Did I mention sailing?

March 25, 2010

Working slightly later than anticipated but it’s not all bad.

And, as I’d inadvertantly started singing the theme tune to Pugwash, it made me realise that I hadn’t mentioned sailing, a big part of 2010 for me.

Up until last year the only boat I had ever been on was a ferry. Then, through work, I had the luck to be offered a berth on a 68ft Clipper yacht (cutter rigged) sailing from Hull to La Rochelle on the west coast of France. It was to do a feature on the start of the Clipper Round the World Race, a race seeing 10 identical yachts raced by non professional crew around the world.

Not only did I get to take part in that journey, in order to do so I had to do a week’s training on a 60ft clipper in the Solent. Somehow they also let me do another week of training after the trip, also in the Solent.

It has been a real eye opener. I’ve loved (virtually) every minute of it (setting aside the odd bout of sea sickness, but it’s all been worth it). Pretty much everyone I’ve met have been wonderful people.

And it has set me on a course (to steer, not compass!) to learn and sail more. Last month I got my Coastal Skipper theory ticket at Anglia Sea Ventures in Ipswich – great little sailing school if anyone is thinking of doing any training.

Then, at the weekend, I did the first weekend of two doing my Day Skipper practical in the  Solent. It was Firday to Monday aboard a 38ft Sigma called Inspiration. We had a lovely chap called John as our skipper/trainer, barrister Dominic George, myself and a chap called Chris who works for B&Q training. That’s the great thing about sailing – you get out on the water away from all your worries with a bunch of people from competely different backgrounds all on a level playing field enjoying the sea and company.

Seems like a long time ago now! Just had to inflict the Pugwash theme tune on what few colleagues are left here tonight!

My next sailling is back on the Solent in April – if I can’t get on a boat sooner!

Signing off,



So, biscuits…

March 18, 2010

Where do I start with biscuits?

Everyone comes at biscuits from a different angle – do you dunk them? What is the best biscuit? Where does the name come from? When was the first biscuit made? Is a Jaffa Cake a biscuit – or for that matter the fig roll or pink wafers?

Whatever the angle it remains that everyone likes biscuits of some shape or form and I think this would be my starting point. Biscuits – the great social leveller.

7.1m packets of McVities chocolate digestives are sold every year in the UK – that’s 20,000 per day.

Now I’ve started I want to assure you this will be no ordinary rant about biscuits. I don’t want to trace the origins of the biscuit back to Roman times or research its name. My interest is in the commercially produced biscuit. The custard creams and bourbons of this world and how and why they were developed and subsumed into mass culture.

Today is my last day as a district news hack – a breed of reporter based out in the sticks, digging for stories.

It has been an interesting last weekend. Yesterday, at about 4pm, I was sent out to a north Norfolk village to investigate reports of a incident in what was quite an isolated spot. The resulting story, now on www.edp24.co.uk is below. See Monday’s EDP for more.

It will be all change from tomorrow, once I have packed up everything in the Dereham office tonight and upacked what I need for the new job first thing.

My first interview, as deputy head of business, will be with Dr Haya Al-Dajani, lecturer in entrepreneurship and small business management at Norwich Business School, UEA. She is involved in the Women’s Enterprise Boosting the Economy Showcase at the Forum in Norwich on Wednesday (March 17), which we will be featuring in that day’s business supplement.

More info: http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/2010/March/homepagenews/WREFevent

Today’s story (amongst others!):

A 72 year old man has been arrested following an incident in north Norfolk village near Fakenham yesterday morning.
Police were called to an address in Hindolveston Road, Thurning, at 10.30am to find a 62-year-old woman who had suffered serious injuries and a 72-year-old man with an injury.
Both were taken to hospital for treatment. Following surgery, the woman is in a stable but critical condition. The man has been treated and is in a stable condition.
This morning, police said the man had been arrested in connection with the matter and further enquiries are in hand, but would not give any more information.
Leading the investigation, temp Det Chief Inspector Matt Dyson said: “We are in the early stages of our enquiries but are not, at this time, looking for anyone else in relation to this incident.”
Police said next of kin had been informed.

It’s Friday night. I’m sat listening to light jazz in my local while the regulars chatter away in the background.

Today was my last day working with my current colleagues at the Dereham office of the Eastern Daily Press – I said good bye to my boss, Ian Clarke, who I’ve helped and probably annoyed in equal measure (he would be more kind about my two years at Dereham). I’m also leaving behind Emma Knights, Richard Parr, Rob Garratt, Kathryn Cross, Chris Hill (who is taking over my soon to be old job) and Ben Woods, our hard working workie.

But it is not quite the end. I go back in tomorrow to cover the weekend shift at Dereham.

On Monday I will leave it all behind when I start my new job as deputy head of business for Archant Norfolk (formerly known as deputy business editor for the Eastern Daily Press).

And this is where it all starts.  If you want to find out more about me, biscuits, business in Norfolk and East Anglia I’ll be doing my best here.

For now, back to the bar – I’ve just spotted a chap whose company fits out superyachts…