The Fragility of Trust

So, what was it that finally made me question a corporate life? Many things, I guess, but there are a few that stand out as mind-changing….

The first was a growing unease that what I was doing day to day was not having a positive impact in our world. In previous roles, I could always clearly link the output of my work to supporting others (customers) when they most needed it. This was very important to me, and the teams I led, and a source of some pride. It wasn’t just about the technology, it was about doing the right thing by customers.

The second was when I started to feel misled, and flat out deceived, by my 2 bosses in my shiny new role at B3 (Big Balls Bank). The resources and budget that had been confirmed during the interview process just did not exist. Not only that, the process and means to address this were out of reach. However, I pride myself on being able to solve problems (have always enjoyed “fixing” situations), so determinedly carried on fire-fighting, strategising and making tough calls, with no team and no budget, but managing to deliver some really good wins anyway. My technology boss was happy because she didn’t have to worry about my customers (no “noise” is good), and my business boss (and his team) took delight in continuously pointing out & rehashing every issue that ever existed in how the larger technology team supported them….most of which I could do nothing about as it was before my time. However, that didn’t stop me from taking it onboard and feeling responsible…..being a “good girl” has been part of my make-up for a very long time. I started to dread our executive team meetings and the inevitable tech bashing that would occur (it felt increasingly personal). As I learned, being constructive and transparent only works when there’s a degree of reason being used by all parties.

The third was the straw that broke the camel’s back. As my Mum got sicker and sicker, I was sleeping less and less, always on edge, unable to relax if I hadn’t spoken to her that day (nighttime in my case). At work, I was asked to take on a second customer team, which I was very happy to do, seeing it as acknowledgement that I was doing a good job. However, after 4 weeks of throwing myself into it, I was brought up short when my new client executive was surprised to learn that I was still looking after my old client team. She had been working under the assumption that I was assigned to her full-time (what the…..??!). Turns out that my technology boss hadn’t advised her of this, even though she knew that the client wanted a dedicated technology executive…..unbelievable……a few days later, I left for Ireland as Mum went into the hospice. My technology boss called me at home a week after Mum died to advise that I was being taken off my new client account, and that she was going to circulate a message saying that I was having a hard time in my personal life, so she was lightening my work load…..unfuckingbelievable……even though I was in bed running a temp of 40, I had enough wits about me to disagree and request that she “position it” using the facts…..which were that the client wanted a dedicated technology exec. Needless to say, that didn’t happen, there was no communication, leaving an awkward vacuum and me to explain it to anyone who asked (most people assumed that I’d stuffed it up somehow). I felt very embarrassed and used, and pretty disgusted that anyone would use the death of my Mum as an excuse to cover up their mistake. It wasn’t until a few months later that she apologised, and only then after I raised it with her.

Roll forward a few months from this, the frustration of being a small cog in a giant wheel, coupled with the near impossibility of getting things done without being a paid up member of the back-slapping political boys’ club that was technology at B3, and I had had enough. I was dreading going into the office, the job was literally making me sick. This is NOT who I am. I DON’T do victim-hood. Having decided to leave, it was fortuitous that I got laid off (though I’d have preferred to be the one in charge of the timing ๐Ÿ˜ฌ). Being a mug to the end, I’d worked most of a public holiday and until 10pm the night before I was laid off ๐Ÿค“ The “good girl” lives……

There’s Perrier in the beer fridge….

… don’t panic!! If it’s necessary to re-hydrate at 6am before hitting the flea market, and push comes to shove, there’s expensive fizzy water to be had in the beer (minibar) fridge ๐Ÿ˜… and, no doubt, the disco shower will be a great help!! Unfortunately, for a woman who normally doesn’t set foot outside the front door without an Alka Seltzer on her person, am strangely an AS-free zone…..๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜ฌ Not good, but at least I do have some Solpadeine on me (tho completely forgot to buy some when in Ireland, so now they’re only to be used in “special circumstances” (like a 6am hangover)).

