Inevitable Success – the reason I coach.

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“What is success?” the man leading the seminar asked brightly, wanting some audience participation. I put up my hand, and along with several other participants, gave my answer. “The inevitable result of being human.”  I knew it wouldn’t be regarded as a normal answer, but I want success now, a lot  –  and I want to use today’s successes as a springboard to more rewarding ones – and not just my own successes. My definition guarantees me success every day, and makes me aware of how natural success is for us all.

Success is inevitable.

You cannot help but achieve your deepest goals. Without knowing it, you succeed. Look close enough and you’ll find you’re a success.  Every day. Pretty much all the time!  

Here are some of my successes (though not in chronological order!)  Waking up.  Talking to my family. Cuddling my children and grandchildren. Breathing. Doing my emails. Writing this blog. Cooking breakfast. Laughing at a TV programme. Doing some reading. Having a bath. Walking. In fact I’ve succeeded so many times today it is so normal to succeed that I’m completely unaware of how much of a success I am.

However, your deepest goals may not be so obvious. You might be missing them. Even embarrassed by them.

Less obvious success…

Here are some successes that people have that they may not want to own up to:  

  • Backing off. Being successful at making sure they don’t need courage.
  • Avoiding potential pain by staying within safe, risk-free limits.
  • Never experiencing rejection (by not putting themselves in a relationship where that could happen, or by making sure they themselves do the rejecting first.) 
  • Staying an emotional child. (There are plenty of people out there looking to mother the emotionally needy.)

Perhaps you’ve successfully taken whatever decisions you need to make absolutely sure you never stand out in the crowd. Solution: keep your head down and your mouth shut.

It is easy to make sure you never fail an exam. Simply never take one. Success!  

You need never fear mockery.  Never ever come up with anything original.

You need never fear being made redundant or getting the sack. Simple: resign at the earliest opportunity, or don’t take the job in the first place! 

But of course, such dubious success is linked to other dubious successes – successfully avoiding responsibility for your life and future for example.  And that means other people will begin to take over what you could contribute, and you will become poorer, more isolated, more vulnerable and more depleted. Some successes can produce unwelcome results.

What do you WANT to want?

Time to dig deeper. (As you know, I don’t do shallow.)  

Do you REALLY want what you’re getting out of life at the moment? What do you WANT to want? What WELCOME outcomes?

What are you prepared to go for, to sacrifice for (everything in life has a price), in order to get an outcome you’ll be PROUD OF?  

What is the next step for you?

From the day I stepped out from behind my mummy’s skirts to do something on my own, fear and courage have fought for supremacy. As I stepped out, eventually courage won.

My job is to make sure all these years later that courage continues to win, not just for me, but for you too.  

YOU are the reason I choose to coach.    Here are some others. 

 

 

 

Invasive History Syndrome. Have you experienced it?

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Invasive History Syndrome respects no one, and can strike at any time. Know what I mean?

I don’t know whether the medical profession has another more technical name for this, but IHS, in Auto Response Psychology, stands for Invasive History Syndrome. You first heard about it here.

Let me give you a brief introduction, but the chances are YOU can tell ME about it…

It’s what it says on the tin – when memories, thoughts, bad experiences, pain from the past, invade your present and threaten your future.  Know what I mean?  Typically, you can be carrying on as usual when someone says or does something and the emotions and remembrances of something in your history – a comparatively minor childhood trauma, a bad experience when you were 13, the rejection of a failed relationship, an unkind word spoken in jest – simply invade you.  It sweeps in, carrying all before it, like a tidal wave, so that you can think of little (or nothing) else. It may take hours, days or weeks to get over it, for your thinking to settle down and the pain (it is usually pain, though it can be other emotions too) finally subsides and you can carry on. 

Invasive History Syndrome.  IHS. It is a killer of healthy living, can affect the children, and other members of your family and social group, and exhausts you. You may need to sit down, go to bed early, or take a shower. You may need space. Or you may just take another tablet.  Invasive History Syndrome has struck yet again.  However tough you may be, you may feel profoundly intimidated by its power and end up shaky – and fearful for next time. It is associated with guilt, abuse, PTSD, insecurity and inadequacy, eating and sleeping disorders, and depression – and can sometimes be a strong, usually negative, motivational driver of unwanted behaviours like anger and violence.

