Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Far from shore

December 28, 2014

Relaxing at sea

The sweet spot of the holidays … When you have been off for a few days, enough to have been able to come down the gears and properly switch off and far enough from going back to work so you don’t have to start thinking about it again.

This rare time, when you are far from shore is special, you start to recharge, refresh, replenish and get to know the ‘other’ you and when your head is clear all manner of things can happen. These brief moments come along just once or twice a year and before you know it, it’s time to turn the boat around and head back to land.

The question is …what are you doing with this precious time?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

A tribute to young mothers!

December 10, 2014

Young mother with her baby

Oh no … The woman with the young baby is sitting next to me on the plane!!

My early prayers were that the weirdo in the queue who was intoxicated wouldn’t be next to me …can I take him instead?

I’ve dodged the ‘baby on the plane‘ bullet for long enough and this time it happened and this kid is a live wire. Within the first 30 seconds I am slapped by the little live wire as she jumps and hops and kicks and can’t stay still.

Deirdre gives me some early advice “avoid eye contact with the kid“. She always has something wise to say – I decide to take the advice.

The young mother who seems to be travelling alone is well equipped – her bags with all her necessary baby stuff are put down by her feet, which in a blink chews up all of the leg room in the already squashed Ryanair flight.

To calm the kid down she produces a bottle … That works for about 5 minutes, an IPad works for another 5 minutes and then we enter the ‘danger zone’. The kid is now standing, twisting, jumping and writhing and starting to make noise as she reaches for anything and anyone that grabs her attention.

I can barely move in my seat but the very talented mother can still manage to get things from her bag and put things away and still keep the contorting baby on her lap.

My god…. this is unbelievable… why would she even contemplate such a journey and the little part I’m witnessing no doubt came after struggling with luggage and buggies..why ?

Oh no ..Now comes the sniffing of the bum … please let it be a clean one for everyone’s sake – I was looking forward to a glass of wine and now I’m just praying for no smelly surprises!!

More writhing and wriggling … What happened – we have calm.

The drinks trolley arrives and the poor mother watches enviously as we order a red wine and a prosecco – I feel very guilty and want to ask her does she want a drink … she would probably think that I am a weirdo!

Is she dreaming of a time when life was less complicated? Where is she flying to? Why is she by herself?

We are flying to Wroklaw (up until a month ago I hadn’t heard of it either!) in Poland with friends for the weekend. My guess is she is living in Ireland and visiting home for a while ..maybe?

The kid is acting up again so she is down by my feet scrambling in her bags for the next rabbit … Baby’s bottle!

It’s all calm again. I spoke too soon … the bottle goes flying and hits me on the leg. At this stage I have my red wine firmly gripped to make sure it doesn’t go flying as well.

I’m already dreading the landing as I know it drives the kids ears bonkers, what if the she pukes ..more prayers

I don’t think you should be giving her a banana …I’m now fearing the worst …smelly bum, pukes and tears.

You won’t believe this … I manage to knock over my own red wine on my one pair of jeans …typical !! Sh**, f***, pi**.

My young mother politely reaches into her bag of tricks and comes to my rescue with baby wipes!!

As the plane descends the poor kid starts to cry with the air pressure and her mother holds her and strokes her head until the plane lands..phew!

As I come down the steps of the plane I see this miracle mother struggling with her bags, her buggy and her child before the next leg of her journey.

Mother , I salute you for the fantastic job you do !!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

 

Time to stop roaming!

September 3, 2014

Train from New 'York to New Jersey

I’m on the train heading from from New York, Penn Station to Metro Park in New Jersey.

I have no online access so what do we do ?? No Twitter, no Facebook, no checking email… I’m twitching , I’ve read the New York guide book and the magazines.

Maybe I’ll relax, look out the window, explore the interesting sights on the route that is new to me … Maybe I’ll chat with Dee or just relax and sit in peace?

The teenage girl we are squeezed next to alongside our bags and baggage is busy on her Mac doing something while munching on a cream cheese and tomato roll. I wonder if she is working or just doodling.

Instead of enjoying the view I decide to write this blog remotely on my iPhone complete with one finger typing.

My brother who lives out here is picking us up at the station and we’ll spend some time with him and his gang, which is really cool.

If I could get online I could tweet something, check if anyone has tweeted me or mentioned me in a post or responded to one of my tweets, I could check my email quickly and delete any of the non-important ones to save me having to do it when we get home. I could even respond to some of the emails.

