Sunday, 26 May 2019

What should I do ? Which path should I walk down ?

One minute I think one thing, then the next I hold a totally different opinion.

Does that make me indecisive ?

Does it make me bi-polar?

Or am I perhaps a bit like Samson ? No longer having me hair all of my strength has gone !

It is now a week since Sunshine Smile Day and I am trying hard to decide how I want to move forward.

While I applaud all who contributed to Sunshine Smile Day 2019,  particularly Lisa and her family who made it all happen, I can not help but feel sad that we failed to engage more people to join in the smiles. Particularly I am sad many of those I expected to see smiling with us were absent.

Was the day a success ?

Yes, of course it was.

But what next ?

One thought is to say we have had two wonderful years, let's celebrate all we have achieved and leave it there.

Is that what I want ?

I am not sure.

Inside my head I have an idea where we can make things
one hundred times more powerful than they are right now while putting in a fraction of the time and effort we are at present. A fraction of the time and effort but demanding a far greater expenditure than ever before. We will have to raise that money. Not a single penny is ever taken from the good causes we support.

Will my hair grow back ?

I have my doubts.

If it does grow back will there be a third sponsored haircut in 2020 ?  If so who will it be to support ?

In my days at a senior member of staff at Leon School I clearly remember saying to Headmaster Bruce Abbott that I
wanted a less demanding role, perhaps cutting the grass on the sports field. Bruce laughed and said I could not live if I was not overloaded with things to do. 

One of my students at the time was Sam. Sam is now Headmaster of The Cairo International School. He said this:

My memories of you are filled with images of you charging down the corridor always doing 100 things at once. I have to say looking back I didn't realise just how dedicated you were. In retrospect we all owe you a great deal for the effort you put into your work at school. I now also realise the personal challenges you were dealing with at the time and the sacrifices you and you family must have
made time after time. For all of that I want to say thank you.

Do you think my hair could perhaps grow back like this - as it was when Sam recalled my charging down the corridor.

Wish I had the face and the teeth that went with the hair so I could smile like that again !

My very dear friend Josh says when I talk about retirement: You retire ? Do nothing ? You'd
be dead !

Mike, the boss of Radio CRMK says the time to quit as a presenter is when it is no longer fun.

It is 3.16am. I have been writing this blog for thirty minutes. At 6am I will be live on-air and right now I couldn't care less - I can't be bothered ! But once the music starts to play it will be different - to quote Josh again - I will be high - high on life !

So what are the alternatives ? What choices do I have ?

I can retire and spend my time writing.

I used to be a prolific writer. During the time when Rebekah was so ill I would use the time sitting in the waiting room at hospital to write. Every day for a month in early 2017 I either visited her in hospital or drove her to a hospital appointment. I could write 10,000 words in a day.  The book I am working on right now, the book I have been working on for a year, has ground to a halt.  I've done nothing with it for weeks and weeks.
I have started writing a new case for Dave McDermott. Crime writing is not my favourite genre but it is the favourite of my readers - my few readers. As a young man my favourite genre of fiction was horror.  Perhaps I could finish my novel The Fires of Hell.  Perhaps.

Who knows ?

My best work by far is The Bridge House and it is the book I most enjoyed writing. So should I return to being Max Robinson the author who writes prolifically but hardly sells anything ? What I do not want to be doing is to be involved in one large event after another - from the Frog Challenge to Sunshine Smile Day - from The Big Fun Run to an overnight radio disco.

Everything started supporting families with a child sick in hospital. The smile then moved wider to support our homeless and rough-sleeping friends. From that we included the work of The Food Bank. I wanted an animal good cause to be part of our portfolio so we included Curly Tails adopting Piggie Alfie.

Families with a child sick in hospital, the homeless, those
needing The Food Bank - all people in vulnerable positions - all people suffering anxiety, call it mental illness if you like, in their lives. How does a pig fit into that ? Well................ Curly Tails not only rescues unwanted pet pigs but also opens its doors of love to groups to meet and spend time with the pigs - vulnerable people.
Over two years we have built up a wide list of contacts, contacts of all kinds and from many different areas of life. My thinking is to build a co-ordination among the good causes we support, providing a forum where the can support each other.

