Friday, 20 May 2016

Open letter

Dear all

Yes, I have been absent somewhat of late.
It's not you, it's me.

When I mentioned that my word for 2016 was 'focus', I wasn't half joking.
Finding work projects and a means of income generation is no mean feat, I hardly need to justify that.

Being told by (prospective) clients that they "absolutely want to work with you, can really see the value," but are not quite able to commit at present due to (in no particular order):
  1. Brexit
  2. low Q1 revenue
  3. business reorganisation
  4. going AWOL
  5. "needing to do some more work beforehand"
  6. total cluelessness in general
  7. incompetent corporate fuckwittery (my own term, it's copyrighted)
  8. fobbing off with ridiculous excuses
  9. all of the above
  10. none of the above, because they haven't got the common decency to even reply to an email let alone return a phone call
is down heartening at best, borderline suicidal at worst.

But, never mind.


Something's gotta give eventually, even though it may be my own sanity (because the bank balance is already fucked so there's nothing more to lose in that regard).

Bear with me, I'll be back at some point.



Wednesday, 11 May 2016


An interesting read today.

Since I posted my own views on the subject of Ms Sandberg's 'Lean In' stance in working life (I shan't link, you can do your own search), I have heard from a wide spectrum of women - career or otherwise - who either loved it or were nonplussed.

The post I read today was interesting not so much because of its content (although I will admit I was delighted that finally someone else was bold enough to write that they thought the tome was a pile of cr@p), but because of the comments.

The author published the same post in two separate sites: on her personal blog and on LinkedIn.

Comments on the former were nearly all supportive of her article, from both men and women. I counted one (slightly) negative reply.

Comments on the latter were divided but broadly contentious about the mere fact that one wealthy and successful woman (Trunk) was querying the 'right' of another (Sandberg) to dictate how females should operate in the workforce - yes, that is a gross generalisation, give me some respite - and then seek forgiveness because, as a recent widow, she now states that she "will never experience and understand all of the challenges most single moms face, but [she understands] a lot more than [she] did a year ago."

So I have a question.

What if she were actually living on - or below - the breadline? What would the challenges look like then?

Because, in truth, that is what it really, really, really comes down to.

But when you have squillions to hand, and the ability to hire two nannies, and a housekeeper, and never have to worry about keeping on top of the damn laundry pile, well then...

THEN you actually have no feckin' clue of what the challenges are all about. Partner or no partner.

So my point is this: Ms Trunk might have a bee in her bonnet, much as I did when reading - and loathing - all that rubbish about needing to 'lean in'.

But what she states now - and this even more so because she too is a highly successful and wealthy self-made business woman who was a single mother for many years - resonates further.

Sandberg attempting to claim the moral high ground by saying she 'understands' now that her personal circumstances have changed (and I am truly sorry for her tragic loss) somehow just rings hollow.

Maybe if she gave away some of her vast fortune to those who need it I might change my tune.

Off the soapbox now. I need to find more work projects.

Does Sandberg need a strategic business development advisor, d'ya think?


Wednesday, 27 April 2016

The most bonkers Kevin yet

You would never guess that Kevin has been around for sixteen years.

You would also never believe that a congregation of adult women who really should know better are still able to laugh hysterically about the most (in the face of it) mundane items.

You would furthermore be probably quite incredulous at the amount of food - and beverage - we manage to put away over the space of a few hours.

We are not nicknamed 'The Bookclub Trough-ers' for nothing, you know.

It takes years of practice, believe me, to be this good at eating and drinking and still be able to discuss books and authors and other - less literary - issues.

For example:

  • the hosting Kevinette (who under 'the rules' gets to select the books for next time) asking one of the foreign members of the club whether they would have chosen either of the last English language books we opted for, only to be told, "I did choose them, I hosted the previous meeting!"
  • a Kevinette deciding not to vote for one of the new book choices proffered because they couldn't tell what the book was about ('A shepherd's life')
  • another Kevinette vetoing a further proposed book because they didn't understand what it was about from the cover ('A whole life')
  • one member getting so excited about being invited to a book launch by an author (with whom she has collaborated) that she got a) the date wrong, b) the day wrong, and c) the month wrong, when asking us all to join her
  • wondering whether there is a theme in one Kevinette's selection of books given they all appear to involve brain tumours, brain tumours, murder... and comedy
  • telling stories about a former colleague's mishaps with prospective parents-in-law when she made a dress out of IKEA fabric and visited for Sunday lunch... and blended into the furnishings which were of the exact same material (yes, we wondered too)
  • writing comments in the black book - another fundamental rule of Kevin, supposedly to recall what we read and what we thought about the tomes consumed, although the handwriting is pretty illegible given it gets passed round towards the end of the evening - and then realising that we skipped a section at some point in the past and are filling in a random blank page that is not even sequential to the last meeting 
  • but not wanting to continue writing on a new clean a-few-pages-along page when space runs out, thus prompting one Kevinette to merely opt for scrawling "Ditto" under another's comments - I blame the wine, and the popping candy chocolate doing the rounds...
But, best of all - the absolute icing on the cake - was when the Botanical Artist queried, "Why are we looking to read a book in Swedish?"

