Tag: scotland

Ballueder Thinks (7) – Summer innit?

It’s hot at time of writing. 27.5 degrees in the car, as I wait for my son to finish his karate lesson. The first ‘real one’, face to face, since March, and parents are no longer allowed to watch. Life has changed. Next time I take the bigger car with the air conditioning. We adopt to the new rules of course, as we all do.

Today, at time of writing, we were supposed to go to Ashford, then Folkestone tomorrow, drive to Germany and celebrate my parents 50th wedding anniversary. The government put Belgium on the list of countries to not stay in and if you come from there, you have to quarantine for 14 days. Surely driving through it would be an exception. But it isn’t. Several calls to the government hotlines got us the same answer and it was: if you touch Belgian soil, even in a car, not stopping, you have to quarantine. Loose your income for 2 weeks. Can’t train for the marathon. WTF. This got changed at the time we rebooked…but hey, you have to make decisions when you do.

So with a heavy heart we postponed our trip to Germany, fearing that France would end up on the list soon too. And it did when we were supposed to be out there, alongside the Netherlands. Why risk it? I haven’t seen my parents for 8 months, yet they can’t postpone their anniversary. The original plan was to go on a cruise, which ultimately got cancelled. And our flights got reimbursed. So that’s good at least.

Cut a long story short, we went to Scotland instead. Staying in the Greater Manchester area over night, driving on the M6 through a lockdown area. No quarantine necessary, despite my arguments on the phone with the government, this isn’t the same use case. There are no restrictions to do be on ‘Manchester soil’. Nevermind. I would argue otherwise, but who am I to criticise the government?

Actually I do. I think they properly f* it up. The UK as it was 19 years ago when I was attracted living here, is no more. The handling of the Corona crisis and the amount of dead people speak for itself. The recession and Q2 GDP contraction figures higher than any other country. I am hugely disappointed with the state of affairs and handling of the situation. Nothing screams ‘Brexit will be a mess’ more than looking at the clowns on the top. Never have I felt more passionate about politics in any country. And looking at A-Level results, both in Scotland and England, I can only say WTF again. Sorry, this wasn’t meant to be a political or blog post ranting, but I guess sometimes it just needs to be said. But what’s the alternative?

Maybe it was naive to think we could leave the country in a pandemic in order to travel. Or it is naive to think we are out of the worst, and that there won’t be a second wave. I don’t know. Looking back at the first half of the year, I have been lucky to have work, as a contractor, and actually uncovering opportunities, regardless of the situation. Things might not be as planned, but who had planned 2020 and actually got what they planned for? Hence, I am actually very grateful for what we have, the health we are in, and the prospects we have. It confirms my decision to go freelance. To be my own boss, and make it happen, without relying on others. This is a huge blessing to be honest, even if it is hard. But why would I want to rely on others to have a job at this stage? I am not saying I am not tempted to join a company full time, but that needs to be the right opportunity. Anyway, not pitching 😉

As anyone at the moment, I just like to have a good life and want this virus to go away. Yet we need to think what life would be like if the virus won’t go away anytime soon, or ever? How will our lives, jobs and situation change? Location won’t be an issue once of a sudden. Barbados, New York, Toronto, London, Singapore – as long as you can work in the time zone of the company you work for, you can live anywhere. It also means that education for your kids and living standards, e.g. activities, are key for location preferences moving forward.

There is something else I read in the Financial Times: a lot of people used the lockdown to clear out rooms, cupboards etc. However, a lot of people also cleared out emotional backlogs. I agree. As a matter of fact we cleared a lot of stuff from the loft and garage at the end of last year, and emotionally I have been on a journey to change and clear things out for about a year. I made huge progress, and recently went through some more hypnotherapy sessions. Contact me if you want to find out more, but I find it super useful to clear out any blockages, and explore what is holding me back. My confidence and self awareness took another step up, and I highly recommend anyone doing it. It’s like clearing out your garage, your mental one.

