It’s always the small that get squeezed the most…

Over the past few years I have seen a few dentists who are being forced into financial situations that are making survival harder with relatively short-term loans that were taken out at “tight” times and their banks declining to support them further by rescheduling the debts over a longer term. Instead of being able to breathe and grow their businesses they are constantly having act in the short term, thus significantly increasing the stress in their lives. Mike Cherry’s words struck a chord, as it isn’t only Dentists who have these problems.

“Despite being a decade on from the crash, we still have this dangerous combination of weak appetite for, and low awareness of, alternative finance options, high borrowing costs and inadequate support for small firms that are turned down by banks.”

Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, commenting on research which suggests that UK economic growth is being ‘restricted’ by limited access to alternative finance options for small firms.

via PG&T

As one of the founders of PG&T, that wonderful true gentleman, Ted Price (may he rest in peace) said when he dressed down the Area Director of my bankers in 1992 after they threatened to bankrupt me when my debts ran as high as £42K (less than the cheapest one bedroom flat on the local housing development), “you lot (ie Bankers) can’t lend money to the likes of Robert Maxwell and expect this young man (sic) to bale you out!”

Is progress linear or cyclical?

“I thought all my life that progress was linear. Now it’s very clear at best it’s cyclical and it’s very hard to tell we are at the bottom of the wave or are we going to have an upswing.”

Louise Arbor (chief prosecutor of the Rwandan & Yugoslav war crimes tribunals) speaking to Alec Russell in the FT 24/25 November 2018


Sometimes you just have to stop and take your brain out.

Recently I had a Tuesday 4am wakeup to get the 7am flight to Edinburgh. All the way there I was thinking about a series of articles for which I had missed a deadline the day before. When in Edinburgh I stay with Jon and Lisa, my brother and sister-in-law, dermatologists both, Tuesday is a home day for them, Jon for reading and writing (he’s an academic), Lisa has a 4 day a week NHS contract and chooses not to get involved in private practice.

They go to the gym on Tuesday so I joined in and used the swimming pool for an hour.

I sat on my own tried to write again, no joy.

Watched a couple of movies in the evening and relaxed. Funny how much easier it can be in other people’s homes.

Had an early night, got up at 5.30am. Opened laptop, the words flowed, job done.

Sometimes you just have to stop and take your brain out  – but it’s knowing when to do it that matters.

The Clock of Life

The Clock of Life by Robert H Smith

The clock of life is wound but once
And no man has the power
To tell just where the hands will stop,
At late or early hour.

To lose one’s wealth is sad indeed,
To lose one’s health is more.
To lose one’s soul is such a loss
As no man can restore.

The present only is our own.
Live, love, toil with a will.
Place no faith in ‘tomorrow’
For the clock may then be still

The Monday Morning Quote #500

“Difference is the essence of humanity. Difference is an accident of birth, and it should therefore never be the source of hatred or conflict. The answer to difference is to respect it. Therein lies a most fundamental principle of peace: respect for diversity.”

John Hume

The 500th Monday Morning Quote and a very personal one.

Quote of the Day – On reviewing all series of The Apprentice

Sam Woolaston writing after 14 years as a TV reviewer.

“The Apprentice, maybe more than anything else, drives home that I have been doing this long enough; too long, some might say. I have written 20 – twenty – reviews of The Apprentice, and that’s not including The Young Apprentice, plus interviews with winners, with Lord Sugar and with Sugar’s sidekicks. I have nothing left of any interest to say about The Apprentice.

They are all tossers – I have said so too many times.”

It’s not just the show that is tired – I am, too.”

I bailed out after series one having come to the same conclusion, so glad I didn’t waste any more of my life on it.

Sam’s gone and now Cook retires.

Today (weather permitting) will see a great sportsman applauded on and off the pitch at the Oval when England face India in the fifth and final test of the series. I remember Alastair Cook being plucked from the relative obscurity of an ECB Academy tour of the West Indies in February 2006 to fly out (or around, or possibly over?) to India as a replacement for the injured Michael Vaughan & Marcus Trescothick. From his 60 in the first innings and century in the second he looked the part, he played in the second test on that tour but could not play in the the third due to illness (it was India after all), since then he has not missed a test match and his records are the stuff of legend.

You can read reports about the man and his stats elsewhere, but what I admire about him is the way he has shown dedication and concentration and brought sportsmanship to his role. He is not the most forceful, fluent or stylish of batsman but he became the very best Alastair Cook that he could be. Opening batsmen are up there with golfers and tennis players in my estimation of the hardest “jobs” in sport, whilst they have the support of the team they also feel they have let a team down if they fail (which they do with regularity). One slip, one mistake and that’s it. In most sports you can have another go, not as a batsman.

Over the past decade I have admired hugely two young men who have captained their countries with dignity, skill and diplomacy, not only captained but led by example and have rarely put a foot wrong. Both have retired from the international stage, one from the sport completely. Can you have heroes who are 30+ years younger than you? Of course you can if they are Cook and Sam Warburton. They have both used what talent they have been given, worked incredibly hard, put their bodies in harm’s way and missed out on normal life (whatever that may be) to make the most of their talents. Thank you both for your inspiration and service.

(Ironically only Cook has “Welsh” blood – his mother is from Swansea – whilst Sam’s parents are both English.)

When the time comes I hope wherever you are you will stand and applaud a true great as he takes his bow at The Oval.

I can’t think of a better excuse to play Roy Harper – enjoy.



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