(Cue Brenda from Bristol – “not another one?”– you wait five years for a “five” title, and two come along at once – Ed)
As has been mentioned before in this august organ, one of the joys of running a TAB business is that you pick up all sorts of ideas from TAB members, and there was a great example of this at a TAB Board meeting yesterday (HT a blushing Jim Johnson).
“To Do” lists are a perennial problem (whether you keep yours on a computer, your smartphone, a whizzy GTD book, or scraps of paper) (all solutions which have been tried by the Ed over the years – sometimes concurrently).
Arguably the most annoying items are those which are not quite urgent enough to need doing straight away, just too fiddly to delegate, and not quite unimportant enough to ignore. Like the gravy in Hancock’s Sunday Afternoon at Home, each of them “just sort of lies there and sets”, getting you more and more irritated with every passing day.
Maybe it’s time to fight back? Why not make a list of the five most irritating items on your To Do list, and blitz them? You know it’ll make you feel better ….
We also discussed how to deal with overflowing inboxes, but that’s a topic for another post!
Wouldn’t it be great to be part of a group with seven other business owners, who know what problems (trivial and otherwise) and joys you experience, and who can share over 200 (collective!) years of mistakes made and lessons learned? If that sounds attractive, you know where to come!
Moving on – here’s some nuggets you may have missed in this week’s meejah –
• three more heart-sinking phrases (following up on last week’s post), all variations on a theme – “we are experiencing an exceptionally high volume of calls just now”, “all our operators are busy – please call back later”, and “your call is important to us”
• there’s never a shortage of food stories, especially in August –
1. the Lancet has discovered that spuds (and other carbs) may not be that bad after all – a study reveals that 50-year-olds who eat carbs (“in moderation”) live up to four years longer than people on very low-carb diets. Er …. might it be a good idea not to major too much on any food group? #justsaying ….
2. …. while Mr Reginald Tripp shared (in a letter to the Times) a tip from his aged parents – if you want to avoid cramp at night, put a raw potato at the bottom of the bed
3. don’t overdo the spuds though – a(nother) study shows that overeating can not only make you fat, but a fathead (it slows down your brain’s planning ability, processing spped, and problem-solving)
4. carrots are good, though – and not just to help you see in the dark – “preliminary tests” at Lancaster Uni indicate that adding “nanoplatelets” from carrots or sugar beet to concrete greatly enhances the building material’s strength (Autostrade please copy)
5. and Mr Douglas Vallender (53) and his son Jack (18) were acquitted at Southwark Crown Court of stealing eight bottles of champagne from Fortnum & Mason. They had filled a bag with the bottles and walked out of the shop without paying. Easily done (?) – Mr V senior felt unwell and Mr V junior “needed to finish a job application form” (though not with Fortnum & Mason, one assumes)
• food isn’t just a modern preoccupation, though – Egyptian archaeologists investigating the tomb of Ptahmes have found the remains of a hard cheese that has been maturing for 3,300 years (huh – you should see the Editorial fridge ….). Ptahmes was the “Thomas Cromwell of his time” — he was scribe to Ramses II and Mayor of Memphis. A big cheese in fact …. (I’ll get me coat – Ed) ….
• …. and another Ancient Egypt story easily wins the Headline of the Week Award – a report that dead people were being embalmed in Egypt in 3,500BC (i.e. 1,500 years earlier than previously thought), under the headline Mummies Getting Older ….
• …. as are we all – Mr Lionel Joseph and his wife Joyce have decided to stop riding their tandem – after 78 years (they are both 95), but not on age grounds – they’ve had two near misses with cars because of the appalling state of the roads
• the usual crop of techie stories –
1. if you’re fed up with having to make conversation with taxi drivers, help is at hand – FiveAI (a firm based in Cambridge) has deployed a fleet of sensor-laden cars in London, preparatory to introducing a driverless taxi service (but how will it respond to “King’s Cross Station –- and a sovereign if you can make it in twenty minutes” eh? – Ed)
2. constant interaction with other people on your smartphone is making us less clever, according to Prof Ethan Bernstein (of Harvard Business School)
3. Mr Matt Reed (in Nashville, Tennessee) wins the Spoilsport Award for training a robot to solve Where’s Wally? puzzles
4. other boffins are training drones to improve airline safety by chasing birds away from airports ….
