Tag Archives: management

Becoming Pollyanna

In fairness, I should have added one small bit of good news to yesterday’s post.

Despite a couple of lapses of memory in taking my anticoagulants I managed to pass the blood test, with a result of 2.4 against a target of 2.5. I may not be getting any better at remembering the tablets, but I am getting better at correcting things.

That means I have three weeks until the next test.

I also managed to get in and out without incurring car parking charges, so that was another bonus.

Sometimes you need to look for the little chinks of light.

Gingerbread and Vitriol

I could start with my normal Saturday opening – “After dropping Julia off at work…” but I’m feeling like doing something a little different today. Same goes for the photos of the Mencap garden yesterday morning. They are OK but I’m just feeling like something more is needed. (As the post developed, not quite in the direction I intended, it became a little negative. It developed naturally, as I wrote, and I decided to let it stand. Not quite sure if it’s too negative or too personal. Let me know if you have any views on the tone.)

And that is why I am showing you pictures of cookie cutters.


Novelty Cookie Cutters

I’m torn here. I love alliteration and I am committed to resisting American English. In the case of cookie cutters I feel as if continents are colliding in my head. I really don’t want to say “Cookie Cutter” but some irresistibly force makes me do it. There is no natural alternative – Biscuit Bodgers just isn’t going to do it. I’ll try Biscuit Cutters and see if that works.

I found the cutters recently whilst decluttering. They had disappeared without being used during one of the chaotic times on the farm. We made a lot of gingerbread with the group and these cutters (with six different designs) seemed a good idea.

The problem was that after the introduction of the Farmer’s Sister into the mix everything went wrong. It started with her telling me “we’re all on the same team” which is a management shorthand way of indicating we weren’t all on the same team. Then it progressed to her shouting at me because she said I thought she was stupid because I had a degree and she didn’t.

All I had done was proof read something I’d been asked to proof read and send her the corrections. It seems that this was wrong – I should have sandwiched the suggested changes between telling her how good she was, how valued she was and how hard-working she was.

There’s a vulgar term for this, but rather than expose my gentle readers to it I’ll post a link to it for those of you who are interested.

The truth is, I don’t have a degree.

I also, at that time, didn’t think she was stupid. I just thought that she had made a mistake that needed correcting. She had used a word wrongly. I can’t recall what it was, but it was something like uninterested/disinterested. It’s no big deal. I have to think hard when using affect/effect. Getting something like that wrong doesn’t make you stupid. If someone had corrected me on it I’d have thanked them and looked it up to learn the lesson fully.

No, what made her stupid, for I did eventually have to admit she was stupid, was her refusal to learn or improve.

We were stupid too – we should have realised that it was time to move.

However, that all belongs to another story, and stupidity was probably the least vile of her personality traits.

After the team comment, and the shouting, she started a turf war, and kept moving out stuff. We had to start moving it back home every time we used it, and eventually, things got lost in the confusion. That’s how the cutters became lost.

Other things disappeared and turned up in bins or dismantled in the workshop. Like over-sized children the Farmer and his sister knew nothing of how they got there. She took down the group’s art work and binned it. She once needed a book for kitchen use, so she took the garden diary book off the shelf, tore our notes out and took the book away.

Sorry, but it just seemed the appropriate time for this to be mentioned, and once I started, I thought I would finish.

Anyway, back to biscuits. I found the cutters. I will make some biscuits.

Here, to provide a happy ending, are some previous biscuits (and some peppermint creams.


Management books and Winston Churchill

After much thought, and sitting up until after midnight, I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t concentrate on writing an interesting post. I have therefore settled on throwing a few things together and trusting that it will be OK.

Come to think of it, I may write a business management book based on that premise. Somewhere in the house I have management books based on  Henry V, Attila the Hun and Jean-Luc Picard, so why shouldn’t Just Chuck it Together, It’ll be OK be a success?

I may market it as a breath of fresh air in a world that seems to increasingly demand perfection, effort and planning.

How about Leadership Secrets of Winston Churchill – a quick study of how the man voted the Greatest Briton of all time actually ran things. It strikes me that when he wasn’t being random he was often drunk, but he still managed to win a couple of World Wars and a Nobel Prize. Makes you think, doesn’t it.