The main reason me bringing this up is as I have been speaking to more and more people experiencing anxiety. The lockdown and loss of human contact, will result in a huge crisis from a mental health perspective. I am super proud of the companies that have worked with me throughout the lockdown to teach their employees mindfulness in the workplace ; one group in particular has done very well by allowing for a weekly session discussing mindfulness, and any mental health issues. The group coaching sessions are ongoing and helping massively to put the lockdown into perspective, whether that is from a mental health or personal perspective. If you or your company employees are effected, and they likely are, you should consider having similar sessions. I am not saying this to advertise my services, but highlight the importance of doing it. Whether with me or any other mindfulness coach or practitioner. The hungover of mental health after the pandemic will be huge; combat it today! Be proactive, you will thank me later.

Our holidays ended up being fantastic. We had splendid weather in Scotland, and hardly any rain. It was warm, and allowed for me to continue my marathon training. I will update everyone properly once it is all confirmed, but the London Marathon 2020 will be a virtual one, and all donations roll over to the next physical one, which I plan to run in October 2021 or April 2022. I prefer the former, so let’s see what we get. I shall update my Justgiving page as soon as things will be confirmed. Bear with me, not a logistical walk in the park for the London Marathon organisers.

I love being in Scotland. It’s a rough terrain, friendly people, good greasy food and lovely ale. Walking, running, or just enjoying the countryside is fab. We rented a wee flat in Inverness and visited the MIL up North frequently, whilst doing our own family things, like looking at amazing forests, Loch Ness of course, or just shopping in town. Visiting a white sandy beach.
Scotland is a lovely country, and if we knew we could work remotely forever, I would go and buy a wee house in the middle of nowhere. However, we don’t know, and there are question marks around some infrastructure here, but that’s for another time. The idea sounds lovely though.

As you can imagine, running your own business, you still work all week. However, I have been lucky as I wasn’t that much in demand, and people respected me being slow to respond. I actually didn’t do much work at all, and we enjoyed a lot of quality family time, a change of scenery, and just doing nothing. Yes. I managed to just sit there, and do nothing. Not like me, but it is so important to reflect, drain your brain and just sit and think. I enjoyed the time off, the company and making memories with the family.

When you read this we are just back. Time to kick-start my 2nd year as a contractor/freelancer and kicking some ar*. I am ready to make a difference, take on more project work, run a marathon and conquer the “world”. Get rid of the virus, spend more time with the family and balance work and life. A holiday puts so many things into perspective, so does Covid, and there will be more decisions coming our way. That’s certain and that it’s certain that I lost all confidence in trust in this government.

For now, enjoy some time off, disconnect and make memories with your children and loved ones. Time you never get back.

Love and kindness from my little corner of the world.
Volker

Sunday Column (398)

The news is out this week. It is official. I am leaving my current job, and I will be officially leaving the end of next week. I has been a great 2.5 years of exploring a slightly different angle of the industry, going through another acquisition and finding new friends and colleagues across the world. It was nice to hear just last week that clients would have loved to work with us, just because it was me. Those compliments are amazing and make me appreciate the lives I am touching, and the lives I am touched by. I am a people person, I care about people, in business and private. I am feeling flattered and it shows that sales and business relations still come back to personality first, product second. Sustainability, honestly and win/win go a long way. I was always keen to deliver on promises, and learned lessons early in my career that you don’t over promise and under deliver.

Now, the new role is different. It is still about promising to clients, internal and external, yet it is also about evaluating the sales people and technologies I have been representing in the last 6+ years! I am turning the table and apply my knowledge on the other side. It feels like I move from sales to procurement, get a lot more managerial and strategic tasks and joining a company that is on the edge to really move the needle in the space. I like to hope so anyway, and I cannot wait to join them at the end of August! I am going agency side. When working agency side in 2007, being responsible for sales, I enjoyed it and then got dragged into the tech sales, which in all honesty I enjoyed a lot too. Now I am back, with more experience and knowledge about the space, and I am excited to not pay the bills for lunch and ask those questions to sales people trying to sell me the latest tech. If you cannot summarise your solution in 30 minutes without a powerpoint…. 🙂

So the news is out, and the dates are set. I am very much looking forward to my new direction and another step in my career.

