Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Pinch punch

Ohmygawd what? Another month end? What the actual flippety flip? (I am forsaking swearing because my mother is likely to read this)
How the devil did that happen?

Yes, tomorrow is the FIRST of JULY people.

Here is a summary of the news headlines, before they actually hit the airwaves in the morning.

Breaking news.

BONG (that's Big Ben chiming, in case you had no idea what I am on about)

Greece has left the EU and is now part of China. They have adopted the renminbi as their new national currency and lessons in Cantonese and Mandarin will be introduced as a compulsory part of the national curriculum from September. Which is a good thing as there was no national curriculum to speak of beforehand unless you count gesticulating and being loud - a trait also common in other countries such as Italy, Spain, Portugal...

BONG

Kanye West has changed his name. He will henceforth be known as Dick. He has demanded that all those who hail him must bow and scrape before his magnificent being and address him only as 'Holy Dick'. Those who fail to categorically follow this mandate will be castigated and forced to wear labels around their necks for the duration of one month that read: There is only one Dick and I am not Him.

BONG

Heatwave enters day two in Britain. With the thermometers rising steadily for the first time since 2014, the great pale public expressed surprise that this should occur in their fair isle rather than on shores further afield. Members of the populace were caught unaware by the calendar that read JULY, and complained repeatedly about the inconvenience of having to deal with warmth, sunshine, flimsy clothing and lightweight shoes. The Met Office duly complied and changed its forecast to promise thunderstorms, downpours and generally dismal conditions for the remainder of the summer months.

BONG

A new book takes the business world by storm. After a fraught two-year wait, the much-anticipated tome of wisdom is finally revealed to ecstatic audiences: LCM's audacious, amusing and utterly amazing new book 'How to stack a dishwasher' was released to rave reviews and is steadily climbing up the bestseller list.
"A 'must read'!" enthused the FT.
"Don't know how I managed without it!" exulted The Economist.
"A revelation of real life in a working woman's world!" wrote Harvard Business Review.
"Where's my free copy?" asked most of the blogging community.

As you were then. That's enough excitement for one evening.

You're welcome.





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Monday, 22 June 2015

It's here, it's here

Yes, FINALLY, the long-awaited labour of love is now published and available via Kindle or paperback.

I give you all the pertinent, funny and original (including cartoons) career guide for women that is like no other:





The marketing and promotion machine is underway - if you would like to know more or are interested in having me present at seminars or conferences, please contact me directly!

And spread the word :-)


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Monday, 8 June 2015

When all else fails, head to Sweden

So. Things appear to be on an eternal 'go-slow' loop at the moment.

Calls are not returned.
Emails take days to be answered.
Individuals require endless chasing for updates.
Replies are not exactly what you are hoping for.
Projects take forever and then more to get off the ground.
Work undertaken comes consistently under the perennial 'free' banner.

The one saving grace is that the hard proof copy of my book should come through the letterbox any day now. At least then I can look at it and reflect on how productive I have been despite all the crap mentioned above.
Never mind that it has taken the best part of three years in the making and the editing and revising almost drove me to distraction.

But there are things to look forward to.

Like an impromptu trip to Sweden with my lovely friend Dancing Queen (yes, there is an ABBA connection), one of the Kevinettes (Tough Mudda, it was her idea after all) and another girlfriend who now lives Out-In-The-Sticks.

We have been promised fresh air, long evenings drinking wine on the porch, vigorous walks and... weeding.

Yes, indeed. Dancing Queen's garden at her home in Sweden apparently is in dire need of some love and attention, so in exchange for food and lodging we are going to be donning gloves, hunkering down over the flowerbeds, and getting dirty knees.

It all sounds very Bergman.

Or, as I understand the locals would have it, "Ingen ko pÄ isen". *




* "No cow on the ice", ie "No worries".


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Sunday, 24 May 2015

Lost in bike land

You know the joke about Moses being lost in the desert for forty years because he would not ask for directions?

Well, I was in a similar position yesterday.
Except I was on a bike.
On a group ride.
In the Surrey Hills.

