Posts Tagged wine

Sunday Column (446)

A week without travel you might think makes my life easier. It does. It makes it more pleasant. More time with the kids, I saw them most mornings and most evenings. That made a huge difference. However, there is always something that isn’t right. First of all the new keyboard for my iPad which I don’t really enjoy yet and it makes it awkward to type and get anything done. As a matter of fact: I sent it back. The other annoying bit are the trains. A strike and overtime ban result in fewer trains, delayed trains and more annoying travel. So to a certain extend I hope to be back on the road. Yet, there is a huge advantage of being in the office every day: I have time to catch up with people and get real work done. I definitely enjoy that bit.

Last week I ran a promotion for my productivity book. It is about life systems and finding your own systems and habits, to allow for the perfect life. If life can ever be perfect? Probably not. However, if you build a system that allows you to be able to deal with things in a close to perfect manner, you end up being more efficient, more productive, and be better in life. That in my opinion is enough of a reason to consider buying my book ๐Ÿ™‚

I am writing this post before I actually do my weekend run. I joined the Spitfire 24 hour relay race. That means I am in a team of 5 running 10K relay over a period of 24 hours. I anticipate to run 30-40K and be totally knackered on Sunday. So I update on the outcome and whether I would do it again next week. I signed up for it last year but couldn’t make it at the end. It is my wall and I shall see what my next wall might be. Maybe some kind of solo race like a marathon or off road challenge, we shall see.

Remember I write this prior to the race. Going out of my comfort zone is one thing. I am almost more worried about the camping logistics than the physical strain. On the the other hand it is going to be tough but the things I always enjoyed is endurance sports. Going beyond your status quo, pushing yourself. I remember vividly to go on a bike ride after little sleep with a massive hangover as a student. And it was a tough ride. And making it through that or running 2.5 hours along the beach in Aberdeen, that is what I truly enjoy. I let you know if that’s still the case next week.

Similar to dry January, I decided to stop drinking this week prior to the race. Not sure it would make a difference, but it is interesting to see how tired I got. The body converts the sugar in booze into energy and gives you a boost. Not having this results in more tiredness. Similar to giving up coffee resulting in you getting headaches. Whilst I wouldn’t consider myself a heavy drinker, I do enjoy a drink on a regular basis. So my body is used to the additional sugar and energy. I will do some more research into it, as I am keen on trying the new wine Laithwaites delivered last week ๐Ÿ™‚ And wine, according to Ceasar anyway, is good for you. The French drink a whole lot of it and never seem to be bothered by it. As always, in moderation things are good for you, but for every habit you have – let it be exercise, coffee, alcohol or sweets, chocolate – taking a detox and break from it every now and then is useful and resets the system a bit. I am keen on exploring more, and if I was younger, and I said that before, I would compete with Tim Ferris on experimenting with my body and it’s system a bit more.

Now it is back to some travel over the next two weeks. The nice thing is that with summer being here, I actually have a manageable workload. I said the other day, I wasn’t busy. My staff laughed and I realised I have been busy, but it doesn’t feel overwhelming at the moment, not crazy rushed off my feet. Normal I’d say. And that is nice. That in my world means not busy LOL. In case my boss reads that, I am still busy enough! ๐Ÿ™‚

That’s all for this week.
Have a good on,
Volker

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Sunday Column (444)

Same procedure as every week? Same procedure. Heathrow on Tuesday morning and to kill some time I had a play with the Apple iPad Pro. The large one. The medium one. It makes my iPad mini look small. My keyboard clunky and my Evernote stylus, which I haven’t used for a while, obsolete. So thinking about not needing my notepad that scans things instantly, my Evernote stylus and instead having it all within my iPad Pro is very appealing. Just what I always expected the iPad to do. Finally. I am not ready to swap just yet. Having said that, my beloved ZAGG keyboard broke this week. A sign? First let the iPad Pro be out there for at least a year and the charger and connection cables be changed to the new USB one. Or will they? And when do we find out? Painful, or maybe there won’t be cables and everything will be wireless charging? Let us wait a while. So a cheap replacement keyboard it is for now.

