.

It is not where I would have held a two-hour workshop, it is a hotel I hope I will never have to set foot in again.

What’s the point of turning up?

Turn Up:

A charity event is a very hit or miss affair for all concerned with its organisation because of the numerous ways, from weather to the potential number of the public prepared to attend.

The 28th May 2017 was a case in point and one that has provided me with this blog post.  My decision to ‘Turn Up’ to one event which was cancelled and go to another one meant that from a day where potentially nothing was going to happen except sitting on my backside, turned into a day of proper enjoyment.

I was due to offer my shiatsu services at a charity event in Nuneaton and made an early start to arrive in time to set up and prepare. So early in fact that I missed the text message saying the organisers had been hit by illness and needed to cancel and re-arrange. So, when I arrived in Nuneaton to find the message and confirm that the organisers were OK apart from the bug that had hit them.

It left me with a decision to make. Do I return home and sit in all day on the computer working on the upcoming workshop? Do I have the Sunday off and chill or do I ride over to Tamworth and see if I can help with the event organised by the Buddy Bag Foundation. I’d seen posts about the day from Julie Scott of ‘Great Scott Marketing’ and since Tamworth held fond memories for me from my ‘soccer day’ I decided to make that the run. It is 19 miles from Leamington Spa to Nuneaton and 16 miles from Nuneaton to Tamworth, and I had prepared myself for a day’s session of shiatsu.

Happy memories for me from my ‘soccer days’ pushed me to work on a hunch that it would be worthwhile going to the Buddy Bag Foundation Day. I decided to make that the run. It is 19 miles from Leamington Spa to Nuneaton and 16 miles from Nuneaton to Tamworth, and I had prepared myself for a day’s session of shiatsu.

The forecast wasn’t great, clouds and some showers forecast but if that’s the case I know that organisers make contingency plans, so I took the decision, Tamworth it was. The road from Nuneaton to Tamworth is special to me because of my interest in Roman and Viking history, the A5 the Roman Road was less than a few miles up the road and a direct route through.
(Reminder of a story my Mother told me of the times they would catch a train to Tamworth for a dance and then, on the way home, buy bags of chips and give them to the engine driver to put on top of the boiler until they were back in Nuneaton).

The Moat House Tamworth is a 16th-century building now converted into a hotel, with grounds at the back and ideal for a family day out. As those who attended now know, it was a superb day of blue skies, hot sunshine, loads of families, beer, wine, ice cream and BBQ. It was the ideal setting for a charity event with an almost, captive audience. But it takes more than that to be a success, particularly when the day has been organised by people with outside jobs, families and the safety of the children to juggle. This was the standout part of the day. The set up of the gazeboes where weather conditions can be a hazard. The games and the raffle. The collection of donations and the general control of the areas around the location of the bouncy castle (always guaranteed to have a couple of youngsters coming off in tears). The guide ropes around the gazebos, the queue (always) for the face painting, the stocks and wet sponges and then a man on a scooter offering to do seated shiatsu massages which weren’t expected.

Fortunately, and is this the crux of the story, the decision to ‘turn up’ rather than go home, meant I was able to be introduced to new people, help push the money collected towards its goal and have a great time into the bargain. I followed a hunch.

A big thank you to Julie and the ladies connected with the day, their partners, the people who bought the raffle tickets and donated to the charity by sitting for 15 minutes shiatsu. I enjoyed the day, and I do know that well over £300 was raised on the day.

Do you make decisions to follow a hunch after a problem has hit your plans?

7/05/17.Nothing Happened To Me Today…except!

Nothing happened to me today…except I was on my way from home to Coventry station to catch the train to London at 05.50.

I had only been on the scooter two minutes when I saw the body of a badger in the middle of the road. Now, being a rider I always try to move road-kill out of the way of traffic that would crush the body flat. It’s a trait I’ve picked up since being a rider because I have the thought flash through my mind that I’d hope someone would move my body if they ever came across me lying prone.

