Tag: fish

Sunday Column (210)

What a week! From snow to sunshine to rain; from a busy day to a hectic day, to a long media night; from proper man flu to a common cold; this week saw a lot of variety. Sleepless nights. Delayed travel. Good chats. Progress. Overall, probably not a bad week.

In retrospective of last weekend , re the dog, I learned a lot. Maybe you want to call me naive but if we were to get a dog, R must be at least 3 years old, and C must loose his fear of dogs, so it would have to be a young one. On top of that it either must be a low maintenance dog or my wife and I need more time. Probably the former; so it will take another two years I suppose before we get one. And in the meantime we can always rent one πŸ™‚ A very good experience though.


I kept myself busy with a proper fish tank clean and weed out last Sunday too. I enjoy that hobby and have further plans on getting some more fish. I originally dreaded the work and effort but a big clean only happens every 3 months. And the joy for the kids as well as the relaxation coming from the tank when watching the fish, is worthwhile the effort. I’d love to get a second one, just to try out different things. Mad I suppose.

The snow this week caused a lot of disruption. I enjoyed it but couldn’t work from home that day due to 5 interviews I had to attend. It is nice to live in a fast pace environment, and growing company and industry. I caught up with my boss, my boss’ boss, our marketing lead, and realised how far I have come since uni, interviewing interns. Boy, I am getting old, and the skill set and CVs have changed. Besides age you ain’t putting hobbies on your CV any more. I always ask for the latter, as I am keen to understand the person behind the person if that makes sense. Looks like we found an intern and are closer to appointing another key position. Progress! And I enjoy the progress. Those who know me closer are aware that I had some difficulties seeing direction but this is all over now. Things are a lot clearer and moving along nicely. I am a happy person working in an area and company I enjoy working for. Some great people. Some of the finest!

Hobbies: I finally made up my mind as to which bike to buy. So I am going to get, or got by time of publishing, a Specialized Hardrock. An entry level mountain bike with front suspension, hard tail, hydraulic brakes and usual gears. I really don’t have a clue but like what I got. Now I am all set to go to the South Downs every weekend in order to get fit and get out. I cannot wait for next weekend. Plenty of apps share preferred routes and you even get competitions for timings etc. Crazy how “cycling” has changed from when I was a kid. The gear (leg warmers!), the bike, the engineering. Surely there will be more bike posts soon.


Focus is something else that came up a lot this week. My focus is shifting towards family for a while, now hobbies like cycling, fish tank and weekends. I guess family almost forces you to do that, and I mean that in a good way. However, that doesn’t mean I work less, less efficient or less hours but probably with more focus and concentration on the things that really matter.

Streamlining and focusing go hand in hand. I stopped worrying about some tasks others can do and focus on what I need to get done, deliver on what I need to deliver, and help where I can help. With a growing team, unlike 3 years ago, I don’t have to worry about setting up laptops, sorting servers, laying cables etc. anymore. It is great to see the transformation from 1 person to now 15, and counting. Thanks S for the opportunity (2nd praise in one post πŸ™‚ ).

What else happened really…..I had another massage. After 4 weeks reduced running activities (man flu, shin splints), and my therapist being on holidays, I finally got my back and shoulders sorted again. This felt soooooo good πŸ™‚ I can only recommend the Heeler Centre in Hassocks. Great staff. I got the bike and spend lots of time with the kids this weekend. you might have seen pictures on Facebook of train tracks etc. It was great and needed, as the kids seem to ask more for me during the week. I don’t see the kids during the week, so working from home, bathing them and being around (if not playing) helps a lot for them to see that I am there. I love that flexibility my job gives me.

Then the pope got elected. What shall I say. I am not catholic and don’t really care, but since the pope is such a big figure in the world, it is good to see that the elected pope seems a bit more liberal yet strict on some topics. Maybe a good person to get the church back on track. We shall see. It is like electing a CEO to get a company back on track with the difference that the church probably never goes down or bankrupt if that makes sense? The CEOs (popes) will keep coming, no matter what.

