Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Back across the pond

DSC01125 (1300x974)I had an uneventful run back to to London, hard on the heels of a windstorm along the West Coast that took down our power for a full day.  Bookended with the storm that pushed me out of England the week before, I’m feel like the weather is following my  travels back and forth this week.

It was a busy week, lots of good things happening (seeing family, getting good physical exam results, cooking a decent fondant, voting progressive, experimenting with spices from the Jerusalem cookbook, sharing drinks and stories with close friends, and making deconstructed risotto dishes), and catching up with long-overdue  tasks (finalizing taxes, fixing the routers, raking leaves).  I got the Dutch-boy page-cut reshaped into a more traditional layered haircut.  I ate a slab-o-beef with good red wine and bought jeans that fit my revisioned 30-inch waist.

Unfortunately I ran into (as Ms. Merkel says) a shitstorm on arrival back in Europe.  A single missed deadline, an isolated event, began to have wider impacts across the business.  Arriving in London, then weaving my way south, calls and emails began to arrive urgently, following up to defer tasks and reschedule meetings.

DSC01127 (1300x950)My convoluted route, via the Southwest trains transfer at Clapham Junction made it hard t keep up as the phones grow more insistent.  Finally, I pulled into a coffee shop with WiFi at West Brompton to sort things out.

It’s always important to have a plan, to communicate well, and to project confidence, even as everyone’s mood drops from worried to sour to angry.  I spent the afternoon in the corner of the coffee shop sending group emails and leading conference calls, distinguishing the issues that simply impact plans from the issues that insidiously sap people.

By evening, on very little sleep, I was back in Sandbanks and felt back on top of things.  I’d managed to remember enough of my resolutions to take a time-out before engaging on knotty issues and after difficult calls. I reached out to friends when I started feeling overwhelmed.  I kept the stresses in check.

And even took a walk along the waterfront at twilight, just because it’s nice to be back.

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