Bucket List Bliss

So, today was “collect the hire car day”, having NEVER driven on the “other” side of the road before, ever, ever….what could possibly go wrong?? It started off well when I only had to explain to my Father-in-law approx 10 times exactly why I was collecting the car today when I only really needed it from 7am on Sunday, this included during the walk to the EuropCar office (“but there’s no parking until after 4.00pm”!!) and while standing at the counter!! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

Safely tucked into the car, we then proceeded to exit the most ridiculously narrow (for a car hire place) olde worlde stone tunnel/exit…..this was accompanied by a screeeeeching….griiiiinding noise as I scraped the passenger side of the car along the wall of the exit ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ™„ Great job missus ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘ย I’d only just opted for the full insurance package (waaaaay cheaper at the counter FYI) so drove off resolving to deal with it another day (what is happening to me??!).ย After a 3 mins drive to my in-laws’ home, we found not one, but two (yay!!), parking spaces ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ‘ confidently headed for the first one & immediately realised it was too narrow (I’d booked a tank-like care in case of “driving on the wrong side of the road” accidents ๐Ÿค“๐Ÿค“). Unfortunately, this realisation dawned AFTER I’d raced into the spot (before a Frenchie driver beat me to it) and proceeded to get stuck at a 45 degree angle between a Range Rover and a Renault. Admit it, we’ve all done this at some point!! My Father-in-law has now seen me sweat buckets, swearing like a drunken sailor during > 10 mini reverses & forwards to extricate “tiny the tank”. Miraculously, the other space was still empty and tiny the tank is now elegantly parked, at an angle, next to a tree ๐Ÿ˜€๐ŸŒณ๐ŸŒฒ If the French traffic wardens give out tickets for bad parking, I’m in big trouble!!

After all that, and having established that my Mother-in- law doesn’t have a secret stash of Xanax(!), a quick train trip to Paris got me to where I’m staying tonight….OFF Paris Seine….somewhere I’ve wanted to stay since it opened last year ๐Ÿ˜€ It’s a floating hotel (with a giant inflatable flamingo ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘) next to Gare d’Austerlitz, in the 13th arrondissement. Yes, you can feel a floating sensation….so not for those with a tendency to sea sickness. Really, really happy I did this, the bar is perfect for Friday night drinks, the bar team is fun and chatty, and the view is exactly what I imagined ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿฅ‚ Happy Friday! xx

Hand Wipes

Went to “fait les courses” (“run errands”….apologies right now for rusty French/dodgy spelling & grammar!) with my Mother-in-law. Maintaining my glorious track record of causing havoc in French supermarket checkouts (Hubby is still embarrassed about a certain exploding box incident in Burgundy this Summer….not to mention the new English swear words that the entire checkout line learned ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚), I was swiftly overtaken in bag packing by an elderly lady who MUST have been at least 90. Thankfully, French people don’t “tut” so I could only imagine the disapproving looks about the delay ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

Fresh from my latest international incident, visited a giant “depot” with my Father-in-law to check out lots of attic contents. Very happy to say that it’s official…..the first objets have been purchased (some pics above)! We managed to get a little discount (7%) but I learned that if it’s not an actual market, haggling isn’t really welcome ๐Ÿ˜ฌ Needless to say, also spotted lots of larger items that were interesting (my favourite was an enormous timber wardrobe, the size of 2 portaloos (seriously, you could walk around in it!), that would have made an awesome outdoor room), however, not quite in that space just yet ๐Ÿ˜‰ Second lesson of the day: bring hand wipes when digging around in old stuff!

Staying with my French family

My lovely French in-laws collected me at the airport today and brought me stay with them at my Hubby’s childhood home in Paris. It is so nice to see where he grew up and studied ๐Ÿ˜€ His old bedroom will be my study while I’m here.

