I am learning to write better essays

Posted on Jun 22, 2013 in Education | 0 comments

As you probably know by now, I run my own business and one thing I have learned is that in a rapidly changing business environment one can’t simply assume you know everything. That is why I am currently enrolled in a part-time business studies course at a local university.

Many of the things they teach me I already know, but there are also times when I have an ‘aha’ moment, when I suddenly understand something about the business world and the marketplace that has puzzled me up to that moment.

To me the worst part of studying is that it inevitably involves writing essays. I have honestly never been any good at writing. I might know all the facts by heart, but I always find it difficult to express myself coherently in a manner that the lecturer finds acceptable.

Luckily I stumbled across a service that has a huge essay database, so one can learn from the professionals. There are literally thousands of different essays on a wide array of topics, including business studies. It gives me the opportunity to study essays that were reviewed by A* students to get tips on how to do it myself.

They also have many essays that have been critiqued by highly qualified tutors and for one reasonable fee it is possible to download as many essays as you wish and keep them for as long as you want.

I’ve used this service countless times over the past few months, because apart from helping me with my own essays it has also often given me new ideas on how to approach a particular problem.

Another nice feature of this service is that they regularly upload new essays, so there is always something fresh to read and to learn from. My essay writing has definitely improved since I started using the service and I can only say thanks to markedbyteachers.com for doing such a great job.

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Online gambling has become great fun

Posted on Jun 14, 2013 in Fun, Gadgets & Tech | 0 comments

Poker cards and chipsAs you probably know by now, I’m a great fan of casinos. When I get the time I like to visit a physical ‘real-world’ casino, but more often than not I find that an online casino satisfies my need for an adrenalin rush equally well.

I must admit that online casino games have come a long way since the 1990s when they first started making their appearance. They are now much more lifelike and have managed to duplicate a large part of the excitement offered by their real world counterparts. Many of them even have chat rooms where it is possible to interact with other gamblers.

There are two types of online casino; the first involves software that runs live on the web, so there is nothing to download. Anyone who simply wants to play a quick game of roulette without having to download a large program would probably go for this option.

The second option involves downloading the casino software onto your PC or laptop in order to play. While it takes some time to download, it only has to be done once and as a general rule this type of game runs faster than the web-based one. This is because the software is running on your own computer rather than on the web.

There are also virtual casino games and live dealer casino games. With the first type the next card or next number is generated by a so-called PRNG or Pseudo Random Number Generator. Put simply, this is a computer algorithm, which produces the closest thing possible (for a computer) to a list of random numbers.

With live dealer casinos there are actually real live croupiers who spin the roulette wheel or deal the next card. The cost of this type of online casino is much higher than the PRNG versions, which is why one gets a limited number of websites using this system.

Over the years the variety of games being offered online has increased tremendously. Nowadays I regularly play blackjack, baccarat, roulette, craps, slot machines, keno, poker and even bingo, online.

 

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The role the weather plays in our lives

Posted on Jun 7, 2013 in General | 0 comments

cloudsdIf there’s one thing we British talk about, it’s the weather. It’s frequently the first thing neighbours comment about when they greet each other across the garden fence. Towards the end of each week millions of us watch the weather forecast, anxiously waiting to see what the weather is going to do over the coming weekend.

I have often wondered what effect the weather has on productivity. I mean, if you lived in a tropical country, close to the equator, wouldn’t you also feel a bit sleepy after lunch? Is the ‘siesta’ phenomenon we often find in these countries really so strange?

I can only imagine how British colonists must have felt when they first arrived in India or Kenya; all that tropical heat and not an air-conditioning unit in sight. No wonder they built hordes of little hill stations all over India and Malaysia and similar countries, places where they could escape to when the summer heat really became unbearable.

At the other end of the scale I have often wondered why, going back to the dawn of civilisation, people migrated from warm tropical countries, to which millions of tourists now flock, to a place with such a miserable climate as the UK to settle down in. I mean, why couldn’t they have built London somewhere in the foothills of the Himalayas, where the weather is great throughout the year?

Talking about great climate, in my travels I have visited numerous cities that are described in the travel guides as ‘The city of eternal spring’. They include Cochabamba in Bolivia and Cuenca in Ecuador. Some cities in the south of China are also often honoured with this description. With an average maximum daily temperature hovering in the low twenties and rainfall distributed evenly throughout the year, these places are genuine paradises, at least in terms of the weather.

I personally visited Cochabamba and Cuenca some years ago and I found them not only pleasant, in terms of the weather, but the people were also extremely warm and hospitable. Whether that had anything to do with the climate I don’t know, but it was undoubtedly a great pleasure to spend time there.

So don’t be surprised if one day, when I retire, I sell everything I have and head for one of these earthly paradises, never to experience a grey dreary day or sweltering heatwave ever again.

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I become a retro music fan

Posted on Jun 1, 2013 in Music | 0 comments

I’ve recently become a fan of retro music and one of my favourite groups of the 60s and 70s is Creedence Clearwater Revival. To be quite honest, after discovering this group, I think there are very few modern groups that can be compared with them for their sheer brilliance.

The group consisted of primary songwriter John Foggerty, who was also the lead vocalist and lead guitarist. His brother Tom was the rhythm guitarist and Stu Cook was the bassist. The drummer was Doug Clifford.

The group sold more than 26 million albums in America alone and their songs are still regularly played on the airwaves all over the world. In fact, I can’t think of many other groups, apart from the Beetles and Queen that are still so popular after such a long time. Creedence became immortal when they were initiated into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twenty years ago. They are also at no. 82 on ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine’s list of the world’s greatest artists in history.

