He knows his onions!!


Derek Haywood, our Business Manager, retired today.

I can’t begin to express how much I’m going to miss him. The retirement of a close colleague is a strange thing – one day a person is there – the next day they’re gone.  I’m pleased for Derek but it will leave a huge hole in our working lives.

Derek hopes to spend as much time as possible in his beloved France – hence the onions and beret.

One of the world’s good guys.

Tuesdays with Morrie


Sunday afternoon telly showed “Tuesdays With Morrie”. Alan Blackie lent me the book a few months ago and it made a real impact (I’ll get it back to you Alan). 

The book recounts the true story of the relationship between a man and his former university teacher in the last months of the older man’s life due to a terminal illness.  If you hadn’t read the book the film might have appeared a bit schmaltzy but the book has an incredible depth and power.

I was really struck by the images contained in this extract:

“I heard a nice little story the other day,” Morrie (the teacher) says. He closes his eyes for a moment and I wait.

“Okay. The story is about a little wave, bobbing along the ocean, having a grand old time. He’s enjoying the wind and the fresh air – until he notices the other waves in front of him, crashing against the shore.

“My God, this is terrible,” the wave says. “Look what’s going to happen to me!”

“Then comes along another wave. It sees the first wave, looking grim, and it says to him, “Why do you look so sad?”

“The first wave says, “You don’t understand! We’re all going to crash! All of us waves are going to be nothing! Isn’t it terrible?”

“The second wave says, “No, don’t understand. You’re not a wave, you’re part of the ocean.”

I smile. Morrie closes his eyes again.

“Part of the ocean” he says, “part of the ocean.” I watch him breathe, in and out, in and out.

Great Escape

I was honoured to meet Melville Carson (87) who came into the office to video conference with two of his former fellow Prisoners of War from Stalag Luft 3. Melville was due to be number 151st on the Harry tunnel but it was discovered before he could escape.  He lost 51 of his colleagues who were shot by the Gestapo for daring to escape. The interview was recorded by LTS. A remarkable man.

Against the flow

I received an e-mail on Friday from Liz Herd (one of my colleagues)  who has recently been in Dublin.  She came across the work of Anna Nielsen and thought I might like the combination of words and drawings. 

She was right!  I’ve spent a couple of hours this weekend going through the work – amazing!!  Anna has kindly given me permission to use the above print.

The “X” Factor

I had a really interesting chat with someone last week who asked me to imagine the optimum type of educational leader. In order to give the person some form I used “X” to represent the person.

What was fascinating was that this technique enabled me to describe some key leadership and management behaviours which I probably wouldn’t have identified were I not to have adopted this perspective. 

What I have decided to do over the next few months is to imagine and explain “X’s” behaviour. Watch this space.