5 business trips (which didn’t go to plan)

I’ve travelled enough so that I’m pretty adept at avoiding the pitfalls of business trips and the stresses that go with them but even then stuff happens which is outside your control and then you have to adapt. It’s happened to me several times, fortunately never catastrophically, but in today’s world the consequences of the earlier ones wouldn’t have been so easily managed.

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That was 2020 that was

I generally keep a diary when there’s something special going on. That typically includes travel and special events so I’ve been keeping one over the last few days and included in it my reflections of 2020. This is what I’ve written.

We’ve had no holidays. We were due to go to Italy in May but that fell foul of Covid and we got our money back. Otherwise we had just a couple for nights at the Windmill in Linton, that’s the one near Wetherby, early in September when we went to see the Bradburys and to celebrate Sophia’s 5th birthday. Of course we’d also planned Xmas up north as well but cancelled that as infection rates began to climb.

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Photos of the month: October, November and December

Oops … this is a bit of a catch-up to make sure that I can round off the year within the year and not some time in 2021.

October

I drink more wine than I do beer but I don’t have the same regular habit of photographing wine as I do with beer.

I’ve spent enough time in Spain that I’ve drunk enough Spanish wine to appreciate it and the Cune 2015 Reserva is super.

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Brexit: it’s all about the fish

In a year of such bad news the headline that a Brexit deal has been signed counts as good news but it is only relatively, and minimally, so.

For the country at large it means duty and quota free access for manufactured goods and that’s surely good news for those who’ve exported a substantial part of their production to the EU and there are many of them. In particular I’m pleased that Welsh sheep farmers now have a chance of survival. However they and the other exporters will now have to contend with export documentation, which was unnecessary as long as we were still a part of the EU, and that’s not inconsiderable.

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Breakfast at Bill’s @billscambridge

It doesn’t really have the same cachet as Breakfast at Tiffany’s but I like the alliteration.

Until the first Covid lockdown we went to Cambridge just about every Saturday morning and we’d generally have breakfast at Don Pasquale with Tony and Christine. Sadly times have changed. We’ve only been in twice since, Don Pasquale has closed and Christine has died. Who knows what more’s to happen before we’re through the pandemic.

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My mother didn’t have a happy life

I don’t mean that it was uniformly unhappy but after a promising start she suffered a misfortune which, despite her undoubted mental strength and determination, was to blight the rest of her life.

Audrey Vickers was born in 1923 and as far as I know enjoyed a happy childhood in a stable and loving but fairly strict family environment. Her father was a successful butcher and the family lived ‘over the shop’ in Wepre Buildings in Connah’s Quay. She went to the same schools, and was taught by some of the same teachers as me: Dee Road Infants, Custom House Lane County Primary and then Hawarden Grammar. From school she went to teachers training college as was the norm in those days for many girls who’d made it through to the 6th form. She secured a place at IM Marsh in Liverpool.

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Leaders are only as good as their teams

The All Stars, Lensbury’s 2nd rugby team: I’ve always enjoyed sport, as a spectator and a participant. Unfortunately I’ve never been that good at it and in school, although I’d have happily swapped a few academic grades for a place on the school team, I never got the chance. However later on, first at college and then when I started to work, I found that enthusiasm was a pretty good substitute for ability. It wouldn’t get you into the first team but at least it got you onto a team sheet. Then I chanced on the discovery that if you would take on the chore of organising you would not only secure your position but you could even become captain, choose your position and take all the penalties! And so I became a ‘professional’ second team captain and my first shot at that was in the early 70s when I played for and captained the 2nd XV at Lensbury, the sports club of Shell in London where I worked.

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Sep 20: photo of the month

I take a beer photo every Friday and I guess one was going to be seen as deserving the ultimate accolade. This one looks good enough to drink and is of a beer which I often drank on visits to Germany, especially Dusseldorf.

This photo was taken with my Sony A77 II DSLR 1/80th at f2.0 and ISO 1000 with a focal length of 50mm. There’s been no post processing, not even a crop.