And so, the next chapter commences….now I must start to pursue our business idea of selling French objets online, to the world. Step one is sourcing the objets, and assessing supply continuity….starting tomorrow afternoon. Then, it gets really serious on Saturday morning with my first pre-dawn visit to Les Puces ๐Ÿ˜ฌ Pre-dawn is key….and I’m sooooo not a morning person! I can’t even say “up at Sparrow Fart” correctly, it always comes out as “farrow Spart” ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

Darling Dublin

God I love this city! Lived here for 13 years, and always love coming back.

Staying at the wonderful Brooks Hotel, on Drury Street, where the head porter knows me (and my shopping habits!), and always offers a warm welcome. How nice is it to walk in somewhere on the other side of the world and have someone call you by name?

Spent 3 happy hours today at my all time favourite department store, Brown Thomas on Grafton Street. It’s a Dublin institution, with a famous staircase to the first floor that you HAVE to walk up (forget the escalators, the exercise will do you good!). After ย getting some Irish gifts for my French in-laws, and exercising remarkable (and rare) restraint in the clothes department, I had a little splurge in the beauty department (where they also gave me some fab samples ๐Ÿ˜€ big thumbs up to Sisley and La Mer ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘).

Rounded off the day catching up over dinner at Daks restaurant (they just won Georgina Campbell Restaurant of the Year today, very well deserved. Must also observe that they have the best team of charming Frenchmen, second only to the wonderful Claire’s Kitchen in Sydney ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜‰) with a remarkable former colleague, who continues to be a trail blazer and champion for women in corporate life while also having her own very successful Board career. Great company, great chat and a terrific sounding board for my business idea. Spending time with her is always great fun, not to mention the inspiration I get from seeing how she links thoughts, ideas and people.

The day after

As with many stressful events, the anticipation is often far worse, and anxiety-inducing, than the event itself. And so it was with Mum’s Anniversary.

After missing my exit on the way from the airport to our family home, and ending up 40kms out of my way in the next county (the “Welcome to County Tipperary” road sign was the icing on the cake) before I could get off the motorway and turn around (there were tears), I arrived in the nick of time for the anniversary mass.

Over the years, I used to send Mum Australian beeswax candles in the shape of an angel, which she loved. I’d shipped one to Ireland for Mum’s anniversary, so brought it to the church with me and lit it for the duration of the mass (may have broken a rule or two, but I’m sure Mum appreciated the gesture). We brought the candle to the pub with us afterwards, and put it next to a brandy & 7UP for her…I hope she didn’t think it was a waste of a good drink!

Missing Mum

One year ago today, my wonderful Mum passed away after a 4 year battle with colon cancer. I read her eulogy at her funeral mass, this is what I said:

When I think about Mam, the words that come to mind are:






and, most of all,


I thought about adding Very Stubborn to that list, but she’d disagree!

She endured the toughest 4 years, and faced one challenge after

another with a strength that was remarkable. Even on the darkest

days, she would inevitably say “well, I’m not going to just lie down

under this, so I’ll just have to make the most of it and keep going”,

which is exactly what she did. Niamh, Brian and myself are so

grateful for the example that she set and we’re daunted at the

prospect of living up to it.

If there is a positive to be drawn from the last 4 years, it’s that Mam

came to really know and experience the amazing love and support

she had from everyone around her. From her wonderful neighbours,

Margaret and Sean, who are the best neighbours anyone could

hope for, to her friends, “the ladies”, Mary, Eileen, Angela, Terry,

Mai and Pat who kept her spirits up, with visits and phone calls,

and, in Mary’s case, at great peril, when she slipped & broke her

wrist in the garden (Mam was insistent that they hadn’t been

raiding the drinks trolley beforehand…..), Sandra who baked

beautiful cakes to tempt Mam into eating something, Jamie who

she adored, Kathleen & Joan who came to plant Mam’s flowers

when she no longer could and her carers, Rose, Ann and Irene

who assisted Mam with tremendous gentleness and kindness.

There were many, many others who helped and supported Mam,

and we sincerely thank you all.

However, the last 4 years do not define who Rita Floyd was…..