5. …. while London’s Fire Brigade experienced a new variant on an old theme this week, when they were called to help a creature stuck up a tree – not a cat, but a drone
6. and rather older technology continues to perplex some of us – an elderly woman had to be rescued when she turned up at Bank Foot Station (on the Tyne and Wear Metro) in her car. The problem was that she wasn’t in the car park – she arrived at the station on the railway, after turning off at a level crossing and bumping along the track (I know the roads are in a poor state, but this is ridiculous – Ed)
• A level results this week, and the usual crop of photos of delighted kids who’ll be off to uni in the autumn – and those who are heading for Durham will be relieved to hear that the Uni has been forced to admit defeat in its efforts to get the students to attend lectures starting at 8am, after “resistance from undergraduates and their tutors” (I bet – Ed)
• Ms Ali Gibb (51) successfully defended her title in the Club Championship at Croham Hurst Golf Club, after achieving three holes-in-one in the 36-hole round (hope she had her wallet with her when she got back to the clubhouse – Ed)
• a 42-year-old woman from Dundee has found her contact lens – it had been stuck under her eyelid for 28 years, and was discovered and removed after she went to her GP about a lump
• Carphone Warehouse are in hot water after a staff training session used quotations from various inspirational people. Unfortunately one was “I use emotion for the many and reason for the few” – a snappy line from Adolf Hitler
• Uni of Sydney researchers are hoping to use kangaroo tendons to treat ruptured ligaments suffered by footy players (should help the strikers outjump the defence – Ed)
• the glorious summer has meant an abundance of wasps, some of whom are getting gently (?) tipsy after eating fruit (all good things have a sting in the tail …. I’ve already got me coat – Ed)
• this week’s Plucky Brit story features Ms Annabel Neasham (27), from Oxfordshire, who has won a horse race (jointly with her Aussie team-mate Adrian Corboy) – and not just any horse race, but the Mongol Derby, a 1,000km race over terrain which includes giant sand dunes and freezing mountain passes. It takes a week, and you change horses every 40km. The horses are “sturdy, fearless, and with a will of their own” (aren’t they all? – Ed) and the breed has changed little since they were used as messengers in the days of Genghis Khan. Ms N comes from Bicester, but now lives in Oz. She commented “My knees were buggered after half a day – didn’t like the food – and not showering ….” but said she could easily do another 1,000km. Respect! ….
• …. and maybe just a teensy bit less respect for Ms Freda Jackson (81), from Blackburn, who demanded a refund from Thomas Cook after claiming that her dream holiday in Benidorm had left her in tears because there were too many Spanish people in the hotel (“why can’t the Spanish go somewhere else for their holidays?”). Regrettably (in the Ed’s opinion) Thomas Cook have offered her compensation of £566, though they claim that this is in respect of an error informing her about a change to her flights
Three (totally unrelated) items in this week’s Columbo Corner –
1. the Ed had to check the date (several times) on a story about the reclassification (in the Brecon Beacons) of a hill called [cough] Fan y Big. It has a drop (from the summit to the col between it and the next hill) (or mountain) of only 28.5 metres, and you need 30 to qualify as a Hewitt (hills over 2,000 feet high)
2. excellent letter from Mr Tom Stubbs to the Times – “Sir, should the local fox who took my copy of the Times from the entrance to my flats last Saturday, leaving it chewed and strewn in the street, happen to read this, I should like it to know that I am not amused”. Mr Peter Steggles, in a subsequent letter, suggested that the offending animal was a cub reporter ….
3. and the Ed’s favourite story of the week featured Jessie, a macaw who speaks English, Turkish, and Greek. Jessie was stuck on a roof for three days, and firefighters were called out to lure her down (action pic here). They were advised to tell her “I love you” to gain her trust. Unfortunately Jessie responded to this by telling them to “f*** off” (in English, presumably) before flying off to another rooftop. They left her there
The Ed is off to the annual TAB International Conference next week, and then on hols to the Outer Hebrides, so there won’t be another post till mid September (sob) – but just try to cope as best you can.
Have a great weekend (and rest of the summer) – and watch out for the wasps if they’ve been at the fruit again ….
Cheers for now
I presently run three Boards –
Dark Blue (for people who run large businesses) – one spare seat
Light Blue (for people who run large businesses) — two spare seats
White Board (for people who run fast-growing businesses) — two spare seats
“What I say is, that if a man really likes potatoes, he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow” (A A Milne)
“The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution” (Paul Cezanne) (I think he’d been at the fruit – Ed)
“Life’s not fair, is it? Some of us drink champagne in the fast lane, and some of us eat our sandwiches by the loose chippings on the A597” (Victoria Wood)
“Age is something that doesn’t matter, unless you’re a cheese” (Luis Bunuel)
“Teach a parrot the terms ‘supply and demand’ and you’ve got an economist” (Thomas Carlyle)