Monday, 18 October 2010

Neither management courses nor staying in Wales should be legally this much fun…..

I'm afraid to say since it has taken almost 2 hours to post a few replies and add this short bit of text Blogging from Cuba is proving too difficult so I will continue posting on my return to a much colder but more internet friendly UK. Hope to se you in early November....

I have a few rules in life, one of which is I don’t blog about work, because blogging about work is never a good idea, it gets people into trouble, it can even get people sacked – I guess if you are a spy it might even get people killed.

Face it: James Bond does not blog, tweet or twitter about his job or if he does I’ve never heard about it

With out giving too much away, I am prepared to reveal that I am not a spy…………………..

…………………although I'm sure I could be if I wanted  …..

Plus points of being a spy:
  • Loads of cool gadgets
  • Black can be very flattering to the larger frame
  • The expensive cars (but eek! Think of the insurance bill)
  • The glamourous women (Psst…. Best not mention these to Mrs B)
  • Lots of different passports
Picture me with a big beaming smile

Negative points of being a spy:
  • All that killing and maiming
  • The unsociable hours
  • Keeping secrets (I can’t even hide new clothes in the house for more than about 5 hours, let alone the top secret plans to prevent world domination)
  • The constant drinking
  • Mrs B would never stand for it (I think she just found out about the glamourous women)
  • Getting pulled off a mission part way through, because your wife had got your supper ready, would, I suspect, be considered deeply uncool and would see me in the spy equivalent of Coventry PDQ.
  • Then there is my tendency to lose things, like wallets, keys etc… Can you imagine having to explain to the big spy boss why you had lost your 3rd gun in the last 4 days and how you had got hold of the top secret documents on the last mission but had put them somewhere safe but can’t quite remember where -
“Don’t worry I’m sure they will turn up shortly” – Hardly cuts the mustard

OK so perhaps I wont make it as a spy……

Sorry I digressed, where was I…….?

Oh yes, that rule about not blogging about work….Fortunately I have rule 2.3 rules which states all Rules are there to be prodded, stretched and if you get the chance and you are sure no one is looking, broken….ooops….it was like that when I found it, honest.

So work, which for the sake of my career shall remain nameless, sent me on a 3 day Management course with the aim of testing my metal and for me to discover myself.

I decided to start practicing on the way up and set myself the challenge of getting 400 miles out of ElleGee’s tank. This was quite an ambitious plan since the most I normally get out of him is about 320 miles.
  • I blame my father for this type of action, he once drove from London to Birmingham at a steady 55mph as he had read this was the optimum speed for a car to get the best mpg return). After what seemed like an eternity, but was probably only 5 days and the 3 millionth rendition of “A pig has a ring in it’s nose, ring in it’s nose, ring in it’s nose” interspersed with regular and very winey renditions of “Are we nearly there yet?” from my sister and I (You have to remember that these were the days before cars had in built cinemas and as a kid you had to create your own entertainment, which consisted chiefly of torturing your parents) my father finally snapped and abandoned his 55mph plan cranking Bubbles, our white Maxi, to its limit (about 58mph as I recall). He promised never to do it again after he discovered he had saved about 12p….
I left the motorway with the computer claiming there were 8 miles left in the tank and Satnav saying the venue was 9 miles away. No problem, I just needed to find a garage ……only this is the Lake District, where apparently cars run on fresh air. The satnav finally found a petrol station about 12 miles away and so I hit the magic speed of 55 miles an hour and at 12 miles I discovered the garage was actually there, it was open…..only it was on the other side of a dual carriageway with a huge barrier in-between…..I travelled another 4 miles further until a junction allowed me to make my way back and I breezed in on that famous Lake District air (and by my calculation about 12 miles in debt) and, like my father before me, vowed never to experiment again….well until the next time that is….

When I mentioned I had been on a Management course in last week’s blog I received a few comments about it all sounding “a bit corporate”….. I’m not sure if it was meant to be corporate but all I can say is The Beast and I had a blast. Yes the Beast joined me and after I started taking a few pictures it became almost expected from the course leader that the Beast would be on duty. I had decided not to bring him out on the second day and was practically sent back to my room in disgrace to retrieve him….. I can’t say too much as the course relies on a certain element of surprise and just in case anyone from my unnamed firm accidently reads this all I will say is: water, climbing, buying, selling, jumping, crawling, laughing and film clips and I was getting paid for this. Fantastic…..just a shame I couldn’t get The Beast on the payroll…

Before I came away I had had some feedback from someone that I had just started working with that I used too much humour…. Afraid so. Life is far too short and it would be dull not to.

On the course I started off at my normal humour level for the first day but then reined it in during one of the tasks on day two as I was in concentration mode (man attempting to work, so no chance of multi-tasking). At the end of the task I received feedback from the other member of the team that I was not using enough humour….

I made the mistake of mentioning to my boss the two opposing feedback positions which he rather helpfully crafted into one of my goals for next year: “To use the appropriate level of humour at all times” WTF ….Hmmm, I guess it could work as long as I get to be the judge of what is appropriate….

