“Carbonated Soft Drink” takes me around the world

1 – Chocolate takes me around the world
2 – Beer takes me around the world
3 – Sludge takes me around Warrington

In this the fourth series of where work takes me around the world.

My latest work travel takes me to a carbonated soft drinks factory in Sofia, Bulgaria.

This is exciting because it is more than 9 months since my last trip oversea and the first one since I’ve re-joined the company. From a work point of view, I am exciting to get away from the stress of the work I have in the UK. I love to escape and work in a different country, experience new things.

From a photography point of view, I am even more exciting to bring my new camera the Sony A6000 there. I will be heading to the capital Sofia where there are lots of historical buildings and sites to photograph. And luckily I will have a couple of days of free time for bit of sightseeing too and maybe some model shoots!

The site has also promised free and unlimited supply of soft drinks while we are there!!!

Now that I am back in the UK. I was lucky enough to have arranged 3 photoshoots while in Sofia. They were awesome models and I am really happy with all three shoots, some cracking shots too. To see more of my photos, please visit my photographic website at simonphotography.co.uk

Some teasers here, they are all shot with natural light only!

Model: Marina

 

Model: Joanna

Model: Celene

and finally me visiting the Rila Monastery and decreasing their trout population (Monastery Trout is the local popular dish)

 

Sludge takes me around Warrington

The third in this series, where I blog about where work takes me around the world. This is going to be a short blog as it is really uncool taking about sludge even though it seems I know quite alot about it.

This time is much less glamorous, but sludge is here to stay! I am not going to explain what sludge is, you can Google that if you don’t know.

I have moved jobs and since February this year, I have been working with a large engineering company. And for the very first time, “engineer” appears in my job title. I am no longer a waffling consultant who just give out advice, but now I have to do some real calculations and some real work! So far so good.

We have a long-term contract with one of the utilities companies and majority of my time is spent working on this contract. I get to visit a number of water and waste water treatment works. I also get to carry out lots of calculations of sludge, around sludge, with sludge and on sludge.

Sludge fun!

Sludge takes me around Warrington…

Soon there will be a 4th blog where a world-famous beverage brand is taking me around the world again 🙂

 

Beer takes me around the world

Hola !

This is the followed up blogpost to “Chocolate takes me around the world

I am an Energy Consultant, my job is to help companies mainly factories to save energy and water, and hopefully contributes to saving the world!

Climate change is global, so we work all over the world, someone has to do it!

Last time, Chocolate company has taken me to Nigeria, Russia and Sheffield

This time, Beer company is taking me to Ecuador, having already taken me to Australia 😀 and Tanzania. 😀

Beer company wins on this one!

These are all great places to visit, but I know it will be extremely hard work I must say!

Will get the middle weekend to have a look round, and I am notorious as wondering around in middle of nowhere in a foreign country just with my big camera, and I am sure to repeat this 😀

And will share them on my photography website simonphotography.co.uk

There is a Chinese proverb,

“It is better to travel ten thousand miles than to read ten thousand books”

And I am just doing that 🙂

Also if I ever have a bucket list, one thing on there will be worked/travelled to 5 continents. After this South America trip I am one step closer.

Just need find a project to visit the Penguins in Antarctic and I am done!

Be well and take care.

Adiós

Where have you been?

I went away, been busy, got marry, thought I was happy, fed up with work, got lost, left job, found some temporary work, dream big, fallen down, then found new job, excited, still an energy consultant, not fed up yet, but still not happy, left wife, got divorce, happened very quick, I am and will be sorry forever, have messed up so need to rebuild, travel to two different continents for work, good to stop by Hong Kong to see my mum, lots of fun on these trips but hard work, drunk lots of beer too, now back on my own, in my box, gained some pounds, lost some hair, added new white ones and put on some years, still lost, trying to think my way out, the mind get tired, found my love with photography again, doing it more seriously, hoping more to come, more award winning shots, visit http://simonphotography.co.uk, joined a photography club M.A.P.S, wants to travel the world, visits friends, wanting to make more use of myself, help people so in return helps myself, can’t put a sentence together, so just leave a bunch of words here, who cares, plans for 2014, leave Manchester may be UK too, yes, I have to go away again, I am already long way from home, so where is home, I don’t know, but I will go wherever the opportunity, I will fight on, promise I will write more blogs to record where I have been, moving on to new things, will take alot of photos, dream of happiness,saving up for the travelling fund, will have to therefore win more poker games with ex-colleagues and dream more.

