Award winning veg…

On Sunday we entered a local vegetable and flower show, we put ourselves down for about 10 categories but due to the recent bad weather we could not enter our tomatoes and peas.

We ended up entering into 6 categories: sweetcorn, onions, garlic, potatoes, mixed annuals (flowers), climbing beans.

I took a picture of our entries on my phone and i include them below.

French Climbing Beans



Potatoes – King Edward

Red Onion – Red Baron

Mixed Annuals – Love in the mist, Cornflower and Sunflower

Now what we hoped for, seeing as this was the first time we had entered such a competition, was to try and get at least one award either 1st, 2nd or 3rd prize would do….we were aiming high.

Now the great news was that we won two 2nd prize awards:

one for our potatoes

and one for our sweetcorn.

I am very proud as this is down to the hard work of my wife and 2 boys who have been over the allotment nearly everyday caring for it and ensuring the rain has not ruined everything.

The best thing is that we can eat our winning veg and enjoy the taste as well as the certificates.

Next year though we would like to get a few more prizes and even a 1st…so fingers crossed.


Game Theory and Engines

As i continue my reading of clay shirky, it got me thinking about how groups/communities can now get together and are using social tools for mutual benefit. It mentioned that in groups providing peopel don’t act selfish and continue towards the greater good, the group can continue. It gave an example of shepherds sharing a field, providing no one shepherd lets there sheep overgraze the field remains balanced. However the individual motivation is to get fat sheep as cheap as possible. So you have a decision to make, stay true to the ideal or cheat and take what you can for free. Now this is also the same choice that all the shepherds face……

This got me thinking about game theory, the psychology aspect of what is mainly an economic theory focuses on social situations, which i feel is a more accurate description of what game theory is about. Although game theory is relevant to games such as poker, most research in game theory focuses on how groups of people interact. I have also started to hear about game theory in John Seddon’s book about Systems Thinking in the public sector…

The rise of social tools to foster mass collaboration has really taken me by surprise and i am now following like many others into a new era of communications and social interaction.

A colleague has expressed their concern over the real face to face interaction which gives you some real contact. However with the GPS capabilities and the link with social networking, it will only offer me more opportunities for face to face contact but with people who are friends of friends or who are recommended by friends as people with similar interests.

This on a sunday has made my mind boggle and i can only contemplate how the next few years will look in terms of the web considering facebook was only developed in 2005! Look how that has impacted our lives, whether we use it or not, it seems to play a major factor in how people information.

My hope is that we all continue to focus on the social and community benefits, which after all is driving these social tools and continuing the revolution of how groups and communities come together.

Tidgy\'s Engine - just waiting to start it up now

Everyone needs to realise that the technology can only play a part (the platform) and it is all of us who continue to make this stuff work, function and tick. That is the beauty of how things have changed in web2.0.

On a seperate and more personal note, we have finally finished the engine for the van and we are ready to start it up tomorrow (providing there is petrol in the local petrol stations)….

Anyway this signals a turning point in what feels like 4 years of hell really, but we are so close now to getting him on the road. Just the brakes to do after this…

Also i forgot to add a photo of the scarecrow we made over in the allotment. Not sure what the boys have called him but this is Ewan with our scarecrow.

Ewan and the Scarecrow

Daddy Day

A short round-up of the day……The plan for a BBQ was postponed due to rain, but that didn’t stop us enjoying the day. We made a scarecrow for our allotment to protect our sweetcorn, it is only a small scarecrow and is wearing a pair of Ewan’s old jeans and an even older waterproof jacket, don’t want him to get too wet!!

Being father’s day I received some excellent drawings from Ewan who had even managed to write “To Daddy, Love Ewan” in the father’s day card he made me. Finley painted lots of cats on the front of his card, not sure of the relationship to father’s day but still it looked great.

