Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Now that's what I call Snow

What an amazing sight this morning.  There was a fair amount of snow overnight but it just got worse during the morning and Mrs. F. kindly went up to the Hospital with my pee sample as she had to take A to get her blood test done.  I was waiting in for my business partner but the roads and basically the whole country shut down again today and so he ended up going home as the road here was blocked by abandoned cars and traffic accidents.

As there were hardly any people around A got her blood test about 30 seconds after she got there which was a blessing as she, like I, does not greatly like such things.  They handed in my test so that in 2 weeks time I can have my Flexible Cystoscopy.  Not something I'm greatly looking forward to but something that has to be done of course.

It looks as if we are in for more travel chaos - they only knew the snow was coming for about a week and they still couldn't cope.

Suddenly Christmas is upon us and I've a mountain to climb in terms of getting things done and trying to make sure that I have work and leisure things tied up.  Trouble is there are just so many things vying for my attention.  Oh well - I'm sure they'll all get done sooner or later.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Must remember

Pee in a pot tomorrow morning and get that off to the Hospital. The threat of snow here is now getting nearer. None so far tonight but that can change as quick as you like.

It is 2 weeks away from my Flexible Cystoscopy and only three days away for my tooth extraction and to top that the Doc wants a blood test (maybe I can do Christmas Eve like last time - it was empty then!!). Talking of which - the new simpler way of sorting this out isn't! They now have a printed paper form not the old bag and handwritten form - yippee progress. Well it would be if they actually informed you whether the fasting blood test is actually necessary. You see they say you no longer need to these days. On the old form it told you what to do on this one? Of course, not a word, you have to guess I suppose :-) Luckily Mrs. F is heading down to the quacks tomorrow so will ask the question of them. Typical! I wonder if it is me. Service and thinking about what you do before it backfires on you doesn't appear to be in the human Psyche at all. Why does no one think this stuff through? Someone else's job I suppose.

I'm feeling good and I had such a great weekend with the guys up in Scotland. So good that I feel that could (or should) become a regular feature on my calendar.

Some Photos of Strathaven

Pronounced "strayvan"

The Hotel

 That's roughly how cold it was :-)

The Town

Town Church

The Castle

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I'm Alive

Well I survived Scotland including the snow and ice. It was a really great time. More when I get some sleep - 7 hours + in a car there and back were enough to make me feel really tired. Let alone two nights of getting to bed gone 3 am don't help either.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Yay - web site is up

Finally the web site is up and running.

I can't even begin to tell you how disruptive it has been to get to this stage but now it is completed, I'm really happy with it and it is just enough to get our message across without too much detail.


Now to get on with the rest of the planning work.

Cold snap

It is pretty cold here and the damp weather with this cold snap goes right through you. I've been working away today on various things to get the survey questionnaire completed and we have been struggling with the web site getting that loaded onto the web site and tested.

It worked find in test, a doddle in fact, but at the moment all I can see if the text and none of the images and they really are the thing that makes the site work.

Off to Scotland - where the worst of the weather is - tomorrow morning at 05:30 so I need to get myself ready and sorted for that at some time tonight! I am looking forward to it but not to miles of snow and ice that will go with it!!!

Maybe it is finally time to move my books and computer back up to my office and work up there where it is a little warmer than in our front room which is always cool - even in the Summer.

No it can't be

Yes it is it is 1:25 in the morning and I can't work out why that should be? Then I realised I was watching a channel that was +1 on TV meaning that I started it an hour later. Oh nuts...

Oh well, that will be why my feet are cold then. Tomorrow (well later today) I need to get ready for Scotland on Friday morning. I am still sat here at my computer thrashing away. Had a good day today and the web site is agreed and ready to roll out. That will be by the end of the week.

Suddenly lots of the business and the plans are coming together in my head and I really could have done with just spending the weekend writing them up. However, Scotland beckons and we are due lots of snow just for the hell of it so instead of going up in my friends rather swish Mercedes Grand Tourer we are going to go up in the Jeep instead. Not sure what that will be like but we shall see no doubt....

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

London - Hate It

It has lost much of its appeal for me these days although Covent Garden looked fantastic, they have huge tree baubles hanging from the roof - they must be 20 foot across. Amazing.

Work was as insanely pickey as I remember it being from the last time I was there and somehow things were more distant than they have been for some time. Maybe it is all wearing a bit thin now? Anyway, I have some work to do on the site - phew, lots of work, the number of changes are substantial for me although they are minor in nature it is still quite an undertaking which will keep me busy through December and January.

The Web site is completed and we now just need the files and we can upload them and hey presto, we will be up and running - I hope.

It is late

I really should be in bed but for some reason, best known to myself, I am wide awake. Had some amazing dreams last night, real Sci-Fi stuff and how on earth the brain can deliver Blu-Ray quality images as good as that I have no idea, it was fantastic, with huge machines coming down out of the ceiling and stuff moving about everywhere, bright chrome and metallic stuff everywhere, sound, colour the lot - and then the phone went!!!

So stuck wide awake now - really getting buzzy about the website which is all but finished, a few bits of code to go in to finalise things and there we go. If I say it myself, I am pleased with the results. I hate my photo but then I hate my photo, my voice and everything else about me - I don't know why but I do dislike seeing myself and hearing my voice on tape or film throws me every time. No one else complains so I suppose other people see me differently.

Now all I want is the web site active, the email set up properly and away I go as it then starts to get really interesting.

I am off to work in about 5 hours time!!!! Back up to London to finalise the Wiki and the documents I have been working on all year. This will give me some money prior to and just after Christmas which will be nice to have. I can't see investment being available until Easter next year at the earliest!

I'm feeling self assured about my visit to the Hospital as a few weeks before then I will have a tooth extracted and having just gone through Root Canal treatment, I can only imagine that having a flexi a few weeks later will just be a doddle...