The blood was still seeping from the badger’s mouth and rigour mortise had not set in so the incident could not have long happened. I carried the body onto the grass verge and laid it beneath a tree in peace. As I bent down my mobile phone fell out of my pocket onto the ground. I picked it up and put it back. I felt in one pocket and then the other because I wasn’t sure if my wallet may have fallen out as well. It wasn’t there, but it wasn’t on the ground either. I had left it at home.

Although I wish it had not been that way the badger saved me from arriving at the station without my tickets and with no cards to buy replacements.
So nothing much happened on the day…except.
Did very little happen to you and can you make a story out of it?
Let me know at; Join me at and on social media.

Nothing Happened To Me Today 20/04/17


Nothing happened to me today! 
Except…and I wish this had not happened. My alarm went off at 06.30 and woke me from a damn good dream. I switch on the radio which confirms the time with the 6.30 news headlines. Slightly disorientated I reached across and switched it off when the thought smashed through the fog ‘networking in Balsall Common.

This is a once a month event which sort of creeps up on you because of the time gap between meetings, but it is one worth turning up to. So I jump out of bed and get to the bathroom, wash and clean up while I practice my 60-seconds. Dress and at 7 am mount my trusty silver stead and motor off to Balsall Common some 15 minutes away. There’s a light drizzle but nothing to worry about.

Traffic at this time of the day is very light so in no time at all, I am outside the venue for the meeting, only I know straight away that something is wrong. The doors are closed and the lights are off. A little perplexed I wait for five minutes until I’m sure that the meeting must have been relocated and I’d missed the email.

I decided to phone one of the organisers because Balsall Common isn’t that big and the new venue won’t be far away. A slightly hazy voice answered the phone.
“Hi, it’s Ernie has the venue been changed?”                                                                                   “What venue?”
“For the meeting!”
“It’s every third FRIDAY!”

It was only Thursday! I was a day early and a numpty.
You see the worst of this ‘nothing happened today’ shocker is that something will happen tomorrow. Tomorrow is the third Friday of the month.

Now I’m sure this has happened to everyone. Hasn’t it? But when it did, did you think of tying it into a story about ‘organisation’ and checking your diary?

If you want to know more about turning days when ‘Nothing happens’ into content, catch up with me at or and let’s watch out for each other.

Continue reading

A Father’s Nightmare.

A Father’s nightmare.

A stalker’s dream. A young girls first night.
Last night.Bright night .Fright night                                                                                             Sitting. Waiting. A father’s disturbed mind

Standing. Waiting.
A stalker’s disturbed mind. All eyes searching.Scanning.                                                            The dress. The walk. The smile or laugh.The fateful sign.                                                                   The eyes turned down.                                                                                                                               The closing ale houses and open car park.                                                                                          The flashing neon lights and danger sign.

Dark night. Fight night.

Skydome. Thunderdome. Silver flash in cotton white.                                                         Drunken haze. Bloody goodnight.
Dark night. Tragic sight.                                                                                                                      Filthy hands around her throat. Stinking body in a woollen coat.

Dark night. Tragic sight.

Parents fears. Adult tears. A rag doll crumpled in a heap.                                                                  A child’s fall to a screaming sleep.

Coyote Posts with Ernie Boxall

The Holiday (Christmas 2015)
Jack and I shacked…up last night…a duvet for our bed
Jim and I were there as well
sharing the blanket, pillow and glass.
Sherry dropped in to lie with us..and soothe our furrowed brow
and Champagne popped her cork
a Christmas time from hell..
It didn’t happen in this world..a world of pain and crime
It didn’t happen in my world..I just thought I’d make a rhyme..

True Story

I’m much older now, but it has the advantage of finding joy in “simple things” Last night the wind howled past my window, treating me to a rhythm of gusts and silence that lulled me to sound sleep, one of the best nights sleep I’ve had in years. So perhaps there was a message in the wind from the South to allow myself the space, for now, to enjoy simple things

This evening it was a moment of absolute beauty. On the horizon the clouds were a frame of dark grey and rolling black against a perfect pink sky that melted into a pale blue.

It was the perfect background for a wafer thin moon as it’s brightest light. As I looked out of my window the trees were silhouetted against this canvas. Oaks and Beech trees were like black girders sticking straight up into the blue, rigid and cold. But a little closer two large Willows which, instead of muscular immobile branches had “wisps” which were dancing in the breeze, Their movement full of grace and elegance were balletic. it was a moment of real beauty. It was free and I am so blessed that I’m able to see these things now.

