Catch of the day?

My teenage years are some time ago now, but as far as I can recall, none of my girlfriends mothers ever said, ‘ wow he is such a catch’…or of they did it was certainly kept from my by said girlfriend(s) of the time. Egos in teenage boys are never something to be encouraged I believe.

No, this is about fish….well actually a little bit about fish and in fact anything that people think is something worth you having or trying.

We are located in a semi rural area and in these ‘new times’ we live in, we have like many others been trying to support local businesses, avoid travel, shop for others etc. One of the places we have been frequenting is our local fish shop – the proprietor knows his fish, and in fact not just his fish but the actual origin of it and in some cases the providers of it. Considering that we live in the very middle of England, we are about 70 miles away from our nearest fishing port that is quite a feat but that doesn’t faze him.

Ok, there is probably a bit of salesmanship in this, but actually the quality is great and he does know the provenance, and more importantly will discuss how to prepare it, and based on preferences shared with him he gives suggestions on what we may like and so on.

So that is all well and good on fish, and actually we have independent butchers that will do the same…and also a couple of small artisan bakers that do wonderful bread that you can see and smell it being prepared behind them . That all great and for those nostalgic of the past it is a return to how our grandparents generation would have done their food shopping in the pre-supermarket era.

Good food for our physical well being is good news of course, but food for the mind is needed too which leads me to our local bookshop. I have mentioned them in passing, really just because they have a name for the shop that just says it as it is….. ‘Read’ ! One of the great things about this little shop, is that although its little, they not only have a lot of books in a small space but they do have an an impressive knowledge of the style, content, plot and readability of so many of the works of fiction on the shelves.

Ask them for something with just a few parameters and they come up with some ideas and personal reviews. So far , they haven’t failed to please and in fact have introduced me to some new authors.

What’s not to like about that! There is a series of TV ads running in the UK at the moment from Google encouraging you to use and review your local traders; American Express have done similar campaigns in the past where they reward their customers when using independent businesses…ok the cynics out there may say this is just PR for these organisations…it may be but if it helps keep these local businesses alive, then surely that is to the good.

Anyway, I am off to read my book now….. Happy Sunday

Sorry but I hate maccaroni cheese

Let me explain……

Yesterday we bought our Christmas Tree. We are fortunate that we have a National Trust site near us (for those from outside the UK and not familiar with it read more here about what this is click here ) and in spring and summer they do plant sales, but in winter just for a few weeks, Christmas trees.

They sell amazing trees, from sustainable forests and all proceeds get fed back into the trust. Our tree smells wonderful and evocative of Christmas celebrations over the years.

Sadly I do always suffer a bit of environmental guilt having this amazing tree in my house that has been felled for no reason other than to adorn our house. Not withstanding the fact that in reality it only ever came into existence for this very purpose and in its early life it has been busy absorbing co2 and helping the planet.

However what struck me as strange in a way in that as much as I am so delighted to have a tree in my house, I have a fairly general disdain for house or office indoor plants. Not so much the kind of things you see in various botanical gardens that bring amazing experiences to us, but the plants you find in the average house and even more so planters with miserable greenery found in offices.

A few jobs ago I was responsible to run a small HQ of a well known hotel brand. Like many contact centres or corporate buildings it had office plants fitted around the building.

I was so convinced they were almost invisible to people, I removed some of them and then a few days later asked if anyone noticed anything different or changed!

Surprise, surprise – nobody noticed they were gone at all. And these plants had a cost – we paid an external contractor to come in to tidy them, trim them and water them.

The irony as well is that I do love plants and like design and display features in buildings…but somehow for me …in the same way that I like pasta and like cheese…but nothing will ever make me like Maccaroni Cheese! , the same goes for house plants.

Anyway it struck me that this was a easy cost saving but should be replaced with something better …but what? So we got fish. Huge cylindrical glass tanks with goldfish.

Well not surprisingly the fish were a big hit and soon I was inundated with internal requests to swap the plants throughout the building so that each area had its own fish tank!

I probably won’t be remembered for much in my 5 years as Director of Operations…but my fish tank legacy lives on!

Carpe Diem

To the non Latin speaker, this is probably a fancy fish restaurant in a trendy part of town, but to those who have learnt a few such useful phrases of this ancient language, it of course means seize the day. To regular readers of my blog, I am a big exponent of grab it while you can…for anything in life ….as we never know what’s around the corner in terms of health, opportunity or just ‘stuff’ that can throw a wobble into life.

What is ‘it’?…’it’ is doing things that enriches your life and hopefully others as well….and that doesn’t always involve spending money. Unless you live in a hermits cabin, generally there are things out there in the world that are waiting for you! Be that volunteering, walking around in your countryside or city, trying new foods, feeding the ducks,or just engaging with different people.

I do realise I am very fortunate in that I have a job that takes me to different places (..and not many people have that opportunity) This week work took me to the UAE and it gave me the opportunity to catch up with a friend and former colleague recently relocated and living there. Now if I had to nominate a role model for my philosophy of life….. it is her! She is already one of the most well travelled people I know, and in this new geographic position she can weekend in India, take a short trip to Nepal or even get to the Far East…which becomes not so far east anymore! From updates I have already had when she first moved it seems she really is grabbing every opportunity not just to travel, but to explore the new city she lives in, make new friends and that’s four legged as well as two legged as she has found a dogs home that wants volunteer walkers! So already now she has just about every weekend and holidays allocated to something new. Anyway we managed to find time to meet up between work and her travels. So research was done to find somewhere new to go. Where did we find ourselves? …on Happiness Street…which I think says it all!