For example why could we not use our contact with Bletchley and Fenny Stratford Council and their bandstand to put on a concert featuring some of the musicians we have to support
Milton Keynes Winter Night Shelter ? It's not rocket science. We could achieve far, far more than we have thus far done in our two years of operation.

Secret Santa 2017 supported one hospital. Secret Santa 2018 worked with two.

Why could not Secret Santa 2019 also include those receiving love from The Food Bank and those being cared for by Milton Keynes Winter Night Shelter.

Josh and I have put printed cards - our SMILE CARDS - into
the day room of Ward 16 in our hospital and in the relatives room of the Intensive Care Unit. If just one card has helped just one person in a vulnerable time of life to smile then we have achieved so much.
On Friday evening when I went to bed I was ready to quit, to retire and call it a day. 

On Saturday morning I walked into the police station to be
greeted by the front desk officer: Hello David, good to see you - what can we do for you ?  In the hospital a nurse who I did not know said: Hi Dave, how are you today ?  I smiled, was happy and lost all desire to quit. But right now retirement is the path I am looking down.

Is it the way I want to walk ?  No I do not think so. It is the easy path but listening to Headmaster Abbott, Sam and Josh it is a foolish path to tread. However, the alternative path is impossible to walk down alone. I guess the only way I can walk down it is with dozens of smiles surrounding me.

Walking down the corridor of the hospital yesterday Josh was way out ahead of me. He kept turning round saying; Come on keep up !  If I am to walk down that second path I need lots of people walking with me and every single one of them calling to me COME ON KEEP UP !

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Do small things with great love

3.11am - Wednesday 22nd May 2019 - at 6am I will be live with today's show - - which I am calling DO SMALL THINGS WITH GREAT LOVE.

Within the show I will be celebrating the love of the good causes which took part in Sunday's Sunshine Smile Day.

Yesterday Josh and I left a tub of sweets and a copy of the SMILE words Stewart brought into the team in the relatives room at the intensive care unit within University Hospital Milton Keynes. Team member Maggie is busy knitting some craft gifts to add to the sweets.


A police officer called me yesterday, he is supporting something we are doing. Yep, he was doing his duty but he went the extra mile. Why ? Because as well as duty and professionalism in what he was doing there was love. He cared !

Did you read yesterday's blog ?  Click Here.

We had a big readership for that edition. We are getting closer to that 100k figure !

Within yesterday's page I joked about a picture featuring our new mayor. Speaking with Emma, The Mayor's PA, yesterday she said she two was gobsmacked with the picture.

I have worked with several mayors over the years and within The Sunshine Smile Crew three. Mayor Sam was with us on Sunday as part of his civic engagement diary BUT he came not as our mayor but as a wonderful man bringing love.

I have started to share my ideas for how we take The
Sunshine Smile Crew to new and exiting heights in Year Three. We currently have 152 members, I want to see this grow to 1,000 within a couple of weeks. However, I want to set a condition on membership.

I want to pick up on Darren's personal mission.

If you want to be a member of THE SUNSHINE SMILE
CREW you must make at lease one person smile every day.

As you smile you must do SMALL things with GREAT love.

Overnight Josh sent me a Facebook  message saying he will take me to buy a new phone today, mine is bust !

Josh, mate, any chance you can take me to buy a baseball cap ?

I need to keep my head warm !

The music on today's page all comes from the playlist for today's show. I want to close with something very special to me. Please listen and make it special for you.

Monday, 20 May 2019

Could this be the civic photograph of the year ?

The Sunshine Smile Crew has held the record for two years having the most viewed image from Milton Keynes ever on Google.

That image depicts Mayor David Hopkins at our Frog Challenge held in September 2017.  

I  had always thought that image would not be surpassed but this new picture taken at Sunshine Smile Day 2019 presents a serious challenge !

Does anyone know of a shop in Milton Keynes that sells baseball caps ?  Preferably baseball caps with a built in wig ?

My new style of hair leave my head feeling cold !

Josh says I look like Bruce Willis. I have to admit I can see a most definite and scary resemblance.

It is weird you know reaching to scratch the top of my head and finding there is nothing to scratch !

This is going to take a lot of getting used to. I hope my hair will grow back in time for another sponsored haircut at Sunshine Smile Day 2020 !

