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Saved by a RED Balloon

Pip Reid
Pip Reid
Jul 16, 2016 · 5 min read

I used to dream a lot for once I was a child. I used to dream I could fly. I thought I had forgotten how to dream, until recently when I was saved by a red balloon.

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I had been having trouble sleeping and turning off my brain and thoughts for some months. Counting sheep didn’t work (it probably should have growing up on a sheep grazing property), neither did a number of other things, then an interesting thing happened — I thought of balloons, I made myself repeat the word “balloons” over and over…weird, but for some unknown reason I was able to relax and fall asleep.

A month later I met someone — I bought a book from this person — he was the author. I was halfway through reading this book, when one morning I looked down on the closed book, and saw on the cover were red balloons.

I believe things happen for a reason — they don’t happen by accident. This person has reminded me to revisit what I had previously started and for that I am truly thankful.

The more that you read, the more you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. (Dr Seuss)

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A scarlet thread has twisted and run through the skein of my life breaking through the fabric of my existence on a number of occasions, no more so than whilst living in Beijing for 15 months. The impact of this experience resonates both in my written and artistic endeavours (unpublished Blogs!).

Some images are powerful. We also meet one or two people in our lives who inspire us and who leave an indelible mark on our lives. I have been lucky enough to meet one or two of these people, one is no longer with us, but she still continues to affect me — Mati is the grandmother I never had and I will love her till the end of time.

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When I was living in the UK as an expat a few years back, my elder daughter, Clöe (and yes this is the correct spelling of her name) came over and had a couple of weeks with my husband and me — one weekend when we were driving through Kent — we were driving passed a field of wheat. As is normal for me, I asked my daughter if I could take her photo (in front of the wheat) — a mother can never have enough photos of her children!

As I lined Clöe up in my view finder I saw just to the side of her a single red poppy in this field of wheat — one of the most beautiful images I have ever seen. I am an accidental artist (having ‘found’ art through calligraphy whilst living as an expat in Beijing), and I recreated this image in an abstract form on canvas “a single red poppy in a field of wheat” a couple of years later.

This painting of mine has been a favourite of many and one which I have not been able to part with. They say everyone and everything has a price — well this painting is priceless, and it will always belong to Clöe (if she reads this blog this will be her first knowledge of this).

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Two completely different organisations — two different job offers. I asked in my interview the question “is the Principal approachable” (and no I had not returned to the school yard, well perhaps in the metaphorical sense) and received a round-about answer which really should have been a resounding “no”. So why did I take this job?

The staff were all disillusioned, there was a history of high staff turnover and my role had a history of being the scapegoat for blame (another blog).

Was this a test…or a lesson I ask???

The team were largely Gen Y, a generation known for not sticking around if the circumstances are distasteful or don’t give them what they want. So why did they stay? I set about creating a series of weekly team sessions which included a PowerPoint presentation, firstly to improve morale and secondly make these great people the best they could be. They learned to be a TEAM and live in the moment — I learned the moment is only temporary.

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Calligraphy

And so ends my first Blog, well actually it’s not my first — my first was after having arrived in Beijing (to live for 15 months) and learning the art of dealing with ‘the Beijing taxi driver’, but this is my first blog on such a public forum.

Make every mark count (artist) and make every word count (author). I have finished my first book — soon to be edited and published. I will keep you all posted.

Thank you for taking the time to read my Blog and for being part of my journey

Do YOU dream?
Are YOU at a cross-road in YOUR life?

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