Never Fail a Diet and Exercise Program Again – Lose That Weight

Why do so many diets and fitness program send up in failure? What causes such an alarming rate? Is the program at fault?Obesity is growing at an alarming rate. Thousands of people are making big plans to change their lifestyle. Diet plans are purchased Gym memberships paid for and yet within a couple of weeks they have given up on both the diet and exercise program! Yes they may not have cancelled the gym membership yet, as they mean to start exercising again soon, maybe!So What Exactly Goes Wrong?Why do so many people quit early on? It makes people believe that it is just not worthwhile dieting as they are doomed not to succeed. One of the main reasons for diets failing is because people expect to see results, ‘Fast’. They almost expect to miss a couple of meals and ‘Hey Presto’ as if by magic all of the weight will have miraculously gone.People have come to expect instant results, a magic pill maybe. The problem is that there are no magic pills available as yet. Not seeing a diet through to its conclusion will result in the diet failing, even worse most people pile the extra pounds on.MOTIVATION and common sense are needed to get results. Motivation that lasts, you have to have the right mindset. The right approach, the willpower.Once you realize this and work on your motivation problems first you are more likely to reach your goals and your health and fitness lifestyle will be in the past. You have the motivation, deep inside you. You can do it. Maybe your family or friends will support you and cheer you on. This will help increase your motivation.So when you hear of people failing with their diets and exercise programs, realize that it is not the program that is failing them. They are failing. Their motivation has failed them.Motivation and Staying The CourseIt is most likely that your motivation will be the deciding factor in your diet. You have to stay focused determined and motivated to the end. Getting support from family, friends and professionals will all help to keep you motivated but, at the end it really is up to you to change your lifestyle around.If you are overweight or clinically obese and wanting to shed the weight, you have to take responsibility and stick to, ‘The Plan’. Eat the right diet, do not snack and follow a good exercise routine. You will also need a good eight hours of sleep each and every day as well.Try keeping your mind focused on the desired end result. Believe in yourself. Believe that you can do it. Think about the end results and how you will feel when you achieve your goal. Your efforts won’t seem as difficult then. It will be easier to stay motivated and focused on your goals if you start thinking like this. Become the person that you have always wanted to be. Succeed with your diet and you will probably find a more confident you waiting at the end. A person that knows that they can finish what they started. They can reach their goals.Choose a Diet And Exercise Program That Suits You.Do not just jump into a diet program blindfolded. Make sure to choose the right program as this will give you a huge advantage of reaching your goals.The health and fitness industry have become saturated with weight loss programs, some good, some bad. The reason for this is because so many people are lacking the determination and fail miserably only to end up blaming the program. They then move on to the next diet program expecting an, ‘Easy Fix’ and yes the same thing happens. Without the right mindset and the continued motivation people end up purchasing diet plan after diet plan. The diet industry is not going to let you into their secret. They do not want you to realize that it is you that is lacking the determination, the willpower to succeed, the hunger, the motivation. Yes it is a hard slog but it is worth it. You know that. Trouble is, the diet industry wants to sell diets and sell diets they will. Thousands and thousands of pounds are being spent and if you are not careful, you will end up in this never ending vicious circle that is probably helping you to gain even more weight!It can become complicated to find a diet and exercise plan that suits you. Researching for a viable dieting program that will help you reach your weight loss and fitness goals can take a time as there are so many available.There are so many self confessed, ‘Experts’ out there that will lead you to dieting products that they know nothing about. They only know that they will receive a commission if they sell it!One of the best things to do is to make sure that you research exactly what type of diet it is and does the exercise program suit you.If you have any health problems or are obese you really do need to get sound advice from a doctor. He will may well be able to suggest a plan that will not only be good for you but, safe to follow!Your local library might be able to help. They have dieting and exercise books on their shelves and if you take my tip, you will walk to the library if it is close enough and you are able to. This will be good exercise for you.Researching both on and off line will give you a good idea of what to expect from a diet and workout plan. Remember do not let it scare you and stay motivated.Online forums are a great place. You can talk to like minded people and get the support that you need to succeed. People will also be able to explain what diets they have tried and maybe recommend one. Be careful though. Some of the people on there are not after losing weight, they are simply there to peddle diet books that they are affiliated to! Most of them know nothing about the diet and