Sunday, 25 March 2018

Sunshine Islands - This week - Exploring Malta.

"Another day, another place, another island

What is it that draws us to the islands with their varied history, cultures, and geographical interests? Is it because we are from an island race? Whatever – we are drawn."


a"In the southern region of Malta, Qormi is known by its title Citta Pinto. It is the fifth largest city of Malta and has two Parishes – the Parish of St. George and the second one the Parish of St. Sebastian. My Maltese friend/colleague who shared this information, was

born, lived, and was married in Qormi.

The first part of today’s adventure was a visit to a typical farmhouse and a talk about the island. The farmhouse was not like any that we had seen before. The rooms were built around a central courtyard. Many archways led to the rooms within; the upper story was surrounded by a balcony running all around, from which hung a variety of greenery. The courtyard was laid out with long tables set out for our refreshments. As the courtyard was open to the elements, everywhere was a pleasant feeling of light and air.
Photo of a Craft Centre in Malta

After making an orderly queue to collect a cup of tea and typical Maltese cake that was set out on long tables, everyone found a seat to rest and enjoy the forthcoming talk on the area. This included how people lived and make a living from the wines and crafts made there. Afterwards, our route out to the coach took us – naturally – through the inevitable shop that sold all manner of goods including wine. We then went on to visit the Ta' Qali Craft Centre where the famous Mdina Glass is made. . ."

Around St. Julian’s Bay.

A view of the colourful St Julian's Bay. Malta"St. Julian’s Bay on the north coast of Malta, is the larger bay enhanced by smaller bays that follow the contours of the coastline. We were based at the tip of Spinola Bay with the sights and sounds of Sliema in front of us. Later that afternoon I continued recording.
‘There are quite a few boats on the horizon. I am not sure if you can see them from here [on the film].’
I was then able to capture St. Julian’s Tower that sits at the tip of land jutting out from Sliema and the many tall buildings that line the shore. Beyond that, the sailors taking advantage of the sunshine and coolness out on the water as they sailed their yachts in full sail. Of course, not everyone was so energetic. Many sleek motor launches and yachts were still sleeping peacefully. One boat was towing a smaller one behind, no doubt for getting closer to shore. As it was the middle of a major football tournament – don’t expect me to know what it was or who was playing – there was a lot of cheering across the bay that even my family could hear when I telephoned them later. . ."

An excerpt from Island Interludes: Just Us Two Escape to the Sun. Available in paperback, glossy hardcover and digital formats worldwide for most devices.


Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Sunshine Islands - Sicily

Sicily is that wonderfully romantic and mysterious  island sitting at the foot of Italy.

Photo of the coastline of Sicily from TaorminaThe ancient Greek city of Taormina, perched on the hillside overlooking the sea holds a special place in our hearts.
"Reaching the town, it was easy to see how it was built on the mountainside, such was the sheer drop. Taormina is blessed with a glorious jumbled profusion of elegant shops, ancient churches and buildings, many restaurants, narrow streets where you can see glimpses of the sea in the distance, and a huge, wide piazza perched on the edge of the mountain...

Suddenly, the sun took off its hat and the rain came down; we were amused to see the stallholders putting away sun hats and quickly wheel out one of umbrellas. Needless to say, they did a roaring trade as we purchased our umbrella of choice.

Wandering through the arches into the vast expanse of the curved Greek Theatre we unexpectedly found that there was an abundance of orange trees growing and flowering in the sunshine which ripened the oranges nestling among the deep green leaves. From the Greek Theatre, the eye follows a line down a clear view to Giardini Naxos sitting in the
curve of the bay far below. Sheltering under our umbrella, we explored at will. The narrow, low tunnels in the ruins led to small rooms and passages where stone benches were engraved in Greek lettering. What was amazing also was to find words scratched into some of the bricks. Were these the names of the bricklayers who toiled in the Sicilian heat? Or were they simply the names of the streets or area in which we stood?"