Never mind. 10 days to Easter and some more family time. 10 days to hopefully get some DIY done, sort out some house stuff etc. and then sorting the loft after Christmas when my parents are up. There is always something to do.

Have a great week.

See you soon,

Sunday Column (199)

I thought I had overcome the jet lag but when I tried to get up for my 5 am run on Monday I just couldn’t move. Worse I slept the whole train journey into work. On a high side our new family iComputer arrived and it is fantastic. A lovely little toy. And beautiful too.

20121219-073601.jpg There are a lot of things you need to get used to but ultimately it is my wife’s working machine. Future proof I hope πŸ™‚

I often feel a little overwhelmed on a Monday. A lot of people want to know lots of things all the time from you. Particularly if you have been out of the office for a week or so. This is ok but if you have deadlines to meet it can be quite annoying. So I try leaving early on Monday and catch up with the stuff that needs done at home or on the train. Too much information these days. The year end stress of course accelerates things, so I was very glad when it was Friday. Time to chill out for two weeks. Family. Toy story. Christmas I suppose πŸ™‚

Not sure if I will put a goal or wish list together for 2013. I am excited about the opportunities at work. I am excited about Colin starting proper school. I am excited for Rohan to start talking. There is so much life has to offer us. And it is just there to grab and live the moment. I am tired just now (in general at the end of the year) but full of enthusiasm and positive energy for next year. Bring it on, I can take it!

Now, going with the flow, I plan to do some catching up over my holidays. A bit of writing and reading. Running. This week seemed like running wasn’t possible because of tiredness and Xmas parties. I got a massage this weekend which helped me to relax. My muscles are much looser than in the summer when I had my back ache. I got a few plans for the holidays. Spending time with the kids and going down to Sealife in Brighton again. But, going with the flow (this will be my new mantra I think), there is no pressure for anything but to spend time with my loved ones. Look at what kind of family man I become πŸ™‚ I am loving it too.

20121219-074837.jpg You probably heard a lot about sleep and tiredness there but there is one detail I haven’t mentioned: C sleeps through the night. He now wears socks and has a gro clock which shows him stars when he is supposed to sleep and a sun after 7 am for waking time. He loves it. He gets up and is all excited to have seen the sun. Bless. R also, after almost 2 years, sleeps through the night. A bit more food, a bit of crying and off he went. So after two years I seem to get my life and wife back. Catching up with sleep I never thought I would get back.

I believe I survived our Christmas party alright-ish. I was fine to the point I came home and my wife offered me a few zips out of the bottle of wine she had open. So it got later than anticipated and I did feel it a bit the next day. Crimbo drinks with some “industry veterans” the next day were a bit messier but I survived even that. A bit ropey on the Friday but lucky me worked from home as all trains were cancelled into London. Due to a fire in the signaling box along the line trains were cancelled even at the weekend. So that all worked out well, overall a good last week in the office. I am now off until the 7th of January, a proper break.

We got a couple new fish at the weekend too. Some Neon Tetra, two plecos and more catfish. A friend advised me on the right set up of the fish tank, so fingers crossed this all works out.



To be honest, this is concluding the highlights of the week. We are very fortunate and happy. Things are good in our little village and our little home. All set for Christmas. I am sure I will post a picture of a few toys that are meant to be for the boys but I will spend most Christmas Day playing with πŸ˜‰ Christmas is really for the kids and hence we are more excited for them than for us. We already got our Christmas iPresent this week, so we are all set.

This year has been a bit rocky road. With the move, some changes at work, some changes with the kids. But overall it has been a really good year. It went fast but not too fast. We didn’t manage to catch up with as many friends as we wanted to but you never have enough time for everyone. That is mainly true for the guys living in Scotland or Germany. Having said that we saw a lot of the family this year. The move is probably still the biggest thing that happened. One of the best things that we have ever done. We slowly settling in our little village, found friends and just going with the flow.

Maybe one last comment or thought. I read the other day a quote that went like this: “Just because it is better, doesn’t mean it has value. Value comes from improving people’s lives, not impressing them with your technology.”

