PADI Open Water Diver!

I made it (and so did Steph). We completed our qualification as Open Water Divers today at Fathom and Blues dive centre, Portland, Dorset.

We dived to about 12 metres inside the harbour wall, twice, to do some underwater exercises (like removing and replacing our dive masks) and to peer at a wrecked ship through very murky water. All this in three layers of wet suit and water at 9°C (warmer than the air at 6°C).

Yes, of course it was fun. We also enjoyed a ride on a RIB to the divesight and practised falling off it into the water – just like they do in the films.

You may remember that all this is to get Steph set up for her diving in Mexico, however the rest of us are also starting to plan for warmer and more colourful diving.

Choosing banks, accountants, and insurers

I'm still working through the administration of setting up the new business, and finding that it takes longer than I expect. I am choosing a bank and an accountant to work with, as well as researching insurers for Public Liability and Professional Indemnity Insurance.

It is worthwhile meeting bankers and accountants, as relationships are important, and talking to accountants produces advice about banks and vice versa. At the moment UK banks are competing with one another to get new business customers, and offering a period of free banking. The charging structures of some are such that banking continues to be largely free thereafter. Having said that, it's more important to maximise sales than to worry about bank charges. I find myself warming to managers who are obviously honest, and demonstrate their skill by listening rather than talking about their relationship with other customers.

In meeting accountants, I have been impressed by each but then inclined to meet with others. This is because I at first valued people who were telling me things that I did not know, then realised that it was more important to have an accountant who listened to where I was at rather than giving me a pre-prepared speech. I also realised that some were more in touch with ways to help me “keep it simple” – so that I have to spend less time on my own book keeping. Quotes for doing the end of year accounts for a small Limited Company have ranged from £400 to £1750 (plus VAT). It seems useful to me to have access at the firm not just to Chartered Accountants, but also to a Chartered Tax Adviser.

I need to have Public Liability and Professional Indemnity Insurance, although I am not sure to what level. I do not need Employer's Liability Insurance as there are no other employees at present. I find a wide range of different kinds of policies are available, at a wide range of prices, and are easily accessible over the internet (Towergate offer a comprehensive range, and Hiscox policies are widely offered by brokers). Being a member of a relevant professional institution attracts discounts on tailor-made policies which is good.

God creates a picture

Lovely imagery in the daily readings I sometimes use, for December 9.

The author, drawing on Amy Carmichael, talks of our hopes for the future as pictures we paint. Some fade, and as they do so they sap our energy. We need to leave behind our old hopes/pictures/images and notice the new ones that God is giving us.

He moves on to the idea that our whole lives are like a picture that God is painting.

A verbatim quote would be even better, but I'm cautious about copyright – so, what can I say? Buy the book! (Much of their material is on-line, but I have not been able to track down the comments on the daily readings, which the above is an example of.)

All this is from Celtic Daily Prayer, published by the Northumbria Community and printed by Harper Collins (in the U.K.) 1994 onwards. My edtiion is ISBN 0 557 02845-9, but later editions also include Night Prayer. The short orders for Morning, Midday, and Evening Prayer are easy to use, and over the twelve or so years that I have been using it I have found the daily readings inspirational.

Buffalo Gals

Last night had a great time with my sister listening to the “Buffalo Gals” at a local village hall. They were very lively and great fun, representing traditional American (Appalacian) music with fiddle, banjo, etc. interspersed with good humour and percussive step dancing. Good fun. Check out their site and listen to tracks on it.

This afternoon went for a pleasant walk during a sunny gap in the rain, except the rain started again – but there was a brilliant rainbow to look at over Corsham church.


Web Eden a great Instant Site

A current family enterprise is the creation of a new website for the business, and I've been delighted and impressed by the creative genius that has been unleashed in the family, as well as the skill in turning images into a site.

I've been researching ways of doing this so that it is easy to make changes after the initial design. The deluxe way to do this is with a Content Management System (CMS). I have also been looking at “Instant Sites,” of which there are many, to see if that is a good route to go at least for the first year or so as the costs are less. Many of the Instant Sites are easy to use and have good functionality, but do not look business-like. In particular they use ready-made graphic headers that can look cheesy and cannot be replaced. We have decided to run with Web Eden which is powerful, flexible, and inexpensive – and you can do a free trial. I recommend it.