Friday, 22 June 2018

Cloud Hill


It was Sunday and Father's Day. Susan wanted to know what I wanted to do on Father's Day? Difficult question as I really did not know what she wanted to do, or had planned. Also there was the tricky question of Robert being home, did he want to do something, he is my son and I am his father and as no other children where about to add some advise, I decided to go to Cloud Hill, last home of Thomas Edward Lawrence, CB, DSO , war hero and later to become a subject of a cinematic picture, known as Lawrence of Arabia. Cloud Hill is very close to Bere Regis and is maintained by the National Trust.
We never know when the reaper comes for his reward. Lawrence lived a very daring life, in the war when he worked with the Arabs to fight the Germans and later with all his dreams. He met his death on a simple country road in Dorset. He actually hit a bicycle with his motorbike. In all fairness to Thomas, there was a dip in the road and he had to serve to avoid them. A glancing blow for the bicycle and the nod to a troubled soul by that stage of his life. Lawrence was taken to the hospital and died 6 days later, without regaining consciousness.

A writer of some very good books at the time and still read today, the most well known 'Seven Pillars of Wisdom'. Now this is a book I do not think I have read. I will, maybe one of two of you will join me and give your views. Let's form a book club, why not. Now there is a dilemma, what to call this most prestigious of learned circles? 

His good friend, Thomas Hardy, once said. 'A story must be exceptional enough to justify the telling. We tale-tellers are all ancient Mariners, and none of us is warranted in stopping Wedding Guests (in other words, the hurrying public) unless he has something more unusual to relate than the ordinary experience of every average man and woman.'
Hopefully the Seven Pillars of Wisdom will live up to his friends advise.

In the end, it was Sunday afternoons and this is were I can cope. That great feeling of rest which starts to set in at about 2.55, when you know that you’ve had all the walks and outing you can usefully have that day, that however hard you try, you just want to get home, to that long dark teatime of the soul.
The air was clear and scented, the breeze flitted lightly through the grass around the garden, the birds were chirruping at each other, the butterflies were flitting about prettily, and the whole of nature seemed to be conspiring to be as pleasant as it possibly could. I had just fed the birds with the recommended National Trust, wild bird feed but I am sure that had nothing to do with it.
I read about the knack of flying. "The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.’  That explains the bruiser on my knees and elbows.
Susan was busy in the garden today, cutting the lawn and watering the flowers. Before all that, we did a trip to Poole to buy some clothes for Susan. On Monday Susan will be meeting a Chinese delegation and then on to a formal dinner. What to wear? As we were going to Poole to buy clothes for her to wear, she took the opportunity to buy some clothes to wear, with the Chinese in mind.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Weekends and there Surprises

It was the Sunday afternoons and this is were I can cope. That great feeling of rest which starts to set in at about 2.55, when you know that you’ve had all the walks and outing you can usefully have that day, that however hard you try, you just want to get home, to that long dark teatime of the soul.
The air was clear and scented, the breeze brushes the grass and the birds were chirruping at each other, there are no butterflies. I really like the odd butterfly to ponder my garden, but nature seemed to be conspiring to be as pleasant as it possibly could. I have just fed the birds with the recommended National Trust, wild bird feed, but I am not sure that had anything to do with it.

I read about the knack of flying. "The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.’  That explains the bruiser on my knees and elbows. That comes from the Hitchhikers Guide to somewhere, worth a read if you feel like giving yourself a break from War and Peace.

Susan was busy in the garden today, cutting the lawn and watering the flowers. Before all that, we did a trip to Poole to buy some clothes for Susan. On Monday Susan will be meeting a Chinese delegation and then on to a formal dinner. What to wear? As we were going to Poole to buy clothes for her to wear, she took the opportunity to buy some clothes to wear, with the Chinese in mind.

Today has been on the warm side and I am not sure how I will cope with the warm night to follow. Our houses are not designed to be cool. I can only say this is one of those nights that I will count those pesky sheep and hope for the dawn. Talking of the dawn, it is sunrise at about 5:15 and if it as warm as I expect it to be, then Jenson and I will be on the beach really early.
The air is still scented but there is no breeze and nature seems to be conspiring to make for a hot spell over the next few day. 

