Owls, bikes, and monks

We’re just back from a weekend in Leeds, where we did some owl spotting as well as going to a film festival. (Owls are the city emblem).



The touring Banff Film Festival was visiting Leeds.  It’s early on in the UK tour, so if you like mountains & outdoor activities, then there’s plenty of time to catch it.  Lots of short films are shown in quick succession, ranging from 3 minutes to 40 minutes in length.

Our favourites were The Ridge, which is a stunning short video of a guy mountain biking on the Cuillin Ridge in Skye.  I’m not that into mountain biking films, but this is truly jaw dropping – both in scenery and the skills of the rider.

My second favourite was a film called Tashi and the Monk.  This was a longer film about a childrens’ home in the Indian Himalayas, and a particularly naughty little girl.  This is a short trailer. 

Fifteen precious days


timerAs of this morning, I have 15 working days left until I leave my current job.  (At which point I am going to do my big walk).  Ever since I made my decision to go, at the end of October,  I’ve been increasingly aware of just how much I love my job.

I’m not having regrets about leaving.  It’s my decision. I just want to make the point that a notice period can be an immensely enjoyable experience.  Lots of my projects and have gone really well.  Really well.  And I have come to realise that I am so lucky to work with such a lot of great people.  I’ve worked in a number of companies and industries, and I can honestly say that there is a really special spirit about this one.

Having a finite period of time has sharpened my appreciation, and my focus.  Also a time limit makes for much less procrastination.  Either I bite the bullet and get on and do/say the thing I’m thinking of, or I delete the task.

I’ll leave with a huge amount of affection for this company. The first 6 months were frustrating for various reasons.  But the second 6 months have been increasingly fulfilling and I take a lot of joy from the experience.  People who can bring out the best in each other – that doesn’t happen every day in business.

From today I have a 3 week handover with a lovely new L&D Manager who is joining us to take over from me.  So I need to learn to let go and hand over!

With fifteen days left, I want enjoy every day as much as possible.  So if I whinge about my commute or feeling tired, slap me.

In praise of friendship

I got started blogging in April because of 4 things:

Friendships, geekiness, loving learning, and perspective.  I wrote about it here.

Over the last 7 months I’ve struggled to hold onto the latter.  But that’s consuming jobs for you.

However, the friendships bit has meant so much to me.  So much.  My friends, new and old, have been awesome. You’ve listened, supported, questioned, inspired.  You’ve made me cry, and made me howl with laughter.   Continue reading

Moving and thinking

When I’m on the phone I prefer to stand up. I can think more clearly when I do that. When I’m focussing on what I want to say in an upcoming presentation, I pace up and down. I love going out with colleagues round the block, for ‘walking meetings’. In the office I often run upstairs to quickly ask a question in person rather than send an email. I have to move in order to think.

Pallet trucks and wine boxes

I started off my career working in supermarket retail, and one aspect I loved was the combination of doing management stuff, like reports, analysis, plans, meetings, 1-1s, AND then being able to go off into the warehouse for an hour and stack heavy boxes of wine. Or unload a wagon (big lorry). The combination of using my head and then doing physical work was great. Continue reading


In September I had two weeks holiday. On the first day of my break I switched my phone onto airplane mode, and left it on that setting for the whole two weeks. (Give or take checking on Andy Murray’s marvellous progress in the US Open). No calls, no work email, no personal email, no Twitter, no Facebook, no blog, no Pinterest, no texts, no IM, no Skype. Nothing. Just silence. Continue reading

The Olympics post

Olympics 2012 Womens Lightweight Double Sculls

One of my favourite Olympics images

I know there are lots of bloggers writing about the Olympics and how it relates to creating great workplaces.  So it seems a bit cliched to write about such stuff.  However, this is my blog and my reflections on what’s important to me.  I’ll remember London 2012 for the rest of my life.  In the future I want to look back on my posts from this summer and see a mention of the Olympics.  Here’s a few things I’ve been thinking about as I drive to and fro across East Yorkshire each day. Continue reading