Malleable Musings

November 6, 2009

Face to face

Filed under: Commuting, International Student Recruitment — Brendan @ 7:13 am

I saw this poster at Heathrow this morning and it struck me as being quite apt (especially because when I first started in my current job a number of people referred to me as the contracts guy).

It should probably come as no surprise that I don’t think of myself in that way.  I think my role is about listening and understanding our staff, our partners, our influencers and most importantly our students and then advocating to, for and with the university’s partners. But this is probably a different story.

I sort of disagree with the statement in this advert, but I do agree with the sentiment.  I’m a great advocate for using technology to allow the face to face communication to happen where possible.  However sometimes you really do need to meet in-person.

And this is why I was quite happy to be at Heathrow this morning at silly o’clock jumping on a flight.  I love travelling as it allows me quiet relatively undisturbed thinking time.  So on the drive down and whilst waiting in the airport I got the opportunity to do a little bit of work.  However I allowed myself to be sidetracked a bit on the flight by a delightful in-flight movie, “Julie & Julia” about a blogger re-creating every recipe from a book by a cook called Julia Child (who is played by a brilliantly over the top Meryl Streep).  I wished I’d given it my full attention and watched it properly as I think it would have been the perfect way to spend  flight and unwind.

It’s going to a busy week, as it’s not just about meetings with our partners.  I’ve also got four days of being a stand bunny both here in Athens and then in Nicosia.  I was hoping to have a bit of time this afternoon to have a quick wander out to see the Acropolis.  I didn’t, as I had to set up our stand this afternoon, send a few emails (that I wrote on the plane) and then attend a British Council briefing session.  I hope I’ll get a bit of time on Sunday morning.

It has been an interesting day for me that’s been full of reflections.  I’d begun to think about a few things and make a few mental notes about the market on the subway journey in to the city centre.

Then, when I went in to the exhibition hall to prepare our stand this afternoon I saw that a Open University in Greece stand was in a prime position.  And then when I got back to my room after the British Council briefing I saw that Brenda Gourley was speaking at #educause09 (quite an interesting hashtag that I’d been following for the past couple of days).   I watched the video for a while and there was quite a lot of interesting stuff, especially I would think for an American audience, who may not be familiar with the Open University.

One of the key issues that I picked up on, was Brenda talking about the need for collaboration with partners for delivery as a survival strategy in the global context.

I’ve heard Brenda speak several times but unfortunately this time I wasn’t able to hear her finish.  It had got to about 8:30pm and neither my colleague or I had eaten since breakfast on our flight in the morning.

However interestingly at dinner my colleague raised the importance of meeting our partners face to face.  His quote was something like, “One meeting is worth a thousand exchanged emails.”  So I showed him the photo I took this morning.  He smiled, said yes that’s it, and it felt like a circle had completed.


March 1, 2009

A Commuter’s Diary

Filed under: Commuting, Life at home — Tags: , , — Brendan @ 6:30 pm

I’ve decided to make a note here of my travel schedule this year, I’d suggest it won’t be the most interesting of posts but of might go to explain why Virgin were the only company to send me a proper Xmas present last year.

My final week on the train was 15-19 June 2009.  This week passed without event.  I then traded in my season ticket.  It looks like I’ll be claiming 14 lost days in the period 1 January to 19 June.  The lost days will be worth £362.60 to me.  I’ll try and claim separately for the additional delays below that didn’t occur on lost days – my guess is that this will be worth a further £100-£200.

June 1-5 was an odd week – on the 1st the trains in to London were really delayed – I was at least an hour late.  However the train back was OK.  I took a day’s leave on the 2nd. The trains on the 3rd were fine.  On the 4th, I thankfully (there was nothing running out back from Euston later that day) drove down to Egham. The trains on the 5th were fine.

May 21-22 and May 26-27 trains were good.

May 20 buses were used instead of trains -some sort of lineside failure. Meant I didn’t get in the office until 9:55, which was annoying given I’d been at the station from just before 7:00.

May 18-19 good so far

May 11-15 trains were good

May 7/8 trains were good

May 6 train in ok but 17.23 diverted via Northampton so not in to Cov until 18:40.

Apr 30 / May 1 /5 – trains were ok

Apr 29 morning train good, managed to catch delayed 17.03 got in 18:18

Apr 28 – took a half day – I love those trains home in the early afternoon – they are just so quiet.

Apr 27 – trains were good

Apr 23-24 – had some leave – didn’t go in to work.

Apr 22 – trains were good

Apr 21 – not a good day for the trains – the 7:52 didn’t get in to London until well after 9:30 and I ended up on the delayed 17:03 home (which set off and got in 25 minutes late).

Apr 20 – took the 09:31 (doctors appointment) didn’t get in until 10:49, train home was fine.

Apr 15-17 trains were good

Apr 6-7 trains were good.

Apr 1, 3rd trains were good, worked at home on the 2nd

Mar 31 – morning train was good (although wondering if London will stop working today because of a certain visiting dignitary)

Mar 30 – worked from home

Mar 27 – 07:11 train fairly empty and on time (note to self – catch this one more frequently) train home was good.

Mar 26 – 07:52 got in just after 09:00 guard apologised as we apparently got in twenty minutes late?

Mar 25 – the trains are always lousy when I need to get in early. I got up early aiming to get the 06:31 which was cancelled then the 06:51 was diverted via Northampton – however it made good time getting in at around 08:05. Train home was fine.

