Watercolours to raise funds for DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal

Since posting the blog below, five of the eight new paintings have been snapped up! Many thanks to the five purchasers. That leaves numbers 5, 6 and 7 unsold (see the list below). I have also added two new ones: ‘Silver Birch in the snow’, £80 and ‘The Road to John Piper’s House’ also £80. Both paintings are mounted and framed (my images show them before they were mounted and framed) and both paintings are slightly bigger than A4 size. […]

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The U3A Meeting

People arrived looking apprehensive, not quite sure what they’d let themselves in for.  They were welcomed by a cheerful lady who showed them where to put their coats and introduced herself as Belinda, their self-appointed convenor. ‘Thank you all for coming,’ she beamed.  ‘I’ve been recuperating after a short stay in hospital, a minor procedure, I’ll spare you the details.  Thankfully my surgeon assured me I could count on a few more years and, while I lay there contemplating what […]

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Short story: The Awayday

They’d held their annual company awayday at the same hotel for many years, apart from last year when the hotel had been closed for a major refurbishment. ‘I’ve checked out the hotel.  You’ll find quite a few changes,’ the managing director’s PA warned.  ‘It takes a bit of getting used to.’ ‘What sort of changes?’ Sir Cedric asked, not looking up as he busied himself signing a sheaf of letters with his favourite fountain pen.  It had a nib he […]

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Weaknesses

Some years ago (in 2008) I wrote a paperback about the advantages of strengthening your strengths as opposed to overcoming your weaknesses.  There were (still are!) many reasons why focusing on strengths is preferable to struggling with weaknesses and, not surprisingly, in my book I rattled off a good many of them.  Here are just four: Greater gains – improving something you are already good at transforms your performance whereas striving to improve something you are not good at will […]

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Short Story: The Guide

Basil had no idea that anyone had complained.  As far as he was aware, his customers had always been enthralled, gathering round  to catch his every word above the background noise of passing traffic, laughing appreciatively at his well-rehearsed jokes.  But a curt email conveyed the bad news: someone had accused him of making insensitive and offensive remarks.  Insensitive and offensive — not just one, but both! Appalled, Basil read the email again.  Apparently, an unidentified person or persons had […]

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Short Story: The Journal

This is weird.  Hang on, I wonder if that’s a fact or a feeling?  It certainly feels weird so I guess it’s a feeling.  But if it feels weird, doesn’t that make it a fact, as far as I’m concerned?  But if it’s a fact for me, but not for anyone else, surely it’s just a feeling?  Oh hell, I knew I’d get myself tied up in knots.  Still, as a colleague at work used to say, ‘If you don’t […]

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Short story: The Silver

Every Christmas Eve my father polished the silver.  It was an annual ritual he appeared to relish, though it was hard to be certain, since my father was an undemonstrative man.  He always followed the same routine.  First he would prepare by covering the kitchen table with newspaper and then donning an apron and a pair of rubber gloves. Next, one by one, he’d retrieve the tureens, platters and candelabra from the depths of the dining room sideboard, place them […]

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The Switch

Dr Noel Palmer, a retired academic, 85 years of age, slightly hard of hearing and renowned for being polite and mild tempered, had banked with the same bank for over 50 years.  He was unadventurous when it came to banking, just as he was to most things, and had never  been brave enough to venture into online banking.  He was content with setting up direct debits for regular payments and writing cheques for everything else.  He found it comforting to […]

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Short story: The Shadow

He prided himself on leading an orderly life.  Stephen was a successful businessman who ran his own publishing company.  The publications were all of the self-help, ‘you can do it if you really want to’ pop psychology genre.  There were paperbacks about healthy eating, healthy exercising, healthy breathing, healthy relaxation, healthy sex and healthy brains.  The books sold well and Stephen’s company flourished.  Remarkably, Stephen, in his mid-fifties, even practised what he preached.  He rose early, grinned at himself in […]

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Short story: The Success Predictor

He felt exhilarated, confident he’d got it made.  Like a trainspotter witnessing a lovingly restored steam engine emerging from its shed, he knew perfection when he saw it. Most people would have thought that breaking free from the Institute, with its job-for-life security and badge of respectability, was a rash move.   But George Silvester, not yet 30, was never given to self-doubt.  ‘Are you quite sure you want to do this?’ the Principal asked, having just read George’s letter of […]

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Latest Article

Meetings, lovely meetings!

I see that meetings are getting a bad press again.  A new survey has found that nearly a million people spend half their working week in meetings and that at least a third of that time is wasted waiting for late-comers. Waiting for late-comers is crazy; it punishes the people who have taken the trouble to arrive on time and fails to inconvenience those who haven’t.   Indeed, waiting for late-comers actually trains people not to arrive on time; why bother […]

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Latest Blog

Watercolours to raise funds for DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal

Since posting the blog below, five of the eight new paintings have been snapped up! Many thanks to the five purchasers. That leaves numbers 5, 6 and 7 unsold (see the list below). I have also added two new ones: ‘Silver Birch in the snow’, £80 and ‘The Road to John Piper’s House’ also £80. Both paintings are mounted and framed (my images show them before they were mounted and framed) and both paintings are slightly bigger than A4 size. […]

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So far as other people are concerned, you are your behaviour