Saturday, February 25, 2012


Well that was nice - I was voted in "with acclaim" and in all my years I've never seen that at a meeting so that was very special indeed.  A little embarrassing too as despite the way I portray myself I don't like to be too much in the limelight that way.

Anyway, off to bed now and off to Italy in the early morning - I will blog when I get back unless I can get to a PC before.

One Down

One to go.  Today's Lodge meeting will be interesting as they will elect me as the Worshipful Master for the next year.  I get installed in June and have one year at the helm.  There are only a couple of duties to be done before the summer break but from September onwards it will be full on with various meetings etc.

I don't have to do much today other than look surprised and say thank you :-)  The real work will come in June no doubt and when I get back from holiday writing to the various people that will make up my team for the next year.  

Not too much drinking today as I need to get home and finish packing!  

Friday, February 24, 2012

Damn and blast

The chap I need to speak to is in a meeting and so I've left a message for him to call back - I bet he is bound to when I'm in the shower or when I'm wandering over to get to my meeting this afternoon.  It is such a nice afternoon that I'm going to walk it.  The sun is out, it isn't too warm though but that's OK.  A nice 40 to 45 minute walk will be useful and get me ready for the next week and a half of almost non stop walking we are going on.  

A cheeky glance at the weather shows that it is warming up a bit in Italy and at least we wont have to worry about the ice and snow they had there just a few weeks ago that actually froze some of the canals.  If it does get a little colder we have fleece  liners for our coats.  I think we will be able to walk around in our coats without the liners in Florence by the looks of it as it suggests 17 degrees.

Dad seems to have had a better couple of days which I'm glad about.  I will keep in touch with my parents and my brother somehow - I'm hoping free WiFi will provide some sort of connection for email and I can use my phone abroad (I hope).  Fingers crossed that all goes well whilst we are away.  


Only one thing left to do today and that is to call up someone who we need to meet on my return from Italy.

I have to pick up L from the station as she is with us for the weekend.  She has to get her eyes examined tomorrow and then will drop us off on Sunday - poor girl she actually wanted a bit of a relaxing time but won't get one!

I have a meeting tonight and one tomorrow to attend.  Tomorrow should confirm that I will be elected as Master of the Lodge which is a huge deal, especially as it is a Stewards' Lodge and so I am looking forward to that of course.  It means that in June I will become the Master of the Lodge and will be "on the circuit" again visiting lots of other Lodges around the country as an honoured guest.  There are three meetings, June, October and February and that will be just enough to do the job for a year and then be amazed at how fast it went.  I have to say that for most of the time I was secretary of the Lodge I was having treatment for Bladder Cancer.  I'm just amazed at how I managed to continue an involved job like that and undergo treatment.  

I remember thinking at the time how everyone made a big deal of it and I didn't.  Of course, it was a serious thing but either I chose to ignore it or just worked my way through it.  Whatever it is, I was so pleased to even be considered for being Master and as someone said to me, there really was no one else even being considered and in less than a minute it was decided.  It needs to be ratified on Saturday of course.  Hence we waited until after then to go away.

I have some other minor things to attend to today - like packing and also I need to do some checking of my accounts prior to going to the meeting this afternoon.  

The only trouble with Lodge meetings?  There's a meal tonight and one tomorrow to tackle.  Interestingly I only tend to eat one big meal a week and I have eaten very little this week so I should be able to manage these.  As usual, these meals are much of a muchness and whilst they are good quality they aren't really what you would consider restaurant fare, the trouble I have is that they are often quite stodgy but I've trained myself now to just go for the Veg and then miss out potatoes or just have one.  

Listening to Massive Attack as I write this - I had forgotten how huge that Blue Lines album was back in 1991.  How time flies :-)  This is another one of those things as people do give me a sidewise glance when I say I like a band Like Massive Attack and that I'd also like a band like Camel - I just like any sort of music really as long as it is well put together.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Time for some ME time

It's about time that I made some "Me" time and that starts in a few moments after I've written my intent in this blog.  It is time for packing and reading up the research I have done and to start to wind down from being stuck on the PC all day every day.   I've culled my Twitter account and got rid of all the cr@p that's I've endured there for months and we are almost at the end of the first phase of fund raising which is proving to be a bit of a blank.

All emails are being diverted to my colleagues and that will allow them to carry on in my absence and I have two meetings one tomorrow and one on Saturday to attend to and that's it, away we go and let the adventure begin.  I am looking forward to it now and just need to remember what language I am speaking in what country :-)  I'll need to speak French, German and Italian over the course of 10 days or so.  I haven't spoken German for 14 years I think.  French was a few years ago and Italian was also 14 years ago.  That should be fun - I wonder if I can remember much of it?  I always thought though that the funniest thing I heard was in Milan "No Problemo" - it was around the time of the Terminator films and I remember just looking at my colleague and bursting out laughing.  It was also here that I thought we were in the middle of an Earthquake as the building started to shake and vibrate I asked whether we should get under the table - I got some strange looks and asked whether we were in an earthquake.  Apparently not - the Metro was being tunnelled out below the building/street and that what was making the vibrations.  Doh! :-)

So happy days and I do hope that we get to see Venice, Florence and Rome on decent days as well as Lucerne and Turin too.  We go via Paris, Basel and Milan - I doubt we will have that much time to see much other than the station though and the Metro in Paris.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Never a good time is it?

