Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wham! Bham! (or is it Bam!?)

Leaving Bricket Wood this week. Will miss the place and the people. Made new friends, dispelled myths, overcame cultural stereotypes and learnt that all that matters in an organisation are people, and more so when they come in with the right attitude..."all in all its nice to be out..." not sure why I have the Stereophonics on my mind all of a sudden. Hope nothing happens to poor old Kelly or Richard. Last time I had "Sgt. Pepper" playing non-stop in my head, George Harrison died. Coincidence for sure. Or do I have the power to kill musicians off just by playing their records in my head in an endless loop? Watch out Himesh. Crazy made up words were the highlight of the day. Someone almost got away with 'distinctify'. Sounded about right. Who cares. I was supposed sort myself out on this 2 month long training thingy. Going back largely the same person. Only a tad more confused. All this psycho-babble has messed me up a bit..."if you could rewind your life, would it change your mind?". Kelly Jones, time to be scared. Why isn't the brain playing "Imagine" or "Hey Joe"? But I don't want to rewind my life. I like it the way it is. Or do I? Ah, thoughts...thoughts. Power to kill, I tell you. You don't think so? You never know, even long shots make it, sometimes.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Bricket Wood in pictures

A pictorial guide to my employer's best kept secret. Bricket Wood is an hour away from London, in the county of Hertfordshire, in the town of St. Alban's. A small, typical English village almost. Its such a pleasure to get away from the big concrete edifices of the city, and this place is as good a getaway as it gets. All around, you find green fields, grazing giant-size cattle, horses and happy people. And the pubs have the most wonderful names. 'The bat and the ball', 'Hare and hounds', 'The Blacksmith's arms', 'The Whiteheart tap' and 'The merry minstrel', just to name a few. Narrow, small streets intertwine themselves all through the town, almost taking you on journey to a time long gone. If not long gone, then simpler for sure.

The bank's training college in Bricket Wood, was actually the estate of the stately Yule family. Before that it was part of a Roman settlement around 40-60 AD. It then grew in importance for the next few hundred years till the black plague caused all the settlers to relocate. The Yule family bought it in 1900 and patronised it as an estate as well as to entertain Lady Yule's film friends and to breed horses. HSBC purchased the property in 1994 and it has been used as the Group training college ever since. The old buildings are still retained in almost their original splendour, with the Hanstead House being the pick of the lot. While many cottages line various parts of the training campus, the Hexagon Bar and the adjoining building exudes the most old world charm, with their dated but exquisite wooden panelling and high ceilings. The campus contains a football ground, a cricket pitch and a Community recreational premises, which the other residents of the area can also use. Another highlight for me is the beautiful lake on the premises, complete with its family of swans. A sight to behold on a bright summer's day. The pictures should tell their own story.

Trivia on the campus -

- The river Thames used to run by the sight, till the glacier 'Anglian' rerouted it.
- Gladys Yule built a pet cemetery on the estate, which still exists.
- Hanstead House's garden has a mulberry bush which is 400 yrs old!
- Hanstead House once had its own private zoo. Bears were a-roaming...
- Nearly 85 films made by the British National Films company were premiered at Hanstead House.
- Sir David Yule was the richest man in the Empire when he died in 1928.
- Reports exist of sightings of the ghost of Lady Gladys Yule!



Monday, June 04, 2007

Block... Chakka jam

Finally... writer's block has set in... nothing interesting to blog about at all... or nothing I can dress up as interesting because of the inability to actually write it. Shite.. I'm hamming already. Well, to save some grace here I'll just say that for the last 3 weeks I've been in Bricket Wood, north of London, on work stuff. Another month to go. Its kinda boring, but fun at times. Its a lot like coming back to university. Campus, multicultural crowd, drinking binges and lots of work. Good overall I guess, though I do wish London wasn't so bleedin' expensive. Planning a Twenty-20 game here amongst the lads on Wednesday...lets see how that goes. The wife meanwhile is having a darm good time travelling around England and Scotland. Some people have all the luck... oh well.