Wednesday, 30 November 2016

The Barnet Eye Xmas party and annual awards - Friday 16th December

The False Dots will be live at the Barnet Eye awards
Join us for the Barnet Eye official Xmas Party and Awards at the Midland Hotel Pub (next to Hendon Thameslink Station).  We've got great live music from The False Dots / Tell The Others + Just Jammin' + other surprises TBA...

The event is organised as part of the Save London Music Campaign in association with The Barnet Eye Blog

The fun starts o nFriday 16th December at 8.00pm. The party will also feature the Prestigious Barnet Eye awards where we recognise the people in The London Borough of Barnet who've really made a difference.

Awards at 9pm sharp - then boogie till you drop

The categories this year are

Barnet Person of the year
Barnet Charity of the year
Barnet Pub of the Year
Barnet Band/Artist of the Year
Barnet Teacher of the Year
Barnet Restaurant of the Year
Barnet Event of the Year

+ Please put your nominations as comments - If you've got a good category to add, let us know. They will get a nice certificate.

It promises to be a fantastic night and even better, its all Free and all are welcome!

Just a quick update. We've had great nominations in most categories, but please keep them coming, leave a comment or drop an email. Suggest a name and write a small citation. I am hoping that the nominators can present the award!

The Wednesday Poem - #6 - St Pauls

A bit different today. A poem written by myself and Allen Ashley, set to music! We recorded this on Monday during our songwriting session.

 I rather like it

Copyright Roger Tichborne/Allen Ashley 2016

Every Wednesday, we feature a poem and a picture about our neighbourhood. If you have a poem and a picture you'd like to feature, just email to me using the link in the sidebar. I've written poetry for many years, for my own amusement. It was suggested that I share some of it. I hope you enjoy it, I'd love to feature anything you have written. 

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Interview with Roger Tichborne on Barnet TV about Mill Hill Music Complex

I've been on Barnet TV talking about Mill Hill Music Complex!

If you want to hear my band, The False Dots, play live, we are appearing at the Midland Hotel Pub in Hendon on Friday December 16th, with Just Jammin' and Tell The Others. Free entry from 8pm! We will also be holding The Barnet Eye annual Party and awards ceremony!

Monday, 28 November 2016

Farewell to Fr Kevin O'Shea

Image result for fr kevin o'shea
Fr Kevin O'Shea
On Saturday, the Sacred Heart church in Mill Hill had a farewell celebration for the departing Parish Priest, Fr Kevin O'Shea. A special mass was held at 6pm followed by a reception. Fr Kevin is moving on after 9 1/2 years at Mill Hill. He is the longest serving Parish priest, as it has been the tradiition of the Vincentian community, who run the Parish, to rotate Parish priests every six years.

For those readers unfamiliar with the Vincention order, they are a missionary order, originally founded by St Vincent De Paul in France, and their focus has always been on helping the poor and needy in our communities. The order has grown into a Worldwide organisation.

It sometimes seems ironic to me that Mill Hill, which is one of the wealthiest Parishes in the country (if not the world), has a Vincentian community, but like all communities alongside the mansions Mill Hill has people who are struggling. Fr Kevin has made practical support of such needy people a focus of his time. He has organised a monthly foodbank collection for Colindale foodbank, on the first Sunday of every month at the Church. This gives local people the chance to drop off necessary items of food for local people in need. The church also holds regular collections of clothes and funds for The Passage, a homeless shelter in Victoria. Another scheme which Fr Kevin has been keen to promote is support for the Mill Hill Churches homeless night shelter.

During his time, Mill Hill Parish has seen a massive increase in the congregation with huge influx of Eastern European and African parishoners. Fr Keving has worked to make the new members of the congregation feel welcome as an important part of the community. A regular international evening is part of the calendar where everyone brings national dishes to share and entertainment is featured from around the world, provided by local people and groups. The local Nigerian community provide a free Christmas lunch for elderly parishoners, all are welcome. The local Phillipeano community have formed a choir, and even sang Danny Boy for Father Kevin at his send off mass.