Stand awhile and watch..


Kibbutz Grofit stands atop a man-made hill top on the road between Ber Sheva and Eilat in the Negev Desert and in 1973 was one of the youngest kibbutzim in Israel and, though that’s another story, was where I found myself as a non Jewish volunteer. Nothing exceptional about that except that 1973 was the year of the Yom Kippur War and found Israel once more defending itself against aggression. This is my “Eyes Closed” story…

The kibbutz had it’s own small garrison, tucked away behind barricades overlooking the Jordanian border. I saw the soldiers every so often with binoculars in their hands keeping watch across the desert.
As well as this, it was the communes responsibility to patrol the inner ring of the compound. One of the volunteers and an Israeli resident would walk the compound twice during the night along with “Bomba” the biggest dog I have ever seen.“Schmera” as the duty was known was a duty I didn’t mind because it meant the next working day was a holiday.

The first time I did it, was nothing more than an uneventful adventure along with a kibbutz member who was great company. We met at the “Hador Ocal” the kibbutz cafe, the Israeli carried his Uzi because we weren’t allowed to carry guns at all. This was just as well because I’d never won a prize at the fair for shooting. We all did a circle of the compound, walked back to the meeting point, drank tea for an hour and then completed the second tour.

On my second duty I arrived as usual at 11.30pm and poured a cup of coffee ready for the first tour. I collected Bomba, who in all my experience of “faithful friends” really was our best friend. He went everywhere with us, around the kibbutz, and down in the fields. Bomba was always there. He sat with me patiently waiting for the Israeli to join us for the first tour. We both sat and waited.

At a quarter past midnight I started to get a bit concerned about why my partner hadn’t turned up. He hadn’t been on kibbutz for long and had a reputation for being a “ladies man” or a lazy sod” depending on who I talked to. At half past twelve I made the decision to get on with the tour anyway. I had Bomba,and there had never been a problem before, so why tonight.=? We just had to walk the compound and inspect the perimeter, nothing moved in the night the stars were still in the sky above and the heat meant that there was no wind to move the trees around us.

Bomba escorted me on the walk as we arrived back at the “Hador Ocal” for warm coffee and to relax ready for the second tour. I was sure the Israeli would be waiting for us with an excuse as to why he was late. He wasn’t there. It didn’t matter though, we would wait till three o’clock and complete the duty .Until then I made a cup of coffee, spread some mattza and read a book. Three o’clock came and we got ready for the second tour, no partner, no gun, just Bomba and me.

Out of the building we turned left towards the chicken houses and cow sheds. The sky pitch black, no lights except my torch we walked out towards the sheds in the open ground. Suddenly Bomba took off towards the cattle sheds, with no warning, he just took off into the the night and disappeared towards the buildings. I stood still wondering the hell to do. No gun, no partner and now no dog.

There were obviously enemy infiltrators behind the sheds coming toward me. The scene was already in my head like a block buster movie, the small enemy group silently creeping into the compound, the grenade pins pulled and ready to explode. The machine guns cocked ready to cut down anyone who got in their way.

I threw myself to the desert floor, trying to figure out my next move.
How do I warn the kibbutz?
The enemy could only have been two or three hundred yards away and Bomba had gone after them, so they would be expecting somebody to be with him. All the time the questions shot through my head as I lay still, trying to keep as low as I could.

How could I warn the soldiers?

If I can crawl to the volleyball court and switch on the floodlights the sentries would see them and come to help.
Or the enemy would see me first and shoot.
Or the sentries would see them, think I was one of the enemy lighting the kibbutz up and shoot me.

I even considered telling the enemy I was not Israeli but an Englishman, only a volunteer as if that would have made a difference. I turned and started to crawl back towards the buildings, keeping as low as I could. I heard movement behind me, very close, I turned not knowing what was going to be there and wondered if it was going to be the last thing I was ever going to see?