Well - I suppose I ought to go to bed now or suffer the indignation of falling asleep in a meeting (not for the first time I hasten to add!!!!) :-)

Monday, November 22, 2010

What time is it?

Or something like that I said as at 7am this morning my friend called me "Did you ring me" he asked. "No" I said dozily. "Oh well, sorry to disturb you, bye."

So I was up and I really could have done with the sleep if the truth be known!

Anyway that was a rude old start to the morning :-) SO I got up and started work early - I will be looking forward to my bed tonight though.

Some good news is that Steve Kelley's Blog has just got an award (see below). So congratulations to Steve on that - it is excellent news.

Today I managed to get really cracking on some work at last. The Web Site has been finalised over the weekend and should be ready to go up and be hosted in a few days time. It has been a long hard road and so disruptive and instructive all at the same time. My business partner and I knew there would be times like this. Indeed, this is one of those times where we are just coming down from a really high point caused mainly through the chaos and stress that the creative process has put us through. You see we are methodical process driven people who work through things and get stuff done in a planned and organised way and we drive through our workload without a problem when we get moving properly.

I hope that I'll be able to publish the web site this week before I go to Scotland that is.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Well it was 2 am

When I eventually got everyone home and then drove myself home. All was OK until a friend rang at 9 this morning. I needed that - Not!

Next week going to Scotland will be nice - apparently that is some event, it sounded a bit frightening to me. We get there around about lunchtime and the advice is - go to bed and get a few hours sleep then they go out and do many hours drinking and enjoying themselves. Then they get back in time to get a few hours sleep and have brunch! Then the real thing kicks off.

I feel my Liver giving way already. :-)

A quiet day today - it will all kick off again tomorrow when we get back to work....

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Nitty Gritty

The web site getting launched is like pulling teeth, an absolute nightmare at the moment as it doesn't get any easier to finalise. It looks OK now but there are some areas that need improvement but the Designer/Developer is giving us a hard time over it. A bit of a shame really as you'd have expected that one review and changes would be included!

Anyway, I am sure that a "chat" on Monday will resolve that and we can at last put the site out there, live. There is so much work still to do but I managed to get the research polished off for the background of the Business Plan. A few more weeks and it will be Christmas and I will be working flat out getting letters and cards written. I hope to "encourage" all my friends to look at the website and also to fill in my questionnaire too so that I can have a file of evidence on what people want from what we are doing.

I am off out today, doing the driving for my friend and his son, as I did a year ago. It seems only fair as he is driving me to Scotland and back next week. I shall be abstaining from drinking which is no bad thing given that these guys will have their meeting, a nice meal and then they will repair to the Conservative Club and drink anything less than conservatively :-) At least I can run them home and then get back to my bed - last time it was 1:30 or 2 in the morning!

I don't even want to think what it will be like next week!


I had a thought tonight walking back to the house after a nice Curry and a few beers with Flocky Bicep and a potential member of our Lodge. The thought I had came from meeting an old friend who's Brother-In-Law has cancer - non Hodgkinsons Lymphoma type - and is receiving a good old thwack of chemo for his troubles.

His attitude - is - well, resigned and dour and this, in my humble opinion (and his) is not the way to tackle this. OF COURSE, it isn't easy to face up to it and OF COURSE it isn't nice and OF COURSE it knocks you about a bit but the very last thing you need to do is to take a negative attitude to it or to have a resigned attitude.

In my mind I firmly believe that Cancer made me a much better person. Many people have alluded to this quite assured and almost arrogant person they knew before the cancer to someone who has a real empathy with people - especially those in a similar situation. Cancer took me from being one sort of person to another. I explained to my friend about how things were really good for me at the moment. Whilst life wasn't straightforward any-more it was so much better, I also laughed about my "I'm Not Dead Yet" Monty Python Tee Shirt. It's all about attitude, I'm convinced that if you want to "roll over and give up" that you will get your wish. I was determined to beat this and to show everyone else that there was no shame in having cancer, that it wasn't something to be scared of and that you can get on with your life and continue as long as you had the will and the humour to do so!

I feel sorry for the guy with the wrong attitude. You have to make up your mind to battle away with what you've got or have a laugh trying.

Cancer changed my life and "made me" what I am today. That's no bad thing.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Spotify and WE7

Amazing you can get your favourite music piped to your desk these days. I've been able to rediscover lots of music and just set up play lists and listen when I want. If I don't like a track I can skip it.

Its interesting that technology can do this for us. The team are over here today. My business partner hasn't been terribly well this week so we have slipped a bit. We hope to get the website sorted out pretty fast as it should have been live this week. Our emails are working though which is cool.

I'm having to reload lots of software and that's bringing its own fraught moments as I am having to muck around just to get this new laptop to see the network - the arrogance of the business that released something that just doesn't work properly. I hope we never do that.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Relaxed about things - and then again

Last night was a difficult sleep night. I can only put it down to getting the letter to go in for the flexible cystoscopy. Yet, I know there isn't much I can do about it or about the outcome and I actually feel quite OK about it. I realise that it is one of those things that I have to do regularly and if it is good news then Christmas will be that much better.

You get to know straight away which is pretty impressive (one way or the other) and I suppose that for that I should be grateful. I think I should be OK and Mrs. F. says she is around that day so once I get "done" she can come and pick me up. I might ask her to drop me off so I can find the place first - it is the local Hospital. I must also remember that I need to do a urine cytology sample a few weeks before hand too.

