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Still trying to get to Istanbul

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I should be in Istanbul this morning, starting a 7 day Society of NLP Practitioner course, but the Eyjafjallajoekull eruption has grounded all flights out of England and most of northern Europe due to the ash cloud in the upper atmosphere which aircraft cannot fly through.

The question I have heard many times is why does not the aircraft fly below the ash cloud? Aircraft jet engines are designed for high altitude efficiency, and burn less fuel at their cruising height. For example it is said that a trans Atlantic aircraft flying at say 10,000ft or 3,000m, would not have enough fuel to make the journey.

I have a new booking with British Airways to fly to Istanbul on Sunday morning at 0710 hours, but I have just during the early hours of Saturday morning that all flights are suspended until Saturday evening 7pm.

Oh Poo Poo.

I have awoken early, ready on my quest to find an alternate way of getting to Istanbul.

Driving is out of the question, the distance is too far, my car is unlicensed, and anyway, the car ferries are all full crossing the English Channel.

I could catch a Eurostar train to Paris, but they are fully booked now until Monday, then if I got to Paris, trains out of Paris are fully booked.

If I got to Paris, where would I go? I did have the idea of getting to Milan, then pick-up a flight to Istanbul, but where will the ash cloud reach, how far south over Europe will it reach? So, I could arrive in Milan and find flights from there are suspended.

So people in Istanbul, I am pursuing all avenues to get to you, getting out of bed early to try something else.
The view from my home this morning did not look good, as I thought the ash cloud had desended onto Kingston upon Thames,

Thankfully, it is only early morning mist.

Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers

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In Malcolm Gladwell’s third book, Outliers he looks at why there are people who are outside the normal population, those who excel, he investigates why these people are so great.

Gladwell again gives examples of successful people, and groups, to explain what he is telling us, and shows us that it is not always genius that makes these people a success, but the history of the family going back generations, the culture of the person, even that date of birth could make the difference between being a high achiever or failure, an outlier or an ordinary person.

Gladwell also explains that to be an outlier we should be in the right place at the right time, and to take advantage of the opportunity.

Having the above factors in-place does not mean success, to become an outlier, a person needs to become involved with the area of expertise of greatness, to DO the action, the work, for 10,000 hoursGladwell cites examples of the Beatles, Bill Gates etc, of how the Beatles played in Hamburg nightclubs for long hours, amassing the required 10,000 hours, how Bill Gates spent hours and hours programming the early computers, again amassing the 10,000 hours before setting-up Microsoft.

Gladwell looks at the birth dates of those who created the leading computer software companies, and surprise, they mostly fall within a narrow year range, and he looks at American lawyers who specialise in takeovers and litigation are mostly Jewish of a certain age.

Gladwell asks, why are top basketball players birthdays mostly in the early months, January, February, March, and why pupils who achieve better exam results have their birthdays closer to the start of the academic year, than those pupils whose birthdays are nearer the end of the academic year. Simple really, the older pupil is nearly a year older and has a more developed brain, take for example a baby of one year old and compare it to a two year old child, there is a big difference in ability, understanding and behaviour.

An amazing book, which gives an insight to what could make people great, an outlier.

Malcolm Gladwell a great author

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For some time now I have been reading books written by Malcolm Gladwell, Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers and What the Dog Saw.

Malcolm Gladwell has been a writer on the Washington Post and The New Yorker. In 2005 he was named as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, and since the year 2000, has produced the four books mentioned above, and really good reading they are too. It is said he is an author, journalist, cultural commentator and intellectual adventurer, researching his facts and arguments, presenting them in an easy to read and well laid out fashion.

On my courses, training sessions and talks, I am often asked what books I would recommend, Gladwell’s work I consider some of the best to see how NLP, PhotoReading, Memory Skills are used in life without using the labels, and more.
In his work, it will be seen how little things, small changes can make big differences, how the power of intuition the power of thinking without thinking brings great results, what makes a person more successful than others are they just genius’s, and how we need to “chunk down” to look at the deep structure to look at culture and our history to understand why things happen.

