2015: generally exceptional …

Xmas 2015Staying with the precedent set for 2013 and continued for 2014 here are my reflections of 2015. In many respects it’s been an exceptional year and although there has been some sadness there hasn’t been the uptick that you might have expected as my friends, colleagues and relations all get older.

First the sadness. I lost just two good friends:

  • Hans Strebel died in February. It was one of those dreadful, or fortunate, coincidences because I’d only just made contact with him after a long gap. I’d know Hans when we lived in Switzerland. He ran an advertising company in Zurich and we did some business together but that became incidental as we became firm friends. We met frequently for lunch and we enjoyed at least one Xmas dinner together.
  • Christine Bondi died in March, she was in her late 80s but had been getting progressively weaker over recent months with failing eyesight. She was a great friend and a local Lib Dem supporter. I remember during the election campaign of 2009 she was determined to do her share of deliveries despite her reduced mobility. She was the widow of nobel prize winner and former Master of Churchill College Hermann Bondi.

I’m pleased to be able to report a family in good health and of increased size. Sophia joined Amelia in the Bradbury household in September and the house which they moved into in 2014 has now been extended. Charles is enjoying his life in Australia and has put his money down on a house which he will move into later this year.

It’s been a good year for business. The big news was that Tribune, which has some rather exciting diesel engine technology, has offered me a Sales & Marketing Director role. It hasn’t yet been full time but will be increasingly so this year. That development served to bring to an end my latest involvement with Macsa but that looks likely to resurface in 2016 given a phone call just before Xmas. Camlab came back for its annual strategy session and Sensotec called me in to help it get over a difficulty it had got itself into. And at the end of the year Crop Systems has asked for help. Plus MDU has continued nicely and I also have the challenge of advising Grace Systems as its coaching though Growth Accelerator has come to an end.

Politically it’s been a strange and obviously, in at least one respect, dreadful year with the Lib Dems’ presence in parliament being decimated, a fairly precise use of the word. I confess to losing some of my political passion but am nonetheless very angry at what the Tories are now doing in the name of ‘austerity’. The impact on our schools and infrastructure inter alia worries me and the blinkered approach to the NHS is simply building more problems for the future. My thoughts on this last point are especially sharpened because I now have my first significant CCC position, as chair of the Health Committee, and can see the irrational position that is being taken on Public Health.

2015 was an epic year for travel and the like. There have been two big trips, to Australia (http://wp.me/phtcF-mW) and Indonesia (http://wp.me/phtcF-np), and a short haul trip to Rome (http://wp.me/phtcF-nh). Plus I had a couple of days in Salisbury, to check out Stonehenge and the cathedral, and Alex and I had a trip to the Rugby World Cup in Cardiff and subsequent overnight in Chepstow. That means more than our fair share of Unesco world heritage sites visited. And as a part of the travel we’ve stayed in some really super hotels: the Esplanade in Fremantle, the Tugu in Malang and the Majapahit in Surabaya. Plus along the way there have been several restaurants which I’ve given 5 stars to on TripAdvisor: The Witch & Sow in Guilsborough, Morries Anytime in Margaret River, the Harbour Master at The Esplanade in Perth, the Blue Bicycle in York, la Matriciana in Rome, The Pheasant Inn in Keystone and Paprika at the Phoenix Hotel in Yogyakarta. And at the very last minute Piccolino in Collingham.

And finally I’ve stayed pretty fit and well throughout the year. My weight is steady at 68-69kg, I’ve had lots of exercise and I did the Bonfire Burn 10k in under 1 hour which was my target. My hip seems good, it’s now in its 24th year, and although I’ve had visits to both heart and lung specialists at Addenbrooke’s recently I seem OK on both fronts.

It has been a very good year and I feel blessed. With so much trouble and uncertainty in the world I seem to have found a place which is especially rewarding. I can but hope that my life continues that way.


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