Thursday, 18 March 2010

Billy Champione

A Dad can show he's proud of his boys can't he? It would be easy enough to give Billy's race a courtesy mention, but I think he deserves a bit more than that. Especially after today.

Whenever Billy has a running race we chat about a game plan. And at the County Champs we walk the mile course beforehand. Now in previous races this has worked well and he's stuck to the plan. Last year for example the plan was to keep in touch with the leaders for the first half, move up to the shoulder of the leader by the bottom of the last hill, and then blast it to the line! It worked a treat and he won by a good distance. It was a really mature run for a young lad.
Today, whilst walking the course we came up with the same plan, we put down some landmarks and thought about what would be a good position in the field - but whatever happened don't get to the front too soon! Stay in touch, but leave a bit for the final run in at which point he could fire up the Billy burners! You don't win the race halfway around.

Unlike last year, he got a good start and moved into about tenth by the second corner. One of the runners was making good headway and was starting to pull out quite a lead. Not wanting to leave himself too much to do, Billy went in pursuit and got to his shoulder by the start of the first climb. They were both a good distance ahead and going well. And then half way up the hill the other lad pretty well stopped. Right in front of the main viewing area with still 2/3rds of the race to go, Billy found himself at the front. This was not the plan! So he had a choice, slow down and let the others catch him up or take it on. 
Blurry photo sorry - water on the lens from the rain! But this is the moment that Billy took the lead with 1000 metres still to go. 

He went for option B and put himself to the test. Could he keep that pace up all the way? He kept a comfortable space between himself and his pursuers until 200 metres to go at which point he put the pedal to the metal. It was really impressive. He was up against the best in the county and beyond (Plymouth Athletic Club sent a team) and he finished well ahead with loads to spare. There's no doubt about it, he's a talent and he's getting noticed (and not just because of his hair!). You couldn't fail to be impressed.

Where does he get his engine from? 600 metres from home and tanking it!

So yep, incredibly proud Mum and Dad and little brother (who runs about as far chasing around to cheer Billy on at the corners!). And Grandparents, all of whom travelled down to watch him.
The home run. See that lady on the right. She was so busy watching the others in the race (quite a long way behind!) that I don't think she expected to see him. She ran right out in front of him and they missed by inches. 


Wednesday, 17 March 2010


Told you so...." we stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters.." quote Teamsters regarding Unite. Surely not all their members are from the ghetto! Militant scum.

This chap came up to the trailer last year. It was at the end of a long summers day, most people had left the beach, but the surf was good so there were still a few people coming and going. The sun was setting. I was sat under the gazebo next to the trailer, gently strumming my guitar, when this guy comes up. He's in his mid 40's and his features told me that he'd lived a life. He had this wonderfully calm demeanor. Anyway we started chatting and it turned out that he'd done some travelling, reading between the lines, to 'find himself'. An event had happened in his life of such gravitas that it led him on a journey to search his soul. He didn't tell me what had happened, only where he'd been. On his travels, he'd clearly found God and he was happy to share this newfound love. Each to their own, he seemed like a decent man with an interesting story. The guitar was his reason for stopping and so I offered it up to him.

He stood there for a while, finger picking the old acoustic. "Do you mind if I sing you a song?" he asked. I was just kicking back and in no hurry to go anywhere. "Yeah why not." I indulged him. And this is the moment that it all went a bit weird. Rather than settle into the directors chair next to me, he picked it up and put it directly in front of me. By the time he'd sat down our knees were just about touching. And then he began singing this song, like right at me. And not quietly, oh no, he was full of joy. Now granted he had a great voice and it was a lovely melodic number, a not just a tad too christian in content for my liking, but you can just imagine the scene. Here I was in the full view of everyone on the beach, being serenaded by this chap I didn't know from Adam with a soulful rendition of "He is the One" (or something like that).

Recognising that this must have looked a bit odd to the passer by, I started to get internal giggles. The type where you feel like you're about to combust. Every time he opened his eyes, I smiled, but inside I was dying! I was hurting. It was all very surreal. And then to make it worse, one of the instructors walked by having come back in from a surf. Heaven knows what they thought was going on. To them it must have seemed that in the two hours since I'd said "catch some waves for me", I'd become either gay or born again! I resisted the urge to complete the illusion by humming and closing my eyes! I was graced with a couple more songs before he toddled off in the direction of the Tubestation. I have no idea if he made it there, or indeed if he's still there! Do you think he was the Second Son?

I'm not sure what made me remember that story yesterday. Perhaps because we're just about to go onto the beach full-time. Every day something happens that makes you smile. It's important to remember them.

The girls were back! My six lovely ladies from Newquay, who prefer a day out each week with us rather than go to school! What did we do yesterday... oh yes, Fail to plan, plan to fail! That was the topic - not entirely sure I lead from the front on that particular subject! We looked at creating an advert, so Amelia and Tertia headed off with the camera to take some snaps. And then with Stacey, Shannon and Laura we looked at making a dvd - they started by making a story board and then took some footage. You know there's some creative talent between them. Of course any time we venture near a computer they're drawn to check their facebook pages, but actually that's okay. They work hard when I ask them to. They came up with some really good ideas and now we've got them using Photoshop, Indesign and Imovie on the Imacs, it won't be long before they're flying. It's fun working with them. 

