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a blog by Chris Barrow

Visit to Blueapple in Northern Ireland

Yesterday’s visit to Blueapple in Northern Ireland was an adventure into a part of the world I had never visited – and a delight to meet with James and Sonya Hamill and see their award-winning achievements. After almost 10Â hours of conversation – 4 hours of which was in their car on the way to and from Belfast City Airport, I am delighted to say that we will be working together in 2008 to help them reach their “next level”. For a 31-year old – James has achieved more than most already. Today I have driven from Manchester to Cornwall and experienced mishap, adventure, client calls and lousy service. The motorway was busy all day and the weather dull and cold – my 5-hour journey was almost totally consumed with phone calls to clients, team and suppliers – the most irritating being a series of fruitless calls to HSBC, with whom I have had enough! I want a new bank in 2008 – I have spoken to HSBC call centres in 3 different parts of the globe in the last 10 days – as well as three branches and departments in the UK. Repeated calls go unanswered and requests are either ignored, confused, mis-understood or refused. I feel like an account number – a unit of banking activity. HSBC are delivering NHS banking, supplied by disinterested and obsequious foreigners. I want a bank manager – just like the good old days. But I count my blessings as my journey South is halted by an accident on the A30 in Devon – a lorry and trailer have overturned. The Ford Explorer on the trailer has disintegrated – and, thankfully, nobody is hurt – but there is wreckage everywhere. IÂ suppose dealing with stupid bank employees is a small sufferance after all. Two more days to the finish line – and Friday may be the most exciting professional day of 2007……..

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