Tag Archives: meetings

Another Day, Another Plan.

It’s about seven hours since the last post, but I’ve managed to sleep and get Julia to work in that time.

I’m hoping that today will be better in terms of productivity, decluttering and writing.

I’ve just about shaken off the bad cold I had last week and there has been no repeat of the nose bleed. I have a weak nostril that often bleeds when I have colds (maybe two or three times a year – but I consider that “often” for an adult).  It was a notable nosebleed, and though I don’t have a proper marking scale I’d rate it as high volume, short duration. My normal nosebleed is low volume but longer duration. Maybe the anti-coagulants are altering the way my nose bleeds.

Practical advice. Forget pinching the top of the nose or putting your head back or all that stuff. Roll yourself a decent cylinder from tissue and shove that up. You can leave gaps, and you don’t need to ram it home, as it’s a nostril, not a cannon. Just make it big enough to stay in without help. I find it usually stops the bleeding quite quickly.

When I finish this post I’m going to sit and write my plan for today. Top of the list will be “make chicken stew” and second will be “make soup”.  Actually, it may be the other way round, as I need the soup for lunch. Butternut squash and roasted Winter Vegetable Soup is the plan. Ready cut butternut squash was on offer yesterday and the veg are left over from yesterday’s tea.

After that I will “make sweet potato, lentil and chickpea curry” and put it in the fridge for tomorrow, “tidy living room” and “hoover”.

There will be other things too, but I’m just trying to convey an impression of the day, and I don’t want anyone asking me if I’ve done it all. Short lists are better for that sort of thing.

Plans, like blogging, are a good way of delaying work, but they have their uses too. They are a bit like meetings -everyone does them but only some of them are useful. About half of all lists and ninety percent of meetings would have been better if they had never existed.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to start that stew.

The calming effects of bread

We had our regular Monday meeting after I posted last night. I was planning on slipping away before it started but I was a little slow off the mark and ended up cornered by a man with a clipboard and a mission. That mission was to have a meeting about the meeting we are having today.

There’s no helping some people, they just need meetings. They have a naive belief that meetings get things done.

Don’t get me wrong, the procrastinator in me adores meetings; you can waste so much time arranging pencils and cups of tea that by the time you hand it over to the natural-born filibuster (and all groups seem to have one) their job is almost done. However, procrastination is about me killing my own time. Meetings are about people stealing my time, which is quite different.

So, with another meeting in prospect this afternoon, I am despondent, to say the least. I am also dismayed, downcast and depressed. And downbeat.

In order to raise my spirits I am meditating on bread.

I’m thinking of running a class to make wheatsheaf loaves nearer the time of harvest festival, because several people have mentioned them and everyone seems to like them.


Wheatsheaf loaf


Bread doesn’t waste your time, it doesn’t talk over you and it has no secret agenda. You can punch it, you can cut it and you can stick it in an oven without fear of a custodial sentence. And above all, you can speak your mind to it and it won’t sulk.

I like bread.



Trouble in Paradise


This was the view from the “office” an hour ago.

As I’ve often said before, I’m not in this for the money or the glamour. I do it for the people and the view in spring and summer. I actually only say that to make people happy,  because really I just do it for the view and the birds.

“Solitude sometimes is best society.”  as Milton said.

For those of you wanting to know more about the film we saw on Tuesday night you can find the first 15 minutes for free on this link. If you would like to show it to a group they are allowing people free licences to show it in Mindful in May. I’m an old-fashioned sort of bloke and don’t go in for all this health stuff, but I ddi enjoy it and there was some good stuff in there, so even if you are a cynic you can still get something from it.

That’s the end of the advert, if they want more coverage they write their own blog.

On the downside, I have a meeting in a minute where, amongst other things, we are going to discuss the agenda for a meeting next week.

Talk about trouble in paradise.

The calm before the storm

It’s not been a bad day. The spring weather continues, though it’s a bit crisp at the start of the day. The birds are singing, the chickens are laying and things are growing.Somebody paid me £40 they owed me and I had an email from an organisation telling me that they owed us £60 from last September. We were even spared the weekly staff meeting when it was cancelled with 23 minutes notice.

