Posts Tagged beckenham

Sunday Column (441)

Another Monday morning. Yes, this time it is Monday. I am squeezed between two fellow train passengers on the way o London. The train is busy, smelly, and someone’s phone is pinging every other minute. Can’t people just silent their devices. It is sunny and I try to balance my ipad on my knees.

After a busy weekend, where I got exhausted planting some plants in the garden, uncovering more stones, roots and relics from the past under our lawn, I am on my way back to work. No travel abroad this week which is nice. However, today it feels a bit like bravery. After the attacks on Saturday, terrorism once again came closer to home. I was in London 2005. London and Manchester. London again. This wasn’t the last time someone decides to strike. Our police force arrived and shot the terrorists within 8 minutes. Wow. I am impressed. In a city where you normally need that time to get out of the tube, this is impressive. London is prepared. And we Londoners, even if I live outside London, are not impressed yet don’t let it bother us. Or maybe it is better phrased to say we are bothered but we don’t change – terrorism will never rule our lives. It cannot given the place we live, the life we live – we all have a common conscious of where we are. Multi cultural living. Different nationalities. Different races and religion. All that has nothing to do with terror. Former is beauty and sign of mankind growing up.

Life will move on. Different people are dealing with it in different ways. Some better, some worse. We had endless discussions this week with people in the office and out of the office. People that just care and are humans. The election this week, how was it influenced by recent events. One can only guess and for me, I soldier on. I will not back down.

In other news we moved 5 years ago. What does that really mean? 5 years ago we packed our 2 up 2 down house in Beckenham, Kent, 20 minutes train ride to either Victoria or Charing Cross or Waterloo and moved to the sticks. We gave up the awful parking in our street, the ‘no access’ to our 15 ft garden, the airplane noise and dirt in the streets to move to the country side. 8 years we lived in Beckenham. Various flats and then the house which we bought on the height of the market. We made a small loss, yet recovered by buying a 4 bedroom house in Hassocks. The South Downs on our door step, 10 minutes to Brighton, 30 minutes to a nice beach, mountain biking, running, lifestyle, villages, village markets, quiet, cul-de-sac, off street parking, and the list goes on. We never made a better choice yet in our lives. Yes, maybe we move again, never say never, but for the time being, and besides last week’s post on everything can change, as far as I can see, we going to be here for another 10 years. Let’s see of course, if I can cope with the 1.5 hour commute that long.

My wife did another half marathon this weekend. Well done her. She caught the running bug and I am mighty proud of her achievements. This one was a special one for her, and a special one for me, spending the whole weekend, and I took a half day on Friday, with the boys. Boy, did we have fun!

A few thoughts on the General Election before I finish. I cast my vote via post. I have always done that, as I never know what I am up to on the day. So no last influences on me. I am proud to finally be able to vote in the country I have lived in for so long. I vote strategically, hence I am not voting for any of the bigger parties. Then maybe I should have. Anyway, it is done. There is change. As I keep saying, and my mentor Darren Hardy, there is no constant in life and things are evolving, progressing every single day. Will we continue with Brexit? Will we have another election? Time will tell.

Hope you had a great weekend,
Volker

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Sunday Column (168)

What should I say. An eventful week has passed. Summing up the last weekend, we went to a Christening. It was a Catholic Christening and I still feel a bit awkward to go to Churches. I guess I have been a bit detached from religion if you don’t count Buddhism as one. Anyway, it was a great event, and a nice get together afterwards. I hope, once we move, that we stay in contact with all those fantastic people we met in Beckenham over the last 8 years.

We also got a new neighbour. I didn’t post about it as I didn’t want to be the first one announcing it. A fantastic occurence if you think about it. Whilst having two kids of my onw it is still a miracle thinking a new human being enters this world. I love it and still get a bit sentimental.

Nevertheless our two are more than enough work. Nothing warms my heart more than coming home from work or travel and getting big hugs, kisses and a play about with the boys. I absolutely love and adore them!

I travelled to Milan this week and got a chance to read more of the Joan Baez biography. Page by page I realise what kind of world she used to live in. Segregation, inequality between races and genders. I actually cried a bit when she described her relationship with Dr. King. Those hippies set out to change the world, not to become super rich. Their motivation was “to make a dent” in the universe, nothing else.

