Sunday, 28 February 2010

No.248 Of Pasta and the Planning

If one more visiting friend buys me a Vegetarian cookbook as a present I'm going to open my own on-line book store. I've a pile of them now in my bookcase. They're good but all require a lot of planning and thought which I don't have in great measure. Measure by the way is another thing I have no patience for. How much is 40 grammes of butter for example? And can I be bothered to measure out three teaspoons of cream? Nope.

Ok so it's Sunday and I'm going to give a dish a go this evening so it's off to Tesco this afternoon in search of 2 cloves of garlic, freshly and locally cut asparagus (it doesn't travel well apparently), single cream and a bunch of herbs. Pasta I have already in copious amounts ready to burst out of my cupboard and jump into a saucepan and end up in my next great creation. I may just buy some ready made sauce for pasta in case all goes wrong...

Friday, 26 February 2010

No.247 Of Education, Education Education

We held our first first Education Law event in Dublin yesterday. It was a huge success. Attended largely by Principals I was expecting the audience to consist of well suited austere looking professionals carefully studying their notes over half moon glasses hanging round their necks on string. I counted just three out of the 140 or so that might fit this clearly dated stereotype of mine.

The refreshments, the food, the Chairman, the speakers, the hotel, the Legal-Island staff - all great.
What a way to end the week. Onwards..!

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

No.246 Of Big Firsts

Things are not going well for us at the Winter Olympics. Our World Champion Bobsleigh team are currently 10th and our Northern Ireland skater fell big time in the short programme. She got up well though. I was watching the cross Ski-ing event last night which is new to the Olympics. It's four skiers at the same time going hell for leather to get to the bottom first. Great stuff. It makes the Downhill race look really tame in comparison. The big day belonged to the Canadian McIvor who won the first Olympic gold in the event. She was a local girl and had been practising on the track for the last four years me thinks.

We've a big day tomorrow with our own first : the first Education conference in the ROI for Legal-Island. We have a capacity crowd. Hold tight... hell for leather lets go for it....

Monday, 22 February 2010

No.245 Of Strange Weekends

I spent the weekend on the North Antrim Coast with friends. We were concerned from the weather reports that we'd be snowed in and unable to get back. But it was odd. We woke to see no snow out the window but loads of reports on the T.V that many people barely 30 miles away were snowed in. Emmm.

Bushmills is a strange place. It has one of the best places to stay in NI (for the Bushmills Inn takes some beating). It has one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area (the Bushmills Distillery) and is barely 2 miles from one of the 7 Great Wonders of the World (in the Giant's Causeway). Yet many of the town's building are in a poor state of repair. One, right in the centre you just can't miss as it overlooks the main feature of the town the War Memorial. This former bank has its windows smashed in and is an awful eyesore. Farther up the road yet more shops boarded up. Emmmm.

On Saturday night the Bushmills Inn featured some Ulster/Scots/Irish folk music. It was great but they all sat around looking very serious about their musicianship almost like they were trying hard not to enjoy performing. For some strange reason this seem to add something to the experience and certainly made it harder to forget.

So to sum up the weekend : Emmmmmmmmmm

Friday, 19 February 2010

No.244 Of Whether the Weather......

Glorious weather. Spring is here and boy have we earnt it. But will it hold for the weekend? I hope so. I want to take the MG out for a spin. She's been feeling neglected these past few months.

The breakfast seminars seem to be going down a treat. Lots of people are talking about them and the reviews are good. I think we've got the pitch just right. One hour for delegates to get a shot of something important to think about before they start their day's work.

I'm off to meet a friend for lunch later. She has a bit of time on her hands at the moment and she's an avid reader. I always take her a book to read. If she says its good I add it to my reading list. If she doesn't I try her with another. I'm still reading Abraham Lincoln's biography. I'm 400 pages in with another 500 to go. If the weather's awful this weekend I might just finish it....

Thursday, 18 February 2010

No.243 Of Coaching Parking and Reversing

I almost reversed into an employee this morning. Not a great start to the day for either of us. Ho hum.

I'm meeting Niahm Shiells of Advance Coaching and Trudy Arthurs of Dancing Leopards today. They are both also of the Association of Coaching. We use coaches a lot at Legal-Island to great effect so I'm keen to meet them and exchange experiences/views.

We have the first of our main events this year in our new training centre which is great. The centre is getting fab reviews and I can't think of anywhere more convenient to access in terms of parking and public transport.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

No.242 Of Things You Need to Know....

It's an outrage! 38 grammes of sugar in every 100 grammes of Kellogg's Special K cereal. 20 grammes is considered high and too much apparently.

I've just attended Jane McClenaghan's breakfast seminar on healthy eating. Jane's a great presenter and I love watching her speak. With Jane it's like you get two presenters in one. There's the verbal delivery and there's the body language speaking loud and clear too. She interprets much of what she says through great hand movements. I wonder if asked to present with her hands tied behind her back one day she'd be half as good.

Before, when shopping I used to inspect the labels for animal fat. Now I'll have to look out for saturated fat too, sugar levels and amounts of sodium. Better still I could get someone else to do it and not ask too many questions....

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

No.241 Of Ebay and Funny Things

We had two new staff members join the company yesterday. They each did the famous Legal-Island ebay induction exercise. This is when the inductee is given £10 and 1 hour to find something to sell on ebay for maximum profit. The record to beat is £26. Items in included a second hand pair of designer shoes, some Belfast crystal and a Michael Jackson picture (or was it an album?). The record methinks is safe but who knows for the market is a funny thing and the ebay market funnier still.

