Archives Month: August 2017

Another summer begins drawing to a close with the weather in the South West being particularly good this year and one of the best August Bank Holidays on record. Little wonder that the British gin industry is booming!

Her ladyship and I stepped back from work for the last two weeks in order to help look after our grandsons, while their parents concentrated on their careers.

I don’t know who had more fun or was more tired at the end of each day, the boys or us. Days were spent on several of our amazing beaches, surfing, sand castles and the ritual being buried up to the neck. Ice creams and sea food renewed our energies. Time was spent teaching our 11 year old to drive my tractor and then trust him not to put it in a ditch – he didn’t and then we screamed and giggled whilst being bounced along the North Devon coast on a rib (rigid inflatable boat) looking at seals and dolphins. Wow!

We are fortunate in being able to be stand-in parents for the boys when they are on holiday but my heart goes out to working parents who haven’t got family to support them or can’t afford childcare.

Many sporting organisations are attempting to meet the need for family support, such as the initiative of the English Cricket Board this year, using professional cricketers to organise events for local youngsters.

Some rugby clubs, Rugby Tots and many other organisations arrange participation events for both boys and girls but this doesn’t fully answer the need to cover 8 weeks summer holidays, let alone the Easter and Christmas breaks.

For some years I have been aware of the problem parents have in balancing their work commitments with a safe haven for their children during holidays.

Running in parallel with this problem is the issue of an ever increasing, healthy retired population. Who doesn’t regularly see cyclists and joggers in their seventies and eighties? What are they doing when they are not outside keeping fit and what about the army of older people sitting down waiting for Old Father Time and his scythe?

Recently Channel 4 presented an inspiring mini series entitled, Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds. Do make a point of downloading this but some of you will want your tissues. Suffice it to say that the children had an amazing effect on the elderly folk in a retirement home near Bristol.

Do you see where this is going? An aging population in need of stimulation and the need to be needed and vast numbers of children requiring protection, care and structured time whilst the mums and dads are working.

To bring the two sides together would require significant organisation on a national basis but the prize is worth the effort. Elderly people out of their chairs, enjoying the company of children and feeling they can still contribute will have a significant impact on the national health bill. Children being supervised and cared for and running around outside will also help the health budget and reduce the incident of future impact on policing and the courts. All this can be achieved at minimal cost to the parents, whilst giving them peace of mind and reduced stress. WIN! WIN! WIN!

If you can make this happen for the country you deserve a knighthood, however your use of social media and the internet to raise these issues and promote the solution would make life changing differences. Thank you.


Do you spend enough time sitting quietly, just thinking and listening to your thoughts?

Hard work is to be encouraged and thankfully in the UK we are blessed with a nation of doers who have a serious work ethic. However, if we don’t take time to STOP, block out the extraneous white noise and just listen, we may be missing out on a great future.

Stephen and Bernadette are an example of the importance of finding time to be inspired. Having spent twenty years building up a small, successful retail business they decided to sell up and take a change of direction, albeit without knowing which road to take.

While their proceeds gathered dust in the bank they purposefully awaited for inspiration to point out their future direction. Several months later Bernadette’s cousin asked if they would be interested in a property based joint venture. He had acquired a large redundant nursing home that he was turning into apartments and preferred not to borrow more money for the venture.

So started Steve and Berni’s property business. Slowly over the next ten years they built a portfolio of letting properties, some residential and others, serviced offices. The bigger they grew the more work Bernadette had in running the day to day operation. Stephen got bored and a little left out.

Sensibly he decided to take himself off for a break in Cornwall and spend time walking the beaches, thinking and listening and trying out the many excellent restaurants and pubs that Cornwall has to offer.

When he returned he knew which road to take for the next phase of their business. They now concentrate on providing serviced accommodation with dedicated office facilities incorporated within the ‘bachelor apartments’.

So popular is this concept that they require Armada to finance the fit-outs and furnishings, including all the technical requirements for the offices, so that their profits can be used for property purchases and building works.

Fortunately for them, Stephen was prepared to take time to listen to his thoughts. Not for him the dull grind of the treadmill. He is always excited about where inspiration might take them next.