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Have you thought about the values you are living for? More money, bigger car or bigger house? It doesn’t work like that. It never will. Attachment and greed will ruin our society. Nothing about earning more money, being more successful but at some point you have to stop and think about it. Are a couple hundred more a month worth the additional hassle you have to put in? I guess it depends which level you are talking about but stop and think about it for a moment. Happiness comes from within not out of your wallet.

Making this impact I described above drives me on. Flying to the international offices and making a difference. I enjoy doing that. Having these 19 hours days collapsing at the end of the day with a satisfactory feeling. This is the dent I am making at the moment. On the exact opposite end I enjoy turning everything off during my flight and just relax. That can work wonders too!

Taking these powernaps at 30,000 ft. I love doing that. The 10 minutes after lunch or on the couch on a Saturday afternoon after the boys woke you up at 5:30 again. I guess I am lucky I can do that ๐Ÿ™‚

We all followed the Facebook IO on Friday. Isn’t it fascinating that a social media network is worth so much money by the input we all provide. Should we not all have a bit of a share package? After all if we all withdraw our membership Facebook would be worth nothing. Interesting thought, no?

Anyway. Just when I left work on Friday someone stopped me in the street saying “Volker, you remember me? You interviewed me last year.” I didn’t remember him. He thought I was arrogant admitting it and saying he could add me on Linkedin. Crazy. I normally have a good memory but over the last 12 months I met so many people for interviews and business, how could I possibly remember who is who. I guess I was right (arrogant again) to not employ him, as he obviously didn’t make any lasting impression on me.

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We spend the weekend on a 3rd birthday party and a school party down in Hassocks. I got some sun and we finished the day with a curry in our local restaurant. We cannot wait to move. Hopefully we finally exchange contracts on Monday. Fingers and toes crossed.

Have a great week.

Best wishes,
Volker

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Sunday Column (127)

Another week. I thought up until Wednesday, that this week would be as non-stressful as last week but Thursday and Friday hit me hard. I think the holiday season is over. However, in the meantime I got a lot of work done, lots of admin, got some reading and webinar listening done too. So all good. I also discovered a new productivity tool Evernote ๐Ÿ™‚

This summer is a funny one. Hot one day, rainy the next. My 30 day challenge not to drink is paying off. No bacon butties or ham & cheese croissants for breakfast, no cold sweat from lunchtime beers. It is weird not to drink but I noticed that I sleep so much deeper and better whilst I do fancy the relaxation a good glass of red brings with it on a Thursday or Friday night.

This week we found out that our old neighbour died at the age of 93. She was my first neighbour when I moved from Aberdeen to London, and she thought I was Scottish. When she found out that I was German, she got a bit funny. I later found out that she got bombed out three times in the war, was scared of Germans and her husband, being Canadian, served in the RAF. It took her some time to get used to me and by the time I moved away 18 months later we were good friends. That surely was also down to my (now) wife moving in, giving her a hand in the garden. She was a lovely old lady, left on her own by her family, lived in Beckenham, in Blandford Road, all her life. Bless her.

No one of us, particularly the ones with kids, hope to ever been abandoned by their children, to die alone. I am scared of it, but you never know what life puts ahead of you. At the moment I enjoy both boys very much and had a chance to bath and sort them both out on Thursday night. I don’t often get the chance, not that I ask for it too often as it is a lot of work, but on the odd occasion I enjoy it.

They are both in at a great stage. I think life could go on forever like that. Colin starts speaking, enjoys time with me, cuddling time with dad, and is so curious. Rohan just starts standing a bit and laughs all the time. Two so different characters but great personalities. As I stated on Facebook, I am very proud of them.

There weren’t any other highlights this week. I bought a few books, mainly personal development ones, I got geeky with my laptop and installed some Chrome apps & extensions, and we did a lot of thinking how we want to plan our life moving forward. But can you ever plan life?

This is a funny one, so I leave to philosophise about life for another time. I met an old mate again this weekend and his newborn son. We met with friends of Colin for a BBQ and caught up with lots of mums and dads.

How has life changed, ey? For the better of course, for the better ๐Ÿ™‚

Have a good week,
Volker

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Sunday Column (36)

This week ends with Halloween, also known as “day of the dead” in Mexico. Hence we had two pumpkins this year.

pumpkin The first pumpkin was a rather normal one. A bit shaped like a pear but generally ok. So let’s have a look back at the week.

