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Easter 2012 – Resurrection

Whatever faith, belief or even lack of belief you may espouse, in a few days you will probably be enjoying the Easter holiday. In Western Europe this will be four days with the Friday and Monday bracketing the weekend of Easter Day. For me this has always signified the true beginning of spring when you can actually sense the reawakening of the earth after a long winter, as buds appear on the trees, wild flowers bloom among the grass and animals begin to show a marked interest in the opposite sex.

I was researching the origin of Easter before writing this, and it is a surprisingly complex story. The name Easter comes from an Anglo-Saxon word for the month of April - "Eostremonath" which is associated with the pagan goddess “Esostre”. But with the arrival of Christianity in England around the 7th century, it was expedient to adopt the name, tradition and time to commemorate Christ’s resurrection. This is at odds to the rest of Europe which adhered to the “Paschal” custom where the name Paques in French, Pascha in Greek, Pasqua in Italian and Pascua in Spanish are used. But these names actually refer to Passover, the Jewish feast commemorating the time when God rescued the people of Israel from slavery and Moses led them out of Egypt. It is the Israelite's liberation from Egypt that led to the beginning of Judaism.

So the celebration of Christianity’s most important feast; Easter, when Christians believe Jesus Christ rose from the dead after his crucifixion and burial, is rather difficult to pin down. The early Christian church seems to have cleverly borrowed a great deal from existing festivals. Even the date of Easter is confusing as it can be anywhere between 22nd March and 25th April, being determined by the moon and the Lunar calendar, rather than our more familiar Solar calendar. Easter Day is the first Sunday following the full moon after 21 March. I guess it's not surprising that exact dates and details are lost in the mists of time with all the confusion over the last two millennia.

But in spite of all the competition to celebrate rebirth at this time of the year, as the earth, (in the northern hemisphere anyway), undergoes its annual awakening, I’m going to suggest we enjoy our four day Easter holiday, but why not use it to activate our own personal resurrection? This can be spiritual, religious, secular, physical, economic or simply one of attitude, in which we promote the resurgence of a better world.

We humans as a species are so damn clever at identifying problems and innovating solutions that it surprises me that as individuals we either don't recognise, ignore, or are simply overawed by the complications that confront us every day – those, usually simple, difficulties that can often be eliminated by the four C’s: Contemplation, Communication, Co-operation, and Corroboration – ie: thought, talk, team-work and rationalisation. Most of us fail to take a little time every day to be quiet and let that massive intellect, with which we are all gifted, consider difficulties, strategies and solutions. This thinking time must not be bed time; find some time during the day to be alone, quiet and undistracted – you will be amazed how beneficial this can be. Most of us have forgotten how to think as a deliberate act, how to contemplate or even daydream. This is not wasting time but  a way to process our ideas, feelings, emotions and influences in a way we can understand and use them. After the thinking process, talk frankly to those who can assist or advise you – your thought time will have given you the words to use, and possibly the courage to present your ideas to others. Then quickly follow this with enthusiasm by gathering whatever or whoever you need to support your plan, take ownership and leadership of YOUR solution and lead it toward your goal. Finally, once your objective has been achieved and the problem solved to your satisfaction, don’t immediately abandon it and move on. Make damn sure it is properly and permanently fixed and that the wheels won’t fall off as soon as your back is turned. This is most important; I myself am terrible at not taking time to ensure a final conclusion, or 'closure' as we tend to say today, and sometimes the unravelling of a well-executed plan can be far more difficult to remedy than the original problem.

 So here's the plan, stop feeling sorry for yourself, get off your a***, take some time, use your mind and make things better - Oh, and do it NOW!

I've recently been delighted and heartened to watch Mary Portas’ 3-part TV series; “Mary’s Bottom Line" on Channel 4. There is a saying that politics is showbusiness for ugly people, but if we really want to make Britain a better place, perhaps we should send into government some of our more intelligent and charismatic celebrities. They seem to be the only people with the passion and commitment to actually get things done these days; just imagine a Britain run by Mary Portas, Gary Barlow, Jamie Oliver and David Walliams.

In Mary's excellent TV series, (which has now finished, but I urge you to watch on 4oD), we see Mary’s moving initiative to bring back  clothing manufacture to the bleak and deprived town of Middleton in the north-west of England. North West England has suffered  a massive 90% reduction in clothing manufacture over the past 20 years. This traditionally British work was exported to the far east on the short-sighted grounds that UK manufacture was simply not cost-effective. Now, as far eastern costs rise and their workforces aspire to higher wages, the cost of shipping products half-way round the globe seem somehow questionable and the wider benefits of home production become increasingly clear. The series starts with the reopening of a lingerie factory, staffing it with untrained and apparently hopeless, unemployed youngsters and their training by the ladies who formerly worked as machinists when the factory closed eight years previously. It culminates with the run-up to the Valentine’s Day launch of Mary’s Kinky Knickers at Liberty of London, and Mary meets David Cameron in a bid to make him understand the importance of bringing back clothing manufacturing to the UK. Part of the series includes a visit by Mary Portas to the Barbour factory in South Shields, in which she praises Barbour as a shining example of how a British clothing manufacturer can, not only survive, but actually thrive in the global market place.

But the real message is that we dare not leave changing the country to the government. It’s down to people caring enough to buy products made in Britain thus creating British jobs. This series has been the most important thing Mary Portas has done and what she has achieved at her factory in Middleton has been an inspiration. Long and wide may her influence spread.

OKaaaaaaaaayy! ...

...getting a bit preachy there, but I'm not writing this to win votes, simply to make a difference with whoever might read this, so please try and make a difference too, a change, even a resurrection of your own.

So what's new on the countrywear front? Well quite a lot really: the spring and summer collections from all our key brands are now in stock and the big thing this season is COLOUR! There are some fabulous new ladies and kids jackets in some superb bright colours which I know you are going to love. And even for those more (c)onservative souls who might feel a bit awkward in raspberry, turquoise, cobalt or bright pink, those who just might relish some of the apparently traditional jackets in standard muted outer colours, but with linings in bright colours, or with cool heritage illustrations, or 'Liberty of London' prints, or even patriotic union flag designs inside, we have these in stock too.






We love it - we've had years of stocking all the charming yet restrained traditional country colours of Olive Green, Rustic Brown, Black, Navy Blue and Charcoal. But when these new 'upstart' colours arrived in our warehouse the place lit up!

May I wish all our readers and customers a very Happy Easter? We hope the weather smiles on you, but If it doesn’t, remember our well-used motto.....

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong attire.”