It’s good to be back …. after the usual superb TAB Conference in Denver, followed by ten days in South Uist and Harris (plus an awe-inspiring day visit to St Kilda) – then in at the deep end with a four day coaching course over last weekend.
Do you take all your holiday allowance? (or, if you own your own business, do you take at least four weeks’ holiday a year?). When was the last time you took a break from the business? (physically, at least – we all know that mentally it’s remarkably hard to leave it all behind – one of the reasons why golf is so effective at changing your mindset for a few hours).
There’s loads of research (not to mention plenty of anecdotal evidence) to show that taking a rest makes you more effective, as well as helping to avoid a breakdown (after all, if you run a machine for twenty four hours a day without any downtime for maintenance, it’ll suffer serious damage – and we are not machines!).
You can also, of course, take a few hours a month to step back from the business and take a more strategic view – maybe by meeting seven other business owners for a four hour meeting each month to get help and advice (and support) from people who know what it feels like, but can offer a different perspective.
If this sounds a good idea, you know where to come!
Moving on – here’s some of the whimsical news items you may have missed in the last few weeks –
• people have speculated for centuries on the secret of the Mona Lisa’s smile – now Dr Mandeep Mehra (of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts) reckons he knows the answer – a malfunctioning thyroid (so romantic, these boffins!). Other previous theories include being pregnant, being a transvestite, and high levels of cholesterol
• Ms (or Mr?) Meg-John Barker, who is an “activist-academic” at the Open Uni, has taken her/his life in her/his hands by writing guidance for the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy to the effect that women are emotional and concerned with their appearance – unless they are from the North of England (any comment from the Ed on this story would be unwise – probably on several counts)
• other boffins’ contributions to cheer us all up include –
1. the introduction of the Holi-Brolly – when you open it, it emits “fragrance and light”, so that you think you’re on holiday
2. smart trousers, containing artificial muscles to keep elderly people mobile (Wallace got there first – and indeed the new trews are named “the Right Trousers” in his honour)
3. a proposal for 18-story “plyscrapers”, made of wood, to help Blighty meet its climate change targets (and producing the inevitable headline Reach For The Ply)
4. speech analysts are trying to teach Alexa sarcasm
5. and a new finding that older people’s brains get sharper during the summer months, peaking at the autumn equinox (23rd September this year) – so make the most of the Bluffington Post this week and next!
• the usual flock (sorry) of animal stories –
1. Mr Tom Flannery (67) had an unusual experience when he turned out for Hinckley Amateur Third XI ‘s cricket match against Hathern Old Seconds – rather than getting a golden duck, he got a parrot. A macaw circled the pitch before perching on Mr F’s shoulder, causing a break in proceedings (recorded in the scorebook as “parrot stopped play”, presumably), before the recalcitrant bird was coaxed off him
2. Manx Plod are being kept (fairly) busy by wallabies – there have been nine police incidents involving the beasties within the last five years. There are thought to be 160 of them on the island, after a pair escaped from a wildlife park in 1965
3. Mr John Foster shared with Times readers (via a letter) a contribution to a continuing correspondence about Canada geese. Mr F had been playing golf the previous weekend and got a birdie – but not in a good way. He tried to move a large flock of geese from the edge of the fairway (next to a lake) by throwing his pitching wedge towards them, whereupon one of the birds picked up the club, flew at low level over the middle of the lake, and dropped it in deep water 50 yards away. Serves him (Mr F) right!
4. VW are to stop the production of the Beetle (gedditt??!!) next year
5. Mr Matthew Parris reported that a cow had entered a house in Over Haddon (in Derbyshire) and walked up the stairs. The beast was eventually coaxed out again (this counts for high excitement in Over Haddon, it seems) ….
6. …. causing a letter from the former head of Classics at Wellington School, reminding readers that Livy had reported the same thing over 2,000 years ago (don’t think it was in Derbyshire though) ….
7. …. meanwhile, in Hampshire a pony walked into a bar (at the Oak Inn, in the New Forest). Ms Lizzie Peeling (sic) resisted the almost overwhelming temptation to ask the time-honored question (“why the long face?”) and “drew on her experience as a groom” to persuade the animal to leave (presumably it was under age)
• Mr Richard Branson caused rail passengers to snarl after revealing that his pet hate is people turning up late
• baggage-handlers at Heathrow Terminal 5 dressed up and danced in honour of Freddie Mercury (who worked as a baggage handler before joining Queen)
• Lancashire Plod are getting down wiv da yoof by giving officers instruction in street slang – see if you can identify the meaning of the following (answers at the end of the post) –
2. Beef ting, fam
3. Swear down
6. The popo
• a couple of other letters to the Times which brightened the Ed’s day –
1. Dr Peter Cowling commented on the story about alcohol affecting the ability of MPs to make decisions by reminding us that the ancient Persians made their important decisions twice – once when sober and again when drunk (or vice versa). Only when both decisions tallied would they then enforce them (excellent idea – must start adopting it – Ed)
2. and Mr Matthew Howells reported that his six year old son, when asked what he would like for his birthday, replied “a funeral plan”. His father was rather taken aback by this, and asked why – “because you get a free pen” (out of the mouth …. ect ect)
• and finally, boffins in the US have unearthed data from a now defunct website called VidAngel, which gave film viewers the option to filter films for offensive comment. The discovery gives a fascinating insight into the moral views of the American public – e.g. 60% of the time they chose to bleep out all use of the word “f*ck”, but only 12% chose to cut all scenes with “female immodesty” (one assumes the other 88% were overcome by curiosity).
29% eliminated everything in the category “British profanity” (including “crap”, damn”, “balls”, “bugger”, ”shag”, and “bloody hell” ….)
Only one item in this week’s Columbo Corner – the new edition of the Guinness Book of Records was published yesterday, and includes –
• Bibi (the cat with the most dice balanced on a cat’s paw (9))
• Ms Olga Henry (the fastest 10 metres walked on a slackline en pointe)
• Ms Ali Spagnola (the fastest 100 metres on a space hopper)
• Ms Rachel Grylls and her Jack Russell, Jessica (the most skips by a dog and a person in one minute)
• Ms Sumiko Iwamura (the oldest DJ – she is 83)
• Ms Betsy Bond (who uses 14 foot knitting needles)
• and Mr Barry Jon Crowe (at last one for the chaps!) (most sausages made in one minute – 78)
Have a great weekend, blud – and don’t beef ting, fam, especially if you’re within sight of the popo ….
Cheers for now
That slang –
1) Peng = good, or attractive
2) Beef ting, fam = starting an argument
3) Swear down = tell the truth
4) Blud (or bruv) = a “term for greeting friends or associates”
5) Wagwan = hello, how are you?
6) The popo = the police
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
“A bank is a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather and ask for it back when it begins to rain” (Robert Frost)
“The rain it raineth on the just/And also on the unjust fella/But more upon the just because/The unjust hath the just’s umbrella” (Charles Bowen)
“Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, but the highest form of intelligence” (Oscar Wilde)
“Sarcasm: the last refuge of modest and chaste-souled people when the privacy of their soul is coarsely and intrusively invaded” (Fyodor Dostoevsky)
“A horse walks into a bar and barman says ‘why the wide face?’ — the horse replies ‘this joke is available in portrait as well as in landscape’” (Anon)