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.


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.



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