Category Archives: Cater For You

Christmas Meals and Golf

A beautiful walk across the Downs with Rebecca and Sarah at the weekend

Another busy week with work and play.  A few old hockey boys got together for a Christmas golf jaunt around Berkhamsted Golf Club to chew the cud and play some average golf.  I arrived on time for tee off as I was busy finishing off some work phone calls and emails.  It was an interesting course to play in beautiful countryside with no sand bunkers but plenty of gorse and hillocks to test us.  I was playing off my ‘Golfshot’ advised handicap of 22 and managed to hit my 36 stableford score – though that was by paring 4 of the last 5 holes – my front 9 was an appalling 51.  The main issue with my game is 0-50 yards to the green – anything up to 160 i’m ok and putting is fine, but this short game often costs me 15 shots a game, extremely frustrating. Thanks for Davey for sorting it out again.  There was also plenty of talk in the bar after of an overseas golf holiday for next year, we’ve not been on one since our Porto trip a couple of years ago.

I really enjoy seeing my old hockey mates many of whom are from the old debauched days of 20 years ago up to the current day where many are now directors in major companies.  The topic of Brexit obviously cropped up and it was distressing to hear just how many jobs have already been moved abroad and contingency plans for wholesale uplifting of operations.  Funnily enough, they aren’t announcing these moves in the press – one involved a subsidiary which has already moved 700 jobs.  The damage being wreaked on the UK economy is really upsetting.

Work wise I’ve been doing some liaising on the new Cater For You web site which has now slipped back to March.  I’ve an awful lot of content and photographing to do in January ready for the new site.  One of the customer service team has also tendered his resignation which is a real shame, though it is to work with his Dad’s company.  Just the third long term member of the team to leave in the last 8 years.  We will see how Brexit pans out and whether we should replace him.  Starting to consider contingency plans in case the economy comes to a full stop with a hard Brexit. Also uploaded a few more new products including a full range of bakery food packaging.

I had a catch up with an old colleague from CSE who has set up at AJH Cables Ltd.  He helped me a huge amount with content at CSE and helped to really push that business forward – he is now doing some really exciting things with his own business, particularly in the export markets.  I said I would help give him some top level ideas for him to implement in the digital area and i’m looking forward to hearing more about how his new venture goes.  Amusingly, we are both through to the SME Bucks awards in Milton Keynes in February so will share a drink and story with them too.

On Thursday I popped in to see a very old client of mine – John Mackenzie who has created the British Battles web site and which used to be my busiest web site peaking a few years ago with 10,000 visits a day, quite astonishing.  The web site really is a tour de force of work and I always marvel with the effort that he has put into researching each battle and painstakingly documenting them from many sources of information.  The more recent battles are as long as any degree dissertation.  Hosting cropped up as an issue though as bandwidth is huge with the images and volume of visitors. We currently have a dedicated server and Cloudflare, but need to reduce the cost as it is unsustainable at present levels.

On Friday afternoon I finally managed some Christmas shopping.  I popped into Amersham, where I also accidentally topped up on some Vinyl records too.

Friday we popped down to my parents for my Dad’s birthday.  Great to see my sister and her boys again for a lovely meal at the Sundial Restaurant. We’ve been there several times to celebrate various events and they always serve a meal of the highest quality.  The meal was a good standard again and everyone on top form.  We unfortunately had to walk the dog in the evening in the dark and wet and windy weather, fortunately The Tiger Inn was welcoming and we dried off with a couple of local pints of lager, warm fire and friendly bar team.

On Sunday we went and walked off the Saturday and also made room for two Christmas dinners that we were having that day.  Firstly a wonderful family meal in Eastbourne by Mum and then three hours later at the Scott’s for the ‘B’s Dining Club Christmas Special’.  Fortunately not as raucous as last year when there was heavy snow. We went to bed thinking we’d re-run the Vicar of Dibley Christmas special though.

Exercise wise it has been a bit quieter with a round of golf (as above), treadmill run and a few Molly walks, but that is it.  Things need to be stepped up a bit, not least to work off the weekend and impending Christmas dinners. 

Christmas Parties and Work

PET Cake BoxesIt has been another very busy week since the last blog post and the upgrades to our data networking around the house,  On the work front I have been continuing to do some preparation for the new Cater For You web site.  With the help of SellerDeck, I finally managed to extract all of the data out in spreadsheet format to see what needs to be updated.  I thought I / we’d been thorough when adding new products – something that I think differentiates us from our competitors who just put the basics supplied by manufacturers and why we are near the top of the Google rankings… but I was wrong.  So that means I’ve a huge amount of measuring, weighing and photographing to do before February.  Unfortunately OGL who supply our finance system ProfitItplus have been incredibly unhelpful in finishing their API for data exchange, but fortunately we have a fall back option and everything is still on track for February.

We have a number of new products that I’ve been very slowly adding to the site – there is a great range of new PET cake boxes (photo above) ready to go up as soon as I’ve finished preparing the photographs I took last week. It is currently one of our peak times at C4U so I also spent a few hours in the warehouse putting stock away whilst the rest of the team were coping with the landslide of orders.  The seasonality of the business has always struck me as slightly bonkers and impossible to have the right resources available for all areas, but there is not a lot we can do about it.  Only a few more weeks and then it is low season until Easter next year (hence why we do our major projects between now and then!) and all our mince pie boxes are tucked away for another year.

I’ve also been doing a fair amount of work on the new J & J Air Systems web site where we’ve doubled the traffic since its relaunch, along with the enquires. In addition to the CodePath tool I bought for the SellerDeck extraction above, I also renewed my subscription to Screaming Frog SEO tool, I did a blog post on my Chalfont Web Design to cover that. Some good news on this front was that I had a successful ballot application for a ticket to BrightonSEO in April 2019.  Love going there and absorbing the best techniques and what is coming up in the future, it really is insightful.  We still also use the services of a dedicated SEO company for Cater For You for the really technical areas, but there is so much that most web sites can do easily to improve their rankings relatively easily.

Amersham Hospital ParkingI popped into Amersham hospital this week to have a blood test to check up on my Psoriatic Arthritis numbers and was staggered how busy it was and how much it cost.  For the first 30 minutes it is free, but after that it was £3.50 for the next 2 1/2 hours.  I would have preferred to use Chalfont St Peter hospital as it is local and free parking, but unfortunately, a few years ago they scrapped the queuing system and they outsourced the booking of appointments, where the telephone line is open for 3 hours and it is normally engaged.  Surely that outsourcing cost would have been better employed paying the phlebotomist for another hour a day rather than a third party telephone service – it is almost like the local health authority are trying to make it difficult to be used and maybe close it due to under use.  Saying all that, I was lucky to get a space at Amersham, the queue as I left (two 1/2 hours later) was almost back to the main road.

CSE Bowling and Curry night out

So after a busy week, it was a busy weekend.  I was very lucky to be invited by a couple of my customers to Christmas do’s on Friday and Saturday.  The Friday was a pleasant evening out with the CSE Distributors team in High Wycombe bowling and then a great curry in the Chutney.  It has been ages since I went bowling and enjoyed it.  I also enjoyed spending some time with the CSE team too as I’ve not seen them for a while since they employed an excellent full time marketing person.

Saturday evening I was out with the fabulous Trading Depot team who have worked tremendously hard this year to keep up with the growth in the business.  It was a great night out at Windsor Race Course and parties organised by Best Parties Ever with acrobats, good food and decent disco afterwards.  The facilities were top notch, though not sure my Dad dancing was…