The book in question? 

Or apparently 'Låndskipping' if you've been frequenting Kevin for too long. 

* with apologies to the film 'Sixteen Candles'


Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Old(er) dog, new tricks

Today I tried something new.

I lie. I tried something different.

Given my loathing of 'death by powerpoint' presentations, I have always sought to lead by example.
In past corporate roles I have done away with the dreaded slides altogether - and thus eschewing years of precedence by former management - and turned dreaded hour-long meetings into engaging and memorable TED-style talks that lasted no more than twenty minutes and were uplifting and valuable to all involved.

When meeting with prospective clients, my business partners and I have jettisoned the typical method of using an overhead projector and loads of jargon, for a far simpler - and more effective - session involving drawing icebergs and penguins and circles and timelines (you have to be there, trust me, it makes sense).

So today I gave a presentation to an up-and-coming new company.
Out of respect I will not divulge names or topics or agenda or remit, however I will say that I opted for a different tact altogether.

I used my cartoons to illustrate points.

They liked it.

They laughed.

And they asked whether they could keep the cartoons.

Let's see if it reaps rewards.
In the meantime, nothing ventured, nothing gained, I reckon!


Monday, 11 April 2016


I've been busy.

Which entailed dressing up like this:

And doing this:

Yes, I am singing.

Some twenty-five-odd years after last doing backing vocals for a band I thought this would be an apt way to celebrate a half century. Along with an 80s disco theme, masses of friends and loads of dancing.

And it was brilliant.

I even sang in key.

Not bad when you cannot hear yourself talk, are trying desperately to lip-read, and your ears are already ringing from the volume of the speakers.

Or maybe that's just age.

As you were.

I'm 50 and loving it.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Half century

Tomorrow is my birthday.

I will be 50.

I feel somewhere around 32.

I am not quite sure where time has flown except that it appears to have gone rather fast.

To celebrate I am having a big party with an 80s theme, with all guests invited to don their best outfits  honouring the period and dance along to a fabulous live band.

There will also be a photo booth which will undoubtedly result in plenty of silly memories to recall the event - which is the whole idea.

I did a quick summary of the range of friends (and family) invited and how they have come into my life:

  • rowing
  • cycling
  • running
  • skiing
  • book club
  • school (mine)
  • school (offspring)
  • work
  • writing
  • volunteering
  • neighbours
  • rugby
  • business associates
  • holidays
  • HOUSE MATES (late edited addition after best friend pointed out this dreadful oversight!)

Quite a variety and frankly I am amazed at how many have accepted to come along and celebrate (although I believe the theme has something to do with the appeal as well). It is a testimony also to the melting pot that is London given the wide range of nationalities, backgrounds, ages and cultures everyone hails from. I cannot wait to see them all together.

Hopefully my own outfit will do the evening justice as well. 
It's something along these lines:

Lacy fingerless gloves sorted. 
Crucifix necklaces, check.
Red lipstick, ditto.
Now. Where are my hair crimpers?

I'm almost ready!

Saturday, 27 February 2016


Ever heard the saying, "Don't enter a battle of wits with an unarmed person"?

I feel of late as if I have been un-wittingly drawn into such (see what I did there? genius) by way of my involvement with certain aspects of my life to which I devote - much to OH's annoyance - a substantial amount of time, none of it fee-generating, but very engaging and interesting and personally rewarding.

Well, I say 'personally rewarding' but in truth the fine line between that and wanting to head-butt a few people for the sake of knocking some common sense into them is rapidly diminishing.

So, a question to all of you: why do trivial matters evolve into substantial issues and how do you avoid the avalanche of time-wasting that accompanies the mêlée?

Do you:
a) attempt to put out any fire as soon as it appears by stamping on it
b) pull out a hosepipe, turn it on full blast, and aim at anything that moves
c) don a wetsuit, head for the nearest lake and bob about until the fracas has passed
d) call emergency services and try to explain whilst exonerating yourself from any culpability
e) focus on more important and pressing matters to hand

Me? I draw a cartoon.

Because that's what sensible people do in times of idiocy.


Yadda yadda yadda...