That roll is lasting her forever … I’m starving !!

Maybe I should just look out the window and enjoy the new sights..

Smartphone, I guess so … Well mostly !

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

Strawberry Fields forever?

September 2, 2014

Imagine - Central Park

Four days in New York …where do you start?

We were staying quite close to Central Park so that was a good place to start. Looking at our tour guide I was drawn to a quiet little area called Strawberry Fields, which was described in our guide book as a peaceful spot dedicated to John Lennon who was murdered close-by outside his New York apartment, the Dakota building in 1980.

Interesting ..

Off we headed on foot winding left and right through the park in between joggers, cyclists, skateboarders and even cars … Through the park there were footpaths and wider roads all winding in different directions. Eventually we exited the park and this maze of roads and paths onto the Upper West Side and decided to first find the Dakota building, his apartment which was located directly opposite the Strawberry Fields location in the park.

Yoko Ono still lives in this opulent apartment building, which looks majestically over Central Park. The friendly security guards in their smart grey uniforms stand for photos in front of the impressive building for tourists… behind them you can see the obvious wealth and you can just ‘imagine‘ what it was like having famous neighbours John and Yoko pass you everyday going about their everyday business.

We passed on taking photos (tacky!) and headed across the way into the park and within two minutes we were at ‘Strawberry Fields‘ which effectively is a discreet circular mosaic set into the walkway with the words ‘Imagine‘ in the centre. People were walking by, some were stopping and taking photos, taking it in turn to stand on the mosaic and others were sitting on the park benches located next to the mosaic taking it all in.

An enterprising busker was sitting on one of the benches in prime position next to the mosaic playing (quite badly!) one Beatles cover after another.

Yoko Ono donated the mosaic in memory of her husband and it gives us all a tangible way of remembering this talented, thought provoking Liverpudlian and reflecting on the needless violence that ended his life.

John LennonJohn Lennon wanted us to ‘Give Peace a Chance‘ as he sang in his immortal song of the same name that became an anthem for the anti-war movement in America in the 1970’s.

In the mosaic the word ‘Imagine‘ reminds us of his message in that timeless song of how simple life could be if we just lived in harmony:

Imagine no possessions,
I wonder if you can,
No need for greed or hunger,
A brotherhood of man,
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…..”

Just as we quietly reflected on John Lennon and his simple messages of peace we heard raised voices.

What the f**k, you have been here for an hour man, you know we all get an hour. Now it’s my turn so get the f**k out of here

Apparently busking here is lucrative business and the busker next in the rota wasn’t going to lose out to the guy who had prime position. He wasn’t shy either and gave the other guy as good as he got:

F**k you man

The mood was now quite aggressive and these two had no bother putting on a performance for all of us that was slightly against the spirit of John Lennon!

We politely moved on before the temperature rose any further and went about our day and wondered if John Lennon’s simple idea of living in harmony is just impossible?

Isis. the Ukraine, human nature, consider what’s going on in the world today ….maybe we just can’t help ourselves?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

It’s been a while ..

June 4, 2014

Sicily with buddies

It’s gorgeous ..

Sitting around the pool I have my two buddies (my children) with me, Brendan and Ellen with their other halves and of course Dee, my star, who as always made this holiday happen. They are young adults now and my friends as much as anything, which is really special.

While Brendan has been on a few holidays with us during the last few years it’s been over 10 years since Ellen has come with us.

Couples separating is part and parcel of life and in my case it happened over twenty years ago. It’s upsetting and traumatic and everyone does move on but when it comes to your children this is not without a huge cost including spending time with them.

I’m lucky to be happily married to Dee who is absolutely fantastic for me and even luckier that we can all be here together.

This week I have them with me and I treasure every, ordinary yet extraordinary minute.

Greg

Time for Stargazing

May 27, 2014

Sicily - Stargazing

Departure lounge in Catania, Sicily …. Holiday all but done.

Where in the name of god did that time go? What is it about holidays that makes them rocket by in a flash and yet it seems like we have been away for weeks even though it has only been 10 days.

I don’t really like going away early in the summer because I always like something to look forward to – we have been grinding it out since the start of the year (as always) so it was either go in May when we can still get a bargain or wait till September, when we would be ready to all fall down.

