Friday, 29 June 2012

Breakfast at Terminal 5

Great Japanese pancake for Breakfast at Wagamama in T5.

Not quite as nice as the Glastonbury version though.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Wine Angels at Stansted Airport

Last night I stayed at the Raddison Hotel at Stansted Airport.

This is what happens when you want a bottle of wine.


Saturday, 23 June 2012

Trieste 1: Stansted 0

Leaving Stansted for my recent trip to Italy, I popped into Weatherspoons at the airport and had pasta and pesto. It was pretty bland. I even had to add salt. And cost over £10. It didn't look bad however.

On the way back I popped into the restaurant at Trieste airport and had some trout and veg (€8). So much nicer.

Traditional sweets

There is a traditional sweet shop in the Arcade in Bognor. Which is good. Because we like sweets.

Working hard

My recent travels have found me spending quite a lot of time in rooms like this.

And in conference halls like this.

Hotel Adriatico, Venice

Arrived late but made very welcome by a wonderful host. The hotel is in a great location, close to the bus and train station. It's a basic hotel but very clean. I loved the view of the back street from the window. I'd definately stay again.

Location:Hotel Adriatico, Venice

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Open Age and New Philanthropy Capital

Open Age, the Charity I Chair, recently (7th June) organised a meeting to celebrate featuring as a case study in the recent New Philanthropy Capital report on the voluntary sector. The report led to Open Age being invited to speak on the Today programme.

The Mayor of Kensington and Chelsea hosted Open Age in his parlour.

I was given the opportunity to speak at the launch and made a few points

  • We have an ageing Society and are seeing significant growth in the number of oldest-old
  • The Jubilee celebrations highlighted but one example of active ageing. But we know that not everyone is so fortunate and man suffer from significant heath and care challenges in old age.
  • On the one hand the boroughs where Open Age Work are relatively wealthy. But there are huge wealth and health disparities. Open Age works with some of the most isolated people within the borough(s).
  • There is a lot of evidence about "use it or lose it". We need to keep our mind and body active. Open Age is focussed on promoting and supporting active ageing.
Linking to the findings of the NPC report, I highlighted challenges ahead for Open Age.
Relationship with the Statutory Sector: We benefit from a great relationship and are much more fortunate than many others in the voluntary sector in terms of funding. It is vital that the productive relationship we have with the statutory sector continue.
Funding Crises. The Economic crises, cuts in Central Government funding, Trusts with less money and a very competitive fundraising make for a challenging environment. There is less money to support our preventative work. Recent research in a London borough suggested that not impossible that in 20 years almost all of local authority funding would need to go on social care. This highlights the importance of investing in preventative health.
Risk The NPC report found that 90% of the voluntary sector are facing a riskier future. It is notable that for the last two years our trustees meetings have been dominated by issues around risk and fundraising. It is very difficult to fund core costs (Open Age have very small core team - finance, director). And it is also difficult to get the full costs recovered.
Volunteers Another key finding of NPC report was that charities were using more volunteers. Open Age always been a volunteer led organisation. We rely on volunteers to manage our reception and volunteers on the trustee board. We will always use volunteers. But it is important to note that there is a cost to volunteering. Volunteering isn't free. If we didn't support volunteers and treat them well, they would walk out on us.
Cuts The NPC report highlighted how the sector is having to make cuts/redundancies. Let me be frank. There is no guarantee that Open Age wont have to cut services this year. The organisation does not have huge reserves. NPC highlighted that 6 in 10 charities will need to dip into reserves. We may do but they wont keep us going for long. Open Age is well managed and delivering a huge amount. But it is vital that we work with statutory funders and others to try and ensure that services are not cut.

Open Age is however in a good place to meet the challenges.
  • It has a fantastic staff team and great support from funders (including statutory sector)
  • It attracts a lot of respect from opinion formers and decision makers.
  • It runs some great projects
  • It benefits from significant user involvement
  • It is willing (indeed keen) to partner with others.
I finished by setting out three things we need to do to meet the challenges
FIND A BETTER WAY OF INVESTING IN PREVENTATIVE SERVICES: Investing in preventative services will save money in the long run. If we lose services like Open Age there is a risk that 5-10 years down the track you will see the cost in terms of additional social care costs. Lets find a way of working together to deliver new models, building on localism and big society. We want to work with local authorities and other commissioners.
LETS FIND WAYS OF SUPPORTING STAFF AND KEY VOLUNTEERS: We expect to work hard. And believe me, the staff and volunteers do. But the last three years have seen extraordinary pressure on the team. Our Board is forced to talk about funding at every meeting. But the bit we most enjoy is where a member of staff comes and talks through the services they provide and some of the case studies.
HELP US HELP YOU: We welcome feedback. We want to deliver for older people across London. Started off by saying we have great relationship with funders. Let's find ways of not just maintaining this but by developing it further.

The Open Age Website is available at:

Friday, 15 June 2012

Chelton Hotel Brussels

I've stayed at this hotel many times now.

On the positive side
Its in a good location for the European institutions.
It's close to a nice park which is great for a run.
It has good showers,
It is clean
The staff are friendly
The rooms are big
The TV has BBC
Breakfast isn't bad. In fact it has a pretty big selection.
It can be relatively cheap

On the other hand:
The stairs could do with some paint and a new carpet
There isn't really a manned bar in the evening
There is no tea/coffee machine (not unusual for Brussels).
It's a tube journey to the tourist bits of town (or probably a 30 min walk)

Location:Station Rd,Horsham,United Kingdom

Saturday, 9 June 2012

George at Amberley Museum

Running 2012

I thought I would start sharing some 2012 running stats. Firstly, this is how many times I've been out according to my Garmin this year. And this is how far I've been each month. This is how many minutes I've run per month And this is the average time of each run

Cliff Tumble

George is a bit old for this now. But this was one of our favorite Something Special scenes. Cliff Tumble. Very good. We also like the Chessington episode

The Honeymoon Trek Across America

A few years ago I wrote a blog about our honeymoon. It's still live at

Star of the Week

George was Star of the Week in school a couple of weeks ago. Here are some nice things his school friends said.


My wife, Michelle Sinclair, has written a book. Called Olympicked!. You should buy it.

 There is a paperback version.

 And indeed, a kindle version.

My Office

This is where I work when I work at home. Now painted (and tidy), with a growing selection of plants.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

A Civil Partnership

Over 20 years ago, Sarah and Lynn led an Outrage protest, turning up at registry office and demanding the right to marry. This is what the Daily Sport thought.

This weekend, Sarah and Lynn had a civil partnership. I was lucky enough to be invited to the party.

There were cupcakes



And guests

BBQ time

Sunday evening was BBQ time. Lots of vegetables.

But also some sausages.

Jubilee Party

We went to a Jubilee Party yesterday. It consisted of Coronation Chicken.
And Hook a Duck

And Bowling

And lots of rain

Location:Bognor Regis

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

The Garden

The Garden is beginning to start to take shape. Almost all done by @shellsinclair.

We've got strawberries.

Any idea what this is? It has grown from a box which Sarah bought us for Christmas? We think it will be edible.



Lots of lavender

Some vines


And a jubillee red, white and blue.

A Map of Hull

Popped to yesterday and found a map of Hull in the bric a brac.

I am fond of Hull having studied at Hull University between 2003 and 2007. British Politics and Legislative Studies.

But the map isn't dated? Any ideas?

UPDATE (9th June): Mr David Hopkins has helped me get the date via the ISBN number. It's 1971.