In these difficult times, our local spiritual leaders have many challenges. Good ones build communities, give advice and wise counsel to those in crisis and try and guide their parishoners in how to make ancient scriptures relevant to modern times. Fr Kevin is known as a quiet and intelleigent man. He doesn't do fire and brimstone sermons, prefering a more quiet and collective delivery. On a spiritual level, he promotes prayer as a quiet time, for reflection and calm. He has spoken of the need to spend time in reflection to spend with God in a calm and relaxed manner. His view is that such periods of calm prayer are vital to help us cope with the challenges we face. For readers of this blog who are not religious, it is still worth giving some thought to taking such periods of calm reflection in your own way. I have found that stillness and calm are hugely beneficial. It is only when you start to make the time, that you realise just how stressed you can become and how much better you feel when you take time out for prayer and quiet meditation. I have come to realise that there is no problem that cannot be dealt with better in a spirit of calm and for that I really have to thank Fr Kevin's wise counsel.

For the last 5 1/2 years I've been a member of the Sacred Heart Parish Pastoral Council and have considered it a pleasure to work with Fr Kevin. He has worked tirelessly to ensure the church is relevant to the local community and works for the benefit of the parishoners and the wider community. It has been a pleasure and he will be missed by all in Mill Hill. The packed to the rafters church on Saturday was a testament to that.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

The Tweets of the week in the London Borough of Barnet - 27/11/2016

There has been "stuff going on" in our neck of the woods! Here is my pick, as viewed through the eyes of our local twits!

1. I thought it would be nice to start with a lost moggy!

2. Now here's a hoby with a difference!

3. It seems that in this age of budget cuts, the police have downgraded their height requirements for officers!

4. The big news is that we now have night tube. Here is the proof!

5. A sight you don't see too often in Mill Hill Broadway. The police are seeking a large man in a red coat, with a beard, last seen entering the Bridge Tavern, on suspicion of driving a Sleigh whilst under the influence!

6. No it's not Mill Hill's most famous baker apprehending a negligent sleigh driver, it's the Mill Hill lights being turned on!

7. This is the sort of tweet we like! Proper local history!

8. Mark Amies is none too impressed with the new paint job at Edgware Bus garage. Got to be honest and say that as an ex painter and decorator, I've seen far far worse. I do however remember the days when you had to have a city and guilds qualification to work as a decorator for local authorities/London Transport.

9. I am partial to seasonal piccies of our neighbourhood and this is a cracker!

10. It's always important to thank those in our community who make things happen.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

The Saturday List #106 - Ten Timeless songs

Image result for joan armatrading love and affection
The song that started this!
This particular list was inspired by a fourfar on the Robert Elms show a month ago. The fourfar was tracks by the top four (actually it was five) British singers. One of the selected tracks was  "Love and Affection" by Joan Armatrading. It is perhaps the most beautiful track ever written by a British artist (can you think of a more beautiful track?).  The other thing which struck me is just how timeless it sounded.

It got me to think, what other songs have stood the test of time so well? What other songs come on the radio and don't sound like they've been dug out of a dusty archive. Robert Elms returned to the subject a couple of weeks later, with a comment that music which "doesn't groove" doesn't stand the test of time as well as music with a bit of a funky feel. This got me really thinking. So I spent the next few weeks compiling my list. Now of course I have my own personal tastes and prejudices, however I think this is a pretty robust list.

Here's why I chose the tracks and here's the playlist

1. Joan Armatrading - Love and Affection. I had to kick off the list with this as Joan got the list going. This really is one song that as long as people pick up acoustic guitars and write brilliant songs will always sound as if it was written yesterday.

 2. Louis Armstrong - We have all the time in the world. This was written over 45 years ago. Oddly it wasn't really recognised as a great song at the time. Like many truly great songs, it was only when it was reprised in the 90's that we came to love it as the gem that it is. It was originally written by John Barry for the Bond film On her Majesty's Secret Service. I hadn't realised, but Armstrong was too ill to play the trumpet and only did the vocals. It is proof that a great song, a great vocal performance and high production values will always stand the test of time.

