THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

A gentleman

Tuesday morning in Belfast, after a superb day with David Horobin and his team at his Chapel Road Orthodontic Practice in Bexley Heath, South East London. I flew from Newquay to Gatwick on Sunday evening and arrived at the airport to be picked up and driven in style (BMW 5 series) by Steve, husband of Jenny, David’s senior nurse/hygienist/therapist and clinical manager (phew). It was so nice of them to sacrifice their personal time to make the journey through the most awful wet weather and then transport me in amongst six lanes of solid traffic around the M25 – what are all those people doing out at that time – have they no homes to go to? I checked in to the Marriott Hotel, Bexley Heath and across the road for a nice, predictable, franchised Salad Nicoise in Zizzis (owned by the same company as Pizza Express) and then off to bed after watching The Who at Glastonbury for a while. The old boys gave a great show in the rain – a wonderful advertisement for the fact that compulsory euthenasia should never be allowed – there is often life left long after we expect incontinence and senility – although I did giggle a bit when Pete Townsend introduced his 1971 track “Relay” as a “song about the internet” – yeah, right. Monday’s trip to David’s practice is an absolute pleasure – he knew he was going to get a public ribbing from me – the practice is frozen in 1973 (and I think his web site was probably designed by the aformentioned “Who” player at the same time as he wrote his prophetic song). David has, at least, recognised that he can either sink into a final 10 years of “just showing up” – or make an enormous leap forward at the conclusion of his career and bring the practice forward into the 21st Century. The place certainly isn’t broken – very succesful business – and the patients love it – but with what’s happening around him in the market place he has realised that change is essential – and I’m looking forward to becoming a catalyst in that process. As to his support team – a pleasure to be with – not a slapped face in sight and the day was fun for all of us. Continuing his hospitality, David and his lovely wife Helen drove me down to London City Airport last night to catch my flight to Northern Ireland (Audi A6 this time – I could get used to this). City Airport was a zoo, with numerous delayed journeys and be-suited business travellers furiously fingering away at their Blackberry’s. I hid in a corner with yet another salad and happily managed to escape, on time, with just 12 other people using a new Air France service. A great day with David’s team – happy, open-minded and attractive people, doing their level best each and every day for an absolute gent.

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