have not tried it out for themselves. So be forewarned, stay diligent and do your homework. Do not just accept the advice off the first person that you interact with. Make a note and research the product further if possible.Try and find out exactly what it takes to achieve your goals using the each program that you are researching. Think about what you will have to do, how much time you will have to devote, whether you are capable of doing what is expected of you, what equipment will you be expected to use, what kind of results should you expect and how soon can you expect results. Answering these questions will help you to decide on the right diet and exercise program for you. One that has a better chance of succeeding, all you need to do is add yourself, your motivation and determination. Speaking with a qualified person will help to steer you in the right direction but again, don’t let their enthusiasm steer you in the wrong direction. The diet and exercise program may well be a great one but, if it includes foods that you do not like and exercises that you just can’t do, then its’ going to be useless for you. You are doomed before you start. So research, research and then have a good think about all of the programs benefits and minuses before making your final choice.Easy Does It!Do not rush into your new exercise program and overdo it. You will probably end up in pain or worse, you might injure yourself. You need to start at a slow pace. ‘Take it Easy’ and work your way up slowly over a few days or a couple of weeks maybe.As your fitness levels increase along with your confidence you will soon be able to complete a full workout. Take advise from staff at the gym if possible. They are the experts. They are trained, so that they can offer good advice, so take note of it.Work your way up to each level is the best way. Maybe you should start with a brisk walk for 20 to 30 minutes on your first day. Each week you can add five minutes to this until you reach your 1 hour bench mark. Starting at too difficult of a level will leave you believing that you can’t make it, that you can’t reach your goals. You will soon give up. So do not make the mistake of overdoing it.The same goes for your diet as well. Don’t give up all of your favorite foods all at once. As this is liable to depress you and will cause massive cravings for unhealthy foods. Depression will also hinder your weight loss plan as when you are depressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. This hormone is known as the stress hormone and will weaken your body and mind. This hormone could well dampen your enthusiasm and you will help you to give up your plan sooner.You could start by treating yourself with a few of the unhealthy foods that you currently enjoy eating. Then slowly give one up each week until you end up with only your healthy diet remaining. Even if you are eating a perfectly strict diet, you should still treat yourself with one meal that you enjoy each week. We like to call it a treat meal. It is your treat, your reward for sticking to your diet and will give you something to look forward to.You need to ease yourself into your new long term fitness program, you shouldn’t start drastically all at once. Start slowly and continually build up momentum. Soon your body will adapt and you will be able to perform the tougher workouts and adhere to the new size portions that your diet demands. This will help you to stay on the course and will not shock your body to its’ core.Do not expect to simply lose fat from the areas that you want. You will most likely lose fat slowly and evenly from all over your body. Many people are under the illusion that focusing their exercise on a particular part of their body will cause all of the weight to come of from that ‘Spot’. This is not true.I have seen males doing hundreds of crunches, concentrating on their ‘Six Pack’ day after day. Hour after hour in the hope that they will end up with a well sculpted ‘Six Pack’. Not so, you can Crunch none stop for 24 hours per day and it simply will not happen. Not until you have got your overall body fat down to around 10% or less. Try telling them, they won’t listen.Make sure that you realise this and simply focus on other techniques that will help to burn the fat quicker. If you really want to look good in your swimwear you will need to concentrate on burning the fat and building lean muscle. Dieting without exercising may help you to lose weight but it gets rid of lean muscle as well as fat. The biggest problem with this is that when you stop dieting you will start to put weight on. This weight is all fat and not muscle. So you have lost good lean muscle only to end up replacing it with fat!It can be a good thing to concentrate on different parts of your body each day. This will allow you to work out different parts of your body that have not had much exercise for a few days. This will allow parts of your body to rest whilst you are still exercising another part of your body!It is so easy to overwork yourself and find that you are barely able to move the next day. This will cause you to quit your fitness program. Take it slow and avoid this problem. Realise that this is not the fault of the program it is the way that you have chosen to approach it.Friends and FamilyKeeping yourself motivated is the best way of ensuring that you stick with your chosen fitness program. What better way than getting a member of your family or a friend to join the gym and follow your fitness program as well.Failing this you can make friends at the gymnasium. This way your new friend is already working out at the gym and much more