It is never a "good time" to go away, on a holiday or away on business.  By that I mean that if something might happen to my dad whilst I'm away, it will happen and it matters not if I am in Italy, home, there or somewhere else?   You can't be where you want or need to be all the time and whilst I feel it may be a bit selfish to take a holiday at this point in time, if I delay it, my wife wont get a break and in my opinion she needs it more than I do and of course, neither will I. 

I mention this as dad's not had a great night and isn't good today but this could be the same at any time really and it has now been 6 months since they gave him 6 months to live and so I guess, there are currently signs that things are beginning to catch up with him.  We will see what today brings, it is the complete weakness he feels and inability to move around the house that has got him today.  He is getting weaker and wakes feeling cold and I can only imagine that this is how things progress.  

But I need to get away for my own sanity and I need Mrs. F. to also get away for hers, she works very hard and I do keep trying to get her to slow down a bit, it isn't as if we need the money although I feel that she thinks it is.  At least we will get some talk time in the next couple of weeks although I thought that when we went to the Baltic coming up for two years ago. 

Things will be what they will be in the meantime and I can do nothing to stop the course of nature or to be in a position to do anything much other than keeping in daily contact and hoping that dad isn't suffering too much and that mum is managing to keep going.  It's a hard time for everyone.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Disturbed Night's Sleep

It was a good meeting last night and as often happens when my mind gets going and the possibilities start flowing my sleep gets disturbed by lots of dreams and things going on both rationale and bizarre.  Dreams were about business and relationships and moved rapidly between the believable and  things that are best left unsaid in case they cart me off to the mad house :-)

What it has done is provided some clarity to my thinking and allowed me to move on past a couple of things I was grasping onto but in reality should have pragmatically dismissed a week or so ago.  That's helped me greatly and so my belief is back once again.  It just proves that we have done our homework and we do know what we are doing and there was a lot of good vibes coming from the meeting.

Monday, February 20, 2012

It Isn't Me

Well that was a good meeting with a guy who is a Merchant Banker and who moves in circles and places way above ours.  Came over to us and sat down and got what we are doing, saw what we had done, how we had done that and what it means, where we had been and what difficulties we were up to and, thank goodness, agreed that our perception of the market matched what it is really like.

We often don't give ourselves enough credit for knowing our game, for being well prepared and for being able to analyse what we see.  For my part I may get angry and annoyed about the way the UK is so short termism but tonight we found someone who maybe and just maybe might be able to take us to some real money.  So a curry and a few beers later I am much happier and more comfortable that the situation we find ourselves in is indeed where we should be, we haven't missed anything or any tricks and we are where we are because that is where we should be.  

Hard to come to terms with the fact that the place where you expected the dynamic young bucks of the investment industry to be are in fact not living up to their hype.  More senior and mature pastures appear to await.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Strange Sunday

It is strange indeed to actually sit down in the same room as Mrs. F. for more than a few minutes.  She was out most on Saturday and is always on the go doing something but I finally got her to sit down and do a little planning for the holiday coming up.  It took a while with constant interruptions by both daughters.  They too needed something from their mum.

Eventually we got things sorted but I did manage to book travel tickets in Venice on the wrong day but hey, at least it was while we are there!  So we just need to switch our plans.  I was trying not to be too proscriptive and hence we ended up looking at the things we would like to see and just looking to cover those and hit whatever else comes our way serendipitously which is, after all, the best way to go about it.  Having seen how wonderful Florence looks, we may not now go to Pisa and Lucca as I originally fancied doing unless somehow miraculously we do Florence in a day!  Unlikely I think.  It looks amazing.  

I am looking forward to this trip more and more and I hope that we will be able to get some serious tourist activities in.  It reminds me of our Baltics trip and I hope that it is as active as that - we will this time have more that just a day to see the areas though and with the preparation we did today I hope there is enough planning done so that we can enjoy the experience.

Next Week

This time next week I'll be on my way to Paris and almost there in fact, then across the city to Gare de Lyon and then down to Basel and on to Lucerne.  I am looking at the trip today and doing the tourist planning bit - what we are going to see and when - only roughly of course as serendipity is a big part of the trip too.

I am told our trip into and out of Switzerland should be wonderful with all the lakes and mountains and passes we will be going through.  It will be interesting to compare the difference between air and train although, having spent a lot of time working in Paris and Brussels I should state that I much prefer the train for these journeys as I can be in the centre of Paris in less than 3 hours from my house and in Brussels in around 2 and a bit.  Some aircraft expect you to book in 2 hours in advance and then there's all the scanners and shoes off and belts off and all that nonsense to go through too, queuing to get your passport looked at, waiting for your baggage and then getting from the airport into the city and your hotel!  I think the furthest we are from a Hotel and the station is in Turin and here!

So that's what I'm up to and I'm hoping that Mrs. F. might join me for a short while to check out what we are doing and where we are going etc.

