Last week saw Stuart and I spend time in both the UK and Singapore, with each location providing opportunities to experience something new and different. Our first stop was the UK for a strategy session and board meeting with ADG, the UK based company we invested in last year. The first contrast was the temperature, where flying from Brisbane where temperatures had been in the 30’s with high humidity to land at Heathrow at 6.30am in darkness and frost was invigorating to say the least!
We’d packed our winter woolies though and after enjoying a very productive workshop and board meeting found ourselves with a spare afternoon, made doubly relaxing by the fact that both Australia and Singapore were sound asleep so we knew no one was going to be needing our input on anything there. We took advantage of our proximity to Bath to explore its beautiful streets and visit the Roman spa, but while the sun was shining the temperature was still only around 3 degrees and for this notorious cold weather whinger there was a limit to how long strolling was going to be feasible.
We walked past a backpackers with a chalkboard signing extolling its offers, one of which was a bus trip to Stonehenge. Stuart’s cricketing adventures had given him the chance to spend lots of time exploring the UK back in the 90’s, so I asked him how far away Stonehenge was and was it worth the visit. It turned out he’d never been, so we decided that was the perfect way to spend the rest of the afternoon – the car trip would be warm, and it would give us both the chance to see something new.
Once we arrived we were so glad we’d made the effort, it is a truly amazing sight and the very nature of it’s inexplicableness (?? not sure if that’s a word) makes it even more intriguing.
I’d like to say this was the result of exceptional planning, but purely by happenstance we discovered that we’d arrived at a time where within the space of about 15 minutes we experienced everything from bright sunshine, to the sun going down far enough to cast its beam through the stones, through to sunset.
It was doubly good that it all happened so quickly as it hadn’t warmed up while we’d been driving and I don’t know that I had much more than 15 minutes outside in me!
We were up early the following morning to head back to the airport to fly to Singapore, where a full day and a half of meetings there awaited us before the Lunar New Year festivities began. Most non-retail businesses close up by lunchtime on New Years Eve, and of course the time difference back into Australia also meant that by early afternoon activities into Australia were also winding down for the weekend. This provided the perfect opportunity to head out and soak up the atmosphere of our first Lunar New Year experience, with no risk at all of being driven inside by the cold, in fact it was the exact opposite and the challenge this time was how long we could stay outdoors without needing to retreat inside for a cool drink and airconditioning!
First stop was a walk around Marina Bay to see all of the giant sculptures which would form part of the celebrations.
After that we headed to Chinatown and walked through the hawkers market, taking the opportunity to pick up some Year of the Rooster decorations to take back to Brisbane for the kids to enjoy.
We needed to be in Brisbane for the weekend so couldn’t stay for the party, but we headed to the airport reflecting on how lucky we’d been to enjoy a week of such varied experiences, and feeling like we’d taken full advantage of the opportunities that the locations and time differences had created to not only have a very productive week of work but also to enjoy the stimulation of thought that changing your environment can provide.
All in all, a great way to start the Year of the Rooster!