3. Joni Mitchell - Cold Blue Steel and Sweet fire. I chose the live version, as it is my favourite. This is from the 1973 album Miles of Aisles. If you are not familiar with the works of Joni Mitchell, I'd start here. I really think the sax performance makes it. It is a very dark song. Whilst Mitchell songs like Woodstock and Big Yellow Taxi are anchored in the 1960's, this is very much a song that could have been written in just about any decade of the modern musical era.

4. The Clash - London Calling. Arguably London's finest punk rock band. This is their signature tune and their masterpiece. Unlike most of the output of the punk era, this stands the test of time extraordinarily well. I suspect that all Londoners under 60 would recognise this as something of an anthem. It is one of those songs that wherever I am in the world, be it Neasden or New York, it always brings me home. We all "Live by the river" in our minds!

5. T Rex - 20th Century Boy. I have always loved T Rex. One may I suppose question how a song called "20th Century Boy" can ever be deemed timeless, but from the first chord, this song has a quality which sets it apart from everything else released at the same time. It sounds so vibrant. The backing vocals really lift it and Bolan is at his best. If this had never been released and never been heard and Bolan had never been a star, I truly believe that if this was released today, everyone would simply say "Wow, who is this, it's great".

6. David Bowie - Golden Years. Like Punk, much of Bowie's work, brilliant though it is, sounds of its time to my ears. I love it none the less. This song has always been different. It doesn't sound like a song recorded in the mid 1970's. This was from that strange period between punk and glam. Bowie often looked like he was from another planet, this song sounded like it. Not in the way Space Oddity achieved. This was simply a brilliant stand out track on a great album, with a completely timeless feel. I originally bought this album on an 8 track. I'd often just listen to this track and TVC15 over and over.

7.Amy Winehouse - Back to Black. I suspect that in 30 years, this will be one of the songs that someone making the same list again will include. Amy Winehouse died tragically young. This song, to me manages to sound as if it was recorded in the 1950's, the 1960's and yesterday at the same time. You could put this in just about any party playlist and it would sound great.

8. Prince Buster - Whine and Grine. Although for many, Ska is a music associated with the late 1960's and the revival of the early 1980's, this is such a timeless and exciting track. For me it is like a great wine, that just gets better. It wasn't a stand out track at the time of release, but whilst much Ska now sounds dated, this could not sound more contemporary.

9. The Steve Miller Band - The Joker. I was driving through London recently and this was played on the radio. Released in 1970, by arch hippy Steve Miller, it should sound like a museum piece, but it doesn't. It is a simple song, but it is warm and funny. It has been sampled by rapppers and the like. Whilst 99.9% of US hippy music (Grateful Dead, Airplane, etc) sounds of its time, this track, I guess due to its simplicity an d unpretentiousness, stands up well.

10. Fairport Convention - Meet on The Ledge. Now if I'd been putting this list together a month ago, this track wouldn't have crossed my mind. I like the Fairports and I own this album, but I doubt I've played it for 20 years. So why did I choose it and how could I justify putting it on a list of timeless tracks? Well I was having a liquid lunch with a friend in the Artillery Arms near Blackfriars recently and the guy behind the bar was playing a playlist and on it popped. I was reminded of just what a great track it is. I listened to it again, when putting the list together and thought that it was perhaps a great anthem for 2016, with the loss of so many great icons. I suspect it will always be a great and timeless track. Unlike many such tracks, it is both hopeful and reflective.

So here's the playlist. Enjoy!

Friday, 25 November 2016

The Friday Joke 25/11/16 - Gallows Humour

Image result for gallows humour best jokes
The British (and our antipodean buddies) have always been the world leaders in gallows humour. As it is black Friday, what better day to explore the matter! I've come to the conclusion that the Yanks don't really get it. I googled the subject and there are lots of jokes, but most are just fairly sick takes on bad situations. Proper gallows humour is a joke made by someone about to meet a very sticky end. My Dad, who was an Australian had a great story about a mate of his in the Australian army, who was a Japanese POW. Him and his fellow mates in the camp were starving to death. The camp CO had two fighting cocks, of which he was very proud. One of the camp inmates killed one of the cocks and cooked it up as a tasty treat for the starving men. When the CO found out, he was furious and said that he'd execute 20 POW's unless the perpetrators came forward. My dad's mate, not wishing to see 20 of his mates shot, stepped forward. The camp CO immediately commanded that the guards nail him to a tree and leave him there as a warning. He survived for three days, without food or water, in agony. After three days, the camp CO, feeling a bit sorry for him, decided to put him out of his misery. He lined up all of the POW's and commanded that he be taken down from the tree and shot. Once he'd been brought down. the CO said "You are a brave man, before you are shot, I will grant you one last request". The Aussie shot back "Can your cook up the other cock for me cobber?"