likely to keep going, if they have already been a member for a reasonable time. This will increase your motivation and help you to focus even more on your exercise program.If you exercise on your own you are more liable to get bored and disillusioned. Whereas working out with friends will encourage a bit of healthy competition. See who can lose the most weight and be accountable to each other. You won’t want to let your partner down and will find that you look forward to exercising with your friend/s.Try and get your friends involved with your diet plan. Create a Buzz an interest and they will help to push you towards your goal. Do not worry if your friends want to mock you at first. This will still help you as long as you take their mockery in the right spirit. Use their teasing to build a raging fire inside you that makes you want to prove them wrong. Your friends will be keeping you motivated even when they don’t realize that they are doing it.You will find that whilst you are around your friends you will put off eating the wrong foods and will want to further impress them with your diet.Believe me friends can be a tremendous help when it comes to sticking to an exercise program. They help create a feeling in you that makes you want to stay with your health program even if they don’t comment on it.Measuring SuccessKeep a record of your results and how you have progressed as this will help to keep you highly motivated. Even if the results are minimal it will let you see that you are one step closer to attaining your goals and are becoming the person that you want to be.Measure yourself at the beginning of a workout. Weigh yourself and work out your BMI. How far can you run before tiring? This will keep you up to date with how you are benefiting with your new lifestyle.It will excite and motivate you if you can actually measure the benefits of your diet and fitness plan. You will not notice results each and every week. As time goes by and you lose weight it will slow down and eventually seem as though your weight loss has come to a standstill.Treat yourself as a reward, this will help to keep you on track and motivated. Healthy treats will be best. You could reward yourself with a trip when you have lost a certain weight. Especially if it is a walking trip or includes some form of exercise.Do not treat yourself with food. This could be disastrous, people often think of food when a treat is mentioned. Usually a unhealthy food treat. You need to distance yourself as far as possible from unhealthy food and try to stop thinking about it.Looking in the mirror at a new you will soon have you motivated and you will be able to congratulate yourself. Taking photos will allow you to see how you look at different stages of your diet. You will soon realize that you are well on your way to reaching your goals.A new smaller outfit will soon be needed and maybe a pair of jeans. This will keep your motivation all fired up. You will soon want to push even harder to reach your goals. Just make sure that you do not push too hard. Remember build on the pace slowly.Of course you will have days when you feel a little down, ‘You can’t go on’! This is where your Motivation should kick in. Get down the gym and use your motivation to Motivate, Motivate you!Most people do not stop exercising at the gym because it is to hard, they quit because they simply do not want to go to the gym. They can’t be bothered. Skip one day and you will skip another. Do not do it. Drag yourself down to the gym and complete those set exercises. You will feel better once you are there. You have got to break a lifelong habit. Make it your habit to exercise.You will find that if you drag yourself down to the gym that you will probably end up d=completing a full workout and you will feel better within yourself. “Go on You can do it”!Fitness Program FailureMany people feel that the fitness program that they are following won’t work. They feel that maybe they will not attain the results that they want. These feelings can easily get you to give up your goals if you let them. You need to take a positive approach to your exercise program. Keep your mind focused on all of the benefits that your exercise program offers you. Giving up now will make it easier to give up next time. You will probably find yourself blaming the program and not yourself. Do not go down this road otherwise you may find yourself stuck with the belief that these programs do not work.Just think about the benefits. The sexier body, the healthier heart and your improved physical status. This will help to keep you motivated all the way to the end.You will find that a healthier you will have more confidence and you will begin to feel less lethargic. You will find that you can spend more quality time with people around you. Wouldn’t you like to see your children grow up. Even play a larger part in their life and maybe their children’s (Your Grandchildren) lives.This all comes down to your perseverance and motivation. You want a healthier life. You want to look your best. You want to be a little more mobile.DO NOT GIVE UP.STAY FOCUSED.STAY MOTIVATEDACHIEVE YOUR GOALSNOBODY CAN STOP YOU. ONLY YOU!!Follow your diet and your exercise program for long enough and let it become your way of life for as long as you can. Fight for your fitness and well being. Fight until, there is no fight left, until you can go on no longer. Achieve what you once believed impossible and take it even further.Your family and friends will be amazed. Some may even be a little jealous and wish that they had the Grit and Determination to reach their goals.The New You is Waiting for YOU…