I think, given the fact that I've had one of these before and I've had numerous BCG instillations that I'll be OK. It is all pretty much over and done with quickly and so it is just the stinging that I need to deal with. I have a strategy for that and agreed that with my Consultant and that is to arrive with a bottle of water and some pain killers and take those as I arrive about 15 minutes before the procedure. Hopefully that will help sort things out.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Scopes Away

14th December in the morning for my flexible Cystoscopy - late morning so I'll have a good chance to hydrate ready for it and as long as I thwack back a few pain killers early on I should be OK - although having said that of course it may be different to the first one of these I had. I imagine that I shouldn't get the stinging I got first time. Famous last words indeed. I think the family are off to see the Nutcracker that day. It somehow seems appropriate :-)

Let it all out

It was an interesting comment, chatting to a friend who just went in to melt down, middle of a restaurant. Luckily his mates were with him and the waiter got turned away as did other helpful people in a nice way of course. It was interesting as I also read about someone not knowing what to do whether to laugh or cry and I can fully understand that - almost a daily occurrence things just set you off or trigger responses.

I was never receptive to these things before. With today's full on internet information you get a lot more stimuli than before and somehow I'm more connected to the news and people's experiences than I ever used to be which I fully attribute to the realisation of my own mortality.

Someone did say that your whole body goes out of tune and out of equilibrium, your natural balance of hormones just get out of sync. Your ability to call on reserves such as adrenalin for flight or fight situations often calls on reserves that are almost empty or are empty. Whether that is so or not, I'm not sure but I often have these moments, several times a day where I stop myself getting involved too deeply into something that will result in me feeling bad or make me get emotionally involved.

I'm sure there is something about this somewhere - there was certainly some stuff in the Post Cancer Fatigue document I read but in this country we treat the symptoms and are beginning to look at the cause but no one thinks too hard about the emotional wreckage that Cancer leaves behind for you and your friends and family. Interestingly MacMillan are doing something in their survivor programme. Learning to live in this post cancer world may take a bit longer than I thought.

Hennesey XO and a Chinese to savour

What a lovely evening. The Chinese restaurant was heaving - which on a Tuesday is pretty good as nowhere else seemed to be. A superb meal and a wander up to K's house and some rather nice XO Cognac and a few hours setting the world to rights was all we needed to round off a lovely evening.

On a cold winters evening a lift home from V was also most welcome. Just time to review my emails and consider what we spoke about and what I learnt tonight.

Most importantly - I have some very nice friends and we share very similar values. I feel uplifted and happy to have decided to have spent time with them. That will do I think.

We had an interesting conversation on "values" and I'll try and work some of that in to the blog down this week. Now back to the issue of trying to sort out all my misbehaving laptops and PCs!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The pain starts when

You pay the bill. End of Root Canal work today and I suppose, on reflection, it wasn't too bad. I needed a few Ibuprofen later on when I got back but it was a difficult one, so he said, and I needed my jaw jammed open. I was there for an hour and 15 which was a long time. I was a bit too tense to start with but once the tooth was ready it was OK and I started to breathe a bit better.

This just leaves the extraction to come in a few weeks time, I gave myself a few days between Scotland and having this done. It will be early December and whilst I remember having it done some time ago - I have given myself a fair bit of time between then and Christmas to allow me time to recuperate.

I am out tonight with some of the team for a Chinese meal and I have to say I am looking forward to that immensely. It's nice to get out and have a chat with my friends. Unfortunately one of them has had to cry off with something approaching "man Flu" - poor chap :-)

My computer woes grow and it is just a pain trying to get this computer to talk to the rest in the house. I can see that there may be "words" soon if it doesn't start to work properly. It's just pants that this can be allowed to be the normal experience people have with their computers.

My fault for setting the house up with shared printers and services.

It's very cold here today and my feet are freezing - I may decide to go back to my warm office environment in the next week or two.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Whatever I did Yesterday

Has disappeared today and about midday the network on my PC broke again and I was left without network connections and without printing just when I needed it. I hate IT, I hate PCs and Technology just sucks, it never ever used to be this difficult, someone just decided to screw it up and make it insensible to us. And I know what I'm doing (or have a rough idea).

So today was reasonably OK and was a bit sticky being a Monday. My Car Alarm went off at some ungodly hour as Mrs. F. had popped the boot (trunk) and it was frozen solid. She decided not to get the stuff out as she couldn't open it and reset the alarm. Well all was OK until it defrosted and I couldn't find the key to switch off the alarm. It sure got my attention and probably everyone else in the neighbourhood. It switched itself off before I found where the key had been cunningly hidden - not in the drawer where the car keys are kept but in the kitchen drawer - silly me for not using the full set of receptors and mind reading capabilities I should have been born with! Anyway, the morning got off to that sort of start.

The day didn't get much better with the technical issues and reviewing the web site was a bit of a yawn but worthwhile. Later on Flocky Bicep called to say he could make the afternoon meeting of one of our related Lodges and so he came and picked me up and we went there for a very interesting meeting, we came out, grab a beer and some snacks and then went into our practice session afterwards.

Dentist for me in the morning at the crack of Sparrows. It should be, I hope, a simple procedure and I can get back to meet my Business partner and we can finalise the web site. We are then off in the evening for a few beers and a Chinese meal. I haven't had a Chinese meal out for about 3 years I guess so I am really looking forward to that.

I started a thought process today about some of the problems I've been having over the past 4 and a half years and have noted that I've always had problems in terms of self criticism and blame. It's in my nature so I reflected that I do look back at things I've done and decisions I've made and reflect on these in negative ways. There are things that I've done that I'm not proud of and there are things that, given a second opportunity, I would do differently. Everyone must have the same thing surely? The trouble is that I look back and defy all logic (as I am applying hindsight and modern values) to give myself a hard time about things that are history. I should be considering learning from these things but what I do is give myself a hard time about it. I even think about the time back in the 70s when smoking at concerts was OK, most people did it and I feel bad that I may have blighted someone's life for doing that. It isn't logical, it may or may not be true but there is this self-harming type of mindset. It doesn't want me to move on, it wants to pull me back in to the dark ages. It is as if there is some sort of self-destruct mechanism in place.

