Category Archives: Photography

If you don’t have any problems, you don’t have any business!

This was a favourite saying of a dear departed friend who was the CEO of a very old established musical instrument company in England called John E Dallas & Son Ltd.

His name was Les Miller and he was a good friend to me even when he had personally fell on hard times. But the above was a favourite saying whenever anyone was stressed out with business problems.  And how right he has proved to be. If you are running a successful business you are bound to come across problems both minor and major. But as Les used to say, you can’t walk away from them, you need to stay calm, sit down quietly on your own (at first) and carefully identify the specifics of the problem. Once you have all the relevant information to hand it’s then that you can consider what action to take.

Some favourite business problems are:

  • Cash Flow
  • Obtaining goods from suppliers
  • Customer service
  • Staffing
  • Finding more business
  • Having too much business and not enough capacity
  • etc. etc.

I know that we will all come face to face with a number of these problems at some time in our careers, and even now at my ‘Third Age’ with all the experience I have, I am still making silly mistakes which are causing me problems. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel as far as I am concerned, plus in the past year I have made some very nice, experienced, concerned and intelligent friends via Social Media, who have flocked to my rescue with advice and guidance. They all know who they are and I hope they know that in return I am here for them. Good friends both physical and Virtual are hard to find. When you find them cherish them, we only come this way once!

Les Miller at the American Trade Centre in London c1976

Where Can I get it Fixed – 2

Continuing with my post about taking repairs in from the local Jeweller/Fancy goods shop, it hasn’t all been plain sailing, but we would be fools if we thought it would be! Having said that it wasn’t a catastrophe. I was asked to quote for replacing the brooch pin on the back of a Nurses Fob watch. I made up the Repairs Envelope with all the details required on and put it ready to start work on. Later on that week I started to go through the repairs and I saw the watch, I checked it out under the glass and before I knew where I was I had removed the old Brooch Pin and replaced it with a new one I had in stock. Priced it and wrote it up.

On returning to the shop the next day with the watch I was met by a somewhat confused shop owner who said  that she was supposed to get back to the customer with a price before the go-ahead! To cut a long story short, the shop owner tried to contact the customer for over two weeks, when she finally did and told her the price, the customer said not to go ahead! The shop owner called me in a panic and told me what the customer had said. I told her not worry and for her, to tell the customer I had misunderstood and the job was done, and that I would ‘take it on the chin’! When the customer eventually came to the shop to collect the watch the shop owner explained what had happened and showed her the repaired watch. I’m very please not to say relieved that the customer was over- joyed with the job of replacing the pin and giving the bracelet strap a special clean (Nurses Fob Watches are notorious for carrying and transferring germs and bacteria from patient to patient and hence should be cleaned regularly) I used a special gel made for the job.

So all in all everyone was happy and the Nurse paid up and said she would return.



Where Can I get it Fixed?

I live in S E Wales in the UK in what used to be called a village, but as with all things it has changed over the years.  Two very large supermarkets have opened which in turn meant that we had a number of the older small shops had to close.  Which was a shame.

One of the shops that closed was a Jewellery store  but it did leave a fancy goods/touristy gift type store which was also the local Photographic studio. When the jewellery store closed this store started to expand and to sell more and more bits of jewellery. And the do very nicely, they are nice people with the old world small shop customer service.  On the off chance I popped in there recently and told them that I was into Jewellery Making and they immediately asked me if I could do repairs. Of course I said yes. We came to an arrangement to try and see how things worked out and, so far I’m pleased to say that they have sent me a few pieces to be repaired and they have been happy with the work and I have been happy with the prices.

So I thought I would list  some photos of the repairs done to date.

This was a white gold diamond solitaire engagement ring. Apparently the couple broke up, the man asked for the ring back, the girl took off the ring and bit down on it and offered it to the guy. He took one look and left. So now a year later she asked if could be repaired.


Ring on the left a UK 20 pence piece on the right.


The reshaped and cleaned and polished ring, as good as new.

Slow to get back to work!

Not really wasting time

I did read somewhere where it said that getting old is not all bad. For one thing, no one can tell you what time to get or go to bed anymore. Secondly, if you wanna stay up and work at your bench until the sun comes up you can. No more customers to stress about, no more bank managers to worry about, no more meetings……you know I am starting to cheer me self up!

You are not wasting time if you are doing something that will improve yourself or improve the lives of others. I have been improving myself by reading which I love. Not all in paper form, there is some good stuff to find to read on the net, hence this article below.

