Tuesday, 30 July 2013

From despair to hope in ten minutes

I won't lie, my last real hope has gone, well, as far as the old Cerberus company is concerned anyway. It is so apparent that the only time that an overdraft or bank loan is offered is when it is not needed. Thanks for the help Natwest, you cunch of bunts.

Saying that, I still maintain perspective and context.

The following may upset some readers...

When Danny died, we heard his heart stop during a routine pregnancy check-up with our GP, Emma and I realised with the worst dread and terror that the delivery of a dead child was inevitable. As I held my wife's hand in that soulless ante-room I honestly felt that my world had dissolved beneath my feet. We had each other then and we do so now. In comparison, money problems mean fuck all to me.

Anyway, back to the title issue. After the ridiculous feedback from a nothing institution I drove home in a dubious state of mind, wracking my brain for a way forward. After speaking to a few friends a fantastic opportunity, miraculously appeared. We have a shot at pitching our solution to a major player in the news gathering market. Cheers Rich for believing.

That drive, along a road I know well, I shall not forget, especially as I have to bite the bullet and let my truck go. If anyone has a car I can have I will be eternally grateful and a major mention in my upcoming book 'The Sausage Trail' will be utmost in my mind (worth a shot).

No dodgy picture today rather a poignant video/song:

Monday, 29 July 2013

Whatever happened to summer holiday TV for kids?

As I devolve into an unemployable bum, I slowly, but surely, accept the routine of the student, housewife, benefit fraud and serial killer. The central point of this is, of course, daytime television. As I suffered Jeremy Kyle and This Morning I wondered whatever happened to Wacaday, Why Don't you, endless Wombles, repeats of shit sixties shows such as the Double Deckers, Robinson Crusoe (I have this as a boxed somewhere) and of course Mister Benn.

With the advent of multiple streams of genre based channels on Sky and cable the terrestrial channels can spout their appalling junk based on the lowest common denominator. I would love to see a middle class Jeremy Kyle with issues such as:

'My husband refuses to upgrade my BMW.'
'Rocket or watercress? My au pair cannot tell the difference.'
'Tax avoidance for the under twelves.'

All important issues.

The final piccy today is a great quote:

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Wit's End

That's what I will call my retirement cottage, in fact I may name my current residence that right now. After two months now with no income it's about the end of it. Six weeks ago my bank, that's NatWest to any interested parties, confidently assured me that they could help out the situation by extending my overdraft. They told me not to worry it would take a mere forty-eight hours, here we are six weeks later and still nothing. So much for the assistance available from the banks for small businesses.

I'll hear one way or the other about the job interview on Friday. Strangely I have no feeling one way or the other, I normally have some clue if I should expect the job or not but this time the interview was so generic it's impossible to ascertain the outcome. I hope I do get it, it looks interesting and I could do with getting my hand back in on full time project management.

Friday was a rather goos day for us all in the Gledson household. Emma keeps getting editing jobs coming in and her charge rate is increasing, I am so proud of her diligence and drive, just hope this rubs off on me. Sam found out that he has an interview on Wednesday for the jewellers F.Hinds in Gosport and Will was offered an apprenticeship at Premier Inn. Loads of potential, fingers crossed that it all comes off.

We have so many plates spinning at the moment it's becoming difficult to keep track. Another week and, more importantly, the end of another month. If Natwest fail me and I don't get the job then it's back to the drawing board.

Today a picture of a fish tank toilet:

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Outrage as Blogger reveals Royal baby's name!

Told you. Common sense and a little idea of the basic bloody mindedness of advisors helped, the poor aristos had no real choice on the kid's name. Second name from Kate and third from Bill, the first was set in stone for decades.

Moving on. A very successful day. Will, my son, not the prince, had a very positive interview, Emma has books lining up for her editing skills and I have a job interview on Friday. Coupled with this Cerberus has exponentially attracted interest thanks to Chris and Pete, cheers guys, the company will succeed, trust me. Still loads of bills to pay, but I now have immediate hope and potential means to do so.

Just a quick word on Shazam today. I have no idea on how accurate or sensitive the application may be, but, if it can't identify bird-song then I will be desperately disappointed. If anyone can try this I would be extremely grateful.