But IHS may not be overwhelming.  It may just appear above the surface like the Loch Ness Monster for a few minutes, and subside, leaving you wondering, without clarity or closure, awake at 4.00am. Where did THAT come from? Will it be back?

IHS can be treated. In fact it can be completely sorted for the most part. Gone. Finished. Most of the people who arrive in my client room come with IHS as a feature of their experience, and go away in charge of their life and future again.

No need to have your life distorted – however subtly – by your history invading the priceless quiet spaces of your day or night.

Call me. Together we make sure it doesn’t happen again.  My direct line is: 077-71-63-1945, or andrew@powerchange.com

I’m here to help,

Andrew.

PS:  IHS has an upside.  It can be an overwhelming sense of joy, profound excitement, a deep sense of love – anything that invades your thoughts triggered from a moment in your history and stops you in your tracks.

 

 

Supporting One Another

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Supporting one another.

Yesterday I was in Brighton.  It is a fantastic city, with just everything in it.  Including Hove.  And on the green down by the sea, close to Meeting Place Cafe, I stood entranced by six quiet gymnasts from Brighton Acro Yoga. (Yes, I know.)

I was fascinated as I watched them playing and practicing, happy for anyone who cared to stop and stare. I took a video and a pic or two, whilst allowing the sheer beauty of the moment to infiltrate my thoughts.

I loved the trust, the gentle collaboration, the humility of these kind people – so evident in what they were doing. The flow of movement, the occasional shakiness of the less experienced members as they held position and allowed their muscles (and trust) to develop and strengthen, the discrete coaching from the more experienced members and …

Isn’t being trustworthy and trusting just so important? It’s true these ultra-flexible fit women had little distance to fall (and I did notice one of them accidentally stood on someone’s face!) but they trusted their teachers as they guided them sensitively, asking for help and support as they needed it – and that trust resulted in a delicious flow from one well-stretched position to another with grace, skill and lots of self-control.

Learning to 'fly'?
Learning to ‘fly’?

Me? I engaged appreciatively with the process, spellbound from afar – a few short metres anyway – and allowed these artists to show me just what they can do. Then I decided to tell you about them. (Sadly these two iPhone pictures don’t do them justice, but I expect you’ll get the idea.)

Then I thanked God with a full heart that they can do it, even though I can’t.

Flexibility. Beauty. Trust. Humility. Flow.

I rode my Burgman 400 home asking myself…

“Who do I need to support so they can fly?”

I’ll support you if I can and you’d like me to – within the bounds of time and energy,, that is, and NOT with my feet!

Call me though.  Who knows?

Feel Like You are on a Lead?

The only reason, it seems to me, that we tame an animal is for our benefit. To have it work for us, feed us, entertain us, rescue us, protect us, guide us – or for use as a pet, a cuddly toy, or a plaything, or to bet on its performance. Of course we look after it and care for it, but it has no real choice.

‘Tamed’ is for animals …

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Feel like you are on a lead? Trapped? Tamed? That isn’t what you were designed for. (c)www.dailymail.co.uk

… NOT people. How many men and women do you know who have been tamed – by their wife, partner, husband, children, parents, boss, school, college, or professional body?

Tamed: Brought into line. Forced to comply. Bullied into submission.  “So break their spirit. Trick them into being controlled. Without them realising until it is too late.”

And there is always a plausible excuse: Order. Safety. Control. The Money.  “It’s for the best.”

How have you been tamed?
Emasculated. Enslaved. Indentured. Dehumanised. Handcuffed to a job, a way of life, a habit, a culture, a partner, a pay cheque, a trauma, a professional body, a thought pattern. Brought under control. Subject to the will, whim or pleasure of another. Tamed by greater power, physical violence, pain, fear, psychotherapeutic drugs, a court, money. Think about it.

In people, tame is not good. You were designed to be free, able to choose at least something of your destiny, without others interfering, limiting, cracking the whip, or writing an unnecessary prescription. Designed to be free, not impoverished or imprisoned, or chemically coshed.

Weakness tames us, whether caused by any of the above, or by poverty, ignorance, violence, shame, or injustice.

