Archive for December, 2013

No Power

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

On 23rd we lost power due to some incredible storms that hit this part of England.  I had naively thought it would only be an hour or so before power was restored, after all, this is a fairly rural location and power cuts are not unknown.  I was therefore somewhat gobsmacked to learn that we had no power on Xmas Eve… or Xmas Day!  The River Wey flooded and much of this part of Surrey was underwater and so was our sub-station.  It was doubly ironic as I’d just spent a small fortune replacing our boiler to ensure we weren’t without heat at Xmas! 


However, despite having no power and no power to alter the situation, I realised that we were way more fortunate than :-

  1. The 40 homes that were flooded in our town, or
  2. The businesses that lost their Xmas eve business & restaurants and their patrons who had booked Xmas meals, or
  3. The people here who were planning a big Xmas meal with loads of family coming (we had planned a much more modest affair this year), or
  4. Those poor souls who are homeless on the streets during all this, or
  5. The people in South Sudan who have found themselves in the midst of mayhem

We had a fire, and a gas rings, so we could manage.  Sometimes when we have no power we have to ask “What things can I do to make this better?”, and having been as creative and imaginative as we can be, just make the best of it and wait for things to change. 

We were rescued by my brother who invited us over to join their meal (having heard from my other daughter on Skype from Cambodia of our situation)!  I’d like to thank him, and all those power workers who gave up their Xmas to help us to recover our power.

Signing for Mandela

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

At Nelson Mandela’s funeral celebrations, there was much controversy about the person who was signing Barrack Obama’s speech for the deaf audience.  It turns out that he was a fake!  Standing before the world, shoulder-to-shoulder with the great and the good, he faked his way through the whole thing!  You have to admire his cojones and wonder how he bluffed his way there. 

He was waving his hands around and saying nothing, but many is the time I have listened to erudite business men spout strings of jargon and trendy management speak that communicated little more, and, just like the Emperor’s new clothes, few stop to ask what they meant.

It isn’t a bad idea when listening to someone to find out what their credentials are to speak…



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Sharpening your razor

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Steven Covey, in his “Seven Habits of Highly Successful People”, talks about the importance of ‘sharpening the saw’, as a metaphor for continuously improving your skill set and capabilities.  I was reminded of this today when I had to replace the foil and cutters in my razor.  It is something I do regularly and this one was only a bit over a year old and the cutters are supposed due  to be replaced at the two year mark.  However, the foil had become damaged and it was just as cheap to replace both at the same time.  So this morning I shaved with my revivified razor and was amazed by the difference.  It felt like a totally different experience.  Every morning I use it and every time it does its job, but what I didn’t realise was that every day it did it a little slower and a little worse.

It occurred to me that this often happens to us; things gradually change, perhaps getting a little worse bit-by-bit and we simply don’t notice because we are too close to see.  However, a new customer will see things as they are today not what they used be like when they were good.  Change happens all the time and all around us, both for better and for worse, and we need to be aware of this and to take action to use this positively. 

You have to act if you want to stop the ravages of time, and periodically you are offered the chance to improve things and it is smart to make the best of these ‘opportunities’ rather than feeling plagued by them.  I’ve needed to take my own medicine in this regard as I have just been told my boiler is about to die and this is my ‘opportunity’ to spend invest £6000 in an improved system…Happy Xmas!!