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I kicked the week off with another 25K run. I started early at 5:30 am and was back just around 8 am. It was fantastic, running with the sun rise, overlooking the South Downs being dipped into the golden morning light. Not a lot of people around and it was great to just get on. It cleared my head, made me think and came up with some solutions and ideas. Great start to the week!

Unfortunately my adidas Adistar Boost trainers are broken again after only 350K. My first pair was broken, the 2nd pair lasted, the exchanged first one now broke and I am ‘breaking in’ another pair just now. Definitely my last Boost pair, I can assure you. Having said that I went to sweatshop on Saturday afternoon and tried the new UltraBoost trainers. They are amazing, very soft and cushioned, and feather light. I am keen on getting a pair but it all depends what adidas says about whether the old pair was a manufacturers fault. Given I contacted Sweatshop 3 days after they sent the replacement, I have to take it up with adidas directly. I emailed them, let’s see, sending off the old pair on Monday. Definitely something wrong with that shoe! I did a cheeky 7.5K later in the week with the new pair of Adistar’s, just to be ready to hit the 10K in them next week again. Over are the days where a pair of trainers lasted me beyond a year.

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Then I have been back to Scotland this week. I flew up on Wednesday and then drove the family down again on Friday, with another stop over in Preston. This time the journey was a little bit more pleasant as traffic was better then going up. So we arrived on Saturday morning. Enough time to get the washing on, settle back in and be home again. It was good without the family but it is even better with the family! I missed my two boys and my wife of course. Now the cats pester the others not me 🙂

Also it marks my last flight for a while. At least my new job won’t demand me to fly regularly around Europe. An era of good 10 years in a European role coming to an end. There will be travel and potentially more international ones but for now I can hope for some fewer flights and hotel stays abroad. This will be nice for a while.

Some people asked me what I did, 10 days without the family? I can tell you that much: it felt a lot shorter, as I had been very busy. Partly I was working on some forms and test assignments, and on the other hand I made progress with my book. Yes, I now need to find the best way of drawing up some nice graphs, put the overall flow together and get it finalised. The end is in sight, early 2017 I should be able to publish my new Productivity on Life book. I thought of calling it #bebetter but feel free to come up with better suggestions.

I also found a lot of time to watch TV, movies, chill out and read. It is almost weird to be able to organise your own days and work around your work. Not sure I ever watched that much TV in a long time. And I also ate healthily, didn’t drink a lot (besides the stag do without a stag at the weekend in Brighton), and overall got a lot of chillaxing time in. A holiday as it should be on my own terms.

Now, having the family back is great. Catching up on 10 days of excitement and experience with my boys is fantastic. Almost a lifetime at their stage. The next break is with them, and I look forward to sharing experience with them too and maybe give the wife a wee break too. Life is hard, yet beautiful 🙂

That’s about all folks. I love driving the new motor, particularly the cruise control that breaks on your behalf and then accelerates if it can. Just like a self driving car.

Have a fantastic week.

Volker

Sunday Column (397)

bright side

I have been to Scotland over the last week. A long drive up, a short and delayed flight back. I love Scotland. It is a peaceful country. It feels kind of rough and you feel close to nature. Whether that is the rain, the cold or the rocks and trees. It is an outdoor country where you don’t necessarily have the weather to be outdoors much. So the coal and peat fires go on. The heat from the natural resources keep you warm. You are close to the heart of yourself, the earth and close to what’s happening deep inside this planet. We did a 25K run which was nice too. Very connected to the elements I have to say.

That’s how I feel. I also felt a bit detached from civilisation. Whilst of course Tesco is still there, same products and offers, which gives you the consistency you are not necessarily longing for, there are a lot of new things. Paying with Apple Pay got a reply from the waitress that ‘this is the first time she has done this’ or looking at the mobile phone reception, you might think you are somewhere in the bush in South America. Other than that, it feels so good to be there, and maybe it is because of these isolation that it does.