Ski group reunion Wales – Minstrels Manor
The course proved very useful for the weekend as we had a ski group reunion in Wales, part of which included Gorge walking. This basically seems to comprise throwing yourself up Waterfalls until you are soaking wet and scraped to within an inch of your lives. Not for everyone but great fun if you are into that sort of thing. Unfortunately no pictures as the trip was not conducive with The Beast’s more sensitive side which objects strongly to being immersed in freezing cold water….Believe it or not it was great fun. Doing this sort of thing allows you to find out a lot about people. For example:
  • Our friend Kirsty is way too trusting of me. At the first fairly deep water we came across she asked me to give her a piggy back so that she would not get wet. I was happy to oblige but accidently immersed myself in the water part way across. Oh Kirsty when will you ever learn….?
  • Craig, the big tough, out door guy does not like mud. Whenever he got a bit of mud on him he was compelled to plunge himself into the water and scrub himself clean. At one point we came across a rich vein of Black Welsh mud and were encouraged by our guides to use it like face paint and get all creative with it. Various moustaches, cats’ whiskers and assorted patterns appeared. I’m afraid Joe and I went for the less creative but much more fun “Plastering it all over your faces” option. The look of horror on Craig’s face was worth the price of admission alone and nothing on this earth was going to get him to let the mud anywhere near him. I think just the thought of it sent him scurrying off for a courtesy wash…. Yet Craig was happy to be out there knee deep in the outdoors while Lisa, Phil, Christian, Big Sis, Richard and Shonagh all decided Hay on Wye /the pub was a much better option.

Words can’t do justice to the weekend; I can highly recommend hiring a manor house with great friends and getting caterers in to cook dinner and most importantly clear up afterwards so I’ll let the pictures tell the story in this weeks Photo finish.

A Record of the week

James Bond by Scouting For Girls

Waterfalls by Paul McCartney

Country House by Blur

A House in the Country by the Kinks

Photo finish
Words can’t do justice to the weekend; I can highly recommend hiring a manor house with great friends and getting caterers in to cook dinner and most importantly clear up afterwards so I’ll let the pictures tell the story

Minstrel Manor South Wales

It was the perfect setting for
our Ski reunion... 


Looks like Criag really does not want that
offer of being covered in Mud

Do you think we will lose our deposit after
the party got a bit out of hand .....


I will try and add some more photos the next time I get internet access....



My carefully BlackLOG schedule has gone out of the window, thanks to a last minute rush to complete everything before we came out on our cycling trip around Cuba and my mistaken belief that Wi-Fi is available everywhere in the world and that Mrs B was ready to publish her Hong Kong and mainland China blogs. She apparently has a few minor adjustments to make so from my experience I would advice you get comfortable this might take awhile…. I'm also finding Cuba a bit of a struggle to find internet access. Yes I have got it now but I'm not sure when I will next get the chance, so it might be a couple of weeks before I can publish the next blog.


The Beast singlehandedly captures the
 weekend’s entourage….

12 comments:

  1. Now that's what I call a Big House holiday! Gorgeous premises. I believe you may have hi-jacked that idea? Enjoy the cycling. Missing you already

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  2. WOW!!! Sounds like an awesome time was had by all! Yay for all of you! And the pics are BEAUTIFUL! What's your wife's blog??? Please pass it on! :)
    Greetings from Michigan - "America's High Five!" (Cuz' we're shaped like a mitten, look us up, it's pretty cool..) ; )

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  3. You're a spy in Bishops Stortford - not very cosmopolitan is it!

    Throwing myself off a cliff into water isn't my idea of fun, I'd have been the pub after viewing the waterfalls, etc. from a safe distance.

    Good luck with your target for next year on using the appropriate level of humour at all times - is your boss going to mark the levels on a chart every day?

    ReplyDelete
  4. The constant drinking is a negative? Constant drinking=no hangover. I say that's a win. I probably wouldn't be very good at my job, however. I might, um, kill the wrong person or some other minor error.

    ReplyDelete
  5. skipperthewonderhorse said...
    Now that's what I call a Big House holiday! Gorgeous premises. I believe you may have hi-jacked that idea?
    No just road testing on your behalf…..

    Enjoy the cycling. Missing you already
    The red raw parts of us might not be so happy but the rest of us are having a great time. Hope the Birthday celebrations went well and sorry we missed it

    ReplyDelete
  6. Woman In The Midst: Raw said...
    WOW!!! Sounds like an awesome time was had by all! Yay for all of you! And the pics are BEAUTIFUL!
    Thank you for thr comment about the pics and yes it certainly was an awesome time

    What's your wife's blog??? Please pass it on! :)
    I can’t currently persuade Mrs B to do her own blog so it will be the occasional guest posting here for the moment

    Greetings from Michigan - "America's High Five!" (Cuz' we're shaped like a mitten, look us up, it's pretty cool..) ; )
    I will certainly be heading for the Mitten state when I return from Cuba, the internet is just too painful from here ….

    ReplyDelete
  7. Imo said...
    You're a spy in Bishops Stortford - not very cosmopolitan is it!
    I think it worked out as being a failed Spy…..

    Throwing myself off a cliff into water isn't my idea of fun, I'd have been the pub after viewing the waterfalls, etc. from a safe distance.
    You have to remember I live my life sober and so have to get kicks when and where I can. Not sure about Mrs B, I think she has to do it to numb the pain of being married to me….

    Good luck with your target for next year on using the appropriate level of humour at all times - is your boss going to mark the levels on a chart every day?
    I can but hope, if he does I will print it in a future BlackLOG

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  8. cynicalscribble said...
    Nice place. Enjoy Cuba!
    brilliant if you don’t mind the world slowest internet system and buildings that a Russian architect would be ashamed of….

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  9. Brooke said...
    The constant drinking is a negative? Constant drinking=no hangover. I say that's a win.
    I’m getting a saw head trying to work that one out ….where did the no hangover bit come from? Have you developed hangover free alcohol on your travels????

    I probably wouldn't be very good at my job, however. I might, um, kill the wrong person or some other minor error.
    I think you get 5 wrong kills before they call you into discuss the situation and another 4 before you get a written warning….

    ReplyDelete
  10. You cannot use too much humour it has been scientifically proven to increase motivation and team cohesion

    ReplyDelete
  11. Not to mention productivity....Paul.

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