I'm also looking forward to getting out and about in the open air and to do some serious walking and exercise.  I feel I've been stuck indoors for months now either self inflicted or it is just the way that things have panned out.  This will at least get me away from the business for a while.  That was beginning to engulf me recently.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Coping with the ups and downs

It is difficult to understand why I would be suffering from this month/week's highs and lows.  It's really because there is an undercurrent in the UK recently that we say one thing and are in fact doing something totally different.  We are "open for business" when in fact this means that we are not at all, we are so risk averse that we aren't going to do anything that even slightly contains the word risk.

Additionally there are other outward appearances that when you look deeper are wholly wrong too, it is SO disappointing that what we are being told and what the situation actually turns out to be is like this.  Now, I've lived long enough to know that this is pretty common but it is the bare faced front of the politicians and the "industry leaders" that is the point.  How on earth they can say that they are promoting business and yet aren't is beyond me - the banks are falling short of their lending targets and the investment industry seems to be more self-centred and star struck almost appearing as if they are in X-Factor or some such thing.  I've un-subscribed from their Twitter accounts because it is the worst sort of Narcissism imaginable, they really are up themselves.  Better than that, they take on the persona of the SIlicon Valley entrepreneurs who, like them or loathe them, do know something about risk and reward.

Anyway, having removed myself from their self preening, self congratulatory,  Daily Mail style self promotion and general distastefulness, I find myself somehow cleansed and liberated from this peculiar world these people inhabit.  Let's hope that the people that we are now going to talk to are a little more pleasant?

So having removed myself from that avenue of discomfort and having rationalised things a bit I find myself looking at various avenues to explore to make exceptions to include certain other UK organisations.  That is my next step along with testing some ideas with known sources.  After that, I think that there is a short break in proceedings and I can go on my break to Italy and try and free my mind up and take stock of where I am.

Things aren't bleak on the business front by any means but it just means that we have to go about it in a different way.  What the UK lacks perhaps Europe will not and if Europe is similarly afflicted then the US is also open to us.  Of course that could be quite an eye opener and not just for us :-)

So - I'm back on an even keel now after having some major angry moments and also being massively disappointed with the "Type" of people we met and dealt with, arrogant, up themselves and dismissive of the effort and achievement we have already demonstrated to get this far.  It was disappointing to note how intellectually lazy these people actually are too - you need to spoon feed them in words of one syllable to get them to understand it.  Anyway enough venting and ranting for one post.  I feel that I have enough information here to write a book about it - maybe I will just to warn anyone who approaches these guys just how bad the vast majority of them actually are.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Nothing like a good rant

So we are about to move on now and after having had my rant yesterday and mentally cleared my head I find that today was an easier day and I have managed to move things on to a point now where I am happy with what we are doing going forward which I really wasn't until today.  

Things aren't going the way we thought they might but we had envisaged something like this earlier last year.  It depends on how we tackle this now and that is now set and to my satisfaction because I was concerned that we would miss some steps in our process but that isn't the case.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Anger, Alcohol and Despair

It is nice to come back from the pub liberated from the constraints of every day etiquette and to vent forth.

Tonight I was ranting about the UK financial markets who have retracted their scrotums as far as their tonsils!  They are unworthy to deserve the prefix of Venture derived from the word Adventure!  They believe themselves to be of a higher social group than us entrepreneurs who have worked for 3 or 4 years solid building a business for some MBA from INSEAD to tell us that it doesn't fit with this or that and that whilst they cannot fund us they would like to understand the ins and outs of our inventions.  Then they get pissed off when we tell them that we would rather hold onto our hard won business IPR than give it away to someone with such a base level of disrespect.

They really think they are some sort of celebrity status these VCs and that is so funny.  They talk down at you as if you don't understand business and yet they were in Diapers / Nappiess when I was actually working my way up the greasy pole.  I love the crap they come out with that a document should be 3 pages (or whatever today's bollocks is) and no more no less, blah de blah de blah......  What the hell do they know, it is what it needs to be to describe the business and I'm pretty depressed that our UK boys are following this "Silicon Valley" model of being "God like" creatures who are never wrong and know how to run a business.  Sure, if it is your own hard earned cash started and finished in your own pocket you've a right to that opinion.  Most have only been given the cheque book and are too timid to actually do a deal that would put their neck and their reputation on the line, they prefer to wait until it is a sure thing and then muscle in and claim the kudos.

So be it.  If that is the way that this market works then we have to bypass these people and go into the lion's den and go and talk to those who will make a difference and who actually live up to the hype that is out there.  We all know that there are very few who meet that mark.  In reality I haven't found one of them - in the hundreds (and close to a thousand) I've reviewed who even crawl anywhere near this benchmark.  The world is full of hot air, failed promises and people who think their best is actually getting out of bed and checking a spreadsheet.  Dare I call them wankers?  Yes I think I probably can.   They look as if they are cutting and bleeding edge but actually they are like lawyers and solicitors at the end of the battle who come onto the field of battle and bayonet the wounded.  They are slime and that degrades one cell creatures!

I like going out for a drink as it frees my writing ability and let's me say what I think!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Well how am I?

I'm sort of OK at the moment and not up or down at the moment.  What I've done is to enter my defensive shell and am preparing for the very worst answers and in that way anything better than that is a result.  I was quite angry with everyone to start off with as I see their attitude as defeatist and in a way they've not gone the extra mile and they've certainly not gone to 100% so as long as I make (and not labour) that point I hope that it will make them consider whether or not we did everything we possibly could.