Best in Class Finance Functions For Police Forces

Background

Police funding has risen by £4.8 billion and 77 per cent (39 per cent in real terms) since 1997. However the days where forces have enjoyed such levels of funding are over.

Chief Constables and senior management recognize that the annual cycle of looking for efficiencies year-on-year is not sustainable, and will not address the cash shortfall in years to come.
Facing slower funding growth and real cash deficits in their budgets, the Police Service must adopt innovative strategies which generate the productivity and efficiency gains needed to deliver high quality policing to the public.

The step-change in performance required to meet this challenge will only be achieved if the police service fully embraces effective resource management and makes efficient and productive use of its technology, partnerships and people.

The finance function has an essential role to play in addressing these challenges and supporting Forces’ objectives economically and efficiently.

Challenge

Police Forces tend to nurture a divisional and departmental culture rather than a corporate one, with individual procurement activities that do not exploit economies of scale. This is in part the result of over a decade of devolving functions from the center to the.divisions.

In order to reduce costs, improve efficiency and mitigate against the threat of “top down” mandatory, centrally-driven initiatives, Police Forces need to set up a corporate back office and induce behavioral change. This change must involve compliance with a corporate culture rather than a series of silos running through the organization.

Developing a Best in Class Finance Function

Traditionally finance functions within Police Forces have focused on transactional processing with only limited support for management information and business decision support. With a renewed focus on efficiencies, there is now a pressing need for finance departments to transform in order to add greater value to the force but with minimal costs.

1) Aligning to Force Strategy

As Police Forces need finance to function, it is imperative that finance and operations are closely aligned. This collaboration can be very powerful and help deliver significant improvements to a Force, but in order to achieve this model, there are many barriers to overcome. Finance Directors must look at whether their Force is ready for this collaboration, but more importantly, they must consider whether the Force itself can survive without it.

Finance requires a clear vision that centers around its role as a balanced business partner. However to achieve this vision a huge effort is required from the bottom up to understand the significant complexity in underlying systems and processes and to devise a way forward that can work for that particular organization.

The success of any change management program is dependent on its execution. Change is difficult and costly to execute correctly, and often, Police Forces lack the relevant experience to achieve such change. Although finance directors are required to hold appropriate professional qualifications (as opposed to being former police officers as was the case a few years ago) many have progressed within the Public Sector with limited opportunities for learning from and interaction with best in class methodologies. In addition cultural issues around self-preservation can present barriers to change.

Whilst it is relatively easy to get the message of finance transformation across, securing commitment to embark on bold change can be tough. Business cases often lack the quality required to drive through change and even where they are of exceptional quality senior police officers often lack the commercial awareness to trust them.

2) Supporting Force Decisions

Many Finance Directors are keen to develop their finance functions. The challenge they face is convincing the rest of the Force that the finance function can add value – by devoting more time and effort to financial analysis and providing senior management with the tools to understand the financial implications of major strategic decisions.

