Wednesday, February 17, 2016

‘been a bit busy…


The past two weeks, as faithfully logged by my tablet.  It’s a sprawl, from Poole to Nottingham, clusters in London, Sharnbrook, Reading, Cambridge, Braintree.

‘and every one a story.

The push is product: innovation  headed to market later this year.  It’s been a long time developing, organizing, fundraising, and testing: ‘wonderful to finally see it all coming to fruition.

It has meant that I am on the road and off-line most days, consequently falling behind on emails and phone messages.  I don’t know that I’ve been more than three nights in any one place since New Year’s.  I joked that my definition of ‘home’ has become ‘anywhere that I unpack a suitcase on entry’.

I’ve also left Facebook for a bit: it’s become a toxic swamp of petty cruelty that gives little happiness.  I remain active on Instagram, but have let close friends know that it’s better to look for me on email than Messenger.

The major business activity has been the establishment of manufacture at Colworth for CamStent. 

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We have our dip-coating apparatus and ovens for drying, and are in the process of wrapping a process and documentation around it.  An ‘ISO13485-compliant Quality System’, the evolving facility will be able to product around 10,000 units of Innovation is Chemistrycoated product each year: enough to prove the concept, provide commercial samples, and generate revenue before year’s end.  We have our first audit by the regulators on March 3, so it’s a race to get all 22 procedures (SOPs) and around 100 forms complete in two months with five people.

It’s ironic: I was always known for resisting the structure and strictures of formal Quality, yet here I am creating one.  It’s alternately exhilarating and soul-deadening.  We are doing something in weeks that took years in my prior experience.  But the attention to detail and consistency in the paperwork takes focus away from product and customers, my natural home.

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Arcane arguments about the difference between Documents and Records, near-religious arguments about the meaning of passages in the Standards, debates about whether a Form or Procedure is fit for purpose, scaled to fit, wear me down.

But it’s genuinely exciting to see the very polished Finished Goods coming off the line, lovely to share the pride that people have in the visible successes resulting from their work.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Moving Pictures

DSC08873 (1300x921)I love to stroll though a new city, walking the sunlit main thoroughfares, dipping into shadowed bazaars and shipping streets, walking through residential neighborhoods rich with street life,  pausing to sit in a café and look at passing faces. 

However, it takes at least a day to meander properly.  ‘limited in the number of 3-day to one-week city breaks I can take, its a rare pleasure. 

And, once I’ve formed impressions of place and people, the experience is difficult to share with others: photos and stories don’t convey the sights and sounds of the journey.

Kees ColijnThus, I was delighted to find the works of Dutch videographer Kees Colijn, an artist specializing in ‘single-shot’ city videos.  Up to two continuous hours long, his ‘Walking in…’ project consists of slow walks through the streets recording everyday life as it happens.  Shops pass by, people exchange glances, scenes open up around corners and onto open spaces as you would experience them.   He’s working his way east, around the world, and has posted recordings made throughout Europe, India, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East.

Walking in Varanasi

A bit like watching Bob Ross paint or reef fish swim,  his journeys are calm and relaxing to watch, not at all rushed or ragged. I exchanged a note with him, he uses a simple Canon Legria wireless camcorder which captures a nicely stabilized and balanced image during his walks.

His street photography is also good, and I’ve learned lots by flipping through his travel portfolio.  But his videos are, for me, his most compelling work.

Marlow, beyond Henley (-on-Thames)

DSC08722 (1300x867)We should have a drink in Henley.  There must be more: surely the roads do not end at Henley-on-Thames?  A shrug.  Marlow?  Well, and why not.

It’s Valentines, after all…


Marlow owes its existence to the fact that DSC08745 (1300x864)a road once crossed a river.  In British economics, that creates an opportunity for transfer and sale of goods, and so for a village.  By 1227, there was a market in Marlow, and, in 1832, a chain bridge, a prototype for the much larger Széchenyi Chain Bridge across the  River Danube in Budapest.

Fortified with a pub-pint, we ventured DSC08747 (1300x855)along the River Walk through the All Saints Church and along the Marlow Weir, one of the first Pound Locks with (now familiar) gates at either end and a pond between whose level could rise and fall.  (Earlier designs with a single gate were called Flash Locks).

‘not a warm day nor a crowded walk.  But it was a good outing to explore another village upstream along the Thames. 

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‘And a chance to marvel that Kayakers and Snowdrops would each brave the cold conditions this time of year.

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