Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Fable of the Bowl, the Jugs and the Well

Searching online [as you do] for an interesting titbit to digest on my holidays, I stumbled upon a fable.

I thought that I would share it with you, as its meaning seems to be shrouded and very subjective. Let me know how you get along.

The Fable of the Bowl, the Jugs and the Well

Among the fertile earthy grounds of a much loved rustic cottage, there lived a well. It's weathered but well pointed stone walls stood solid. Carrying aloft a slate tiled roof; he proudly served all those who gathered water from deep within its heart.
The well accepted the empty pales with glee, filling them with just enough water so that the thirsty could retrieve them with ease. No one knew how deep the well was. No one thought to check. The well did not pick whose pale would be filled to drink its water. It was not his place to decide. He just gave, and gave when asked.
The cottage owners were always very thankful for the clean, fresh water and their healthy crops too. So much gratitude did they have, that they shared their wealth with anyone who needed it. At the end of each seasonal harvest they would invite all their family and more besides to enjoy in a stupendous supper with them.
A sturdy dining table would be dragged in from the storage shed and topped with colourful fruit and vegetables of all shapes and sizes. Fire warmed plates; cutlery and tankards greedily accepted the bounty; as each guest had their fill. At the very centre of table stood the main event; a centre piece. A lovingly sculpted and beautifully decorated bowl, slender yet wagon wheel in size nestled sisterly between two tall and very heavy earthenware jugs.
The bowls gaping chamber; as always was brimming with the sweetest most succulent of the bountiful spread. A mixture of last harvests dried and pickled fruit draped in layers, overflowing onto the table. Miniature feeding hands picked at the spilled contents, keeping the table free from clutter.
At the end of the great supper, when all the food had been eaten and the guests departed, candles were extinguished. The hosts turned in for the night, and the cottage finally fell silent.
Then a whisper from the darkness was heard. In amongst the discarded apple cores and carrot stems on the table, one of the earthenware jugs breathed a sigh of relief. 
"We are alone once again, but not for long." said the water jug.
"Yes tomorrow is another day but I do love a harvest feast!" replied the wine jug. The remainder of her contents sloshed around inside as she slid across the table. Gleefully she exclaimed "We surly are most important to our guests. Let us say our thanks for that fact!"
A chink and a wobble were heard from behind the water jug "Ahem!" The centre piece bowl cleared her throat as she emerged upon the table in the moonlit impression of the kitchen window beyond.
"Sisters, yes you are very important, on this we can agree. I looked upon you as you were passed from hand to hand, filling each guests tankards with life giving water and wine for good cheer. Your benefit to them was unequivocal.", "I saw the head of our table fill your empty chambers and from that moment on you were charged, never to be empty again. As you stand in front of me now, you are ready to give. I bow in respect.", "but... heed my warning. You are chosen jugs. One marked water, the other wine. You have a purpose to serve on this table and this must never be taken for granted or forgotten."
"Please bowl, we did not mean to show you any disrespect" The wine jug remarked.
"Yes, you too are of great importance! Your brim is so wide and inviting, that it is rivalled by none other!" The bowl bowed.
"We are humbled by the artistry in which you share your bounty. At the very centre of attention, your alluring beauty is enjoyed by all. What makes us sad is that you are refilled only but once per meal, and then left empty by those who benefit from your generosity; the ones who once loved you for your fullness. How do you live for such an existence?"
The bowl rattled irritably  and leaned forward to answer "Do not be sad for me. Indeed I am emptied, but then I am renewed with fresh gifts for all. My offerings will never age - my purpose is clear to me. I am by design to give all of myself without question.", The bowl rotated towards the jugs, leaning heavily to one side "If my benefactors pick too frequently from one side of my chamber, I will become unstable. I may even topple, BUT then I will tip towards those who have not been so fortunate to enjoy my contents. I am balance and I exist to empty myself so that others may enjoy and replenish."
Silence once again fell across the room. Both the wine and water jug turned to one another and then back to the bowl. Sullen and respectful in tone, the wine jug spoke.
"Bowl, we cannot do what you do. We hide the last of our contents deep within our flat, round heavy bottoms. We are difficult to knock down and we strive to hold onto what's inside. Then when we are almost empty, and plucked from the table; for generations now, we have witnessed our patrons faces up close. Upon the realisation that they own the 'final refill'.. AHA! Oh the delight!. Then, instead of being selfishly poured into one man's tankard; we are offered and shared further! Our lives are happiness in servitude, but we will always save the best water or wine for last."
"Even if you are forgotten, and your contents are allowed to turn green and sour?" queried the bowl.
"Yes, Bowl", said the wine jug "an empty jug is a jug without purpose..." thoughtfully sounded the water jug.
The bowl cast a glance to the kitchen window and the garden beyond "It is good to have a purpose in life and we have much to be thankful for. Yet we think not of those who give us this purpose. The Source, our well"
"THE SOURCE?!" shrieked the wine jug. "Be careful! Do not speak of the Source unless you wish to provoke his wrath!" followed the water jug. 
"I was born from the same fire as you both, and we have enjoyed many a plentiful celebration together. Yet you both forget the times when the harvests were not so good...we must make our peace with the well".
"We do not idly forget. It's just that we are afraid of the Source", the water jug pursed her spout "Where does the Source find its power? What if the Source chooses not to share with us? Where else shall we look if this is to be our fate?"
The wine jug sloshed so hard that she spilled a pool of rich red wine onto the bare wooden table top. "We fear the power he has over us, and the darkness of the well!", "Some say that he covets his fresh cool water, so much so that he lets only those who he respects, and make sacrifices to him have their fill of it. Men and women do not trust his motives. The well hides his plans in a shroud of blackness." rattled the water jug.
"Yes, I too have heard those suspicious whisperings and even jealousy of the well's powers over us all. How does he keep his secrets stored so tightly within the crevices of his dark walls, which reach down into the deep, where no man or woman can see?" The bowl paused and signed, "No, we make our 'peace' with the Source when we accept that he will open his heart to those who ask of it. We must trust that one so full of life, so generous with his gift will openly give it without prejudice." The bowl catches the gazes of both the wine and the water jug. "He demands no sacrifice, nor does he begrudge those who do not yet understand his generosity. All he asks is that he is not plundered beyond his capacity, so he is free to give to everyone"
"A noble effort indeed." said the water jug. 
"I see now," replied the wine jug "all of us are very different by design, as life has intended. There should be no competition here or mistrust to poison our offerings to one another", "Trust in our purpose and that of others is the grand adventure we all must embark upon one day."
As clouds pass the moon by, from the garden, the kitchen windows glint like a winking eye. The well was never comfortable with the name 'the Source' which was given to him many years ago. In truth, it was because he knows that he is not the source. Long ago he realised that just like the jugs and the bowl, he has his purpose and this is to direct attention towards live giving water and pass this gift onto those who most need it.
The sustenance he brings, he believed, was by design and not ordained to him by another undiscovered greater truth... or was it?