I'm still of the opinion that there's more noise to make and a greater impact that can be had but at the moment, that is only my opinion.  The team went to meet some people tonight about funding so let's see what they've turned up.  I hope perhaps that they have come back with the data that I've been telling them all along.  They don't need to give up, they need to step up.  I reflect that I have now completed all my tasks except for day-to-day running and I'm looking forward to getting a break in a few weeks time as I need it.  If for not other reason than to clear my head and think through my options.  

I've just dropped a belt size over the weekend so I'm quite pleased with my weight loss and I'm happy now and settled into my juicing routine and also into my small portions and mainly soup and fish diet.  Tomorrow evening is a let off day - I know it is Valentine's Day but I'm going to the pub with some mates.  Mrs. F. and I don't do Valentine's meals, red roses and all that guff and especially not at the exorbitant price hikes they put forward as a premium for these sorts of things, Mother's and Father's days etc.  It's a con and our money is better spent on going on a nice holiday which is where it is going.

So back to my deliberations and what I might like to do?  I have no idea at all.  I fancy something that will pay reasonable money without me having to go into London regularly and that I will enjoy and that gives me flexible time too.  Who knows what I might do - I know one thing and that is that the rat race isn't the place unless it is under my terms.

When does it start to feel good

I saw a programme on TV tonight where the chap was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer and inevitably died.  IT was a moving piece of drama and there were a couple of poignant moments in it and of course a couple of times I felt a little sad.  You relate such things directly to your own experiences and of course, with dad not being well and my own brush with cancer it is all very real and very much in my focus.

This weekend I haven't juiced or in fact followed any protocols other than not eating a lot :-)  I'd run out of vegetables (happily I have some now) and I was up late on Saturday and Sunday.  Saturday my mate Flocky Bicep, freshly returned from NZ turned up and we have breakfast at Costa with a pastry thrown in for good measure so I had a treat on Saturday morning and today I had some poached eggs rather than my normal FOCC.  That I can restart tomorrow and my juicing too.  I must then find out where the new batteries are so I can load up my BP monitor with those and to start to take readings of my blood pressure.

Work as previous posts show is a concern but probably not as bad as I thought it would be.  In a way I'm furious at the establishment for not providing opportunities for people to get funding and for the Ostrich style approach to venture that the UK appears to foster.  Those who suggest that they are the risk takers and the builders and disrupters of tomorrow are as adventurous as the high street banks.  It appears to me to be all wind and not much else.

So when does it start to feel good?  When do I start to feel good that 5 years have gone by and that bladder cancer is fading away a bit (of course I have to have a CT Scan and all that good stuff too and regular check ups).  When do I feel good about "my lot".  In reality I should feel good right now.  I don't live in abject poverty, I have a roof over my head and my children are at university.  We have food on the table and two cars on the drive.  We have enough money to live on and those blessings should be treasured.  It is difficult as a westerner to sometimes actually look at these things and realise how well off we actually are.  I spoke to one of my colleagues about someone complaining that they were poor as the definition in this country is not one you would recognise for example in some places in Africa.  What we see as poor is a thousands of times greater than someone there could ever attain.

I feel at the cross roads again, having spent 2 years on this project and 2 years beforehand at the charity a year before that I was involved in another start up that didn't work out and I realise that the last time I did any work that was well paid was when I was diagnosed with bladder cancer in the first place.  Of all the experiences I've had since then, I wonder how much having (or having had) bladder cancer has influenced what I have done and what I may do in the future.  For example, I don't fancy a job back in the cut and thrust of the financial services business as I don't want to deal with the stress that it would inevitably bring with it nor do I envy or want to participate in the lifestyle that I had in those times.  The money was great but the hours and damage to my body are no longer sustainable.  Then there was the charity which I enjoyed but after I had built the frameworks that were necessary the day to day running (business as usual) was too mundane for me, I build things, I don't operate them.

So I am left wondering what I ought to consider doing in the future and in fact I have plenty of time to consider this.  I fancy many things and I had a vision of using my family history skills to build a business based on that, write a few books, do some speaking engagements and so on.  Or I could build an internet business I suppose or do some sort of consultancy work.  Whatever I decide to do, it just needs to be interesting enough to engage me and to pay the bills although I'd like it to pay more so I could boost my pension.  But there again money isn't everything.  I've even thought about just packing up, selling the place and going off somewhere to start again doing something (not sure what) miles away from London and the noise and hassle and yet, would I really leave my friends and would I disadvantage the children's future by doing so?

I don't know when it starts to feel good but I think I am beginning to start the process of becoming comfortable with who I am.  I need to do that first to begin to make progress elsewhere.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

It's a funny old world

You often look at what goes on and wonder to yourself about it.  Today A was applying for jobs and she's rather well organised now and sees graduation some months away still but is beginning to apply for jobs now and the process these days is crazy.  Gone are the days of old when a CV would get you in the door.  There's loads of crap to get through, questions meaning the same thing asked in different ways and all sorts of nonsense.  

