Lordy lord is the world becoming a turbulent place to live. UK is sinking in a political quagmire with a power hungry mad man at the helm but the alternatives are not looking much better. Hurricane Dorian shafted the USA as if it wasn’t enough already getting rogered by the President. The German power house is sliding into a recession and Russia’s grandiose plans for expansion into the West are in full swing. Everywhere the populist movement is building walls, separating communities, splitting nations and nationalism is on the rise…..If this trend doesn’t stop soon us men will need to grow a narrow moustache and get used to wearing horse riding boots with black Hugo Boss pants. Hopefully common sense will prevail and we will soon wake up and smell the coffee. Get some proper leadership in place, stop giving decision making power to people that aren’t the sharpest knife in the drawer and let’s collaborate and work together with nations on big issues like the environment and climate change. Just hearing that B-word is driving me mad and it will be on Halloween (Oct 31st) so perhaps the idea of a vampire or Zombie isn’t too scary in comparison to a no deal Brexit.……but don’t worry it’s all under control here are some photos of the leader who will sail our futures off into the sunset……I am not convinced!!!!
On to happier topics of family life. Blackmail and ransom are marvellous tricks to use for children. Earlier in the year we said to our kids if you get good grades at school, tidy your own room every day, stop fighting, speak politely and with respect to each other and your parents, and manage to do all of the above consistently for 6 months then you will be allowed a puppy. We knew full well we were more likely to win the national lottery than them achieving these impossible goals. I got slightly worried when an old university friend came and stayed with me and said the following “My gosh what have you done to your children they are incredible you don’t hear them, they only speak when spoken to…..are you giving them pharmaceuticals or some sort of anti-depressants.” I said no it’s just the promise of a puppy…..they want it that badly they have transformed into mini-robots that follow every line of code written by the parents. Law and behold after 6 months the parents were defeated and we had to buy them a puppy and we didn’t want one…..can’t believe our children succeeded in this challenge. My wife and I were quite critical of the type of dog we could have. It must not bark (so be a mute), it must not shed, and minimal exercise requirements. Well that is pretty difficult criteria because most dogs will either do 1 or 2 or all three of the above. We found through some friends a Havanese (a little Cuban communist rebel) that met all of the three criteria so it’s practically not a dog but more like owning a little robot where you can take the batteries out when you want it. His name is Bear and he has completely transformed our family. The other day when I was in the park calling his name and the lady next to me had a dog called Teddy we did have a quiet chuckle…..her high pitch voice “Teddy” followed by my gravelly whiskey voice “Bear”.
The summer came and went. We were quite active and managed to take the kids on a motorhome holiday on the East coast of England with some friends. Wifey is not a big fan of camping because she doesn’t regulate temperature well so in a tent she is either sweating like a bi*** or freezing her backside off but isn’t that the case for everyone in a tent?……so I thought next best thing has got to be a motorhome. We rented a 7 meter long beast with space for 6 folks and drove from Cambridge to Norfolk and Suffolk coastline. The kids loved it, marsh mellows around the fireplace cosy bunk bed in back of the motorhome, telling spooky stories around the fireplace late at night….
You do meet some interesting and kind folks on those campsites if you like to discuss welding techniques and latest width of boiler pipes, but this was all about the new doggie and kids. They had a blast, unfortunately our toilet was missing a rubber sealant to keep odours from septic tank at bay so the van smelled like the public toilet of Calcutta train station after 2 nights, and the bed upstairs felt like I was being buried alive as there was only 15cm between my face and the ceiling claustrophobia takes on a whole new meaning and unless you are a 5 ft gold medallist gymnast forget about nuggi nuggi time with wifey, the showers you had to press a button and then you would get scolded by burning water for 5 seconds before you had to hit the button again. Typical British summer weather you would wear shorts and t-shirts then get hit by freezing wind and come back shivering with a wind burn, then the next day you would wear all your warm gear and get caught in blistering sunshine and 29c thinking you were in some desert scene from Lawrence of Arabia. After 5 days of survival for both families we returned gladly to our homes in London and appreciated the services British Gas and Thames Water offered more than ever, but it certainly was an adventure.
Twenty years ago I started my career at GE Capital, back in the corporate heydays when spending on young graduates was infinite. The days where corporate greed was good and young graduates benefited with global training programmes that just wouldn’t get approved by today’s penny pinching HR departments. We were 10 Europeans that got hired during the tech boom and went to Stamford Connecticut to meet with our 30 US colleagues to start a 6 week boot camp of coding, networking, presenting and learning to deal with massive hangovers and still get up every day to go to work. A good skill to learn. To say we had a blast is an understatement it was basically an extension of university but with money in our pockets so we fixed the main issue we had while at college. Our liver was evil so it got punished, we worked hard and we drank hard and we had the youthful spark in our eye full of naive optimism that the world owed us something. I organised a re-union at the same establishment and 20 of us turned up. During those twenty years a lot had happened…. we now have the smart phone, social media, war on terror and the tables had turned we now had families, mortgages, divorces, children, successes, failures, everything that life could throw at us had happened so we turned up with bigger waistlines, grey hair, wrinkles, but deep down we were all still the same. We had the same sense of humour, we laughed at the same jokes but our tolerance for alcohol and partying had gone down….where before we stayed up until 5am now we all decided to retire to our hotel rooms at 2am. We had matured into delicate middle age adults that were sensible so even though life had tried to grind us down most of us maintained the youthful spark required to make the trip happen. Here is a snapshot of the motley crew in 1999 and then again 2019……
Don’t worry we didn’t have a fatality rate of 50% it is just everyone is busy so it is difficult to make it happen. We have all weathered a bit….but on the whole it’s not too shabby when you think about what life threw at us! On that happy bomb-shell I wish you and your loved ones a wonderful Autumn…..
All the breast,