Alice Keppel’s necklace The garnet and seed pearl demi-parure features as lot 496. The necklace is designed as an oval and pear-shape garnet cluster with seed pearl accents, suspended from a snake-link chain. The set is complete with matching ear pendants in a fitted case; this lot is offered with an estimate of £2,500-3,000.

Alice Frederica Edmonstone was born on 29th April 1868, the daughter of Sir William, 4th Baronet Edmonstone and incidentally is Camilla Parker Bowles’ great grandmother. She married her high society husband George Keppel in June 1891 before meeting the Prince of Alice Keppel’s necklaceWales, “Bertie”, seven years later. According to the social mores of the day, it was acceptable for spouses in the upper echelons of society to have affairs; however modern historians such as Victoria Glendinning have slated her as having the “sexual morals of an alley cat”. Nevertheless, Alice and George Keppel remained in a happy marriage and both died within months of one another after 56 years together.

Twenty six years his junior, Alice came to be “a fantastic help to Edward VII, more help than his wife [Queen Alexandra] could have ever have been,” according to biographer Christopher Wilson. She became his close confidante, and one of the few people who could calm the King’s often frightening mood swings until his death in 1901.

The garnet and seed pearl demi-parure was almost certainly worn by the fascinating woman around the late 19th century London social scene, and possibly in the presence of King Edward VII.

This article is from the Antique and Collectors Magazine  and is copyrighted to them.

Thinking Back.

I well remember at the regular weekly Management meetings one of the subjects that came up was to discuss HRM issues. And we would go through the different area managers roles and the staff that reported to them, and one of the questions that someone would nearly always bring up, especially – but not necessarily – for a new appointment was, “Is he/she the right man for the job?”  This got me thinking about all the Psychometric  Tests, and the group activities in the classroom to find out who would be best at what within a specific team. These activities were more often than not ran by myself as Head of The Training Division.  One of the Training Analysis activities we ran, was to identify where you would fit into a particular group. Because we are not all the same doesn’t mean that we don’t have our place in a group. We don’t all have to be great achievers. There is a place for most people within the group. We need Ideas people, we need Doers, Finishers, Closers, Activists, Completer’s etc. I was always an ideas and ‘shoot from the hip’ person – not always a great leader but still an essential part of a team – I could always be relied upon to come up with an idea, but don’t ask me to implement it! Which (finally  😦 sorry) brings me to the point I wanted to make about a forthcoming Training course I will be embarking upon where one is tested on the quality of one’s work. And not just any work but specific ‘fine and intricate’ work. This requires the mind of an Engineer who is ambitious  to Design and with the creative heart of an Artiste, and not a shoot-from-the-hipster like me!

However, one thing I have learned since commencing my Jeweller Making & Silversmith learning is that you have to be a ‘Dot-the-I -and-cross-the-T’ type of person, and NOT a shoot-from-the-hip chappie! This is the one thing that I have realised that I need to change in ‘My Type’. I need to NOT be impatient but still be hungry. I’m pleased to say that with the help of some of the many new friends I have made recently they are making my learning experience very pleasant, and I can clearly see a path to follow, for my part let’s pray that it continues.

So a big thank you to Andrew Berry and a very clever American Jeweller Ginger Meek-Allen.

Peace & Love Guys x




As many of my blogging friends will know, I have been an avid wildlife photographer for many years. In fact I have negatives going back to the early 1960s. I have always had an interest in photography and it has stayed with me for more than 40 years. A passion? I’m not sure. I have come to the conclusion that I don’t know what a passion is anymore. Anthony Robbins the world famous NLP and ‘self help’ practitioner defines passion as ‘something that keeps you up until late at night and gets you up early in the morning.’ And that certainly used to be the case with me, but not anymore.

In many ways I have been very lucky in my life, I have nearly always done a job that I loved, and in many cases paid me a lot of money. And when I was dishing out words of wisdom to classrooms of managers who would listen, I can distinctly remember saying how important it was to be passionate about the business they were entering into. and I suppose this is still true to the younger and more energetic, hungry entrepreneurs. But as I get older and, I’m ashamed to say more cynical, I find my passions can wane into relative insignificance when confronted with life’s ‘more important ‘ things. Like for example:-

Friends dying on a monthly basis, every month on the social media I read about another dear friend who I remembered as being passionate about life passing over.

Or, thinking about the health and welfare of ones partner, who hasn’t been as lucky as you and has been struck down with an illness that means they now rely on you for basically everything.

I could go on, but I know that you have the message by now. So, my question to you is this. How can something that you had decided was going to be your life, then ‘say’ 30 years later, not be the first thing you think of when you wake in the morning.

