Sainsbury’s sans Service

So Mel and I went out today and finished up in Sainsbury’s at Hatch Warren with a desire to top up the weekly shopping.  Now we had no problem in the shop – although the service was not as exceptional as Badger Farm when the assistant at the checkout overheard Mel say we may need crackers to go with our cheese and promptly ran off to fetch a selection for us to choose from.  On that occasion we left feeling valued and impressed by the level of service.

 Not so today in the Coffee Shop at Hatch Warren.  The jobs worth in charge of the cafe decided to pull down the electronic shutters just after 3.30 and leave all us punters to drink our teas and coffees in a dungeon like state. When I remonstrated with the jobs worth I was told she only had 20 minutes to the end of her shift and she had lots to do in that time.  Why she couldn’t leave this task for a further 15 minutes was beyond me – other than to encourage us to leave as soon as possible.  So my sugestion is don’t patronise Sainsbury’s Cafe at Hatch Warren.

Long Time Gone

So you get out of the habit of doing and then what do you know, months have passed by.  There’s no real reason for not doing it other than the habit of doing it has slipped off the radar.  The trouble for me is that no-one sends me an email reminding me to do it, so it’s then down to self discipline and an aging memory.  And that’s the most unreliable aspect.  My way to deal with this is to set myself a recurring task in my Todo list – in fact just in case I have put something in Outlook and also in my Todo list on the iPhone.The other areas which have kept me busy have been the development of Mel’s pet care business – Home or Away Petcare -in fact Jasper has been cuddled up as I type away. Business Development at The Dove Clinic and European Nutripharm have also made for interesting times.  Added to that is my ongoing role as vice chair of the FSB’s (Federation of Small Business) Southampton and District branch, (a short break there as the alarm clock which is Peter and Barney who seem to bark right on the nail of 6am every morning), my work on the current Mayor of Winchester’s Charities, and a bit of help with the South Wonston Youth Club.So back again soon

FSB Annual Conference 2008

My first Annual Conference – of any kind – and it’s very similar to what I imagine a political conference is.  There are people with really valid points to make and people with nothing to say who speak for the need to say anything.  So far I’ve said nothing and I think that by the time Conference closes tomorrow evening that’s likely to be the case still.  As a newcomer you are given a badge that identifies you as a conference virgin.  If I come again I’ll not get a blue band again and I may feel more confident of opening my mouth.  At least that way I’ll know the process and procedures.Today I’ve heard really good speeches from John Denham MP and Ken Clarke MP.  I’ve voted on motions on forming a national bank (defeated), one which was so memorable I’ve had to resort to my notes to remember what it was about (oh that’s right – it was on mortgage grants to inspire first time buyers) and curbing legislation on farming procedures (agreed).  People are very passionate and some turn up to speak and you are not sure (that they are not sure) whether they are for or against the motion.   More to come later. 

Another Great Song

The iPod really is a wonderful thing.  You can make a playlist just like that.  You’re not restricted by the length of a CD or a tape.  You can make it in minutes.  But because of that I feel that the concept is in some way diminished.  For me part of the love of making a mixtape was how long it took to populate a C90 (always the best length for me).  There was a real permanence about it.  You could share it in a  way that you can’t with an ipod playlist.  That’s not to say the playlist doesn’t have a value these days, it’s just that it doesn’t take the same commitment as the good old mix tape.  And by the way I still have several from the 70s and 80s.  What would be my first song now –  FEAR by Ian Brown – they used a clip in Dancing on Ice this evening

Solent Business Growth Network

So the show was definitely a success.  There was a lot of interest in our consortium offering.  And let’s face it – having a single point of access to most of the business services a developing business may need is a good thing.  And to take that a step further each of the members of SBGN can rely on the trust that fellow members know intimately the quality of work that other members deliver.   For me I have worked closest with David vane at 247virtual.  David is committed to sharing his knowledge to improve productivity for all.  I have also been on the receiving end of one of Steve Jones of Skills for Business motivation sessions.  I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t benefit from some work with Steve. To check out who is involved in Solent Business Growth Network visit

Business South 2009

So we all got together for our stint at Business South 2009, where our network group Solent Business Growth Network(SBGN) has been exhibiting.  I’m just off to the second day, although I’m only there for the morning.  I’m there as a founder member of the Network through my company dnj solutions.  Yesterday we saw a lot of people interested in the services we provide and also very interested in the concept of cohesive collaborative working.  If you click through to the dnj solutions site you will find details of all the services on offer.

Road Sense

So we’ve got to the time of year when council budgets need to be spent, but they can, of course, only be spent in specific areas.  When I was in Southampton yesterday, I noticed a plethora of new road signs which look very clean and tidy.  Of course when you look at the function of a road sign it is to tell you the name of the road and the area in which you are.  It reminded me that in our village recently we have had two signs installed pointing the way to three or four terraced houses down a footpath – there’s one at each end.  My point in bitching on about this is that we have an ever deteriorating road network with more and more potholes appearing, and yet the councils cannot afford to repair them.  We just seem to be getting our priorities all messed up.

Boys Don’t Cry

There have been many inspirational songs that have invaded my ears through the years.  A lot of the music that really excites me is the song that I’ve never heard before.  A lot of the songs I’ve heard and enjoyed in the past belong in the era which gave birth to them.  There are many songs by The Cure which excited me in the late 70’s and early 80’s and Boys Don’t Cry is one that still sends the chills up the back of my neck today.  I could remember most of the words still and tonight just before 8pm (to celebrate some NME award) Zane Lowe played the track.  Simply fantastic!!!

Does The Government Help

So on Monday 23rd February the Government Cabinet came to Southampton.  Does this help the local economy?  I’m not sure about this, but it certainly helps to raise the area’s profile, albeit I feel temporarily.  They also have put some information up on the SEEDA website about what’s going on in the South East.  There is some good news on investment for high growth companies but how much of it actually filters through remains to be seen.  Me, I’m off to get into peak condition so that I have the stamina to plough through all the reading necessary to understand the process!

Dog in Court!

So a good friend of mine has to go to court because her dog allegedly bit someone.  On the face of it a bit without evidence and without witnesses.  Now I’m all for prosecuting wrong doing but this is a barmy waste of tax payers money.  I know this dog, I see her five or six times a week and she is a mild mannered placid dog.  But because of one unsubstantiated complaint from a guy with a chip on his shoulder about something, this is going to court.  Not once but twice – the second time is because when it goes first time she will plead not guilty and because of this it gets referred to another court.  And we as taxpayers are paying for this.  In any kind of sensible world the dog warden (who has visited – no doubt at further cost) would have the jurisdiction to decide whether the dog proved any kind of threat and could deal with it appropriately.  Instead we get on this legal merry go round.  What a nonsense.