Posts Tagged weather

Sunday Column (497)

Whilst I am not sure what the main highlights were this week, yet surely England playing in the World Cup would be one of them. A stellar performance beating Columbia, finally winning a penalty shootout in a World Cup. The nation deserves a good football result in the World Cup, it would surely boost its confidence and get the nation closer together. And we are on our way to bring it home, what a great game against Sweden as well.

I know, we Brits always complain about the weather. But seriously, we are not used to good weather, heat waves and that lasting for more than 4 weeks! We are blessed somewhat with a proper summer this year, however I find it too warm and too muggy and just not very pleasant. 15 degrees, sunshine, that’s all I would ask for. Then next summer it will be all wet, raining all the time. I bet you, we will complain again 😉

Then, I spent another two days in Germany this week with one of my contracts. Not only do I get the feeling that I can help, it also makes me think about Germany. What is it like to live there? Could I ever consider it again? And one of the conversations I had was about ‘the lost generation’, a phrase I coined a while back, and I wrote about ‘my Germany’ before on this blog, and you find a few reviews when you search for it. The generation I am talking about, and I am not 100% sure you can nail it down to specific years, but if I had to I’d say people born 1975-1979. A generation heavily influenced by the generation that lived through the war, or was born during or just after the war. People that heavily influenced your upbringing based on old views of the world. Yet the generation is also heavily influenced by what came after, a Germany open to foreigners, growing up with a large Turkish community for instance. A multi cultural, open Germany. So having found someone who understood my theory of sitting in between the young, integrated and the old influencer society, was nice. I truly enjoyed chatting about the feeling and meaning of ‘being German’ and how it has influenced our decisions to e.g. move abroad, travel or explore other homes outside the fatherland.

You can see I still have strong bonds to Germany and interesting enough met someone too, who has done the opposite swap: moving to Germany from the UK due to finding love there. And those are the reverse stories of myself, the stories life writes. I like to look at all of them at some point and tell them to people. I think there are so many great stories surrounding a closer Europe. As I mentioned before I went through a lot of interviews with French people recently in my job search, and I enjoyed every bit of it. Isn’t it great, a united, borderless Europe. Now, there was this thing called Brexit, wasn’t there? Don’t get me started.

So a thoughtful week, an intense week, a very warm week. A good week though, it was good to have the conversations I had, the emails I sent and received. I could have slept more, particularly the hotel I was in, but that’s part of a travelling job. I slept a lot over the weekend trying to make up for it. It is what it is, and I enjoy it, which is nice. I love seeing the progress and how things just fall into place. Buddha bless.

And next week? Another trip, another start, and hopefully it all falling into place.

Wish me luck, you can never have enough of it.

Cheers,
Volker

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Sunday Column (488)

Wowsers. A sunny first bank holiday weekend in May. When did that happen the last time? The BBQ is out, the kids are playing outside, we get the garden in order, be on our bikes, playing football….life is good it seems.

May. Who would have guessed a year ago that this is the date I started another contract work, rather than a full time position. It’s been a h* of a ride but for now I am looking to settle in a couple of contracts and see where the journey goes. My preferred choice is still to do a full time, permanent role, and maybe a contract might lead to that, but as anything in life, you just have to go for it. Things always work out in the end, and contracting isn’t as bad as I thought it might be. I am learning a whole lot about setting up a Ltd., tax, VAT and general business contracts. I am also enjoying more flexibility and freedom, but I am also always on the hunt for something new. Life is funny, and whenever I speak to companies recently, most wait with recruitment until they have had a couple of weeks business after GDPR, the new data regulation coming into play at the end of May, in order to assess the full impact. So contracting is a good thing at the moment, yet of course I’d love to settle into a permanent job again. There aren’t many at the moment though.

In days of Facebook and Instagram people rely too much on social media to remind them about people’s birthdays. Personally, I always made an effort to wish people I care about a happy birthday and put it into my personal calendar. I deleted my birthday notifications from all social channels, so unless you are like me, you will forget. It also saves me getting loads of messages from people I hardly know. It is nice to hear from friends, even if it is a short message or a five minute call, to know they are thinking of you. Separating the true friends from the ones that are not. I was very chuffed to get the calls I did and also, from my wife, a lovely Buddha head that I was hoping to put in the garden for a while. I honestly didn’t think she would agree, but she did. It looks lovely I’d say.