Work seems rather busy but nothing that sticks out as being a big project. I expect things to kick off any day and getting really busy. So fingers crossed for that. Monday after work I went to meet someone to network and find out more about the industry from a different perspective.

I love digital marketing but there are still some areas I need to learn more about. Whilst I continue to pick brains at work, I also try to meet people outside work to do the same.

Tuesday just passed whilst Wednesday was the highlight of the week. A whole day from Microsoft Advertising, imagine09, which allowed me to see the latest developments of bing, digital marketing, touch screen technology and the Microsoft phone. Wow! That is all I can say. I am sure there are plenty of detailed reviews about, so go and check them out. All I can say that Bill Buxton said that anything we see as an innovation has been around for about 10 to 20 years. That means that we already hold the innovation of tomorrow in our hands, it just might take another 5-10 years to realise it. And things are moving faster by the day. We finished the day with a few drinks and good chats!

Colin as Pumpkin Thursday I went to the Tai Chi as normal after work and realised that we almost finished the long form, that is our form from the Hine Institute of Tai Chi. We started in February and I am hopeful to finish the “mechanics of the form” in the next two weeks. If that is the case, we can polish them off, which means another 12 years ๐Ÿ™‚ It would just be such a great achievement.

On Friday, as mentioned, was a Halloween party, and we had our own pumpkin. Jenny, my wife, organised a get together with the babies from her baby and Yoga group. I got to meet them over at a house warming party on Saturday. Good to meet new people in Beckenham, particularly blokes that have babies and go through the same experience I do. Very good to compare notes.

We didn’t get much gardening done this weekend, but I made progress on the coaching side of things. I have another session next week. Later this week I will also publish a video from Anthony Robbins who I think is great!

Sunday was spent being lazy. We went swimming with the boy and he seemed to enjoy it. Overall it was a relaxing day.

Buddha or God bless weekends and time with the boy. What a fantastic week.

All the best from Beckenham,
Volker

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Sunday Column (22)

What an exciting week. My second full week in my new job and I am getting busy. Slowly but surely I am getting to a routine and getting things done. New leads, new friends and more fun. I am loving it! Really!!!

So what have I been doing outside work?

Monday was Hansel and Gretel’s first birthday. At night I went to a friend’s place and taught him some basic SEO techniques. Luckily he stopped me after 3 hours as I would have carried on, just scratching the surface of Social Media. Just by explaining others what I know, I notice how much I enjoy the idea of search and performance marketing in general. I always thought I wanted to change topics within the industry at some point and look into a more technology based products but I guess the “search fever” has taken over and I feel very comfortable and happy within this field. And, I am still learning daily!

The rest of the week just flew by. I feel tired, exhausted and run down. Because of the swine flu I am paranoid that it might be it but probably it is just tiredness paired with exhaustion. Basically sleeping 5 hours on average every night and not having weekends to catch up on sleep wears you down. They say that after 6 weeks babies get easier and sleep more. Fingers crossed. Still, my wife is the one who gets out at night, and I find it remarkable how she copes with that. I love her very much!

Saturday was very productive. I dug up a bucket (!) full of potatoes and about a dozen onions. potatoesIt is a great feeling to harvest what you grew yourself. It is great to know that you can grow enough food to survive. Maybe not this year though ๐Ÿ™‚ However, the carrots never grew properly, the remaining salad got too wet and didn’t look good. So the only things still growing are the courgettes and the broccoli. And, funny enough, tomatoes which I never planted in the first place. Very weird. Our beans are still trying to grow too but it doesn’t look too good ๐Ÿ™ We are getting lots of raspberries though.
I hope I take enough learning from that and plant less potatoes next year and give the carrots more space and light. Also, the garlic didn’t prosper, so I guess we need to buy some of our ingredients this winter.

To finish off a good a good day, and the warmest for 3 weeks, we had a BBQ at our neighbours. That was great, lots of vegetables and meat and wine ๐Ÿ™‚

On Sunday I donated a good amount to the guide dog charity. Why did I do that?
It is simple, we have a little Buddhist shrine where we donate little things, food (rice for example), water and money. shrine The latter we donate in 5 pounds steps, e.g. 5 gold coins. We have collected money for over 2 years and I donated money for my job hunt, for the health of my baby and my wife’s health, and so on. However, we thought, being so happy and feeling so fortunate in life, that we should take the money and donate it for a good cause.

