Thursday, September 16, 2021

My Favourite Mellow TV Soundtrack


Timeless French, Belgian, Italian, American, Classical tracks from times gone by.


Comforting, emotional, poignant – from Randy Newman and Johann Sebastian Bach, to Benny Goodman, Dalida and The Doors.


Imagine these on a turntable/LP/stylus – old school – and a glass of Calvados/Armagnac – quiet, calm, nostalgic.


Spotify – Professor T (the Belgian version – KRC, August 16th 2021).

Four playlists to choose from – Professor T, Professor T 2021, Professor T seizoen 2, and Professor T seizoen 3.



Monday, September 13, 2021

Reasons To Be Cheerful (II)

Last week I wrote about using the crisis to get your head up, smile, fight back, re-imagine your future and find the silver lining (or at least Thomas the Tank Engine did).

Here are some of the things we tried, enjoyed and learned.

1)    Live Life Longer.
Win back the 18 months the Pandemic took away from us.  Trudy and I committed to change our lifestyle last November.  Our new lifestyle:
  • Fasting – every day – 16-8.  Lunch at 1pm, dinner finished by 9pm.  Massive change in appetite/metabolism.
  • Reduced alcohol intake – 6-1 or 5-2.  No alcohol for five/six days per week, every week.
  • Dietary changes – focused on daily fresh fruits, green vegetables, fish and reduced meat/dairy.
  • Daily exercise – me on my road bike for 45 minutes every day, Trudy on a 20,000 step low-impact bike-ride/walking/swimming programme.
  • Eight hours sleep per night – in bed before 10pm, up before 6am.
  • Keep some Pandemic protocols in place – vaccines, hand sanitisation, masks in confined spaces.  We’ve not had a single cold/cough/fever in 18 months. 
2)   Connect virtually with Family regularly.
Make Zoom work for you.  Fortnightly call with all the kids – we’ve all got time now.  We should never give this up.
3)    Feed your mind, soul, and heart. 
We’ve both read more books this year than in the past three, made more eclectic choices, watched more international TV shows to provide more cultural understanding, listened to new and different music genres – and created more personal playlists.  We’ve visited more art galleries (virtually!) than ever before.  Chicken soup for the soul. 
4)    Re-evaluate your Personal Purpose. 
Revisit your Dream, your Focus, and Key Beliefs.  Look at the world as it is, not as it used to be, and not as you’d like it to be.  Make sure you’ve got the right blend of you, your family, your work (not balance!) and you’re Making Happy Choices.  Life is short as you now know.  Live your best life every day. 
5)    Change it up! 
This year we:
  • Downsized our New Zealand home and switched from a ‘resort’ home to our first ever beach-front apartment.
  • Revamped Desert Dream by adding a Casita for guests, a roof-top bar (Tonto’s) stretching out into the Desert.
  • Changed out the gym in Beckwood (Grasmere) for a lounge-bar as part of our Lancastrian pub.
  • Accelerated our New Jersey Farm project with Mark and Vanessa to create our new Family home. 
6)    Change it up on the work front too.
  • We created and ran seven new leadership programmes for the new VUCA world.
  • Reshaped the focus of the business in terms of customer base, delivery method, bespoke programming and delivering more with less.  Focus – Commitment – Discipline.


Don’t waste the crisis.  You’re never out of the fight.



Thursday, September 9, 2021

Reasons To Be Cheerful (I)


It’s been a challenging 18 months for all of us – and we’ve another few months to come as the battle continues.  But as Thomas the Tank Engine (courtesy of our grandkids) reminds us:


Life is full of surprises, full of ups and downs,

And so to have a silver lining,

first there must be cloud.


There's no sense in worrying if things start going wrong,

Obstacles can all be overcome,

If you never lose hope, you're sure to cope and carry on.


Every cloud is silver-lined, even when it rains,

So don't get too downhearted,

as things are bound to change.

All you've gotta do is wear a smile

and you will find

Your sun will shine.


Next week I’ll share with you how we found some sunshine amid the torrential rains.



Monday, September 6, 2021

The Best Is Yet To Come


Robert Frost and Walt Whitman were early US poets introduced to me at Lancaster Grammar by my influential, innovative, imaginative Enlish teacher – Peter Sampson, as foundational blocks to the Beat Poets and Mersey Sound I loved so much.


Robert Frost lived a fulfilling, creative life but a tragic one in many ways personally.  He lost both his parents at a young age, and outlived four of his six children before losing his wife.  Yet he survived and continued his search for love and laughter.  When asked on his 80th birthday “In all your years and all your travels, what do you think is the most important thing you’ve learned about life?”.  He gave a simple three word response “It goes on”.


Regardless of the pain we may face, it is always possible that the best is yet to come.



Thursday, September 2, 2021

Foodie Friday – In Praise of Fabio Trabocchi

We were in Washington DC last month and wanted to eat somewhere in Georgetown where we were staying.  We were delighted to see Fiola Mare, part of the Trabocchi group, was 100 yards away on the waterfront.




Fabio is a Michelin chef with his starred Fiola flagship in Washington – his contemporary Fiola Mare lively Italian seafood paradise in Georgetown, a couple of outposts in Miami and Venice, a handmade pasta house and a Spanish tapas/seafood restaurant on the wharf.


Fiola Mare is perfect for lunch or dinner.


Outstanding wine list with a couple of tip top sommeliers, a bubbly Irish Philly raconteur Master Sommelier Dan McDaid with an endless stream of stories and his partner-in-wine Megumi Awaya – a hospitality expert passionate in her love of wine.


We loved the buzz, design, crowd, bar, wine, and food so much, we went there on both our days in Georgetown – once for a decadent four hour lunch and once for a relaxed, happy dinner.  Oysters, Spanish grilled sardines, grilled whole Dover sole – vagabond luxury.


Bravo Signor Fabio and team (with an honorary mention to Faith Serrano, who ‘captained' our on-site service in a human, caring and fun way – Bravo Faith).




PS: And a dessert menu including a Campfire Sundae (toasted marshmallow gelato with caribe chocolate sauce, caramel popcorn, honey cracker and smoked sea salt), plus throwbacks and seasonal specialties – a Grand Chocolate Tower, a selection of ‘wellness’ organic chocolate from Sicily (optimism, beauty, health and youth were the choices) – all washed down with Bacardi’s Facundo private collection rums, rare tequilas/cognacs, rare bourbons, grappa, ports and excellent vin santos).  Vagabond luxury indeed.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Check In With Yourself


Some more great tips from my favourite student doctor – Zachery Dereniowski in Sydney (KR Connect, November 8th, 2020).


If ...

  1. You seem more irritated or reckless than usual, which you know is really out of character ...,
  2. You notice you’re going quieter and starting to withdraw from others ...,
  3. You’re experiencing turbulent change – maybe in employment, income, your personal life ...,
  4. You help others, but appear to be distant, on the outer ... 

... Check in with yourself (and with a loved one) and replace these feelings with a commitment to positivity (KR Connect, May 24th, 2021).


You are more than enough.


Commit to Happiness.


Make Happy Choices.