So another year older, more work, more things happening. Where will we be a year from now? Brexit is looming and I am a bit scared of what is there to come. Feeling a bit under the weather this week, particularly on Monday with the horrendous rain, the question of the weather and it affecting the mood has to be asked. Where do we want to be? The change towards the weekend was lovely of course. A wedding reception on Friday night standing outside until late at night.

But is it the culture that’s more important than the weather, job security vs. uprooting the kids. We are at a stage in life where maybe we have all the flexibility and all the necessity to change things all over again. Re-shuffle your cards, deal them new and see what you get.

There are a lot of thoughts around a variety of topics as you can see. But I feel good, and for the first time in months I had a few good night sleeps. Things happen for a reason.

Have a lovely rest weekend,
Volker

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Sunday Column (484)

Easter is over. I don’t really enjoy Easter generally, and this one was just miserable weather wise and being a non-believer, it doesn’t have any meaning for me. Unlike Christmas, which for me marks the end of the year with a new beginning. Besides Easter was far too early this year. And it was raining for the most of it this year. Anyway, it is over and I look forward to summer – if it ever comes. We did have a few great days last week, so fingers crossed this will continue. The car needs a proper wash and the garden some doing too.

Life moved on this week, things come and go, and opportunties come and go. I am a bit fed up but enjoy the moment, the contract work I am doing and the time I can spend with the boys. I had to take a day off this week feeling under the weather, and have a few days off next week to spend with the boys whilst the wife is back at work. Life is in constant change. Let’s see what the next week brings.

One day this week it was nice to be on the train coming home in daylight, after 7 pm. It was actually very nice, as the sun was setting, a beautiful light and a calmness. The train was a bit emptier than usual, as a lot of people were still on Easter holidays I assume. It was one of those nights, where the mood from nature took over, I had little to catch up on and just relaxed. I guess it was almost an enjoyable train journey where I tried out a new app I downloaded, called Subliminal. One can choose different themes of underlying, subliminal, messages like ‘attracting opportunities’ or ‘attracting a male/female’ or ‘being more confident’. The messaging cannot be heard but are within the music and tunes. Really weird, but I was keen on trying it out for a month before subscribing. It reminds me of ‘alpha waves’ I used to listen to in order to concentrate better when I was at uni. Not sure that got me the good degrees, but maybe it helped. Love the idea of subliminal messaging, and tunes to relax and perform better. The ways our brain works, the law of attraction (LOA).

I am reading this book at the moment called ‘Brain Chains’ (BrainChains: Your thinking brain explained in simple terms. Full of practical tools, tips and tricks to improve your efficiency, creativity and … email, social media, lack of sleep and stress) and it is highly fascinating. It looks at how our brain works and how we are able to influence how it works. E.g. the way we structure our day and life, with always checking our phone for emails and messages, the whole information overload, does have an impact on how our brain performs. And some tasks are just not made for our brains either, multitasking is a big no-go. We have less of a disconnected life and less of a relaxed life, we chill out less often. Reading this book, I am trying to consciously change some of my daily routines to ensue my brain capacity is actually increasing rather than decreasing. That goes in line with the above subliminal messaging. We must use science to improve what we are doing and how we are doing things, in a way to constantly better ourselves. I couldn’t sit still for a moment, could I 🙂 And, as you know, I am doing the same with sleep, which again has a huge impact on brain performance.

People can think what they want whether exercise is good if you feel under the weather. On Thursday morning I went for a 7.5K run after going to bed with a hot tottie at 8:30 pm the night before. And I had energy. So much energy and felt so good, almost a spring in my step all day. Of course it wore off during the day and as daily things take over, this is just the way it goes. But spring must be in the air, and running ‘away’ my virus seems to work. Onwards and upwards.

Then my parents came for a ‘second Easter’ if you like. So besides the usual wine shipment they brought sweets and stayed a couple days longer, e.g. they are still here at time of publishing. It is nice to get everyone together and exchange ideas, see the kids spend time with the grandparents and have a good time. Good food, enjoying the moment and making the most of the time we have.