It is not where you have been, it is where you are going that is more important!

If this blog has affected you in anyway please contact the usual helplines or alternatively you can make a donation to the Help Simon (travelling) fund, lol!


I want “Hebckoe”, NO “Kronenbourg” and NO “Paulaner”

I had a bad time ordering the Russian beer “Hebckoe” (pronounced Nevskoe)  in the hotel in Russia.

The problem is they don’t want to serve it to me (Chinese) but happily serve it to my colleagues (English & Czech)

So I complained to the General Manager of the Hotel via email who is German I believed.

Our Emails are attached below. (I have disguise  the name of the hotel and chain but there is only one westernised hotel in Novgorod!)

From me to him

Hi Benjamin,

I recently stayed at the Veliky Novgorod Hotel for my business trip

I was very surprised at a number of occasion that the staff at the lobby bar has refused to serve me the Russian beer “Hebckoe” instead I was offered the other beer Kronenbourg.

I was made aware that they don’t have Hebckoe and Kronenbourg is the only one they have.

But I was more surprise when my two European colleagues who had no problem of ordering the Hebckoe beer from the lobby bar and sometime even at the table when I was present.

I feel very disappointed and somewhat discriminated against.

I wouldn’t have even mind if they charge me a higher price for the Hebckoe beer because we prefer the taste compared with Kronenbourg.

Overall I was happy with my stay but certainly leave me with a bad memory of this negative experience.

I hope you can respond and clarify this is not a common practice at your hotel.

Many Thanks

Simon

His respond – I am disappointed that I didn’t get a free room, but he joins in and try to sell me another German Beer! Did he get the message – I want Hebckoe!!!

Dear Simon,

First of all thank you very much for sharing your experiences with me.

Please accept my personal and deepest apologies for the behavior of my staff and be ensured that I take the situation very serious.

Be ensured that your experience is not the regular standard that the PI Veliky Novgorod nor any other PI Hotel usually delivers.

We are in process to convert and rebrand the Hotel into an international standard delivering property.

Not only the hard ware like rooms and public areas are going to be changed step by step. The focus is also to train, teach and educate the employees.

The philosophy of PI is to hire attitude and to train skills. The Yes, I can attitude must be an essential characteristic for all personal that wants to work with us.

Dear  Simon, we have had development dialogues with our employees and have identified those that are capable to be part of the PI team in the future and will stay with us after 20 years of local management.

The process has started and will continue.

Could you please let me know when you plan to visit the PI Veliky Novgorod in the future.

I would like to meet you personally and show you the improvements we have done so far.

As of Monday we are also serving original Paulaner beer. (Simon: Paulaner is German!!! I want Hebckoe!) It would be a great pleasure for me to invite you also into the beerstube and show you that we are hosts as we can be expected to be.

Best regards

Benjamin

Chocolate takes me around the world

It was nearly five years ago that I went away on a two weeks trip to Nigeria working for a well known Confectionery factory in Lagos. This was suppose to be my prize! I had alot of fun, working along side a very senior and experience colleague who I share a great experience and have learnt alot from him. There were many funny and interesting stories that I still have strong memory of.

Five years on, I am still here but much of my colleagues have changed. We are at a different phase. On Monday I will be setting off again for the same well known confectionery company but this time their two sites in Russia. Now I am five years older (slightly wiser amd just a little thinner) but I am more established, able to standup with my own two feet. I am more confident in what I know and what I do. I am no longer learning. I am going out there to do a job, a job that I know well.

But like any opportunities or experience come before me, I always have huge expectation of what I want to get out of it. And yet to be honest I have not found that yet with this trip. Not saying I am looking forward to it, but that penny has dropped yet. It will when the first drop of Vodka goes it. It will be cold there, so drinking for the sake of keeping warm!

I am very curious and as such will be fascinated by the different culture. I also have the Chinese spirits – We are everywhere! We live anywhere! and we will find our place anywhere in the world!