Maintaining Financial Controls and Managing Risk

Sarbanes Oxley, International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), Basel II and Individual Capital Assessments (ICA) have all put financial controls and reporting under the spotlight in the private sector. This in turn is increasing the spotlight on financial controls in the public sector.

A ‘Best in Class’ Police Force finance function will not just have the minimum controls to meet the regulatory requirements but will evaluate how the legislation and regulations that the finance function are required to comply with, can be leveraged to provide value to the organization. Providing strategic information that will enable the force to meet its objectives is a key task for a leading finance function.

3) Value to the Force

The drive for development over the last decade or so, has moved decision making to the Divisions and has led to an increase in costs in the finance function. Through utilizing a number of initiatives in a program of transformation, a Force can leverage up to 40% of savings on the cost of finance together with improving the responsiveness of finance teams and the quality of financial information. These initiatives include:

Centralization

By centralizing the finance function, a Police Force can create centers of excellence where industry best practice can be developed and shared. This will not only re-empower the department, creating greater independence and objectivity in assessing projects and performance, but also lead to more consistent management information and a higher degree of control. A Police Force can also develop a business partner group to act as strategic liaisons to departments and divisions. The business partners would, for example, advise on how the departmental and divisional commanders can meet the budget in future months instead of merely advising that the budget has been missed for the previous month.

With the mundane number crunching being performed in a shared service center, finance professionals will find they now have time to act as business partners to divisions and departments and focus on the strategic issues.

The cultural impact on the departments and divisional commanders should not be underestimated. Commanders will be concerned that:

o Their budgets will be centralized
o Workloads would increase
o There will be limited access to finance individuals
o There will not be on site support

However, if the centralized shared service center is designed appropriately none of the above should apply. In fact from centralization under a best practice model, leaders should accrue the following benefits:

o Strategic advice provided by business partners
o Increased flexibility
o Improved management information
o Faster transactions
o Reduced number of unresolved queries
o Greater clarity on service and cost of provision
o Forum for finance to be strategically aligned to the needs of the Force

A Force that moves from a de-centralized to a centralized system should try and ensure that the finance function does not lose touch with the Chief Constable and Divisional Commanders. Forces need to have a robust business case for finance transformation combined with a governance structure that spans operational, tactical and strategic requirements. There is a risk that potential benefits of implementing such a change may not be realized if the program is not carefully managed. Investment is needed to create a successful centralized finance function. Typically the future potential benefits of greater visibility and control, consistent processes, standardized management information, economies of scale, long-term cost savings and an empowered group of proud finance professionals, should outweigh those initial costs.

To reduce the commercial, operational and capability risks, the finance functions can be completely outsourced or partially outsourced to third parties. This will provide guaranteed cost benefits and may provide the opportunity to leverage relationships with vendors that provide best practice processes.

Process Efficiencies

Typically for Police Forces the focus on development has developed a silo based culture with disparate processes. As a result significant opportunities exist for standardization and simplification of processes which provide scalability, reduce manual effort and deliver business benefit. From simply rationalizing processes, a force can typically accrue a 40% reduction in the number of processes. An example of this is the use of electronic bank statements instead of using the manual bank statement for bank reconciliation and accounts receivable processes. This would save considerable effort that is involved in analyzing the data, moving the data onto different spreadsheet and inputting the data into the financial systems.

Organizations that possess a silo operating model tend to have significant inefficiencies and duplication in their processes, for example in HR and Payroll. This is largely due to the teams involved meeting their own goals but not aligning to the corporate objectives of an organization. Police Forces have a number of independent teams that are reliant on one another for data with finance in departments, divisions and headquarters sending and receiving information from each other as well as from the rest of the Force. The silo model leads to ineffective data being received by the teams that then have to carry out additional work to obtain the information required.

Whilst the argument for development has been well made in the context of moving decision making closer to operational service delivery, the added cost in terms of resources, duplication and misaligned processes has rarely featured in the debate. In the current financial climate these costs need to be recognized.

