Brush Strokes Vignettes Found collection in word

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At the bottom of the world there are three islands. Ao-tea-roa or ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’ better known as New Zealand and until recently morphed into becoming for a time ‘Middle Earth’ based on the stories of J.J.R Tolkien. This occurred during the making of the Blockbuster Films ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ and featured the mountains, plains, rivers and forests throughout the North Island and South Islands of New Zealand. An intense curiosity shook the comfort zone of the peoples of New Zealand as they began to open up and share more of the land which was familiar to them. Despite efforts to keep details of the filming under wraps a tantalizing leak occurred sprung from an unusual source. Not from ‘drones’ buzzing overhead but none other than a Russian satellite scanning from above. It noticed some unusual activity and strange houses, Hobbit houses, being built into the grassed hills. Soon information was relayed back to earth. It caught the interest of a strong group of Russian enthusiasts who were familiar with the works of JRR Tolkien, To those of you who have journeyed through the trilogies of ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ you will have an appreciation of the vast scope of the films.

                                      Come let take a big brush and sweep across the canvas painting a new landscape. One full of enigmas, mysteries, puzzles and riddles of stories. That’s the stuff about this setting New Zealand. New Zealanders are forever punching above their weight category. Best explained by Sir Edmund Hilary a famous New Zealander after he climbed the world’s highest mountain Mount Everest in the Himalayas in 1954. He reflected back ‘It’s not the mountain but ourselves that we conquer.

I was needing inspiration and I found it in this article which helped me so much.

Plotting a Novel by Ashley Stokes   CW Cb Pg 207-213https://www.theshortstory.co.uk/the-short-story-interview-ashley-stokes/

Plot is for readers more than writers                                                                                                                        Readers ask what is the plot?                                                                                                                                              What happens?                                                                                                                                                                       Will I be interested?                                                                                                                                                          Is this for me?                                                                                                                                                                               For the writer this question can only be answered when the novel is finished.                                                                The order of events, the conflicts, motives, themes and resolutions may not be apparent in the draft stages.                                                                                                                                                                                     In this way the plot is part of the process of writing.

Its something we find in the activity itself

More importantly it comes to us in the amorphous work of notebooks , long walks, versions, false turns, hard decisions, insomnia and staring out the window,

Plotting is the underside of the stone that no one sees.

It is the head labour that makes a novel realize itself on its own terms. If this sounds an uncomfortable business it is worth reminding ourselves that this is what writing is a

TRIANGULAR process of planning composing and editing that occurs in no particular order. For plotting read planning.

In  my teaching I tackle the issue of plot between character and the beginning

The firstis plot

The second to a large extent determines the realization of the pot by triggering it ( if we think of plot as the ordering of events through narrative, rather than the story)                 In fact, we are thinking about two types of beginning here

One of practice                                    Process and Product maybe?

And the other the result of that practice.

If a novel starts conceptually with

what Nabokov called a ‘throb’ or if we are being geeky a ‘ primary generator’.

We are saying we have an idea that compels us to write.

5 people trapped in a lift plan an escape to the moon.

A school girl locks herself in her bedroom for twelve years. We start with these glimpses and then power ahead.

This is exciting but it poses problems for the beginner because it it is easy to let this drive rule the roost.

It’s easy to keep going, stringing events together until they overload the narrative. Everything follows the plot line. In the end the only text, not experience, is being made. The writing then seems artificial or unconvincing. Plot begins to govern character. The narrative becomes unwieldy and passionless. In the end it will feel staged and the effects will be deadened. Conceptually therefore, what we need to do is shift backwards from our idea and work with character first. We work with character always. F Scott Fitzgerald said ‘plot is character and character is plot’. If we start with character, and keep this in mind we can avoid our narrative losing focus or the plot gaining the upper hand.

   I always start by note booking my characters. I make lists about them. I make chronologies. I write at random about them. I make sure I know everything they have ever done. I determine the details that imply their entire lives, the landmark decisions, the key experiences, the moments of change or realization. I consider their basic values and loyalties.

   I sometimes practice on these proto-characters by writing short stories that involve part of the cast before I start on the novel( writing chronologies often provides tasty predicaments that will not fit into the novel’s schema) This also gives me an idea of whether the characters are interesting enough. Moreover, it lets me test them out and gives me ideas about tone and style. If a character seems too unsympathetic to sustain the reader’s interest over the course of a novel, at least I know that I have to address this issue and find strategies for its alleviation. It also gives me a chance to ditch characters that I can’t get enthusiastic about. Once this process is over you have a cast. By brooding on the cast you will be able to see how they will interact within the framework of both the fictional situation and how you think the novel should be written theoretically, Sarah will hate Ernie. Josef will not handle the predicament he is asked to unravel.