Sunrise at Quiraing, Isle of Skye, Scotland
Sunrise at Quiraing, Isle of Skye, Scotland

I relaxed a bit. My MIL helped with the kids, I had snoozes, was cooked for and enjoyed some down time. I shared my bed with my eldest and he was literally heating the bed whilst outside it was down to 3 degrees. Yet it was bright light at 9 pm at night. So when I came back to London it was dark at 9 pm, I thought of putting the fire on and with the drizzle it felt like October or November even. Autumn arrived, the summer is over. Yet we managed to have a great sunny day out on Saturday – boy’s day out.

So I chilled out on the flight back, to turn on my phone and got a message from someone on Facebook. Nothing too uncommon but that I haven’t spoken to her for 21 years. If I say I had forgotten about her, some memories came back. We met 21 years and for some reason she went through some old stuff discovering my name, looked me up, and got in touch. That was rather nice. A blast from the past. Sometime in 1995 our life lines touched. We then went off in different directions. She got a kid, I got kids, I got married and to be honest, the past 20 years, I probably forgot who she was, and this is not meant in a negative way. I am fascinated by those stories of people that come to your life and the reason they do. Some show you a different side to yourself, sometimes you help someone and sometimes you just have a fun time together. So it is without offence that I forget about people sometimes. I discussed that with a friend this week, that we both had friends we tried to find closure with. A few years ago I sent out a couple of letters to reach out to people, thanked them that they were part of my life, and that I never intended us growing apart without clearing some things. Some never got back to me, and of some I don’t even know if they ever got my letter. That’s life I suppose. Life’s little stories.

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This week was very productive in terms of getting a lot of reviews done for my next productivity book. No, it is far from being finished, yet I made some progress this week. Now a lot of tidying, adding and stuff to do. But my hope is that by end of year this should be finished. Fingers crossed. All depends on undisturbed time I suppose, which is getting less. There are so many plans moving forward and life will change a lot. But it can only get better, as things always improve in life. Things change for a reason, and those reasons are always worthwhile. I have been meeting up with interesting people over the past few weeks. Again, everything happens for a reason, some reasons to be discovered further down the line. Job opportunities, product discussions, industry discussions, chewing the fat, discussing life over lunch and wine, partying even with friends. I am having a great time. Every now and then I am in the position to reach out to my network and give back and receive. This was one of those weeks, amazing people!

People are fascinating, so is life. It seems a theme this week, which makes me think how much I appreciate the life I have. The people that are close to me which I miss. The people worth dying for if you like and the people that are close to me, part of my life, and the ones, like above, who came into my life. And I could fill a whole life just to speak to people and philosophise on things, but then I have to focus again on everyday work, and do what I have to and what I want to do. That’s happening too. And then you bring focus back into your life and push back on some meetings. You naturally prioritise.

And I guess that’s how we all live our lives. Bound to our own little back yard, own little circle of friends which every now and then expands. And you suck a few new ones in the circle and you get sucked into other people’s circle, and then you continue as you were. A pulsating way of extending your horizon and circle of influence. I am pulsating. I am breathing. I am alive and I am enjoying my life and my circle of influence and friends. I appreciate you. Thanks for being part of my journey.

Have a fantastic week and make the most of the summer!

Volker

Sunday Column (396)

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The end of July. Wow. This year flew past. It is Thursday when I start this post, and this week passed quickly too. I don’t even know what I did on Monday. Amazing, and good to see I am busy. There are so many things I need to be sorting.

Let’s see. I updated you on my job situation last week. More updates to follow, once hopefully things get a bit clearer, once people are back from holidays. Emails are quiet. News sites are quiet. I keep writing my own news on Linkedin, so if you haven’t seen my articles there, please have a look. Holiday season means slow response times, no decision making. Hey, keep looking forward, enjoy the quieter time, and some of the nice weather. It will get busier before you know it.

In Germany we call it the Sommerloch, literally the summer hole. No, nothing rude, not an a*hole, but the hole the press and everything else falls into when it gets really quiet. My FT is getting smaller by the week, and the content worth reading too. Hibernation almost. I did notice that I got more tired, but a few runs sorted me out again. Some more sleep would be good but too many things are going around in my head. Summer hole. I like that term. It reminds me of home, of the smell of grass from the fields, the freshly cut one. The one they collect later on in the year for hay. It is like the beginning of Autumn, my most favourite season. I know we make it to the end of the year. Things are moving forward. When I grew up I didn’t have hay fever. I now seem to have some allergy. Things are in constant change.