Reading his books you will learn what made the Beatles great, why was Bill Gates so successful. I have often been asked how to become a good trainer, and I say in my opinion it takes four to six years to become great. I ask, how can a person who has just learned a subject in January become a Master Trainer in March, in Gladwell’s book you will understand why they cannot be. You will learn why we have apprenticeships, learning over long periods. You will understand why I use translators with long experience in their profession.

Reading Gladwell’s books will help you understand how our history, our family background, our culture will have a great influence in our outcome in life. You will understand why being born in the early months of the year, January, February, can be the difference in being great or not, and in some education systems, why being born in September, October may make you smarter than a person born in July.

You will understand what makes a product, an idea, a behaviour suddenly the “in thing”.

Fascinating reading I would recommend to you.


The Blackburn Buccaneer and the Avro Vulcan at RAF Hendon and Fleet Air Arm Museums

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Reading the history of two of the British RAF iconic aircraft, the Blackburn Buccaneer and the Avro Vulcan in Rolland Whites books, Phoenix Squadron and Vulcan 607, plus my past memories and travels coming across the aircraft, I needed more information, to get the feel of the aircraft.

One of the great traditions and part of the culture of the British people, is a sense of the past, the history of the nation.

Rightly or wrongly, we hoard, we hold onto items which are from the past, we rebuild castles, ancient monuments, we store them in galleries, in museums, we preserve history for generations to come. Sometimes these items are from British history, sometimes these artifacts are from other cultures, there for all to see and wonder at.

It was written, a nation is not a nation without its’ history.

History builds the culture of nations, the population has something to build the future upon, to be proud of.

Britain is rich in museums and collections of artifacts of history, and these collections include the armed forces.

I needed to see firsthand a Buccaneer aircraft, to try and understand how a small aircraft manufacturer, the Blackburn Aircraft and Car Company, starting in 1914, could go on and build, design and build, which in its’ time, such a world beating, innovative aircraft.

I needed to witness the size and shape of the Vulcan, that was built not so many years after the end of the Second World War, would only be used in anger after thirty years in service, winning many competitions against the mighty American USAF jets, again with its’ iconic shape and design features which where world beaters.

My first visit had to be to the RAF Museum Hendon, in North London. The free to enter museum is housed in a number of large buildings, The Battle of Britain Hall, Historic Hangar, the Grahame-White Factory, the Milestones of Flight Hall, and the Bomber Hall.

My aim on this visit was to see the RAF Buccaneer S2B which the RAF flew as late as the Gulf War.

RAF Buccaneer S2B on display at RAF Hendon, London

I needed to get a feel of the plane, to understand the shape the size of this world beating plane.

RAF Buccaneer S2B on display at RAF Hendon, London

Parked in a restricted area of the museum due to renovations, I was kindly given permission to enter the great aircraft’s space, to view the plane at close quarters, the folding wings and nose cone, which reduced the area required to park it, especially on an aircraft carrier.

The Buccaneer was designed for low level fast flying to get below enemy radar, and its short wings gave superb handling characteristics, but at low speeds needed for landings on carrier decks, the designers came up with an innovative idea of bleeding compressed gases from the engines, vented through the wings to give extra life, and the tailplane was designed with variable incidence for fast or low-speed flight. The then conventional bomb doors of an aircraft were just that, doors that opened outwards, but the Buccaneer’s doors rotated within the fuselage, and with the Coca Cola fuselage shape reduced drag. The two seater jet was designed in tandem, with the navigator behind the pilot, and in the S2B model the aircraft were fitted with powerful Rolls-Royce Spey turbofan engines.

A RAF Buccaneer S2B RAF Hendon Museum

I then had a feeling to view a Naval Buccaneer, after all, the book Phoenix Squadron was about the British Navy Fleet Air Arm flying from the carrier Arc Royal to reinforce Britain’s right in Belize. The Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm Museum houses two examples of the Buccaneer, the original S1B with the low powered de Havilland Gyron Junior turbojet engines and the updated S2B which the RAF flew.

Folding nose cone on a Buccaneer
Royal Naval Fleet Air Arm Museum
RNAS Yeovilton

I knew that at RAF Hendon they had a Vulcan, but I could not see it. Upon asking an attendant, he pointed over my right shoulder, and it was there, and as I looked it was. Perhaps it was a case of  George Millers’ 7 +/- 2 or the Monkey Video, but there it was in a corner, a massive aircraft, too big to get into my camera lens.