It's me that does this and I am my own worst enemy, always have been. I don't think I have a low opinion of myself or low self esteem but I just think that I have set myself high ideals and fail to meet them. I can't set low ideals, it isn't in my make up to do so.

It's a funny old world where you know what the problems are (or think you do) and you know how to get out of them (or think you do) and yet I choose to be negative about it. I will happily set on myself rather than work out a way to turn it to my advantage. It's the regrets for the past that are difficult to shake off I find, I'm not sure where I find the benefit in going over old ground to beat myself up over something I cannot change. I'd prefer to go over old ground and say don't do that again or don't make that mistake again, learn from the experience.

It just goes to show that Psychology and its branches wouuld not have been a good career move for me - I'm glad I didn't take that path :-)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Go with your gut feel

Sometimes that's the right thing to do I find. This problem with my new PC has been bugging me and so I thought let's think about this - it happened on the old PC recently when an update came in and by turning off the IPV6 setting I got it to work, I also thought, I would clear out all the old settings. As insurance I have downloaded some network tools and spent about an hour today sorting it out. Glory be, I can now see files, printers and everything else on-line.

Thank goodness for that - go with what you feel - worked for me.

I seem to have settled down a bit after quite a few months of being a bit fragile. I wasn't great last night and today, being Remembrance Sunday always fills me with sadness and Elgar's Enigma Variation - Nimrod - wrecks me every time I hear it, it is a haunting piece of music. All those people who died in all those wars, it just seems such a terrible price to pay for liberty and freedom. So I get a little down on this day every year, thankful but down.

I think the end of Summer also doesn't help the dark mornings and afternoons, the rain and general greyness are pretty depressing.

Yesterday was nice, I got a round of applause for my delivery of a Grand Lodge Certificate which was a bit of a shock, I've never had that happen in Lodge before but lots of people enjoyed it so that is great. It was a very nice meeting yesterday which was pleasing - just like it should be, it's about people and getting on with each other and enjoying other people's company. All very special as it was a 50th Certificate too.

At least I've fixed my PC so I am pleased and today was the end of the F1 season so I'm a bit sad about that but it was good going down to the wire in the very last race.

Someone mentioned Christmas to me - I knew it was Christmas as in August the adverts started :-) I need to try and get that sorted, at least I can do what I normally do and use my PC to do my Christmas Shopping.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A good afternoon

I hope - off to the Lodge. I'm Treasurer and I also get to do a bit of work today - that is presenting a Grand Lodge Certificate to one of my candidates. That will be great. I hope that I remember what I have to say and that I can read my crib notes too.

It is an old friend's 50th year in Freemasonry so he also gets a special recognisition certificate today it should be a nice pleasant afternoon and evening. It is our last meeting of the year.

Life's pretty good and I should get my tooth finally fixed on Tuesday. That will be interesting. It wasn't as bad as I thought - but I still have Tuesday morning to go.

This new computer keeps disconnecting itself from the home network which is such a pain, I've managed to get it to work occasionally but it just isn't playing nicely....

I haven't heard when I am due in for a scope, I hope they give us good notice as there is so much going on these coming weeks. Life's good - that's important.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I will be glad to see the back of this week

For no other reason than it has been one of those weeks that has just been hard work. It doesn't seem to be getting us anywhere and yet I know, deep down, that we have made massive progress this week it has just been like wading through clawing mud to get there.

I really cannot wait until the web site is up and running and when I will be able to let everyone know about it because that is when things will start to accelerate. Indeed it has been a bit of a "Phoney War" in terms of what we are doing generally as we don't appear to be doing anything. However, I am sure that will all change soon.

I was thinking of how well I feel and that's good stuff really, I do feel good still but the one thing I have let go is exercising. It must have been 4 weeks now and I'm certain that if I got back to doing that the weight would just fall off me as I am still losing weight gradually and fit into my shirts and suits again now which is a great relief I can tell you.

Perhaps when we get through this hard section of work I can recommence.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bumpy days

Only bumpy because we are trying to get to a final point in the web site to get it finished and published. The creative process is quite bumpy and start / stop by its very nature it has to be I suppose. It isn't like good old logical project management where things get a tick or a cross a 1 or a 0 whether they are done or not!

So we have been looking over and over at out web site and its layout, the images and the way spacing is used etc. It is hard work and of course the more you look the less you like it so it is nice to get some outside opinions. We have really bootstrapped the web site but it does look slick even though it isn't for our final audience yet it looks as if it is.

Everything has just taken an age today down to silly things like getting an image to go on the site has taken me a couple of hours.

It is blowing a gale outside and at the crack of dawn this morning, some tree feller types came in and started hacking down next door's Yew tree. All very well but it couldn't have been much past 7:30 and so there was all that noise of chain saws and pulping machines outside the house until about 10:30. The gales look to be increasing and we had what looked like a baby twister out here a few minutes ago, a squall cam and picked up all the leaves on the road and dumped them against the windows and front of the house.

It looks as if it has calmed down again for a short while and the rain has stopped. All in all it has been a miserable, windy, wet and a dreary day and the work hasn't been much better either.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A nice evening out

And the last until Saturday. It was a small, friendly evening with some very nice people and we made the very best of it and filled in for missing officers and just got on and had a good time. That's what it is all about really and so tonight went really fast and I was home by around 10:15 so that too was good.

Today was a good day as we looked back over the past months, looked at the website and realised how far we had come in 5 months since our Boot Camp in June. Goodness, I've had an operation and good news since then and wasn't particularly great come June if I remember.

No problems. We are close to our major goals - those of having web site and sales messages in place. I've got 3 potential backers to talk to - after I've got the web posted and we are about to break cover after all these years, working in the background. It will be quite exciting. I've managed to start to change profiles and set up links but that is a tiny bit premature as I don't expect the web site to be up until the 19th November at the earliest.