I am not getting too excited about Apple anymore. This is mainly because I feel that the innovation leaps are gone. The incremental innovations are amazing and first class, but the new revolutionary things are nowhere to be seen. But I let myself be surprised of course and I cannot wait for their October event to reveal the new iPhone and whatever else is in stock. With Apple buying a new company every few weeks, AR will be high on their cards. I cannot wait for that. Discussing innovation and IOT and technology moving further into our homes on Linkedin the other day, the question is who owns the data of voice recognition and voice recordings and learning from those analysis. There is a huge can of worms we are going to open, and when your TV listens to you making love during certain TV shows to show you ads….or Alexa offering you the latest sex toys from Amazon on the back of it…..those are scenarios we have to be careful about. Or do we? I guess this is the question we have to ask.

Can we rely on our privacy in a connected home moving forward? I am not sure we can but do we have a choice? We should of course have a choice. Interesting times ahead. We are trusting a lot of information in our phones, our tablets, our computers. Our personal assistants like Siri/Alexa and soon other devices. And whilst thinking about this, I am more and more putting my phone away at the weekend. I do not need all the social media entertainment. Maybe the odd messaging, email or call of course. The time for a detox is coming closer I think, and back to basics, the hippy movement of the 70s, just for digital, is near. That’s my prediction anyway. Not for all of us, but being disconnected, like me now on my flight, makes it peaceful and productive. The choice must be given even in a connected home stuffed with IOT devices. And no, probably not for me.

Travel. Routines. I have been very good keeping my routines going when travelling as described in my book on productivity. That means mainly to exercise and to eat healthy. However, as you get less sleep, be more busy, you have to compromise on some things over others. It can hurt. I managed to kick my five a day coffee habit. I am only drinking one double or triple espresso a day. I enjoy it a lot more and I am less agitated throughout the day. That works. Eating habits are in the process of being improved. Slowly but surely I am getting back to watching what and when I eat. My aim is to loose about half a stone by end of summer to have my “fighting” weight back ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s about 3kg for my readers from the continent ๐Ÿ˜‰ It won’t be in time for my 24 hour relay race but overall it should get me back in shape. My 10K is on the 48 minute mark on the treadmill, I am getting fitter again.

On the other hand I want to decrease the distance I run a week from 3x10K to maybe 20K over 3 runs. I want to stay fit and healthy but don’t overdue it. The next habit to tackle will be wine. No worries, whilst we all drink too much (according to government guidelines in this country anyway) it is more the regularity of having a glass at night to relax. So my plan is to replace that with an equally tasty, less alcoholic beverage. Tea maybe. Or juice. Putting all that together, I should be back on track for a healthy lifestyle that has lapsed a bit over the last few months. And part of it is the travel as it throws you out of your routine. With sleep, exercise, food etc. There is my summer challenge. One habit at a time.

Being tired and worn out also affects sleep and makes you impatient with the kids. I noticed that on Thursday when I took them to the child minder in the morning. Then I caught up on some fabulous sleep over the weekend, whilst doing some work too. This month will be busy.

And as H1, and 6 months in the new job, come to a close, I look back and think if I enjoy it, am I happy? The answer is yes. The opportunity given to me in the last 6 months are amazing, I feel I arrived and be in the place I want to be. Yet there is so much more I’d like to do but feel I don’t have enough hours in the day. Guess that will never change as long as I continue to have this fire in my belly. Which I do. And this won’t change.

Have an amazing week.
Volker

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Sunday Column (434)

Easter is over. We spend a lovely week in Germany where we met with lots of family and friends. We chilled, I really came down and relaxed. It was amazing. I was hoping to catch up on emails on the night before I went back to work but just was too involved in the family and too tired. That’s a good sign I think as I really detached from work. Result. And the boys were tired that night. A pizza, some wine and an early night for us, just after the boys hit the hay ๐Ÿ˜‰ Travelling is exhaustive. I also picked up a bit of a tan, so I was told anyway.