It was Bomba, trotting back towards me as big as ever. What he must have thought of me we’ll never know, he made no judgement though because he stopped by my side until I got up and moved towards the kibbutz buildings. Whatever had distracted him wasn’t going to put a bullet in me that night.

The first thing I had to do was report to the kibbutz leaders about the situation and the missing guard. The committee member had to go round and wake the volunteers up for the days work. Me, I went back to bed, the drama of the night slipped into oblivion. As far as I know the invisible partner was warned that he would be expelled, if he ever missed another duty.
In the end it was just another adventure.

Why did Bomba run? I still have no idea.

First Kiss

It was the sixties and as a fifteen year old I’d always been more interested in sport than girls, and the Friday night visits to the local dance hall was so often merely an opportunity to listen to the music.
The strutting “cocks” of the town stood on the balcony looking down on the dance floor where they would snap their fingers to one of the beautiful girls moving sensually below. Me, I sat downstairs on the seats around the edge of the floor like one of the young runts of the litter hoping, praying for a dance and perhaps to walk a girl home.
Week after week it was groundhog day, midnight came and if I danced at all it was with one of the girls also left at the side of the hall. Until that particular Friday evening when a girl walked across the dance floor in my direction. Now I was the sort of lad that looked behind him, to see the “good looking” lad she must have been coming over to. But no, she approached me.
“My friend likes you. Can she come over?”
I looked across the floor, the girl she was pointing to was gorgeous, long blond hair, strong chiselled features and a fabulous mini skirt that extenuated her legs.
I played it as cool as I could, with saliva running down my mouth.
“Yes, tell her to come over.” We moved upstairs to the balcony and kissed for hours. It was beautiful and everything I’d hoped it would be.


The library in St Paul, Minnesota became the catalyst for a major change in my life, where I read “Anthem” by Ayn Rand. The story of being an individual and taking responsibility for my actions. It was 1968 and the lesson still took me over thirty years or more to really take shape.

From this book and “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged” followed which more or less introduced me to the idea of the entrepreneur and my distaste of socialism in all it’s forms.

Move forward many years and once again I was in Minnesota and had the honour of being invited to a Gathering of the Upper Mdewakanton Lakota Community where I met their Chief, talked to the people and, most importantly, invited to join the group around the sacred fire as prayers were said to The Six Directions.

When I returned to England, the first book I read was Calvin Luther Martin’s “The Way Of The Human Being” a group of stories around the lives of the Native Peoples before, during and after the coming of Europeans.

It introduced me to the spiritual and the physical side of being a Native American.


Picture this and tell me it doesn’t happen any more. A man, it could be any man, but let’s say it’s me, is invited into your dining room and shown to the table. He (I) sit down and you bring me a cup of coffee. I thank you and sit chatting to the other men around the table. You (if you’re female) bring a plate of bread, cheese and some jam over and place it in front of us.

We continue to talk about football, the weather and the fishing, while you come over and refill our cups with coffee. Finally you bring over the meat, on a plate with just one knife between us and take your seat at the table. A bygone age? Well it may be, I haven’t been back to the Faeroe Islands in over forty years, but this was a typical event when I was there.

The bread, the cheese and the jam were all pretty standard, nothing exclusive, it was the meat the intrigued me. It was raw, dried meat called “skerpikjøt” well aged, wind-dried mutton which has been in a drying shed for “who knows” how long. It is simply that raw, dried meat that you carve slices of and eat as if it’s a biscuit. The smell as it approaches the nose can only be described as the smell of very old, dried meat, and the chewy texture of the meat often used to extenuate the taste which couldn’t be described without reverting to toilet language. But if it was good enough for the Faeroese people it was good enough for me. In fact it might have been one of those rights of passage we see when a white man visits a native camp and is given goats blood to drink.

Now the title of the piece is “Delicious” so the question you may be asking is Was it? Of course not, but it became something I looked forward to after work and was, as I said, like having a biscuit. But if you’re a meat eater do not decry it, because it is one of the healthiest ways of eating meat I know of, raw, unprocessed protein which the fishermen had been taking with them for many, many years while they were away at sea.