In a modern context, by the time we’d planned, done the Prince 2 stuff and explored the Health And Safety implications we’d have had jackboots marching up the Mall and King Edward VIII re-installed in Buckingham Palace. Or, I think, Edward III for those of you in Scotland.

Anyway, I’d better get to bed as I don’t want to be late for hospital.

In the meantime I will try to think of something entertaining to write for Friday.




Punching a puppy and other office jargon

No, I haven’t suddenly decided to turn to a life of animal cruelty and being hated by small children. If you read the business jargon link in the penultimate paragraph, all will become clear. It was just too good a title to pass up.

I can now reveal Julia’s secret destination to be Eden Hall Spa. I think she is safe from kidnap now as I am on the point of picking her up and whisking her away for a birthday meal somewhere that she won’t have to wash up. Gosh, I treat her well…

The website, though informative about the experience you can purchase, is strangely reticent on the subject of former uses for the building.

They are less reticent here and here. I particularly like the term fish bait farm. They mean maggots. I had some dealings with maggot farms in the past and I confess I’ve never seen one as grand as this, or ever thought “This would make a nice up-market health spa.” It’s also been a poultry farm, a kennels, offices, restaurant and equestrian centre.

Just to add a little more to the story, the conservatory, that once held 2,000 plants, was destroyed in 1942 when a Lancaster exploded at Syserston. I’m assuming that it was loaded with bombs at the time. The Lancaster, that is, not the conservatory.

There is a footnote about an explosion here, and a mention of Bill Reid VC who used to work at BOCM with my father, as I may have mentioned previously. I think, to be fair, he was more famous for winning the VC than for working at BOCM.



So there you go – a relaxing day of luxury for one half of the family while the other has been making wooden signs with Men in Sheds and wrestling with the complexities of merging the views of five people into one SWOT analysis. The process has been slightly simplified by one member of the management committee saying that he prefers to stick to blue-sky thinking rather than think of negative things like weaknesses. That, of course, is what landed us in this situation in the first place – 500 great ideas but no actual progress.

Anyway, that’s all for now – I just had the phone call that the day of pampering is over.

Five habits of successful people

What you say, another offering from Nottingham’s answer to Peter Drucker? For I have decided to become a management guru. Maybe Tom Peters actually, because I just checked up and all in all I’d rather be compared to someone who is still alive.

Yes, after seeing the offerings sprinkling the internet I’ve decided to have a go at doing a list of my own. It’s inspired by the list of 5 things to do on Mondays that I’ve already talked about and the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

(1) Define “success”. You don’t have to be an entrepreneur or a corporate drone digging yourself an early grave. It’s OK to be laid back, even lazy if you want to be. As long as you are making yourself and your partner (if you have one) happy and are paying your way you are doing OK.

(2) Look at your targets. Look at where you are now. Don’t stress out, just reduce the targets to match your current position. Simple.

(3) Plan several steps ahead. If you want to retire early and carve wood learn about carving now or it will never happen.

(4) Eat bacon. The importance of bacon sandwiches in bonding, teamwork and everyday life cannot be overstated. Surrounded by veggies? Get new friends. Tofu is not the same.

(5) Stop reading lists you find on Twitter. They are useless and they waste the time you should be spending on daydreaming or surfing the net in search of wisdom. Apart from those sites that start “17 Celebrities who…” I promise you there is no wisdom to be found there, and I have looked.

Another Monday morning

Had an email last night telling me there was a meeting on the farm at 9.30.

Arrived to find that the meeting had been changed to 4.30.

Just one more reason that Mondays should be banned. And another nail in the coffin of regular Monday meetings.

Personally I don’t need to sit round a table to “communicate”. I can use email, phones, text or shouting if I want to exchange information. I know shouting has fallen out of fashion as a management technique in recent years but it’s hard to beat if you want to make a point. Eventually I suppose it will go the way of hanging and flogging…

The only reason I can see for meetings is if you are getting together to arrange to actually do something. This is a rare thing.

Meetings are useful if you want to catch someone off guard and assassinate them but this is even rarer than meetings that make things happen. It pretty much went out of fashion with the Borgias. I’ve not seen any mention of arsenic in recent management texts, though I have read a book on the management style of Attila the Hun.