ImageOne of the things that strikes me about the USA is how graciously they celebrate success at every level. Going into the foyer of Ellenton Ice Arena (where my son and his partner currently train) the first thing you see is a huge banner strung across the wall with the names of club skaters listed alongside their achievements. At the other end of the foyer there is a smaller notice board which contains photographs of club members, coaches and auxiliaries in action during the year with written articles on recent events. Inspirational and interesting reading for an outsider like me. In contrast I went to Dumfries Ice Bowl last Friday and the club notice board was devoid of anything except a bland list of officials. Yet both their synchro skating teams medaled at the recent British Championships – at the very least I’d expect to see photographs of the successful teams.


Success is very much a state of mind. But during his recent lecture to students at Harvard University Sir Alex Ferguson put his success down to sunshine. Being that Manchester isn’t noted for its Mediterranean climate the manager of the most successful football team on the planet arranges for his players to soak up the rays artificially. So while my lucky son reaps the bonus of blue Florida skies I am morose at the prospect of yet another wet and windy day in grey old England. And don’t let anyone say the lack of bright sunny days doesn’t have a huge bearing on how much we enjoy life. Up here in northern England we’ve suffered so much wet weather in 2012 we are in danger of becoming Eeyores with perpetually gloomy outlooks.


Well, just for once, the sun actually took a peep at Cumbria this morning, so before it changed its mind we wrapped ourselves in warm clothes and applied wellies, sat the grandsons in ‘big red’ (neither possesses the attitude for a pushchair) and set off ‘round the block’ for our first outing outside all holiday. Yes we were windswept and weather beaten but judging by the bevy of neighbours encountered along the way we were not alone in seeking sunshine.


So back to where I began, with resolutions. The New Year kind I gave up on years ago, no point in starting February with regrets, but I’ll work hard on my optimism and try to celebrate and encourage more, and criticise and condemn less. Obviously that will require a good dose of sunshine so I’ll have to seek out the sun. We can make 2013 wonderful.



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