Some of their earliest successes include songs like ‘Proud Mary’ and ‘Suzie Q’, but my personal favourites are songs that only came later in their career, including ‘Bad Moon Rising’, ‘Midnight Special’, ‘Travelin’ Band’ and ‘Who’ll Stop the Rain?’

The group’s musical style covered what is described as ‘swamp rock’ and ‘roots rock,’ although they liked to portray themselves as ‘Southern Rock’ artists. Unlike groups such as Pink Floyd, who commented on social issues of the day, Creedence Clearwater Revival sang about love, catfish, the Mississippi River and the bayous; subjects with which the majority of their fans can clearly relate, even after forty years.

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I visit Germany on a long-weekend break

Posted on May 26, 2013 in Holidays | 0 comments

As a business owner my life is often quite hectic and rather unpredictable. I would plan a short break away and then something would go wrong and I’d end up spending the best part of the weekend sorting everything out.

Now and again, however, I am lucky and things go according to plan, so I can enjoy a few days away from the stresses of work.

The last time this happened was at the beginning of May. I took the Thursday and Friday, plus the Monday and went to visit my cousin in GarmischPartenkirchen in the Bavarian Alps.

I booked a budget flight to Munich and from there took a train to Garmisch, which lies about 100km south of Munich at the foot of the impressive Zugspitze, the highest mountain in Germany. The train journey was a spectacular experience all on its own. The track winds through the Bavarian Alps like a snake and the scenery is, in a word, breathtaking.

My cousin picked me up at the station in his Mercedes. Having lived in Germany for the best part of his life, he drives only German cars. I don’t think he’s a snob, he just truly believes they are superior.

That night we enjoyed quite a few glasses of Glühwein. It’s a typical German concoction containing red wine and various spices and raisins and it is served hot: perfect for those cold nights in the snow-clad German Alps.

The next day we took the train through a very long tunnel, which goes more than halfway up the Zugspitze and from there we took a cable car to the top. The view was absolutely stunning; for miles and miles on end all one could see were snow-capped mountains stretching into the distance. I am not much of a skier, but the whole experience was magnificent.

There’s a very old little restaurant near the top cable station where we enjoyed a Glühwein once again to try and get some heat into our semi-frozen bodies.

The Saturday was quite chilly, but the sky was clear, so we went for a walk through the famous Partnach Klamm, a stunning gorge in the mountains close to town. We hiked right to the top of the mountain and from there took the cable car back to town. By the time we got back home we were tired and cold, but fortunately my cousin had a fresh bottle of Glühwein to rectify the situation.

That night we went to a typical German restaurant and enjoyed some traditional local dishes and quite a few excellent German beers. I’ve always been amazed at how the normally stoical Germans unwind after a couple of beers and turn into raucous party animals.

I was sad to leave the Monday, but luckily I can always go back. Next time I will go during the summer so we can go for walks in the surrounding woodland.

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How I found the perfect haulage company

Posted on May 11, 2013 in General | 0 comments

There’s hardly any business out there that doesn’t from time to time need things delivered to somewhere or other. Whether it’s a filing cabinet that has to be moved to a branch office or documents being sent to a storage facility, sooner or later almost every business will need a haulage company.

In my case it happens quite regularly that I need to send items to a city somewhere in the UK. In the past I used to hunt around the local classifieds or use the Yellow Pages, but the transport company I used in December last year; I found them in the Yellow Pages, simply provided awful service, so I started looking around for an alternative.

That’s when I stumbled across this great website, DeliveryQuoteCompare. The way it works is this; I go to the website and enter what I want to move, when it has to happen and the pick-up and destination points. They then get haulage companies to give me quotes. The whole thing works like a reverse auction; the companies bid against each other and I end up the clear winner.

Every time someone bids on my project I receive an email, so I don’t need to go back to the website every few hours. It means I can compare all the quotes and choose the company I want. The great thing is that I can read each company’s profile and also see any feedback left by previous customers, so even if a company’s quote is the lowest, but they’ve received negative feedback in the past, I can still choose another quote.

The very first haulage company I used from this website offered me a great price and unbeatable service. So now I have one thing less to worry about in my busy schedule, which is probably why I sleep better nowadays.

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Blood is thicker than water

Posted on Apr 27, 2013 in Family | 0 comments

Water tapThey say that friends are better than family, because you can choose your friends, while your family, well you can’t choose them. In my case it’s always been a little different; I believe blood is thicker than water. Even if family members disagree about things now and again, they usually find a way to mend fences and get together again.

To quote just one example, I have a cousin who is highly conservative and those of you that know me will also know that I consider myself to be rather liberal and open-minded. Every now and again, my cousin Andy and I have slight differences of opinion, which might sometimes even get a little out of hand.

About a month ago we were driving back from a visit to an elderly relative when I said something that he considered to be highly obnoxious. I can’t even remember exactly what it was, but Andy must have thought that I had finally revealed myself as an enemy of solid family values, because he stopped the car right there and ordered me to get out. I stared at him in disbelief, but he was deadly serious. ‘Get out!’ he said – twice. So I got out and he sped off.

And there I was standing beside the road without any form of public transport within walking distance.  Fortunately, a burly local farmer took pity on me and gave me a lift. Less fortunately, his wife and teenage son were already sharing the front seat with him, so I had to get on the back with a couple of rather threatening looking pigs that first sniffed me and then made some decidedly disapproving noises.

If Andy had been merely a friend I would probably have broken his nose when I got back and we would never have seen each other again, but Andy is my cousin. A few days later he phoned to apologise and offered me his holiday home for free the next time I have a few days off. So that night we went for a few beers and toasted family ties.

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