Coming 2nd isn’t on the agenda

The parallels between sport and business aren’t always clear. But Netflix’s outstanding Drive to Survive offers more than its fair share. Now in its 4th series, the main characters are well established, and Red Bull’s Christian Horner is, without doubt, the documentary’s steely-eyed missile-man. Staring straight into the camera and with a menace that would […]

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What’s your favourite logo?

A couple of months ago, the Bank of England (BoE) proudly unveiled its new logo. And all for a cool £51,594.49p An oddly specific number, you might think. But was it worth it? If you are keen to tick boxes like accessibility, inclusivity, and equality, then the BoE will probably tell you it’s money well […]

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If …

Waiting for our train on the platform last Saturday I couldn’t help but notice how people were whiling away their time. Almost everyone was glued to their phones as if even a momentary loss of signal would ruin their day. A scene which made me smile as I recalled how Rudyard Kipling is said to […]

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Pride comes before a fall …

After a long dismal winter, Spring has well and truly sprung. Lambs gambol in the fields, the cherry blossom is bursting out in hedgerows all around, and crops in the fields are greening up as the sun puts its hat on and comes out to play. Our lives run at such a hectic pace that […]

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All the world’s a stage …

Shakespearean scholars are very fond of debating his many works. One chap I once knew would spout endless lines of King Lear at the slightest hint of an audience which was when I’d usually head for the hills. But whilst we know a great deal about the great bard’s work, surprisingly little is known about […]

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Three notes, one word, and a lesson from 1975 …

Despite being released almost 50 years ago, the original Jaws movies still have the power to send a shiver down the spine. After all, who would decide to go for a spot of light surfing off Bondi Beach alone without saying a little prayer? Everything in the film is designed to create terror and suspense. […]

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An apple a day …

For some, the first day of Spring is the Vernal Equinox. For others, it’s the meteorological 1st of March. For the equine world, it’s the glorious spectacle of national hunt racing at Cheltenham. But for me, it’s apple tree pruning before my collection of Bardsey, Bramley, Nant Gwrtheyrn and Anglesey Pig Snouts burst into life. […]

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Make my day …

If just one order came in today, what would you want it to be? The type of order that would make your day. Last year I was asked that same question and unhesitatingly answered; a “Self- Published Book” Well, where are they featured on your website? Cue much embarrassing shuffling of feet whilst my steam-powered […]

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Ink that wrote our history

Any of us can go out today and purchase an ink cartridge – pretty simple task, right? In fact, we use a dry toner that arrives following an automated alert from our presses, which is about as effortless as it can be. But it wasn’t always that easy. Centuries ago, it had to be made […]

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Drive to Survive

If you’ve not seen Netflix’s “Drive to Survive” I wholeheartedly recommend it. The fly on the wall documentary peeks behind the glamorous veil of Formula 1, its drivers, cars, team principles. You can almost smell the petrol as the cameras record the fast-moving action – on and off the track. Its detractors say, however, that […]

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Waiting for Godot …

A wet shave is undoubtedly one of life’s great luxuries. And whilst we wouldn’t like to admit it, sourcing the right product is something which should never be rushed. Great time and attention are given over to this daily ritual without which we simply can’t face the day’s many trials and tribulations. After all, can […]

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Ya wee timorous beastie

You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to know that the world can be a dangerous place. Even if you’ve only got half an ear tuned into the news there’s always some alarming development around the globe. Today it’s on the Russian/Ukrainian border. Tomorrow it’ll be somewhere else. But if you really want to experience […]

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Cranking it up to the max

The business pages in the Sunday newspapers don’t tend to be a barrel of laughs, do they? Let’s be honest, the articles as dry as chalk dust baked under the burning sun of the Kalahari Desert – I half expect to find tumbleweed rolling across the breakfast table. They are not the most uplifting of […]

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Emergency Stop

I just about remember doing an emergency stop in my driving test. It wasn’t much fun but, hey, I passed. What WAS fun, though, was learning to drive in an old Morris 8 out in the fields. The petrol tank had been removed for safety reasons, but we lashed a half-gallon mower fuel tank to […]

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Little Hinges Swing Big Doors

Made any New Year’s resolutions? Me neither. Save for one. I’m done with rushing around trying to change the world around me. Stick at it religiously and by the end of the year you feel like a slither of giant alien leeches have sucked the lifeblood out of you. I mean, boy does it take […]

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A heart stopping moment or collector’s item?