Secondly, the river Alver. It's the naming reason for Alverstoke and floods the salt flats that lie between Rowner and Browndown. Where does it come from, source to destination, has this river been largely ignored? That's my next mission.

The picture today...a flat hedgehog. I honestly believed this was the natural state of the animal until I was ten.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

The name of the Royal baby revealed...

George. There you go now stop thinking about it. How do I know? I don't, it doesn't matter. It could be Ziggy or Keith, or Richard or Robert but you know it won't be Jason.

Right, now we've sorted that out, on to other things. Cerberus has secured a high level demo to the Northern Ireland Football Association at the end of August. The customer holds the rights for the  football which ensures that we have only to supply the connectivity, sweet.

My main problem is that we need these contacts, prospects and leads to yield closed sales, which they are starting to do. It's picking up, quickly, so watch this space.

The franchise offering has taken a change, Sam isn't in any more. The company we will form to start the process consists of Bill alone. With my financial issues on Cerberus Technical I can't afford to muddy the waters with Bill, he deserves a real run at this. It will be his company with my, dubious, advice.

Loads of thoughts, but they can wait until tomorrow.

Today's photo, a celebrity clown...answers to me please ;-) WHO IS IT?

Monday, 22 July 2013

A rude awakening for the older boys...

Not a long day if we measured it in hours, but, if measured in emotional and mental mileage it was a long road indeed. A reasonable start this morning in that I was up and doing before 0900. I gave Emma a lift to the office so that she could crack on and finish the first of many editing assignments, they are queueing up and paying on an increasing basis, yay!

I had to iron some trolleys and a shirt for the meeting later in the day so I spent some time at home, Will and Kirtsy were up and preparing for a full working day but no sign of Sam at all. The pre-arranged deal was that both boys would be at the office for 1200 to discuss the meeting with the franchise representative. I left Sam in bed to see if he could motivate himself.

I returned to the office and waited. They were late but they did turn up and did have a really constructive discussion on the right subjects.

I then spent a little while re-establishing contact with some old buddies who are in the right place to help us out with Cerberus then we were off to the franchise meeting.

No boring accounts, but, I will say that for the boys it will see an income and a real plan for the next five years at least. I need to continue with my approach for Cerberus, as well as help Sam with his business plan, sell Dad's house and figure out a way to invent the high-tech replacement for the BLT, busy for while.

Discussion still to finish but I think that if Sam and Will can achieve the funding necessary to retail the franchise then they will be successful.

Passing some knowledge onto Sam will hopefully allow the franchise to proceed without too much impact on Cerberus.

The picture today is an Afghan man cycling whilst giving a goat a piggy-back:

Sunday, 21 July 2013

The week ahead...too late to rely on employment

There comes a point when the quickest way to realise an income stream is to create one and not to rely on agencies, employers or adverts. With adverts I refer to the 'kin annoying habit that none technical buffoon agents have of posting a generic job description that applies to no-one and describes a job that could never exist. I refer to agents as I have found a number of agencies that post a job description that appears ideal with a contact name and number but make it impossible to get hold of them, yes Capita that's you. As far as employers are concerned, the whole recruitment process takes at least a month with another month to work before payment. With all of these factors in mind, also considering that nearly a year has gone by since Cerberus Satcom was created and first contacted Avanti at IBC last September. The business model has morphed and shifted a great deal since then to a point where it is mature enough to hit the market.

Alongside the Cerberus approach, which can only benefit the company itself in the early days, I have resurrected the franchise opportunity I explored seven or eight months ago. I do realise that a franchise is little more than an employment opportunity but in the current instance if I can sign this up with Sam and Bill working full time, supporting themselves with the franchise (which is fitness training/after school clubs for the 5 - 11 year olds) and turning sufficient profit to assist the family in even a small way then I believe we should proceed. I have run the numbers and there sufficient margin to give the boys a good head start provided they bust their arses for at least two years. We are meeting with them tomorrow and gaining an introduction to Steve Claridge, ex-England football international and ex-player/manager of Pompey FC. He is the celebrity front of the company and based in Portsmouth, which is unfortunate in that they have no franchisee in the region, that's where we come in ;-) There are even government backed schemes to help young entrepreneurs to purchase and run their first business even if it is a franchise offering. There may be good news tomorrow.