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Talking about change. I noticed this week in particular how change is affecting fast growing organisations. I wrote about it a while ago that when people join organisations at the early growth stage, and they then evolve and these people leave, they might leave with a bad memory. Yet a lot of companies then attract new people. I overheard at an event a few weeks back, that someone said ‘how could you join this company, they are not doing well’. I don’t ever say that about any company. And this is not in regards to my current situation. But companies go through changes and if one person leaves, others transition in. It might just be the right opportunity for them at the time, and works very well. They grow with the company probably for another 2-3 years and then a new group of people transition in, the new old ones out. Only bigger cooperations can afford to job rotate you every 2-3 years, and only a few hang around to grow with smaller companies and continue to have an interesting job for life.

That is one of the reasons of digital staff turnover. Too many small to medium sized companies grow too quickly. Some people cannot cope with the amount of change or like more stability. Some people grow and some outgrow a company, growing personally quicker than the company. Then there are changes, and it is very common. Whether that is redundancy, voluntary leave or head hunted to another position, doesn’t really matter. But this change must be managed very carefully. Companies who do, are the ones that survive, grow and outgrow competitors.

No this picture isn't really the way we live in Scotland ;-)
No this picture isn’t really the way we live in Scotland 😉

So when I am speaking to companies about jobs, I don’t only look at the job. Given my experience I can do most senior jobs unless they require a very specific skill I might not have. Equally important for me is due-diligence within the industry. What is it like to work there? How high is the staff turnover? And if high, why? If low, why? What are the points of differentiation? Are we onto a winning organisation? What are the values represented within the company, what do they stand for? I am a people person and my next step needs to be right. Above is just one example of a whole array of questions and talking points when discussing jobs and positions. With the change of guard there are opportunities and they might just be right for one person and not right for another. That’s what makes our industry so exciting.

In the meantime I spent a fantastic weekend with the family in Scotland. I love being in Scotland and enjoy the Scots, their mentally and the fresh air. No kidding. 15 degrees, slight drizzle and some fresh sea air. Nothing beats that. Whilst you looking out of your living window, across the Black Isle, having a coffee, the peat fire on and think about the things to come, the things to accomplish. You hug your kids as they wake up. You makes sure they are happy and you think, that this is now the only thing that matters. Everything else must wait. Everything else is secondary.

I cherish those moment. The moments that fully fill that summer hole for me!

Have a great week,
Volker

Sunday Column (230)

Today my grandad would have been 105 if he was still alive. Strong headed, strong yet open minded. Very smart and great in Maths. He was someone I rate very highly. To this day and beyond.

We went on holidays, or to be precise ‘we went away’, to stay with my MIL (Mother in law) for two weeks. So it was more a change of scenery than real holidays as I continued to work during that time. I got loads done but also spend loads of time with the kids and enjoyed some time off. So almost perfect…

I took my own espresso machine and had great food, drink and fun. Not least at a wedding we went to. And almost daily I spoiled myself with some good food and/or indulgence 😉 Holidays.

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Some nights or mornings we tried to all cuddle up in one bed. The boys enjoyed having me around all the time.

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And we went to a forest adventure park which the boys enjoyed too. Crazy to think that Scotland was once almost completely covered with those trees and woodland. Amazing. Overall the scenery, the outdoors in Scotland, are amazing. Rough terrain yet subtle colours. With the sun shining through the clouds or clouds throwing shadows on the purple coloured hills. I love it!

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The wedding was a great laugh and it was good to see some old friends again and win some new ones. Some people we haven’t seen for almost 10 years, or even longer. 12 years since I left Germany! I met with fraternity brothers and old school buddies alike. It was really nice to catch up with everyone. And this seemed to be wedding number three that my wife and I instigated, so better watch it LOL.

