I very much hope you have had a successful and enjoyable 2023. However, after a rollercoaster year, it would seem that many are, like me, looking forward to a fresh start in 2024.
Thanks to the wonderful support of family and friends (my big sister, in particular), recovery from an adrenalectomy in February was successful. I very much hope I was able to provide the normal editorial services to you throughout this period – bar a few days around my operation, when I had a prior appointment with the highly skilled Renal Surgery Team at Southmead Hospital, Bristol.
The recovery period gave me some time to reflect. However, I am normally a very physically active person, so ‘taking it easy’ is actually one of the things I find hardest to achieve. Although, I was able to resume some normal activity, such as work, and flinging muck out of the horses’ stables, three weeks later. I could gradually could increase my activities and was able to ride and run again, three months further on. Carefully rebuilding core strength after abdominal surgery was key.
It totally amazed me how much we rely on the body’s core for almost every minute movement – even sneezing! And I realized that it is the same in business. We simply cannot get very far at all in business without strong core values, purpose, and business processes.
I have also seen this reflected very strongly indeed in the work that I have completed for my clients in 2023 – We have all been strengthening our cores in challenging times.
Physical recovery from surgery was just in time to start preparations for a move from the Mendip Hills to the beautiful Somerset Levels (‘Avalon’) in September.
Relocation to ‘Avalon’ (which according to Celtic folklore is associated with Glastonbury its surroundings, Glastonbury Tor, the last resting place of King Arthur, and the possible burial site of the Holy Grail) brings a new set of opportunities but also many challenges.
The beauty of the Levels is truly unique, mystical and mesmerizing. It is the largest and lowest wetland habitat in the UK and holds international conservation status as one of the most important wetlands of its type in the world. Lower Godney is surrounded by six nature reserves. In addition to its biodiversity, the Somerset Levels are visually stunning and hold a strange magic that inspires a host of creative arts from right across the board and of the highest quality. The most numerous ‘fellow commuters’ that I encounter on my daily journey to care for my horses are some of the country’s best landscape- and wildlife photographers – out to capture the incredible scenes in the morning light. In addition, I have absolutely no doubt that the spiritual energies in the area are utterly exceptional, and my creative inspiration grows daily under such remarkable influences.
However, hand-in-hand with this is an even stronger raw power of nature than in the Hills. Beautiful though it is, rural living is quite often very tough indeed. It is hard work. We all have to ‘battle the elements’ and put in extra hours. My fellow villagers’ dairy farm working hours also frequently extend well beyond midnight most days and start again early. You have to be as prepared as possible for absolutely anything here and especially well-organized and flexible. This does, of course, also bring additional agility within the work sphere. In the country though, skills in meteorology, rally driving, and livestock wrangling are required almost daily. And at times, it helps to have a good degree in ‘obscurity’! We all live in turbulent times, in business, as well. Embracing the positive along with the negative is absolutely essential.
Additional Speed & Agility – Grasshopper, Sapphire & Brosnan
Reflections on deep water
The Autumn storms, including Storm Ciar
After what seemed like an eternity, the rain stopped, and the Levels gradually recovered. Each dry day brought a piece of land back to use again as the water subsided from it. While the shape of some of the ground and roads underneath was changed by the forces of nature, its functionality returned within a new norm. And as far as I can see, it has been very much the same in the business world in the past year. Additional gradual recovery post-pandemic, as well as positive adjustment to other global challenges were evident in my clients’ industries in 2023, but with a very new norm continuing to emerge.
Areas that I have seen particularly in demand in 2023 included enhanced focus on the creation of synergy and greater consistency across all editorial materials. I was asked to provide more consultancy work on developing editorial strategy for many clients with increased emphasis on optimization of the impact of small, as well as larger editorial projects. With my clients busy with many new innovations that provide fresh solutions to the new challenges their customers face, I was commissioned to write a host of new product texts. Requests to me for development of powerful, detailed technical blogs and full-length feature articles developed from white papers, webinars and scientific papers, also increased significantly, as well as for the creation of impactful digital and SoMe content, and new website texts. My clients have been focused on developing and delivering deep and meaningful messages to their audiences.
A new adventure
Alongside work, unpacking boxes and completing the administration associated with a move, the last few months of 2023 brought the challenges of settling my horses, cats, and elderly dalmatian into a new environment, late night excursions to rescue injured swans and flood-bound feral cats out on the droves, driving along actually inside mass Starling murmurations, and the thrill of spotting rare birds and mammals on the doorstep.
What an adventure it has been already! I look forward to what lies ahead. And with the Levels still so beautiful despite the Autumn and Winter’s poor weather conditions, the Spring and Summer of 2024 will undoubtedly be a joy here.
Throughout, the camaraderie, warmth, friendliness and sense of humor of rural Somerset’s people makes life possible and enjoyable.
Putting words in just the right place
My role is to put words in the right place for my clients but living in ‘the middle of nowhere’ has added a new dimension to this. The interplay between technology and the rural- and natural worlds is essential. Technology and data handling is just as critical in rural areas as others for communications, agriculture, research and conservation. Technology, of course, delivers vital top-class services and practicality to the countryside. One necessity, which may not be as obvious to city-dwellers, is What3words. The What3words app is a geocode system that maps the geographic coordinates of any location on the surface of Earth within a three-meter square and encodes it into a unique, permanently fixed, three dictionary word code. The system enables anyone, importantly the emergency services, to find a location instantly – even in the ‘middle of nowhere’.
Creative arts as well as science drive innovation forward
With Worthy Farm (the home of Glastonbury Festival – the world’s largest music event) around 10 miles away from me in Lower Godney, it is ironic how the idea behind What3words was conceived by founders Chris Sheldrick, Jack Waley-Cohen, Mohan Ganesalingam and Michael Dent. Sheldrick, who was an event organizer at the time, struggled to get bands and equipment to music venues due to inadequate address information. He tried using GPS coordinates to locate the venues but decided that words were better than numbers after a one-digit error led him to the wrong location. He credits a mathematician friend for the idea of dividing the world into three-meter squares, and the linguist, Jack Waley-Cohen, with the use of memorable words.
Living that much closer to it now, I am looking forward to Glastonbury 2024. I don’t have tickets for it. They sold out within an hour, as usual, but I don’t think I will need them to enjoy it still from here!!
My three words
Thank you so much for entrusting me with your writing and consultancy assignments in 2023. It has been a pleasure to work with you, as always, and I have thoroughly enjoyed working on them. I hope that they have been highly effective for you.
Finally, my three words to you from beautiful Avalon, are:
Happy New Year!
Although in this context, they do not refer to any other location than yours at 00.00am on January 01, 2024, and beyond.
I look forward to connecting with you during 2024. Let’s make it a good one!