Thursday, 26 August 2010
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
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
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
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
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
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'.
Friday, 14 May 2010
The problem outside hospital in particular is due to the way we treat SCA. This is a life threatening condition for which the only effective therapy is defibrillation. However, traditionally the only place one would find a defibrillator is in the back of an ambulance. Now, given the fact that for every minute that passes without defibrillation survival falls by 7 to 10 percent one can clearly see that waiting ten minutes, at best, for an ambulance to arrive gives the SCA victim little chance of survival. Ambulance response times appear to be getting longer in some places due to a year-on-year increase in emergency calls coupled with less resources, traffic grid -lock in major cities contributing to their struggle to meet the needs of the population. Studies from around the globe have shown that by placing automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in public place can increase survival by over 70%. AEDs are easy to use, safe and effective devices that can be operated by non-medical persons with the minimum of training. By getting to the SCA victim and defibrillating them within 2 to 3 minutes can make a big difference to survival.
In 2004, the department of health in the UK, in conjunction with the British Heart Foundation, funded a defibrillation in public places programme, placing AEDs in railway stations, the London Underground system and the major airports in England. A study of the first 200-odd rescues showed an increase in survival from around 5% to 25% - a five-fold increase.
It is well accepted that AEDs are the way forward in saving lives from SCA, however the number of these devices is still small compared with the overall problem of SCA. By placing further AEDs in public places, workplaces, sports facilities and the like we can save more lives and increase survival considerably. Many individuals and organisations around the world are championing this cause, however unless the government of the day in these countries are prepared to stand behind this cause then the survival rate related to SCA will increase only slowly.
Many governments have implemented long term plans; healthy eating, stop smoking programmes or fitness regimes, these however are a slow drip, drip of preventative measures that will take several years to take effect. Saving lives should be the number one priority for any government and only by placing more AEDs will we be able to achieve both short term and long term survival for SCA victims.
Shockingly obvious wouldn't you agree?
Tuesday, 11 May 2010
Josh's birthday party was a cacophony of noise and rumbustiousness as all his nursery friends arrived to celebrate. Although the weather wasn't that great we all had great fun in the park playing on the swings, roundabout and various other items of paraphernalia.
Back to the house then for the food, which I think ended up more on the floor than the kid's plates. Calm was restored when they all sat down to watch 'Toy Story 2.
Next month it is Cody's birthday so that means making sure I buy his card and post it off early so it arrives on time. Cody & Robin live in a very pleasant suburb of Milwaukee where the winters are freezing (the cold wind and snow blowing off Lake Michigan) and the summer is hot and sunny. They live in what is called a 'walking community' which is great as there are few cars around to pose a danger to the kids playing or walking to school and traffic is very light. This explodes the myth, and to some extent my experience, of all American households having at least fourteen cars on the driveway - I didn't think anyone walked in the US!
No doubt by the time Cody & Robin reach their teens they will be acting and speaking like Americans.
Birthdays always make me think how quickly time passes, especially when looking at ones kids and grandkids. Oh well, the march of time is unstoppable and it is true that the older one gets the quicker time seems to pass.
Monday, 10 May 2010
Being in my third season up here in a not so sunny Scotland, after a twenty-five year lay off, it is hard to equate those endearing words of lovely Sarah to this quintessentially quaint and historic game. Sure, the sound of leather on willow resounds throughout many a Scottish cricket ground (in my case its usually the stumps getting it rather than the bat) but sunny weekends are at a premium up north and I can tell you from personal experience that two shirts and a thick cricket sweater do not keep the raw north-east wind blowing off the sea at bay at all.
Given that everything related to English sport is anathema to our northern cousins, it really is strange that cricket is such a popular sport in these climes. Jaunty Scotsmen who would rather pour whiskey down the sink than support the 'Sassenachs', have even been heard to talk about the wonders of the English cricket team; unheard of praise in any other sport!
One thing I have discovered though is that sprinting quickly 22 yards between wickets is considerably harder at 57 than it was 25 years ago. No doubt the reason why we were soundly thumped by a team of 16 and 17 year olds last week, plus the fact that the aforementioned leather smacked me on the knee, foot and finger requiring a five hour wait in the local emergency department.
I enjoy writing so having experimented with Twitter and Facebook, as well as an initial blog that turned into my life history, I thought it was time to start again and see if I can get to grips with this technology - baring my soul to the world of fellow bloggers. Trouble is though, how far should one go to bare their soul, if such a thing exists, to the wider world? I guess everyone has problems but it's funny how one's individual problems always seem greater than anyone elses.
Reading this back makes me out to be a maudlin soul which is not my usual personality at all. I read somewhere that blogs, Twitter etc all lead to a tendency to expose every foible of ones life; as if the computer screen acts as a barrier to the wider world and lulls the writer into a false sense of security. Hmm, all these philosophical questions.
I will try and make my future blogs more exciting, fun and interesting!