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Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Time flies!

Wow, just realised that I haven't blogged for nearly a whole year! Just shows you how quickly time creeps up on you and before you know it we are into another Summer. Ha, summer! Can't say we can call what we have had this year summer; surely it comes under the Trades Description Act? April was lovely and sunny but May, June and July very sproadic and almost a wash-out. The weather has certainly decimated the cricket. In fact I have yet to play a game this season due to the weather and my heavy work schedule these past three months.Still, I have been selected for the third team this Sunday so keeping my fingers crossed that the weather holds.

Talking of cricket, I was pleased to see that my local newspaper published one of the photos I took last Saturday of the second XI in action. I was lucky enough to get a great new camera in February, a Nikon D3100 which takes fabulous action shots. Great for recording sporting events as well as capturing all those magic moments on my business trips.

Having been working in my current job for ten years and travelling extensively, I certainly appreciate my leisure travel so Wendy and I are off to Dalaman in Turkey for a couple of weeks holiday and looking to enjoy a restful time in the sun. Lets hope that the weather doesn't go topsy turvy!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

About time for an update!

Well, I just realised that my last post was in June! My, how time flies. We had a great vacation in Gran Canaria (which reminds me I must download the holiday pics) and enjoyed two weeks of rest and fun in the sun. Now the focus has to be on the garden as boy does it go wild. The beech hedge and the bushes need trimming back so'Garden Tamers' are coming next week to do the honours.

With September almost upon us it will be time to get back into the trips for work and the first will be to our corporate office in Bothell for various marketing and other meetings.

In October I start a ten month online virtual training course for the Professional Diploma in Marketing with the Chartered Institute of Marketing. This will help me develop my theoretical marketing skills and give me some more tools to carry to my work function. The beauty of this being a virtual course means I can log on anywhere in the world and means its easy to attend the calls etc as with all my travelling it is hard to commit to a regular college based course.

Hate to say it but it isn't long until Christmas.............

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Travelling, always travelling!

People think I have a great job. Well, I do. Selling a life-saving product, AEDS, it is immensely satisfying as well as giving me the opportunity to work with a great bgroup of people. Everyone focusses on the travel though and see me jetting the world in first class and enjoying the finer things in life. However, often the reality is much different. How many hotels, airports and planes can one see in one's life?

Often they all look the same with little opportunity to look around the local area. Of course, sometimes the chance presents itself and there is nothing better than exploring the local sites and culture and taking photos (I am a sucker for humourous or unusal photos as those who follow me on Facebook will know.
It seems as I get older jet-lag takes its toll more readily. I arrived at my hotel in Izmir last night at around 130am and hit the mattress at 2am. I woke up at 1030 am having completely missed breakfast! This is very unusual for me and must have been the cumulative jet-lag from my trips to Bali, USA and Turkey in the space of a couple of weeks.

June has certainly been a busy month so I am looking forward to three weeks off in July to recharge the batteries and get ready for a busy quarter 3.

Travel certainly broadens the mind and I am eternally grateful for having such a great opportunity.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Soccer time!

Yes, it's that time again when all red-blooded males (and some females) get excited. No, it's not the mating season it's the 2010 soccer World Cup (I use 'soccer' so as not to confuse our American friends). Today is an important day of course as England kick-off (excuse the pun) their World Cup campaign with the opening group match against the USA. So here I am sat in my hotel room in Seattle waiting as the clock slowly moves around to 1130 am local time when the match begins. Bit sad really as it's a beautiful day outside which is very welcome after a week of rain.

Despite the USA's participation in the World Cup there doesn't seem to be much excitement here. Soccer will never take the place of American football or baseball (or even basketball and ice hockey) although Seattle is one area in the US where they have a Major League Soccer team, the Seattle Sounders. Soccer in the US appears to be more of a participation than a spectator sport with a huge raft of players at kids and college level.

All over England thousands of fans will be keeping their fingers crossed for victory today so that the team lives up to the usual hype surrounding the English team. Of course, living in Scotland the locals are, in the main ABE types (Anyone But England) and will solidly behind the Yanks today seeing as Scotland have, once again, failed to qualify for a major tournament.

So, all you soccer fans sit back and enjoy and let's ride the roller-coaster that is English national football and try to end 'forty four years of hurt' - 1966 being the last and only time England won the World Cup.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Whither the weather?

At last the sun is here and the weather has warmed up. Not only that, the met office promises us unbridled sun and heat for three months! Trouble is , I seem to recall they promised us the same for the past two years and look at all the rain we had.

It is funny how we Brits are so fascinated by the weather. We talk of gloomy winters, wet springs and hot Summers only to find that we can see all four seasons in one week. We complain that it is too hot, too cold, too windy or that the frost kills off the plants in our beloved garden ( another popular past-time that we love to talk about. Get three or four Brits in a room and you can guarantee the subject of the weather and its effect on the garden will rear its head).