Germany, my fatherland, but only one of two nationalities I hold. My relationship has changed a bit. It is a country in which I speak English with my family, feel less connected to and less understood. A nice and beautiful country where the standards of living seem higher than in other countries. But if you pull back the curtain, things are the same everywhere. Where is my home country now? Where do I feel home? I have had numerous discussions, and home is where your heart is. My heart, without a shadow of a doubt, is with my family. My boys. That’s where home is. Will it change again in the future? We shall see.

The future is more unknown than ever. A new general election was called. It won’t reverse Brexit but gives us a chance to change governments. I personally believe it will strengthen Theresa May’s position, catapult Corbyn out of the Labour lead. Then we reshuffle, have Brexit and a new election in 2022 or so. We shall see. We will master whatever is ahead of us. Politics. Oh, maybe Corbyn is underestimated and will make it. Wouldn’t that be fascinating?!

A note on driving in Germany or generally about driving. The speed, 120 miles/200 km per hour is fast. Yet it seems to work without too many accidents. People fill safety gaps I am leaving to the car in front of me, making it dangerous to drive. Yet still we survived but somewhat it doesn’t make sense. Maybe a good thing. But I enjoyed the freedom of driving as fast as I could. As of May the European governments will share a database of all drivers to prosecute beyond boundaries – something that hasn’t been done yet. Having said that, I think I would have had a few tickets. Fingers crossed I won’t ๐Ÿ™‚

I also brought back some nice wine from Germany. Tax on alcohol is a lot lower, making it feasible to buy Australian wine or French wine at half the price compared to the UK. Also, just going shopping, taking me back to my childhood with a filled wallet, being able to buy all those sweets and crisps I enjoyed as a kid. Senses, particularly smell and taste, take me back to my childhood. Some things will never change. Just tasting the cherry lollipop I bought for the boys took me back to the doctor’s surgery where I got one after every visit. Strange, no?

In other news, there is a new Star Wars trailer which got my kids all excited. And me. They seem to be a lot more involved than me and understand more details of the movie and the personal relations of the characters than I do. Maybe I don’t concentrate hard enough? Or I am distracted, fall asleep or am less engaged. Great to see them identifying themselves with these stories which I think are brilliant material for thoughts on the future.

But I don’t want to get too sentimental. Life is great at the moment. It is changing, constantly, and busy and challenging. Just the way we want it.

Love and Kindness from my corner of the world.

Volker

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Sunday Column (368)

This week started with a surprise. Things that meant to happen will happen of course. After a very relaxing weekend things just wouldn’t stop. And this wasn’t even work related. Luckily it all worked out and to that point one needs to trust that things will be working out. The famous dots will connect in the future. Looking backwards.

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Whether that is for work, career or personal things. One must trust the greater universe for what there is, what there will be and things work out in the future.

My biggest concern, besides money which will always be a concern, is health. For myself, my loved ones and friends. Hence I run, reduce drink, swim, exercise, meditate and try to eat well. But will that be enough given circumstances like work and the commute, stress and the environment? Are we having enough influence on our own well being?

I don’t know is the honest answer. Maybe we will develop enough new technology for healthcare that we don’t have to worry in the future. But I guess we cannot bank on it.

Work was busy this week, or intense seems to be the better expression. Good intense and it felt like we made a lot of progress. Signing a big deal is always a great fulfilment. Touching base with people that are pushing boundaries and move things forward is satisfying. This was a good week. There will be some things I hope to share soon, but I am in a very happy place.

Also I gave up on my dry January. Not because it is difficult, actually I could do with never drinking again. It’s not that difficult but I do like my wine. I didn’t drink for two weeks, it wasn’t a big deal but thinking of having a glass of wine, sitting by the warm fire, coming in from the cold…that is a piece of heaven. I can do without drink, don’t need to prove that to myself, and a detox of two weeks is enough. As a matter of fact, I would like to consider an alcohol free week every month. With 14 units being the limit, this will be a good idea. What would Donald Draper have said to that?!