Allen was fascinated by a loose brick in the walls of the archway to the theatre which was
Photo of an archway in the Greek Theatre Taormina Sicily
built many years BC. The bricks were red, long, and thin and he [Allen] had a high old time examining and exploring all facets of the brick which he patiently and enthusiastically explained to me He placed his fingers in the finger imprints of that long ago Greek bricklayer and was awed. The brick had finger prints in it where the bricklayer – no doubt in dress/costume of the time of a short tunic – had picked it up before it was quite dry. . .
‘Are you sure that you weren’t here two thousand years ago, making bricks?’ I cheekily queried.
‘They weren’t quite dry.’ Laughingly, he carefully placed the brick back into the wall of the arch.

By now the soft, gentle rain had stopped as quickly as it had started and we were able to appreciate even more the sense of timelessness as we gazed around the curve of this great amphitheatre slumbering in the sunshine. . ."

Author note: All photographs are from the authors own personal collection. Not all the photographs shown in the articles are displayed in the book. 


Tuesday, 13 March 2018

A Flavour of Sunshine Islands.

Tenerife. El Teide and Masca Valley. An Excerpt from Island Interludes.

"Turning off the main road to the Roques de Garcia, the most astounding rock formations left from  an eruption took away our breath. Essentially, these rock formations were in a crater, the sides of which had eroded away in places to leave the unique and fantastically shaped towering rock formations of a glowing, deep, rust colour." 
"Nearing lunch-time, we stopped at the charming coastal village of Chio where the owners of El Rancho were waiting for us with a simple lunch of soup or Spanish omelette, bread, wine or water, and coffee or tea. Chio is near the village of GuiĆ” de Isora and was on our way to the Masca Valley. The restaurant was bedecked in heavily flowering bougainvillea on the terrace. Potted plants abounded while others contrasted with the white walls and the rustic feel presented to the onlooker." Moving on, we headed towards the Masca Valley and the towering Teno Massif which dominates every twist and turn of the switchback road that first climbed high before flowing down into the valley. We were now in the north of the island. La Palma was still visible against the clear blue sky as it nestled on its bed of cotton wool-like clouds." Excerpt from Island Interludes: Just Us Two Escape to the Sun.  Illustrated with twenty-five photographs and five maps. In colour in the eBooks.(Photos in this post are extras)                                  
ISBN 9781908302434 PB. Paperback, hardback, and eBook.                                                     Rosalie Marsh.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Building on Feedback.

As promised in my last post, we will now look how you can build on the positive aspects and improve on the more negative aspects of that feedback.

Everyone to take responsibility or ownership of their own learning and development. How?
In a staff development/mentoring session - or on your own - look at the process of professional development. 
Conduct a personal audit to develop a personal development plan. This will include: 
  • Where am I now? 
  • Where do I want to be in 1/5/10 years time? 
  • What do I need to do to achieve this?
In an individual one-to-one session discuss: 
  • A personal development plan. 
  • Look at your job description. 
  • Develop a learning plan by carrying out a SWOT Analysis. 
  • Develop an overall action plan, making sure that there are clear dates and targets for the achievement of objectives. 
  • Agree this - both employee/learner and manager/mentor.
  • What Resources will you need?: 
You will need Access and Support. How? 
  • Will you attend a taught programme or will it be through open and distance learning? 
  • Will it be paper-based or online?
Support. We all need support and it is an essential ingredient on your road to improvement and success. 
"Think about what kind of support you will need.
  • Will your family take over some of your household chores while you study? 
  • Can you free up some study space? 
  • It is important that you have somewhere, even if just a corner in the kitchen, where you can study undisturbed and keep your work clean and presentable."  
(Excerpts from Release Your Potential: Making Sense of Personal and Professional Development. Rosalie Marsh 2011.) Print ISBN 9781908302083 eBook Kindle 9781908302052 ePub.9781908302274.
View the full article on Linkedin.

A video introduction to "Release Your Potential" on You Tube


Thursday, 8 March 2018

Using Feedback to Improve and Succeed

Three Linkedin Articles Discussing the Topic of Feedback.

Week One. Dealing with Feedback. Giving Feedback - the Rules

A plus, minus, plus sign to equal a smile

Week Two. Feedback: Formal and Informal Feedback.

Two speech circles out of a head with the words formal and informal.

Week Three: Post Feedback: How do I Improve?

Image of the words Post Feedback with an image of people getting better

Tomorrow, we will conclude this Linkedin series with a look at how an effective learning and development strategy. This can be a personal one or one that you develop for your organization.

Above all: Take Control of your own Learning and Development.