Culture

Within transactional processes, a leading finance function will set up targets for staff members on a daily basis. This target setting is an element of the metric based culture that leading finance functions develop. If the appropriate metrics of productivity and quality are applied and when these targets are challenging but not impossible, this is proven to result in improvements to productivity and quality.

A ‘Best in Class’ finance function in Police Forces will have a service focused culture, with the primary objectives of providing a high level of satisfaction for its customers (departments, divisions, employees & suppliers). A ‘Best in Class’ finance function will measure customer satisfaction on a timely basis through a metric based approach. This will be combined with a team wide focus on process improvement, with process owners, that will not necessarily be the team leads, owning force-wide improvement to each of the finance processes.

Organizational Improvements

Organizational structures within Police Forces are typically made up of supervisors leading teams of one to four team members. Through centralizing and consolidating the finance function, an opportunity exists to increase the span of control to best practice levels of 6 to 8 team members to one team lead / supervisor. By adjusting the organizational structure and increasing the span of control, Police Forces can accrue significant cashable benefit from a reduction in the number of team leads and team leads can accrue better management experience from managing larger teams.

Technology Enabled Improvements

There are a significant number of technology improvements that a Police Force could implement to help develop a ‘Best in Class’ finance function.

These include:

A) Scanning and workflow

Through adopting a scanning and workflow solution to replace manual processes, improved visibility, transparency and efficiencies can be reaped.

B) Call logging, tracking and workflow tool

Police Forces generally have a number of individuals responding to internal and supplier queries. These queries are neither logged nor tracked. The consequence of this is dual:

o Queries consume considerable effort within a particular finance team. There is a high risk of duplicated effort from the lack of logging of queries. For example, a query could be responded to for 30 minutes by person A in the finance team. Due to this query not being logged, if the individual that raised the query called up again and spoke to a different person then just for one additional question, this could take up to 20 minutes to ensure that the background was appropriately explained.

o Queries can have numerous interfaces with the business. An unresolved query can be responded against by up to four separate teams with considerable delay in providing a clear answer for the supplier.

The implementation of a call logging, tracking and workflow tool to document, measure and close internal and supplier queries combined with the set up of a central queries team, would significantly reduce the effort involved in responding to queries within the finance departments and divisions, as well as within the actual divisions and departments, and procurement.

C) Database solution

Throughout finance departments there are a significant number of spreadsheets utilized prior to input into the financial system. There is a tendency to transfer information manually from one spreadsheet to another to meet the needs of different teams.

Replacing the spreadsheets with a database solution would rationalize the number of inputs and lead to effort savings for the front line Police Officers as well as Police Staff.

D) Customize reports

In obtaining management information from the financial systems, police staff run a series of reports, import these into excel, use lookups to match the data and implement pivots to illustrate the data as required. There is significant manual effort that is involved in carrying out this work. Through customizing reports the outputs from the financial system can be set up to provide the data in the formats required through the click of a button. This would have the benefit of reduced effort and improved motivation for team members that previously carried out these mundane tasks.

In designing, procuring and implementing new technology enabling tools, a Police Force will face a number of challenges including investment approval; IT capacity; capability; and procurement.

These challenges can be mitigated through partnering with a third party service company with whom the investment can be shared, the skills can be provided and the procurement cycle can be minimized.

Conclusion

It is clear that cultural, process and technology change is required if police forces are to deliver both sustainable efficiencies and high quality services. In an environment where for the first time forces face real cash deficits and face having to reduce police officer and support staff numbers whilst maintaining current performance levels the current finance delivery models requires new thinking.

While there a number of barriers to be overcome in achieving a best in class finance function, it won’t be long before such a decision becomes mandatory. Those who are ahead of the curve will inevitably find themselves in a stronger position.

What Are The Greatest Changes In Shopping In Your Lifetime

What are the greatest changes in shopping in your lifetime? So asked my 9 year old grandson.

As I thought of the question the local Green Grocer came to mind. Because that is what the greatest change in shopping in my lifetime is.

That was the first place to start with the question of what are the greatest changes in shopping in your lifetime.

