Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Trip to Bruges

Have just come back from a 2 day trip to Bruges. A lovely town which feels very Chrismassy. The kind of place you see in old fashioned Christmas cards.

Whilst I've been away Derby have sacked and replaced their manager which was a big shock. I thought Billy Davies was irreplacable and owe my friend Rhian a fiver, who bet me that he would get sacked this season. Will Paul Jewell be a good choice? Well, he couldn't do much worse could he. Think Billy will get the Scotland job and can't help feeling that his recent comments helped engineer his dismissal.

Am currently staying a marvellous hotel called the Forbury in Reading. Fabulous decor, very luxurious and quite pricey. Thank goodness I'm not paying. Home at last tomorrow. Hurrah!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

2 Nil Defeat, Not Bad

Nowadays, Derby's success is measured by how many we lose by, not whether we win or not. Today, Chelsea only won 2-0, which is almost like winning. Apparently Steve Howard had a header today. Well done Derby!

Back From Italy

Karen and I have just returned from a couple of days in Anghiari. The first we've been ever been away together without the girls.

It's a lovely town and we had a great time. The food in the restaurants was delicious and the people were so nice.

One of the biggest regrets I have is not being fluent in Italian. Will be the top of my list of New Year resolutions.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Back From Bangkok

Have just been for a day trip to Bangkok. Arrived at 7am on Monday morning, had a meeting and flew back the same evening. Saw the road from the hotel to the airport but not a lot more. Temperature was a chilly 32 degress and it was very humid but spent most of my time in air-conditioned buildings and cars.

Managed to eat some really nice Thai food, but got very confused about whether I should be eat eating breakfast, lunch or dinner. Decided to eat whenever food was put in front of me.

Flights were fine in the comfy Thai Air business class and managed to get a bit of kip. Entertainment choice was pretty poor and watched bits of Harry Potter, Hairspray and some BBC repeats.

Nice to be back in chilly, rainy Tooting. I hate to think what my carbon footprint is.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Thank You The Word Magazine

I've spent much of the past 2 days sitting on trains and hanging around French train stations trying to make sense of the French train strike. The December issue of the Word magazine kept me sane. A great read. Never have I appreciated it more. I also discovered on my iPod that I quite liked Paul Weller.

About to go on a long trip to Bangkok tomorrow, just to do a 4 hour meeting. Mad isn't it? Looking forward to reading the November issue which oddly has only just arrived.

How Depressing
On arriving back at St Pancras, the first thing I read in 'London Lite' was that Derby were going to sell Giles Barnes to West Ham for £5 million in January. How can we do this? He's my favourite player. I can't suddenly start hating him. How we are going to survive without players of his quality? How we are going to attract new star players if we can't hang on to our home grown talent? I saw people looking at me with pity when they saw my Derby County bobble hat. Maybe I was imagining that bit.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The New St Pancras
Today I caught the Eurostar to Paris from St Pancras station. My third country visit in one week. I was quite excited about seeing it as it only opened yesterday. I've always had a soft spot for St Pancras. I always used to catch the train here to go back to Derby when I was a student.
The roof and the overall sense of space was really impressive. However, none of the facilities were open. All the smart new shops and coffee bars were boarded up and it all felt a bit cold and empty.
Once you got inside the terminal, the disappointment continued. There was 1 Cafe Nero which had huge queues. And that was it. Also, it seemed really crowded. I'm not sure there's enough seating for everyone.
Fortunately, the train was on time and was really quick. In Paris however, there's a strike going on with very limited transport services. After lots of hanging around and conversations with rude staff I've eventually made it to Dijon. Phew! What a relief. Hope I make it back home tomorrow.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

John Barnes

On Saturday's Strictly Come Dancing, John Barnes performed a superb salsa to get top marks from the judges. Under pressure from previous poor showings it was a great comeback.

The most memorable moment of his footballing career was this incredible goal for England against Brazil when he just a young lad. Although he played many more times for England and became a Liverpool player I never felt he fulfilled his potential. He never scored a goal of similar quality and hardly ever showed the same pace and power. Was he lazy? Was he burdened with too much expectation following this goal? Or was he simply not that good?