It takes ages to apply for a job and surely time is best served in the numbers game it used to be.  Of course it is all on-line now - which I suppose has been around for a good 10 or more years but it is just a bizarre way of going about applying for roles that are pretty junior.  

As for me, well I think this week will be seminal for me now.  I've had the weekend to plumb the blackness of my mind and I've sort of come out of that OK.  I'm pretty much hacked off at the way things are going and the course we are taking which is far from satisfactory.  It may be thorough but I leave my colleagues to attend a function tomorrow night and either come down on my side of the argument or have their own side ratified.  Either way I'm going to have my say and then see what they actually want to do about it.  There are other avenues to pursue but I'm going away on holiday in a few weeks time and frankly they can get along without me for that time and when I get back we can see what has happened.  

I've been considering what my options may be and as such have realised that I can't make up my mind about that now or come to a decision about it either.  A lot depends on my state of health and on my state of mind.  I'm angry and calm all at the same time.  I'm angry at a system that throws money at non events and won't invest in things that will make a difference.  I'm calm that if it goes nowhere, then I will have to go and do something else.  In my mind, that will involve some sort of career choice that will see me through to my retirement and I feel I want to turn my back on the rat race I've been in most of my life.  Of course, I'm not absolutely certain that I know what that will be but something flexible and that I want to do.  I've got lots of skills from doing what we've just done and from my past life but whether I want to go back and work in the high pressure environments again is the question I need to ask of myself.

The business isn't over and done by any means, it is just that I've decided to take the mental hit of defeat a little earlier in case it does happen and spread that over a few months rather than to fall at the last point possible and take the drop at that time.  It isn't defeatist and it isn't presuming that will happen but I should be prepared to find that things have failed no matter how well we think we have done.

Quite how things will pan out in the next few weeks or so will determine this and I'm just glad that I will have some time away from it to consider my options.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

And up and down and up and

Down - what a roller coaster it is at the moment.  I'm certainly not finding it easy at this stage in the company's life to take the view that we will not get finance.  Especially if you don't actually ask someone and especially if you answer the exam question yourself without having asked the person with the money the question.  

That level of assumption, based on information gleaned from a web site alone hardly seems right given that we have also found that some people don't actually mean what they say and miss out huge bits and that limits are guidelines and finite.  That's the trouble I suppose and I'm getting pretty tired of having my work tossed back into my face and not going out and doing something but this level of defeatism.  Anyway, I'm sure that this will come out later on as I fundamentally disagree with the way that we've capitulated at the first and second hurdles.  Let's hope that the meeting on Monday will solve all of this and that the true nature of the beast is realised.  It's a numbers game but reducing the numbers yourself may not be shrewd.  It's like needing 6 balls to win the lottery and only choosing 4 of them as the other 2 never get pulled?  

So one day it feels good and then next day it feels bad dependent on what bit of news you get and as it is out of my hands a lot of the time, it feels to me that I may as well start to give up now.  I actually thought we would be at this for 6 months or more but it is less than 6 weeks in serious mode and already the white flag is being ready to be run out.

I suppose that I can just make my position clear on it and move on and see where that leaves us or stick to my guns.  In real terms, it leaves us painted into a corner that in reality we shouldn't be in yet.  But that limits the actions we can take and so in that way I think that will bring it to a head quicker and we will see what actions come out of that.  

I can probably start to consider my future beyond this now should we not get anywhere and decide what I'd like to do.  As days go by and we limit ourselves and our potential actions then the opportunity to build the business recedes.  As that happens then the odds get shorter and I need to start to review my options.  It would appear that the business we have that could change millions of lives isn't as important as games that require people to pay real $s for stuff that doesn't exist in real life and call that progress.  Anyway, I digress, it seems such a shame that we may have spent all that time building to this point only to spend a small amount of effort attempting to gain funding.  

Anyway, my mood swings are completely down to that at the moment and of course trying at the same time to resolve my health issues with my BP.  I will get onto that this coming week.   If we aren't doing anything then that means I don't need to do anything either.  I think the rest of the team can take over as I've worked myself to a standstill this week and feel knackered.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Life is up and down at the moment

It's a rocky road at the moment, we are coming across some people who I'm surprised would find it easy to sit the right way up on a toilet.  People have very limited imaginations and try to pigeon hole things they don't understand into things they do.  Invariably they completely miss the whole point of what we are trying to do.  Technical people are the worst as they want to see the solution rather than pull up and away and look at the whole thing.

Oh well, I'm sure this isn't just us who struggle to find people who understand what we have and appreciate why we should bring it to market.  Let's see if the remainder of "smart" people actually go about it trying to work out what it is.

This causes us to question our abilities and whether or not we have done the right thing.  In many ways we beat ourselves up needlessly - in this instance I think we may have provided our audience with too much respect and we may have believed their PR that they are sophisticated and looking for the next big thing.  Most of them can't work out the basic need for the service as they themselves don't see the pain the customer has.  Maybe we need to really break it down into very simple language for them.

Other than that, I'm tired and irritable and not particularly happy just because I'm still concerned that my BP is high - not that I can check that until next week when I get some batteries for my BP Monitor.  

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

That sort of day

Poor old dad is feeling it these days and a trip to the bathroom takes it out of him and he finds it tiring and his energy levels are all over the place, his diet appears to be an issue as it fluctuates and affects him depending on what it is and it either agrees with him in which case he is fine or disagrees with him and he gets minor set backs.

