Today, on a day when we remember the thousands of men and women who went to war on our behalf, I am going to count my blessings.

All too often these days people are quick to moan and criticise. You only need to look at social media to read thousands of negative comments from keyboard warriors.

They criticise everything from friends to family to businesses, and just about anyone that gets in their firing line. So I've been thinking about just how lucky I am.

I have never been to war, I have never had to watch my children go off to war. I can't even imagine the horror of both.


I have a roof over my head. I can afford to buy food.

Although there have been times in my life when my children were young and money was tight when it wasn't so easy.

Every cent was counted and I still remember the feeling of coming out of the supermarket wondering how we were going to get through the week.

But we always did, and it was nothing like the war years with people on rations, many soldiers and civilians starving for food day after day.

I'm thankful that my children all turned into amazing, responsible adults, although there were more than a few hairy moments over the years.

I'm thankful for the wonderful grandchildren who make me laugh whenever I'm with them. One visiting on Saturday found a worm in the garden and carried it around, telling me it was her pet and that his name was Frankie. Another told me that he "really, really loves me".

I'm thankful that I am in good health. This is a biggie.

When I was younger, just like all young people, my health never entered my head.

I didn't think about what life would be like in my 30s or 40s or 50s.

I couldn't imagine myself at those ages.

Now staying fit and healthy is a big part of my life.

I know too well that anything can happen at any time to anyone, no matter how rich, fit or healthy you may be.

Anyway, I digress - getting back to counting my blessings. I've heard a lot of people criticise customer service in Hawke's Bay, however, I have had two recent experiences of exactly the opposite. I bought a second-hand road bike and took it into Avantiplus Hastings for a service. I also got the cleats with the bike, which are a perfect fit. I've never ridden a bike in cleats and everybody kept telling me "you will fall off at some stage".

When I went to pick the bike up, I asked "Ben" if he would fit me to the bike. Sure, he said. I got on it and he asked me if I had the right shoes for the pedals. "Yes."

"Have you ever ridden with them?" he asked. "Well, no."

"Okay. Come back tomorrow in your riding gear, bring your shoes and I'll show you how to get in and out of them safely and fit you to the bike," Ben said.

He didn't need to do that. I didn't pay any extra money and none was asked for.

So thank you, Ben, for your wonderful help.

I haven't fallen off because I haven't been out on it yet.

The other excellent experience was thanks to Mr Neat for taking me to Elephant Hill for dinner on my birthday. What a treat.

We had never been there and were blown away by not only the delicious and amazing food but the service.

Our waitress was just superb. So thank you, Elephant Hill.

I have many more things to be thankful for but I'm running out of space.

Let's all count our blessings today - Lest We Forget.

- Linda Hall is assistant editor of Hawke's Bay Today.