2018's sponsored haircut was to support Ronald McDonald House Birmingham as it cares for families with a child sick in hospital. This year it has been undertaken for Curly Tails Pig Rescue.
Smiling Darren, by any chance were you trying to make me look like your twin brother ?

We are all taking time to draw breath after Sunshine Smile Day but I want to present a plan where the work we do can become twenty, fifty, one hundred times bigger and more effective than it is at present while actually requiring the team to put in time and effort significantly less than we devoted to Sunshine Smile Day.

Currently we play music to make people smile, be happy and to inspire love for good causes.

I would like to suggest to our team that we change that slightly to:

Making people smile, be happy and inspiring love.

Things have developed in such a way that we are supporting - support does not always mean money - families with a child sick in hospital, our homeless and rough sleeping friends, those in need of the Food Bank, our NHS and Curly Tails Pig Sanctuary.

Immediately I can see cross over areas within these good causes.

Add in the many contacts we have and the fact that our Mayor's two civic charities are at the heart of our groups and I can see a way we can achieve so much more than we are at present, everything could spiral upwards with wide smiles and great love touching the hearts of many many people.

We say to Good Cause A: Good cause B is doing this, it you were to link in you would both benefit. How about it ?

If we put two good causes together, even three and presented an idea to them they would make it happen, we would be the catechist and take on responsibility to make it happen.

Although music is a passion of mine and I do not want to cease playing music I have taken it out of my proposal for a revised mission statement. I think we could include art, drama, dance, literature and sport.

All could generate smiles, happiness and love.

I chatted my ideas over with Josh yesterday and he has a very clear idea of his role, it is something we are not properly covering right now.

Tomorrow I will share my thinking with Darren when he joins me on the radio. Darren's personal mission is to make at least one person smile every day. If we made that the
personal mission for every member of our team how powerful would that be !

Lisa was in charge of Sunshine Smile Day, I am deliberately letting her recover from her stupendous effort, I have mentioned my thinking but later in the week I will discuss it in greater detail.

Right now The Sunshine Smile Crew has 152 members. We need to add a zero to that: 1,520. Why can we not ass two zeros: 15,200 ?  Why not three152,000 ?

This is edition number 814 of our blog and is getting ever closer to the magic 100k but are we using the blog to maximum effect ?  It takes me around 90 minutes to write a page - yesterday it pulled 85 readers. Is this effective ?  I do not know - you tell me.
Yesterday was my 150th radio show broadcast on CRMK. I am not convinced the audience figures were that spectacular,

Podcasts are good. We have well passed the 20k minutes figure and are pushing towards the 1k listener figure.

Radio CRMK is a CONTACT, it is not part of our operation. I am very, very careful that we give to the radio station more than we take away.
We have a lovely contact with Bletchley and Fenny Stratford Town Council and their bandstand. There is so much we could do with that bandstand. We could involve all kinds of causes and give back to the council the love it gives to us.

We have the support of Sheffield Wednesday Football Club although we not actually done anything this season. I can see something lovely we could do next season.

I run our website.  It is a mess ! That has to change, we need a dedicated web developer and more than one domain name.

Our social media exposure is weak. This is something I talked over with Josh yesterday. We are achieving perhaps 10% of our potential.

My head - my SKINHEAD - is exploding with ideas.

Josh and I are spending a lot of time together at the moment while his wife, Jelena, is seriously ill in hospital. When she is well again I know she will
be a big part of all we do. 

I want to talk over my thinking with Darren and with Lisa. I want to include Rachel who ran Sunshine Smile Day 2018.

Stewart Bailey sent me this from Doris Day yesterday. I want to run my ideas past Stewart.

Once I have spoken to these key people and TOGETHER decided the way forward we will need to talk with the good causes and contacts we have.

It will then be time to put everything into a melting pot, turn up the heat and bring our ideas to the boil.

In two years we have achieved so much with Rebekah's smile but I believe it is NOTHING to what we can achieve.

If we can help lots of people to do lots of small things with great love we can make a difference in so many lives.

I honestly believe we could spiral what we do and put Rebekah's smile into orbit.

What do you think ?

Let's take that gobsmacked expression on our wonderful Mayor's face and gobsmack ourselves with what we achieve.