Thursday, 19 January 2017

Marching for human rights everywhere

Tomorrow morning I'm off.

I am heading to Washington DC to meet a wonderful friend and take part in this:


Because women's rights are human rights. Everywhere, for everyone.
And if you believe this, then it is only correct that you show your support, in whatever way you can.


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Thursday, 12 January 2017

A blur of a week

Did I say perseverance?

A word chosen wisely, if I say so myself.
Barely one week into the new year and personal tenacity has been put to the test already: on the cycling front, the work front and the governor front.

Cycling: three outings in three days, all brilliant, all exhilarating, all rather chilly. And since when has the latter stopped anyone, in any case, provided you are wearing sufficient layers? Exactly. Bring it on.

Work: one client testing patience, one non-responsive, one slow burner. Alternating between wanting to shout, smile, stomp my foot and breathe deeply for quite a long time. Never mind, keep the goals in focus.

Governor: one word. Ofsted. One response: preparedness. And we were, despite being slightly thrown at the timing - it is never ideal - and the demands for additional paperwork (hello? digital times at the DfE? it would seem not yet) and further evidence of impact. Apparently noting children's increased participation in sporting events, winning swimming galas and cross-country borough races, and being awarded a silver sports mark for physical activities with regard to the PE grant given to schools was deemed not quite relevant enough. Or possibly that was my interpretation of their comments. Who knows?

The whole process was intense, stressful, enlightening and insightful. To be fair HMI were very thorough yet fair, professional at all times and eventually showed their 'human' fa├žade in their feedback. Best comment was at the end when one of the inspectors, acknowledging the anxious and onerous process, said it might be more helpful if Ofsted renamed themselves.
I hear Boaty McBoatface is available for copyright again.

But it is now over and we are pleased. I am permitted to say no more until the official report is released.

In the meantime, perseverance.
Because I have absolutely no idea what day it is any more.




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Thursday, 5 January 2017

Word for 2017

Last year, inspired by a good friend's initiative, I decided to do away with resolutions and instead took a word to guide me over the coming twelve months.

It was 'focus', and served me - by and large - quite well, not just due to all the crazy events of 2016, but also regarding work, family and friends.

This year I have opted for 'perseverance'.

I hope it serves me equally as well, especially given the rocky road ahead with:

a) Brexit (don't get me started)
b) the Donald (seriously, still, WTF?)
c) client/project challenges (£#@%!)
d) cycling events (kilometres, lots of them)
e) growing offspring (aka the fridge is permanently empty)

The latter in particular given I am also rapidly becoming the shortest in the family.

In the meantime, perseverance!

always an uphill climb...


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Thursday, 15 December 2016

Roll on 2017

Just in case you thought I was keen on accelerating the end of this year given it's place in history now as 'the year when the improbable happened, consistently', I'm not.

No point rehashing what has gone - deaths, dumbed-down democracy, diabolic detritus - but possibly worthwhile reflecting on what, possibly, was the (most unhelpful) comment of the year levelled at me yesterday during a presentation with a client for whom I am doing business development work.

"... the easiest way to find whom to contact at an organisation is to google it."

Who would've thunk it?

Maybe that's where we've been going astray in 2016.
The answers were there all along.
Silly us, we used our brains to figure out matters that we really didn't need to.

Tsk. All that wasted time and effort.

So, 2017.

I might just start googling things before you get underway.
You know, just to be ahead of the game.



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Saturday, 12 November 2016

America, you're fired

What a tumultuous week.

To take my mind off the crazy happenings over the pond, I went for a cycle ride today.

In the pouring rain.

For 78km.

Yes, I know - I was in good company at least.

And if you are going to lead by example when on two wheels, you abide by the rules. In this case #9.

Anyway - America. WT actual F?

There has been so much written since Wednesday's announcement about the most improbable candidate this side of Tutankhamen reaching the highest office of the largest economy in the world, that I am, quite frankly, all 'read out'. I have heard the views from either side, analysed the logic, searched the rationale and the psyche of the voting populace as to how such a result could occur (hello, Brexit anyone?), delved into the annals of history, swapped opinions with any number of individuals... and un-friended a few people on Facebook.

Life is short enough without having to put up with obnoxious and toxic views from the petty-minded. I have a choice too. It is called the < delete > button.

In my mind now I foresee The Donald acting out his celebrity status on a world stage. I can only imagine the type of conversations that will take place (although possibly not quite as funny as these ones).

The Donald: The wall. I want that wall built. By the Mexicans.
White House aide: Mr President, sir, I think you said you wanted Mexico to pay for it?
TD: Yeah, right. Pay for it. Find me someone to build it.
WHA: But sir, you can't...
TD: You're fired.

The Donald: I want all Muslims microchipped.
White House aide: Sir, I think you mean 'vetted'?
TD: Vet? Who? McCain?
WHA: No sir, the Muslims who...
TD: You're fired.

The Donald: Obamacare. Repeal it. Bigly.
White House aide: Sir, you can't just...
TD: You're fired.

The Donald: The White House. Redecorate it.
White House aide: Sir, Mr President, can you be more specific please?
TD: Gold. Rename it. The Trump House.
WHA: I'm afraid you...
TD: You're fired.

And so on.

If Britain was a joke on the world stage post-Brexit, then the US has gone one further (or more).

Reality TV has a lot to answer for.



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Saturday, 22 October 2016

Food for thought

I have calmed down (a little) since the Brexit referendum, although I am yet to speak to some individuals and 'bridge the gap' given how they chose to vote.
It's a democracy.
Time heals, yadda, yadda, yadda and all that.
I cannot dwell on it or the palpitations start again.

Anyway. I attended this week a three-day business conference in Liverpool. I had no idea what to expect (given the sector and the industry with which I was fairly unfamiliar) but one of my clients invited me and so - hey presto - there I was.

It was excellent.

Some very insightful plenary sessions, a number of valuable breakout discussions, many interesting attendees, and a range of truly brilliant speakers:

  • Pascal Lamy, former Director-General, World Trade Organisation
  • Richard Harrington MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Pensions
  • Joanne Segars, Chief Executive, PLSA
  • Andrew Neil, journalist and broadcaster
  • Marcus du Sautoy, Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and Professor of Mathematics, New College, Oxford
  • Nigel Kirby, Deputy Director of Economic Crime Command, National Crime Agency
  • Sir Lenny Henry, comedian, actor and charity activist
I am quite exhausted but equally exhilarated from the volume of input.

Diverse as these individuals all were, and varied as their own backgrounds and careers might be, there appeared to be a unanimous theme amongst them: we have not even come close to the mountain of problems in future years (yes, years) with the UK voting to leave the EU. 

I will not seek to paraphrase what they spoke about, but it was best captured in Pascal Lamy's comment regarding the complexity ahead: "Getting an egg out of an omelette."

And on that note, I shall leave you with another cartoon.



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