All of that said, I am, as my previous posts have mentioned, still applying for every vaguely relevant job available. Even though there has been, and indeed still is, a great deal of interest, nothing is happening in the time scales I need.

In a completely different vein, today was the Edstanator's ninth birthday. Nine years old! The cheese grater is no longer such a little munchkin with very distinct ideas and opinions on matters far beyond his years (although he does like my stories about Dave and Jeff the gnomes, don't tell his friends). As a testament to my wife, her greatest fear amidst the dark clouds of debt hovering on the horizon, was whether or not Ed would have a truly happy birthday. I can honestly state, with my testicles on a chopping block, that Emma is the most selfless individual I have ever met and without her belief I would struggle. But today was all about Ed. Emma made sure, by every means available to her, that Ed had the best day possible, which he did. Happy Birthday Eddy.

Tonight Beth is staying with my dad at the caravan site. I think there may be a boy involved as her personality has changed, for the better, recently, but we shall see.

This summer is going to be a life changing period for a lot of my friends and family, so I raise a (small) glass of wine and salute you all...'Fish and coconuts.'

The picture today is a drunk pig

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Snobbery and intolerance (mine)

As the ship is a little bit more stable today, with the mortgage paid for the month, I can turn my attention to other pressing matters for the subject of today's blog.

The first of two subjects concerns the marked prevalence of mobility scooters. OK, there ARE those who may be justified in their use of these unregulated death-traps but recently I have noticed that the elderly, fat and plain lazy owners/drivers are on the rise. Even in supermarkets, Asda in particular, which is becoming more of a chavs theme park, a day our for families on benefits, the supply of mobility scooters for the use of customers is encouraging those who just can't be arsed walking like the rest of us to mount up and charge around the store ignorantly blocking aisles and causing general mayhem. It's the fat blobs that I object to, squeezing themselves into the seat of their scooter like pouring porridge in a sock then slowly buzzing about, often blocking roads, like the bloated insects they are. Why is this form of motorised transport completely unregulated? Anyone with more than three limbs, over twenty-five stone or under eighty should have to carry their legitimate disability accreditation or have their scooter instantly confiscated.

The second, not completely unrelated subject, concerns swimming in a communal pool. For some reason, we, in the UK, cannot seem to be able to offer a clean and enjoyable experience when visiting either a public or communal swimming pool. Public pools are the worst with all manner of human dregs  clogging up the water like a festering deformed human soup. I attended the pool at the holiday camp where we have a caravan today to spend some time with Ed, who loves swimming. There are always those who enjoy and respect the facilities but there are also those ignorant tossers who make the visit a chore to endure. I'm surprised that there wasn't a scummy orange ring around the edge of the pool considering the amount of fake tan apparent and also equally surprised that some of the swimmers remained afloat with the amount of rolled gold, Elizabeth Duke apparel on show. One woman must have been taking on water rapidly bearing in mind the number of piercings on show. Unfortunately I had to stay for an hour and have to take Eddy back tomorrow. I think I'll take a shit early on and get the pool to ourselves.

OK, rant over for now. It's the Edstanator's birthday tomorrow. I hope he has a good day as Emma and the boys have really tried hard to do as much to make it so as they can.

Todays picture is Hitler meeting an alien.

Friday, 19 July 2013


Although dad arrived late last night, we did manage to have a few glasses of wine and put the world to rights. Waking this morning in a strange place (well stranger than normal) the magnitude of our current situation hit me like a rubber fish, sharp and stinging, right across the face. At the moment the important  bills that have failed, direct debits bounced include the mortgage from our joint account and the truck from the company account. There are others, but not so life changingly important as those two, which can stop any possibility of recovery, the others (I hope) I will be able to recover when the income ramps up in the next few weeks.

The doubts and fears that have been bubbling below the surface rose to swamp me with an overpowering feeling of nausea and hopelessness, which lasted until I arrived at the office. Ems was there beavering away with her latest editing assignment and was pleased to see Dad, and to a lesser extent, me. I sent the necessary emails which sufficed for the day and to set things up for next week, a lot of opportunities which are approaching the money shot.

We were let down massively when we failed to sell the Honda cub 90s earlier in the week and I couldn't see where the payment for the main bills was coming from. The boys, and Kirsty, were packed off to Fareham to Cash Converters in a desperate attempt to get some cash. In the time between them leaving and returning a few things happened that have restored my faith in humanity in general and re-affirmed my feelings of a few in particular.