I don't suppose we should complain though (although of course we will) that we currently have high temperatures and long, lazy days of sunshine. After all, it allowed me to get out and mow the lawns, spread the lawn fertilizer and water the lovely plants I purchased this morning from a plant sale at the school my wife teaches at - hopefully a well spent 35 pounds even though the tub I bought decided to fall over in my car and spread dry compost everywhere. I had to re-pot the pot but somehow the finished article does not look like the original!

The hanging basket is no proudly displayed outside the front door of the house, duly watered while the tub and the bedding plants are, after also being duly watered, sat in the shade so the sun does not burn the leaves.

Don't ask me what plants they are as I have no clue concerning the flora of our great land. My wife, being the daughter of a great gardener will no doubt enlighten me once she has had a look at the selection I bought.

Of course, the other great thing we do at the first sign of sunshine is baste ourselves all over in creams, oils and lotions and try to get our lilly-white skin looking healthy, brown and glowing. Usually we end up lobster-like after too much exposure to the burning orb in the sky or capitulate and head for the tanning salon to compete with Tango Man to see who can get the best shade of marmalade. I have never understood the people that frequent these salons; don't they realise how fake it actually looks and that orange does nothing for the complexion? It is incredible that young girls, in particular, go through this ritual only to look worse than if they nurtured their natural skin colour.

Oh well, I guess there is 'nowt so queer as folk' as the saying goes.

Anyway I'm off outside to soak up and few rays and hope the sun is set on 'mild lobster' otherwise I for see a few uncomfortable days ahead.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

999 and all that

Watching all these medical reality shows on TV makes me hanker for one of my careers. I spent almost twenty five years in various UK ambulance services, from paramedic all the way up to becoming one of the youngest chief ambulance officers in the UK. I must admit that, looking back, I really enjoyed my time 'on the road'. The trouble with advancing through the ranks is although the pay and benefits are better you tend to become embroiled in budgets and politics rather than patient care. Of course, it is not a fun job dealing with death, injury and illness but there were times of joy too, particularly when successfully saving a patients life or delivering a baby. I left around 1996 so it all seems such a long time ago.

In the early days we were all called 'ambulance drivers' by the public and now everyone is a paramedic. When I qualified it was a six week theory course followed by a month in hospital learning advanced techniques while now it is, quite properly, a degree-based qualification.

I can remember back in the mid 70's being regarded rather suspiciously by nursing staff who were sometimes quite jealous of the skills we could carry out compared to them. Times move on now though and paramedics are a very important part of the multi-disciplinary health care team.

From speaking to ex-colleagues still working within the ambulance service, and my own observations, it is quite clear that politics still play a huge part within the health care system. Sometimes I wistfully think back to those days when we could grab a cuppa and chat to the nurses or follow up a case with the A&E doctors. Still life moves on and nothing is forever,

I value my time helping people and hope that I contributed to the health and well-being of a few folk along the way. I have kept my first aid skills up so on the odd occasion I come across an accident I can still stop and help until the professionals arrive.

Our front line ambulance troops do a great job, as do the other emergency services, so they will always get my help and support.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Volcanic ash - again

OK, OK this is getting past a joke! This volcanic ash from the Eyjafjallajokull eruption is really causing travel chaos. Like a stealthy mugger it creeps up on you and hits you before you know it. I was due to travel to Copenhagen today and although the Edinburgh airport website said the airport was closed, it stated that my flight was scheduled. So off I trot to the airport to find all flights are cancelled!

This is the second occasion my travel has been disrupted by an eruption.The first was several weeks ago on returning from a business trip to Malta. Arriving into Heathrow was fine however all onward connections were cancelled which meant a night in London and the train back to Edinburgh followed by a bus to the airport to pick up my car. To add insult to injury my bags were lost for over a week.

Still, at least this time I only had the inconvenience of a thirty minute drive to and from Edinburgh airport.

Of course, during the day the ash has now changed direction (must be female) and headed off to bug someone else. I'm going to try and travel again on Wednesday to get the trip done so fingers crossed that I can get there on the second attempt.

Talking about Iceland, why are the words so difficult to pronounce? It's a beautiful place but a strange and beautiful language. Surnames are also interesting with everyone named after someones son or daughter, as in Magnusson or Bengisdottir. It is a good place to eat fish which seems to be the staple diet and the main industry of the island. The people are very friendly and amazingly good looking so breathing in volcano fumes and eating fish is obviously good for you.

By the way, did you know the longest word in the Icelandic language is Haestrettarmalaflutningsmaour? It apparently means 'supreme court barrister'.