On that note I am down to the last few episodes of Mad Men. I cannot wait to finish it, or not to finish it as I really enjoy watching it. It is escapism, yet within my industry.

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We then test drove a car at the weekend. Looks like the only spacious saloon car out there big enough for us giants is the Ford Mondeo so we are thinking of getting one. The new car finance deals are tempting, yet we aren’t convinced whether we a) need a car just yet and b) whether a good used one might end up being the better deal. Or, we could wait until we can afford a SUV.

No rush, so we shall see. Still waiting to win the jackpot ๐Ÿ˜‰ After two wins over the weekend of around 10 pounds, I am hopeful LOL

On the note of jackpot. My wife is running a half marathon on her 35th birthday and raises money for RISE. She really goes out of her comfort zone and pushes boundaries to achieve both the fundraising and the fitness. I am very proud of her and hope you spare a few pennies.

Last but not least the boys have been good lately with trying new food. We printed off food charts showing the different things they tried. It turns out to be a competition. We find it very important for them to be exposed to different foods, try things, go out of their comfort zone. Big steps for my little people. I am a very proud dad.

Guess that is enough of an update. Today we mainly enjoyed the snow, a long walk, some yummy hot chocolate and cake, another log fire …. a fun day!

Have a great week. Wrap yourself up warm. Winter is finally here.

Love and kindness from me.
Volker

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Sunday Column (280)

Here is the summary of my last weekend, as promised: We made it. We survived!
Not only did we go up the South Downs to fly a kite, we also went to a Birthday Party, had a picnic in the living room and played in the garden. Mummy can go away again ๐Ÿ˜‰ They did miss mummy though and didn’t enjoy to only have daddy around but it was fine. Daddy enjoyed it.

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And of course, we made it as a German team. We won it, the World Cup. Which is, after 24 years, a great effort. I couldn’t get the kids involved too much as the games were past their bedtime. Hopefully in 4 years time, them being 10 and 7, they can get more involved and time zone wise the games should be at a more kid friendly time, Russia being the host.

Also this week we (almost) reached another mile stone. My oldest finished reception. He will still have a couple of days next week but overall the year is done. Wind down. His first year in school is finished, and off into 1st year this autumn. How quickly do they grow up?! Isn’t it fantastic to see them learn, understand the world and make friends, coping with first challenges etc. I really enjoy it!

This weekend my parents came to visit. They brought lots of wine again, just to stock up the cellar ๐Ÿ˜‰ I have reduced my wine/alcohol intake as I have been very focused on getting to the next level re fitness. With this in mind I bought a new bike, a road bike, on eBay. I believe I got a bargain on a Fausto Coppi Lombardia in my size (XXL) and what a beauty it is. Finishing the auction during the world cup final really helped me to get this at a decent price ๐Ÿ™‚

I took it for a first spin early Thursday as I had to fix a puncture when it first arrived. Yet some adjustments needed and maybe a couple of new ball bearings. Future rides will show. But I love the need for speed. The riding on a road bike is different to a mountain bike. Different enjoyment. Still the same satisfaction…if not better.

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My plan is to not only get fitter in terms of weight loss and muscle gain but also overall by increasing my physical activity by riding mountain bike as well as a road bike, latter also on my stationary bike stand during the winter. Running is still part of the fitness routine as it seems to loosen up my back a bit which gives me trouble during sleeping. However this seems to be improving too.

The only addition I now need is a pool to complete a triathlon from the comfort of my home. Maybe not. Let’s see if I manage a six pack by Christmas or not. The biggest restriction as it seems is time, whilst I believe running on the treadmill and being on the stationary bike, I can train late at night and/or in the morning. Onwards and upwards.

This really concludes a busy week. Yet the holiday season is kicking in and things at work seemed to slow down a bit. But this changed mid week again, and I can’t complain about being really busy again. But also a good time to get on top of a few things, admin and planning the months/quarters ahead.

Exciting times.

Have a fantastic week,
Volker

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Wine…

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Objects in this blog might appear bigger than they are.