My own favourite example was at the cancer clinic a while back. I was chatting to a rather elderly chap, who was coughing away and in terrible shape. His daughter was with him, but she'd gone off for a prescription. He said "I've stage four lung cancer. I've known I'm on my way out for a while, I can accept that but my daughter can't. She's insisted that I spend thousands of pounds on tests and to see this top specialist, to see if there is anything that can be done, but he's just told me that I'm finished. I've got three weeks. He's prescribed steroids and said that I'll have a week or so when I feel OK, to say goodbye's then I'll go". I said "I'm so sorry to hear that". He replied "Oh don't worry son. I'm alright, I've accepted it. Anyway, I had some good news". I replied (impressed by his fortitude) "What's that". He said "Well, I asked if he was sure it was going to be no more than three weeks and he said yes. So I asked if he could do something to make and old man, who'd spent a lot of money at his clinic happy. He replied "of course". So I said 'Can I have 28 days to pay?". At this we both roared up laughing.

Have a great Friday. If you want to do something great for Black Friday, why not make a donation of food to Colindale foodbank? Giving a gift to someone who really appreciate it is truly the spirit of Christmas.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Mill Hill Market returns

The Mill Hill street market has returned! Live music at 3pm with the amazing HarrPaul!
Come down for some great music and some great food. What better place to get your Xmas presents!

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

The Wednesday Poem #5 - The orange rose

The orange rose, which sits proudly by the pear tree,
When I see it, I am taken back to my youth,
the smell reminds me of good times past,
many things have changed in my life,
many things have changed in that garden,
the orange rose is my link to that land that is the past. 

Copyright Roger Tichborne 2016

Every Wednesday, we feature a poem and a picture about our neighbourhood. If you have a poem and a picture you'd like to feature, just email to me using the link in the sidebar. I've written poetry for many years, for my own amusement. It was suggested that I share some of it. I hope you enjoy it, I'd love to feature anything you have written. 

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

United Kingdom Independence Party? My A**e

UKIP aka The United Kingdom Independence Party. Today it's leader is whining to the media that Her Majesties government is not inclined to be told who is a suitable ambassador by a foreign power. No irony there, is there?

Monday, 21 November 2016

Street Market and official Xmas Lights switch on in Mill Hill Broadway this week
 Mill Hill Street Market
On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 24-26 November, Mill Hill town centre will celebrate the festive season with a Christmas Market and Lights Switch-On.

The Lights Switch-On will take place on Thursday the 24th at 5pm with a special visit from a local celebrity. The stage area will feature three days of fantastic live music by performers such as Harripaul, RASH, Tony Shaw, Radfax, and Lauren Lucille, alond with Xmas Carols from The Sacred Heart Church choir. Seasonal delicacies and cookbooks from Great British Bake Off finalist Richard Burr will also be available to buy on Thursday at the Mill Hill Neighourhood Forum stall.
The Christmas Market will include delicious street food, cakes and artisan foods, a mobile bar from local gastropub The Adam and Eve, plus jewellery, crafts and other gorgeous gifts.

The market will be open from 11am to 6pm each day and will be located outside Santander bank, continuing up to Mill Hill Wines. A number of small businesses based in the Mill Hill area and Broadway shops will be taking part.

The Christmas Market is part of the programme of events known as Mill Hill Markets, an initiative organised by Mill Hill Neighbourhood Forum and Vibe Market. The markets aim to increase dwell time and footfall for the town centre, and add vibrancy to the high street. Mill Hill Markets is planning an exciting calendar of visiting markets in 2017. The Italian Market will return to the Broadway in March, and the French Market will visit in May and November 2017, with additional events in the planning stages.