First of all my dad not only helped out with the daily trip to Asda but also forced a few quid into Emma's hand to tide us over for a while, I am immensely grateful for this and even though pride provides an obstacle to accepting such offers I hope that I have helped out enough to warrant a justification. Secondly, a neighbour came round and gave us some clothes for Beth, as she is constantly complaining about not having enough and is growing like a weed this was extremely gratefully received, again I am so blown away at the thoughtfulness and consideration.

The boys returned having managed to sell only a few items, my life is almost like a constant task from 'The Apprentice'. They raised £28, which I divvied up between them as they had tried so hard. They had visited Kirsty's grandmother's house for her to collect a few bits and bobs as she is now effectively living with us, and I am glad that she is. She brought with her bags and boxes of stuff that would help, food, toiletries and such and again I was pretty grateful and rocked that such help was being offered.

I know that this all sounds so desperate and embarrassing but there is a time and place for embarrassment and now is neither. I believe so strongly in what I am doing and those that are involved in Cerberus that there is now no alternative but to crack on, I will keep trying to close the contract with Arqiva and keep applying every job that crops up. I have so many plates spinning, balls in the air, throwing so many balls at so many coconuts that it is difficult to keep track of the best options.

At this point, at home, I was overwhelmed by the help, care and consideration from friends and family in these troubling times and in that I DO include my sister-in-law, Liza. She has been there in difficult times and has supported us when Ems and I have suffered, and for that I do extend my thanks and eternal gratitude. Standing in the kitchen leaning on the work surface, staring at the microwave (it's lovely) I was closer to jacking it all in than ever. I had so many doubts and felt that I was, and am, letting everyone down with my inactivity and apparent failure to secure any real business. But then Will saw me looking so down and negative and merely smiled and told me that he believed in me, so sincerely that I instantly resolved to continue.

I checked the accounts online, more to see how bad things were, and saw that, again, the bank had blindly paid off my company credit card throwing my business account further into the red (they did promise me a hefty increase so I don't feel too bad) but consequently giving me access to ready funds to  pay bills. I rushed off to the cash point and withdrew the maximum amount, hope springs eternal ;-)

The business has so much potential and promise that we WILL succeed and I can only extend my genuine thanks and respect to all who believe and have supported me and my family in these rather awkward times.

Today a roller-skating parrot.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Being thankful for small things

I'm well into the longest period I've ever experienced without any regular income and, surprisingly, other than watching the bouncing direct debits and not knowing how I'm going to get back on track with them (I do have a plan actually) I'm actually rather sanguine. Today was probably the happiest and most positive day I can remember for months.

First of all I am enjoying working with my wife on a daily basis. She is far more focussed on single tasks than I could ever hope to be with my brain constantly running at a million miles an hour in an attempt to keep dozens of plates spinning. I try to imitate her approach and knock down the problems one at a time but that seldom works. So I scribble my plan for the day on a whiteboard and try to use that as a basis to structure my approach. Today I just wrote: INCOME - ABC (Always Be Closing) and that will do for now. The pending contract with Arqiva seems further away than ever with no contact from the guy responsible for making the final decision. I have applied for just under a hundred contract roles with most of the agencies not even bothering to reply by email let alone call.

Today my sister-in-laws husband, a rather septic little tick, suggested that I go and work offshore on the oil-rigs and sent some links. I'm not sure what world he lives in but an engineer is not just an engineer. After trawling through a few of the sites, most were useless but at least he bothered, I gave up and sent off half-a-dozen applications for shit I know I can do and my CV supports that. The problem I have is that I have grown, not just accustomed to, but rely on, the instant financial gratification that is the world of contracting and by taking a permanent job I may as well stick with Cerberus as within a month we will have a couple of revenue streams rolling in.

Secondly, after a very productive day, starting with a post mortem of the debacle that was our London 10K effort; insufficient technical support meant that we lost the stream and the customer refused to accept the link when re-established (understandable) and followed by discussions with three customers/partners who are keen to close the deal. I also furthered our pending partnership with a leading manufacturer of high-end satellite hardware when I confirmed that a colleague, cheers Pete, was finalising dates for demonstrations to two major broadcasters aligned with the armed forces. At that point the heat got to me and I buggered off down the beach for a bit of a paddle.