You should now have a mosaic of conflicts, motives dreams, proclivities 

 pro•cliv•i•ty prōˈklivədē,prəˈklivədē/ nounplural noun: proclivities

a tendency to choose or do something regularly; an inclination or predisposition toward a particular thing.

“a proclivity for hard work”

synonyms:     inclination, tendency, leaning, disposition, proneness, propensity, bent, bias, penchant, predisposition; More

Originlate 16th century: from Latin proclivitas, from proclivis ‘inclined,’ from pro- ‘forward, down’ + clivus ‘slope.’

Translate proclivities to Use over time for: proclivities

Dishonesties, vanities, insecurities, desires, cruelties, virtues and mindsets that make up part of the context of a fictional character. I always think a character has a context that they take into any situation. This will determine how they will react or impose themselves.  Knowing this context and knowing it more than you know yourself, is what will allow you to write freely and convincingly. Most of the context will remain unseen. It is only implied or imagined to the reader. But is is the gear system of the novel’s progression and a fail-safe to the sort of over-plotting or ‘inappropriateness’ that I mentioned above.

After this we need to think about the central proposition.                                      What is at stake?                                                                                     What makes this important to the reader?                                                               What drives the narrative?                                                                                     You may already have an idea of this if you started with a situation or predicament first, or even a setting or a theme.                                                             But character matters most.                                                                                    How will the sequence of events allow the character(s) to change?                         How will it affect them?                                                                                     How will many events will I need to address the issues I need to explore?      What relationship does this novel have with time? Remember that, as E.M. Forster tell us, plot is about issues of cause and effect, ‘a sense of causality’       Plot in this sense answers questions of                                                           ‘Why?’ and ‘How?’ rather than the’ what happens?’ posed by ‘ What’s the plot?’

This requires a different type of plotting, the appropriate ordering of events. If we dwell on the characters we have created we will be able to see situations that dramatize or enliven the conflicts that lay hidden within and between them. Beware of overdoing this, by either continually plumping for the grand or the extreme. Understatement is sometimes more effective than overstatement. Beware also of creating too many situations, of protracting the novel and thereby straining the reader’s attention (there is nothing wrong with short novels)

Use flow chart in your notebook to get an idea of the ordering of events. Plan as far ahead as you can so when you are composing so you have a definite feeling of progressing towards points that lead to new points. Consider each situation before you write.

Are the events grounded in character context?

If not, rework or scrap.

Is this leading to another scene where it has pay-off?

Is it deepening character?

Are we learning things that make us want to continue reading?

If not you may not be trusting your readers understanding. Are we repeating information that the reader already knows? If so the scene maybe superfluous and slowing things down. Try to maintain a rhythm of activity and meditative scenes. Try to maintain momentum in the middle where there is a tendency to over complicate. Don’t use a scene that only acts as a precursor to a second scene. This elongates the narrative and drive suffers Start in the second scene to create tension, then backfold the narrative.

They were knocking on the door because G told S about J. Not a scene where G tells S about J and then they go and knock on the door in a fresh scene. Do you start the chronological beginning so it takes too long to get to the meat of the issue? An ad ova scheme may work in certain types of Bildungsroman but you need to start in medias res, in the thick of things. Look for the first moment of confusion  or change in the novel and use it as an opening gambit, Then back feed or break up the background material. See what happens if you cut the first two pages. There’s often too much explanation at the beginning. Don’t be scared of time jumps and don’t invent sub-plots or material just to pass the time realistically. ‘Get on with it’ is the best advice I have ever been given.

It is possible that once you start composing you will get new ideas that you wantto incorporate. This can lead to confusions and the novel can lose focus. Always go back to the plan and see howe the new material fitsin . If it is more compelling than what you already have , replot and cut earlier sections on your next draft. Don’t be afraid of cutting. Even fine work may need to be sacrificed for the overall whole. Use your notebook flow charts and scene lists to try out new material beforehand. Think about the implications of your scene structure.

Try to think of other combinations or outcomes that could occur. 