We are a couple of months behind but, nil desperadoes, we shall just get on and tackle the next piece in the same methodical manner - it cannot be rushed.

I'm feeling relatively OK but concious that I am beginning to run out of steam a bit having done about 4 or 5 weeks full on. I am trying to get the children to make up their minds about a winter holiday but no one (once again) wants to make a decision. I hope that they do soon or else we just wont have a break and that is really what we could all do with.

We got the first look at

The web site today and I've started changing my business profiles to allow the web site to link up with my profiles. The site isn't live yet, far from it, but it has a certain wow factor now that the animation is working and the words are laid out on their various pages. There is still some way to go as we actually need to go and buy the pictures which will up the quality and just check over the wording which now, seeing it on a web site, looks wrong. But that is how these things work and hence why it is in test mode and hidden.

I'm off out tonight to a Lodge meeting, just as a visitor, which will be nice as I don't need to do too much, just turn up, stay awake and enjoy myself.

It's only Wednesday - it feels as if I have done a full week or work already. By the end of the week I will be exhausted! It all kicks off this weekend as it looks as if I only have one weekend free from now until Christmas! Crazy.

Life's good, my tooth appears to be fine, no real pain as such which is good, still slightly numb but probably to be expected after such serious work. I guess I'll be called in for a scope next month or January but I don't have a date as of yet.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

A night out with friends

A great night out and as usual we had a good time but slightly tinged with sadness that one of our number had suffered a bereavement. It is the second time this year that he has had to deal with this and we sort of agreed that we are "or the age" where this is bound to be a common occurrence amongst our parents and even some of our older friends.

It is doubly sad because KP, who has an awful lot to do with me starting blogging in the first place, has had his own bad luck in terms of losing his job and retraining to find that the retrained jobs didn't exist and finally he has got himself a job in the Charity Sector which is just great. The Third Sector doesn't pay huge money but the work is infinitely more satisfying and re-builds your confidence, I know it did in my case and I am very grateful for it. I am though a tiny bit concerned over my confidence levels about what I am doing now, I do feel extremely confident that I can do what I am doing now and I am growing into the role. I felt it tonight as I was suddenly entirely behind the new business and could (at last) actually articulate what the business was about.

I have a slight headache from the work on my teeth earlier but have decided to have a glass of Scotch in a minute to see if I can numb the pain :-)

Everything is right with the world tonight. My Daughter A has returned from my parents and both L and A have a wonderful Dolls House and all the accessories to go with them. These were my Mum's pride and joy in the old house but they cannot go into the new one. I hope that she will be pleased that the girls have one each and they will be treated with the reverential awe and respect that these wonderful pieces of craftsmanship deserve. I was amazed to see the minute detail in each of the rooms (one house even has electric lighting). Sad in one way that these things had to go but I hope that them staying in the family and being treasured by a new generation will be some sort of comfort for their loss?

I've also got a whole load of books from my Dad that can go onto my library shelves to be read later. I have so many books that I should actually have retired when I was 25 so that I could read them all :-)

Life's good tonight, I feel really charged after seeing my old school chums, they always lift my spirits and we are very comfortable with each other's company - if you know what I mean - like an old pair of slippers :-)

OK - That wasn't so bad

I have to say if I never had Root Canal work again it would be once too often. I mean it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be and I've still got some work next week to finish off. I had to have a second shot to deaden my tooth. It was just a lot of work in an awkward place so took time and wasn't straight forward. The x-rays of the other side - to be taken out showed a tooth that may be a bit difficult to get out (a Wisdom tooth) although the one next door I had extracted cam out easily enough - this one may prove difficult but that is for a few weeks time, let's get this one done.

I have to say that the dentist is very good and I don't fear going like I used to but I did find myself unusually anxious only because Root Canal has a fearsome reputation - I can imagine if you hadn't got local anaesthetic it could be awful.

Anyway, it is with some relief that I sit here drinking my tepid coffee. Out with the old school chums tonight - although one is possibly not going to be there as his Mother-in-Law is very poorly in Hospital and may not make it through the night. Terrible news. So with that shocking bit of news and my mouth making throbbing recovery I will take my leave.

15 minutes to go

And I feel quite anxious about my visit to the dentist - it was nice of Flocky Bicep to drop by earlier and that took my mind off things for a while.

I have to say it is with some trepidation that I go off to see my dentist. Finger crossed it all works out to plan.

Monday, November 08, 2010

OK That's good

Mr Angry apologised for bad behaviour last week and bought me a pint of beer to set that apology right in a bloke to bloke sort of way. I graciously accepted and we carried on without it being a problem - that IS the way to deal with such things. I could hear him chatting to a friend of mine saying that he had really rattled me but luckily my friend was on the right wave length and said that all was forgiven and a beer was the right payment! Too right, things are back to normal and on an even keel. His wife isn't at all well but there you go.

I had a long liquid lunch - it wasn't meant to be like that but it just was. I met a friend of mine who has now been out of work for 7 months at 12:30 and we managed to drink and chat for the best part of 5 1/2 hours which meant I got home way after 6 and needed to stock up on food as I hadn't eaten all day!!! SO I threw down food and then Mrs. F (Bless Her!) said did I really want dinner to which I had to reply that if I didn't I would be totally unable to function! So I had a massive supper and then went out and had a few more beers in the evening!

Home now though thank goodness.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

What will you leave?

I wonder what my legacy will be? I wonder what good I may have done in my life and what difference I will have made? I say this because I read a very moving tribute to some children's grandmother. They listed all the things they remembered and liked about their late grandmother.

They were the usual little things you remember about your grandparents or your relatives. there was a nice one about sneaking out for a MacDonalds which rather amused me but that sort of mischief has to be something that sits in your memory from years back.