Sharon and i were dreaming about Australia earlier and i started to go a bit over the top…I was thinking about what things could be like if we had won some money on the lottery. I would like a large bit of land that had a apple orchard, so i could make cider, a vineyard for wine, large allotment plot, tree house for kids and a huge garage/workshop for the campervan and doing odds and sods. Sharon wanted a garden nursery space and a shed for making pottery… It was a nice thought, however unlikely…..

Well my only thought for today is, if you think about something hard enough do you end up getting it or driving it further away?

Navigating the future

I had a very interesting day today. I was at a Leadership workshop at Exeter University. It was facilitated by Liselotte Lyngsø from a company called Future Navigator. On the whole i thought the day was great, i watched and participated with people learning how to juggle with 3 balls and talking about larger toilet seats for the well endowed man…and these do really exist!!!

During one part of the morning Liselotte held up a sign which stated “quiet exams in progress”, which she had taken from the door, she raised the question, would this still be appropriate in the future , if young people are learning by collaboration and are sharing knowledge to get things done. If the expectation is that learning is partly a collective journey then how can you measure an individual. This also mirrors a culture difference between the West (United States of Me) and Asia (a collective approach). We need to start to think about this as leaders now as these are the workers and consumers of the future (i’m not talking hundreds of years i’m talking maybe 3-5 years) and it will be there expectations we will be aiming to exceed…

All i can say is that in some areas of my work rapid change will be required to embrace and support a new cultural co worker who will drive collaboration and knowledge sharing to new heights.

The workshop raised a lot of questions for self reflection which i will need to digest and no doubt use this blog to share some of those thoughts and reflections. One reflection i think i can share now is that i need to listen and hear what my kids are really saying to me more. They are only 2 and 4 years old but already offer insights and simple observations which are great to pull you out your normal frame of mind and get you thinking out of the box.

Now the weekend is upon us and i suppose many people will be waiting in line for petrol in response and in fear of a fuel crisis. Another point from today, how much of our lives are driven by our fears and not our hopes and dreams. For me at present it was slightly higher in the fear column then dreams, which is something i am now going to work on.

The question you need to ask yourself if you want to do the same thing is “why are you living?” This is something which is obvious when you turn up at events like today, but each moment of our lives should, in theory that is, be lived to the maximum, but the reality is that we are all struggling to balance the “wishful thinking approach to life” with the reality that actually happens. For most this may mean, putting things off for another day or week and for others it may mean skipping the gym and getting a pizza on the way home and not having time to spend with the family or friends.

All obvious stuff i think you will agree, but how many of us actually get the balance right?

Changing the subject we managed to get about another 15 strawberries from the allotment yesterday and each and everyone i managed to eat (the kids ate the most) tasted superb, fresh, juicy and so sweet.

Another one born

I went to a seminar on monday and heard that a new blog is born every 2.5 seconds….

It was suggested that you should only start a blog if you are committed and prepared for the long run. So I found the blogger inside me and decided to join the millions of people out here in the blogospehere. The first post i guess for some is the most important, but for me i guess it is the continuation of the blog that is important. I don’t want to be another dead blogger who gave up because i lost interest.

So what i am going to do – well firstly share my thoughts and life events and general activities, some maybe questions around work or just life in general. But mostly i want to enjoy the blogging experience and when i feel i am more comfortable, i may expand my blog a bit more. One step at a time…

It took me some time to decide whether to not to start a blog – not sure why? But the reason took the plunge is because i think about stuff all the time and sometimes i loose track of my own thoughts so at least for me this will be a record and a way to look back. On the subject of looking back, the thing that tipped my decision was look at a photo on my phone of my son Ewan. It was a snap shot in time and i thought well at least a blog could provide a snap shot of my thoughts, so why not.

So for anyone who actually reads this first post (other than myself) I hope that you come back and share your ideas and thoughts by commenting where appropriate.

I firmly believe that we can learn something from everyone we meet, this blog gives me an opportunity to reach further than my normal social network.

One last thought, we had our first strawberries the other day, they were superb. Does growing food yourself and putting effort in make it taste better, or is it the organic approach? Either way i need to get some clotted cream to go with the rest 🙂