Gromit in Wellington

Me-and-GromitIts been so good catching up with Andrew over the last few days while he has been here in Wellington. Hard to believe its been 8 years since i last saw him!!

Andrew has been speaking at the Tip of the Iceberg conference: Addressing exploitation and trafficking in people throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. The conference has been run by The Anglican Diocese of Wellington, the Embassy of the United States of America and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Andrew is CEO of Unseen, a multi award-winning UK charity working towards a world without slavery. He was joined at the conference by Unseen’s Executive Director, Justine Currell and both of whom have been instrumental in the passing of the UK’s Modern Slavery Act.

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Published

Crossman's-book

My dear, esteemed and very talented friend Matt Crossman is releasing his quite brilliant first book.

‘The Common Excuses of the Comfortable Compromiser: Understanding why people oppose your great idea’

Its on Amazon as a paperback or Kindle version, so go and buy one!

Adios Add Momentum

So after 4 and half years, today i bid farewell to Add Momentum. As to what the future holds? Well, more on that another time!

So, here is a little look back at at some highlights of my time at Add Momentum. 

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We often had fancy dress days at work. I am still stunned by Charles’ “Pimp" suit and Paul’s Indian wedding outfit. I thought he looked like Aladdin!

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And there was the legendary Top Gun day..complete with white t-shirts, Top Gun soundtrack in the office and fake F-14s in out photo!

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WE had brilliant summer parties with stilt walkers and mini-bikes (which were fiendishly difficult to ride!)

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Garrggh –our Christmas parties were famous too. This was our 2008 event at Averys Wine Cellar.

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We had an office lookalike survey and apparently this is me! (Although hopefully not as simple as Forrest Gump)

And who could forget the “little” events i took part in to raise money for HopeHIV?

We entered a team of 5 in the 2005 15 Peaks Challenge and the aim was to cover 52km over the 15 highest peaks of Wales, with over 14,000 ft of climbing in under 24 hours. image

Our team ("I swear you said 15 pints") consisted of Ben Akin-Smith, Gavin Barnett, myself, Mark Churchill and Toby Hughes. After months of intensive training (ok, 3 months of hill walking with hefty packs), we took on what Welsh mountains could throw at them. Funnily enough, that consisted of a large amount of bad weather!

The bad weather almost cancelled the event right at the start, visibility dropped down to 6ft at some points, and Mountain Rescue was called out to save several teams. Yes it was that kind of weekend.

Unfortunately, these circumstances meant that with the exception of myself the AML team had to retire. I was able to join another team and (eventually) complete the event in a total time of 20 hrs 17 mins 1 secs.

Happily, we raised over £2,000 for Hope HIV, which was really the whole point of it all.

And then in 2007, i decided to do something even dafter!

The Rat Race is an urban adventure race involving teams of 3 competing in a multi-discipline challenge using fitness, nerves, teamwork and stamina. ratrace4

I managed to complete/survive it with Ben and Claire and we managed to finish 46th out of 150 teams which we were pretty happy about.

Despite being very tired, we all enjoyed it immensely and so far we (together with the other 2 Add Momentum teams who finished in the top half), managed to raise over £9,400 for HOPEHIV.

I have done a lot in my time here and it has been a wonderful time (even despite the turbulent last 12 months but hey that is finance for you) and i am proud to have worked for such a great company. I have had great work colleagues and they have become fantastic friends as well.

I am aware that companies with the calibre of people that i have worked with is rare, and so its been an immense privilege to have been part of something so special..

In addition, and the most important thing of al is that we have been able t make a huge difference in the lives of hundreds of children in Africa through our work with HopeHIV.

And for all of these things i thank God.

Friday funnies to look forward to

I am looking forward to Friday night as Crossman and i are off to the Tobacco Factory for the Bristol Brouhaha Comedy Festival.

The fact that there these comedians are performing only makes it better!