Sunday, 10 June 2018

University Food


Take your bog standard Aldi pizza, add garlic and onion and a liberal amount of mozzarella. This is university food, sustains a nation of forward thinkers and tastes good, that is a bargain. Aldi pizza are cheap, not like that expression, cheap as chips, chips cost about £3.00 a hand full now, but the Aldi pizza are cheap, 69p.
Robert took one look at the Aldi pizza and said,  'That needs garlic and onion and a dash of cheese.'
He showed me how to do the onion and garlic and then moved on to other more interesting things, like getting his mum to buy him a new suit for the university ball. 

Jenson took one look at me and we both retired to the garden to contemplate the joys of cooking on a budget. Soon they will be back, hopefully suit in hand and then we will enjoy my summer fare. 
I did take control, I know you wondering what happened but we will enjoy a pasta with bacon and grilled chicken, university pizza and a quaint essential Italian salad. 

It is good to have Robert back, if only for a few days. Jenson is a little confused as Robert does go upstairs and does what people of his age do when they go upstairs. Jenson has been lying at the bottom of the stairs waiting for him, alas I fear his wait could be long, unless hunger brings Robert down again.

Did you hear they are having another G7 meeting, this time in Canada. Yes, all those high and mighty are getting together to have a pyjama party. But you know there is always one who wants to spoil the party, this time it is Donald Trump, arriving last and leaving early. I do believe he has been around the Hollywood stars too much. 
Those G7 delegates have some awkward questions for the golf course builder or trade wars could be the next alternative. 
No wonder he wants to leave early, the greater American public seems to be slightly odd, so easy for him to pull the wool over their eyes. Justin Pierre James Trudeau and the current President of France, Emmanuel Macron are entirely different. I like the both of them. They are charismatic, well read and knowledgeable, they have the ability to see the whole picture. Quite unlike our prime minister, now there is someone who is out of her depth.
Anyway, enjoy your weekend.



History and England

England has brought a certain amount of history for me, my history. Let me explain, when I started working, must have been 1973, I went on some amazing trips and even then I had a love for writing and taking photographs. Travelled around in my red Austin 11/55, covering most of the Free State and Natal. I even sent an article to The Friend Newspaper on of my trips. The trip threw up quite an interesting find. I found an old water mill that once ground wheat and maize. Still in reasonable condition and still had the grinding stones and rusty old mill wheel. The farm it was on, was abandoned and no one seemed to know who the current owners were. They published the article with my photos.


On the subject of The Friend Newspaper, they offered me a job as a typesetter. I ran the school press and among other things, I published a quarterly newspaper, mainly on what had happened, who had won when and how etc. Anyway I had a printing press donated to the school by the newspaper and the editor took an interest in what I did. Needless to say typesetting was not on my list of things to do. I was more into telling the stories, the printing was the only way I could get them out there.


My point is that all those photographs I took, all the writing I did, are all lost to me. As my life took it turns, they did not survive the moves and that was the same for most of my life until I came to live in England. Make no mistake, all that was of my own making. I did not realise the value of those memories and now regret not having them. If anyone has any of those old notebooks, photo albums lying around in a box, please let me know.


I was talking to a client and he was saying that he has boxes of books, letters and photographs dating back to the 1700's. He is a historian but his forefathers were builders, farmers and doctors. That sense of preserving your heritage in the form of official documents, letters and photographs seems to be something we should all strive to achieve. 
I have a storage server and as it holds 4TB, I have been transferring all my old photos and writing on to it. Sometimes I will print a old photo, just to hold it and feel it, it is different then looking at it on a cold screen. 


Enough of the melancholy, I will leave to you all, thousands of files, treat them well, they are my life in print and image. They contain images of all those I love and have loved.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Don’t define against a competitor.


As long as you define yourself against a competitor, your identity is linked to theirs and will always be limited. 
People make this mistake in a number of different ways: 

By creating website like theirs (maybe a better website experiences).
They copy competitors in style or content.
Or they mimics performance.

If you’re truly believe you are a brand-led company, you need to send the signal that those other players don’t even register on your radar. The passion you have in your business should reflect in the content you deliver.

