Quick Links 6th February 2017

Each week I’ll try and post quick links to things that I’ve seen, read, inspired me or just sparked my interest in the previous week, with a little background and my thoughts and other things that I’ve been up to in the previous week. Mostly gardening, cooking and environmental stuff but not always.

Life In General.

It’s mostly been a work focused week, and I’ve been holed-up in my home office working (see below). I’ve had to step out to walk the dogs, and a couple of other chores, but otherwise it’s been a fairly quiet week with not much to report.


This last week has been pretty full-on. I’ve been working on a number of different proposals, and waiting to hear on some of those that were submitted the previous week (no news at the time of writing on any of those). Writing proposals (bids) is perhaps one of the most time consuming and often frustrating parts of what I do. Depending on the client you can write an awful lot of proposals before hitting the sweetspot of a paid job. I think of this as a strike-rate, i.e. how many of the total number of proposals written actually turns into paid work, say you write ten proposals and two of them turn into paid work the strike rate is 20%. Of course those two might actually bring in enough income that you quite well off for the rest of the year, thank you. What frustrates me though is clients that continually ask for proposals and then don’t take any of them forward. I have one “client” who is particularly good at that at the moment, and I am working on ways to avoid doing a lot of unpaid work to satisfy their whims. Writing proposals is usually unpaid – it’s pitching for work. I normally only do this if invited to, either directly by a client or via a public call for proposals. Rarely will I submit something unsolicited.

I’ve also been giving some thought to one of the new projects that I’ve been working on as well, although not to the extent that I want to share very much here just yet, but hopefully soon.

Currently Reading

When the Trees Say Nothing: Writings on Nature by Thomas Merton [GoodReads]

A Search for Solitude: Pursuing the Monk’s True Life (Journals Vol. 3) by Thomas Merton [GoodReads]

Wizard and Glass by Stephen King [GoodReads]. The next book in the Dark Tower series,  a book I’m reading for an online group.

Blog Survey

If you haven’t already had time, please consider completing my 2017 blog survey. I’m keen to hear what you think of the blog, and you can potentially win a £10 Amazon voucher. Looking at the responses so far it seems to take people about 3 minutes to complete. I’ve been having a quick look at responses each day, and I think I can already see some trends, plus there are some nice comments generally, thank you if you have left me one of those, it is appreciated and really means a lot.

If you’ve already filled it out, thanks! If you haven’t had a chance yet, then please do (it will be open until the end of February).

UK lagging behind on its renewable energy targets [Link] The headline holds no surprises really, the current government has done little to support renewables. It has drastically reduced financial support to projects in particular Solar PV, skewed planning against onshore wind, and turned down a significant offshore wind project. It has also taken it’s time over whether or not to support tidal projects e.g. the Swansea tidal lagoon. It seems keen to promote nuclear and unconventional gas i.e. fracking. So much more would have been possible without the uncertain policy stances and changes to incentives that have been the hallmark of the current government.

Bird Flu and the Free Range Egg

Due to the presence and risk of bird flu in the UK at the moment, anyone who keeps chickens has had to keep them indoors. There have been a few reported infections, although I’m not convinced that the government actually has a proper handle on what is going on. It does mean though that the definition of “Free Range” is being tested. This article talks about this more generally, and how broad the definition already is. In short if you genuinely want an ethical egg, there are a limited number of ways you can actually achieve this. Either do it yourself or only buy from someone who you can truly ensure has traceability and is prepared to talk about it (my experience is the latter are few).

The Week In Wildlife – In Pictures

One thought on “Quick Links 6th February 2017

  1. I’ve worked several years, during my career, for construction management firms and yes, there was a lot of work done on proposals that never got accepted. However, don’t feel that all of that work you put in to your proposals is wasted effort. At the very least, you are getting your name out there and, sometimes, that will lead you to job opportunities that would have never been available otherwise.

    In the farming industry, “free range” isn’t what most people would think. If memory serves, “free range”, as far as the egg industry defines it, means that the chickens are not kept in cages. But, that doesn’t mean they are not crammed together in a shed or other building, not seeing the light of day or any sort of natural turf. It’s appalling.

    It’s because of these “modern farming practices” that we have disease outbreaks, like bird flu, in the first place, if you as me. But, I better cut this post off, before I really get myself going. 😉

    The healthiest food on the market is the food you can raise or grow on your own.

    Hope you’re having a great week. Ours has started off to be quite snowy.

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