She was an animal lover, and offered a loving home to many waifs

and strays over the years.

This included at one time, a donkey, and a goat, that I only heard

about yesterday. Bob was Mam’s last dog, he was a beautiful,

gentle soul who she found abandoned near the bottom of the

garden. He was very traumatised, and it took her a week to coax

him up to the house so that she could take him to the vet. He

repaid Mam’s kindness by being a loyal and comforting companion.

Mam’s final rescue was the current Floyd cat….the infamous

Roadie. He was called liathroidi (Irish for “balls”!) before he was neutered….Roadie

was being attacked by magpies and Mam, who could hardly stand

at the time, rushed out of the house to chase them away from him.

She then cleaned him up and fed him (he’s now got an expensive

sliced ham habit!). Roadie visited Mam at the hospice this week,

and brought all the nurses running by meowing the place down. We

were going to bring him with us today but thought he might drown

out the choir…..

Mam’s favourite tipple was a brandy & 7up, and I’m glad to report

that we got her one from the drinks trolley at the hospice this week.

She really enjoyed the few small tastes that she had….but

then we got busted by her Dr. and that was the end of that. I think

Mam approved of us breaking the rules on this occasion.

The last story I’ll share with you is about Mam’s first car, the old

yellowy/green mini. Mam relished the freedom that the car brought

her. It was a reliable, steady car but not exactly aero dynamic.

That said, Mam was absolutely mortified to get her first ever

speeding ticket while driving that car. The car itself couldn’t have

even hit the speed limit unless it was going downhill with a strong

tailwind. However, that’s exactly what happened as we drove into

Listowel on the way to a party in Fenit. She might have gotten

away with it except for the fact that the 3 of us were rolling around

laughing when she got pulled over, and the crosser she got, the

more we laughed…..and the Guard didn’t think it was very funny

either when we tried to explain that it was actually cause for

celebration….all these years later, it still makes me smile when I

think of it.

Thank you for being here with us today to celebrate Mam’s life.

There will be soup & sandwiches in the Foynes Inn from about 3.30

if you’d like to join us to raise a toast to Rita. Thank you, and God

speed Mam


Falling in love again

With London, that is. Chelsea has always felt like home to me, having lived here for many years. Those small, everyday human connections come easily.

Finally made it to Bibendum for oysters today, after 3 previous failed attempts (yes, persistent when I want to be!), great food, service was a bit hit & miss. Very happy that the Irish Dungarven oysters were the stand out ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช though the half bottle of Billecart-Salmon went straight to my head!

Wonderful, witty art exhibition at the Conran Store next door, really made me smile….see pics above! I left a note for the artist to say “thank you” for making me smile ๐Ÿ˜€

Wandered along one of my favourite streets in SW3, Walton Street, and was stoked to find that an old time haunt, Percy Bass Ltd. is still there at no. 184. The shop is still fronted by the most wonderfully eccentric English lady (would be an awesome dinner guest), stuffed to the roof with eclectic interiors objets and supported by several American staff who I’m sure are wondering how on earth their interior design course led them here!! Have my eye on a few things for shipping to a certain beach house….๐Ÿ˜‰

Seeing some very dear friends for drinks & dinner tonight. Found a favourite champagne, Ruinart Blanc de Blancs, at a small wine store & tasting room, Pavilion Wine, just around the corner from where I’m staying. I bought the bubbles yesterday & asked them to keep them for me until this evening. They were a bit surprised, but happy to help. It’s a friendly spot, where their regulars all seem to know each other, will definitely return ๐Ÿ‘ Not to mention that there’s an even more awesome cheese store right next door ๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿง€



IMG_2798Staying at my absolute fave hotel in London ๐Ÿ˜€ However, forgot to add “not the red room” to my booking. Guess what, got the red room…pic attached! ๐Ÿ˜‚

Johnny, the fabulous & wonderfully Italian concierge, quickly found me a different room, and now I will nod off with Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher as my guardians! Seriously, they’re looking over the bed!