I am a bit sentimental this week, not sure if that’s due to the weather, or just the general mood. It feels we have been stuck in a world for the past 2 months now that could be worth living for, yet isn’t sustainable long run. And the learning from that is amazing, interesting, scary and relevant all together.

Where next?

Volker

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Sunday Column (477)

Here we go again. Another week. Half term and we had the MIL and her partner here, which was great for them to take over some of the child duties. My wife managed to work and I went to do some work on stuff too. No news on the job front yet, still waiting to hear, working on a pipeline – this is a full time sales position where I am the product and the more people know about my job search, the better. So please spread the word and if you know anyone seeking a senior commercial person, let me know!

Whilst I have been out of a job, the real job hunt has only just started, thanks to Christmas it has been a slow start. Not a good time for redundancy but a brilliant time to spend with the family and clear your head and understand what life is all about for you. Not wanting to play down the challenges that come with redundancies, but it has helped me to bring more focus to my life, and also everyone always says something better comes out of it. And I believe this is because you have to start thinking about what you really want. What is it you love? What is it you enjoy doing? What is important to you? A fascinating exercise and a journey full of fun and discovery. Not always easy though, but with the right mindset and support, it can be useful too.

I am about to put out another podcast this week, and the podcast keeps me busy. With two more recordings scheduled for next week, a few in the pipeline, this is a part time job. And it is so much fun, to really find out what success is all about. And how hard success is and why money doesn’t matter. This is going to be a fantastic research piece. This week I speak to Bruce Daisley from Twitter who has been an amazing guest and has a unique view to most people I interviewed so far. I cannot wait to hear your feedback and it was the first podcast I recorded face to face. They are more fun, but more difficult to arrange if you believe it or not.

Last Sunday, and not in time for last week’s column, my wife and I finished the newest Twin Peaks series. I loved it. I even loved it more than the first one and I cannot say I understood either to be honest. It’s almost as if the cult of Twin Peaks is so much stronger than the story itself if that makes sense. I remember watching the first series when I was maybe 14 and it was more something my brother watched. Then I got into it when my wife and I revisited it about a year ago. Now the new series I could watch again. Whatever strangeness there is, and whatever they suggest might be out there, maybe it is and maybe it isn’t. You ever wondered, and of course you have, what might be in the twilight zone and what might come our way from external sources, planets etc. The creepiness and yet helplessness is fascinating. Like the fear of spiders that essentially cannot do anything to you but you are afraid of them nevertheless. Do you think they are afraid of you? Maybe they are, we never know. I am sure they aren’t out there to scare us, yet I don’t like them at all.

The weather – always a good topic – I spoke to a friend in the US this week and he says there are 280 days of sunshine where he lives. I am thinking Australia would be better yet a quick Google search reveals that the US and South Africa as well as Egypt and Sudan are the sunniest places. Not sure if sunny means too sunny though. Having had a terrible rainy day on Wednesday, being miserable, then a sunny day on Thursday, when does it stop and it is spring and summer again?? Or could we have it properly miserable for a few weeks, and how much does the weather affect our mood? I think it does and it isn’t helping to change from one day after another, particularly if you are ‘grounded’. Keeping up morale whilst wondering what is next and debating where to put the focus, I demand sunshine and happiness. Latter I get through the excitement of my children who just love having their nana around; the oldest started doing Sodukos and the youngest loves some puzzles. That’s what grannies are for, I remember mine used to show me all those cross words puzzles when I was younger.

But did you notice, back in the days we used to have a magazine from the butcher, one from the bakery and so on. They all had a cross word puzzle, and we could win something. A horoscope was in there and you read those every week. Even the pharmacist did have their own. I don’t think they exist anymore. The reason I am saying that is because I watched an article this week about the overflow of information. We had a lot of information in the days of no internet, now everything moves online and the amount of information to siev through to find the ones relevant to you is getting worse. Maybe soon every butcher, pharmacist etc. have an app for information? The people that are most active online and pushing themselves the most, are actually developing ADHD – attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder – and there is a new term about ‘developed ADHD’ as we are changing our nerual pathways based on the information we try to process at any one time. Overload!!! Scary.