National Joke
West Ham beat Derby 5-0 at Pride Park. We're bottom of the league. We haven't scored for nine hours. Our goal difference is minus 26. Can it get any worse? Well, our next game is against Chelsea. I can't imagine what the score's going to be, plus we've games against Man U, Liverpool and Blackburn very soon.
Whenever I wear my Derby jacket in London people look at me with pity. We've now been labelled the worst team in the history of the Premiership.
Is there any hope? Well, there's always hope. We've been promised money to spend in January. Plus, there are other poor teams in the Premier League. But Billy Davies will need to perform another miracle. Best bet. Prepare for the Championship.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Smoking and Snogging

Have been hanging around a lot of French railways stations over the past couple of days and have noticed a lot of this going on. I guess it's what makes France famous and why this song became so popular.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


I arrived this evening in the town of Dijon, an hour and a half south of Paris via the TGV. Had time for a brief walk around the very pretty town centre. The most interesting place I came across was the Maille Boutique, a posh shop full of fancy esoteric mustards, which includes fresh mustard available on tap.

Was taken out for a fabulous dinner. It's a real gastronomic region and everything we ordered was delicious, including of course the local Burgundy wine. Busy day tomorrow, then back for another evening in Paris meeting up with an old mate.

I know travelling can be a bit a pain, but it is nice being in France.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Sexy Car Adverts

I've quite enjoyed the this recent ad for the Audi R8. Very confident, relaxed and of course with a great looking car. It's obviously trying to imitate alcohol brands (Guinness, Grolsch, any malt whisky) by trying to make a virtue over slowness and craftsmanship.

In recent years I've really admired the Honda ads, particularly this one, which again focuses on the intricacies of the car.

I still prefer the Honda ad to the Audi one as it's much more original and engaging. In any case, they're both better than that bloody gorilla.
Ron Hill Run Official Results

The results are here. I finished 253rd out of 259! Not very impressive. Will look to smash my personal best at the next leg on 23rd Dec.

Sunday, November 04, 2007


After my 10km run I decided to take the girls to see Ratatouille at the Streatham Odeon, which is another Pixar classic.

Both the girls really liked it. The animation is very impressive and it was easy for adults to enjoy, particularly if you're a bit of a foodie. However, I did think it was a bit too long and the story lost its way at times. It's definitely worth seeing, but don't think its quite as good as the Incredibles
The Ron Hill Surrey Classic Series

Today I ran in a 10km race at Nonsuch Park near Cheam. The second of a 3 race series called the Ron Hill Surrey Classic. It's been years since I've ran this distance, but thanks to my running partner Tony, I managed to finish it. It was a pretty serious race with some very quick club runners and amazingly I wasn't last. I think there was 1 other runner behind me.

The last time I run seriously was at least 12 years ago when I worked on the Buitoni brand and we sponsored the Great North Run Pasta Party in Newcastle. I remember Daley Thompson and a young unknown Kelly Holmes were guests of honour.

The next 10km run I'm entered for is on the 23rd December, so will need to take it easy on the run-up to Christmas. The organiser of the race is based in Belper in Derbyshire. Click here for information on other races.

Friday, November 02, 2007

My Next Training Event

If anyone is interested in learning how to plan and facilitate creative workshops, my next event is on 11th January. Click here for more details.
Halloween is Bigger then Bonfire Night

Every year Halloween seems to get a higher profile. More kids on the street, more commercialisation, more hype.

I was in Paris on the 31st and saw hardly any pumpkins, scarey masks, etc so get the impression that its a UK thing.

When I was a kid, Bonfire Night was the big thing, but it seems to be much less of a big event nowadays, at least in our household.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Is This Genius?
I recently read about this new invention called the Shewee - a portable urinating device for women, described on their website as:
"a moulded plastic funnel that provides women with a simple, private and hygienic method of urinating without removing clothes whilst standing AND sitting."
What a bizarre idea. Nowadays, women drink beer, get pissed regularly, run big businesses, enjoy watching rugby. Now they're trying to wee standing up. Is nothing sacred?