Cancer is indeed a nasty disease (as I suppose all life threatening and serious illnesses).  By that I mean they rob you of your dignity, your self esteem, your self confidence and you tend to find that you are equally affected by what you think other people think of you and how they treat you.  It affects your relatives and your immediate family.  My mum is obviously affected having to live with her husband of over 50 years disintegrating before her eyes.  I call her everyday to see how dad is but in reality I'm also making sure she is talking to me and getting whatever is on her mind off it.  

We are very much in tune with each other and sometimes we have a long conversation and other times a long one.  It doesn't need to be about anything really does it, just as long as it is someone different to talk to and that's my main purpose in the call.

I'm still feeling a little up and down each day that's just the way it is when after 18 months to 2 years work you don't get any interest in even talking to you.  It makes a big difference if someone just appreciated the effort that had been invested and didn't dismiss it after a few moments reviewing it for key words which is what it feels like.


I have to say that I've been feeling a bit low again, quite sad really and somehow melancholic.  I've had this before and it's a combination of things really.  Raising money for the business is not going well, the UK market is flat and depressed and we are in an equity gap caught between those who can give us a little (which isn't a lot of use) and those whom we don't quite qualify for.  The scale and ambition is also disturbing some and also the difficulty that many people have grasping our concepts because they just don't understand the market we are tackling - so there's a nagging in the back of my mind that we may not make it and doubt is bound to kick in no matter how well we think we have done, how well prepared we are etc.  It doesn't help that someone just gives a cursory glance at your work when you've done 2 years worth and they take 10 minutes and dismiss it.    It show an element of disrespect but of course these people get hundreds of plans every day/week and so you can understand that.

Then there's my apparent backward step in terms of my blood pressure - I'm a little concerned about that as I should be getting to a position where my blood pressure should be much lower and my health much better.  In reality I do feel a lot better and I've lost a fair bit of weight and I'm eating really healthily.  My 15Kg bag of carrots will be no more by tomorrow so it only lasted 9 days!  

Talking with my mum and I spoke to dad briefly on Sunday is also proving a little stressful as he gets weaker and less able to tolerate certain foods.  He's still his normal self, a little more reflective I suppose but still playing to the crowd and the problem is he is getting weaker and weaker, a shower and a shave almost tires him out for the morning.  Life revolves around the TV, eating, drinking, sleeping and fighting the odd bout of pain and just keeping going.  Mum's taking it OK but I have no doubt that it will catch up with her.  My brother is a lot better at the moment as he is taking some hypnotherapy which is helping him to calm down.  He isn't taking it at all well but he is much closer to my parents than I am I suppose.

So a combination of things are making me just feel a little sad in myself, not the "D" word at all, just a little melancholic and a little reflective.  I've thoughts going on about what to do should we not get finance and there are many other avenues open to us.  Our expertise and experience in taking the business this far are of course marketable commodities and yet I'm not absolutely certain that I would welcome going back into the rat race that I came from.  But what could I do in the future?  Well that's an interesting question and I'm wrestling with that now.  My mind is considering options and searching ideas.  I've done my just go to work bit and I hated every minute of it although I enjoyed the Charity, I'm not sure that I could do that every day again especially travelling up to London - perhaps locally.  Then there's the bit about being an employee - so perhaps I'd need to take on a more senior role?  Of course, I still have the genealogy business that I prepared for before taking on the Charity role and I have a lot more connections to explore.  

So my mind is a whir and whilst I haven't given up on things I do need to consider them.  I kind of think that things will very much be what they will be and so in a way I'm not that worried, things will work out and I'm pretty handy being able to do most things and of course, nothing has happened yet.  My brain is just racing away looking at what the possibilities are and also to make sure that I cover off what may happen in the future.  Let's hope that someone actually gets the idea of what we are doing and sticks some investment in so we can move forward.

Monday, February 06, 2012

We've run out of that

Batteries - where have all the batteries gone.  It was a total non event asking oldest daughter!  I just got a blank look off of her.  Somewhere around 50 AA Batteries have gone so I'm guessing the girls have had those away and I'm left with a blood pressure monitor that sounds like it is an asthmatic and then errors its reading!  So much for trying to sort out my Blood Pressure!  Hopefully that can be resolved tomorrow and I can start to monitor my BP.  

I've started to drop off the food intake substantially today and must say that I'm feeling a little empty tonight.  But that will just have to be that.  I'm definitely losing weight and my clothes are certainly beginning to feel loose which is good.  

It is somewhat disheartening to have made all the lifestyle changes and still to find out that I'm not reducing my BP.  Mind you, one good thing is that I'm still clear on the cancer front so perhaps I'd better not be complaining too much eh.

Conflicting Evidence

That's a nuisance - I thought I'd do some searching on High Blood Pressure and juicing and so far I can't find anything that says it does anything but reduce your blood pressure, especially the stuff I'm juicing - Beets, Carrots, Celery, Cucumber and Spinach.  Even so - I'm a bit wary of that now and so I will start measuring my BP tomorrow and try and do it daily to see what is going on.

