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Saturday, 22 June 2013

Enterprising Women in Plymouth

Gummee Glove - An inspiring business woman Jodie Boothby

Enterprising Women in Plymouth

I was fortunate to attend the Enterprising Women networking event at Plymouth Marine Aquarium. I have never been to the Horizons Suite and was bowled over by the incrediable panoramic views over Sutton Harbour towards the Barbican.  It was a glorious day and a great reminder of how lucky we are to live in this fantastic part of the world.
Lucy from Enterprising Women introduced us to Jodie Boothby who has recently won a Mumpreneur Award with her product for teething babies the 'Gummee Glove'.  She gave an inspiring presentation taking us through her life journey, including many years of going up entrepreneurial blind alleys, leading to this point where she is finally seeing some success. So it seems tenacity is the name of the game and fortified with this news I'm passing it on!
It's so easy to get bogged down in the day to day hassle when you are trying to make some thing happen - it's great to see women finally getting the break they need after many years of hard graft. It was also inspirational to hear about the 'secret' investor who loaned her money pound per pound without interest! There are amazing people around - the world is a good place.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Happy Bank Holiday!

Happy Bank Holiday!
After a very quiet few months from me I’ve been feeling more like putting pen to paper or should I say, tapping keyboard – not half so romantic sounding.
I’m sitting here at the end of a perfect Bank Holiday.  The weather has been fantastic and I’ve been out with my family enjoying a visit to our local Naval Heritage Centre. By the far the coolest exhibits where the utterly marvellous figureheads. They were housed in a very unassuming workshop and were the very last display we were to visit, which helped greatly to restore my fourteen year old's sons better humour. It  was great to stumble upon these colourful slightly grotesque wooden ‘statues’ reaching perhaps five metres high.  The figure heads traditionally stood at the bow of the ship and seemed to personify  it. Some were mythical Gods such as Sybil and others were royal replicas such as Queen Victoria and probably the most ostentatious King William IV standing magnificent but almost hidden in the corner. To me these  wonderfully ornate and characterful carvings are totally undersold. They are a fabulous part of our maritime history and surely  tourists from across the world would flock to see them if they only knew they were there!

It was great that the Bank Holiday weekend finished so well. Things hadn’t looked so promising. On Friday I noticed that a neighbour opposite was doing strange things to his wall. His corner property was surrounded by a high brick, white plastered wall around two and a half metres. He had built a couple of pillars at either end and I could see that he had decided that he wanted to create similar pillars at regular intervals around the wall. He had marked out very accurately where he wanted the pillars to stand around six or so and somehow he was going to calve out and remove the bricks he didn’t need from the solid wall, a difficult, probably long and dirty job. I wondered when he was proposing to do this work? Nothing happened on Saturday great, sensible man.
Sunday  morning began with the sound of the buzz saw and this continued most of the day. My neighbour who was closer to him wasn’t  impressed! Remarking at least we could be grateful that the wind wasn’t a westerly or the dust would have been blowing across our houses and gardens. Yes, fine for us but what about the poor neighbour who lived next door! The noise stopped around 5pm and on my way out I noticed that he seemed to have managed to cut into the wall and I guess loosened  the squares to create each pillar. He had got much further that I thought he would.  A small consolation as I was pretty sure he would continue again next day!

When I heard the saw start up again this morning I started to feel very irritated! How could he not see that firstly, this was a ridiculous idea and secondly that it was grossly unfair to subject the neighbours to this terrible noise all weekend. Had any one complained? Was it worth going over there now that he was already more than half way through the job? Could I telephone and complain to the Council about noise pollution right now! I knew we would be out for a good part of the day so it wouldn’t be too bad but as we got ourselves organised I could hear the saw and then the bashing as I imagined him knocking down the bits of wall he didn’t want. I mused that what a shame he didn’t realise that while he would probably love his wall because of all the extremely hard work he was putting in, all around him the neighbours would hate it (and possibly him too!) Why hadn’t he thought through the consequences of his actions on everyone around him?  I felt him to be the sort of man who has some good ideas (the rest of his house and garden were looking great) but also some bad ideas. Not a problem in itself, I recognise that in myself.  It’s only a problem if we decide to act on all our ideas without discussing them and listening to feedback from other people. I feel sure that if he hadn’t been so sure, that if he had shared his vision with someone they would have said ‘Are you insane! You cannot be serious! This is a stupid idea and you are going to p___ everyone off trying to achieve it!’

As we approached our car I noticed that it was covered in the fine dust from his wall and I looked over I thought I might say something to him. Then, when I looked over I actually felt sorry for him. His plan hadn’t worked. The pillars that were left after all his sawing and bashing and smashing were not strong enough and although one or two were still standing most of the wall looked like someone had crashed into it! There were bricks and rubble everywhere on the lawn, on the pavement and dust surrounded the carnage. He was shovelling what was left of it into the back of his truck. I also noticed a hot tub van drive away. Unfortunately the wall had shielded the patio beautifully and provided a really good private space for him to relax in his hot tub. Now he would be in full view of the pedestrians and cars which frequently went by, oh and the buses.

I don’t think I had really wished him ill and as I said I did feel sorry for him. I think I stood there staring, looking shocked and he gave me a sad wave. Do you think it was possible that those neighbours in the ten or so houses he was disturbing on this our first proper sunny, garden enticing back holiday weekend, created so much negative energy that they unwittingly made his wall fall down?

Monday, 28 January 2013

How strange the world is...

How strange the world is...
As we enter the final weeks of January 2013 I thought I reflect back on the beginning of 2013.
It hasn’t been a great start. The bad fortune began for me on Christmas eve, eve. Having been stuck at home for several days I decided I needed a trip to the coast. It’s only a short drive away and while there was some evidence of flooding on local roads there was nothing too bad and I thoroughly enjoyed watching the surfers catching the waves in Wembury – dreaming that I was surfing myself!
My return journey wasn’t quite so straight forward and turning back twice because roads were marked impassable, I continued on to a village near by to attempt to get home ‘the back way’. It was dusk by now and raining again. There was no sign saying the road was blocked so I headed home.  Not long now I thought but without warning I then saw a deeply flooded road ahead. In a split second I made the decision to try to get through – mistake! Within seconds the car was submerged up to the bottom of the doors and I quickly realised the only way out of this mess was for me to wade through the water and go and fetch help. It was dark by now. I reached for my phone. I’d left it behind. Nothing for it but to walk to the lights in the distance. 
I was really lucky as a passing Firefighter and local tow truck just happened to be passing and after a few hours the car was towed away. I didn’t realise at that point that that would be the last I saw of it! I didn’t know how quickly you could write off a car!
What has been more surprising has been how deeply affected I’ve been by this mistake. I obviously felt really stupid at having made that bad decision but then the amount of work and aggravation that ensued to try to get the situation sorted was hard to fathom. Endlessly waiting on the telephone to speak to the insurance company, hours of wading through possible replacement cars and the worry of not knowing how much the insurance company would stump up to replace the car.
It’s only about a month later and we have a great new to us car sitting pretty and waiting to take us out again. It’s true the aggravation and stress levels were high but I’ve been left reflecting that what was truly much worse than the reality of the situation was my reaction to it. My constant worrying and going over the sorry ordeal was a complete waste of time! The reality hasn’t turned out that bad at all. This was just a minor set back for me and my family.  Around the globe people are experiencing much worse traumas and problems that need their strength and fortitude. All I can hope is that I have learned this lesson now. Acceptance and patience is all we can really strive for – I truly hope I can approach the next set back with a calmer perspective.  Come on 2013 let’s have something good!