Rhod Gilbert is a first-class comedian with a string of accolades. He was a finalist in the Channel 4 ‘So You Think You’re Funny’ Competition 2002. He then graduated to being the winner of the Gift Of The Gag 2003 and BBC Comedy Awards 2003 competitions. In 2005, he was nominated for the Perrier Best Newcomer Award.

Bangles rock Bristol

A couple of weeks ago, Eve, Mark, Nikki, Sally and myself found ourselves getting stupidly excited standing outside the Carling Academy here in Bristol.

Why? Susanna Hoffs, Vicki Peterson and Debbie Peterson were in town.

Who? The Bangles of course!

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Yes I loved them in the 80s (fancied Susanna) and so I thought a bit of nostalgia would be great. Throw in the fact that I had never actually seen them play live and you can understand my excitement.

You would think that after all these years, a band like The Bangles would only have to turn up, put in the minimum of effort and that would be enough for most fans.

Not so these girls; I wasn’t prepared for was the the fact that they absolutely rocked!!!

I mean I have seen plenty of bands live, and been surprised on a few occasions by how good some of them were but the gig proved the fact that first and foremost, the Bangles are a rock band; it just happens to be of secondary importance that they are all girls.

Their sound, energy and stage presence were fantastic and the fact that a) they had never played in Bristol and b) the crowd atmosphere was great, meant that the gig was clearly enjoyable for both the band and the fans.

Put it this way, after all the gigs I have been to, this lies only second behind Mutemath;and that is saying something!!

They played a pretty wide selection of songs as you can see from the set list:

Hazy Shade of Winter
All About You
Live
Manic Monday
Different Light 
If She Knew What She Wants
Restless
Some Dreams Come True
Stealing Rosemary (acoustic then electric)
Be With You
September Girls
Going Down To Liverpool
Eternal Flame
Single By Choice
Watching The Sky
Ride The Ride
In Your Room
Walk Like An Egyptian 
Hero Takes A Fall

Pushin’ Too Hard

Naturally the big 3 songs (Manic Monday ,Eternal Flame and WLAE) were extremely popular but some of the less well know songs like Be With You (my fave), Ride the Ride and Pushin Too Hard were excellent.

So, we all danced, shouted, hollered, hooted (Sally) and sung to our heart’s content as did everyone else; its safe to say that 600 people went home very happy that Monday night.

PS a little bonus for me was getting one of Debbie Peterson’s drumsticks as a souvenir of the event. Quite happy with that!

Freeze frame

It was certainly cold enough for that phrase to apply when I went mountain biking yesterday. I thought I would get one last decent winter session in so headed out to Leigh Woods, wrapped up in many thermal layers.

I enjoy the solitude when I am on my bike –the world seems clearer to me and it gives me time to think. I love the peace I feel when I am communing with creation; God seems that much more tangible and close.

The beauty of being out on such a cold day was that there were very few people about. I saw maybe 6 people in 2 hours. It made me feel as if the world was my own, if only for such a short space of time.

The air was cold and harsh but the colours seemed clearer. The air was pure and clean and the sound of the silence in the woods was deafening. The occasional breath of wind in the trees was the only accompaniment to my sloshing through the deep mud and water on the trails.

And then it happened. A moment of beauty that reminds you why you are alive.

As I rode along a trail and came hurtling round a corner I heard a disturbance in the undergrowth. Suddenly two deer jumped right out into my path. I braked, and despite the pain of my pedal cutting my shin as I managed to not fall over, I stopped in time.

There in that moment of freeze frame –I looked at these beautiful creatures, not ten feet from me, and they stared back. Our clouds of breath travelled upwards into the cold air. For a few moments we made eye contact and I was aware of how much I was intruding on their domain.

I sat and waited. Then they disappeared through a gap in the fence and jumped into the field next to the woods. There they turned around to watch me. I was mesmerised and hadn’t moved. Then they turned tail and hurtled off at great speed.

It made me realise that sometimes you still get moments…moments where you realise what a precious and beautiful world we live in.