Powerchange, on the other hand does the opposite. The Powerchange team is here to strengthen, liberate, and educate you. To free you. Our therapeutic coaching moves people out of the grip of shame, injustice and life-taming drugs (however well-intentioned the prescription) and, yes, clients ARE shocked when they realise how straightforward it was to ‘come free’, and how staying free is not a burden.

If this blog echoes with you, if you have found yourself on a lead, living a tamed life, surrendered, snared or struggling to resist (or snarling behind the bars) then please call me. Call me on my Direct Access number: 07771631945, or email andrew@powerchange.com.     Let me help you find your hidden power.

And if you are free but have a friend or colleague who you suspect is being or has been tamed, whisper the word ‘Powerchange’ into their ear. Whisper it slowly “P-o-w-e-r-ch-a-n-g-e”and link us up – you’ll know how best to do that.

Victiming – do you do it?

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Triple amputee Corporal Matt Webb in the grounds of Headley Court. People here aren’t allowed to do ‘victiming’ for long.

You know how it happens. Someone does something that hurts you and sometimes really badly – whether accidentally or deliberately doesn’t really matter – and you ‘victim’.  I mean ‘victim’ as a verb not a noun and it means to play the victim role to ‘do’ victiming.  Here are some clear signs that you (or someone you know) is ‘victiming’ …

  1. Refusal to accept any responsibility for the accident (though it is rarely just one person’s fault)
  2. Practicing all your blame skills, hunting high and low for evidence that this was negligence on someone else’s part
  3. Self pity – feeling sorry for yourself and isolating yourself if possible
  4. Phoning a personal injury claims line or trying to get some other sort of compensation
  5. Taking unnecessary time off work on medical grounds
  6. Going to the doctor for stress medication
  7. Focusing your thoughts on the evident rewards of ‘being a victim’

Of course I’m not excusing bad behaviour towards others, but I AM suggesting that victiming is VERY bad for your health. Here are some reasons and an example.

1.  It keeps you psychologically weak. To stay a ‘victim’ you must constantly remember that you could and can do nothing about it. Don’t whatever you do, accept the faintest possibility that you’ll be fine.

2.  It closes down the potential new information a challenging or painful experience offers.  The vast majority of traumatic and challenging experiences can be turned into highly useful education opportunities. The person who has taken the good learning from a ‘bad’ experience will often tell you that they are truly glad it happened to them.  GLAD!  They wouldn’t want to NOT have had that bad experience.  They will offer all sorts of good things  –  it helped them mature, they learnt about themselves, they discovered strength and courage, they learnt about others, they became more aware of the world   …. loads.

3. Other people treat you with compassion and pity.  You are showing them how – by treating yourself like it.  And pity, particularly self-pity, is the last thing you need.  It is subtly demeaning just when you need the very opposite.

Here is an example.  In my role as a Powerchange coach, I once saw a woman on the TV who had had her face badly burnt – I believe it was from acid. Her face was healing and she had it protected by a piece of transparent plastic. She was clearly going through emotional hell – and had every reason to feel terrible. Eventually I got through to her personally and explained that I could reduce the emotional traumatic effect of the injury so that she would not be in such emotional pain and would be able to live a much more normal and healthy life.  She thought about this and a few days later got back to me:  She had talked to her counsellor and her lawyers, both of whom had said that her payout would be much less if she appeared in Court feeling better and less traumatised.  (Both her lawyers and counsellors of course had a vested financial interest in her staying as a victim.) The money said she must stay emotionally in pain at all costs.  At least until after the claim was finalised. Hopefully she has gone on to live a fulfilling and happy life. At the time I spoke to her she was ‘victiming’.

Last month someone else decided to wait for coaching for a similar reason.

Pain, both physical and emotional, is an important part of maturing as a person. The evidence is clear – those who renounce any ‘victiming’ behaviour and accept their circumstances as an initially unwelcome but powerful platform from which they can launch their new and different future do remarkably well, living emotionally strong, successful and satisfying lives.

Good on them.  If you’re victiming about something and want out, call me.

The Tiger.

What empowers you, gets you out of bed and into your day each morning?  

Passion? Yes, it helps.  Determination? Yes, that too.  Fear? Definitely, though I’d prefer to call it something else.  Ambition? It plays a part. Providing for the Family? For many. screenshot_495A vision? Often. Love? Sometimes. Money?  Hatred? Longing for Justice? Pride? Hunger?  Blatant self interest? 

