February 25, 2016 10.30 am This story is over 67 months old

Enjoying life’s pleasures

Simple inspirations: Lincoln UTC Principal Rona Mackenzie reflects on the pleasures of life in Lincolnshire.

For some unknown reason, I find myself without subject matter for this month’s contribution. The article was due a week ago, but my mind has remained blank, lacking inspiration and nothing has come to mind. During the previous nineteen months I have found inspiration in all matter of random occurrences but now I’m at a loss.

It isn’t as if this month has been uneventful. I celebrated my 41st birthday at the end of January and took time to look back at the challenges I set for my 40th year. It was great to think about the events and activities that I completed, reminiscing over photos of mountain treks, adventurous races, special occasions and unusual challenges.

I received a wonderful letter from one of the charities I’ve been fundraising for, Classroom in the Clouds. They fund education for children who live in the mountains in Nepal and two of their students wrote postcards to thank me for my fundraising efforts.

I haven’t reached my target yet and their letters spurred me on to continue raising awareness and money for this important work. I am left wondering if maybe this year I could go out there and lend a hand myself, to build schools or help teach the students.

I spent my birthday enjoying the beauty of the Washingborough Hall Hotel. A delightful afternoon tea, served in front of an open fire, was the perfect way to unwind on a lazy afternoon.

The attention to detail was so impressive: from the delicate sandwiches and cakes, to the elaborate bedrooms and the sumptuous feast served in the dining room. I felt utterly spoilt for the weekend.

I spent a long weekend away studying with a group of our Year 11 students. We spent three days developing their English Language skills and I was astounded by their efforts.

Their determination, commitment to succeed and concentration were evident throughout the trip. Their manners and decorum made me proud each day, their politeness impressing everyone who worked alongside them. Not only did we work hard, we played hard too.

I was amazed during our evening activities that they think the old tunes are still the best, with them belting out all the words to Neil Diamond’s, “Sweet Caroline” in the minibus!

Spending time away with them reminded me of exactly why I became a teacher; I get so much pleasure from helping them to learn and grow, enjoying their company, conversation and humour. As the first students to join the UTC they hold a special place in my heart and I will be sad when they end their studies with us this summer.

And so it is with normal, routine life. Not every day can be special, not every event can be momentous or every experience inspirational. Instead, unlike adrenaline junkies who thrive on ever more extreme adventures to fuel their addiction, I have found pleasure in the smaller perhaps less conspicuous events of life.

Frosty mornings that are slowly growing lighter; a walk in the Peaks, sloshing through mud; full moons and recognizable constellations; the territorial claims of skylark and robin. These are the pleasures that have punctuated the second month of 2016 and as I finish this article I realise that these simplest of pleasures are inspiration enough.

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Dr. Rona Mackenzie is Principal of Lincoln University Technical College (UTC). She has a strong background in education, having worked in six local authorities during her career, and is passionate about providing an education that meet the needs of young people and their community industries. She is a keen sportswoman and mountaineer, recently trekking to Everest Base Camp, and has an interest in photography.