Avro Vulcan, RAF Hendon Museum.

The Avro Vulcan, later with the powerful Olympus engines which were destine to power Concorde, where introduced in 1953 as part of the RAF’s “V” force, being the Victor, Vulcan and Valiant, built to counter the perceived threat posed by the Soviet Block and to deliver nuclear bombs.

The main characteristic of the Vulcan was the Delta Wing.

Avro Vulcan with delta wing

Conceived in 1947, the virtually hand made Vulcan, entered RAF service in 1956, and used as a deterrent against nuclear attack, and was not used for delivering real conventional bombs until it was due to retire in 1982 when it was used to drop 21 bombs on Port Staley Airport runway in the Falklands war, as told in the book Vulcan 607.

Seeing this wonderful aircraft in RAF Hendon, being able to stand under the massive bomb bay, brought home to me the flying skills needed to get from the UK to the Falklands and back again in the Falklands war.

We are lucky in Britain to have such museums, places of interest to visit, to learn, to see, to research, to gain knowledge.

Let us hope that we all learn from all our past history.

A Big Thank You

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I hope I have said thank you for wishing me a Happy Birthday, but is good just to say “Thank You” for no reason, just perhaps for being a friend, just perhaps just being there, just perhaps just knowing you.

Today I have to say thank you to my very good friend Jill Lawday, a fellow trainer whom I have known for many years.

She had been in town, my town of Kingston upon Thames, and we spent some time together, talking about old times, the future, having a meal, me being a tour guide, and it was Jill’s idea that we should have breakfast at Frank B’s Diner in the Bentall Center of Kingston as a birthday treat.

Jill Lawday and Phillip Holt

Jill Lawday and Phillip Holt
Birthday Breakfast in Frank B’s Diner

Thank you Jill, it was great, even though I needed a nap when I got home.

Oh Jill, watch the video I took off Kingston upon Thames, by clicking here Relax with views from the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames.


see It is a small world

Is it a coincidence that I get more telephone calls

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In my previous articles of my blog, Timeshare Advisory Service a Scam and I don’t believe it, I write about how I instinctively know when I am getting a “cold”, unwanted call, which makes me mad.

I do not want cold calls.

After my first posting, Timeshare Advisory Service a Scam, I got a telephone call from the Indian sub continent, purporting to be an organisation, TPS, offering to register my telephone number to stop nuisance calls for a fee I expect of over £250, when TPS gives the service for free.


How did that person ring at that precise time to offer their service? I must have bee sending a message out through telepathy and picked up by the hard working call center worker.

Not long after, I had another telephone call from another nice sounding lady, with loads of noise in the background of people talking on telephones. Obviously another call center.

She politely led me through a spiel of how her company could help me resolve any problems with my timeshare. Firing well rehearsed questions and statements, “Was I satisfied with the high increases in management fees?“, “have I seen their advertisements on Chanel 5 (UK TV)?“, all to no avail, as I said I was extremely happy with my timeshare holiday week.

I asked for her company’s’ web address, just in case I needed help in the future, which was I later find out that this is International Timeshare Refund Action, a “no win, no fee” service.

We ended the call in a pleasant way.


Why did at that moment I get a telephone call offering me a service, when clearly I had been thinking about the potential problems arising from owning timeshares?

Again, my telepathic powers must be working overtime.

This has to be more than coincidence.

I am reading a book at the moment The Psychic Tourist by William Little, is it a coincidence that I am getting more telephone calls on a subject I am working on, unwanted telephone calls, or is it some psychic force?

I must finish the book to find out.

Oh, just before I have finished this article, I have another call from a lovely Indian girl, offering me a five year contract to stop nuisance calls.

Exeter, lifes journey

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Feeling sorry for myself, having fulfilled my commitments for the day by 12 noon, I was at a loss for something to do with myself.

I know I am about to get a head cold, there is a strange sore feeling at the back of my nose, when that happens I know I will get a running nose, ending with my nasal tracts being stuffed up and blocked.

As I was a long walk from home, perhaps an hours walk which is good for me as it is exercise, my mind suddenly came up with an Idea. In the distance a fast train raced down the rail track to some far off destination, and I thought, why can’t I be on that train?

