Entries Tagged as 'Blog'



Hope & Tears

I don’t think there were many dry eyes in the Brudenell Social Club, Leeds on Friday 5 October 2018.

Music has always been important to me, even though I can’t play any instrument, I can only sing enthusiastically (and feel sorry for people near me at gigs) and I can’t even clap in time! But being at a gig with others is one of the places I feel most at home, connected and alive. Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to see some of the best bands in the world (I know that is very subjective) and been to some wonderful and memorable gigs. A number of years ago, a friend thought I may like to check out a band described as “A cross between Arcade Fire meets The Faces like a Yorkshire’s E Street Band” – they sounded right up my street!  Ladies and Gellyspoons… please allow me to introduce you to Hope and Social.

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A Cold Swim for Some Hot People

When we were in Wasdale last summer we saw two guys swimming Wast Water  and although we are all now blaming each other, someone (Sarah, Jim or I) said “we should do that next year”.  The vague idea has been in the back of our minds and then, before we knew it, it was Easter and a few months to our annual camping trip.

To complicate matters our local swimming pool has been closed for refurbishments. We’ve had to find other pools and I’ve had the most flexibility and have swum most mornings. It has been much harder for Sarah and Jim to find space in their schedules and swimming a distance takes us some time!

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JAC Recorder Competition 2018

They slipped this out:

“The JAC has received an amended vacancy request during the course of this selection exercise. There are now up to 160 vacancies (decreased from up to 250) including 2 Welsh speaking posts. This exercise remains non-jurisdictional and the JAC will recommend the most meritorious candidates for appointment.”

****** 27 November 2018 ******

Just ahead of the selection days I understand that the number of posts has jumped to 250 – very good news for those still involved.

***** 1 November 2018 *****

Candidates who have made it this far will learn about their selection day dates by 8 November – NB check your spam and junk folders.  Numbers who are through have not yet been confirmed my guess is it will be around 350 candidates for the 150 vacancies.

***** 21 August 2018 *****

Qualifying tests results due out tomorrow Wednesday 22 August  – check your e-mails and spam – fingers crossed!


**** Update 15 August 2018 ****

No technical problems reported with with stages 1 & 2 and results expected imminently.  Stage 3 is the hardest hurdle – this feedback taken from the recent DDJ Civil test may assist:

“The panel agreed that they would overlook minor errors made by candidates where the meaning was obvious, for example spelling mistakes and typographical errors. Stronger candidates scored a range of marks across both questions and underpinned their answers with a good grasp of the relevant civil procedure rules. They adopted a logical approach to their decision making. The strongest answers were clear and specific and identified the relevant factors.

Weaker answers failed to reach a conclusion or came to the wrong conclusion on the evidence provided. They often did not demonstrate a clear process to their decision making and may not have considered all the relevant factors when reaching their conclusions. The strongest answers were clear and specific and identified the key factors.

Generally, candidates with the highest marks had read and absorbed the scenario making specific references to the correct issues and directions to evidence their understanding of the matters that needed addressing. They referenced the relevant legislation making effective use of their time and word allocation.

Weaker candidates failed to manage their time effectively and therefore were not able to deal with the second question in enough detail. Some candidates failed to structure or communicate their answers clearly making their intent ambiguous. They failed to make a decision or set out their reasoning in sufficient detail…”

Full DDJ Civil Qualifying Test Report: here


This year’s Recorder competition launches on Tuesday 19 June and there are currently 150 vacancies. Last year’s competition was beset by problems, frustrations and delays. You can catch the gist of what happened to the 2,500+ candidates who applied here. As a result the JAC have simplified their process in line with other large fee paid competitions that they have been running this year.

To succeed and take your seat on the bench you will need to prepare professionally so that you can have an edge over your competition. This undated blog is written to help you understand what is required and what you need to do to be prepared, fully prepared.

As information is made available I’ll update this page as the competition progresses and you can follow my updates on Twitter 

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Bruce and Clarence 


Lessons From The Boss

As I prepare to go and see Bruce Springsteen on Broadway I thought I should update my LinkedIn blog from 2015 asking how he has continued to develop his career over the last 50+ years. There is talent on every street corner and hundreds of musicians yet only a tiny percentage make it and even fewer can sustain it. So, what, if anything, can we learn about leadership and success from The Boss?

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Bambisanani Story Telling Evening

Building on from the success our earlier events, and his subsequent visit to the project, my 17 year old son, Tadhg, is planning another story telling evening. During the visit he learned just how much of a difference anyone can make, so he hopes you will come along, share stories, poems or maybe tell a joke. We expect it be an enjoyable evening again where we’ll share, learn, laugh and perhaps be moved.

The Bambisanani Partnership is a charity that has been making a difference for over a decade, having a positive impact on both communities. All proceeds from our evening will go directly to the charity.

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Up, Up and Away

What is it like starting your own business? I use the analogy of an airplane taxiing down the runway and then opening the throttle to take off. It is unnerving. It takes a lot of effort and you think you’ve built enough momentum, but you’re running out of runway and you have to hold your nerve. It is stressful, liberating, fun, challenging, frustrating, rewarding.  It is time and life consuming.

I started my business 4 years ago and I’ve learnt so much. One of the toughest things, when you are building your business, is trying to find a healthy work/life balance.

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Blog, Staple Stories

An Amazing Woman

When I was growing up in West London we had a wonderful next door neighbour, Mrs. Cooper, who was more like a grandmother to me. She was such a gentle yet great character, frail but immensely strong, wise and patient.  As a trainee nurse she slipped while pushing a trolley and lost all her teeth when she was just 18. She drove ambulances throughout London during the Second World War. She had a budgie called Joey and deep brown eyes. If I were to describe her in one word it would be: kind.

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Have you heard the one about Ubuntu?

Building on from the success of last year’s event, my 16 year old son, Tadhg, is planning another story telling evening. He hopes you will come along, share stories, poems or maybe tell a joke. We expect it be an enjoyable evening again where we’ll share, learn, laugh and perhaps be moved.

This year we will also enjoy short stories from St Mary’s partnership school in South Africa. The Bambisanani Partnership is a charity that has been running for over 10 years and having a positive impact on both communities. Tadhg’s been a member of Ilkley Young Writers Group for a number of years and therefore seen and heard some wonderful, engaging and powerful performances. We hope a number of them will be joining us on Friday 12 May 2017 – hopefully a treat for all ages. A community event – where everyone is very welcome!

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