Just like last time in Nigeria, I open the curtains for the first time in my hotel room. My room overlook a shop and a Chinese Restaurant with a big neon light sign. I was shock to be honest, to come all this way and find a Chinese restaurant!

Well the second week I will be staying in the site camp the so called Portacabin, so definitely not going to see a Chinese Restaurant!

I am sure I will discover Russia like I discover Nigeria and have a wonderful time.

It is one good side of my job that lets me explore the world and thank you to the well known confectionery company.

Hope I will be able to blog while in Russia and post some photos too.

Looking forward to Flying, eating Chocolates, blowing bubble gum, drinking Vodka, but definitely not the Portacabins! (Caravanning in Russia I am going to call this!)

Take Care

Simon

Ng – caught (Gin) bowled (Tonic)

I was at the one day international cricket match between England and Australia a day before my birthday.

The ticket was £45, and to be very honest, I didn’t really see much.

Not because we play rubbish or anything I got drunk and when I get drunk I go to sleep.

I went with my school mate Anthony and his friends. I join them for their gin and tonic picnic.

My breakfast was a pint and then I used the pint glass for a series of super large gin and tonics.

I don’t recall alot, saw Pointing got stumped (the 2nd wicket) and then headed down to the loo.

I sat near the wheelie bins afterward to be feeling very sick…

But I remember a lovely lady gave me a bottle of water. Because it was the hottest day of the year.

She thought I was dehydrated. Thank you for your kindness…

I got taken to first aid, I simply went to sleep there.

It was also when England played Germany in the world cup. Anthony picked me up from first aid on his way to catch the football game. I got myself on to a taxi shortly after leaving the ground. I went home, slept and even missed the football match (still have not watch it seen and actually I am glad I didn’t)

Slept and Slept until Helen came round and took care of me.

Sorry I didn’t even eat the lovely lunch box she made for me. To this day I still hunting for the person who ate my lunch box.

So there you go. I got drunk at the cricket big time, pint of g&t is not a very good idea on a empty stomach and such a hot day.

In fact, I am a bit scared of alcohol now…

know your limit and take care of yourselves and each other.

Simon

An hour early

“An hour early” was a form of birthday present at my Boarding School. It was not really a present; it was more like a plank!

This involved changing his clocks, watches to an hour early while he is fast at sleep. So he would get up an hour early!

I don’t know if this still exist amongst modern boarding schools but this is a classic.

Of course I did get the same treatment. But I made them work hard! As in those days I never took off my watch, so it wasn’t easy for them to change the time on my watch without waking me up.

So they did, and so I did wake up at an hour early. While I was getting dress and ready for Breakfast, I was surprised that no one was up, everyone was still asleep. I turned on the radio a little to find out that I have been done. My roommates were pretending to be sleeping and started to laugh at me.

I said “You bast@rds!”, before I burst out laughing too!

I know I soon be another year older. Although I don’t have any roommates, but this morning the time on my alarm clock was set to an hour early. It must be me during my sleep! As I was about to leave the flat, I noticed the real time from another clock. I was done… by myself!

Happy Birthday to myself then, my inner self send me a present, thank you! LOL!

It means that I am at work an hour early, so I am finishing early, after all its date night on Monday nights!

Take Care
Simon

Goalkeeping Mistakes

My Goalkeeping CV

95-98 Truro School – 3rd Team

98/99 UMIST – 3rd Team

99/00 UMIST – Chem Eng Team

Then I retired!

I love playing in goal, even though I was rubbish! My reflex is very good, it is just my handling is poor, and so is my kicking.

The feeling of catching a ball or making a great save is magical! I rather save a goal than score one.

I can remember lots of great saves but I also can remember lots of mistakes too! Most of those mistakes end up giving goals away. (Even now, playing in 5-a-side!).

It is a huge understatement to say that I know how “Green” feels. Even a world class keeper makes mistakes. You are really playing with luck sometimes.

To a goalkeeper, you have to wait. You have to wait for a shot, a cross to come at you. A goalkeeper can only respond and play then. Sometime you only get one chance to show your skills. Lack of concentration will make you do silly things. Well Green you just have to wait until your next match. Although I think James should play, Capello will probably stick with Green. Finger crossed, you are not cursed with making blunders like me.