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.


Saturday, 1 October 2016

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Granny gear

Next week some of the ladies (and one lad aka one of the husbands, not mine) from the cycling club are heading Up North to do the NC500. For safety's sake - and to avoid the worst of the A9 between John O'Groat's and Inverness - we are altering the route slightly, however it will still mean some pretty meaty riding distances over six days.

Oh, and a few hills. Quite a few, in fact.

Cue discussions with OH about the gearing on my bike.
It got quite, ahem, technical. He is an engineer after all.

LCM - I need to get a bigger gearing on my bike, the cassette on my new one is only 11-25t.

OH - You have a 50/34t compact chainset, you don't need any more.

LCM - But all the good climbers have at least 11-28!

OH - You don't do any hills.

LCM - Maybe I would if getting up them was not such a struggle?

OH - And your new bike is 11-speed. Your old one was only 9. You already have two extra gears.

LCM - Even some of the men in the cycling club have a 28 big ring!

OH - Your gearing is fine.

Maybe I just need to buckle down and bite the bullet. Or grind my teeth as the pros do when tackling the big climbs (to the point of wrecking their pearly whites and requiring extensive dental repairs later on judging by some of the books I have read).

Alternatively, I could visit my local bike shop - conveniently the name behind our cycling club, therefore providing labour free of charge to members - and 'just do it'.

Guess what?

this is what you call
"a very nice granny gear"

I haven't told OH.

I'm just waiting to see how long before he notices.
Or asks how I coped with the hills.


Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Blind leading the blind

It says something about 'where' you are in your own life cycle when you take notes at a meeting - without glasses - and then fail categorically to make sense of what you have written.

I developed, during my university days, my own form of shorthand. It is something I used to pride myself on as being the sole individual who could interpret it. It certainly put paid to other slackers who asked if they could "copy my notes" and then never asked again.

The problem more recently, however, was that *I* was stumped with my own scrawl.

So I did what any sane person would do in today's age: I posted on Facebook and asked for help.

Cue an old friend commenting that I would "make a great GP".
Funny that. Medicine had been my first choice of career but events conspired against me.

And then another friend (with a PhD in Community Health) came to the rescue.
She pointed out that I might have (horror, shock) spelt one word incorrectly and therefore the interpretation of what followed did not make sense.

Guess what?
She was absolutely right.

And when I thanked her, she noted that she "can read doctor's writing. Years of practice."

Definitely missed my calling.

to... two... sle... sla... what...?


Saturday, 6 August 2016

Cack handed

In my time I have been known to take, edit and post a few pretty natty movie clips, if I say so myself.

Some have been impulsive filming sessions on holiday, some have been more structured in content.
Most have been downright silly and tongue-in-cheek.

However today I probably - inadvertently - outdid myself.

On a bike ride with my cycling club I managed to extract my phone from my rear pocket, turn it on, get the video working and shoot some footage... all with my left hand and without either falling off my bike or dropping the phone itself.

And before you tut-tut me, it was on a closed road in Windsor Great Park.

However, I appear to have failed categorically when it comes to pressing the 'stop' button.

The result? Quite comical.

Judge for yourself.



Thursday, 21 July 2016


There is absolutely nothing I can think of that will effortlessly lift one's spirits than the prospect of a rendezvous with Kevin.


Despite the absence of three members (Tough Mudda called to end-of-year school performance duties, La Diplomat dealing with visiting relatives, and the Wine Writer undertaking experiments involving chicken houses, children's feet and lack of running water - yes, we were confused too) we still managed to put the world to rights and host some serious conversations that did not necessarily involve either a) food, or b) books.


Although of course it did not take long for us to partake in the former and discuss the latter.
And the Pimms was delicious too, especially on a hot summer evening in the Doctor of Psychology's leafy garden.

However, the most important item on the agenda was the upcoming nuptials of one of the Kevinettes: yes, Belfast Blonde is getting married next month and hence the bookclub momentarily transformed itself into an impromptu hen party.

Cue gifts.

All food or book related. 
Funny that.

And balloons.
Helium (one) and LED versions (five, one of which then burst because, as the Lovely Radiographer scolded me, "You made it too big!" - first time for everything, I guess).

And a veil - complete with cutouts of wedding themed book title covers.
Absolutely priceless.

But the coup de grace was the pink sash. 

Our lovely hen donned it with pride. 
We all looked at it askance, tried to decipher the lettering, and then the Botanical Artist voiced what most of us were thinking.

"Who is Kevinshen?"

"Oh," replied the Lovely Radiographer, "They didn't do apostrophes!"

So there you go.

Kevinshen is getting married.

No apostrophes required because she is pure class and we love her.

Kevinshen - a bookclub first


Sunday, 10 July 2016

How to make a mess in two short weeks - the speedy guide

Yes, it's still imploding.

And yes, it's going to get even worse.

We are but at at the peak of a very slippery slide-y slope into the depths of self-annihilation by proxy, aka 'how-to-push-the-destruct-button-without-assistance-because-it-seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time'.

I can only poke fun at a situation that is almost too comical to be real (but it is, real, I mean) and seek humour in what has become the death knell for my own business that I have spent three years building. I won't bore you with details, suffice to say that 'postponement' and 'procrastination' - by clients, not me - has morphed into total shutdown and cost-cutting with immediate effect and no sign of change for the foreseeable future.

Oh joy.

So we had this:

the 'real' reason DC had to resign

And this:

the truth behind the back-stabbing 'partnership'

And this:

I have no words
(well, I do, but not fit for publication)

Which has now morphed into this:

the man from Del Monte, he say he no go anywhere

Being challenged by this:

the Eagle has (almost) landed


Oh no. 

That little ditty now comes down to these two:

twins separated at birth?

And guess what?

Rather than focus on the humongous f*ck up that has been left by the referendum (at every level), the press and the country are now having a right old ding-dong about whether being a mother or not is a qualifying feature to lead a bunch of feckwits party country as the nation faces the abyss.

Talk about missing the point.

But then again, I guess that is consistent with the whole issue, isn't it? 

Hooray for propaganda. At least the results will be unswerving in that regard.

*continues to shake head in disbelief*


Yadda yadda yadda...