John Gillett, chair of Mill Hill Neighbourhood Forum, said: “This is just one of the many initiatives we have for Mill Hill, to improve our Town Centre – do come along and also let us have your ideas for developing Mill Hill.”

The Christmas Market is kindly being sponsored by HC Medspa, Barratt London, and Scrivens, with sound system donated by Mill Hill Music Complex.

Three hours of free parking are available on Saturdays and Sundays are free in the ‘pay by phone’ Bunns Lane car park. Most side streets are free to park from 12 noon.

Donald Trump isn't the problem

 Pussies are getting a raw deal from Trump
Last night I watched the news with a sense of something approaching horror. There was a feature on how Donald Trump has been overreacting to various events. Firstly he overreactd to the actions of the cast of a Broadway musical to his running mate Mike Pence. Pence had been subject to a "lecture" from the cast. Pence wisely said that it was great to see free speech in action. As an experienced politician Pence realised that he had to take it with good grace. Then Trump overreacted to a comedy sketch featuring him wildley googling "ISIS". Trump demanded equal air time fo his views. It isn't clear who he wants comedy shows to lampoon, but a man so thin skinned must ring alarm bells.Back in the 1980's UK politicians were mercilessly lampooned by Spitting Image. It became a badge of honour amongst them to be picked on. The cabinet were hilariously displayed as vegetables, Kenneth Baker as a slug and David Steel as a midget in David Owens pocket. They just ot on with it. One has to wonder if Trump gets so upset over this, what will happen when he has to deal with Kim Jong Un or Vladimir Putin. It can only make you a bit edgy.

But Trump isn't the problem. Everyone knew what he was like long before the election. No one could be in any doubt that he'd be tetchy. His whole campaign from start to finish was unpleasant. When Hillary Clinton questioned his judgement, he told her he'd "lock her up", even though the President has no role in the judicial process of the courts. This should have rung alarm bells for the electorate, but they seemed to lap it up. Trump has ushered in a new and very unpleasant age. This is nothing to do with his Politics, it is the style and tone that worries me. It doesn't matter what you think of someones Politics, for a role such as the President, you need a sound temperament. Trump has never displayed this. But he is not the problem. The problem is that enough voters (although not actually a majority) thought he was the man for the job.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

The Tweets of the week - 20/11/2016

I didn't do the list last week. TBH, there weren't 10 tweets I could find that really warranted a list. Fortunately this week, the Barnet Twitterati have done us proud! Don't forget, if you see a great tweet, follow the tweeter and you might see a few more!

1. Did you see the Supermoon? Barnet_Rebel did

2.  My Fellow Barnet Blogger, Mrs Angry has found something that tickles her fancy!

3. VictoriaParkFinchley are worried about a proposal to prune a maple tree!

4. Great to see that the 19th Hendon Cub pack is thriving!

5. Congrats to the Hendon girls basketball team. (This was one of the few great tweets from last week!)

6. The Londonist was in Golders Green

7. Great picture from Jen Campbell of Hampstead Heath

8. Regulars will know we always like a great historical piccie!

9. Down at the clubhouse, Mill Hill Rugby club players were wipping their conkers out! (fnar, fnar)

10. We had some great live music this week at The Chandos Arms!

Saturday, 19 November 2016

The Saturday List #105 - Ten trees pictured in my garden this morning - Can you name them?

A list with a difference. A free pot noodle to any reader who can name them all.










Friday, 18 November 2016

When will passengers get a proper apology from Thameslink management?

Thameslink disruption again
Yet again the Thameslink service collapsed yesterday. Yet again, I'll be submitting my claim for £2.40 for the privelidge of standing on a platform for an hour or so as chaos ensured. Yet again I had to rearrange things, ask mates to pick up my son and take him to football. In the end, I got the tube. I had to ring my missus and ask her to collect me from Colindale, so I could make an 8.30 commitment. And for my hassle, I will get £2.40 if I'm lucky. Now if this was a one off, I wouldn't even bother claiming, but last week we had chaos. In fact ever since Thameslink took over  from First Capital Connect, a poor service has become intolerable.

