Category Archives: a musing

robzlog aims to amuse, interest, entertain and encourage reflection

The genuine article

pencil | robzlog.co.uk @robertz

I’m not a fan of clipart or stock photography.

I think this comes from seeing so many web sites and brochures showing pictures which have nothing to do with the organisation publishing them. If a company wants to demonstrate that it has happy, smiling employees, why not feature photos of its people rather than stock photos of idealised employees?

It’s something that puts me off a web site when the first thing I see is a stock photo. If the company can’t even be bothered to take an original photo, how bothered will it be to look after me as a customer?

As for clipart, I know that it can be useful for demonstrations and explanations, but very cheap, amateur-looking clip art does not give a good impression.

strawberries and clotted cream | robzlog.co.uk @robertz

Readymade images are obviously convenient, but original photos and artwork can make a web site or document stand out from the crowd. Isn’t that what businesses want?

Original imagery takes time, thought and creativity and can cost more if you don’t have a good photographer or designer in your team, but I think it is definitely worth it. And with today’s digital cameras and phones, it has never been easy to create original photos and video.

Well, that’s my Thursday rant. Normal service will be resumed tomorrow.

Woolacombe sunset | robzlog.co.uk @robertz

Posted in a musing.

Waste not, want not

Clock | robzlog.co.uk @robertz

The clock in our kitchen stopped working at the weekend. It’s a quartz clock with a battery in it, nothing special, but it’s useful for keeping an eye on the time when cooking or when we need to go out or do something at a specific time. We changed the battery, but it wouldn’t go. We tried another battery, but it still wouldn’t go. We thought we would have to replace it.

Now, we don’t like waste. Also, it’s sad that items on sale now just don’t seem to last as manufacturers cut corners to cut costs. We’ve found this with many appliances, even those produced by companies with a supposedly good reputation. And it doesn’t seem to make a difference whether they cost a little or a lot.

I didn’t want to buy a new clock for these reasons, so I took it down and fiddled with the contacts and put the battery back in. The clock went for a few minutes and then stopped. I had another go later in the morning and the same thing happened. I tried it several more times and eventually it carried on working and is now keeping good time.

I’m glad I persisted because there was no need to get a new clock and it would been a waste to throw this one away.

It’s a small achievement in the war against unnecessary waste.

Due to family members ageing and passing away, we have accumulated so many things that we need to find new homes for. We don’t throw them away because many of these household items, quite ordinary in their own way, are far superior to anything you can buy today, yet few people value them. We have been taking them to car boot sales, advertising them on eBay and generally trying to find people who will appreciate books, china, ornaments, tools and a lot more. It would be a waste to throw them away.

This has also led me to declutter my own collection of possessions. There are many things I have accumulated over the years which I have no real use for and recently I have found owners who will appreciate them.

Because of this approach, I’m a terrible customer for retailers because I just want to maintain the things I have and not buy anything unnecessary. It matters because the economy relies on appliances breaking down being replaced regularly. I think this has to change.

I am glad I got the old clock working. I don’t like waste.

Posted in a musing.

Open up

Cool blue sea and sky | robzlog.co.uk @robertz

I am working with a business colleague to launch a new business exhibition in the area. It’s quite exhausting, but also frightening to get this off the ground. A lot of preparation has gone into it and we are just starting to promote it. We’re at the stage when you do things and get no response, and start wondering whether it was such a good idea.

I have organised events like this before for other organisations so know what results look and feel like.

Over the weekend, I relaxed by baking a cake, cooking some meals, working on my art project and reading a history book for my MA, as well as walking with our dog. I deliberately didn’t spend any time on business so that I was fresh this morning.

Just now, I heard an email arrive and when I looked, I saw that our first exhibitor has booked their stand.

I now think: We are on our way.

It’s almost as though I had to back away to give it space and let things start to happen.

Being asked to blog for the Ultimate Blog Challenge on a song lyric or phrase that sticks in my mind, the following suggested itself:

“Just open your eyes, and realise,
The way it’s always been.
Just open your mind and you will find
The way it’s always been.
Just open your heart and that’s a start.”

This is from The Balance, written by Graeme Edge and Ray Thomas for the Moody Blues’ A Question of Balance album way back in 1970, but I think the words have a lot of value.

Sometimes I find myself focusing too narrowly so that I pass by other things without seeing them. I need to consciously relax and open up to other influences and see what happens.

Opening my eyes, mind and heart seems a good approach to life.

Posted in a musing, music, books and writing.

10 years of blogging, so what now?

I was astounded to see that I started this blog 10 years ago with the entry:

Drama coming . . .

. . . soon.

This was a reference to my heavy involvement in amateur dramatics at the time and my role in publicising six or seven productions every year.

Since then, I have blogged about theatre, Ilfracombe in North Devon, England (where I live), food, wildlife and various musings on life.

The most popular post has been this one about the elephant hawk moth in our garden 10 years ago – I still get questions about it.

It’s been an up-and-down blog, as over 10 years much has happened and my life has changed a lot. Illness and family losses have cast a shadow and for the past four or so years I have written little.

But here I am again.

silhouette | robzlog.co.uk @robertz

This is my personal blog – I have also written business blogs at z2z.com and a new one at unfashionable.uk – and I am looking to write more about life in general, food, nature, books and music, and history, as I am studying part-time for my History MA.

If you are here and reading my posts, what do you enjoy reading and find valuable? And what would you like me to write about?

Let me know in the comments or ask me anything else about what I write?

Posted in a musing.

Time to try something new

I’ve been doing pretty much the same thing for work and business for 35 years – can’t believe it’s that long – and that is: writing.

I’ve always enjoyed writing, and I still do, but there are some aspects of work that don’t excite me so much. For example, in my corporate days, I was only too keen to take the opportunities I was given to experiment with computers. In several jobs in the 1980s, my bosses knew what they wanted me to make the computers do, but didn’t have a clue as to how they worked. I had to figure out hardware and software, often because the IT support departments still operated with the mindset of computers being for technical people. They were horrified that users were taking more control and knew more about desktop publishing, graphics and digital communications than they did. I would stay late in the office figuring out how things worked and thoroughly enjoyed it. However, these days I would rather walk on the beach as I have come to realise that every software package you learn becomes obsolete and that you have to learn a new one after 18 months or so.

This and the fact that marketing and PR are seen very much as a young person’s industry led me to realise that we – my brother who is my business partner – must differentiate ourselves from those in their 20 or 30s or even younger.

And so we have decided to embrace our age as an asset that differentiates us. We thought about a brand that would sum this up – it’s difficult finding words and names that have not already snapped up – and we hit upon: unfashionable.

We’ve never followed fashion for its own sake and always tried to see humour in our business, so we’re very comfortable with this.

Will it work? I think there are times when you have to try new approaches and so we will see.

Are you trying anything new or making changes?

Posted in a musing.
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