Sunday, September 09, 2012

#30days30testimonials - Day 23

This weekend was a big on check-ins, and I blame the sunshine :-)

We escaped St Albans once again, but this time headed for the train station to get to the seaside. Our destination was Brighton, with no advance research on possible locations to visit. Sunday was all about serendipity and Foursquare tips. 

All we did was grab a few items, put them in a bag and pocketed an iPhone and iPad.

By the time we arrived, breakfast was on our minds...

Seven Bees Café, Ship Street Gardens, Brighton - Café, and Coffee Shop @sevenbeescafe

You simply would not find this place, unless you knew where it was, or were given very good directions to find it. But who would look for the Seven Bees anyway? The name hardly rolls off the tongue does it?

Firing up my Foursquare app, we location searched for a café. Around 10 sprang out of the digital map and we quickly honed in on the ones directly between the train station, and the beach

Seven Bees Café was coloured yellow, which represents a special deal for the mayor. So we scanned this place first.

There were lots of really great tips and photos shared by past customers - and without checking any further, we marched towards the beach. 

After a short walk, we had to then take a leap of faith, and head down a very narrow and empty looking backstreet [Ship Street Gardens]. Our courage was rewarded when we stumbled upon the yellow front to the café.

Both Sammy and I ordered the Big Breakfast [it was tipped quite heavily on the app]. We were not disappointed. It was gorgeous!

Swilling it all down with a large mug of breakfast tea, we left as the café was getting rather busy and beginning to turn customers away. Not before I had chance to tweet about the event and leave a tip though!

A great place to visit and stop for breakfast if you fancy the hour and 3 quarters train journey down south.

Friday, September 07, 2012

#30days30testimonials - If it's good enough for Tom

Day 21

I know what you are thinking, and yes perhaps the subject of today's testimonial doesn't need any more attention... but the grub does.

So lets get on with it :-)

We are back in St Albans, and this time visiting an Indian Restaurant which made the national news due to a certain Hollywood actor turning up for a late night curry fix...

Watford Junction to St Albans Abbey

What a fantastic service! Not.

This post is double edged from a testimonial point of view #30days30testimonials

Loving the fact that during my approach to Platform 11 @ Watford Junction, I was forewarned by a ticket conductor about possible delays and cancellations to my intended destination - St Albans Abbey... but was there any alternative?

Yes there was an alternative; this was being stuffed on a bus amongst a bunch of confused and 'irate' passengers.

As it turns out, we were delivered to St Albans by bus - a mere hour late.

Onwards and upwards eh?... #meh

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Zombie Armies and Running

Running without a stopwatch. This is not the only method I use to 'mix' up my running patterns.

My interest in running does wane from time to time - especially when I begin to treat it too seriously. So I switch off the timer, and I open my eyes to imagine more. Not worrying about the seconds and minutes ticking away as I gather up more tarmac and muddy lanes really does change the landscape.

 Here's what I was thinking about on my last run...

Saturday, September 01, 2012

#30days30testimonials - Day 14

As I mentioned before, I have struggled to find great things to talk about whilst working, so therefore as expected - it falls to my [less busy] weekends to fill you in.