Guide dogs is a charity that obviously helps blind people in two ways. Firstly it helps them getting around in everyday life but also it gives blind people a comrade and friend. I feel very strong about that because blindness is something I believe is very hard to cope with. So we felt very strong about donating that money towards this charity.

Also, we managed to speak to our neighbours who are harassed and bullied by some other neighbours in the street for wanting to get a planning submission for a new home. The plan does not seem too bad to me and I believe that if there is enough space that people should be able to build the home they like. Maybe we can help them achieving just that. So we wrote a letter to the council supporting their planning application. Hopefully not too late!

We also managed to say hello to one of our old neighbours. She is 93 and it was lovely to see her holding little Colin. I remember when we lived above her about 3 years ago. When she found out I was German, she wouldn’t talk to me for days because she got bombed out several times in the 2nd world war. It took some of my charm to convince her that I am not that bad and we are friends now. She was delighted to see the boy, my wife and even me! Bless her.

Next week shall be interesting, as I continue with some more tests in hospital on Thursday. Fingers crossed that is the final stretch of consultants to see.

Have a good week, be safe!

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Sunday Column (13)

Another week full of excitement. Where do I start? At the beginning I guess.

Besides a doctors appointment that started the week with some mixed feelings, I had a few meetings on Monday to find out more about my opportunities. As they say, “too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity. They seem to be more afraid of life than death“, I found that one on Twitter. And, on Tuesday nothing changed. More meetings, a proper interview and a lot of input on different areas of online marketing. All very helpful, but I am not much closer to my decision on what I want to do. As often, if you are put in a situation like myself where you have to find a new job to make a living, you tempt to go into a survival mode to find a job instead of doing what you like. I try to avoid that and early on got myself lots of information on what I could do and therefore the interviews I had and the ones that are coming up are going into the right direction. More about it hopefully next week.

On Tuesday night I met a friend and we went back to the Thai place I liked. As always it was good to catch up and see what she is up to and how her business develops. Self-employment is still on the cards but I think that is something I can pursue later in life too. Not sure yet, but maybe it is too early?

I had to go back for another back massage on Wednesday. If you remember, I twisted my back when I had the man flu and ever since then I cannot straighten it 100% and it still hurts. My massage therapist says it takes up to 4 weeks to heal. No gym, no exercise, no heavy lifting.

On Thursday I managed to go to Tai Chi after I met a friend for lunch. Again, she had lots of useful inputs and useful things to tell me. Having a great network of friends and colleagues helps in times of these and beyond ๐Ÿ˜‰

Saturday (after a slow Friday) was great. Jen and I went to Bromley to buy a present for one of our friends who gave birth this week. We are getting very excited and it won’t be long until Colin Heinrich Ballueder will be amongst us. It is as if he is already there, engaged and all, ready to come out. However, he is not here yet but won’t be long ๐Ÿ™‚ Night time we spend with our neighbours and had a great BBQ. We could sit outside until after 10 pm although it was not too warm. We also had our first home grown radish and first home grown salad. Quite chuffed! If the link to the picture does not work, just go on my Facebook profile and see it there ๐Ÿ™‚

Now, today was another quiet day. Sitting and sleeping in the sun lounger, going for a walk and have another BBQ. We are very grateful to have a house, a garden and all what belongs to it. You sometimes forget how fortunate in life you are and then you need to take these 5 minutes and come back to where you are and remember yourself! For the BBQ we got ourselves some pork fillets and some big prawns. We might as well enjoy this bank holiday weekend. And, we should enjoy our time together until the little one arrives. Who knows, next week my update might come from the 3 of us.

Have a great bank holiday Monday and a successful week. Let’s hope that next week gets me closer to securing this job I always wanted!

Love and Happiness from us in Beckenham,
Volker

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Sunday Column (10)

What a week this was!

It all started normally with a “normal” Monday which was just that: a Monday with all the highs and lows of a day. Due to my continuous knee pain I cannot go to the gym but will see a doctor about that next week again.

Tuesday the news was broken to me and my colleague that our company closes down the London office. Whilst I was given the option to go to York to work in our head office, this is not a good option for me. However, I will wait for the exact information to find out what package will be offered before I make any final decisions.

