I was wondering when I thought about re-starting this blog whether I would have enough material to do a ‘weekly’ blog post summarising what i’d been up to. The first two weeks have been busy!
This week started with a trip down to Eastbourne so I could ferry the parents to and from a couple of hospital appointments (to carry on a theme for last week!). A tough time ahead for them unfortunately. On the flip side, it meant that I was able to do a lot of work in peace and quiet and managed to crack on with some more J & J Air Systems CompAir and Bambi Air Compressor updates and of course Cater For You.
Whilst I was there, I also managed a couple of runs from their Friston base with the Downs and stunning countryside literally on their doorstep. My Achilles recuperation is coming along well, I still have a bit of pain in the left one but it is definitely getting there. Unfortunately, i’m still a long way from playing hockey which I miss dreadfully. It is now almost two years since the right achilles went (tendinitis) with only a few months of fitness before the left one went in the Over 40’s final. I’m targeting a return next season when Jamie is eligible to play and pootling around in the 5th XI with him and possibly the odd Over 40’s game this season if we are short (think that will be too soon though). I have been asked to try my hand at umpiring, but I’ve always been appalling when I’ve tried previously.
Once I returned on Wednesday afternoon, it was back to normal and a hectic work schedule. Thursday was a catch up with J & J to plan some more developments and a quick pop into Cater For You to catch up on the comings and goings. I’ve a backlog of about 20 products I have to put up on the site ASAP which i’d promised Jason (our fab purchasing manager) I would put on-line the previous week. Fortunately none of the products are Christmas products. We also had the latest designs for our new site which is an evolution of the current web site but looking absolutely fabulous. The timings seem to have slipped already which is a bit of a worry as we have the toughest development / integration bit still to come. I’m still really pissed off about OGL / ProfitPlus API not being developed ready for our project, despite it almost being ready when they demo’d it at the start of September. Then again, we cannot integrate our new VOIP phone system and they took many months to sort out MyHermes after disputing it was a major carrier! Anyway….
On Friday I had a series of meetings / catch ups with clients which I always enjoy, though you don’t actually manage to do any work! I started the day badly by going out in the rain for a short run and somehow managed to hit a lamp post with my shoulder – I was wearing hi vis so not sure how that happened… (idiot)… First up was the Community Centre where I was too early and hadn’t actually said I was going so went off to CSE where there was a chat about how to finish off their new CSE UK web site. This has been in progress for way too long and this was to try and get it over the line and operating as was originally intended. Good to be back at CSE as they have a great Marketing chap working there now meaning I’ve not had to do any work there for many months. I started working with John in 2001 and he is also my C4U business partner – I thoroughly enjoy working with him. He also bought me fish and chips for lunch, what’s not to like!
After CSE / Wooburn Green, I popped over to Fastbreak Sports in Chesham where they were having an email order confirmation problem. Turns out it was an issue from me moving one of their domains over to my new hosting company 20i from Fasthosts. This is proving an immense project trying to migrate over 200 domains and hosting and I’ve not started on the trickier ones yet. 20i has been a revelation of customer service and also price point – I guess things might change as they get larger (I hope not). Once Fastbreak was sorted, I caught up with someone else in Chesham to talk about moving forward with a brand new business – I’ve registered http://www.tradekitchensuk.com/ and will put some holding information up for them soon to get it propagating.
Once these series of meetings had finished, it was a quick change and off out to the Cater For You Christmas dinner at Taplow House Hotel. The team has worked tremendously hard again this year, and I know they were all looking forward to being there. We had partners along again this year and we numbered a total of 28 people, a record. We’ve added three more people to the team in the last year. The meal was very good, the venue was very impressive, though I didn’t get to mingle as much as I could of done. My impromptu speech in the bar at Midnight could have been a lot better too! I did particularly enjoy catching up with a lot of the team, a highlight was with Sue and Partner Steve. I’ve been working with Sue since 1992, she is an inspiration to me and just a brilliant person as well as pure silk on the phone when chatting to our customers.
Saturday morning was a late start, but I did take Molly out for a 10k jaunt over to Chorleywood and back. Like my parents, we are very lucky being so close to the stunning Chiltern’s countryside though HS2 is re-starting in earnest at the back of us. The run was a bit muddy as they’ve been doing tree work in Philips Wood but Molly and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There are also some sheep on the way which Molly enjoys seeing, fortunately they are well fenced in to keep Molly out. I also attended to the greenhouse where absurdly I still have peppers and chillis growing. I was hoping to have it all cleaned and empty by now ready for the start of a new growing season in February.
Saturday evening was a night out I was particularly looking forward to, a few beers with some old Robertswood Dad’s to catch up on a few months. Just very chilled and relaxing in the Merlins Cave Chalfont St Giles. I think that is my favourite pub at the moment. Such a shame they’ve closed my old second home the Waggon and Horses in Chalfont St Peter, but it had gone downhill in recent times with some poor landlords and Greene King just wanting to cash in on the property value rather than manage it properly. The Dumb Bell has had some investment into it over the last year, but I just don’t seem to have the urge to pop in there as much.
Sunday didn’t stop either. When I finally got out of bed after watching some dispiriting politics programmes about Brexit, I got to work on the garden and clearing up the leaves. The oak tree has finally shed its last leaf and so I could get to work. I managed to fill our green bin and four recycling bins with leaves before having to just push them to the edges ready for when the composting has started and the next empty green bin. I need to do a lot more work on the garden and hope to put a bird friendly new hedge in down one side as soon as spring starts springing.
Next off we’d been invited to Milton’s Cottage for John Milton’s 410th birthday party. I have been working on their web site on and off since around 2002 through Sarah’s Dad who was Chairman of the Trustees for many years from the 80’s to the 2000’s (I think). We happened to randomly bump into a few hockey faces too but it was particularly heart warming listening to fond stories of what Philip did for the cottage over many years. The current trustees though are a world away from that era and have done an astonishing job to secure the future for generations to come.
To round off the week, the road had a festive get together at one of the houses who were overwhelmingly generous with their hospitality. It is great getting together with everyone, we are very lucky having such a close community in the road and though we were late it was fun catching up with everyone.
I always thought I was fairly busy, and another week recounting what I’ve been up to kind of confirms that! The week coming up is no different.