Friday, 12 February 2010

No.240 Of Heaven and of Hell

I went to see Circ du Soleil last night at the Royal Albert Hall. Wow was it good! I couldn't help but do a quick business calculation whilst there. I reckoned 5,000 people all paying an average of £50 a ticket for a show on for over a month with 50 performers and an estimated 50 behind the scenes. That's a lot of dough wish I'd thought about it.

This morning I visisted the Natural History Museum. It was packed full of thousands upon thousands of artefacts and seemingly billions of over excited kids. I last 20 minutes.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

No.239 Of Doing the Maths & Helpful Sums

I did 60 lengths of the pool today. Another PB. In fact that's not quite true. I did 15 + 15 + 20 +10 for today I discovered distance swimming is all about maths. Had I jumped in and thought 60 to go I would have given up straight away but break things down into manageable bits and it an awful lot suddenly feels possible. I learnt this from the film "Touching the Void" where a climber on his own had to get off a mountain with a broken leg. He had about 3 miles to crawl to base camp and managed it only by inched his way to a marker he had given himself 100 metres away then another and another and so on.

The best sum of all however is 15+15+20+10 = 1 relatively fit guy in his 40s

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

No.238 Of Mindmaps & Straight Line Thinking

I've just been to a Legal-Island breakfast seminar on Mindmapping. I can't do it! I must be a linear man! It's all this learning cases and statutes for legal exams line by line authority by authority that has never. Perhaps it never will. May be I'm just too self conscious about the pictures you have to draw. I was rubbish at art at school. Couldn't draw a straight line with a ruler...

Everyone seemed to enjoy the seminar however so another great event from the crew at Legal-Island and the trainer Ann Forsythe was on top form.

Monday, 8 February 2010

No.237 Of Groundhogs & Chips

I experienced a groundhog day moment today similar to one I'd experienced 3 times last week. At precisely 8.03a.m. I saw from the same place the same two students walking by the same roundabout on their way to the same train station. Is this telling me that my day is becoming far too routine? Probably.

It reminded me of when I was living in Geneva for three months in the early 90s whilst working at the UN. I used to catch the bus from my apartment to the UN Headquarters. The bus was due to arrive at 08.56 which it always did to the minute and it dropped me off at precisely 09.11 every day. Every day I saw the same people heading in the opposite direction to me or passed those going the same way but not so impatiently. Geneva is a lovely place but it just worked too well for me at times.

Before Geneva I had been living in Glasgow, Govan to be exact. There you never knew what was going to happen each day - only that it would be different from the one before. On one occasion I awoke to find a lady at more door selling a pair of jeans she had no doubt acquired from a nearby washing line. On another occasion I had to help the local Indian out of his own corner shop - the "weeones" had super glued him in. The weeones were devils. I wont say what they were up to when they took the vinegar bottle from the local chippy and then returned it for a night's full use on the "fish suppers". Needless to say I never had vinegar on my chips again.

Friday, 5 February 2010

No.236 Of Barry v Barry

I met an amazing guy yesterday. His name is also Barry. He told me that he did a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Queen's but started making a living out of web design having picked that up at University along the way. He now builds and implements text message systems and by the sounds of things there's nothing he can't devise that will send you a text message about something. I love brain storming with people who not only take an idea (which sometimes can be on the wrong side of potty) on board but also suggest a variation to it which makes it even more appealing/exciting.

Towards the end of the meeting I asked him if there was anything else that he does and he replied "Yes I've just set up my own wind turbine business" our first one goes into a farm next week. That's diversification I thought.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

No.235 Of BP on his PB

"Attention, Attention, will all staff members proceed to the pool area immediately? Attention, attention will all staff members proceed to the pool area immediately" came the voice over the tannoy at 7.15a.m. this morning. This is how my working day started today as me and 7 other early birds queued to get into the changing rooms then into the Antrim pool. The announcement reminds me a bit of Jules Vernes's "Time Machine" when the Morlocks summon the Eloi people to visit them which they all dutifully do only to meet their demise.

The earlybirds met no such terrible fate however. I clocked 40 lengths in under 30 minutes - something of a PB I believe. I'd feel better about it if the bloke in the lane next to me wasn't overtaking me every other lap. But hey I was after a personal best not a pool best today and he's a show off! Bet the Morlocks wouldn't like him either!

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

No.234 Of The Games People Play

I went out for a Chinese last night at the Red Panda, Antrim. It was much better than I was expecting. I went with a business contact. I wanted to talk business. He wanted to talk Iphone Apps and in particular games. He won. There's this great game where you can throw a bit of paper in a bin all day long. There's another where you can record your voice and it sounds like you're Darth Vader on play back.

He did tell me the name of a guy he knows who develops Apps and Legal-Island is looking for one of those so I guess he was playing my game too.

No.233 Of Mindmatters

We had our first breakfast seminar this morning. There were 17 of us all who made it by 8a.m. to listen to a coaching skills session - very commendable.

Next up is Mindmapping which promises to be interesting. I don't think I'm a mindmapper. I think I prefer my information in a linear format. Does this make me left brain orientated (which most men are apparently) or just mistaken in terms of what the whole thing is about? Perhaps I should just go along and find out.