This time was really special in that my kids (young adults at this stage) came with us for most of it and that hasn’t happened in a long time.

It wasn’t all bliss as I got caught out stupidly with sunburn on my ankle, which was really painful and made getting around awkward but other than that it was a fantastic break.

We enjoyed the really fabulous Minareto Hotel complex just outside Siracusa, a really nice town, as well as a brief visit to the town of Noto, our stay in a fabulous villa on the North coast, the really gorgeous town of Cefalu including the spectacular coastal drive there but most of all I enjoyed the fabulous time just chilling out with my gang.

The perfect moments were spent all of us on the loungers at the villa late in the evening sitting in the dark, sipping on vino, chatting about god knows what and stargazing..

Why don’t we take time to stargaze together at home?

Greg Canty

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

 

 

Sicily and the Manager of first impressions

May 27, 2014

Sicily

Dee is the absolute best at holiday arrangements – she looks after everything and every year we have the best time when we go away.

I can’t stand picking through brochures and websites but she loves it and locks down every detail including great places to visit, excellent accommodation and this time she even managed discounted advance parking at Dublin airport!

Months in advance she managed to get a great deal on a cabriolet car rental and she double checked this with the car hire company, Atlas Choice a few days before we were about to fly out. Car hire can be a little hit and miss in particular when you can get the car you booked “or similar”, which is a term that is quite open to interpretation.

Dee had booked a Renault Megane cabriolet and the plan was we were to collect it at Catania airport after our evening flight and then drive to our hotel, which was an hour away. All going well we would be sipping on a cocktail before 10pm looking out at the Mediterranean and up the next day spinning around the coast with the top down and the wind in our hair!!

I am sorry, there is a problem with your car and we will have to give you something else” our lady from OS Car Rental said (these were the local agent for Atlas Choice car rental).

But we confirmed this with you just two days ago?” we said…what was the point?

There is nothing I can do except give you a bigger car, a Kia Sportage” was her solution and hopefully they would deliver the replacement car to our hotel in a few days.

Hmm..You just couldn’t trust this crew judging by the girls attitude – at this stage she was really annoyed that we would not just accept what she was giving us and move on and out of her way.

She asked us to sign a contract for the Kia Sportage for the duration of the hire. We weren’t very happy being presented with a ‘contract’ that would technically lock us to this car. “We will sign it if you note on it that you will change the car as promised in a few days“.

At this stage she totally lost it “I sign nothing” complete with hands waving and extravagant gesturing ….”If you want a car tonight you sign the contract and take the Kia“. At one point she tore the contract out of Dee’s hand as she saw that we were going to write a note on it.

I was so amused at this point that I managed to get her to repeat her “I sign nothing” performance but this time I recorded her – if anyone from her company gives a toss about customer survive they will enjoy this!

Hotels booked and paid for and getting nowhere fast with our Sicilian friend and determined that she wasn’t going to muck up the start of our holiday we relented ….20 minutes later we rolled out of the car park in something we wouldn’t have booked in a 1,000 years with 114,000 miles on the clock.

Our first thoughts were that Sicily was a big con job and we were on high alert – what were we to expect next?

Thankfully we got the friendliest welcome from the hotel, which was much better than we could have expected and we had our cocktails a little later than planned! We were too late for dinner but the kitchen managed a club sandwich for us.

My daughter Ellen and her boyfriend arrived to Sicily the following evening and got stung paying a €96 euros charge for ‘outside normal hours‘ collection of their car and were thinking ‘what next‘. They had a frustrating hour trying to argue that people coming off a regular evening flight to collect a pre-booked car was quite normal and should not incur a penalty. Con job?

My son Brendan and his girlfriend arrived to Sicily a few days later and got caught with a €25 taxi bill for a 2 minute ride to their hotel. When they questioned the amount he grabbed their suitcase and threw it in the boot of his car until they coughed up. Rachel’s first thought was ‘I just want to go back home‘.

First Impressions All three of us had a lousy first impression of Sicily, which thankfully was replaced quickly by some fantastic ones.

Should every country, every place and every business have a ‘Manager of first impressions‘ to make sure that your first impression is great because that first impression lasts?

Greg Canty

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

Do you check your emails on holidays?

May 27, 2014

emails on holidays

The big dilemmawhen you are on leave should you even dare to check your emails?

