In the midst of a mini storm outside, the Dalai Lama arrived calm, composed and appearing quite physically strong for his 80 years. He chose immediately to stand up at the microphone for most of the 90 minutes of his talk, only retiring to the 'throne' installed for him centre stage for Q&A at the end.
It's not often you meet someone who inspires you, the way Carole Webb inspired me, but earlier this year I was privileged to meet this wonderful lady and all her animals - including Moonbeam, George, Blossom and Jack. Spending time at Farm Animal Rescue Sanctuary confirmed to me, just how intelligent and gentle, farm animals are.
Losing someone you love is difficult enough, living without someone you love is heartbreaking enough, living day by day is exhausting enough without the added frustrations and torments contributed by those who exclude and patronise those living with grief. The patronising comments and exclusion are usually unintended, I know. That knowledge does not make the sting any less, though.
My dad is in maximum-security prison after an unreliable career in armed robbery. He already served ten-years and was finally promoted to an open prison - you know the ones - the kind we reserve for our white-collar criminals like celebrity politicians Jeffrey Archer and Jonathan Aitken. Annoyingly my dad didn't write a best seller in the last few months of his stretch...
Zoos carry out conservation, they rescue animals, they educate people and delight millions of visitors a year. But a vast number of zoos are also responsible for immense cruelty, open the door to illegally sourced wildlife and capture wild animals for our pleasure. Is keeping of animals in captivity the ultimate oxymoron animal welfare?
We are just about one week into 2015 - a new cycle has begun, and is pregnant with potential. I enjoy the (perceived) clean slate that comes with each new year. It compartmentalizes our existence into meaningful increments, into manageable time frames that help us to cope with the turbulence of life.
With just a few days until the big day, you may be feeling overwhelmed with everything that still needs to be done; underwhelmed, wondering what all the fuss is about for just one day or even, God forbid, full of Christmas spirit! However you're feeling, you may have an underlying rumbling of anxiety.