The short version of the story goes like this:

  • lag behind
  • get dropped
  • lose sight of others
  • take scenic detour home

The long version is more akin to this:


  • join second (of four) group of riders
  • lag behind after 35km
  • get re-attached (courtesy group leader who upped my speed to 45kph merely by putting a hand on my back and pushing me whilst I pedalled like the energizer bunny)
  • fall back again during first climb on Newlands Corner
  • lose sight of the others
  • wait for next (third of four) group of riders
  • watch them whizz past
  • fail to catch them
  • lose sight of them too
  • proceed to seek own route to Leith Hill
  • fail
  • try to find route to Box Hill
  • fail
  • ride through Abinger, Effingham, East Horsley, West Horsley, Ripley
  • repeat
  • three times
  • with a variety of alterations including bastard hill, aka White Down Lane
  • swear at phone map which asks what method of transport am I using: bus, car or walking
  • watch battery reach 'critically low' level
  • wonder whether OH would mind collecting me in the car
  • decide I would never hear the end of it and hence veto
  • take many more wrong turns
  • finally recognise a familiar sight
  • get home after some six hours in the saddle and this:



Today my thighs feel like they have been injected with silicone cement and I have developed a particular hatred of the foam roller (ironically the best cure).

I am walking in a peculiar manner, but at least it is not the walk of shame. 
Just the walk of clueless navigation.




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Wednesday, 13 May 2015

How to just effing do it - a guide to saying ‘Yes’

A few things have struck me over the past couple of days:

  1. if I were paid my market rate for 'volunteer' hours to date, I could take the rest of the summer off
  2. if I said 'No' more often, I would have more time on my hands (but possibly less business ideas as a consequence)
  3. if good manners were a commodity, many many MANY people would be lacking

Any of this resonate with you too?

Let me explain. 

After a very thorough and exhausting process, we have finally appointed a new head teacher at the school where I am chair of governors. It is a huge relief and everybody is excited about the news. Some great teamwork, innumerable meetings, meticulous scheduling, detailed paperwork, consistent and constant revision and review of the input and output, and always retaining the 'vision' of what all interested parties - children, staff, parents and governors - held as important elements in our search.

I wish I had a pound for every occasion someone asked how much time I personally put into this. Instead, I did a rough - and very conservative - calculation of hours.

Seventy-five.

Yes, I didn't know that either when I signed up. But it's all good and has given me an insight regarding certain procedures and the follow-on business opportunity that exists. Never one to miss the bigger picture, I guess.

So the next question is why do some of us contribute so freely of our time and skills whereas others do not?

I have plenty of views, but not an all-encompassing answer. 
Let's just say that if more people helped out (in general), the "many hands..." saying would be repeated a lot less frequently. 

Which brings me to manners. Or lack of them.

Back in the 'real' (read: paid) business world, all semblance of people state - on their profiles or websites - to being the utmost professionals in terms of how they deal with enquiries, follow up with clients, engage with partners, etc etc etc.

Yet. The amount of downright rude fobbing off, from cack-handed email replies to a refusal to even schedule a phone call ("I am very busy..."), from pathetic excuses ("I am not based in London"... err, hello? Skype?) to total lack of engagement or even a courteous acknowledgement is, in all honesty, quite unbelievable.

How is it possible that even in the busiest of times I can make the effort to at least reply or return a phone call? Is this really such a Herculean effort on my behalf? I think not.

A word to the wise then - and all those who think they are above reproach:

"What goes around, comes around."

When, one day, you require business dealings with myself I will remind you that I forgive, but I do not forget.

Right. Where's my phone?

(c) www.savagechickens.com




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Sunday, 3 May 2015

Once more into the madness

And again we ventured into the mud. 

Because with the rugby season having finally ended, there was something amiss with my weekends, obviously. Not enough cold, wet, windy, miserable conditions to contend with. Insufficient pain and suffering. And no obstacles to impede progress (like young players scattering over the pitch when you are refereeing a match).

No, not at all. 
There was only one option: Tough Mudder 2015.

After last year's foray, I had conveniently forgotten a few things:
  1. training is a good idea, preferably beforehand;
  2. upper body strength helps, a lot;
  3. water is cold (I won't even mention Arctic Enema, actually I will: insanely f*cking freeeeezing);
  4. bruises;
  5. hills, non-stop;
  6. everything else
But we did it. Another great team effort, fantastic camaraderie and support, plenty of laughs and smiles over the finish line.