I work and sell technology. I try and help people to improve their lives. That is very enjoyable. But sometimes more technology, a better computer, a nicer tablet, another laptop, a faster car or just a bigger TV won’t get you anywhere. Just because things are better than others doesn’t mean you add a lot of value to your life. A 42 inch TV doesn’t add more value than a 32 inch TV. It isn’t about “the longest” or “the biggest”, it is about what value you add using technology. And I am determined that this will always be the case for me. With work and with my private life. Value adding, giving and sharing is so important. And, if we can do that utilising technology to make it better, faster and more valuable for everyone, then this is a good thing. That is why I love technology, embrace Facebook and Twitter.

Enough now. I hope you and your family, wherever you are, have a fantastic, peaceful and happy Christmas and a great break.

Love and Kindness to you all.

Yours, Volker

Sunday Column (193)

Another week, another travel I suppose. As you might have read I went to Milan for a day. I think this was the first flight this year where I didn’t order a drink on the way back but slept most of the time instead. I am exhausted. Not really worth this short trip overall, however very much worth it given the clients we visited. So overall a good trip, but very tiring. A 4 am start, 3 hours flight return, waiting, client meetings. At least my back seems to improve a bit whilst I think I might come down with another cold. A never ending story.

Then someone broke into our office this week. That was fun to sort that out….not! I have the feeling I am in front of a giant tennis ball machine constantly trying to avoid the tennis balls. Life throws things at me, minor as some might seem, and I need to avoid them. Like in the matrix avoiding these bullets…. Anyhow.

Naturally, I am very positive, enthusiastic and motivated. Life is ok. I am ok. I am breathing. You remember? I might have a little low at the moment but that will pass. Things will pick up and we will fly. Of course πŸ™‚

I wrote about fish dying recently. More died and it might just be due to overcrowding and stress due to me mixing breeds that don’t go together. A close friend gave me an analysis and after a few more fish are dead I will re-arrange the species in there. Learning I suppose. I still enjoy it but need reassurance that I am doing the right things. What else happened this week?

The US election of course. Barack Obama, the first black US president and Noble peace price winner, got re-elected. I liked Romney, seemed like a good and capable guy to run a country, however I am glad Obama won. He seems solid and on track. I saw Bill Clinton during the election. Boy did he get old but he still got the spirit. I look at those leaders and wonder what they possess what I don’t have or I cannot learn? 20121109-200111.jpg What if the answer to the above question is “nothing in particular”. I think it is.

Without disrespect, those guys are smart, Harvard educated, have a daily coach I imagine and a bigger team, also a lot more funding, but I believe that a lot of people will be able to speak and motivate like those guys with the right eduction and coaching. Maybe even myself. A lot of people don’t want to of course. It comes back to what I was writing a few weeks ago: some people are happy of doing a job, come home for dinner and watch TV. I need progression. I love/hate ceilings, I need to break through them. For me this has always been like that. I find something to do, want to excel in it, grow with it but when I hit ceiling I abandon it like an unloved toy. Sometimes I play with it again, sometimes I just put it in the shelf. Depends.

As a reference for later. This might explain why I have so little hobbies. If asked about my hobbies i I would have to say: I read a lot, productivity, personal development, NLP, chess tournaments, my fish, running, family. But I don’t have a motor bike anymore, an old timer, a dog, or do any wood carving. My passion is myself & others. Maybe boring for some but people are people are people.

Ok, so much happened this week that I need to summarise. 11/11: remembrance day. The poppy appeal I was talking about last week. A fantastic parade in London with veterans from the war and service man. Thanks guys for giving for us. You gave your today to save our tomorrow!

Then we got the garden started.

20121109-200652.jpg That means that by mid next week we should have nice lawn, a patio and a path with space for our bins. We are excited. Also we should have a new WC downstairs. Hopefully this will conclude renovation but my wife and dad decorating next weekend. Almost done πŸ˜‰

On Saturday we met a friend I haven’t seen properly since leaving Aberdeen. A trip down memory lane and good catch up. A good day. On Sunday we re-homed Gretel, our tortoise shell cat. She never was the same since we got kids. After we moved and she got attacked by a neighbouring cat, she hasn’t been happy. Luckily a good friend was happy to take her. Thanks. It is hard to see her go, we got her as a kitten, but it will be the best for her. We keep Haensel of course.