I am watching this with great interest. The fear I have is that it happens to me or has already happened to me. No, it won’t have an impact on my performance, will it? Will it cause more stress or make me more productive even. I believe the latter to a point of inflection where we start getting less productive. So be aware of it and make sure you get enough rest, down time and off-line time. Like when you are very smart and at some point you are going crazy. That’s similar I suppose as you are at the point where the overload just gets too much. I won’t be that, LOL, maybe stark raving mad, but not crazy. Pending on my new position and whether I will have a work phone, which of course is unlikely but my reason to put it off, I might just get a cheap pay as you go phone which allows me to be ‘available’ yet disconnected.

The envy of others, the advertising in social media like Instagram and Facebook that makes us think that what others have needs to be owned by us. And that is true for most channels I suppose. With more exposure, more frequently, we are getting to the point of not being able to escape, process and actually understand what’s happening, and if we aren’t consciously aware of it, we might get sucked into it. Sometimes, despite being in the advertising industry, it feels like we need to press the pause or even the reset button. I tried to explain to my 9 year old what an algorithm is and how it works, data and AI (artificial intelligence) and how it can improve lives. We haven’t even touched on blockchain. I love technology and eventually I find my passion in one that makes our lives better. Watch this space.

Here is to another week.

Have a good one,
Volker

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Sunday Column (436)

The days after a bank holiday weekend seem busier. On the one hand as one thinks the work load has to be caught up with, and on the other hand, when working for American companies, you have a day to catch up with the US’s input. Luckily for me, this isn’t too much the case at the moment, and most of the International territories are still off. So a good few days mixed with work loads and a day working from home on Friday. That is to take care of the kiddies and finalise and review a few projects. Reading a book about ‘Essentialism’ makes you prepare to focus on what’s important and put your energy and focus onto what is really important and makes a difference. Puh, a great week.

The weather. I don’t often speak about it and it had been awful last weekend – to an extend we put the fire back on in May (!) – yet it smells of spring, sounds like spring, feels like spring. A bit too dry, not warm enough but it seems we are getting there. Spring and summer are on our door step. Let’s hope we see some nice weather ahead in the upcoming weeks. It can’t get worse I suppose. We managed a BBQ at the weekend. Just, making use of some midday sunshine.

I feel like this week a lot of things fall into place. Let’s hope this is a trend to be continued. Making decisions and focusing on the essential things, is what is key. Finishing above mentioned book on Essentialism by Greg McKeown, really puts your life into perspective. It is highlighting some topics I addressed in my productivity book about habits, routines and focus. Having done 30K in 4 days this week to focus on stretching my fitness level, followed by a deep tissue massage, stretches my body. At the same time I manage to stretch my mind and thinking beyond what I have done before. Getting more done than I ever have, sorting things and seeing results. From little things like giving away our sandpit which no one wanted at first, to filling the shed with new fire wood for the winter (German efficiency), and more important tasks at work. Sometimes it is hard to make decisions but that’s what you have to do. Life is lonely at the top 😉

Writing this as I am about to come to London on the train, I am staring out of the window. It is grey. London has been grey this week, not a lot of light, little sun. More like October weather than May. It is a bit of a shame. I sometimes wonder if the weather will ever improve or if we have to relocate to get enough sun. I never felt more settled in our house, our community and this country than now. Yet, I never felt so much that in the long run I have the feeling I won’t stay around. As if something inside me tells me that one day we pack our bags. Maybe I am wrong, and I have not had that feeling in a long time, yet it is there. I shall forget about it as I focus on the tasks at hand and enjoy the daily moments. The time with the boys, particularly on days like Friday where I was able to work from home and take them to school. I even picked them up and we played. Moments that never come back, and can only be enjoyed there and then.

Isn’t life wonderful and full of surprises?

At the weekend I found out that an old teacher of mine died. Another one, 76, too young. He was a great helper, supporter and mentor. Yet, he moved on to pastures new. RIP.

A full week ahead, so I hope you had a relaxing weekend. I tried to save up loads of energy.

Best,
Volker

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Got cold!

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Sunday Column (213)

Happy Sunday!