Most people seem to be motivated by a mix of these and a million other motivators (as many as we have a word for), some pulling us forward, some pushing us from behind. We are driving TOWARDS one thing whilst actively trying to get AWAY FROM something else. Towards success, away from failure. Towards recognition, away from insignificance. Towards prosperity, away from poverty. Whole libraries have been written to support  one motivational theory or another. One thing seems clear. Whether we have noticed what it is or not, each of us is motivated by SOMETHING – three things – and it is better for everyone if they enhance our world rather than damage it.

Identify three motivators that energise you, and chose one for each of these categories:

My Public Motivator. It’s the one you tell people inspires you, and is likely to appear noble, good and admirable. It is rational, thought out, smells good and is suitably dressed.

My Private Motivator. The one that you suspect might be more honest, but wouldn’t want to admit to in public, or at least not beyond your circle of close trusted friends. It’s the one you are more likely to think about when you are standing alone naked in front of the mirror. 

My Secret Motivator. Not so easy, is it? This is the tiger that you’d prefer didn’t exist yet subtly controls your everyday life from its underground den. The one that you suspect is there but have screenshot_496managed to avoid discussing with yourself for fear it is too wild for you to control. You’ve kept well clear for years – banished – and successfully made the resulting gap a no-go area. 

Funnily enough, seeking out this apparent monster, freeing it from its exile and bringing it fully into your life completely transforms it from a source of terror to a source of power. It is unlikely that you’ll be able to do it alone. It is something that we do with our Powerchange clients in the gentle confidentiality of a specialist coaching appointment. Slowly the client meets and makes friends with the tiger and realises it’s strength is available for them to use. The unknown they feared is no more. They are empowered, more not less in control and as a consequence, can relax and, no longer under threat, can be more honest too. Much happier. Motivated at a much deeper level – by good things. 

How about discovering your Secret Motivator?  We’re here to help.

When you’d like to let the cat out of the bag, just let me know.

Andrew

coaching@powerchange.com 

The Storm

When was your last storm?

The morning after a violent Atlantic storm breaks on the West Coast of Ireland. I was in a tent for the night.

Not the kind that you buy your weatherproof Goretex jacket for, or watch through the lounge window. Not a physical storm like a typhoon or hurricane in the natural world, but a more personal storm that bubbles up from nowhere, comes at you unyielding and unrelenting from ‘across the sea’, or surprises you when you are vulnerable up on the mountain.  Not merely a rainy day, but a fierce seasonal storm.  Every year or so…  Loss. Bereavement. Fear. Failure. Disappointment. Catastrophe. Serious illness.

And how do you weather that storm? It’s an interesting question isn’t it. How did you weather your last one? (Please tell me briefly in the comment box below.)

I’ve experienced a good few storms in my time. In the last few months I’ve been through another inner storm. Today, as I sit in a bar on the South Bank of the Thames in London between seeing clients, it has thankfully blown itself out. The weather front has passed. Calm has returned. The sun is shining again. There is a little damage, sure, but not too much. I may need to do some repair work here and there, but it is manageable, and I’m now in a different place, for a storm can be the catalyst to a profound reorientation of life. In a good way. A veritable Powerchange!  Or not.

Here are six ways that people react to storms:

  1. Stand in a sheltered place and watch.
  2. Hide until someone tells you it’s over.
  3. Experience it ‘full on’, feeling its every bluster.
  4. Pretend it isn’t happening.
  5. Be afraid and/or try to escape.
  6. Resist until your strength is gone.

My methods seem to oscillate between 6 and 3. I hang on for as long as possible, determined to weather it or even overcome it(!) but such is the strength of the storms that seem to come my way (or maybe I’m not as strong as I expected) I finally lose my grip and am blown away by it, away from the familiar territory I’ve become accustomed to, out of my depth, tossed like an autumn leaf by the wind of this disturbing adversity. Sucked up into the air. And when the wind dies down and its power spent I discover that I’m some distance from where I was before the storm took hold of me. In a new place, a good place, with the storm having blown itself out, and the sun warming my tired storm-tossed body. With new, refreshed territory to survey that wasn’t ‘there’ before. Better?  Wiser?  Stronger.