I imagine you make many impressions and leave many legacies in your life, you mentor others as you were probably mentored.

I often thought that you had to have made a big impact but now I see that even the smallest things have an impact and affect people's lives.

I recollect a number of occasions where something almost insignificant and perhaps shared by just a few people made a profound affect on me. I recollect the words of wisdom from people I knew in passing - the odd phrase or gesture or anecdote - and consider that those people made an impact that they probably never realised. So we all make our mark and we all leave something, somewhere. We may not realise it at the time but our words and actions, our deeds or non deeds, our helpfulness or not all have an affect on someone. All I can continue to do is continue to do what I do.

I remember saying that I thought it was too late to change the world and perhaps that may be true but because it is late it doesn't mean that you should stop trying.

Interesting call

In case said "dickhead" turns up tomorrow and rattles me, friend called and let me know the circumstances behind last Monday's silliness. I'm OK with things. I did fancy letting the guy have a little more room to explain himself this week but I will gloss over that anything happened and if he does then that will be an end to it, we all make mistakes and I probably come off the rails more than many although I have to say I tend to do that in a different way and I tend to crash and burn and just end up as some whimpering idiot to my friends.

Last week was a bit strange as I didn't get the feelings I normally did going back to work. I felt that perhaps I couldn't go back there in any other role other than the one I am in as a part time consultant. I've been invited to the Christmas party this year - I guess I ought to go but just be careful what I wish for so as not to set my expectations too high or too low. These things can be somewhat tedious.

I'd really like for some outlook on my future there. I am doing good work in supporting the team but I'd like something a bit more substantial to get my teeth into. The thing is that the work I do is valued, its just that I sometimes don't see the value of the work I do. To me the things I do that I think are normal are outside of most of their experiences and they certainly don't do problem analysis and solving the way that I do so perhaps there is a value there. I just want to make sure that they are deriving some real value from my work.

The weekend was given over to repairing my friend's laptop which is now done and to doing some accounts that I needed to catch up with. My network crashed and my printer needs sorting out which has given me a few issues trying to complete things today. I do need to do some focusing on my time management this week. I have a number of meetings, the first of my trips to the dentist and I am out three nights this week too!

I think that an early night will be useful so that I can get a good run at the week ahead.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

The Business Cards

Arrived on Friday - they look the business - well, they would of course.

Today I fixed my friend's Laptop PC, his kids had managed to infect it with something that looked and acted as if it was actually helping you and yet all along it was tricking them and screwing up their PC.

I managed to start it up in isolated mode and clean it all up there were hundreds of adaware, malware and trojans on it. Clever little program - it turned off all the firewalls, virus checkers and defenders and I had to go in using safe mode to fix it. Hopefully it is all done and he can now reuse it. I've even speeded it up for him too so with a bit of luck that will keep it clean for him for a while.

If he had had to pay someone in a shop to do that it would probably have cost £180 given the amount of time I had to attend to it whilst I did the analysis and effected various cures.

I'm feeling pretty good still, I was impressed that I'd lost weight and was now able to fit into my suits and shirts again. It is amazing how much of an uplift that gives you.

I need to do some more work over the weekend on administration as I find myself busy for the rest of November and December. It is hardly believable but I only have one free weekend between now and Christmas. It means I probably wont get up to see my folks before or after they move and maybe not until the New Year. Having said that, I am getting pressure to go away for a few days around Christmas as we didn't have a real holiday this year.

I feel that it is going to be a very interesting time these next 4 to 6 weeks.

Friday, November 05, 2010

The Art of Distraction

I must not get distracted, I must not get distracted, I must not get distracted, I must not get distracted, I must not get distracted, I must not get distracted, I must not get distracted, I must not get distracted, I must not get distracted, I must not get distracted.

The level of interrupt is quite high even though I'm not in an office or really involved with anything beyond what I am doing. I do tend to deal with things immediately they arrive. That way I don't have them hanging around my head. It is clearly one of those things I've grown up with I don't like leaving things in my in-box. I'm good at deleting stuff that is noise but quite a lot of things demand my attention if only for a few minutes, like small items of research and articles and news that relate to what we are doing. These distractions and time wasters just pull on your ability to tackle work in an organised and concentrated way. I have actually moved away from the computer and have been using my flip chart more and more to get my ideas down rapidly and then I can document them later. I can still write and draw faster on a bit of paper than on a PC any day.

Here's a little victory though, I finally fit back into my 16 1/2" shirt collar shirts, so all the really nice shirts I bought about 18 months ago are once again able to be worn as are my suits etc. It is also nice to see that all my belts are in a notch. I've dipped below 16 stone and I am very slowly heading downwards, I'm about 15stone 12lbs at the moment which is rather pleasing considering I haven't been doing any exercise for the past month. I am being quite careful about what I eat but the start of the Masonic season always makes things a bit difficult as the meals feel like they are chosen by my late Grandmother who always suspected that my mother wasn't feeding me enough and so made up for it by baking huge vats of stuff for my visits :-) So you get something like a soup starter, a Steak and Kidney Pie and then that is followed by some stodgy pudding like Jam Roly Poly and Custard!! Oh and then there are Cheese and Biscuits afterwards. Too many of those and I'd soon be back where I started.

At least at home I am limiting food intake and eating sensible foods.

I just realised the big distraction this morning - writing this blog entry :-)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

The Office

Not the one with Ricky Gervais but the office of the Charity where I do some work occasionally :-)

I popped in on my way to lunchtimers and met the folks, it is quite nice to catch up with them but I am so glad that I don't work there any-more. What I am doing at the moment is so engrossing and so interesting that to go back to that sort of sedentary life might just polish me off BUT - let me not underestimate how glad I was to have that bolt hole and sanctuary during my recovery. I cannot dismiss that - the money - which is and was paltry wasn't the main thing, and making a difference was important so was recovery, rebuilding "me" and whilst I'm not fully reconstructed - there is a way to go until I'm healed - it was probably the very best thing that could have happened to me at the time.

