conversation

Every cloud has a silver lining – oh yes it does

Mary_and_trish_with_mum

Last week, dear readers, I nearly killed my Mum.

Don’t worry – I haven’t started some peculiar matricide pursuit; it was an accident – but unforgivable never the less.

I took my family to Rome for a break & the temperature last Wednesday in the square in front of St Peter’s Basilica was a scorchio 44 degrees C.  Poor Mum collapsed with heat stroke inside St Peter’s & I eventually had to send for the doctor.  All’s well that ends well & she’s fine since returning to Donegal where our Irish summer temperatures are a good 30 degrees lower.  It didn’t half give me a scare & the stuff that went through my head in that hour & a half I’ve pushed away somewhere so I won’t have to think about it again.

The outcome was that Mum couldn’t go back out in that heat for the next few days – so my sister & I (that’s all of us in the photo) took it in turns to stay in our apartment with her.  No internet, no books apart from Rome guides in English, no English speaking programmes on the tv – how on earth would we pass the time?  Guess what – we resorted to conversation & I have to tell you it really wasn’t that bad.

I spent hours lying on the sofa listening to Mum telling me stories about things that happened in her lifetime & stuff she’d heard about when she was a child.  Some of it I’d heard before but a lot of it was brand new.  I heard about:

·         the Donegal friend of my grandmother who’d gone to see someone off to America and got on the boat herself, taking her mother’s elastic sided boots that she’d borrowed with her – my grandmother had to go back & break the news to the girl’s mother (I remember the same woman returning to Donegal for the first time in all those years when she was an old person when I was a child)

·         the day the soot fell down the chimney covering my sister who was in her cot beside the fire – moments before my grandmother was due to arrive to visit us in Yorkshire

·         all the jobs my father did as a teenager between leaving school & moving to England

·         the details of my parents wedding which had a guest list of 6 people plus the priest – my Mum is the only one of that group still alive

·         an escaped prisoner that my grandmother had given sanctuary to whilst my grandfather was in hospital in the early 1960s

·         stories from Mum’s working life as a clippie on the buses of South Yorkshire Transport between Doncaster & Barnsley in the 1950s

and loads of other interesting stuff.  We covered a lot of ground & it was thoroughly enjoyable.  So it’s true – every cloud has a silver lining & being offline for a few days really isn’t that bad.  Tell me some of your silver lining stories please.

A blog about appreciation

Matt_with_tuttle_group

Today’s blog is an appreciation blog.  Often we find ourselves just taking people for granted and not giving them enough appreciation for what they do for us – so this is an attempt to redress that balance in some small way.  I’d just like to say a big thank you on behalf of all of us who work in Northern Ireland’s emerging digital and online content sector to Matt Johnston (@cimota) for the tireless work he does on behalf of us and to promote our sector and our companies. 

I’ve spent the last two days in London with Matt.  We decided it was time to go and tell a few more people about the many talented people and small businesses that work in our chosen space in Northern Ireland.  Over the course of those two days we’ve promoted Digital Circle and its companies to:

·         The Technology Strategy Board

·         A group of social entrepreneurs

·         The Royal Society of Arts (RSA)

·         Everyone present at Friday’s Tuttle Club in London’s Centre for Creative Collaboration

·         The gathering of entrepreneurs and start up companies at Dominic Campbell’s City Camp London get together at the Hub King’s Cross

We’ve been blown away by the amount of interest there’s been in Digital Circle and at every event Matt’s had a stream of people wanting to ask him about the workings of the Digital Circle, how it started out, what the future plans are and what the Digital Circle members have gained from being part of the community.  It appears that what we have in Northern Ireland is quite unique in terms of small and micro businesses actually engaging, collaborating and helping each other out.

So this is my way of saying we appreciate you Matt and all you do for us.  The non-stop networking, the liaison with our government departments and Invest NI, the constant promotion of our companies, the search for opportunities for all of us and the signposting, the bright ideas you have, the introductions you make, the tweeting you do (I couldn’t believe how many people at Tuttle nodded when you revealed your Twitter name – they’d all come across you), the sheer volume of stuff you wade through so that we don’t have to and the dry good humour with which all of the above is delivered.

Please join me in appreciating Matt and post up your story in the comments of how he’s helped you or your company.

If you’d like to know more about the Digital Circle or join our community, you can do so via this link http://digitalcircle.ning.com/