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Then there were two days in Rogart, an hour and a half on the train, then a night in a retired 1st class carriage. It is called Sleeperzzz and has retired carriages with beds, kitchen, shower and loo as well as an old bus and circus bus/wooden carriage. A great little village with no 3G reception (imagine me) but openBT wifi reception on a pathway between 3 houses on the way to the playground. We had a great family time and two very excited and exhausted boys.

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Last but not least we were lucky with the traffic and made it home in good time on Saturday, after spending another night in a hotel in Preston. The boys loved the sleep over, were amazed by a hotel and we got a good rest before setting off at 5.30 am. This way the boys slept most of the way.

We also managed to hit the 60,000 mile-stone. I love our Seat Alhambra, it serves us well and gives us plenty of space for our rear facing car seats and plenty of stuff we had to take back home from the MIL. No further comments on the latter.

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Next week will be busy. Lots to catch up on, lots of people to catch up with. New routines, better diets and my own bed again.

Welcome home. Have a great week.

Volker

Sunday Column (74)

As of the last two weeks, our wee family has been on holidays. Hence I am not sure where to start. Maybe with a family picture taken in Skye:

We took our XC90 from London up to Scotland on a few hundred, or more over 2,000 miles stretch. Whilst it took almost 2 hours to get out of London, the rest of the journey up North was ok. We drove from London all the way to Paisley outside Glasgow. From there we drove up to Skye the next morning where we spend the weekend with a really good friend who really spoiled us and hit off the holidays nicely. On Monday we went to Dingwall where my wife is from, and from there we drove up to Orkney for the remainder of the week. We stopped at a few distilleries on the way and had a fantastic time. I have to admit that I love the XC90. It is comfortable to drive, easy to drive and one feels safe in it both for us but also, and more importantly, for Colin. The idea of a rear facing car seat and the decision to buy a car that fits those requirements was definitely right. However, being on Orkney, a warning light came on that there is something wrong with the transmission. A local garage checked it and it seemed to have been a wrong signalling from the sensor. Never mind, just getting the car checked every now and then seems to be an expensive hobby 🙁 So far the car has costs more than anticipate, given the size of the engine it also eats on insurance and tax. We shall see how much use we make of it over the next 12 months. Having a family and being able to have a car at our discretion is important and helps a lot. Unfortunately, we don’t have the option to downsize due to the car seat and size of ourselves. And actually, I love “the machine” 😉

And Colin was great too. I finally got time to spend whole days with him. He was ok driving too, and I had a fantastic time being with him in every aspect of his day. It even went as far as that Colin cried when I left the room. Now I know how it feels to be a “mum” 🙂 He took his first steps just before we left London, however being in Skye he walked for at least 15 steps. At the end of the holidays he is walking properly, and he also looks very cute pulling up his shoulders when walking 🙂 His interaction is more fun and he starts tidying things up. At his great auntie Sally’s home he spent all evening tidying away cloth pegs. He also laughs so much. The only draw back of a long journey and the sight seeing is that Colin fell asleep in the car and we had to wake him up every 30-45 minutes to stop somewhere and do some more sight seeing. You felt sorry for him being fed up with being driven and pushed around, so we made sure we put a few hours play into our daily routine in either granny’s house or the local play areas. I managed to spend most mornings in the second week playing with him, and we had great laughs. He is so much fun to be around. I fully enjoy being a dad and seeing my son grow up. We got so many compliments from people of how handsome he is too 🙂 He is really taking after me!

The picture above was taken in Skype, below are the Churchill Barriers where you can still find wrecks of the boats that sank in the 2nd World war at Scapa Flow.