It has been cold in the UK for about six months. I have had a cold and viruses for about 4 weeks. The family was ill. Not only did we change seasons into spring and turned the clocks back, no we also passed Easter with little sunshine. Maybe I should have immigrated to Australia whilst I had a chance? But then, I would most definitely be moaning about the heat.

The weather, one of the most discussed topics in Britain I believe. But 6 months of winter? That’s half a year in the shade, that isn’t typical. Some people predict a wet summer and another three weeks of cold winds. Oh how do I miss my Italy and Spain trips 🙁

Anyway, this weekend finally saw some sunshine. We got out in the garden (pictures to follow tomorrow), and we went for a nice walk. Still cold but better!

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I started following a few new spiritual and motivational blogs. Looking at the quote – did you live today? Did you make a difference? Follow your passion? Your dream? Did you help? Did you or society make a step in the right direction thanks to your contribution?

In about a month time I am hoping to join a charitable organisation. The final decision is next week, followed by an application (or invitation really) early May. Subject to approval I would join a group of people that get together to discuss how they can serve. Serve a purpose, serve others and be of use to society. Isn’t that great? More to follow.

Hopefully towards the end of the year I am planning to join another institution to do good. It makes you reflect a lot. To serve. To do good. I want to contribute to society, help others, network and be part of a group of likeminded people. You gathered that I enjoy those things. Being a member of a German fraternity to serve society and business was my first step in a direction of personal development through club memberships, gaining valuable input from members with a variety of backgrounds. Mentors. I am sure you remember last week’s post.

On slideshare I uploaded a presentation with 10 principles for success.

I set myself the goal to write more about management, personal development and business principles. Currently, I am reading a few new books with new aspects of organisational skills, how to structure your brain and mind, as well as how to apply this principles to time and personal management. I find that there are new theories refining the old established principles.

For instance the 7 habits of highly effective people, of which I got a copy in 1998, which I then discussed and “dissected” in my MBA six years later, are still true; nevertheless the world has changed in the last 15 years and I believe that some of those habits, or other guides of being successful, efficient or productive, need a bit of a review or addendum. So watch this space for more updates.

A final note on updates. I have now started using Google+ a lot more. I find that LinkedIn is great for business relations and networking, and so is Xing to an extend, and Twitter is great for some noise and updates for the community; Google+ is nice for sharing essentials, public personal stuff that you don’t need or want to hide on Facebook, and it is good to join the debate in communities which I find lack in terms of discussions in the public Linkedin forums and to a certain extend on Facebook. The latter due to people not wanting to be “seen” in their private environment. Makes sense?

Anyway. A short and exciting week comes to an end.
Spring is in the air, or is it?

My parents came for a visit, quality family time. With my parents I managed to clear the loft, put the floor boards down, tidied some rubbish away and made lots of space. We also managed to get a night out in the pub and got on in the garden whilst having two baby sitters 🙂 I sometimes wonder how life would be with family in close proximity. Also I made good use of the EUR-GBP exchange rate by stocking up on some wine. Happy days 🙂

I am happy, are you?

Hopefully I can go back on the treadmill this week. I still feel a bit under the weather but a lot better than I have been. My energy is coming back and I am ready to rock ‘n roll.

Watch this space 😉
Volker

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Sunday Column (46)

England got me back!

Yes, I was in Germany for a week and if you followed me on Twitter or Facebook, you already know what happened.

I started my new job with the media optimization company mexad on Monday. On Monday night I was supposed to fly out to Germany with Easyjet from Gatwick Airport at 18.40. They announced the flight at 6 pm as “please wait”, and kept us in the unknown until about 19.40 and announced a gate. To summarize things: more waiting, a bus tour to the plane, waiting next to the plane, a bus tour back, more waiting at the gate, and a cancelled flight. Wow! Not a good start for a new job. Reason for the cancellation was that the pilots were refusing to fly as they were out of hours.

Luckily my new colleague could book me a flight with Easyjet for 7.05 on Tuesday. It costs a few pounds more but secured me a seat. Some people were waiting for several days trying to get home to Germany, and the que in front of me was horrendous. I got a taxi back home, spend a few hours sleeping and headed to Cologne on Tuesday, thinking it will be all good….