Our local green grocer was the most important change in shopping in my lifetime. Beside him was our butcher, a hairdresser and a chemist.

Looking back, we were well catered for as we had quite a few in our suburb. And yes, the greatest changes in shopping in my lifetime were with the small family owned businesses.

Entertainment While Shopping Has Changed
Buying butter was an entertainment in itself.
My sister and I often had to go to a favourite family grocer close by. We were always polite as we asked for a pound or two of butter and other small items.

Out came a big block of wet butter wrapped in grease-proof paper. Brought from the back of the shop, placed on a huge counter top and included two grooved pates.

That was a big change in our shopping in my lifetime… you don’t come across butter bashing nowadays.

Our old friendly Mr. Mahon with the moustache, would cut a square of butter. Lift it to another piece of greaseproof paper with his pates. On it went to the weighing scales, a bit sliced off or added here and there.

Our old grocer would then bash it with gusto, turning it over and over. Upside down and sideways it went, so that it had grooves from the pates, splashes going everywhere, including our faces.

My sister and I thought this was great fun and it always cracked us up. We loved it, as we loved Mahon’s, on the corner, our very favourite grocery shop.

Grocery Shopping
Further afield, we often had to go to another of my mother’s favourite, not so local, green grocer’s. Mr. McKessie, ( spelt phonetically) would take our list, gather the groceries and put them all in a big cardboard box.

And because we were good customers he always delivered them to our house free of charge. But he wasn’t nearly as much fun as old Mr. Mahon. Even so, he was a nice man.

All Things Fresh
So there were very many common services such as home deliveries like:

• Farm eggs

• Fresh vegetables

• Cow’s milk

• Freshly baked bread

• Coal for our open fires

Delivery Services
A man used to come to our house a couple of times a week with farm fresh eggs.

Another used to come every day with fresh vegetables, although my father loved growing his own.

Our milk, topped with beautiful cream, was delivered to our doorstep every single morning.

Unbelievably, come think of it now, our bread came to us in a huge van driven by our “bread-man” named Jerry who became a family friend.

My parents always invited Jerry and his wife to their parties, and there were many during the summer months. Kids and adults all thoroughly enjoyed these times. Alcohol was never included, my parents were teetotallers. Lemonade was a treat, with home made sandwiches and cakes.

The coal-man was another who delivered bags of coal for our open fires. I can still see his sooty face under his tweed cap but I can’t remember his name. We knew them all by name but most of them escape me now.

Mr. Higgins, a service man from the Hoover Company always came to our house to replace our old vacuum cleaner with an updated model.

Our insurance company even sent a man to collect the weekly premium.

People then only paid for their shopping with cash. This in itself has been a huge change in shopping in my lifetime.

In some department stores there was a system whereby the money from the cash registers was transported in a small cylinder on a moving wire track to the central office.

Some Of The Bigger Changes
Some of the bigger changes in shopping were the opening of supermarkets.

• Supermarkets replaced many individual smaller grocery shops. Cash and bank cheques have given way to credit and key cards.

• Internet shopping… the latest trend, but in many minds, doing more harm, to book shops.

• Not many written shopping lists, because mobile phones have taken over.

On a more optimistic note, I hear that book shops are popular again after a decline.

Personal Service Has Most Definitely Changed
So, no one really has to leave home, to purchase almost anything, technology makes it so easy to do online.
And we have a much bigger range of products now, to choose from, and credit cards have given us the greatest ease of payment.

We have longer shopping hours, and weekend shopping. But we have lost the personal service that we oldies had taken for granted and also appreciated.

Because of their frenetic lifestyles, I have heard people say they find shopping very stressful, that is grocery shopping. I’m sure it is when you have to dash home and cook dinner after a days work. I often think there has to be a better, less stressful way.

My mother had the best of both worlds, in the services she had at her disposal. With a full time job looking after 9 people, 7 children plus her and my dad, she was very lucky. Lucky too that she did not have 2 jobs.