Titli’s Weekly Blog – October 2011
9th October 2011
It’s October. It’s well into October. Soon it will be Christmas, and then 2012, and then the Olympics, and then… It’s true what they say – time goes faster when you get older and there never seems to be enough hours in the day to do all those things that you want to get done.
Take this week as an example. I’ve had an ever-increasing pile of paperwork on my desk for quite some time. I’m not going to say how long exactly because a) I’m not sure myself and b) the reality would certainly be embarrassing. On Tuesday morning I made a decision to get stuck in and liberate my desk from its paper oppression.
I knew it would be painful. There were letters that had to be written and posted, phone calls that had to be made, and stuff to be filed away. It seemed to take forever. Add to that the need to get my Ford KA through its annual technical inspection and replace a tyre PLUS getting the speedometer on my French car changed from km per hour to miles per hr… Time just seemed to fly by. Never mind the laundry, the housework and other day-to-day necessities of life. The good news (at least from my perspective) was that I managed to sell the Ford KA on Friday to a friend. Now we have more space on the driveway again!
Is there a moral to this little tale? When I worked for DuPont my last-but-one boss had a wonderful concept for business which he called TWDTE and TWETD. His philosophy was that we should try and spend as much time as possible on Things We Exist To Do (e.g. selling product, negotiating deals) while trying to minimise the Things We Do To Exist (e.g. paying invoices and other administrative tasks). This doesn’t mean that we should ignore TWDTE, simply that we should find smarter and more efficient ways to do them to give more time for TWETD. I think I need to start applying this to my own life!
Last weekend Man, Dog and I left the heatwave of mid-Wales and took a trip to north Wales to spend a weekend with Mr B and Ms E. Every time I see a weather map of the UK it seems that north Wales is under a permanent cloud. It could have something to do with the spectacular mountainous scenery in that part of the world. Warm, moist air coming off the Atlantic and all that.
On Sunday morning Mr B announced that we were “going for a walk.” No problem. “Up a mountain.” Okaaaayyyyyy. I had my trainers and Man had his dog-walking boots. Dog had his paws, but they are pretty sturdy. Mr B and Ms E had walking boots, poles and other proper walking gear. We had a couple of waterproofs. Undaunted we piled into the car and set off.
After a 20 minute drive we arrived at the base of the enigmatically named Cnicht. Wikpedia tells us that “the mountain gets its name from the old English word ‘knight’, the silent ‘k’ being pronounced at that time. It is said that the shape of the mountain bears a similarity with a knight’s helmet.” From the south west it looks quite foreboding.
The climb itself wasn’t too bad. There was the occasional scrambling required across rocky outcrops, making sure not to put your hand on the ever-present sheep poo. Dog took all of this in his stride, running hither and thither to sniff at where the sheep had been and bounding up rocks like a spider-dog. However the closer we got to the summit of the climb the more worrisome it looked. Looking behind was much more enjoyable as the views were truly spectacular. After walking uphill for two and a half hours we arrived at a small plateau and stared up at the final ascent…
Then we decided it was a bit too much for some of us and turned around to start the journey back down. It was on this part of the adventure that I regretted not having sturdy and supportive walking boots on my feet. Not once, not twice, but three times I went over on my right ankle. You know that horrible feeling when you step on something uneven and your ankle gives way under you? That’s the one. Three times! Thanks to God I didn’t do any serious damage to it and was still able to continue my walk back down to the car.
After our four-hour adventure the portaloo in the carpark was welcome relief (if you’ll pardon the pun) but I did have to smile when I opened the door. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen a toilet with a handbrake!
Ms E is clearly having a good influence on Mr B. The motorbike has been removed from the hallway, the broken glass in the front door has been replaced with some rather spiffy-looking etched glass, and the kitchen is home to a NEW COOKER. Our hosts used this new device to its full capacity on Sunday evening by preparing a rather delicious meal of fishcakes and salad. I’m very grateful for their hospitality as all I could do was sit in a chair, watch my ankle puff up like a balloon, and scoff my way through a large bowl of delicious Balti Mix. I really cannot resist a good spicy Balti Mix, especially the little pieces with the star cross-section that look like something you would make with a Play-Doh Fun Factory as a child.
On top of everything else this week there was one very important thing I needed to do. One of the ladies who is part of our campanological team had a “significant birthday” and I had decided to make a cake for our weekly get-together. I didn’t have time to make and mature a fruit cake so I settled on a carrot cake instead. A campanological theme seemed appropriate and I had a bit of fun experimenting with the icing to make multicoloured sallies (the fluffy things on bellropes). There were a few ooh and aahs as the cake was unveiled and people seemed to enjoy it. I hope they did – there is some left over for next week!
25th October 2011
On this day in 1415 King Henry V of England led his army against a numerically superior French army at Agincourt. The English were victorious and a Welshman by the name of Dafydd Gam saved King Henry V’s life that day but died himself in battle.
On this day in 2010 Titli Nihaan, Man and Dog were standing outside a three-bedroom bungalow in Presteigne (Wales) with keys in hand. Behind them was the voluminously superior removal lorry containing all their wordly belongings. There was no battle and no-one died, so a good day all-round!
It is remarkable to think that we have been in this house for an entire year. We have seen a complete set of seasons go through its cycle. The garden has flourished and is now dying back. We still don’t quite know all the surrounding areas yet, but it is starting to feel like home again.
This anniversary has prompted me to do a bit of reflection. Do I miss France? Well, yes and no. I don’t miss not being able to understand the subtleties of idiomatic spoken French. I don’t miss the neighbours, most of whom were pains in the proverbial. I do miss the view from our house in France, but that really was something quite special!
Do I miss working in Geneva? When my new boss took over in 2010 my attitude to my job started to change. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough! My previous boss, Max, had been a lovely guy to work for. He was always there when you needed him and would give you proper, honest feedback. He trusted his staff to do the right thing and was not afraid to delegate. Most days we would have coffee together and put the World of DuPont to right. My new boss could not have been more different. Enough said.
So is there anything I do miss? Yes. Some of the lovely people at work that I used to interact with on a daily basis, or had lunch with from time to time. I miss them for sure.
Do I regret moving back to the UK? Not a bit. I generally don’t “do” regret. Things happen, life moves on. I can look back with fondness at the time in France but this is a new chapter of my life and I’m very happy with it. We are nearer family and we are making friends here. Life is good!
If anyone thinks that working for themselves is easy, think again. This last two weeks have been hectic. I’ve been organising promotional material for my new company called Titli Films – business cards, car magnets, etc. I’ve also been working with a local radio station to produce a commercial for me which should go to air before the end of the month. If you live near the Welsh border and can pick up Sunshine 855 you might hear it.
I’ve also spent a lot of time preparing the Titli Nihaan 2012 Recipe Calendar. I solicited the Titli Buddies to give me some feedback on one of the pages and they gave me some great suggestions. Thanks Buddies! There has been a lot of to-ing and fro-ing with the company that are going to print the calendar and I am hopeful that I’ll be able to make it available for sale at the end of this month. This in turn created a bit more work for me – I’ve been setting up an online store on this website. You’ll be able to see it once the calendar is available. I need to engage my creative brain and think of some Titli merchandise that people would be happy to pay for. I have bills to pay!
This month’s competition for my Buddies asked the question of what I should do with 40kg of apples. I am pleased to report that I spent an entire day peeling about 35kg of them and doing something useful. I can’t reveal what yet as the competition is still open, but most of them are sitting at my feet as I type. I’m glad I didn’t plant a large patch of pumpkins…