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18th November 2020



I was brought up in a home full of fun and humour. A home full of fun and humour and…. ‘sayings’!

A ‘saying’ as in many households was a term given to a short, spoken phrase that would be pulled from thin air and applied to conveniently fit a snap shot in life in order to emphasise a point.

A saying could make ‘things’ better, a saying could make ‘things’ less worse (yes, less worse). Sayings could amplify a point and sayings could defuse the frequent elevation of sibling tensions.

I remember fondly the sayings that would explain ‘stuff’, mop up ‘stuff’, clarify ‘stuff’. I also remember a plethora of sayings that would simply confuse and root a young child to the spot when all they were looking for was to gain sense of a moment in time.

My Nan was the master ‘saying’ plucker. She seemed to own an exhaustive saying almanac from which she would draw upon at the drop of a hat. Nothing written down but all documented, stored neatly; ready for its perfect selection and seamlessly delivery.

As an energetic and much loved Grandson I found myself on the end of many a well delivered saying.

I remember being baffled on countless occasions when I was told to “quick, rub it in your hair” when I had stubbed a toe or trapped a finger simply in an attempt to distract me away from the pain. My little boy Ned now rubs trapped digits in his hair and also pulls the same face as I did when told to do so!

But not all of my Nan’s sayings baffled. Some actually helped.

“don’t worry Matthew, if there weren’t any breakers there wouldn’t be any makers”.

A saying saved for innocent and accidental breakages. A genuine ‘don’t worry’ and ‘it’s OK’, leaning towards the “you didn’t mean to”. We would then clean up the mess together, not worry and move on, no dwelling.
However, this was not the saying I received from my mum when at the age of 14, I thinned a pitching wedge in the back garden sending a top flight 2 golf ball through the kitchen window. Well, what else was going to happen when hitting towards the house?

Why no breakers and makers offered then?

As I grew older, I became more and more intrigued by the sayings that came my way and I started to take interest in how they were selected and how they were applied to life.

They always seemed to work!

I discovered that you were not always entitled to a reparatory ‘saying’ if your intention was deemed foolish, on purpose or not accidental. On these occasions ‘I had made my bed and I was to lie in it’. Harsh, but fair and a period of self-reflection followed to work out a better plan in similar moments in the future.
I also noticed that for every saying there seemed to be an equal and opposite one that totally contradicted the first, yet delivered with wisdom and a lifetime of experience each saying could be moulded into a perfect fit.

Take for example;

‘too many cooks spoil the broth”.
At times having too many inputs into the same task can cause a poor outcome, however it can also be said that
“many hands make light work”.
With enough buddies around, a big task can be shared and with help the task can be achieved more easily.
  • Which saying is right?
  • Which saying is wrong?
  • Can they both be right?
  • Can they both be wrong?

When facing life’s junctions, decisions have to be made and choices seen through. Along the way we will experience ‘too many cooks’ moments when the only solution is to reduce the number of inputs, opinions, comparisons, influences and possibly have to rely upon only one director… OURSELVES. 1–0 to Team Too Many Cooks. No brainer!
However, alone and facing an uphill challenge and in need of support, sharing the load with friends and helpful others will help to secure that desired outcome, Team Light Hands level things up with a common sense equaliser.
We will be constantly tested with which road to travel throughout our lifetime. Only can we make good decisions for ourselves when we are aware of the moment we are in. I like to call it FRAMING.
In any circumstance a context can be attached and a full picture presented to ourselves giving us a better position to view the options available, hence FRAMING the issue.
If a notional application of a metaphor or saying initiates a helpful nudge in the best direction for a particular individual at a particular juncture, it has served its purpose.
All we can do is react to what feels right at the time. The here and now, the snapshot moment, the feeling from our core, our ‘stuff’ and what we need to do to address it.
It may be that your path right now warrants many hands, but in time you need to shed some cooks. Life changes, feel the direction change if needs be. Go it alone, make your own broth.
Possibly right now you the only cook, but along the line more broth is needed. Life changes, feel the direction change if needs be, employ a chef or two.
Only the person in the picture frame can possibly make the call. What does it feel like to them. It isn’t for a third party to tell, promote, encourage or rally a decision.
Feel it, own it, be honest, be brave but most important of all… always make tasty broth.

For you:
  • STAY or GO
  • NEW or OLD

Take care,



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