Tag Archives: cotswolds

ever wondered why you had been turned down for a job?

I was in a discussion with a fellow panellist last week on the subject of competition. My angle for the debate had been on purchasing and there were some striking differences between the approach a buyer would take to deciding who to appoint and the way my colleague on the panel would work in their specialism. Let me put it this way: Continue reading


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so wins the Plonker of the Week award this week?

I’m not sure who to feel most sorry for here; the politicians (yes, really), the media or the public, but the panic buying of fuel and the chaos that has been caused over the last few days has left me bewildered. So who will get my Plonker of the Week award this week? Continue reading

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Gamble – Felix Francis – Book Review

I became a fan of Dick Francis books back in the 1960s and have read every book along the way, eagerly awaiting the next in the series. Some I’m happy to read again and again, others less so. Regardless of whther he or his wife was the prime source of ideas they are good reads, albeit that some did relfect a somewhat sadistic streak.

In recent years a collaboration with son Felix emerged, and he has taken over the franchise in some style. Gamble is the lastest and carries on the fine tradition of whodunnits with a hero, plus a few close to him, in the firing line of the villain(s).

I won’t spoil the story by revealing what it is, but do recommend that you buy the book.

Click here to find out more about the book on Amazon

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peripheral vision

As a boy I would often go for walks with my parents and sisters. Like many families in the 1950s we didn’t have a car, so the ‘bus or Shanks’s Pony were the way we got about.

We lived in the country and so much of our walking was along country lanes, across fields and through woods. My earliest memories of these walks would be, I suppose, from the times between when I was about 5 and 8, and all four of the homes we had in that time were just to the West of the developing Heathrow airport. The majority of the aeroplanes that I would see quite low overhead were propeller driven to give you an idea of how long ago all of this was.

As we walked we would talk and look. Strolling along gives you time for that sort of thing and we would watch how the hedgerows and trees changed over the seasons, what was going on in the fields and beyond. It made the walk pass in style and we learned as we went.

That tendency to look around me has stayed with me over the years. There is so often something in a cloud formation or any view that can influence your senses. It may lift your spirits or it might moisten your eyes, but look around you and let these things touch you. Smell the roses as they say.

At the moment I am driving to work leaving home while it is still dark. It is a transient time, but I get to the place I am working at just as dawn breaks. Every morning produces a different sky and that changes as I walk from the car park to the building, every time a thing of beauty to start the day with.

The media make stupid remarks about nature being out of control whenever there is another earthquake or similar occurrence. Nature has never been nor will ever be under our control. We have to live with nature and take whatever it gives us. sometimes that will be tragic for our fellow creatures, but far more often it will give us something to enjoy if we only look for it.

So open your eyes, use your peripheral vision and see what is going on all around you and take a moment to be fascinated by it. You’re not here for long in the general scheme of things; enjoy it while you can.

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The plague of the wrong trousers

I know that this plague has been with us for some time, but feel that I just have to speak out as it shows no sign of receding. Or should I say that there is no sign of things going back to the point they were at before they began to recede.

That which troubles me is the fact that many men, many of whom are old enough to know better, have allowed themselves to be sold trousers that stop a long way short of where a trouser should. I believe that descriptions such as three quarter and five eighths apply.

Now laudable as it is to be encouraging the use of old fashioned fractions, the fact remains that men look stupid in these garments. There was a time when I was a lad and growing quickly that you might be asked if your trousers had had a row with your ankles if they didn’t drape nicely over your shoes, but this latest look is beyond the pale. Men, what are you thinking?!

If you want to wear shorts then get a proper pair of tailored ones, otherwise cover up with proper pants. And if you’re over 50, then just cover up. Old men’s legs are not attractive.

I think that it has been a female plot. Never mind “does my bum look big in this?”, if they can get their men looking like half wits then no-one will notice how big their bum looks. Clever, eh?

Come on guys, stop letting the side down. Dress properly and let’s see some standards coming back.

One last thing. If you must wear stupid three quarter length pants, or those silly long shorts, for goodness sake don’t wear socks with your sandals. Be warned; if I get into power I will be promoting a shoot to kill policy for the fashion police.

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Garden progress here in North Wiltshire

Tonight dinner was enhanced by the first potatoes from what used to be our rockery. We dug it out a couple or three years ago and made a raised be into with we’ve planted various greens and potatoes. Tonight’s are the result of a potato that I just planted because it was sprouting in the veg drawer. A nice change from some of the shop bought (we were very disappoited with the Jersey Royals this year – almost tasteless).