And when I’ve rested awhile and my strength has returned, I discover that the storm has blown me in the direction I actually wanted to go. And I notice the footprints of the Kind Stranger. And I’m sort of …

Grateful.

PS. I’m running a personal development course called SEVEN in London over the winter – First Saturday of the month in Hammersmith>  Here’s the link for more info: SEVEN.   I’d love you to come, perhaps with a friend.  Call me: 07771631945.

Quitting the Fear Factory, Part 2

Remember Part 1 of Quitting The Fear Factory?  Click on the link to refresh your thinking – or enjoy it for the first time.

This is another dose!

In these traumatic days, when uncertainty needs to become a friend rather than an enemy, understanding HOW fear works might be useful, so here is part 2, in which we consider HOW those deep paralysing fears might get locked in.

Your Fear Factory is believed to be located in your amagdala, a part of your brain that operates the Fight Flight, Freeze and Faint (4F!)  mechanism of your life. It is a very powerful – and pretty crude – system that often misbehaves, causing you to fight, run away (or avoid in some other way) freeze up, and even faint, when you feel threatened deep within you. Like most things, its’s great to have it on your side and terrible to have it controlling you.

All of us experience fear (thank goodness, as it keeps us safe most of the time) but sometimes for most people, and constantly for some people, it works overtime, producing far more fear than you need. The secret is to control production in the factory.

Fear can be a very nasty invasive slave master, bringing a reign of tyranny into the life of anyone who submits to it.  Many people learn the power of fear at a very early age, perhaps by experiencing overwhelming fear, particularly in the early years (1-10), or living with a fearful person, or perhaps through some sort of traumatic experience. The owner of YOUR  fear factory is actually YOU, but if you don’t keep control of what goes on there, and allow it to run out of control, like a badly run explosives factory it may blow up in your face, – or terrify those who live near it. Before long the factory manager will turn against you and threaten you. It happens.

You may of course find yourself working in someone else’s fear factory, threatened by them.  Again, see Part 1.

Remember:

The Fear Factory needs to keep its employees from rational THINKING, paralysing them with an overload of fear. ANY fear will do. It can grow into a monster. Usually that happens by piling in every possible reason to fear and multiplying it.  It has the effect of cramming dozens of people in a lift so tightly that no one can reach the UP, DOWN, or more importantly, the OPEN DOOR button.  When I’m working with clients to break the Fear Factory’s power over them, I don’t even TRY to get into the lift. I press the Open Door button on the outside, and everything tumbles out.

Reasons people give in to fear:

  • I do not want to wake a sleeping dog
  • I have experienced significant pain for not conforming to fear regimes. I can’t go through that again.
  • I do not believe I have the capacity to win or even succeed.
  • I have learnt that pain comes from resistance.
  • This is justice – I deserve it.
  • I want to be the same as everyone else.
  • Any alternative is worse.
  • I’m reasonably successful here – carved a comfortable niche.
  • I like the people – they are weak like me.
  • It’s not possible to escape.
  • I don’t have to think.
  • This is my (fatalistic) lot in life.
  • I don’t have any choice.
  • People have tried to escape before and failed.
  • My parents would be offended if I left.
  • All my friends/supporters are here.
  • It gives me the basics.
  • I don’t have the energy/motivation to get out.
  • I’ve got some status here.

There is absolutely no need to live in tyranny any longer. There is a way out.  Call the Powerchange office on 01903 744399, or visit the www.powerchange.com website. We’ll press the right button.

As a professional psychological coach, I suspect that fears like this are a result of a communication problem in the brain, with lots of sensory input INTO the amygdala (dentritic activity), and not much OUT into the neocortex to be properly and rationally considered (axonic and synaptic activity), but I’ll leave the official neuro-scientists to check that out.  If it proves to be a right hypothesis, remember you read it here first!

The Kind Stranger. Chapter 2: The Second Encounter

Read the previous chapter? Then enjoy the second chapter of this amazing story…

It was the day after I met him that I first noticed a change. Now, as I think back, it is hardly surprising that it would affect my future life.  I had experienced something very special, and through the night I tossed and turned and wondered about it all. Was this really just a remote chance encounter, or was I missing something?   The Kind Stranger had singled me out for his attention. This was new to me – it had never happened before – well, not like this anyway. I didn’t know how significant it would be.