I'm a bit confused as I don't have any salt, white bread or pasta or rice, I'm almost a vegetarian these days and rarely have meat - perhaps once a week.  I have fish most days for my protein and also eggs.  From tomorrow onwards I will be making sure that I don't have any flour products and the only things I'll have like cereals will be seeds (Pumpkin and Sunflower).  I have dried fruit and nuts with breakfast and then tend to have soups at lunch and dinner time.  

So A bit more searching around in my books, some measurements and then a review.

We've had our first snow of winter - about 6" of the stuff but it isn't powder it's that wet slushy stuff and now it is icing over.  

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Through the roof

I've never seen my blood pressure so high as today at the doctors.  I mean very high with a bottom reading way over 120!  The upper near 200.  That's ridiculous and totally unexpected I have to say.  So I need to keep a serious check.  I know that going to the doctors is easily 20 points over on both readings - I just hate the environment and I hate the association I have with the place - every time I've ever been there I've been ill (OK I know) but there you go...

So it fell off and went to about 15 or 20 points off normal but even so it was quite a shock but I also noticed my heart rate was way over 100 too which is pretty swift.  

I'm surprised because I really don't have any of the usual things to give me high blood pressure, in fact, the opposite and last year I was recording below average recordings.  This year, with changing my diet I expected it to be much lower.  I've also felt, rightly or wrongly, that the diet I'm on should reduce my BP.  So - tomorrow is a further review of the diet, exercise and to start checking my blood pressure on a regular basis.

Its a bit annoying I have to say as I was doing so well on my diet and so I think I need to do some drastic action to sort this out.  I think I've got the hang of juicing now and can tolerate some of the stronger concoctions out there.  Additionally, I have the right sort of vegetables and the right sort of quantity to ramp this up.  I was surprised to see that I've done about half my 15Kg bag of carrots in a week!  Mind you, if I can find a local supplier who can do similar prices I will be pleased.  I think that I need to rethink some of the other stuff I am doing and just make a few more alterations to the diet.  

Tomorrow I'll do some more research and checking and then set myself off on a stricter regime and get to tackle some exercise again.  That allied to diet will sort things out.  

Friday, February 03, 2012

The ups and downs of Cancer

Just spoke to my mum and it is time that the Macmillan Nurse was called on to come and have an initial chat.  The trouble is that the time to "accept" what is coming down the line hasn't arrived and whilst I don't think dad is in denial, he certainly doesn't want to reflect on this subject at the moment and I guess we have to respect that.  Sooner or later it will have to be discussed but if he doesn't think that time is now then we can't do a lot about it I guess.

So there's a thing - I just reread the paragraph above and I didn't write death once did I - we are crap at discussing death aren't we :-)  But that too is the point, we aren't very good at dealing with these things and whilst it would be a useful thing for dad it would also be very good for mum too to start to understand and cope with what is coming down the line as she will bear the brunt and day-to-day.

In reality, he will find, like I did, that it needs to be your decision when you come to terms with these things and what to do about them.  I do hope that he will get the nurse in to see him soon for reassurance if nothing else and to set some sort of expectations.  For example, he feels dizzy occasionally and weak and tired and these are worrying but part of the journey and I think that the nurse would be able to just set the scene and if asked they won't have to discuss end of life at the first visit.

So what to do....

We had a conference call tonight and it sounded to me as if my colleagues were almost resigned to the fact that we may not get any finance - which is a bit negative considering we've only been at it for about 6 weeks and that includes the Christmas break....

But there is a point there that the market is a bit flat at the moment and that unless you've just come out of University you can't be taken seriously as an Entrepreneur!  :-)  Of course that may be completely wrong but the money appears to be going into stuff that lots of other people are doing, nothing new or radical and lots of me me projects.

So having said that I was left with an evening of wondering what I might like to do for the rest of my working life!  I've had enough travelling and enough sharp end stuff and yet as someone told me today; the experience that I have and knowledge of start ups ought to be put to good use somewhere - I'm not sure I can bring myself to work hard for anyone other than myself.  

I really hadn't thought about the possibility until now that we may not get finance.  I'm still expecting it to take 6 or more months and hence I've been arguing that it is all a numbers game.  You can't win a raffle without buying some tickets and the more tickets you buy the better chance you have of winning.  To decide not to explore some avenues of finance because you assume that it won't be useful isn't exploring all the options or buying the tickets.  I'd rather explore the avenues and be told no than not to and wonder if.

I suppose that somewhere the line needs to be drawn and we are almost clear on where and what that is now.  We just have to agree it because there comes a time when you hit the law of diminishing returns.  I hope though that we will give the US a go as they have a much better VC scene than we do in the UK and it appears that people there really understand business a little better than the cautious bunch here.

So - what could I possibly do?  I still have the initial set-up for the genealogy business and that wouldn't take too long to set up and get moving.  It may be difficult initially to catch up on the 3 or 4 years changes in the market place but I'm sure that is one possibility.  Alternative ideas will need to be thought about I suppose.  I'm certain that I'll come up with something to do that I will enjoy rather than just work at.  Well I've got time to decide and explore.

Thursday, February 02, 2012


Derek Jarman - there's a director to worry the hell out of you.  I remember one film by him.  It was called Blue and I remember watching it, for what it was.  It could be pretentious nonsense I suppose but I related to it and watched it in glorious stereo.  