So, there is my contribution “skerpikjøt” dried, raw meat. Mmmmmmmm


“It appears to me” the Great Chief said “that all things go in circles,” as he stood below the moon and surveyed the horizon. They circled his world from birth to death, from day to day they brought the seasons which circled his life. From the morning prayer to the evening thanks the circle of events coloured his day, his memories passed from one to another in a circle of generations. His grand son stared up in the footsteps of the Great Chief. “It appears to me” the young warrior said “that all things go in circles.

5 Elements of Life…an alternative look at living

Metal Element..looking after the Lungs and Large Intestine…Mining for precious to find the gold in family relationships.

In the Chinese system of Five Element Theory the months August to November are classed as The Metal Element period and the work you do here prepares the body for winter. In physical terms, as alternative therapists we give practical advice on looking after the Lungs and Large Intestine which may not function properly and be damaged by colds/flu and upset stomachs. We also deal with the emotional aspects associated with the element. Grief and Change. So how do we apply the theory to the emotional side of family relationships? Let’s see!

The Metal Element is associated with three major physical and psychological traits:

  • Finance
  • Authority
  • Boundaries

Each one is a logical step to the way we view our family life over the next few weeks. Each one has the potential for both grief and change. The Chinese view of the metal element is linked to the three points in the following way

  • Cash flow
  • Family structure
  • Ethics

We’ll take them one at a time.

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 7.36.11 PMFinance: The precious metal is viewed as gold, but in the context of housekeeping we can look at cash flow the vital element for keeping a relationship on an even keel. Along with this comes our strategy to mine that precious metal by hard work, initiative, daring and the exchange of money for goods, services and love So is cash flow precious to you? Has it caused grief and has it changed your life?

boss_kid_thumbAuthority: The Chinese saw one aspect of Metal as authority, as the “father figure” in a relationship. We are talking about the figures who command, or demand, authority. If this is one of us then how do we achieve authority and having achieved it, how do we use it? How did your father demand authority and respect? The two often do not go together. How did you react?

buissness-man-arms-folded-mdBoundaries: The analogy with Metal is more easily seen here, metal fences, metal armour. Where do you place your own boundaries when you deal with people? When in your life do you hate people getting too close to you? Do you let people walk all over you? Or do you often stand three or four steps away from a colleague with your arms folded as a barrier? Or has it been your experience that people walk all over you?

When we look at the psychological aspects of The Five Elements in terms of Metal we can put some bones on the generalizations of the first three points

  • For Finance we introduce Cash Flow, the amount of precious metal we have at our disposal at any particular time and how hard we have to work to obtain it. There is a plethora of stories about the ease, or the difficulties, prospectors had to locate and mine the seams of gold they had right under their feet. As adults some of us have learned the systems for managing cash flow so that it’s there at our finger tips; some of us haven’t.
  • Are you Authoritarian in your leadership? The “father figure” of the family (whether male or female) and how do you earn that title of Boss. Have you built relationships on respect and bringing people with you? Or fear? Think back to the relationship to you had with your father, how was the relationship honed? Now take a look at how you interact with family and colleagues and ask yourself if you’re setting good standards for your peers and your children.
  • Where are your boundaries? Your ethics. Would you do anything to get the house you desire? Would you walk over a friend to get the job you desire? Would you lie to your partner or children? If you were asked if you can “Go to bed at night and not be ashamed.” Could you answer “Yes?” And would that just mean that you have a low concept of shame?

The Metal Element is associated with your Lungs and Large Intestine meridians. Breathing is the separation of oxygen and carbon dioxide and large intestine’s job is to separate the impure from the pure and extract the liquid from the matter we eat so it can pass out of the body as a solid mass.

Our own Metal Element is the separation of our beliefs and our actions. The Metal Element (autumn) is followed by the Water Element (winter) and the belief is that if we look after our Lungs and our Large Intestine throughout the months of August/September and October our bodies will be better protected in the winter. If we look after the way we interact with our fellow citizens by being honest it will better prepare us for the elements of winter to come.

Ernie is a qualified Shiatsu Practitioner using 5 Element theory to balance both the physical and the emotional challenges of modern day life. He can be contacted on or Call him on 07962 216833