I have one thing to be grateful for: as a 'legionnaire' (aka TM 'veteran', get me) I was permitted to by-pass the Electroshock Therapy.


Damn shame, that.

And today I have a choice selection of bruises (again), aching joints (again), and rather sore muscles (again).

It was only when one of the team posted the following map that it dawned on me why I might be in such discomfort: 


So I took the only remedy I could think of.

I signed up again for next year.


(I know, I know, I need a life).




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Monday, 20 April 2015

A marriage of texts

A good friend of mine shared a link recently on that wonderful medium that is Facebook which not only had me laughing but also got me thinking of how OH and I communicate and what our text message exchanges say about twenty plus years' worth of a relationship.

Needless to say I subsequently wasted about an hour scrolling through hundreds of SMS* to get a feeling for what is important to us.

I think I know now:
  1. food
  2. rugby
  3. food
  4. offspring
  5. training
  6. food
  7. other random stuff
And single word replies. From OH. Or cryptic messages. And zero punctuation.
Sound familiar? Here's a sample few to prove my point.

LCM - At M&S. Will get prawns for dinner.
OH - Great
LCM - Do we have any fresh salad? Bought some yesterday but think we ate it all last night?
OH - Ate

LCM - Widget in rugby semi final match at festival.
OH - Ok
LCM - Bloody freezing pitch-side. Sun out but cold wind. Usual suspects as opposition. Coffee rubbish. Ref'd two games.
OH - Home
LCM - Lucky you.
OH - Yes

OH - What time are you back?
LCM - Due to finish at 9. May go for for quick drink. Eat first, I'll eat later.
OH - When
LCM - When I get home.
OH - What time
LCM - After conference finishes, after I attend reception that follows (briefly), after I catch tube home and walk back from station.
OH - Shall I leave you something
LCM - Dinner. Or winning lottery ticket. No pressure.

LCM - Sink in guest bathroom leaking. Seal appears to have broken or disintegrated from horizontal out pipe under plughole, probably because it moves about like our one does. Have put note and bucket under it but will need sorting, something to look forward to when you return.
OH - Yes
LCM - Don't get too excited.
OH - No

LCM - Arrived early. On bus now to station then change for next destination. No swimming for Widget on Monday. Starts again January. All his PE kit in blue box.
OH - LW 66, Edgh 10
LCM - You watching the match?
OH - Yes
LCM - Have kids finished homework?
OH - Yes. Watching match
LCM - Gathered that. Get him to pack his kit before school.
OH - Who
LCM - The cookie monster.

LCM - Washer on rear window of car not working any more. Front ones also not right :-(
OH - Park in the sun.
LCM - I was parked in the sun already.
OH - More
LCM - So helpful.

LCM - Am still at swimming gala, almost done. Can you please collect other two from school?
OH - Y
LCM - Need dinner as well please?
OH - What you feel like
LCM - Food and strong drink.

OH - How was your run?
LCM - Muddy. Cold. Wet. Bit of sunshine. More mud. Lots of hills. Just finished.
OH - That's why it's called Tough Mudder.
LCM - So perceptive.
OH - Y
LCM - Am filthy. No showers available. Only cold water!
OH - Don't get car dirty
LCM - Seriously?

OH - How did it go?
LCM - Disaster at 34km, flat rear tyre. Changed but something still wrong so have stopped by marshal to request mechanical help! Not happy :-/
OH - Bad luck. Thought you were doing 25km
LCM - Hah! 63.17!
OH - Should have done short ride
LCM - That was the short ride.

OH - Please can you get stuff to make pizza?
LCM - Too late, missing mozzarella. You will have to get that. And salami.
OH - Will pick up
LCM - And milk please? And ice cream.
OH - For pizza?
LCM - For breakfast. And coffee. And bathing.
OH - What?
LCM - Okay, last one was joke.
OH - Milk?
LCM - Bathing. Still need milk. And ice cream.

It's called 'cheap entertainment' and 'how to waste two hours and not get the time back'.

You're welcome.

(c) www.savagechickens.com

* that may be an exaggeration, in all senses

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