Earlier in the year we had a great crop of strawberries that lasted us throigh about 3 weeks of enhancing puddings. Not so many coming through now though.

The tomato hanging basket (Tumbler) is cropping like mad and making salads nicer as are lettuce from the garden. The plum and full size tomatoes are flowering, but no crops yet.

We tried Pak Choi this year for the first time and managed to use 4 or 5 in stir fries before they went to flower.

Fennel, garlic, round carrotts and beans all coming along.

We’ll never match Tom & Barbara, but it is a bit of fun and relaxation, the food miles are minimal and it all tastes good, so we’ll be doing it all again next year.

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Filed under about me, In our garden

mobile phones and boring people

Why is it that the mobile phone culture dictates that a person’s volume on their phone is in inverse proportion to the substance of their conversation?

Riding home from London on the train last night I was joined by a fellow businessman, but a complete stranger. His papers identified him as working for a company that I know well and he spend much of the journey making and receiving calls, but I heard probably less that 30 words over about the same number of minutes of talk time despite the fact that we were sat so close. A shame in some ways because, being in an industry where I frequently earn my keep I might have picked up something useful.

Three or four rows in front and behind were a man and a woman who were both so loud that every word rang out through the carriage, and boy were they inane. Having seen them both neither looked like a gormless moron, but they both sounded that way. Do these people think that a lack of decent conversation skills can be overcome by shouting?

Oh, the joys of train travel.

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the power of the media – e.coli and all that

So there I am, networking away after giving an evening presentation, when realisation of the time creeps up on me. I need to get moving. I’ve missed out on the sponsor’s excellent looking buffet, but plan to grab a sandwich at Paddington – it’s a long time since 12 and my hurried lunch.

Farewells said I head out into Kingsway and cross the street heading for Holborn Station and the Central Line. As I funnel into the stream of others squeezing into the entrance I take the free Evening Standard and shuffle through the turnstiles and down the escalator.

A westbound train is just pulling so I dive on, lean up against the partition and open my paper. The news is bad: Mutant e.coli sweeping Europe and the US. Deadly bugs passed on via salad items seem to be the cause and we have 7 victims over here in the UK now. Nasty stuff, and I feel for the folks in Hamburg, the epicentre of the outbreak the paper tells me, as it is somewhere I have visited many times on business and have always been warmly welcomed.

A change of train at Oxford Circus and I get a seat this time. I read more about the outbreak and its implications. All very unpleasant.

Paddington comes up and I make my way through the tunnel and up onto the concourse. I have 10 minutes before the train is due out, so head for the food concessions to find, you guessed it, row upon row of tired looking concoctions (well it is just after 9pm) all embellished with limp salad.

Even if the chance of any of it being likely to be carrying a nasty bug is infinitesimal, ThatConsultantBloke goes home to bed hungry, unable to face any of it, the power of the media having put him off thoroughly.

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hats off to Sir Frank Whittle: celebrating the 70th anniversary of Britain’s first jet powered flight

Seventy years ago today history was made when a British jet powered aeroplane first flew as the W1 turbo fan powered Gloster E28/39 took off from Cranwell and made a successful first flight.

Thanks to George Carter who designed the aeroplane, to Gloster chief test pilot Flight Lieutenant Gerry Sayer who made that first 17 minute flight, and to the perseverance and genius of Sir Frank Whittle, Britain entered the jet age.

Notwithstanding that the Germans had already flown their first jet aircraft, the He 178 in 1939 and would actually be the first to get a jet powered aeroplane into operational service in the shark like Me 262, this having first flown jet with power around 14 months after the Gloster. But Frank Whittle got the idea first, and today marks a landmark in our aviation history. It punctuates a remarkable 66 year period between the Wright brothers staggering into the air for the first powered and controlled flight and Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon.

So let’s celebrate the achievement on this, its 70th anniversary.

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if Swindon vanishes in a fireball….

It will be nothing to do with my lack of religious belief, nor my anti AV status, but rather a spontaneous combustion of barbeque lighting fluid in the atmosphere.

Despite being 75 to 100 feet from the nearest meat cremation ceremony, the stench of accelerant is so bad that I’ve given up on gardening and come indoors feeling somewhat ill. Goodness knows what their food will taste like with all those fumes around.

So, if you live locally and see the flash, or you hear of our fireball on the news later, you’ll know why.

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