Ask yourself these questions, this could improve your ranking with Google.

  1. Does your page meet the intent of a large percentage of the people who will visit it?
  2. Are you providing the help users might need to select the right product or find the correct information?
  3. Do users get good suggestions of related products they might need?
  4. Are there gaps in your content in the page? Are there details or related information you could put on it to flush out the content more?
  5. Does your page provide a higher quality of experience?
  6. Do you have a strategy for measuring page performance and how to improve it?
And lastly - Do not check Google daily, always using the same search query and never opening your website. Google thinks you do not want to see that website, so will show you others you have not seen.

I am privileged to be part of a brand-led company. I have seen them grow from a humble start to a very successful company in only 5 years. Their MD has never taken no, for and answer, 
'Find a way and make it happen.' This has been his philosophy. 
He truly believes he is different and he is, that is the signal he has sent out to the other players, that they don't register on his radar. This has had a powerful impact on his business growth. His company model is the future, those that identify with all the mainstream, will have to change.

Thursday already


I find myself sitting at Sandbanks Cafe looking out to nothing but a heavy mist which has come in off the sea. Ghost like shapes appear out of the mist from the waters edges. Actually coming to this favourite cafe of mine has its perks. Their card readers are offline and they are only taking cash, something I rarely carry but will, from now on. This is the second time this week that I have been asked for cash, as the card reader is not working. Card reader not working, translates to payment gateway not connecting and I think we will get more of this as time goes on. The banks are relying on more and more automated technology and neglecting the basics. 

They did forecast heavy rain and lighting for this afternoon and it afternoon now, mind boggles. We are capable of sending humans to the moon but forecasting the weather has always seemed to allude science. Something like the brain I suppose, there is not a lot known of that part of our body and from an article I read, surgery is still rather hit and miss. When one approaches the latter years of one life span, as I am, you do start wondering why no one has come up with an answer to dementia. I might be affected by this debilitating illness and understandable feel a little short changed from all the charitable donations I have made in the name of medicine, only to find the one that affects older people is still a mystery. Susan mother is quite badly affected by this old persons illness, as it is also known. 

I did a photo shoot on three houses today. One was on the fringes of Sandbanks and all the rooms were immaculate, large and well designed. The other two were in Poole, and as the builder pointed out, if you put a king size bed into the main bedroom you would have 30cm from the foot of the bed to the wall. This house is for sale for £495k. Really speaking this house has one bedroom and two half rooms. Architect hear my call, design a house with enough room to swing a cat. Developers, stop trying to make that extra little bit of profit and build houses that you would be happy to live in. 
If I was asked I would say the house is worth £185,000. If you are the person who buys this houses, and paying the asking price, then I would say you have more money then sense or you are on social benefits. 


Sunday, 27 May 2018

Friday


Friday is the best day of a bank holiday weekend, you know there are 3 full days to relax, write a little, garden if you must and walk JB at your leisure. I am sure there will be a trip or two to take some photos and be out there but as it is a holiday weekend the places will be very busy, so off the beaten track is where we will take ourselves.

I am rambling but it does get me started on the wonders of the human mind. We have a new law that has come into force today. General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). We have known about this for about 6 months and I did notify all my clients,  you know what happened. Everyone left it to the last minute, actually some still have not got back to me.

Today we see the new dawn of enlightenment, no longer will I receive emails from companies I have never heard of, no more spam phone calls asking if I have been in an accident. No life will be simpler, laid back. That is the object but the sting in the tail is that it only applies to those in the EU. Those Indian call centres will grow and so will the number of Reginald's that phone me about pet insurance for Jenson. Reginald, really, with an Indian accept I barely understand. No, this new law has not taken away one of the few pleasures I have in life, that is swearing at the poor Reginald's of this world. I have been known to pass disparaging remarks about his ancestry and the origins of his species, all is fair in love and spam calls. I have found out that Glen is 'Nemo' in Hindu. In future I will be known as Nemo and when they call asking for Glen Smith, I will tell them my names is Nemo Lehaar, Lehaar is Hindu for Smith, could be interesting conversation. I will of course say some words that no child younger than 3 should hear, they do grow up so fast.