Deflated and demotivated, I struggled to do anything productive today.

When my mood is low, and only Come Dine with Me for company, a walk can be a great idea. Just ask my dog, Russell, or any dog; say the word Walkies and he’s up and searching for his lead and tennis ball, tail wagging and a visible smile on his cute little face.

The idea was to get some exercise for us both, to clear my head and return with more determination to get on with what has to be done and what really can’t be put off.


Walking with Russell, I saw a man sitting on a park bench; he was enjoying the view over London and the sun that has come to visit after an extended absence from our skies.


I threw Russell’s tennis ball and the next thing I see is a second Jack Russell appear from beneath the bench and run to steal the toy.

Both myself and the man laughed and shared in the joy of these two similar creatures as they made friends.

I sat down beside the man and very quickly the conversation turned to his 4 months of serious health problems. He’d felt under the weather, as he put it, and on New Years Day he asked his wife to call the doctors surgery to see if he could get some antibiotics.

The doctor said that she would prefer to come and visit and after a few simple tests, within minutes, an ambulance was called.

He arrived at the hospital and was immediately admitted into Intensive Care. In and out of consciousness, he awoke to always find a friendly nurse by his bedside.

“Why are you doing this for me, I’m 79?!” he asked her.

“It’s what we do,” was her simple response.

It was Meningitis, the man told me. Doctors had said that if he’d left it even an hour longer, he could easily have died.

Two months in hospital and a month at home, unable to walk or do very much at all for himself, he slowly struggled to gain strength and now, here he was walking in the park with Midge, his son’s Jack Russell.

He repeatedly stressed how lucky he was, that he’d heard of much worse cases and that he felt more fortunate than many of the others who shared his hospital ward.

A short interaction with this man, whose name is Ray, certainly was more significant than you or I may have assumed it could have been.

I don’t know what you believe but I always look for the message that each interaction brings. There are no accidental encounters.

I needed to clear my head and I have been blessed to not just clear it but to have met a man who has, perhaps unknowingly, helped me to put things into perspective.

Life is precious and we should live every moment with purpose, even if that purpose is to walk the dog and talk to a stranger.



About neverblendin

David Watters, a graduate of Napier University, Edinburgh, Trinity College of Music, London and the Institute of Education, University of London, has worked internationally within education and Educational Management for more than 20 years. He has taught extensively within many socially and culturally diverse settings; most recently as a Head of Performing Arts within Further Education. He is a personal and professional development associate with The Pacific Institute (www.pacificinstitute.co.uk), personal coach, freelance writer and founding member of NBI Associates. He is a writer on social equality issues, is a key player in the Equal Love Campaign UK and author of the forthcoming book, NEVER BLEND IN which features key voices from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community and which aims to inspire and encourage those who may lack self-esteem or who question their validity. David is currently promoting a youtube campaign"Give 'em Hope"and is asking individuals, couples and groups to make and share videos telling about the benefits of living with personal authenticity. He has shared a platform with Stuart Milk and Peter Tatchell and is a supporter of 17-24-30, The Trevor Project, Schools Out, The Terrence Higgins Trust, The Albert Kennedy Trust and numerous others. His background in arts and education, combined with a solid understanding of Cognitive Behavioural Strategies, and his passion for Equality Advocacy drive every aspect of his work as a personal development facilitator, motivational speaker and writer. View all posts by neverblendin

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