So from Wednesday it was all about tidying up my CV and sending it out to my network and contacting some Recruitment Consultants. It isn’t really the best time to be on the hunt for a new job. The economy is in a recession, our baby on its way, and it was my Birthday this week too. But, I guess there is only one way: forward; and I am confident to come out of it stronger than before.

Thursday and Friday were pre-booked holidays. It was my Birthday and I celebrated into it with my neighbour down in the Tapas Bar in Beckenham. Out of my Birthday was celebrated with my friends of my Tai Chi class.

On Thursday itself I finally found myself a nice new jacket which did not need any alteration. So it was all good. My wife took me to the Mandarin Oriental in London for a lovely lunch. That was fantastic and brought back all the lovely memories of our honeymoon. Thank you so much for the day.

Friday & Saturday: My Leibfuchs Volker from my German fraternity Franconia Darmstadt came up to London for his stag night. I arrived home again on Saturday night, after a pub crawl and London night clubs…..not really used to that anymore. Neither the boozing nor the late nights. But it was really enjoyable and I hope Volker and the boys enjoyed it too. They seemed like they did ๐Ÿ˜‰

Today I am chilling. Obviously polishing my CV, preparing things for the anticipation of next week. With the bank holiday tomorrow, this gives me plenty of time to be in top shape again on Tuesday.

Here is what I looked like today at our Sunday stroll through the park:

Volker Ballueder

I somewhat think it is going to be an exhausting night.

So, if you read that and have a position or know someone who does have a position as a Business Development Director or Manager, with responsibility for people, e.g. Head of Sales and Marketing or Team Leader in a larger organisation, please let me know. This position should be based in London. I am more than happy to look into country manager positions to start up a new VC backed company or helping a company to launch in Germany. So please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you and have a lovely Sunday night.
Volker

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Pictures of the snow in London, Beckenham

Hello,

Here is a link to the pictures from yesterday’s snow chaos!

Amazing.

Pictures of London, Beckenham snow chaos

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some pictures of snow in London

Btw, if you open the picture you can see my head ๐Ÿ™‚ Sorry, still learning how to use the wordpress.org CMS properly.

Volker

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Restaurant Review – Mello

I wanted to add some more restaurant reviews.

This one is for Mello, a restaurant in Beckenham.

We went there last night, four of us, and I have to say, this award winning place is amazing. The interior is not as posh as you would expect it to be. Too much pink for my liking with some nice warm coloured pictures/decoration to brighten it up. The setting is great with crystal glasses.

The service is friendly and attentive as well as knowledgeable about the wine. Since the four of us could not decide which wine to choose, we just got 2 bottles, 2 for 2.

The Chianti Classico was medium dry (as suggested) and less typical of a Chianti Classico. The Echeverria Merlot was just perfect for a Chilean Merlot; I am quite curious to try the Echeverria Cabernet Sauvignon which I bought in Harrods yesterday. Harrods has a fabulous wine selection, however, for my liking, too much on the Bordeaux/French side of things.

So much about the wine. The pre-starter was a mushroom soup, homemade of course, and absolutely delicious, very creamy.

As chosen starters we had:

  • Poached pear & blue cheese salad with rocket leaves & walnut dressing
  • Pressed chicken & foie gras terrine with crushed apple & toasted brioche
  • Shiitake mushroom & broad beans salad with pan fried quail egg & mushroom dressing
  • Tian ofย  Cornish crab, Morecambe bay shrimp with sweet pepper puree, crushed avocado & toasted rye bread

Main courses consisted of:

  • Assiette of pork with creamed cabbage, apple puree, prune & Calvados jus
  • Pan roast fillet of English beef with creamed spinach, potato rosti & oxtail croquettes
  • Pan roast rump of lamb with braised Puy lentils, caramelized onion wild mushroom, aubergine caviar & red wine jus

Absolutely great. The oxtail croquettes were special, something I have never tried before. Then, the lamb was a little bit stringy, so not as tender as suggested. However, the beef and pork were amazing. Nothing to compare it to and nothing else to say but absolutely stunning!

So, overall, an amazing place to take people, to go yourself and treat yourself.

Mello also offers gourmet nights, something surely worthwhile doing.

Average price I would suggest around ยฃ50 per person including wine.

Enjoy and let me know if you liked it.

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