Posts Tagged ‘family’

Auntie Doreen’s 90th birthday party

Friday, February 16th, 2018 | Family & Parenting

A few weeks ago, we attended my Auntie Doreen’s 90th birthday party. It was an afternoon tea at a working men’s club. It’s not a venue that would have struck me as being good at afternoon tea.

Yet, ironically, they can serve a decent afternoon tea. What they can’t do, is serve decent beer or properly mixed coke. But who needs such things when you have high-quality cake.

Venla had a giraffe of a time. That’s like a whale of a time, except she was on a giraffe.

Gran’s 90th birthday

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 | Family & Parenting

Last month, we celebrated my Gran’s 90th birthday with a family party. Much like the family party we had two years ago, we were once again blessed with good weather. And excellent company, of course.

How to write a good eulogy

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017 | Public Speaking

Writing the perfect eulogy is a tough business, especially when you want to do justice to a loved one. These tips will help guide you in the delicate task.

Writing and delivering a eulogy is rarely a pleasant thing to do. However, when you are called upon to do it, chances are you will want to do the best job you can do in honouring the loved one you have lost. You rarely get extended notice, so it is best to be prepared. Here are some tips.

It’s not a biography

The structure of a eulogy will typically talk through a person’s life. This is a good guide for how to lay out your speech. However, it is important to remember that it is not a biography. Everyone at the funeral is likely to have known the person and their life story, so there is no benefit in parroting it back to them. Instead, you should concentrate on distilling the essence of their personality. Pick out a few bits to talk about that really show what kind of person they were.

Unless they were a complete bastard, in which case you should show a mix of their personality. There is no point denying their faults but focus on their good points also.

Use humour

At my public speaking club, I’m noted for adding humour to any situation. In fact, I used to joke that I thought it was always appropriate, though I hadn’t had a eulogy to try it out at yet. That was years ago, and now I have had a eulogy to try it out at, and still stick by my conviction.

Humour is a wonderful tool for keeping people engaged and breaking the tension. it can bring the mood of a room right up. You might think that a funeral is not the place for a eulogy, but I could not disagree more. You need to use humour to lighten the mood not just in spite of it being a funeral, but because of it. You want to leave attendees with a positive memory of the deceased, not a solemn downcast version.

Tell stories

This goes for any speech, ever. Stories have an emotional attachment. People will quickly forget what you said, but how you made them feel will stick around much longer. Humans love stories. So skip the boring details and lay out your speech out hopping from story to story.

If another member of the family has a lovely story about the deceased, invite them up to give it.

This is what Valentine’s Day looks like when you have a baby

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017 | Family & Parenting

Some people’s day will start with breakfast in bed. In the Worfolk household, this is true also. Venla will be having her breakfast in bed. Our bed, not her own.

As a special Valentine’s Day treat, we may both shower.

Upon returning home, gifts will be exchanged. One gift. Elina will hand me a baby and go for a nap.

Finally, at the end of the day, we will collapse into bed exhausted. But not embracing, because that would wake up the baby.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

A birthday shout-out

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016 | Family & Parenting

I would like to take this opportunity to wish my mum a very happy birthday. She is 60 today.

We currently have four generations of Worfolk women on the go, running from Venla at 3 months old, to my gran, who turns 90 next year. We have it lined up quite well: I turned 30 earlier this year and, assuming I survive that long, will be turning 60 just after Venla turns 30.

30th birthday

Monday, November 14th, 2016 | Life

miller-and-carter-platter

Given that Venla was due to arrive a few weeks before, I knew my 30th birthday was probably going to be a busy one. We started by going to register Venla so she could be a real human being, officially.

For lunch, we dropped by Miller & Carter. They have a starter platter containing fish, chicken and duck, then we had steak, with a bacon and honey mustard salad. I think that makes five animals. Finally we finished off with my parents for dinner and seeing family. Not a bad way to spend a day.

Baby Worfolk

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016 | Family & Parenting

elina-jnr

It’s a girl!

The Village Effect

Monday, August 22nd, 2016 | Books

How important is face-to-face contact? In her book The Village Effect, Susan Pinker argues it is super important. In almost every key aspect of our lives, strong social ties play a large role.

Longevity for one. Pinker shows that strong social ties have one of the strongest effects on life expectancy, bigger than almost any other factor. She discusses the villages of Sardinia where a strong sense of family and relationships help record numbers of people reach the age of 100. Interestingly, these stronger social ties not only help people live longer but also reduce the gender gap.

The differences in social ties can also explain other differences between gender. Men tend to have a wider less-intimate social network while women have fewer but closer friends. On average this benefits men more in things like the workplace as high-paid jobs are often gained through a weak connection. However, in terms of longevity it gives women the advantage because they have more people to confide men. Men on the other hand often only have one person, their spouse, and therefore nobody should their spouse die.

Having plenty of social relationships is important then, but it also turns out that they need to be face-to-face. Otherwise, no oxytocin release for you. Unfortunately spending time socialising online actually reduces face-to-face contact. The number of personal emails somebody sends directly correlates with depression.

Strengthening your intimate social connections has a large benefit. For example, getting married. I assumed that cohabiting was just as good as getting married. It’s not. People who choose to get married (marrying for family pressure does not count) live longer than unmarried people. Being in a marriage reduces your chance of cancer, depression, hospitalisation, premature death and prison.

In the workplace, increased social connections can bring benefits too. Call centres used to schedule people’s breaks at different times. What happened when they aligned people’s breaks so they had 15 minutes to chat to each other? Productivity and team work went up by a significant amount. In contrast, remote working has a negative effect on integration and cohesiveness.

Pinker suggests that being loneliness is a lot like being hungry. It causes you to feel actual pain. This is because we evolved in a world where we needed to stick together. Being excluded from the clan was a death sentence. So, just as being hunger-pain is a sign you need to get some food, loneliness-pain is a sign you are in danger of losing the group. We fear exclusion and people talking behind our back because we are tuned by evolution to fear exclusion.

What message should we take away? That social connections are really important If you want to live a long and happy life (and surely all of us want at least one of those) then having strong social connections is key. Spend time with people, and make sure that time is spent face-to-face.

the-village-effect

P.S. If you are wondering if Susan is any relation to Steven Pinker, the answer is yes, they’re siblings. Anything that comes out of the Pinker family seems to be an amazing read.

Joan Rankin, 1925-2016

Sunday, August 7th, 2016 | Family & Parenting

grandma

Here’s to 90 years well-lived. We will miss you, Grandma. We all love you so much.

Family Mother’s Day

Friday, March 11th, 2016 | Life

diane-family-mothers-day

How did my mum spend Mother’s Day this year? Mostly in the kitchen, cooking.

What can I say, she is a Worfolk, you can’t make her relax. We had family visiting from Canada, so a family party was in order. We did our best to help: my sister made breakfast and a pavlova, and I contributed a cheesecake and a tray of cup cakes, but there is only so much cooking we were allowed to do!

After the food we got together for a group photo.