I apologise if this blog is on the dark side, but in the words of the great Sir Winston Churchill ‘I have a touch of the black dog about me today.’ I know the reason, or at least one of the reasons, I have had a tooth abcess for over a week and it was so bad I actually didn’t get out of my bed for two days! That has to be an age thing surely? I have had tooth abcesses before and they have been very painful, but they have never kept me in bed.

Who Knows Where The Time Goes?

It’s true what they say that when you retire there is just not enough hours in the day to do all you would like to do! And that dear friends is my excuse for not writing my Blog since January (I think).

I have hardly got out with my camera, I managed a couple of hours at my local Peregrine spot, but even they decided that courtship behind closed nests was more important than posing for me. 😦

I have had some minor success on eBay selling some bits and pieces of photography gear that I no longer use. I passed a new rule recently, that I was not allowed to spend any money on hobbies/equipment, without first generating the income from the Hobby. So either selling some pics or some gear! Fortunately, I have had a bit of both, some pics through Alamy and the said eBay. Unfortunately, I have almost spent it all on shopping on….you guessed it…eBay!  Well….you have to spend it while you have it and the item you want is available…don’t you?

Visiting Hedgehog
Visiting Hedgehog

I was so pleased to see the Hedgehog as they have been declining in such drastic numbers recently. I find it quite difficult with such a small modern garden, to keep it tidy so as not to be an eyesore for the neighbours and at the same time be a wildlife friendly habitat.

I was also surprised to see a very small long-tailed field mouse in the garden. I noticed where he was hanging about and made a point of ensuring there was always some food there for him/her. I had to get out into the garden at about 3.00am to see him but he became almost friendly, and stopped diving for cover whenever I showed up, after a while, realising he wasn’t going to get hurt by me. However, my Rosie did find a local black & white cat hiding out very near where said mouse ate. That was about two weeks ago, and I haven’t seen the mouse since, but I am still putting food out for it, and the food is not there in the morning, so I am hoping that he is still safe in his underground home.  I do have a couple of pics of the little feller as soon as they are processed  I will post them.

Warm wishes to all my friends.

George Mutch sentenced to four months in prison

This maybe a first for a Gamekeeper being jailed for killing wildlife. If so, let’s hope it’s not the last.

Raptor Persecution UK

George MutchBreaking news…..

Scottish gamekeeper George Mutch, convicted in December for trapping a goshawk and then battering it to death (and a few other things – see here) on the Kildrummy Estate in Aberdeenshire, has been sentenced to four months in prison for his crimes.

He was led away from the court in handcuffs and is currently en-route to a prison cell.

What an unbelievably brilliant outcome – we never thought we’d see the day. Mutch is the first gamekeeper ever to be jailed in the UK for killing raptors.

Huge congratulations to the RSPB Investigations Team, SSPCA, Police Scotland and the Crown Office, and kudos (and thanks) to Sheriff Noel McPartlin for handing out this sentence. An acknowledgement also to former Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse, who pushed hard for the admissibility of video evidence. Had he not done so, this case would probably not have made it to court.

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Some Nice Pics to Relax to

I haven’t been around much lately, mainly due to family commitments plus, I have been asked to participate in writing a book and supplying photos for same.  The book is all about a specific area of the Music Industry, which many of you will know was my previous life. So researching that has taken some time, I will post here when it’s all finished and published.

More recently, I have been accepted as a Trustee of Gwent Wildlife Trust. This is something very close to my heart and I hope that I shall be able to contribute some value to this wonderful organisation.  Watch this space I guess.

Here is a video that a friend sent me and i though it would be nice to share. Hope you enjoy.

GWCT takes aim at Scottish pine martens

I wonder what the world is coming to. Read this please. And furthermore, why are the RSPB opting out of the discussion? I don’t pay my dues to them to have them opt out! They are supposed to be representing me in all things Wildlife.

Raptor Persecution UK

Pine Marten Gary FaulknerThe GWCT are at it again. First they wanted buzzards and sparrowhawks added to the Scottish General Licences to allow the legal killing of these protected species in order to protect non-native gamebirds bred and released in their millions for leisure shooting. Then they went for the legal ‘removal’ of hen harriers from English grouse moors to protect artificially-high stocks of red grouse for leisure shooting. Now their plan to ‘remove’ pine martens from several Scottish forests, under the guise of a ‘research trial’, has been leaked.

Their ‘plan’ is to ‘remove’ 120 pine martens (a highly protected species that is recovering from persecution) from four forests in Strathspey, including inside the Cairngorms National Park, over a six-year period to see whether their ‘removal’ has any affect on the breeding success of Capercaillie. The plan suggests that the martens could be killed but a ‘translocation’ to other areas would be…

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