Mar 23-24 all trains good.

Mar 20 07:11 didn’t get to Cov until 07:25 (not a good start although it made up time arriving at 08:24) the 17:43 home was on time.

Mar 19 06:53 half an hour late, worked a half day train home empty and on time.

Mar 17-18 all trains ok

Mar 16 – morning and evening trains both v.good (got in early) and 20.03 was practically empty.

Mar 13 – both trains OK

Mar 12 – train in ok, took an early train home 17.03 typically it was late got in to Cov at 18:26

Mar 9-10 all trains ok. Didn’t go in to work on the 11th so no reports.

Mar 6 both trains OK.

Mar 5 train in was good, left early but 17.02 was 50 minutes late (apparently the train in front of mine struck something). This train went on to terminate in Cov – so there were a lot of angry people heading to Brum.

Mar 4 07:32 was 22 mins late getting in train home was fine.

Mar 3 train in was good, the.17:43 was about ten mimutes late home

Mar 2 – both trains Ok

Feb 27 – both trains ok

Feb 26 – 07:52 doesn’t get in until 09:44 power failure in Wembley. Train home was fine.

Feb 25 – 06:51 delayed by a points failure gets in at 08:25. Train home was fine.

Feb 24 – both trains on time (lucky as my wife was rushing out to the Cov match)

Feb 23 – a first both trains in slightly early

Feb 9 train ok – flying to hong kong tonight also with Virgin

Fen 6 -The 06:51 was relatively deserted and only a bit late. Shame I couldn’t say the same about the way back – ended up standing until Milton Keynes. Finally figured out Virgin’s strategy for which trains were being cancelled.

Feb 5 – Wasn’t really sure what was going on with the trains as many services were being cancelled – so didn’t end up getting on a train until 08:31 and got in to London around 10.00. Coming home was relatively busy, but luckily I got a seat.

Feb 4 – The train back was relatively busy (morning train v. quiet) and about ten-fifteen minutes late both ways.

Feb 3 – both the boys not well and the UK still recovering from #uksnow. Will probably be going for the 08:51. It’s typical that this is the day I’m meant to be in Knightsbridge for 10.00 isn’t it! The train got in just after 10.00 by which time I’d found out my meeting had been cancelled. 17.23 train home more or less on time.

Feb 2 – 16 minutes late not bad considering most of London snowed in (not really a couple of inches at most but enough for TfL to stop all the buses and pull most of the tube lines). The way back was a little more problematic various trains cancelled at the last minute but I had an electric socket for the laptop so the extra hour wasn’t an issue.

Jan 30 – both trains fine

Jan 29 – working from home.

Jan 28 – both trains on time.

Jan 27 – foggy morning and the 07:52 was late getting in to Cov (lineside equipment failure was blamed) however it made up some time on the way in to Euston. Train home was fine.

26 – both trains were good

Jan 23 – working from home

Jan 22 – both trains were good

Jan 21 – stayed at home in bed (ill)

Jan 20 – the trains were fine – I wasn’t, felt sick as a dog on the train home.

Jan 19 – they announced that the 07:52 was 15 minutes late getting in to euston, which is usually a sign that every other train that morning had been even more delayed. The 17:23 coming home was fine.

Jan 16 – the 06:31 was on time and quiet – although was it a earlier train running late? I was lucky on the way home. My train was on time. However my sister in law was due to come up from London that night but gave up having waited at Euston for an hour (someone had apparently jumped on to the track at Milton Keynes).

Jan 15 – the 07:52 was cancelled. An additional service stopped at Coventry at around 8:10 however when it came in to the station there were already people standing. Given that an extra 100 odd people were trying to get on the train there certainly would have been no room to sit down (even on the floor) and do a bit of laptop based work. Therefore I decided to wait for the next service (08:11) which we were assured would be in about 5 mins. We finally left Cov at 08:19 (I got a seat) and it made good time arriving at Euston at 09:20. The evening train 17.23 was also cancelled, so the next train was rammed, it left Euston 10 mins late and got in to Cov at 18.55(?)

Jan 14 – the 06.51 was a little late getting in to Cov (note to self don’t believe My Rail Lite) but made up time. Train home was fine.

Jan 13 – normal service resumed – both trains on time.

Jan 12 – 07:52 a little late arriving in Cov but made time up, train home was fine.

Jan 9 – 07.31 was late in to London arrived at 09.25 but special treat for the weekend as train home on time

Jan 8 – wow 7.52 on time – also v.quiet people put off by yesterday? Wrong! Train back packed 17.03 got to cov at 18.43

Jan 7 – was aiming to get the 06:51 but it’s been all over the radio that there are no services running because of overhead line damage in two places down the line between MK and Euston. Looks like it’s a day at home today. So glad I stayed at home today – apparently the M1 is shut as well causing more havoc to the bus replacement service.

Jan 6 – 07.52 cancelled but alternative 07.54 used instead (after we’d gone back to the platform we’d just been told to leave). This apparently got in to Euston 65 minutes late. The 17.23 was also late getting in to Cov at 19.04.

Jan 5 – morning trains cancelled – first train I could get was 08.31 – evening train 17.23 was a little late

February 8, 2009

Gonna get myself connected

Filed under: Commuting, Millenials — Brendan @ 8:13 pm

I get fed up with people thinking that technology is just a Gen Y thing so I was pleased to see this older guy on the train plugged in to his iPod using his crackberry – it’s proof if it was needed that not just GenY are digitally connected.