I was always of the view that during this precious time you owe it to yourself to totally wind down, refresh your mind, forget totally about work.

I believed that checking emails or ringing the office to see how everything is going would make this necessary rest impossible so it should be totally avoided. My big fear was that one email could totally ruin my day and switch my mind onto work so it was better to totally avoid this from happening.

I did this for years quite diligently but now I find that it is better to quickly check my emails every day while I am away. This is easier because I know we have a great team that we can trust with anything so if something does crop up I am happy to forward on any issues to them knowing they will be sorted, so it never ruins my break.

The problem is do I really get to switch off fully this way and does peeping at those emails ruin the benefit of the break?

Let’s look at the email dilemma in detail..

Reasons why you should avoid checking your emails?

1. You need a total break, which will refresh you – this is good for you and the business
2. You could easily get dragged into an issue if you allow it to happen
3. When people see you are responding they can’t resist asking you to engage on something
4. It has the potential to ruin your holiday
5. Everything can wait …..let whatever it is wait

Reasons why you should check your emails..

1. It’s your business so you should mind it
2. A few minutes a day can help clear down a colossal backlog when you get back
3. Potential issues can be sorted quickly and your team know you can help if necessary
4. Clients are assured that you are still overseeing things
5. You have no nagging worries when you return to work because you have kept yourself in the loop

In truth I don’t want to get dragged into any issues and break from my ‘switch off‘ but I do feel its an easier way of dealing with a backlog and if necessary I will delegate any important things as they occur.

I justify this approach as it is my business but I genuinely wouldn’t want any of my crew checking their emails when they are off – I want them to take their well deserved breaks, which is good for them and for the business.

What do you do?

Greg Canty

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

How’s it going?

May 14, 2014

“How’s it going?” a bright face looked up at me.

I had a busy day yesterday…

Up early for a meeting to help mediate a problem between two parties that I know well that were about to go through a silly court process, gave a social media course to a group of business owners, drove to Dublin for a big pitch to a potential prospect – I feel it went well, fingers crossed!

We headed for an early bird to Chez Max on Baggot Street with our crew and were joined after by friends for a few drinks and some fun.

We ended up in 37, Dawson Street for more fun and then Burger king of course.

There was a beautiful full moon hanging over Dublin on this gorgeous night as we strolled back to our hotel. Our usual haunt was booked out so we ended up trading up to the very fancy, Merrion Hotel. Hotels in Dublin are clearly getting busier, which is a great sign for our economy.

As we made our way back to the hotel I noticed the bodies nestled in their sleeping bags alongside doorways just off Stephen’s Green. At least tonight it was dry and not too cold, which is a small blessing for those unfortunate enough not to have a roof over their heads for the night.

I glanced into one doorway where i noticed there were two people sleeping alongside each other.

To my surprise a bright face was staring up at me. For a brief moment we connected “How’s it going?” he said in a soft friendly voice. “Not bad at all, thanks”

We made our way back to our hotel and put our heads down for the night.

Today it’s off to Dublin Airport as we are taking a flight to Sicily for a well earned rest and some sunshine – it should be great, we’ve never been.

I wonder what my bright faced friend is doing today.

Greg Canty

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion, Marketing & PR with offices in Cork and Dublin

The Hug Test

January 5, 2014

Hugs at work

It’s New Year’s Day and that end of the long break/going back to work cloud descends on me as it always does.

I love the Christmas break, possibly even more than the summer break and when it comes to an end it does bother me even though I love what I do – those days of doing nothing, hanging around the house and relaxing are so enjoyable but at some point you have to get back to reality.

When I started to think more about the first day back I started to look forward to seeing our crew again. While the break was great it would be good to see them all again and catch up.

During the course of a year we spend a lot of time together and it’s natural that you get to know everyone quite well and you do form special relationships, even if it is predominantly in a work context.

The more I thought about seeing the crew again I thought about greeting them after not having seen them for the best part of two weeks.

For me the natural greeting for each of them would be a hug – a genuine warm hug, which reflects how I feel about all of them.

I would hate to be heading back to work and to be meeting anyone in our team who I didn’t like, who I didn’t feel any connection with, who I preferred not to spend time with. That would be awful and in the course of my career I have been in that place more than once.

My cloud cleared and I was now actually looking forward to getting back to work.

Will your first day back at work pass the Hug test?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency in Ireland with offices in Cork and Dublin

 


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