The first week we went to Orkney on a 90 minute boat journey and spend almost a whole week there. Jen’s family on her father’s side is from Stromness and the person in the garage where we got the car checked out was related to a Clouston too. A small world/island. So we met some aunties of which one had a dog. Colin took some time but ended up loving the dog and play with her. That was fantastic to see him engaging with animals outside his comfort zone. We visited some historic sites like the Ring of Brodgar, Skara Brae, Maes Howe, St. Magnus Cathedral, Churchill Barriers, Scapa Flow, and the Italian Chapel. You can google them all yourself, but Jen put a very nice programme together. Funny enough Colin’s godfather and his wife were on the island at the same time we were, so we met them too, mainly to see the Highland Park distillery. That was a bit disappointing as they outsource quite a bit of work to the mainland, e.g. the Highland Park Whisky is not 100% made in Orkney 🙁

Orkney is one of those places you automatically fall in love with. So was Skye and the Westcoast. But whilst Orkney is rather cold and windy, the light makes the environment come out in various colours and let’s the island show off its beauty. I find it nicer than Skye personally, although I could imagine living in either of them. However, that wouldn’t be before retirement age unless Talisker or Scapa distillery would offer me a job 😉 It really brings up our current discussion on where we want to bring up children, where we want to live etc. Maybe the UK, maybe Scotland comes back on the decision matrix?

Now I have written a bit about the whiskys. I got some “Distiller’s Edition” of Talisker, Clynelish, and Lagavulin (I know it is an Islay Whisky but they all belong to the Diageo Group which now owns 26 distilleries of the over 80 in Scotland). On the way back to Dingwall we stopped at my most favourite Whisky Distillery in the Highlands: Dalmore. I treated myself to one of the last two bottles of Dalmore MacKenzie 1992 they had sitting about. Ach well, I can either keep it for Colin and by then the bottle might be worth above £1,000, or I can enjoy it. The choice might be clearer than I originally thought 😉 Hence we actually tasted this “golden nectar” with a good family friend in Dingwall.

From the second weekend of the holidays, we stayed with the Mother in Law in Jenny’s home town, Dingwall. We attended yet another wedding where, although we only spend the evening there, I managed to get quite tipsy 😉 Also, we met with good friends from our time in Aberdeen in Inverness. Most have families now, so it is weird to be all “grown up”, seeing them with children (and vice versa I suppose), meeting at places where the kids can play, seeking child friendly places. I still find it difficult to comprehend that I am not “mummy’s boy” any more, not being looked after, not going to university or school with no or little responsibility.

Having some time off, I had lots of time to reflect and think where I am in life and where to go. Jenny and I have many ambitions, plans and ideas but we both agree that we need to focus on where we get the best in life for our children. It is about opportunities for my career, for our children’s education and the society our children grow up in. But it is also about happiness, environment and the combination of all of those factors above. The future will tell, and Scotland is not out of question for a place to settle down at some stage in life….at the latest when I retire 😉 Then I might be smoking cigars similar to the one you see on the “snapshot” my wife took of me on the ferry crossing. Daddy Cool I guess – just being me, being on holiday 🙂

I think that finalises our two weeks holidays, but of course a final and first game of golf at a lovely golf course in Fortrose. I think I might seriously consider playing golf. However, it might have been the last holiday for a while but I explain that maybe next week. Of course my wife will put more pictures up soon and share them with you. Let me know if you haven’t received them but would like to. The collection here are just a few chosen ones, but I have seen some of the ones my wife took, and they are amazing pictures. Yes, I am sure she will be starting a career in photography sometime soon 😉

Enough said. Two weeks. Thanks to modern technology I was connected to work, emails and Facebook. Should have I? Again, a question to be answered once you figured out what is the most important thing is in life. And, currently, that might just be the little fella looking around the screen of my laptop, shouting at me typing.

I better get off now.

Thanks to my wife for organising a fantastic trip and time away.

Volker

Weekend in Glasgow

Hello,

This weekend we went up to Glasgow for Karen & Lewis’ Wedding. Congratulations to you both.

It was a great weekend. Friday we enjoyed some retail therapy in Glasgow – and Glasgow is great for that. Saturday, besides the wedding, it was so great to catch up with friends I have not seen for ages.

So nice to return to a city I have not seen for 5 years, catching up with friends we have not seen for months. Weird how people develop and things change in our multicultural circle of friends.

Today is rather slow. Nice Italian food in Glasgow and picked up a bottle of Dalmore. Nice bottle of single malt! Slowly getting into Whiskey again.

Now waiting for my plane which is already delayed but hope to be home soon.

Enjoy the rest of this sunny Glasgow.