Once upon a time there was a girl from Bedford
The youngest of 6, I knew I was spoilt but this had the opposite affect on me. I grew up determined to make it on my own and be fiercely independent – from everyone.
A happy childhood with 1 brother and 4 sisters also meant growing up with various influences, namely Cliff Richard, football, David Essex, David Cassidy, The Osmond’s, Marc Bolan and Elvis (in that order). It’s a wonder I ever made it out of there alive. I am indebted to my family for instilling strong moral values alongside an ambition to do ‘something’ (My Dad) and ‘always give back’ (My Mum).
In late 1980 I went to my homeland, India and my life changed. From this time onwards I knew how I my life was going to shape up.
After this trip, thankfully I chose my own and bigger influences. I came back just as Duran Duran launched their first single and the record industry was creating its first Entrepreneurs, including one, Mr Richard Branson. This may amuse you, from interviews with the band I learnt about paying income tax (or not!) and my first car was a VW Golf because John Taylor had one and my last one will be an Aston Martin because……….JT wanted one.
However I am not living in the past and don’t listen to 80s music with the exception of absolute underground classics I hear on the radio every now and then. Music is my life and I cannot live without it but have wide taste from funky disco to good old fashioned country, to Abba to solid guitar thrashing modern day rock ‘n’ roll. I don’t see the point of being awake if the radio isn’t on or the point of being in the car if the music isn’t loud.
In later childhood, business plans, budgeting forecasts and entrepreneurs surrounded me. I knew I wanted to be successful in business but never ever had any ambition to run my own. My oldest sister and brother were running their own businesses for almost as long as I can remember and I always thought it was too much of a sacrifice. Not that I mind hard work: I’ve been working 12-15 hour days for many, many years (since I’ve been managing) and have loved every minute, but always liked the idea of leaving it all behind at 6pm on a Friday night and not worrying. I have always loved my holidays and social life too, even if it is just to get to the pub by last orders or taking out 7 or 8 days abroad. I just love that balance of life.
Having been through the Rockies (to die for), all through northern Italy (scrumptious) and New York (the best there is) so many times, I achieved all my travel ambitions when I reached the Nou Camp back in 2002, which was up there in my list of favourite days, along with;
- Waking up for the first time in New York on Thanksgiving morning and it was actually snowing
- Going to Wimbledon Championships on the first ever middle Sunday
- Seeing Bruce Springsteen at one of his legendary 4 hour gigs back in the 80’s and a few other great artists including my all time favourite Bryan Adams (another influence – the reason why I went on my first holiday on my own to Vancouver)
I have since been visiting my B list, New England in the Fall, New Orleans, Memphis and Nashville on the music tour. My biggest solo holiday was just before I started my own business and made those sacrifices that I said I would never make.
My sister gave me a book by Dale Carnegie, when I was starting out at 17 or 18 and I never looked back. I then worked for 14 years in advertising sales, moving a little around the country, before making the switch to recruitment. It doesn’t make me proud to say it as it’s the industry with the worst reputation and so totally against my strong customer service principles.
I have worked for a few different companies large and small and learnt from each and every one of them. Especially from the small local one upon my return to Bedford that went under and still owes me several thousand pounds…….
I moved back to my beloved home town Bedford in 2001 and simply adored living there. I am a very proud Bedfordian. I’d always believed I should have been paid PR money to enthuse about Bedford but then I feel that way about my favourite English city, Birmingham and coastal city, Brighton.
I started my own business because I simply could not find the company or staff that would adhere to my high professional standards. I was unemployable.
I have no ambition to be the next Richard Branson, although I think he is great business leader. I just want to earn a good living, doing something that I enjoy whilst keeping the customer service standards high and making a people happy along the way. The fact that quiet times in my business are December and August are a huge plus: August means walks just for the hell of it and listening to live music outside and December definitely means Christmas enjoying every second of being in New York.
I’m now living in my favourite UK City, Birmingham although for other reasons: It’s inspiring, it’s good for business, there’s more to do and it’s close to the airport for 9am flights to New York.
Which brings me right up to date. I am going to spend more time in New York, or actually New Jersey. I can run my business from anywhere, with trusted colleagues back in the UK and my plan is to start writing. (You would never have guessed from this prose). I love New York, having been going there for nearly 20 years but New Jersey is a little quieter to write in – or at least the parts I have been to. I love Hoboken with its views of Manhattan and it’s laid back, old town, small town charm.
You’ve probably gathered by now that I consider myself the luckiest girl on the planet. I may have been through some of life’s heartaches; losing both parents, divorce, dis-funfunctional family, losing my life savings and having to start again and more redundancies than I can remember, but who hasn’t and hey, I’m still the Luckiest Girl in the World.
I do whatever I chose, whenever I choose, with whom I choose. It’s called freedom and it leads to my only ambition; to live a happy life.
On my one great love, Music: I will always trust and buy ‘blind’ albums by Madonna, Bryan Adams, Duran Duran, El Presidente, Springsteen, Bon Jovi et al. However, I love the music around at the moment especially as I don’t need to buy that much as the radio, which is on all day, is just so good. Apart from the heavy guitar-laden stuff that parents usually disapprove off, I love funky dance and good old fashioned pop. My gay friends have called me a gay man in a straight woman’s body because of my taste in pop music, clothes, socialising and home style.
On cars: don’t love but just incredibly fussy. I wouldn’t wear anything I didn’t love so why would the biggest accessory of them all be something I detested? Won’t drive a Ford or very many modern UK cars but like American. They ultimate dream car is an old Aston Martin (the one I’m going to get buried in so no-one is fighting over it) but currently drive my other dream car, Mercedes CLK. I’ll be running it into the ground as it’s such a comfortable drive. Straight male friends don’t understand but the gay lot know that it’s about the look and how fast it goes, not the technology. I don’t know how my laptop works either but it takes me I where want to be – fast, is easy to use, low maintenance and it looks good.
Actually the low maintenance characteristic in untrue of both machines but what can you do.
On food: I’m fussy with meat as I won’t eat anything with a face or body. Could easily be a vegetarian if my favourite food wasn’t salmon. I adore entertaining but don’t cook. Life’s too short.
On Politics/religion: don’t have strong views on either although of course we are all political even if we don’t follow a party. My only points to raise are that we in the UK allow people to get away with murder by throwing benefits at them when we have so much work available.
The other area I feel strongly about is our prison service. An awful lot of money goes to keeping convicts in prison when such a high percentage comes out to re-offend (7-8/10?). Why are they not re-habitated inside? I would love to place them all in jobs but understandably it is hard to find the employers.
I spent 6 Christmases working with the homeless in the UK. Nearly all of these people had resided at Her Majesty’s Pleasure at some point.
These are two areas that I would love to help address one day.
Football: just follow it, not fanatical and don’t need to discuss every tackle/foul/goal/penalty/referee decision over several beers with anyone – they wouldn’t listen anyway. I just enjoy it – the technique, the winning and mostly the team spirit. I do have a very long-standing membership with 1 club though….
I started following Man United as a young girl in middle school. It was an effort to be one of the boys whilst in craft class. (Yes, really). I never could stand being thought of as a ‘girl’. Also, I hated to be one of the sheep so didn’t go for Liverpool who were the biggest team then. Throughout my youth, United were just a team to take sides with when watching Match of the Day with my big brother every Saturday night. It wasn’t until Alex Ferguson took over that I realised what a ‘power house’ Old Trafford is and I have been hugely influenced in business and life by the way Sir Alex has run that team in the last 20 or so years. I will miss him madly when he finally retires.