It is rare for a week to go by without some sort of disruption. I have taken to leaving ridiculously early when I need a train, getting the 07.17 to be in my office near Farringdon for 9am. It should be 20 mins. It is the only way I can guarantee to be there. It means most days I can enjoy a leisurely start and a cup of tea. It seems that after the 7.17, the service is chaotic more often than it's not. As for coming home, I employ one of two strategies I either leave earlyish and get the 16:49 from Farringdon if it's not disrupted or I go to the pub and drink myself into oblivion when it is and stagger home as and when they fix it. Often this means sampling the delights of the Northern Line. This means a walk to Moorgate and a bus from Burnt Oak.

A season ticket from Mill Hill to Farringdon costs £1256 per annum. That is not a small sum. If you had a customer who gave you £1256 wouldn't you value them? Wouldn't you try and keep them happy? What do I get? A load of hassle and a process where I have to scan my season ticket (despite them having my details on file), and fill in a long online form detailing my journey. Twenty days or so later, I get a voucher for £2.40 which I have to cash in for a new ticket at my local station. Most people can't be bothered. When the problems are down to Network Rail, Thameslink get compensated by Network Rail, but this is only passed on to those who claim it. The rest goes to Shareholders of Govia as dividends on profits. That is why I always claim.

Before First Capital Connect took over, there was a different system. If you bought a Season ticket, you got a discount if they'd failed in the previous period. In short you paid less, without any hassle. First Capital Connect twigged that they could trouser the cash if they put in a system where people had to claim it. For me it is quite simple what should happen. When you buy a season ticket, you should register and set up a payment mandate. If they fail, you should get a BACS payment. The payment should be for the period of your ticket. If they only run 88% of services on time and they have a target of 95% then we should get 7% of the ticket price back. This should automatically be paid into our account. No if's no buts. I've discussed this with dozens of Thameslink passengers and all agree. For one off journeys, clearly there will have to be a claim process, but most people who use Mill Hill are regular commuters and have some form of season ticket. This would give the train company a proper incentive to perform. I am not surprised that a greedy train company would not like this, but we have an MP. His name is Matthew Offord and he is meant to represent us. He should be demanding that the Rail Regulator insist that Thameslink have a proper, user friendly system of compensation. He hasn't said a dickybird. If you ask him to take action via Twitter he'll block you. If you ask him at a public meeting he'll tell you that being nice to train operators is "more productive" (it maybe for him, but it hasn't been for his constituents). I daresay that six months before the next election in 2020, we may see some action, but there is no interest from him to do it now.

And finally, the managing Director of Thameslink should send a proper apology. I'd like to see him come to Mill Hill and apologise to commuters in person. Most companies that people like me spend over a grand with try and at least pretend they care. Train monopolies don't give a monkeys.

The Friday Joke 18/11/2016 - Dirty dogs

Have a great friday - here is the Friday Joke, I think it is a rather good one (thanks Colin!).

Related image
That's a bit ruff!
A dog lover, whose dog was a female and 'in heat', agreed to look after her neighbour's male dog while the neighbours were on vacation.
She had a large house and believed that she could keep the two dogs apart. However, as she was drifting off to sleep she heard awful howling and moaning sounds,
rushed downstairs and found the dogs locked together, in obvious pain and unable to disengage, as so frequently happens when dogs mate.
Unable to separate them, and perplexed as to what to do next, although it was late, she called the vet, who answered in a very grumpy voice.

After she explained the problem to him, the vet said, "Hang up the phone and place it down alongside the dogs. I will then call you back and the noise of the ringing
will make the male lose his erection and he will be able to withdraw."
"Do you think that will work?" she asked.
"Just worked on me," he replied.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

How to be successful with no talents at all

Last night I was performing the monthly audit I carry out of my studio business. It is an extraordinarily successful organisation, both artistically and as a business.
I keep a list of issues, developments and projects and review it monthly. This enables me to ensure that we continually move in the right direction.

As a dyslexic, with no qualifications, I got to thinking about why my business is successful, when so many similar ventures fail. Here is my top five tips for running a successful venture.