I enjoy the people of course and I like the office up to a point but if they saw the amount of work I am getting through here and what they do - it would amaze them. Tell the truth it actually amazes me too.

I was declared the Chairman of the London Lunchtimers (at lunchtime) and we had a great meeting and a friend from Denmark or Damnark as his business card said (he mistyped it!) arrived too so that was great. As often happens, I met a chap last night at the Mark meeting and he did a response to a toast speech. He happened to also be at the meeting today - that's the coincidences that you tend to find all the time. A happy time and followed by a Shriners meeting where we had a Frenchman, A Finn and an English guy join the Shrine. Very interesting but they are trying to get me in as Treasurer, Secretary and all round good guy. I am however doing enough as is it. Perhaps in a year or two.

The business is really beginning to look good but the images for the web site are giving us headaches at the moment. It is very difficult to stop people pigeon holing the business and so we are trying to be quite cute with out images. We signed up for the hosting package and soon hope to have email and the web site in place - it will be a major hurdle and at last we can "come out" and start to put ourselves about and go for funding. It is a phoney war at the moment.

Talking of war I was able to do my Chairman's moment today which is nice. I did a bit about the national charities and what they had done plus a bit about Remembrance Sunday in 2 weeks time. Here is what I said - I hope you like it:

"Chairman’s Thoughts"

"I’d like to thank Brian for telling us about Prostate Cancer – which now ranks as the highest Male Cancer above Lung Cancer and Colon Cancer.

In 2004, £1 million was donated to The Institute of Cancer Research for research into prostate and testicular cancers. Prostate cancer is now the most common cancer affecting men in the UK. Each year 27,000 cases are diagnosed and 10,000 men die of the disease. ‘The Grand Charity of Freemasons Chair of Molecular Biology’ is currently held by Professor Colin Cooper who is working on developing a test to identify the aggressiveness of an individual’s prostate cancer. If successful, thousands of patients will be spared unnecessary treatment, whilst those with an aggressive cancer can be given the life-saving treatment they require to fight the disease. Our Deputy Chairman and I were privileged to meet and hear Professor Colin Cooper talk about the progress he has made in that work. There are some major breakthroughs coming. What scared me was that up until 14 years ago – there was little if any research at all into Prostate Cancer at all. If you ever get a chance to hear him speak you will be mightily impressed.

In 2008, it was decided that a substantial grant should also be made for research into a women’s health issue and a grant of £1 million was approved for Ovarian Cancer Action. Ovarian cancer kills 12 women every day in the UK and tragically a lack of awareness of the disease and its symptoms means that women are often diagnosed only after the disease has spread to other areas of their bodies, with an impact on the opportunities for treatment. Professor Hani Gabri – a leading expert in the field – is undertaking this research at the Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre in London. Complementing this important medical research, the grant is also being used to help Ovarian Cancer Action reach more women with information about the symptoms and potential causes of ovarian cancer, with the aim of increasing the survival rate.

One of the reasons I joined Freemasonry was a belief that it helped others less fortunate than myself. What this brings home is that the benefits of this work affect everyone in this room and our children and our grandchildren so let us not underestimate the scale and the enterprise of investing this money. As a Cancer survivor myself, I can tell you how much I appreciate what these scientists are doing to identify cancers early but not just that, this work is fundamentally about prevention in the long term which has to be a good thing.

I am reminded that it is again November and soon it will be Remembrance day. The day before we have the pomp of the Lord Mayor’s Show and the next day the sombre but respectful tribute to all those who have perished in the service of their country and in many cases their adopted country. Last meeting we remembered the few for it was 70 years since their great exploits and so today I’d like to consider the many. There are no remaining Comrades from the First World War which is perhaps 3 generations removed from today’s children but a grateful country continues to remember into the next century that war to end wars. The second World War and the wars that followed continue to take their toll on our brave service men and women and in more recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, lives are lost, bodies are maimed and they will continue to do this. It is right that we should spend at least those few moments in silence remembering their sacrifice."

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

News of my reputation spreads far and wide

In a strange twist my exploits on Monday night have taken on a life of their own.

A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.Winston Churchill

I find it funny that whilst I knew that I was pretty menacing, no one had ever seen me in my "evil, nasty, menacing but calm" way before so that's impressive. I have yet to see how I get on with him next Monday :-)

That aside, tonight was an enjoyable meeting of two of my Lodges and I'm the Chaplain and get to do some really nice readings. We had a nice meal and as it was Installation there was port and cheese and biscuits afterwards which was also very pleasant.

It was announced that I was OK at this meeting which really pleased everyone and so there were many people saying how well I looked now. I also got comments saying that I now fitted back in to my old suits - which I do which again is nice.

The amusing thing about this is whether I looked like poo before if I look all right now :-) However, the nice thing about Freemasonry is people are genuinely interested in you and thats part of the magic sauce - frankly all the talk about secrets and all of that is - as I like to say bollocks - they were written down in an expose of the craft in the 18th Century - all the words, all the signs and everything so there aren't any secrets at all. The secrets are nothing to do with the ritual, the "funny handshake" (thanks Monty Python!) and all that, the secrets are within every member. If you are interested enough you will unlock those secrets within yourself. Mind you for the rest of the world it is fun to poke fun and call us Lizard People (didn't you know that we are from another planet and it's all a big conspiracy). I always make the joke when that one is mentioned to ask whether there are many flies around today? Most people say there aren't so I just lick my tongue make a sort of gurgling noise and blink :-)

Tomorrow I become the Chairman of the London Lunchtimers Club www.lunchtimers.org and I am really looking forward to having a year in the Chair although I have already taken 3 meetings this year already as Vice Chairman.