Charlotte stood and watched as splashed about like a three year old in exactly the same spot where, just over a week ago, I had an unfortunate accident and shit myself. Buoyed by the lovely weather I decided to collect Ed and return for a swim, which I did. Beth and Will joined us, although Beth failed to get more than her legs wet. She originally wore tights for the beach, buffoon! This is the same girl who wore hot pants tights and a light tee-shirt/vest on a visit to the Shetland Islands last January when we visited Meal Beach in a blizzard, good look Beth ;-) The sea was lovely and we stayed for over an hour before I decided I was knackered. Back home we went.

Our financial situation has also led to a more creative approach in the kitchen and the rediscovery of some almost forgotten meals. I had cheesy, hammy, eggy for lunch (an old Navy fave) and had to recreate this for Beth and Will before leaving to the caravan where I now sit awaiting the arrival of my dad from France.

The motivating factor for tonights blog was the drive to the caravan. I sparked up my iPad and
blasted Jimmy Buffett all the way, this always cheers me up and today was no exception. Love 'Mexico' and 'Someday I Will'.

They always say; 'The darkest hour is just before dawn.' We'll see. I prefer, and this is my personal motto which I have also posted in Latin:

'If you throw enough balls at enough coconuts sooner or later you will win a fish.'

In Latin (rocks substituted for balls)

'Saxa iaciunt, si satis ad satis coconuts citius aut serius, vos mos lucror pisce.'

And to finish a disturbing picture of a smoking monkey wearing a Fez (For Briggsy)

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

A few observations

Driving home a couple of days ago I passed an old man I've known for some time, he is commonly seen in his dressing gown, in the morning, leaning on his front garden gate smoking and watching the world go by. He's done this for years, yet, when I saw him the other day things were somewhat different. He was leaning on the garden gate and he WAS watching the world walk by. The subtle difference was that he was wearing an oxygen mask. I slowed the car to make sure he was alright, as I passed he removed his mask to take a drag of his fag before replacing the mask....

Fast forward, a good day, well sort of, another demo and probably the most important so far as this was the final demo prior to our 'Go Live' deadline on 14th July. It didn't go that well to be honest but we are closer to the complete package. Arrived home late and hungry. After a brief visit to ASDA, where I did something that I haven't done since the bad days before contracting; I replaced an item because I didn't have enough money.

I caught up with a few emails before looking for some food in our rather underused freezer. Joy! I found a box of sandwich steak slices awaiting my attention. Nice bread and butter with a touch of peri-peri salt and I was ready for some food, I checked the sell by date...shit...July 2012...in the bin. After further checking the freezer, I discarded a number of packages including; fish fingers (Aug 2011), chicken fingers (Sep 2012) and mini chicken kievs (Apr 2012). Indeed after checking the remainder of the available food revealed that all I had to choose from and that was in date consisted of; spinach, cabbage and a small bag of chopped chillies...arse!

Monday, 1 July 2013

I don't often ask for help but I am today.

In 2008, Theresa West, Kirsty Parkhill's mother, was diagnosed with AML (Acute Myeloid Leukaemia) and after two months in hospital, devastatingly, passed away. Her daughter determined to make her mum proud and to raise as much money for a charity that works to relieve the suffering of those diagnosed with blood cancers and their families, recently decided to take action.

This beautiful young lady decided that she would shave her head and raise money for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.

(Kirsty and Will about ten minutes before the shaving) 

I was somewhat apprehensive and more than a little flattered when she, shyly, asked me last night to take my fastest clippers and perform the task at some point today. For an extremely attractive 16 year old young lady, I felt that this was a massive statement and one which was not taken lightly in these days of promoted vanity and media induced conformity.

Will and Kirsty dropped by the office at lunch-time when Charlotte and I, reluctantly set to work. I must admit that I was somewhat reticent about the task and allowed my wife to take the initial steps with the scissors before wading in with the clippers.

Kirsty took it well and minutes later was sheared good and proper, bless.

I feel that for such a brave gesture from such a brave young lady the credit and acclaim that, is well deserved is rewarded with our generosity.

As such, I ask for all that waste their time reading my nonsense to please help me out and donate something, no matter small, to this worthwhile cause.


Thank you in advance for your help.