Here's a shot taken by Stacey of Shannon (left) and Laura. How good is that?!

The trouble with the run up to the start of the season is that I have to get my head down and do some work! And that means late nights with mini eggs and milk by my side - they're my comforters. The fitness regime is currently on hold, but it'll be back soon. I've got a game of squash organised for tonight while the boys swim. It's been a while since I ventured into the sweat box, I never was very good. My swing was alway much to big, came from playing lots of tennis, which I was okay at! In fact I played in a competition at Wimbledon when I was at school called the Thomas Cup. It wasn't quite The Wimbledon, that was next door, but I'm pretty sure over the years I might have exaggerated the story from time to time! Well it was a kind of Junior Wimbledon!

Billy has the cross country county champs tomorrow! He's up for it! This is his third run out. In his first one, he ran against the year above and came 4th. Then last year he won his own age group. It was a brilliant race - he sat on this kids shoulder until 200 metres to go and then turned on the Billy Burners. He's fit and well so he's got a chance again, just a little bit of pressure from expectation this time and of course with his curlies everyone recognises him now. He's a marked man! All the Grandparents have travelled down to watch. The anticipation kills me, it's horrible. It's only a matter of time before I don a pair of his running shorts and vest at an event and tell him to step aside, "I'll take care of this one son!" But then again, I've got to take care of those Hammies. "Good luck mate!".

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

A healthy disregard for Unite!

There's one good thing about the BA strike. It could bring the company to it's knees and then hopefully there would be outrage and the Unite Union would be no more!! A sacrifice worth paying? Get rid of those left wing militants! What a bunch of wasters! Come on BA staff, don't be led down this slippery slope by these idiots, keep your air mile perks and work as a team to ensure BA is competitive and everyone keeps their jobs. Do a deal whereby when things improve you can reap the rewards at a later date - much better plan for all.

I see Chinese lanterns were making headlines this morning, apparently there have been loads of calls to the coastguard, people mistaking them for distress flares! Hm, lots of people use them down here. We even had some for our staff party. No need for the lifeboat on that occasion. Was a bit windy and the ball of flame never made it above shoulder level. It ended up in a tree and we had to use ice cubes to put it out! There's a challenge right there. Boys will be boys.

Monday, 15 March 2010

All is well in the world

Here is the office dream team. Kit is back, and his hair has got even bigger! Looks like he's been dangled by his ankles over the winter. Here he is smelling the roses with JD - which are hers coutesy of her hard work over the past few months. Great job! (looks like they just tied the knot!) Anyway when you ring, chances are you'll get through to one of them! Good luck - as you can probably tell, they're crazy!

Sunday, 14 March 2010


Happy Mother's Day! I couldn't be a Mum! - Far too much of all that putting yourself last! I like to higher up the food chain!
Having said that it has been a couple of weeks where kids have been at the top of the agenda. I toddled off to Surrey last week to give a talk to school. I thought it was for year 11 - turns out it was for the whole school and the teachers! They had this fantastic theatre where you could talk really quietly and you could be heard even at the back. It was really intimate. I showed them this video we'd made and for the first time used a bit of Keynote. Fantastic school and great kids. Long old day though.

And then we've taken on some local kids who instead of going to school, spend one day a week with us! We show them all the aspects of our business and with a bit of luck they'll find something that they like and will wish to pursue. Last week, we looked at marketing - we looked at setting up a surf school from scratch. The fantastic thing about their age group is that they have a really good handle on the internet. We looked really closely at our own website and they came up with loads of ways they thought it could be improved. They felt the Beach house section was a weakness - so this week they're going to make a short video. Keep an eye out for that. We're really looking forward to working with them - they're here until the summer and I've not doubt that they'll become part of the Surf's Up! family. Really great kids.

How fantastic has the weather been? Clear blue sunny skies for what seems like ages! The beach has been really busy with day trippers and locals making the most of it - not just surfing, but walking as well. It's a bit like everyone is coming out of hibernation!

Billy won the North Cornwall Schools race last week. It's the third year in a row that he's won it, which is pretty remarkable. Thursday's the county champs down at Newquay.
I have to put this photo up as the number of family snaps we have with all of us in, total about 1! That's because I'm always behind the camera! But I've recently discovered the self timer button! Yippee!

JD continues to marvel in the office! She's brilliant at making sure deposits and balances are paid on time - which makes a big difference with cash flow. Normally at this time of year we have loads of bills to pay and not much coming in - but she's completely turned that around. Kit, who took over the day to day running of the office last year, is back tomorrow. He used to instruct but then asked if we'd consider him in the office. With his knowledge of surfing we thought it would make for an interesting trial. He proved sensational. So that's the office sorted. And the on the beach we've got all the top players coming back - we have to be excited! And do you know what I think will be great about this year? - I just think we're going to have more time. Everything will be less of a rush.