Printing errors: brown-trouser moments or collectors’ items? Anyone who has ordered print will know that goolie shrivelling experience when they spot a printing error … Sometimes it’s a nasty typo. Just try typing Shire and realising two weeks too late that you’ve hit the adjacent “t” key instead of “r” by mistake and you’ll know […]

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Don’t tell me it’s gone up again!

Paper merchants have been overdosing on blue smarties of late – or so it seems. Barely a week goes by without some hyperactive shroud-waving spokesperson announcing another double-digit increase in paper prices. And with fuel, timber, and just about anything you can think of ramping up in price, I do wonder what is really going […]

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A message from outer space …

I started my day like any other – with a cup of tea as I read through my emails. Everything was hunky-dory until my eyes gazed upon this subject line: “Access Type for Print Parameter and Proposal” Mystified but recognising the sender I thought I’d better take a look and find out more. Dear Business […]

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Patting your head and rubbing your tummy …

Patting your head and rubbing your tum at the same time is a game as old as the hills. I’ll be honest – I never mastered it. Some say it’s a learned behaviour but, to be honest, life’s too short and I’ve got better things to do. But the brain’s ability to process and send signals […]

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I’m sure I came in here for something…

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve rushed from one room to another to fetch something vital … and then completely forgotten what I was looking for. Some might call it amnesia and others absent-mindedness, but a scientist recently ventured that it was nothing of the sort … His theory was that as […]

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The best way to plan for tomorrow …?

Marathon runners feel it at around 18 miles. A wall of pain that feels like you’ll never break through it. But one foot at a time, you do. Work can be a bit like that too, sometimes. Last week my right-hand man was off for a well-deserved week away and I hit my 18-mile barrier […]

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A touch of sightseeing in Kabul, anyone?

For most of us, the holidays are over. Come rain or shine we’ve hit the road and explored the highways and byways of our beautiful countryside like we’ve never done before. The more intrepid have braved flights to foreign lands suffering the anguished 11th hour “will we”, “won’t we go”, verdicts determined by the travel […]

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Brain teasing word spaghetti …

To an expert, Sudoku is a mildly testing brain workout. To a beginner, it’s a devilishly testing unfathomable puzzle. But to all its devotees it’s like a highly addictive narcotic. Once you’ve had your first fix, you’re hooked. Historians believe that it originated in India or China in around 900AD, but it was the genius […]

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Taking the hump …

A good racing camel can reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. And watching one close-up in full flight is an unnerving experience. Poetry in motion they are not. Sitting atop one of nature’s more ungainly creatures as it breaks the speed limit must be rather like a ride on Oblivion at Alton […]

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Whitewashing the coal cellar …

Let’s be honest, we’ve all done it. With too much to do and not enough time to do it that webinar you signed up for bites the dust. It sounded interesting at the time but right now it feels as attractive as sawing off your right foot. You send your apologies saying that unfortunately, you […]

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Clarkson’s Farm …

Euro 2020 might have been dominating the TV schedules recently but there’s something else on the telly which has been doing something quite remarkable. Clarkson’s Farm. Whilst Amazon won’t reveal any viewing figures, all they’ll say is that it’s definitely moved the needle. Management-speak for the numbers have leapt off the graph and are heading […]

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Trebles all round …

I think it’s fair to say that I’d probably be the world’s worst court witness. If asked about my whereabouts at 10:30am on the Monday before last, I wouldn’t have a clue and would probably pass a lie detector test to prove it. But whilst recent experiences are often lost in a misty haze I […]

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The Fear Bubble

For some, fear is jumping out of a plane for the first time and hoping to heck that the bundle of material strapped to your back is going to open before you hit terminal velocity. For others, it might be potholing and trying to ignore the millions of tons of rock above your head and […]

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Selling lawn mowers to high-rise flat owners …

It’s best to check first. Who you are sending promotional material to, I mean. And, more importantly, what you are trying to sell to them. Marketeers are always blathering on about how important it is to segment our lists. And I guess we all sort of know what they mean but nothing makes the point […]