On Friday I was at home with a stomach bug which is why I might have been so tired all week. My back is still not 100% and I went back to the chiropractor. My personal todo list gets longer by the day. One day I will be fit again to sort everything out. At the moment I am just not. That concludes another week to be honest.

A nice Sunday with the boys. The wife was away for most of the day allowing for great time to bond with the boys. We had a blast as you can imagine.

Have a great week. Mine is so busy that I cannot wait for a few days off from Friday.


Sunday Column (190)


This week I started writing this post whilst flying off to Germany. I am away for two nights, three days to get training on a new platform. Luckily my company allows me to be quite flexible, so I went home early last night to see the boys.


Colin has been asking for me when I am away. So when I make the effort to come home early, of course making up the time after the kids go to bed, he is all chuffed. We play with train tracks or he tells me what all he has been up to all day. Rohan is also very paly, particularly now that he got a cold. I suppose C is too young to understand that I come home for him, that I make this effort because I am away for a few days. That is why I sometimes work from home too, so he sees I am around, we can have lunch together or watch Ben and Hollie.

But, as my wife rightly remarked, it is not about me being there when he watches TV or plays with the iPhone. I am afraid to change it as I don’t want to upset him, maybe a bit lazy as I am glad to be home early. I don’t know to be honest, but the concept of TV and iPhone games for toddlers needs to be rethought. And the concepts of dads being too weak to educate too!

Anyway, we also had problems with our fish lately. Two weeks ago we got four more fish, then another four. Whilst they replaced some, we might have overcrowded the tank, fed too much and also had some plants dying. All that together led to fish loss of by now two mollies, two gold barbs and unnoticed before a few panda corydoras, which now led to high nitrate levels. We got the water tested twice last week and the shop said it is fine. Now we hope that a 50% water change helped, and we will continue to change more water until the eco system is restored. I was panicking this week, and learning a lot about eco systems, fish and nitrates. Fingers crossed the remaining fish are going to be ok. It seems as we got things turned around.


I also was ill this week. So were the kids, I am having the man flu, and the weather gets from bad to worse. Winter is on our door step. I hate not being able to run, I feel like I am letting myself down, not eating too well, not sleeping well, not exercising. I am not loosing the power and energy yet but the break from exercising has been far too long. Fingers crossed I am back on the tread mill next week. I am not travelling for another two weeks, so that should be ok. If only this cold would go away.

Supposedly the long days and at least one long night in Germany didn’t help. If you work with some of the finest people, you like to hang out with them, have fun and often get carried away.

I definitely not loosing any energy whatsoever. I work on a few projects, some “physically”, some in my head. Reading this nutrition book for students really helps me to understand the human body, food intake and health in greater depth. Some people don’t understand why I like those side projects, but I do. It keeps me on my toes I suppose. It makes me think and look at things from a different angle.

On that note, C was praised for having good problem solving skills in school the other day. Family of mathematicians, physicians, engineers. Now I need him to learn how to sell πŸ˜‰

On Saturday my wife and I had our 5th wedding anniversary. It made us happy but also a bit thoughtful. I asked her if in five years time, C being 8 and R being 6, we would still love each other as much and what it would be like. Now think back five years. We had both jobs, I was in between two at the time, have since moved on and up, we had two kids, have our second home, the cats, people died, life moved on and our love is still going strong. I believe there is a great synergy and balance we provide for each other. For another five years and long beyond that. Make it 50!

We also had some friends over. Six adults, six boys, three age three. Wow, what an experience. Lots of work. I think we realised that we need to spend a whole day with our friends and then stay over in order to have adult conversation and have a proper catch up when the kids are in bed. I guess we are learning to be grown ups.

That pretty much summarises my week. Ups and downs. Next week I hope that I feel a lot better and get a lot more of my planned stuff done.

Have a good one.