Sunset Surfer

Ben Howard & Surfers Against Sewage

Music, Surf

I saw this yesterday and had to share it.

Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) is a great organisation; an “environmental campaign group with a mission to rid the UK coastline of Sewage”.

In doing some research about the Bestival line up later this year, I found this video of Ben Howard’s “The Wolves” overlaid against some amazing footage of surfers riding UK barrels, as a promo for SAS. Admittedly it’s a lot less showy than the big American/Indonesian/Pacific Island breaks that are typically associated with barrel riding – but, for the UK, these are some great waves. I love the track too, which complements it perfectly.

I must have watched this video about six times already since stumbling across it…

UPDATE – Just seen this too: Garrett McNamara has just been recognised as having ridden the biggest wave ever seen on film (78ft), last November, in Nazare, Portugal, from a tow-in. On first watching, my heart was in my mouth when the whitewater hits him.

Typically Dramatic

Health, Surf

We’ve decided to come on holiday in the UK rather than going abroad – with all the benefits and risks that are respectively associated.

On the plus side, we haven’t had to travel too far with the little ones. On the downside we’ve had iffy weather all week, with rain all day today for example. To be fair the weather hasn’t been too much of an issue up until now, but as we go into the second week, it might start to wear thin a little if we don’t see a bit more sun.

Still the scenery is beautiful and we’ve been making friends.

We’ve had a bit of drama this week too – as is customary on a Goold family holiday. I was patched up and it’s consequently been nothing more than a minor inconvenience, particularly as the sea has been fortuitously flat since the accident. I would have been a good deal more agitated otherwise.

Right, back to building pink Lego castles and making crepe paper flowers it is then…

10 Years On

Nonsense, Surf

Last Friday I left London early and jumped on the train to head to Borth in West Wales for a couple of days with my family, who were there already. Although it was a five hour mission across the country, it was well worth it, not least for the day of seaside sunshine I was greeted with on Saturday, which was followed on Sunday by a couple of hours surfing, with my Dad, which was most definitely good for the soul. Actually, the heavens opened when we were in the sea but as anyone that has surfed in the rain will know, it’s actually one of the few times when being caught out is undeniably enjoyable – although it’s hard to tell exactly why (possibly something to do with it clearing out the beach?).

This week, it’s my tenth (!) wedding anniversary, so my wife’s parents are coming down to look after our girls and we’re leaving them both for the first time for 48 hours to head to Paris, for what I’m sure will be a sleep-fest. Grand plans of dining, drinking and late-night venues have been discussed but I’m pretty confident that we’re both going to be in shock to such an extent that we’ll crash out.

Still, it’s just the two of us, in Paris – and that’s pretty cool.

Switching Off

Health, Rugby, SEO, Surf

Despite being on the losing side – and not thinking terribly positive thoughts about our opponents given some of what went on – yesterday’s match against South Africa was, I think, the best game of rugby I’ve ever seen. Stephen Jones described it, perfectly, in The Sunday Times as ‘epic’. Indeed.

Not sure whether I have cultivated it over the years or it’s always been there but I genuinely don’t care whether my team has won or lost 2 minutes after the kick off. I’ve been to European cup finals on the losing side and been completely indifferent. Equally I’ve been at huge matches where we’ve won and felt the same. For sure I bounce around like an enthusiastic eight year old when in the throes of the game but, unlike my friends who are similarly passionate, I seem to be able to shut it off immediately afterwards. Whether that makes me less of a fan/supporter or not I’ve no idea. Certainly I’m happy to get on with my days afterwards either way. By way of example, the exact same thing happened when watching Andy Murray yesterday.

So, continuing the recently started gym theme, I’ve managed to keep up the momentum, having been back now and am in an every-other-day routine. Whilst I knew I’d stick to it, if only for a few weeks at this level after joining, I’ve actually surprised myself at how much I’m throwing at it. So, another hour or so to be spent there before into work tomorrow for a new business meeting.

I have a funny feeling that google has shifted the playing field a little around mid last week – several of our clients keywords have jumped noticeably in one direction or another. The term Voucher Codes in particular seemed to drop off the radar for no obvious reason (although I’m sure there is one – we’ve just yet to find it). We’re also about to ramping up SEO for Karacha, to promote its Saxophone and Clarinet ranges and a range of Free Widgets to help writers Make Money Blogging, from Imagini, Youniverse’s parent company, amongst others. Oh and I’ve finally gotten around to downloading the other free SEO tools offered by SEO Book tonight.

