I think everyone will be familiar with this or similar phrases. I expect you are thinking cars, bikes of boats. But the time when this had the most impact on me was at a 3-day accountants conference held near Heathrow. It was run by Steve Pipe, a forward thinking accountant and author. He used the words “speed thrills” to illustrate that in accountancy speed of response carries a lot of weight. We all know what we want to get done. We all know by what time we want it done but it never works out that way. There is always something that needs to be done and the list of things to do just keeps growing.

The question is, what to do about it. Well, my answer this weekend is to resort to the fast cars as the antidote. Silverstone beckons and in the morning, I will board a coach from Inverness, organised by Scott Murray at Murray Travel, to travel down from Inverness to our hotel near Silverstone. It promises to be a good weekend. By the time you read this it will be just a memory. But, as we often say, you have to come back so that you can look forward to going away again.

I know I have asked this question before, but I’m not sure I got an answer. What do you do to switch off and relax? We can work some crazy hours. They can be long and start early and finish late. That’s just what we do. But now and again, you have to get away from it, and have those cork out, me times. That’s what keeps us sane.

Speaking of which, I was demob happy on Tuesday. I’m not quite sure why because most things were going wrong. Anyway, it was a fact. The first thing went quite well or at least I thought it did. I had to deliver a 10 minute presentation to the BNI Highland meeting in Inverness, and try not to put everyone to sleep. Well, accountancy isn’t that exciting, except for accountants. I normally reckon that any presentation of this length or longer takes many hours to prepare and this one probably took between 4 and 5 hours. You are probably thinking that you could have done it faster, but by the time you have sorted out material, prepared the slides and run through it a few times, all that time adds up. It was almost certainly the release of tension once I had finished my pitch that meant that I was demob happy for much of the rest of the day. Still, once I stated my delivery, I quite enjoyed myself.

At the end of it, I asked if there were any questions. I got one. Duncan Macdonald, you know, the award winning Highland Architect who was on the telly a few years ago. He asked if I did Stand Up. Was that a compliment?

After the meeting I had two jobs to do. First I had to take my office shoes to get new heels. The only guy there on that day was a trainee and he had not done shoe training yet. So I left the shoes with him and moved on to job number 3. Get my hair cut. Now, they only take cash and it took 3 attempts to find a hole in the wall that would give me cash. Cash in hand I proceeded to my usual barber, who now shuts on a Tuesday. So, that was a fail. Still, I have now found a good barber in Elgin, just around the corner from our new Elgin Office, so that’s a win.

Well, you get days like that. Something good, something mediocre, some fails and some unexpected learnings. I suppose that really sums up life.

The other piece of excitement this week was getting my car locked up in Inverness. If you know our office in Inverness, you will know that parking is limited and so, on days when I am only visiting for a short time, I will use the car park on the other side of the road. Now technically this is the Travis Perkins car park but as we have always had an excellent working relationship with them, it never seemed to be a problem. Until now and there are some new faces. Apparently we will never again be asked to move our cars so that their delivery lorries can turn in. Apparently they should get in without moving anything. So the nice people we used to get on so well with locked their car park to stop me getting my car out.

I guess we don’t have such a good working relationship anymore. So what do we do when their customers park in our parking spaces, which is not uncommon. There are days when their delivery lorries either park across our spaces or park in the road blocking our access.

It’s a funny sort of world. One day you have a relaxed relationship with your neighbours and the next, you don’t. Ce la vie! Seems pretty small minded to me but that’s just my opinion.

I have read somewhere that you should always be kind because everyone is fighting a hard battle. So, maybe the guys at Travis Perkins are having a tough time. So, we should be understanding and at the end of the day, kind. After what has happened that’s going to be tough, but necessary.

Another of life’s lessons learned!

Alan E Long

The Long Partnership

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