Saturday, 27 March 2010


Richard Cadden
Tony Parsons
Eddie Izzard
Some unnamed forty year old woman


If you find yourself unable to define your own borders, either spatially, or temporally, then who are you?


The linguistic habits of the depressive are rather like a man walking along a street barefooted and throwing out tin tacks to then stand on.
Examples are things like:
I always.........
I never..........
I have no.........
I failed at.......
I am (universal judgement of myself)....
I just can't.......


Tour de France winner
JG Ballard
Good at something other than essays
Able to screw any girl I want
Car owner (we didn't have one)
Not my Dad (now I find myself becoming him)
Muscleman (no one kicks sand in MY face)
Lord of the Manor (I'm so rich no one kicks sand in my face)
Cooler than a violinist
With cool, not embaraassing parents
Invulnerable tank commander
Bus driver (already knew all the routes offf by heart and had practised the steering wheel with an old Quality Street lid)
A driver of any vehicle (we didn't have a car)
Secret agent with codes and stuff
Someone living in a semi detached house (definition of posh)
Someone with worktops (ditto)
Someone with leather soles (see above, though I now wonder about the lifetime cost model of shoes)
Someone posh enough to tell anyone else where to get off


A scouser
A knickers designer
Chimney sweep
Sweet tester
Bra designer
Hat shop owner
Man who measures the distance of the moon from earth (he does exist)
Women tester (general)
Librarian (with turrets)
Stamp designer
Lawns men
PE teacher (all girls school)
Trumpet tester
Cosmetic surgeon (Breasts)
Tractor driver
Porn star
Diamond thief
French polisher
vet and driving instructor.


I'll just never understand why so many people are so ignorant!

Monday, 22 March 2010

My dis ease is my complaint.


My good friend, the HRD, has written a cracking post on his excellent blog - - advocating (very sensibly) choice of pizza topping as talent indicator. Mine's tuna, onion, peppers and plenty of chilli oil, by the way.
His post set me in mind of a killer question I once asked. At the time I was a Brand manager and the brand under my care was looking for a new advertising agency. We did the rounds of a shortlist of London ad agencies and were treated to a few good lunches - tuna and onion pizza, maybe. The agencies were a mix of the established large shops, and some new, rather more creative boutique outfits.One of the latter were presenting to us, and in my book were well ahead on points. They described their approach as absolutely focused in searching for a brand's benefit and unique proposition. So focused, in fact, that they made it a discipline always to hone their brand benefits down to a single word. "And what," I asked, "is the single word for your agency?".
Sadly, they blew it, looking at me silently with a mix of loathing and disbelief.
Another friend of mine, also an HR Director, claims to use two killer questions in recruitment interviews:
- which battles do you fight?
- what's your favourite porn category?
They should sort the men from the boys.

Saturday, 20 March 2010


The proposal by Trinity House to scrap Britain's lighthouses is deeply shocking. Not because it is wrong: it isn't. It is the shock of an era ending, and the icons of that era becoming suddenly redundant. With dgps, radar, chartplotting and so on, the truth is that lighthouses are very secondary navigation aids. The argument that electronic means can fail is a bit limp. Even boats under 30 feet often carry more than one digital navigation device. It is unusual, and probably an indication of recalcitrence, to find a boat without any. And it is strange that until very recently you could become a yachtmaster without any instruction in the use of these aids.
Nonetheless there is a beauty and intricacy to the system of navigation lights, each flashing their unique code, and I imagine we are a long way off getting rid of all of them. The smaller and closer in, the higher their survival chances I would thiink. The iconic headland lights also have a beauty, even if their primary purpose is no longer in demand. I imagine that a movement will occur to save them as heritage items, publicly funded either by charitable status or by government intervention.
But gps is not all good. Where the horizon is blue all round, I wouldn't want to be without one. But I know of more than one person who goes around Britain utterly lost at all times, thanks to the sat nav. There is something about studying a map (and we have some of the finest maps in the world in this country) that adds to knowledge, imagination and passion for the country in which we live and which reconnects us with the animals we really are, primally dependant on navigation for our very survival. We forget that at our peril.

Thursday, 18 March 2010


We've had an invasion of ankle biters. That's how it feels, though in fact only two kids have been running round the house. But it's odd that the thought police, in Health and Safety high viz bibs, haven't thought to ban kids. After all, the noise levels produced by a three year old and a two year old doing their worst would certainly be banned if they were emitted by any industrial machine. Some of the loudest experiences I've ever had were on army manouvres. They don't even come close.

Saturday, 13 March 2010


Did you know that I have become a relationship counsellor? No? Nor did I. But it appears that of late a usage of the Berry is in that vocation. Much against my better judgement I must say.

Here, though, are my protocols:

* talking about the past is not what you are here to do.
* talking about the present and the future is what you are here to do.
* framing simple statements of what you want is encouraged.
* touching is encouraged.
* stating what you appreciate in the other is encouraged, nay demanded.

Not a bad formula.

Friday, 12 March 2010


I distrust help. It seems flawed to me as a motive. I'm unsure of what it means to help another. And I believe it is not an abject malevolence which leads me to say that. So often in my life it has been unexpected, even accidental things which have offered me help. As often, it has been the power of simply being accompanied through difficult circumstances, the knowledge someone was with me, the hand on the proverbial shoulder, nothing more.
Being a consultant and coach, a temptation I find myself avoiding is the sort of gambit that begins with "I can help you." What that often means in practice is "I can help myself (to your money)."
Help is vexed. Who is getting it is often unclear to me.
I remember a friend once told me that I gave him one of his most valuable pieces of advice - helped him. His mother was dying, but refusing all help from him, her son. Understandably distressing. I listened and suggested he might just enjoy her, and their remaining time together, giving up the urge to help which was stressing the relationship. My friend must have decided to act on this. Her last days were blessed with the joy of their relationship. My friend remembers them as some of the happiest times he ever had with his mother.
Did I help?
I hope not!

Wednesday, 10 March 2010


Last night was a clear sky and the house stood under a million million stars. Some time ago there was a local survey to see if the residents of our village wanted street lighting. They didn't. As there is unusually little light pollution, I suspect the star gazing habit is the reason.
I tried my new bins out. They weren't up to the job, unsurprisingly. It is asking a lot. I tried them on Orion's sighting stars: Rigal, Aldebaran and Betelgeuse. I couldn't hold them still enough for good imagery. The moon had not risen. When it does - the full, blue moon at the end of the month, I will have a look using them then.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010


I was the proud owner of a pair of Nikon binoculars. Very nice. But the ankle biter got hold of them and essentially wrecked them. So I needed a new pair. I'm not especially a bargain hunter, but I thought - I know, I'll have a look on Amazon. I wanted a pair of big magnification bins for bird watching. On their site I spot the Celestron Upclose 20 x 50 binoculars. That's big magnification and a lot of viewing light. Price? £22. Yes. I haven't missed a nought off. £22! I bought them. They arrived today and are superb. Not only that, they have a carrying case, a strap and a ten year guarantee. For £22! I can't quite believe it. But I am absolutely and childishly delighted.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

ONCE IN A BLUE MOON...........

And this month is one.
Check it out!