Here is a link to the information about the film Wiki and IMDB

What I liked were these words:

"In time,
 No one will remember our work
 Our life will pass like the traces of a cloud
 And be scattered like
 Mist that is chased by the
 Rays of the sun
 For our time is the passing of a shadow
 And our lives will run like
 Sparks through the stubble. I place a delphinium, Blue, upon your grave"

Now it's a bit avant garde perhaps and so you stare at a screen that at first view appears to be solid blue for 80 minutes.  The thing is that in isolation and you should just immerse yourself in this film (perhaps understanding the background before you see it) and I felt that the screen was changing but it is the music and dialogue that you should listen to.  

There are many people who believe Jarman was just a pornographer.  And yet War Requiem is another piece of work to see that should leave you with a long remembered experience around the futility of war and there is the wonderful scoring of Benjamin Britten's "War Requiem" and Wilfred Owen's poetry. 

I realise that much of the work I enjoy is not mainstream by any stretch of the imagination and another film that I think everyone should see perhaps just once is The Passion of the Christ directed by Mel Gibson.  I've watched it just once and it had a profound and lasting impact on me. I have bought the DVD and it sits next to my chair waiting for the right moment, when I think I can handle the emotional wrenching, the tearing at my humanity and poking my very belief system.   For what you see is the last hours of Christ's life.  You see the unimaginable torture that his own people put him through.  The passion (and I use the real meaning of that word) is probably the most brutal thing you will ever see in your life.  It is shocking and it feels as if you are part of the mob at one time and part of the crowd, unable to stop this punishment and yet drawn to it through revulsion.  I found it the most upsetting thing I thin I have ever seen in or out of the cinema.  I felt every lash and was left completely and utterly drained after watching it.  that's why it is sitting near to my seat - I'm working up the guts to see it again for if anything would be a glowing advert for Christianity, it would be this film.  I say that from a lapsed Christian point of view.

Having seen the film and its depiction of the passion it should strengthen your belief I think and like many films which attract the loony fringe - they really ought to see how close it is to the original scripture before flying off the handle.  I reckon it;s the best advertising the church could have if only they were to take their heads out of their arses and view it for what it was.  Kudos to Mel Gibson for having the brass balls to go and make this film.  

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Discovering Philip Glass

There was a programme on last night and I happened into it.  It was a documentary following Philip Glass and whilst I knew who he was I hadn't really listened to his work (knowingly). Of course that started to change after the documentary that had me captivated by this man whose work is just amazing.  He reminds me of one of my favourite artists Michael Nyman and I've lots of his work and enjoy many of his films scores especially the Piano, the Draughtsman's Contract, The Thief, His Wife, The Cook and Her Lover, ZOO A Zed and Two Noughts and so on.

However, I have just invested in a DVD that was partially shown called intriguingly Powaqqatsi and of course the I found out that some of his music was in a film that I also enjoy, the Truman Show.   

The documentary showed Glass' spiritual side and I was intrigued by his complex music and his relationship with conductor, orchestra and chorus.  It was one of those evenings when suddenly a whole new avenue of music and culture opened up to me.  There was work with world culture musicians including Ravi Shankar.

So I'm looking forward to the film and to surround myself in the music and the cinematography.  I imagine A will like it as she is of an "artistic bent".  I very much doubt that Mrs. F. or L will see it for anything other than a load of noise and a film with no dialogue :-)

I felt quite embarrassed that I had only achieved what I have now where this man was just the most amazing dynamo of a man - sure he has frailties and has suffered some serious knocks but he had just gone out there and "done it".  I feel in some ways that this is the "American Dream" that you can make something of yourself because it is OK to fail in the US.  Here, if you fail you get kicked into the gutter.  If you make it, you still get kicked in the teeth.  We don't understand the "dream" we don't get that working hard gets you there one way or the other.  When people succeed in this country you are just as likely to get attacked by the envious hordes who feel that they somehow should share in success even though they've been no part of the building or achievement of it.  Rather than acknowledge those who have built such enterprises or climbed the  heights and achieved something, they find every reason to tear it down and trash it.  

The quick buck and the destruction of self built people and there on screen was this genius who got ripped to shreds by the critics in his earlier career proving them all wrong.  I'm captivated by his music and am really looking forward to getting the film and sitting alone listening to it!

Hovering between

Good and bad at the moment - having some serious doubts about the way things are going work wise and having to argue a point over and over again when it needs 20 minutes work to sort something out and get it worked out and sorted.  

So on a balance of being up and down which is never good for me, I'm as likely to tell you to sod off as I am to agree with you when I am in this mood - some say that's what makes me pretty much someone you want on your team but many people roundly dislike being told in that sort of fashion what their choices are and in such binary ways.  I get fed up dancing to a political tune and I get even more pissed off when for the sake of being a little bit flexible and going with a touch of intuition this can all be sorted and squared.  I find that it is inconsistency that annoys me and the slight move of emphasis which changes the game although you are being told that nothing has changed and that policy is being evenly and fairly employed.

So - up and down and not the ideal way for me to have to discuss things when subtle rule changes have occurred.