Who says Scouts are boring ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Climb a mountain, fly a plane, build a hovercraft, canoe, Race a 4×4, Drive 1500 miles around Ireland in a car worth no more than £100, learn to surf, meet new people, learn to stakeboard, Go to a Gala Ball, Fix a car, Camp with fellow scouts from all over the world, Travel, Go to Australia, America and Canada, Fish, Hike, Swim, Sit around the fire and enjoy the craic, Get outside, DO SOMETHING NEW !

Just some of the things we have done / are doing this year at Scouts all over County Antrim.

Who says Scouts are boring ???? Things have changed over the last few years and the stigma of ‘Scouts are boring’ is starting to leave the movement !

Think its time you got involved ? we have some great sections for older guys and dare I say it, girls !

Antrim Network Scouts caters for people aged 18 – 25 , more info can be found by clicking here.

Lagan Valley Explorers caters for people aged 14-18, more info can be found by clicking here.

I am a better person for what Scouting has done for me, Its time you found out why !


NIHFs Hospitality Exchange 2008

Hospitality exchange is the pinnacle event of the Hospitality trade in Northern Ireland, ran by Hotels Federation of Northern Ireland. Many hotel CEOs, Owners, Managers and Directors turned up to find new suppliers, reaffirm contact with existing suppliers, find out what their competitors are up to and attend the many talks from ‘Running a successful hospitality business’ to ‘Cutting costs not quality in the kitchen’

For us to attend this event, it was productive in a number of ways.

We got to meet with existing clients, re-touching base with them, seeing them outside of their hotel surroundings meant they were more likely to stop and chat, The stand itself further proving that we excited about the future of the Northern Ireland hotel business and pushing our brand, not resting on our success

I met with existing ‘not yet customers’ People I have been dealing with for some time but have yet to secure their business, seeing these people at this event further proves to them we are serious about expansion, about our Northern Ireland business and supporting the Federation.

Lastly I met with new faces, people I had never spoken to and people who had not heard of us before. From this point of view we had great success picking up a number of solid leads to follow up on in the coming weeks.

Trade shows like this are important for growing businesses to expand and ‘get out there’ but only if they are done correctly. Simply turning up with a roll up banner or even a fancy stand is just not enough, you have to get speaking to the right people and have something that they are actually interested in hearing more about.

Jeep XJ getting stuck in Lisburn – As driven my me


The Great Northern Feast @ Hospitiality Exchange

Last night I had the privilege to join some of the best people in the hospitality trade for the Great Northern Feast, a show case of what Northern Ireland has to offer in terms of food, entertainment and world class chefs !

Hosted by the NI Hotels Federation, each of Northern Ireland’s top chefs, Danny Miller, Noel McMeel, Liz Moore and Nick Price put together a course each with the whole operation being brought together by Graham Burns, Executive Chef at the Ramada Hotel.

From start to finish the evening was the last word in excellence, a joy to see such great talent coming out of our wee country! Great to meet up with existing customers in a non business environment and let our hair down, although after the 7 course meal has finished and wine has ran out there is only one thing left to do. Get back to work !

Off Roading – Part One , Getting Stuck

I have decided rather than selling ‘ Old Faithful ‘ my old and reliable trusty Jeep that I am going to do a few modifications and do with it as Jeep intended, Off Road the baby !

The annoying thing about off roading in a 4×4 is that, although they are in theory built to take the abuse they do need some work for that ‘Go Anywhere’ experience, as I found out the hard way !!

At Present, Old Faithful is completely standard and I have tackled a few not to tricky off road courses, all has went pretty ok (apart from I can really see the benefit of off road tyres as my bus slips and slides its away about the hills getting not much grip at all) until Saturday when I got myself a wee bit stuck …….

The lift on the car was not enough as the wheels dug down in the mud, the center of the car touched earch and perched me right there, I remember reading on one of the forums if this happened, simply grab your Hi-Lift jack, Jack her up, dig out the earth and drive on. Great, except I dont own a high lift Jack, but a phone call to a good friends and hey ho, I got one fairly quickly.

With in about an hour, we had Old Faithful dug out and back on the road, in need of a serious bath !

All in all a great days craic, and a list of modification I know I will need if I am to take this seriously and protect my Jeep !

* Off Road Tyres
* 2/3 inch lift
* Flood lights, Front and Back (for night driving)
* Rock Sliders, all round the car for protection.
And thats just for starters, watch this space !

Cars – Can you mix your Business Car with your Pleasure Car?

If your like me – then a Car is more than just a means of getting from A to B, my car serves me three main purposes and they are also why I need a 4 wheel drive vehicle.

Scouting – Plenty of room for 5 people, camping gear with the added option of a trailer and roof rack for longer expeditions
Off Roading – Something I have recently taken up but loving every minute of it
Work – Probably the most important need for a vehicle is that I live and work in the sticks and need to get to meetings all over Ireland.

The problem I am faced with, is that whilst my car is great for the first two, however for work I just need something reliably and there are tax advantages for changing to a Diesel Model.

So i am have with the question, Do I

A. Get a Diesel off road vehicle to tick all the boxes (but maybe not look that professional) or
B. Get a reliably business type car like a BMW 320D and keep my 4×4 for fun ! (which means running two cars, two insurance bills, two tax bills etc)

My mind is truly pickled !!! Advice is welcome !

Irish government play a bold yet smart move to boost investment into Ireland

The world is in a financial meltdown and Governments are doing all they can to cool the markets.

In a bold move this week the Irish Government have said they will back up all cash deposits for one year within the Irish banking system, this has really pissed off other Governments !

The truth is, this is simply an imaginary promise, there are only six main banks in Ireland, the rest are UK or foreign owed. I am pretty sure that they have had a good look at the balance sheets of both companies before committing on such a promise, I am therefor assuming that there is virtually no risk involved with this backing.

So why do, Well its a move that will get millions of € pouring into the country, if for example you are a wealthy person living in the UK, The British Government can only back your money up to £50,000. A big drop if you are worth £millions I’d say.

Gordon Brown has said he has no need to match the Irish promise as they are doing all they can to cool the markets, the fact remains that the UKs banks are in such a mess that they could not possably match this promise. Of course the boys in the square mile are not happy! but then again who cares !

Only time will tell where this mess will leave us, but for now if you have got serious cash, get it into Ireland asap. For me, I don’t have this problem but it would be a nice one to have !