My mind raced through distant places, as my eyes caught a plane reaching for the sky having just taken off from Heathrow, Penang in Malaysia, Machu Picchu in Peru, Rome in Italy, Erzincan in Turkey, all places far far away, too far.

How about Brighton on the South Coast of England, Bognor Regis another seaside town on the South Coast? I love the seaside.

Then I had a Eureka moment, Exeter in Devon.

Exeter is a town I had never been to, but heard about. My school friend from many years ago, Ronald Rose, used to go on holiday there, and back at school would not stop talking about it. My mind was made up, Exeter here I come.

My local train service, South West Trains, had a train that went there. I would see the City of Exeter I had wondered about for all these years, and as a sea port, be able to see the sea.

By 12:20 midday, with a sandwich, with fillings I had never heard of, and orange drink in hand I joined the train, and soon we were racing through the countryside, visiting railway stations, picking-up and dropping-off passengers, my mind fantasizing what I might see at the other end of the line, nearly four hours away.

At Salisbury, the nine carriage train parted, the first six carriages of to Exeter, the last three off to Bristol. Although I knew I was sitting in the correct part of the dividing train, a slight panic raced through my mind, “was I on the correct train?“.

The speed of the train now reduced as we stopped at more frequent stations, some with platforms too small, so only the first three carriages of the six was actually in the station.

At one station we were held for five minutes. Why?

The rails was single track, with only limited places where trains could pass, so there could be only one train at a time on the track, one up train and one down train.

This did not bode well, small stations, single rail track, we must be leaving the hustle and bustle of suburbia, of London.

Eventually arriving in Exeter Central Station, one stop before the end of the line, I searched the city center map on the wall.

Where’s the sea?

No where to be seen, so I headed to the city center, from there I must find the sea.

With seagulls squawking overhead, that must be a good sign surely, I headed down a steep hill, leading to a valley which I reasoned must contain a river which will lead me to the sea, and sure enough, there was the river, but no sign of the sea.

Nearby, was an old ruin, was it an old church, or a castle, or just an old warehouse? Some one was working on the stones, obviously an archaeologist, but I could see no information to help me.

There were direction signs which pointed to the City Center from where I had just come, and another to the Quay, a six minute walk.
Now that is the direction for me to go.

I walked by the side of the River Exe, slow flowing and not very wide, sitting in a valley.

I followed the flow of the river to the Quay, which was now a collection of cafés and handicraft workshops and only four or five at that.

There were no ships in the port, and as I read the information plaque outside the public toilets, I found out that it had begun to close in about 1840 due to that single track rail track built by Brunel I had just traveled on, which could take the wool exports away quicker. The port continued into the 20th Century, but declined rapidly, eventually closing to only the pleasure boats, and not many of those either.

The old warehouses, as in many old ports of the UK, have been converted to offices, apartments and restaurants.

Still no sea.

Exeter Quay

Another information plaque in the small harbour showed a map, and I was about eight miles or twelve kilometers from the sea, connected not solely by the River Exe, but a canal built two hundred years ago, to bring the trade ships to the quay.

By this time, it was too late to visit the sea, even if there was a pathway for me to follow.

I returned to the city center, noticing how small Exeter was as it rose up from the River Exe’s valley.

I visited the Cathedral, St. Peters, an imposing building, but it was getting late, I was getting cold, my nose now running even more, and I contemplated the four hour train journey home.

St. Peter’s Exeter Cathedral

Thankfully, I passed a book shop selling books at a cut price. That is my answer, a good book to read on the way home.

With another sandwich, with again only understanding the ingredients cheese, the rest I had no idea of, plus an orange drink, I boarded the London bound train.

Totally absorbed in my book, the journey fled past.

I had built up in my mind a day out to remember. I had in my mind something out of this world, total satisfaction, wonderment, a fantasy of Exeter started in my school days by Ronald Rose.

I was disappointed, it was not what I expected.

Life is so cruel to me. Oh Poo Poo.

But hang on, yes life is like that. We build something up to something beyond what will happen, what is there and available and we go for it, only to find that our expectations may not be fulfilled.

Yes, sometimes our experiences far outreach our expectations.

I actually had a great time.