Just two weeks left before I head off to Cornwall. Not sure whether to take the surfboard this year as I can always rent one when down there, it’s a heap of hassle and with two little people in tow, I’m unlikely to get in the sea more than twice whilst away. Hmm…

The Inflatables Are OUT

Parenting, Surf

OK, so i’ll be the first to admit that my fitness is currently not what it was, due to the combination of long days, hectic nights with our youngest and, fundamentally, a lack of time to get to the pool. What was a three-times-a-week habit has now dropped off to once a month, unfortunately.

So, when my eldest daughter and I decided to take advantage of the weather last weekend and again this weekend and get into the garden, we thought we’d pull out our great array of inflatable pools (of various sizes), palaces and animals, which of course Daddy would blow up with no problem. In retrospect, that may have been a mistake…

Actually, I’m fairly fortunate that my lungs seem to hold up pretty well to a couple of hours of blasting air into plastic shapes – but I know, for a fact, that it would have been much easier if I’d been in training.

Although work is as hectic as ever, I’ve got to find some time to get away for the odd hour – and have now a Cornish holiday booked in July as an incentive to work towards (with surfing a virtual impossibility if I’m unfit).

New Look, New Home

Books & Comics, Films, Games, Health, Music, Nonsense, Parenting, PR, Rugby, SEO, Social Media, Surf, Tech, Travel

So, a few weeks ago I moved this blog from it’s former home to this new location, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the software I was using, from a site called ‘edublogs’ was proving extremely painful to use despite being based on WordPress, resisting updates on a seemingly arbitrary basis. Secondly I also wanted this to be more personal and less a blog about Punch (we have one of those already – here), which takes up most every waking moment outside family life anyway. Hence, this blog’s new name – Out of Office Messages.

Much of what I had written previously is actually still relevant, so I’ve imported the content here – but really, this is more about my personal point of view and perspective which, increasingly, as Punch is now growing (we’re on the point of appointing two more people, taking us to ten) is happily just one facet of the whole picture during the working day.

I’ve also changed the look and feel a couple of times in recent weeks and have finally settled on this layout. Whilst the ability to choose templates on wordpress is undoubtedly fun and designed to ensure that there’s something for everyone, I’ve found that most of the templates feel very old very quickly – and in some cases even quite amateurish – the blog equivalent of clipart. So, the simplicity of this particular layout suits me perfectly.

I have wrestled a little with the extent to which I make this about my interests – which has made me reflect on what my interests actually are. As anyone that knows me personally will, I’m sure, testify, I’m very fortunate in that I’m hugely passionate about my working life. So, whilst it is clearly work related, it’s fair to say that one of my interests is technology and moreover, at present, how technology is effecting sociological change – with innovative web applications breeding new means of personal interaction, for example.

Similarly, it’s interesting to me that reputation management is becoming ever-more relevant, with the current shift towards personal reputation management through web 2.0 and the trend for execs constantly having an eye towards their next opportunity. I suspect this is likely to crop up fairly regularly.

I love the fact that this post may be read by no-one or hundreds+, based on a number of factors, not least merit – but also context/distribution. As per my recent post referencing a couple of bloggers that apparently hadn’t grasped that their entry may in some way have a detrimental effect on their careers, it’s hugely interesting to me that the traditional ‘rules’ of PR still very much apply here – it’s just that the distribution landscape is dramatically different.

Finally, on this, I’m also hugely interested by the prospect of how ‘PR2.0’ can be integrated with (note, not a substitute for) traditional PR techniques, meaning that all reputation campaigns can benefit from a coordinated approach to search engine optimisation, social media and bloggers/blogging, for example.

So, on a different note entirely, outside work my life is really almost entirely devoted to three girls – my wife and two daughters. We’ve had an extended period of intensity at work, dating back to September ’07 when we our first employee joined us to work alongside myself, meaning that I rarely have too much time for anything else.

With a set of golf clubs in the garage now gathering dust having not been used since the birth of my daughter 4+ years ago, I think that can safely be discounted as a likely regular subject. However, as a season ticket holder at Leicester Tigers (having just bought two more for my two daughters for next year) I try to go as often as possible – although that has meant about five times a year for the past two seasons, which is criminal really.

Finally, the last subject which is likely to crop up regularly is my love of the water. Again, swimming has suffered in the last 18 months but it’s something that I do love with a passion. Moreover, I try to get a surf at least a couple of times a year – which dates back to when I was first taken into the sea with my Dad and his board when I was about four.

So, that’s a wrap as far as I’m concerned. My main issue with blogs is that they are frequently too self absorbed so my aim is to always avoid that – but I did want to somehow mark what feels like a significant shift, if only in terms of intentions as opposed to output.