Yesterday I spotted a spaniel sitting at the kerbside. Connected to his master by a lead, the dog stayed put until the word came to cross the road. On the safety of the other side, the spaniel received an edible treat. It was a ‘Smarties on the rocks’ moment.

Everyone needs encouragement when learning something new, tackling a fresh task or facing a daunting challenge. We used to take our children on hill walks in Snowdonia. Paths were steep and the going tough. And then, miraculously, three Smarties would appear on a rock in front of the children and their energy levels suddenly increased as they swooped on the treat – a little reward for what had been accomplished and an incentive to persevere, find the next trio of Smarties and eventually reach the top of the mountain. The tradition of Smarties on the rocks is being enjoyed now by the next generation of mini climbers.

Is your life an uphill struggle? Look out for the proverbial Smarties on the rocks. They come in different guises: the song of a blackbird, a poem or Bible verse, a wayside flower, a helping hand, a kind word, a smile… Receive the treat with gratitude, press on with your walk and be ready to pass on a Smartie encouragement to a fellow traveller. And, following the examples of the spaniel and the children, recognise and keep close to the one who is your companion and guide.


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