I did draft an email saying Julia and I had gone ahead with the meeting and voted to stop wasting time by holding meetings but I decided it wasn’t worth sending. Not everyone shares my sense of humour.

On top of that we have just had the result of the latest Environmental Health inspection and have been awarded five stars again. It takes a bit of doing when you are running a kitchen by committee but we managed it.


We have made major inroads into preparing beds and planting seeds, though there is still a lot more to do. That however, is not the calm before the storm.

The calm before the storm refers to the fact that at 1pm tomorrow people will be arriving to get ready for the High Sheriff’s visit. It’s going to be a nightmare of women cleaning and tidying, like a wedding but worse. At least with a wedding you know there will be cake but this is a meeting about health and wellbeing: the liklihood of cake is, to be frank, small.

It must be spring!

We had a meeting today, and for once I didn’t mind.

Whilst staring intently at the chair and seeming worryingly attentive, I was able to keep an eye on the centre’s wren. It was carrying immense loads of garden rubbish in its bill. Once we finished, I had a look outside. There were leaves scattered around under the spot in the verandah roof where the wren roosts at night. Sure enough, if you a squint up at the beams you can just make out where it’s been stuffing leaves in a convenient gap. I’ll get a photo tomorrow, which will explain things better.


Typical, we put up half a dozen nest boxes but the best nest of the season is going to be in an accidental gap.

I felt so good about it that I still don’t notice that the meeting was compiling a long list of jobs for me. I really must pay proper attention in future.


Days of contrasts

I did an internet course on Food Allergies on Friday. It was nothing spectacular – a couple of hours of reading followed by 15 not very searching questions and a button to print out a City and Guilds accredited certificate.

It isn’t so much about Food Allergies as about the legal requirements around food allergies that we need to know about when running the community cafe on Saturday mornings. So after a weekend of domestic servitude I was faced with a day of admin and lists, hence the lack of posting yesterday. I like learning, but to be honest, I really don’t like the grind of putting it down on paper so that people can advise me on how to improve it or how to make it into the subject of a meeting.

Talking of which, we dodged the bullet last night and didn’t have to hold a weekly meeting, though we’ll pay for that today as we’re having a quarterly meeting. Yes, the farm is run on the principle that more meetings make for better management. Shame it’s a misguided principle – more meetings make for more talking and, in my case, more danger of falling asleep.

It wasn’t all admin and lists to be fair – we also had visitors. Beth who used to work in the farm ofice came to see how we were. She’s happy with her new job in catering and hospitality, up for promotion and even seems to have grown, though I suspect that’s due to higher heels. You can wear higher heels in hospitality than you can in farming. The group found her a set of wellingtons (a size too big) and made her go out to see the new piglets, the pregnant goats and the obstinately non-lambing sheep.

Bea the sculptress visited for a working lunch. She’s going to be helping us make a tree sculpture for use with the Woodland Trust project we’re doing and, later, for the Education tent at Flintham Ploughing Match.

This morning (Tuesday) julia has just completed the new flyer for school visits – it features a watermarked picture of a small tortoiseshell butterfly and brought back memories of summer. For a moment I felt quite summery.

That lasted until I looked out of the window and saw a goldfinch hanging on to the nyger seed feeder for dear life. There’s a  20 – 25 mph gusting wind outside and the feeder is at a fair old angle so the bird is really having to work for its seed.

Roll on summer.

Meetings, sticks, stars and crows

We had two meetings yesterday and they generated enough work to fill most of today. They didn’t fill it with anything useful but emails from people at the meetings have comprehensively instructed me how to suck eggs as well as sucking the fun out of the day. If I say the most productive part iof the day was making stars out of willow sticks and garden twine you will see what I mean. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   One tip for making stuff with willow – make sure it’s dry for this sort of work. We normally have it wet to enable us to bend it  and it didn’t occur to me when I originally made these last week that they would shrink and the bindings would loosen to the extent that some of the stars actually fell apart. Not that it was all bad, we went shopping for supplies for the group this morning and had a good view of carrion crows hopping on the tops of cars. Not sure why, and couldn’t get close enough for a really good shot because I always get embarrassed when people start looking at me with the camera.


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.