We will host the UK Shriners who have been granted a licence from the US to set up over here and in Europe. They do great work right out there in the community of course and so it will be interesting to see what we make of them in the UK. Incredibly I actually know a number of them already! How small a world this is.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

We forget how productive we are

And today was no exception as we cracked on and did a load of work to sort out company business structures and how things would hang together. We are desperate to get the web site up and running in the next week or two. It will make such a difference and our business cards should be here this week along with our domain, email addresses and all that sort of stuff.

We are quite hard on ourselves about our progress and yet, when we went through the plan and saw where we actually were, we can see that we have come a long way. I guess we are 4 to 6 weeks behind schedule and as such will have to think about when we get to start meeting people and discussing the small matter of finance.

I met a friend of mine last night who has bladder cancer and gave him my good news and his is that he is now clear again but on three shots of BCG maintenance just before Christmas. The young lad with Appendix Cancer is going to have an operation in the New Year. He could have had it sooner but it would render his Christmas over as it takes 13 hours in surgery and 3 weeks to recover apparently. I can't say I envy him that operation nor the recovery afterwards. I find three days in Hospital a bind, a couple of weeks would see me stir crazy.

And so I want to go to bed and my brain

Well that has other ideas altogether. Yes it wants to keep playing mind games and solving puzzles that I don't altogether remember setting for it. Things like how I can build a UK wide sales force, logistics channel and service offering (well you asked me...).

To give you a rough idea of the way my brain is working; today I did a competitive analysis of the businesses identified as being nearest to us, I did a massive spreadsheet of figures and came to the conclusion that I had already answered the question before I set off to do the spreadsheet which proved it. You see there has always been this problem. It started at school where I, and my parents, were warned that I always had the right answers but never showed how I got to the answer. I therefore lost points, not because the answer was wrong but because I could not demonstrate how I had arrived at my conclusion. For all of my life I have had the same problem. It sounds vain to say that I am always right for that isn't correct but generally, I can be given a complex set of variables and will be able quite quickly to give an opinion based on logic and experience. Today I guessed some figures and outcomes and was surprised (and pleased) that what I had concluded was about the same as the stats and final calcs came out at.

My brain is buzzing away at the moment about shares / equity / finance and how the business can grown in an international market. I can't stop it doing that, it is getting ready for tomorrow's meeting and running through the register of all the possible scenarios that meeting can take and all the avenues open to explore. I like the way I think sometimes but when it does this or goes into meltdown because it doesn't understand certain social situations that's when it gets silly and I'm up half the night whilst the computer between my ears does the maths!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Talk about angry

Met a guy tonight who just turned on me, all of a sudden, rattled on about how his wife may not make it through the night and Hospital talking about she was dead already.....

Bizarre moment - had him do this to me a few months back or possibly last year just go into Mr. Angry mode on me. Have to say I was taken aback but decided to give as good as but not deck him as my initial reaction was going to be. He gives me at least 20 years I guess so it wouldn't actually be fair to have thwacked him a stiff right hander. However, I do find this sort of behaviour a bit annoying and told him so. Glad my mate also gave him a "what for" as well. Perhaps I should have really opened up on him - I reckon I could reduce someone to tears if I went into the depths of the depravities of the treatment I've had. BUT - this is one lonely, smelly, guy and I kind of feel sorry for him but, offering him friendship and a bit of camaraderie you'd have thought that it would be comforting for him to know we were there but to launch a sh1t tirade at me, and I'm pretty inoffensive sort of person was a bit much. I was remarkably restrained for me, normally I'd have torn the guy a new ar*ehole but there you go.

I find it sad now, though I was pretty angry at the time. If none of my mates had been around I do think I would have just hit him quite hard for what he said to me. Lucky for him then that I managed to hold back the urge. If things are as he said and his wife isn't going to make it through the night why turn up at the bar at all???? Things don't add up sometimes do they?

So - there we are, I live to fight another day and luckily so does he.

An interesting day tomorrow as we go headlong into discussing the equity model of the business, it should make for an interesting debate if nothing else. If anything screws up a realtionship it is how much you think you bring or brought to the business. Our past collaborators had some high ideal that their effort (a few days in real terms against our years at it) was worth close to 25% of the business! It is an Elephant in the Room and at least we can address it tomorrow rather than let it fester. It is good as I wrote a positioning document to bring this out into the open about 5 weeks ago and added a caveat last week to it. The interesting thing is that only one person is concerned and that is fine but in reality I discussed this over a year ago in an open meeting and documented it but everyone's had a chance to think about it since they agreed it.

None of it matters in the long run. If we make money we all share, if we fail - as most start ups do - then it doesn't matter either. Having said all that - having the discussion now will resolve it before it gets any further so the strategy of publish and be damned has worked nicely.

I'm finding this new PC amazing, despite all my whining on the subject, at least it does what I want it to do, rather nicely and rather better than my old PC managed of late.

The underlying anger - a reprise

I find that listening to music tends to calm me down a bit especially stuff like this which you may or may not like. It is currently doing the rounds as the backing track to a rather stylish Ford advert (if that isn't an oxymoron).

So I am beginning to calm down internally but I still have this stuff rattling along in the back of my mind and its going through some quite strange stuff including how companies treat their customers - thinking back to my weekend experience and trying to cancel some insurance this morning, it's all about catching you out and making you pay for stuff you don't want - fraud would be my take. It is also pretty much the way of it that you can buy something today, stick it on your PC which some how breaks down, you try and reload it on new machine and they wont let you. Ownership in the modern world. Imagine Ford or Jaguar not letting you drive your car again after a breakdown!! Yea right....

Oh well, no time for writing this blog - off to change the world :-)