I felt both weakened and strengthened at the same time by that first encounter. It was the weakness that felt strangely good. My carefully constructed defences had softened. I had softened. I could sense myself more flexible, more open, and much more relaxed. For the first time in years I felt safer, stronger, in fact much stronger inside.

I decided to make a drink and sit down quietly. And that’s when I heard his voice again.

It felt so close, and it was not just in my head. It felt as if he was in the room with me, not physically, if you know what I mean, but definitely here. I put my drink down, and just sat, relaxed, attentive, waiting.

I know this sounds weird for a rational human adult, but to me it was as real as the chair, the drink, me sitting here, and I felt a wave of warm emotion as I heard the Kind Stranger’s voice again, as real as yesterday.

He was smiling still. You can tell when someone is smiling, can’t you. And this time his voice was quieter, more personal, almost intimate, but with that wholesome respect and trustworthiness I’d begun to associate with him. It wasn’t a whisper, just reassuringly quiet. Perhaps he knew I needed to hear him that way today.

“I said I’d come.” I heard him smile. “You can trust what I say.” How did he know that my trust in people was at a low ebb these days? “I’m here to remind you of the truth,” he said gently, “the truth about you.”

I wriggled a bit in my chair (I won’t admit to squirming!) and took a moment to settle myself. He waited. I took a deep breath, and as I relaxed he gently continued.

“From the moment you arrived on this earth as a human life until the moment you depart from it – and that includes now of course” (he smiled again) – “you have been, are, and forever will be of indescribable worth. The word I’d like to use is ‘priceless’. No amount of gold, diamonds, or any number of banknotes in any currency would compare with your worth.”

The Kind Stranger stopped for a moment to let his words sink in. They needed to. I had long doubted that I was worth anything much. Yet in his voice was a wonderful reliable confidence. He knew he was right, and in the deepest caverns of my soul I heard myself receive his words as truth for me. For the first time since I was a tiny child, I realised how valuable I really was. Priceless.

Overwhelmed, I felt my emotions well up. A single sigh, suppressed for so long within those deep echoey caverns, rose within me, and as I breathed it out, the doubt was gone. I knew the truth.

“I’ll be back soon.”  I think I may have felt his touch on my arm again as he left, though I could have imagined that.

I sat awhile, comfortably alone and at peace, consciously and unconsciously surrendering each part of my life to what he had told me. It would change everything.

Watch the video of Chapter 2 .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1i9AjJCXI_Q

Confident with the future? Try “Pre-retrospection”!

A year or so ago I developed a process for re-evaluating your whole life – even the life you haven’t lived yet!

Max is quick off the mark as usual.
Max is quick off the mark as usual.

I use it with clients who need reassurance of their decision-making processes, and people who are frightened to make a decision in case they miss something better (and as a result they make no decision and are stuck once more with the status quo.)  I used it last week when working with a business consultant in London and as usual it came up trumps.   I call it ‘Pre-retrospection’, and it is a way of looking back on your life from the end of it – as if it has been lived already – and noticing what you did, and how you did it.  It has a clever way of accessing what you think is true at a very deep level; it comes up with some hugely insightful information about the inner you – and is amazingly releasing.

Of course it is psychological tool and as such needs to be used wisely, preferably with someone who knows what they’re doing. It  has huge power and is a relaxing and enjoyable exercise.

I’m often with clients who come to me because they are stuck.  Fear is a normal part of life, but when fear starts to dominate, it reduces life to worse than a chore, with very little joy in it. Pre-retrospection is a great key to unlocking that fear, and clients enjoy life again, launching themselves into the future with confidence and assurance, just as my business consultant client did.  He sat in his chair after this exercise (it involves walking around and talking to yourself!) and told me how amazing he felt and what a good coach I was! (Nothing like a bit of praise for a good job done to make you feel good, eh?)?  Try “Pre-retrospection” – it’s all in the word> Retrospection: to look back.  Pre: before it has happened.  To look back before it as happened, but as if it HAS happened. (If I were a meercat I’d have a word for that: Simples.)

Want to try some?  You know what to do. (I’m sure my email address must be on this page somewhere!)