1. Build a great team. Surround yourself with great people who you trust.

2. Be organised and have a plan. Make a plan, track your progress against it and analyse why you fail to meet targets.

3. Adapt to change. The world constantly changes, make sure your business changes as well.

4. Stay calm. Things go wrong, people will always let you down. Calmness is always the best strategy.

5.Have a vision. Be clear in what you are doing. Analyse why people need your services and work out how they can find you. Make sure your customers understand how you meet their needs.

I've also learned a few things that may seem counter intuitive, but are true. For instance, difficult customers are your greatest asset. You know the ones, complain about everything, never happy,always finding fault. They are the ones who have the key to making your business better. They tell you what the customers who smile sweetly but never come back are thinking. Another important lesson is to realise you can't do everything and that if it's important, then it is worth calling in an expert. For me this was starkly demonstrated when we redeveloped our business. For a year, we failed to hit targets and lost shed loads of money. I then engaged a website designer and within a year we were back meeting targets. We saw 60% growth in a year.  Although I've written blogs etc for years, I found that this is totally different to a commercial website.

The biggest lesson though is to ensure you enjoy life and don't become a slave to your business. I have many friends who have got their work/life balance wrong. It has destroyed families, bankrupted people and caused depression. If you run your own business, you have more responsibility and you will have to do things at unsocial times. Sometimes, you will have to dip into savings. If you have no time for family, no holidays and making no money, then you need to change what you are doing. There will be periods when this is inevitable, but if this is how it is all the time, with no prospects to change, then cut your losses and do something else. The key to success in business is hard work, but what will sustain you and your business is a happy and fulfilled life. If you are not achieving that, you are never going to succeed.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

The Wednesday Poem #4 - The Six word story - No News is Good News

Image result for 1950 Telephone terror
Telephone rings.
Wrong number.

Copyright 2016 - Roger M. Tichborne

Every Wednesday, we feature a poem and a picture about our neighbourhood. If you have a poem and a picture you'd like to feature, just email to me using the link in the sidebar. I've written poetry for many years, for my own amusement. It was suggested that I share some of it. I hope you enjoy it, I'd love to feature anything you have written. 

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Is Jensen Button now driving the 303 Bus?

Last night, I had a real white knuckle ride home from the Chandos in Colindale. I had a masterful experience of the highest quality of rally car driving. The only minor problem was that I was on a 303 bus. Standing passengers were hanging on for dear life as the bus accelerated and braked with high precision at great speed. I thought I'd pay a compliment to TFL, letting them know that I appreciated their efforts to get me home in record time. Here is my tweet and their reply.

@barneteye @tfl I'm pretty sure that we fitted that particular bus with wet tyres...

It is great to see a bit of humour. In light of the Croydon Tram disaster, maybe however we do need to just have a look and see whether there are any safety issues. Of course it was great to get home a minute earlier, but I'm not really sure that if I want to go rallying, I want to do it in a 303 bus.

(Note : TFL removed the tweet yesterday)

Monday, 14 November 2016

A miracle occurred this morning!

Sit down, make sure you are prepared for some astounding news!

As a long time citizen of the Republic of Mill Hill, I have seen many strange sights and heard many unusual tales. Today tops them all, the Bunns Lane UFO crash, the Lawrence St ghost and even the mythical tale of when Pete Trayling bought a round of drinks at The Hammers!

But my friends, it is true! I was there and saw it with my own eyes. For us priveliged few, there were laughs, smiles and high fives! Yes I was on platform one at Mill Hill Broadway, this very day and the 7.17 service was ALMOST ON TIME!!!!

I know that it is hard to believe that such an occurrence could occur on a Monday morning in the year of our Lord 2016, but trust me friend, it did. Not only that, but the driver APOLOGISED for leaving the station 90 seconds late!

I dare say the management of Thameslink are now in line for a huge bonus for providing such exemplary service, and well they deserve it!

I am now rushing out to buy lottery tickets, as it is my lucky day. Say what you like about President Trump, but at least the trains are running on time!