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Breakfast, break detox

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How did I miss you over the last month!

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August Challenge (2)

As you know I am t-total for the month of August.

Today is hump day, half way through the challenge. I have tried to find some answers online to support my assumptions and experience, but all I find is advice on how to give up drinking all together, and for recovering alcoholics. I am definitely not fitting into that category!

After I gave up chain smoking from 60 cigarettes a day to none from one day to another, I gained a lot of weight by substituting cigarettes with chocolates and sweets. But I can do it, I have a very strong mind and great will power. The trick is to work around your habits and routines, changing them one by one. Steppingstones as a coach would call it.

It is the same with alcohol, if you come home from work fancying a glass of wine, just have a different drink. Or treat yourself to a lovely fruit juice. I think that after two weeks I have mastered it easily, not thinking about the drink I used to have coming home, or the glass of wine when having a pizza.

A big change I have noticed is my sleep. I am more tired. Whilst part of me thinks that it is a detox that makes me more tired, I also believe I sleep a lot deeper. I don’t have sleeping problems anyway, but with alcohol I can easily wake up, feed Rohan at night, go back to sleep, get up easily in the morning. Without alcohol I could sleep all day, don’t want to get out of bed, and often wake up for the night feed not being able to open my eyes properly. The sleep I am getting is much deeper than I experienced it for a long time, if not ever. I am curious to see if this changes over the next two weeks.

I guess the detox has taken place now, and my liver is on its way to recovery. I like the thought that my organs enjoy the absenteeism, recover and feel like I should never drink again.

So with that note, I will enjoy another 2 weeks before indulging myself with a lovely bottle of Shiraz ๐Ÿ™‚

Have a good one,
Volker

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French Wine – Lirac

This blog post has been a draft since October 2010. As you can see I have to prioritise and do other more important things.

My passion for red wine should be well know. For my birthday my wife got me a nice Australian Syrah we enjoyed last weekend. With French wines I either love or hate them. Tannat is my most favourite grape in France.


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On the other hand I discovered another region, Lirac, which is just opposite the Chateauneuf-du-Pape region on the Western hills of the Rhone River.

Red wine in Lirac is described as made from
– Grenache Noir (minimum 40%)
– Syrah and Mourvรจdre (minimum of 25% together)
– Cnsault, and Carignan (maximum 10%).

Wikipedia gives greater details: “The style of red Lirac often resembles a soft Cรดtes du Rhรดne-Villages, but the more ambitious wines are often similar to Chรขteauneuf-du-Pape. Rosรฉ Lirac is usually similar to Tavel.”

Funny enough I have been trying a lot of du Papes and never really had one which I found overly stunning. Lirac on the other hand really appeals to me for some reason. Maybe this is because Lirac has a high percentage of Grenache (see also this excellent red wine). It is a grape that is spicy, berry-flavoured and soft on the palate with a relatively high alcohol content. Too much of it however is in the du Pape. Not sure, what the best mix for me would be, however I remember drinking an excellent Grenache in a French restaurant in London a few years ago.

Anyway, for someone like me that is not too keen on French and not too keen on Rhone wines, Lirac is an excellent exception showing that it depends on the region and on the actual blend whether you like a wine or not, independent from country or grapes really (latter to a certain extend).

In the meantime, please try Lirac from either Waitrose or one of the other many retailers ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Tempranillo Bonarda

At our recent visit to the London Borough Market, we bought a nice wine: Tempranillo Bonarda fromMendoza Argentina. Made by Villavieja, 2007, bottled by La Agricola, it is described as ruby/garnet in colour and exuberant blueberry and cassis aromas packed with black fruit flavours.

I have to say that my wife and I absolutely loved that wine. I think we paid around ยฃ10 for it, however I googled it and found it for ยฃ5.90. That is London Borough market for you ๐Ÿ™ The website says it is part of the Zuccardi Family.

Another website suggest is being around ยฃ6.

I guess not much more to find out about this wine. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a picture. Left to say that it is a very enjoyable wine.

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