Unexpectedly though, has been the difficulty to find awesome products or fantastic service to write about. This has not stopped me from carrying out mini #30days30testimonials on Foursquare though [so follow me] :-)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

#30days30testimonials - Day 11

11 days into our festival of testimonials, we are at last going to a take-away restaurant!

These guys do not deliver... but why risk this gorgeous grub going cold any way? Today's testimonial is all about a quality food product - but it just so happens that the service is a smiley one too ;-)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Where's all the #30days30testimonials gone?

I'm sat here asking that very same question!

In my rush to help others, I forgot one key fact. In order to complete 30 enlightening testimonials in 30 days, I would need to be getting great service. Like every day.

So, a vital flaw in an otherwise awesome plan has popped up.

To that end I wish to announce that the challenge is still on, BUT with one very important change. Instead of completing one testimonial per day, I will post them up on my blog as and when I receive them. So long as I total 30 testimonials in a period of 30 days, no more, no less; my challenge is still valid!


The #30days30testimonials lives!!

We are on day 10 and already 4 testimonials down... yes we have some work to do. Or to be more precise - local business have some work to do!

You like that? See how I turned it around like a seasoned spin doctor? Yeah? Eh?

You got the idea.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, August 27, 2012

Bank Holiday Creative Interlude

How about those lies?
Shrugging of shoulders, followed quickly by loss of eye contact,
Your stomach flips, heart rate skips, jerky motions, this is it…
The self satisfying ooze of despair and misconception, opened ended deception,
A tide of complete confusion, overbearing the truth at every imaginable resurrection.

Detached view of the conversation, the truth, a misrepresentation, working in unison,
Clouding your intentions, clouding my intentions, a haze of objection,
The mind finally accepting the delusion, the objective conclusion, the truth is told, validation…
Calmness was our intention, a truth and a lie, no longer polarised, just ever so slightly...revised.

Cubes 2005©

Saturday, August 25, 2012

#30days30testimonials - Day 7

Today was mostly spent recovering from a 'saki' hang-over. Even in my rather dishevelled state [both mentally and physically], I managed a 9 check-ins; which could have resulted in perfect customer service or an introduction to a fantastic product.

I am going to tell you all about a product today, and this 'product' doesn't strictly follow the rules which I set out when I began this challenge. BUT count yourself lucky, as I was very close to reviewing a car park for your enjoyment!

I didn't do a blog post testimonial for it in the end, because I need that car park to stay empty for my use ;-)

This testimonial is for a tourist spot in the centre of St Albans...

#30days30testimonials - Day 6

Good afternoon! This is a late update - please forgive my tardiness. I unexpectedly got drunk yesterday. To those of you who follow me on Foursquare - no I didn't get a tattoo done last night, I merely check'd in nearby ;-)

During my travels I manage to check-in to 8 locations which had the opportunity to wow me with perfect service or a great product.

I was right royally treated at 2 places, but as I said on Day 5... only one check-in gets the blog post.

Last night I was schmooze'd by the staff in a Japanese restaurant...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

#30days30testimonials - Day 5

So we are a few more days into the challenge and as expected, I am being pushed hard to find excellent services or products all over Hertfordshire - during a working day that is.

On Day 5, I managed 5 Check-Ins which could have resulted in me being bowled over by some quality product or customer service. To tell the truth, I wish that I could write about 2 of today's encounters; but sorry it's the rules of the game - 1 only. So, I'd like to shout about something that blew me away...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

FOURSQUARE – it's like MARMITE. But why?

Incase you have been asleep or not paying attention for the last 3 years, Foursquare happens to be a social network and a game. You share your location with other community members [or by Facebook & Twitter] by checking yourself into various locations - any where in the world. These sites have been created by other helpful members using their mobile devices. These include shops, forests, carparks, and streets… just about anything really. It doesn’t even need to be a site which is permenantly situated in a single location! #movingtarget

So that’s great, but why do it?

Actually the membership has now crept to over 20 million and since 2009, 25 billion check-ins have been counted. So there are a great many people already out there who love Foursquare. So it is fair to assume that there is something about it. 

Foursquare helps it’s users to explore the land and city-scape around them for interesting places to visit, and take advantage of hints and tips which other users have left behind. These tips can be negative as well as rocking testimonials for someones business or magnificent service.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

#30days30testimonials - Day 3

Day Three of #30days30testimonials [see here for more details].

The same as yesterday, I managed 3 different Check-Ins* of establishments which had the opportunity to surprise me, with either a great product or service.

I met a local Architect for a business meeting in this venue, and found enough space to table some project drawings. Very convenient!

Monday, August 20, 2012

#30days30testimonials - Day 2

It's Day Two of my 30 day festival of giving [see here for details].

Today has been a little sparse on Check-Ins* due it being a rather busy day at work - I managed to visit 3 different establishments which had the opportunity to surprise me, with either a great product or service.

In this instance, both the service AND product were aces!
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