Flowers are flowers? Or so I thought… 

It’s saturday morning, my wife is in hospital, and hoping to come home today. I’m flying around like a blue… well you know what I mean. After all I have decided that before I pick her up I will have all the christmas shopping done.

It is at this moment that I have a brain wave…. TULIPS!
You see when you are married to a lady who has a singular love of flowers, by which I mean Tulips go down a storm heads and shoulders above any others. Christmas time is about the start of the season.
They might be in Asda *other supermarkets are available, I thought to myself. However as I was already in Marlow The Flower studio was my chosen destination.
Choosing 2 bunches of tulips and explaining to the lady in the shop my circumstances, she asked if I would like the flowers arranged…. It was at this point I realised something…
Yes I could have gone to a supermarket, albeit when I was in there later in the day the stocks of Tulips had yet to reach their shelves and so I would have been stranded. However the bunch (pictured above) were carefully and kindly put together. They were placed in a bag with enough water to ensure they did not need to be put in a vase while in the hospital and would be able to be easily arranged when we got home.
SO yes I paid a couple of pounds more for the same number of stems, yet the service I received for those flowers meant I will certainly be thinking about where I get my flowers in the future. 

There is something beautifully organised about a station early in the morning…

I’m not a frequent traveller into London, but each time I travel I smile, there is something particularly British about travelling to London early in the morning

Everyone knows what they are doing, everyone that is except for the occasional traveller like myself. It’s quite obvious who the occasional travellers are, they have to request their coffee at the coffee shop rather than having the barrister simply confirm their order, they stand between the doorways on the platform. Not that there are any markings to say where they might be.

The train pulls in and reluctantly the young lady trying to get off the train is permitted so to do before the civilised scrum boards. Spotting the seasoned professional I follow left and into the adjacent carriage securing the final seat before checking around me for a more deserving traveller. None meet my criteria and so I return to writing this, pondering such things as the unseen challenges my fellow traveller may have that would make me happily relinquish my seat. I knew caffeinated coffee would have an impact on my day…
So as I sit with the Chiltern countryside flashing by outside and my colleagues and I catching up on world news via CNN or the BBC, family news via Facebook or Twitter maybe even business news here on LinkedIn I am challenged to think of those around me. Maybe you are too. How often do we travel through our routines oblivious to the needs and maybe even the reality of those around us? Maybe by taking a moment, saying good morning or passing on a genuine compliment we can transform the day perhaps even the life of someone next to us.
Just to prove my point the train stops, the additional passengers board and the gentleman standing next to me says “It’s going to be one of them days… I pray not sir, and I hope to wish you an amazing day before we get off this train”
So what about you – what will you do to change one of them days to a day full of kindness for someone you walk past, sit next to or share your lunch break with?

Don’t wash the mirrors of your car – a saliatory tale

This afternoon was due to be a chilled out afternoon, you know the one…. Sunday papers, snooker on the television or was that darts?   A glass of something in a crystal glass…  I digress not to mention forget… That we have 2 small children and the world is never that simple…

 The first task of the afternoon was my downfall.  You see as I drove home from church this morning I realised I really should clean my mirrors on my car as well as the passenger Windows to increase the safety of getting to work tomorrow…
Well as you will remember, our boiler busticated on Friday night, So getting hot water for anything means boiling the kettle.  I poured the hot water into the bowl to take out in order to clean the mirror and managed to spill half of it all over the floor of the kitchen, which I had started to sweep.  Ok so that meant I would need to mop the entire floor.  

Half way through mopping the floor, the broom broke into two pieces so with 15 mins to get to Asda before it closed I dashed off, joined the queue of thousands, well maybe hundreds… Ok 20 or so, to pay at the basket queue in the supermarket that gives you more.. To pay for the new mop.  

So here I am writing my blog post for the day – with a clean floor, a clean set of mirrors, a delicious smelling roast dinner and a desire for tomorrow to be Sunday, a Sunday with nothing to do in it – how was your day???

The Windscreen story…. The choice of process or client satisfaction… you tell me


That moment when you see the chip in your screen, you just know it’s going to be fun having that sorted.  At least it’s cost free when done through the insurance.

Step 1 – Call Autoglass…
So I ring the dedicated number which Budget have provided me with, now is it just me or if there is a dedicated number is it too far a stretch to think that the people at the other end might be able to confirm what your policy is without you having to fight your way through your filing cabinate in order to find it?  Sadly not, however so long as I had a copy of the insurance certificate when the man comes to do the windscreen that is fine…. Great 🙂


Step 2 – A wet day…

No issue here, you need a dry day in order to do your windscreen, so they called.  I was really flexible and they appreciated my flexibility…


Step 3 – The day we missed…

Ok so many of you know life has been a bit hectic on the home front, well on the day in question, I was in London, forgot to tell the office he was coming.  They did not want to give my keys to someone they did not know was coming and the man went away without doing anything – all of which was NOT their fault.  All mine and I was more than happy to appologise and rearrange.


Step 4 – the best bit.

Yesterday the man called to say he was on his way.  It had been raining so I half expected the event to be called off again.  I was told he would be with me in 25-30 mins.  close to an hour later, I had a call.  All done Mr Blake, could you just sign this and I will be on my way.

And so I smiled, in fact I laughed.  I really don’t know what Step 3 cost everyone, but it certainly could have avoided step 4 had he taken the same approach.  Oh and they never did ask for the insurance documents either.

I had to smile – People should not be used when trying to get a job…

measure riskI was reminded as I was enjoying my coffee and dark chocolate biscuit from Lidl (yes that’s significant, my new boss is converting me slowly to the joys that is)  Of a conversation I had a little while ago with someone who complained that a coffee shop was requiring it’s potential staff to work for them for a few hours without pay and that this was totally unacceptable.

What you may ask made me think of that?  Well it was a post publicising a job (I use that term loosely) on linked in.  It read as follows

I am currently looking for ex Marines or Para Reg who have recently left active duty or are planning to leave in the near future (undertaking resettlement). I am looking for individuals interested in partaking in a anti-poaching exercise in South Africa, specifically anti-Rhino-poaching efforts.

These individuals will not be paid. However, they will be provided with food and accommodation on the game reserve they are tasked too (when not out on patrol), return flights to South Africa, and a week holiday at the end of your rotation sponsored by one of the game reserves involved in the scheme.

If that was not enough to whet your appetite it went on to say…

This is an amazing opportunity to not only experience Africa like no other, but also gain operational experience in a high risk (and gents, this is high risk) environment which would look great on a CV and potentially lead to other opportunities.

You know what?  I think I will pass, but when I look back at the poor youth who is making coffee for a few hours, and I’m guessing he got a free cup or two while he was there… I think he had the better deal – what say you??

And in case you were interested in the role