Cologne was freezing. Very cold winds, a bit of snow – just like a real winter. I managed to catch up with some of my study friends and overall had a really good time. By the way, the picture is from circa 1950 😉

The job started out well. For me it is a new area within a familiar field, e.g. display advertising and media optimization on ad exchanges. It is very exciting and I am very much looking forward to starting the UK representation for this exciting technology and company.

Now, to summarize the flight back: lucky and stressful! I was booked on the Easyjet flight leaving Cologne at 21.30. However, Easyjet cancelled a few flights from Gatwick on Friday and when I arrived at the airport, their representatives suggested that if I could get another flight, this would surely be better. They haven’t seen any evening flights since last week! We took the decision to book Germanwings last minute to Stansted, leaving at half seven. And, it was the right decision. I rushed to the train from Stansted to Tottenham Hale, then onwards to Victoria, and I caught the last train at 21.22 towards Faversham which stopped at Bromley. Due to the adverse weather conditions, they were operating an emergency time table, so if I had been at Victoria 2 minutes later, I had to walk or get a taxi. How ridiculous is that? No snow, some ice I admit and freezing temperatures. This country is just not prepared to cope with any winter conditions whatsoever!!!!

However, I made it home at last, got a cab from Bromley and arrived just after 22.00. The Easyjet flight, according to their website, left Cologne after all around 23.30, arriving in Gatwick around midnight UK time. With a taxi from Gatwick I could have made it for 1 am, however I don’t believe if I had waited, that things would have gone right. So definitely a wise decision that teaches me that Germanwings will be the airline to fly with in the future despite the Stansted travel annoyance!

Maybe I was panicking that I didn’t make it out of Germany – maybe not. Some flights were still going on Saturday from German airports, but some weren’t. The BBC reported on suggestions from the German government to embrace for a blizzard and to have food for at least four days at home – pictures can be found at Welt.de

Overall an exciting week. I am glad to be back at work, in London, and excited to see what 2010 will bring. I learned a lot about airlines, priorities and weather conditions. And, coming home was nice. Seeing the boy and changing his diapers, feeding him breakfast…what else to wish for.

Have a good week,
Volker

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The Weather – or why am I not posting?

Ein Sauwetter (pig’s weather) – that is what we would say in Germany. After spending a few days speaking German it is weird to come back and speak 100% English/Scottish 🙂

I was wondering about the weather (as I do) and why it is raining and cold in August in London. When I was a wee boy, I was running around in shorts and T-Shirts from early age and early on in the year. May until early September would be a good summer, sunshine, some rainy days but this year…..

There was a time in June, maybe a few days in July that were amazing hot. And the time in Spain of course. But sitting in the office today, just made it in without getting rained upon, changing from rain to sunshine to rain every hour is just not healthy. It is not autumn yet, although it surely feels like it. Makes me tired too.

Ok, I stop complaining. I did choose to live in the UK but believe that other cities/countries in Europe are not far off. Maybe it is global warming after all?

Maybe not. Maybe it is just normal that every few hundred years we are having a warmer period which results in more flooding, more rain, more bad weather and more moaning 😉

Have a good day.

Volker

PS: for those of you who prefer to spend the rest of the day cuddled up in a blanket in front of the TV with a hot chocolate, maybe this video entertains you for a while:

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the weather – what else to talk about in Britain ,-)

It is not only a rumour but the Brits talk a lot about the weather. Why?

I have lived in the UK for 7 years and being strong connected to Scotland and have lived there, I preferred the weather to London. What might seem odd at first, the problem is that Scotland’s East Coast, e.g. Aberdeen, is not as wet as the west coast, e.g. Glasgow. Therefore, we usually had around 15-20 degrees in the summer, rather nice if you ask me.

London is different. The weather was horrible for the last few weeks. Rain, cold, warm, snow – “April’s Weather”. However, for the last 3 days it is boiling hot. 22 degrees, coming up to 24 degrees. And, of course we are complaining. It is all global warming, the office is too sticky and we are sweating in the heat. Just imaging the tube at this temperature, being in there with millions of others.

But, don’t worry. The weather will change again and then people will moan again about it being too cold, too unpleasant and that they cannot wait for the real summer…..the moaning cycle is like the weather, just more predictable 😉

Volker Ballueder

London Weather

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