Well Done WInston Howes, Who Says Romance Is Dead?


Until I start to write a post I’m never sure just where it is going. Some days it is a rant, some days more humorous, and occasionally it is a day for highlighting the unusual, something that caught my attention in the media. This is one of those latter days.

Today is the story of Winston Howes, perhaps the most unusual farmer in Britain.

Personally I have always been the type of person who likes to give flowers and tributes to people while they are still around to enjoy them, rather than a grand oration at a funeral or a ritual visit to a graveside every anniversary or whatever, after they have passed.

But other people think differently, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Most do just what I have said I don’t, but Winston Howes, the farmer in Britain has taken it a step farther than most.

Howes’ wife for some 33 years Janet died seventeen years ago and he felt he wanted to create a lasting tribute to her memory. So, being a farmer, Howes set aside a 6-acre plot in his 112-acre farm near the town of Wickwar, and spent a week planting six thousand oak saplings, leaving a perfectly heart-shaped clearing in the middle. He also planted daffodils in the middle that bloom every spring.

The heart measures about an acre in size and points to the childhood home of Howes’ wife. It is bordered by a bushy hedge and is only accessible from a track leading to the tip.

Despite it’s size it is a private tribute because unless you get an aerial view you would never know it is there at all. Howes has flown over his farm to get the full aerial effect, just like Collett (his late wife) he says, but mostly he just retreats there to the secret meadow to sit and reflect.

So well done, Winston Howes.

Have a look.


Oak Tree Heart
Oak Tree Heart

Optimist Or Pessimist?


“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”


Churchill poster opportunity optimist v pessimist

Yesterday I wrote about whether your glass is half full or half empty.

Closely related to that, though also slightly different in degree perhaps, is whether you are an optimist or a pessimist.

I have a friend who has gone through life with a “when one closes another one shuts” philosophy. He also says things like, “Behind every silver lining there’s a cloud”.

It’s amusing, but in his case and I would guess in a good many others, that attitude eventually becomes a self-fulfilling predicament. He’s never taken any chances in life and he has been in a job that he never really cared for, for the past 30 years or so. He’s just counting the days until he can retire and he has been doing that for many, many years, not just recently. Sad, but it can’t be helped, or rather he can’t be helped.

As well as creating an aversion to any sort of risk, if you think things will go wrong then they usually will, and more often than not it’s your own fault. If you set out to do something with failure uppermost in your mind, you psych yourself out of giving 100 percent to the task at hand. If you don’t give it that 100 percent effort then it will either not turn out as good as it could have, or it will fail completely. In such cases the pessimist always blames things like bad luck, or other people, never their own defeatist attitude from the outset.

An optimistic person, on the other hand, will approach a task thinking it is going to succeed. Therefore in their case they will put much more care and effort into it (even sometimes subconsciously) thereby raising their chances of succeeding. Don’t get me wrong, starting off with an optimistic viewpoint will not guarantee success, it will just make for a better attempt at the job, and the better the job you do the better are the chances it will succeed.

Failure will stop a pessimist dead in his tracks because he is sure he is going to fail from the beginning and when it happens he shrugs his shoulders and packs up and goes home.

But failure won’t do the same for a person with an optimistic outlook. An optimist is surprised by failure. He usually wants to know why it happened, so he will analyze it and then try again.

And that is one of the great secrets to success. Sir Winston Churchill probably defined it best when he said that “success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm”, and although Churchill is now remembered for his notable political victories and war-time leadership, he also had his fare share of defeats as well along the way.

I have been part of several projects that have been complete failures, but that never stopped me from getting back up, dusting myself down, and trying again. And if you stay optimistic and work accordingly giving 100 percent of your effort then sooner or later you will succeed.

I’m very optimistic about that!


PS: I haven’t tried this out, but they say you should always borrow money from a pessimist, because he doesn’t expect to get paid back!