Saturday, 12 November 2016

The Saturday List #104 - Ten reasons why The Robert Elms show is the best thing on radio

Image result for robert elms bbc radio london
Robert Elms
If you live in London, you are blessed to have a great local radio station. This is BBC Radio London. It has many great shows and presenters. It is my radio station of choice. It plays great music and if you live in London, it is a portal to great things. Of all its shows, the best is The Robert Elms show. Robert calls it "Radio for Grown Ups". Roberts show is the one thing on the radio that you listen to and you are likely to learn something interesting or to your benefit every single day. This could be great new music, a new show in town, a new film, London events and all manner of interesting people, or just an amusing local fact. If you haven't listened to the show, check it out. It is on Mondays to Saturdays 10am-1pm. You can listen again to shows anytime.

It is high time a Top Ten reasons why it is the best show. These are mine, do you agree, here they are:-

1. Notes and Queries - This is where (usually) four listeners ring up with a query. It can be lost music, interesting architecture, a historical figure, an incident or event. Then other listeners ring up and solve the mystery. It is fascinating radio. I've rang up and found out all about a few mysteries that have intrigued me through the efforts of the listeners. Perhaps my favourite was when I asked about the Brevitt club, which I found my Dads membership card for. This was a club of rather interesting note, frequented by RAF officers.

2.  The studio Piano. Robert has an old beat up piano in his studio. It has produced some of the best live music you will hear. I am a musician. I love great well produced music, but I prefer the energy of a live performance. Roberts piano has elevated his show. For me, often it is the real star of the show. Numerous guests have come in and performed. One of the most moving this year was Carl Smyth from Madness this year. If you miss the best bits, Robert plays them again in the last half hour on a Saturday.

3. Maxwell Hutchinson. Max is the architectural expert. If you tried to sell the concept of a radio slot with a rather dapper posh bloke, talking to an oik from Burnt Oak about buildings, they'd think you were nuts. But it is fascinating. Max had a stroke a couple of years back. It was like an illness in the family. When he finally came back, I nearly shed a tear.

4. Cover to Cover. This is a weekly slot where Robert plays an original track followed by a cover and asks listeners to give their opinion as to what is best. It never ceases to amaze me what an amazing catalog of music the human race has built up. No other show would ask listeners to compare the Tom Jones and Smokey Robinson versions of "Its not unusual".

5. The Fourfar. This is a slot where four songs, picked by listeners on a theme, by an artist or with some other often tenuous link is played. For me, this has often introduced me to great tracks by artists that I've not heard before (and believe me, I listen to a lot of music).  Music is my greatest pleasure. Unlike football, there is no real downside (apart from when an icon like Bowie dies).

6. The Reggae track of the day. Robert plays a reggae track every day. Everyone should play a reggae track every day. It lowers stress levels and makes you feel good. On a more serious note, it is a genre of music that is neglected and Robert is spot on keeping it alive.

7.  The Listed Londoner. Every Monday Robert has a guest in. They are asked fifteen questions and talk about their lives. They are all people with strong London connections. It is invariably fascinating as Robert seems to only manage to select great guests.

8. The London weekender. This is the other end of the listed Londoner spectrum. A regular listener tells us their perfect London weekend. You simply ring up and ask. I've found all manner of great little gems through this.

9.  Funky Friday. Now I am not a funkster and I have to admit, this was not my favorite spot on Roberts show. He used to simply play a half hour of his favourite funk tracks. I used to hoover the studios then. Not because the music wasn't great, but it wasn't my thing and it just didn't do it. This year, Robert brought in a new concept. He has a co curator and they play alternate tracks and discuss them. It has revitalised it and although I am not a funkster, the widening of the funk gene pool and the stories from clubs around town has traansformed it into great radio.

10, Round your manner. This is the Tuesday slot. Robert picks a district of London and this is the theme for the show of the day ( Max comes in who talks about the architecture of the area). Now I've got to confess that of all his slots, this is the one that is most hit or miss. It is either brilliant or not. Sometimes, you get to find out the most fascinating things and sometimes there isn't too much. Being a North Londoner, the south London bits I don't really enjoy, but anything that doesn't take a chance is never going to hit the heights.


All these ingredients add up to a great, informative show that is compulsive listening. BBC Local radio is under threat. Shows like the Robert Elms show are the lifeblood of our community. This is why we need local radio. It is important that we recognise the importance of Local Radio and such shows.