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Repetition is the key …

An unexpected run of eye operations has led to some enforced and unwelcome time away from my desk. And whilst Audible is my trusted companion of choice during any down-time, the telly has provided some light relief – especially when concentration levels fall to the level of a 5-year-old who’s just gorged on a ton […]

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Held to ransom …

The Pepperoni and Chorizo wood-fired pizza we ordered from a local restaurant recently was lipsmackingly delicious and definitely one to order again. But it very nearly didn’t happen. It had come by recommendation so with the weekend coming up I jumped on to the restaurant’s website and searched high and low – but any mention […]

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The “spiritual” power of print …

Pilgrims have long trodden the path to holy places and surprisingly, these routes are more popular today than in medieval times. Although today as many travel to escape their hectic lives for a period of self-reflection as they do for religious reasons. Routes around the world abound. Destinations range as far afield as Tibet or […]

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Einstein defined it perfectly …

Scientists may be able to split the atom over breakfast or explain how much a neutron weighs – even if it is in largely unintelligible language. But they aren’t best known for crafting an adept turn of phrase. But Einstein was different. Not only was he a genius but he understood human behaviour. Never more […]

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39 years and four days ago, today

Shortly before midnight on the 30th of April 1982 Flight Lieutenant Martin Withers gently eased forward his four throttle levers. The four giant Olympus engines behind him began to howl in response and all 93.75 tons of XM607 gently started to roll down the runway. Their target; Port Stanley airfield on the Falkland Islands. As […]

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What business are you really in?

Ask anyone what business they’re in and you’ll hear replies like hospitality, manufacturing, construction, sales. Delve a little deeper and depending on how good a conversationalist you are, and you might get as far as an outside events manager, supply chain management or senior buyer. Hmm? We might be getting a little warmer but not […]

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Are you asking the right questions …

Albert Einstein once said: ‘If I had one hour to solve a problem and my life depended on finding a solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask. For once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.” Our lives may not […]

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Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

There are three types of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics – so said Benjamin Disraeli. But then, he hadn’t heard about Google Analytics. Packed full of stats and overflowing with real-world information your first dip into Analytics can be a bit daunting. But there’s no need to wrap a hot towel around your head […]

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Terrible table manners …

Watch any professional tea taster, or wine taster at work and the amount of slurping and gurgling would put a toddler to shame. You can imagine the fearsome scolding from a parent as a toddler polishes off their juice with a lip-smacking relish sucking up as much air as they do liquid. These terrible table […]

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Catch me a Tiger …

In deepest rural Dorset there’s a rather large shed. Tucked up safely inside is one of the deadliest weapons of World War 2. The Tiger tank. Sure, the tank is interesting but how it was captured and brought from Tunisia to London is one of the war’s most epic tales. The Tiger was one of […]

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Have you got the keys to the Rolls …?

“I never invent anything, because inventors go broke.” So said, Sir Frederick Henry Royce, he of Rolls Royce fame, to anyone who would listen. When we think of this most famous of marques, Rolls is the name which usually springs to mind. But it was Sir Henry Royce who was the engineering genius behind their […]

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Is Professor Brian Cox thick?

Is Professor Brian Cox thick? The professor of particle physics in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Manchester? Of course not! The guy’s a genius. But the interesting thing is that he only got a D in Maths at school. This is the guy who could split the atom while he’s […]

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Who cares about your logo …?

Honestly, who really cares about your logo? And I wonder if anyone asked the Royal British Legion before they splashed out close to £100,000 on their new logo and endured an alarming flurry of brickbats last week for their troubles. I bet they wished they’d never bothered. Sure, we all want to show it off […]

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50 Shades of Grey it is not …

Lockdown may be wearing a bit thin but one its blessings has been a little more time to curl up and get lost in a good book. Tales of adventure, derring-do, travel, history – all there for us to lose ourselves in whatever magical moments of me-time we’re lucky enough to grab. One mighty tome […]

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Are we nearly there yet …?

On a balmy summer’s afternoon in 1977, Voyager 2 sat quivering on its Cape Canaveral launchpad.   Everyone at Mission Control on hyper-alert, the myriad systems all in contact with each other and all totally focused on the serene form waiting patiently on the launch pad for the command to go.    At 14:29 precisely […]

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