I had forgotten about my running nose, my head cold. I had learned some more things about Exeter. I had relaxed for once. I had read a book and learned something from that.

I had made the journey I had watched others had done and made the sames journey myself and can now relate it to you reading it here.

Life is a journey, sometimes it is not what we want, sometimes it is more that we expect, but we should take the journey and be happy what we experience, for to be sure the track we take could be a fast or a single slow track, but it has a start and an end.


Gong Xi Fa Cai, Happy New Year

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To my many Chinese followers Gong Xi Fa Cai, Happy New Year.

This year it is the Year of the Tiger, and the New Year falls 14th February 2009, Saint Valentines Day.

So to my female followers, if you received flowers or a card and you do not know who sent it, think of me, and where is mine? Next year, perhaps you could send me a card or chocolates, as I do not like flowers much.

To my Italian friends. I will be in Milan from 18th February until 21st, and then in Rome from the 22nd until 26th, giving PhotoReading and Mind Maps courses. You can still join the courses by contacting Fabio Cucinotta at E-mail or visit the Web You can telephone on Numero Verde 800 91.32.64 or Cellulare 334 50.29.667.

You can give me my Saint Valentines Day card and present then.

Visiting and seeing old friends

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Travel, means that I meet new people in different countries, but also I meet old friends too.

A very quick visit to Istanbul allowed me to return to a fantastic eating place, La Cantine very near to the historic underground train at Tunel and the terminus of the famous Taxim Hill tram.

La Cantine near Tunel with the Taxim Hill Tram in Istanbul

La Cantine offers a unique wrap, where you can choose a multitude of ingredients.

La Cantine Menu, Istanbul

As soon as I walked in, even after I think two years I was greeted like an old friend, and my favourite wrap was prepared for me, perhaps because I choose strange mixtures.

Sometimes old friends come to my home towns, and I look forward to being with  Mehpare Kileci of GAP Danışmanlık, and her family in London. Mama Mia.

Light in our life, Energy Saving Lamps, LED’s and incandescent light bulbs

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In the UK, the old style light bulbs, the filament type or incandescent light bulb, are being phased out, and now the preferred option is to buy and fit Energy Saving Lamps, which are also known as compact fluorescent lamps.

It makes sense to replace old inefficient tungsten filament bulbs, as they are heavy users of electricity, of power. The basic principle of filament bulbs is to heat a coil (filament), the heated coil glows which produces light, the hotter the coil, the more light will be produced.

incandescent light bulb

So, the byproduct of producing light is the heat, which is wasted energy.

New technology lamps, LED‘s and Energy Saving Lamps work on different principles.

LED‘s are illuminated by electrons that run through semiconductor material, the diode, they do not have a filament, therefore do not produce heat, use less electricity and will never burn out.

Light Emitting Diode (LED)‘s

Energy Saving Lamps
work by a completely different process called fluorescence. In principle, electricity is passed through two electrodes, one each end of a white tube which contains a mercury gas. The electrons produced by the electricity passing through the electrodes at each end of the white tube, strike the mercury gas which generates energy or ultraviolet light which unfortunately we humans cannot see. But, the white glass tube is coated with chemicals called phosphors, and when the ultraviolet light hits the phosphors there is a reaction and more energy is produced in the form of photons which we can see as light.

Energy Saving Lamps

So with LED‘s and Energy Saving Lamps, little heat is generated and wasted. It is said that 90% of the energy used in the filament type or incandescent light bulb goes on heat. Energy Saving Lamps are said to use 80% less energy and last 10 times longer than old style lamps.

There are the downsides with LED‘s and Energy Saving Lamps. The Energy Saving Lamps use mercury, and when discarded at the end of their life, the mercury gas can enter the environment and is harmful to it, therefore any old  fluorescence lamps should be discarded responsibly.

LED‘s are now being fitted to torches, car lights and traffic lights. As they use minimal energy, last a very long time, fitting LED lights to street furniture is very cost effective. But as LED‘s produce no heat, it was found that any snow or ice that formed on traffic lights was not melted, and thus drivers did not see the signals which resulted in accidents. People have to be employed to clear the snow and ice from the street furniture, rather defeating the cost saving I think.

Great ideas for saving energy and the environment.

Let me continue.