Are they more interesting than what you first intended? If so you’ve avoided learning this after spending hours writing the scene. Be aware of how other writers have handled similar material so you avoid clichés. Don’t steal in any case. Always be thinking about what combinations of events are possible to progress the novel and deepen the involvement with the characters? Only focus on what we are not likely to expect. Anything that seems familiar or common place, cut or rework so that the material is made strange. Make sure that the obvious is treated as background Only use description that puncturers expectation. Always keep in mind that in writing about people you are dealing with the unique. If you can’t make a restaurant scene different, treat yourself to a meal and keep your eyes and ears open.

 The first draft may be shapeless and fail to meet with your intentions. You may have determined things about your characters that change your original plans. It may not get started until page eighty. The character’s later actions may seem incongruous with how you have grounded them. They may need layering. You may have chosen the wrong vantage point from which to tell the story. The conceit may be to protracted. It may not read like the novels you love. This is where many writers hang up their pens and give up. Don’t be afraid of this feeling. It is an intrinsic part of writing and becoming a writer. It is a rite of passage. Use it. Learn from it. You are becoming your own self-editor. Go back and plan and rework it by referring to what you know now have beside you. Always go with your hunches. This will only be the first stage of a novel. It may take many drafts to realize, just like Joseph Heller and Gunter Grass ten years each to write Catch 22 and the Tin Drum.

     The biggest apprehension about writing is that it is as instant and effortless as its master practitioners would have us believe. It is not for them, and it is not for anyone. It is hard. It is a process. See Plotting as a safety mechanism, a system of constant reevaluation that goes hand in hand with the compositional, imaginative wordplay

that occurs in front of the screen or with pen in hand. A novel never slithers out whole like some clever-eyed prodigy. It is made, not born.

Exercises 1 start with a title that implies time and place ( My day with Grandma, An evening with Faulkner Night in Cheam The last year in Kingston-upon –Thames etc)

On paper brainstorm this scenario thinking what it is likely to involve what could happen. Make lists of both situations and details. Sift through these lists and think of scenarios that look promising as stories. Focus on the items you have listed and think about how they could be used imaginatively as conflict triggers. Discard ideas that seem either obvious or unconvincing. Look at what you have left. If you have nothing left, go back to the list and rework the situations. When you have something that seems appropriate begin to plot it out with flow charts do you have a story involves conflicts and motives? Is it original? Does it the end include the pay-off? Is it convincing If you can’t answer these questions rework the story so you can.

2. Take this plot and plan and break it up into its constituent parts: person place time

Right person, right place but wrong time

Right person, right time, but wrong place

Right time, right place, but wrong person

Plot out these combinations and see how the plot changes. Are any of these more intriguing than your original plot?

Do any of them provide solutions to difficulties that you found with the original plot?

Does this give you any fresh ideas?

After these two exercises, consider if you have enough materials to trigger a novel.

3. Use the following situation outline.

There is a character waiting for a train. They have a suitcase with an object in it that they wish to conceal. What sort of character would find themselves in this predicament and why? Use the ideas of ‘appropriateness’ to plot out a story that avoids cliché or hyperbole. 

4. Think of a day when you came to the realization, when something definitely changed. Write this out, either as a draft or a plan, as faithfully as you can to what you think happened. Does this produce an original and convincing plotline? If not, why? What seems inappropriate and what does not? Can you use the techniques you have learnt in the first three exercises to augment this story? Can you changer the settings or the characters? What can you invent yourself to fill in the gaps or replace those parts of the plot that seem common place?

Brush Strokes is a brilliant title. At first it seemed to be problematic in that it appeared to have nothing to do with a group of guys starting up a drone business. However its do with painting the character.rs in the story.Its about making broad bush strokes.Showing everything, even the whiskery bits tailing outwards from the thick blobby bits. It all gives the painting character. I see the value of writing in the first personwhich I’m doing about my thought processes. Then there is the 2nd person which use to get close and personal with my reader in the ‘You’ then there is the third person which I like which I read in Jane Austin’s Emma. Pg 99 CWCb Creative writing Coursebook.

      Let’s try some points of view. Have you ever tried to get your hands and sit on them so as to resist the temptation to shake someone you know or live with because they are so slow.I assure you I am not thinking about this in an aggressive way rather just administering a little poke or two to prod the situation. To get things moving because I once believed and I still half do that to steer a car you need to get it moving along first. In teaching I liked the out burst’lets rock and roll’ as a way of rallying the class to get them responding and clicking. Like a set of sheep dogs, one dogs task is to bark up the rear and the other dogs task is to skirt the flock of sheep called eye dog. It runs along keeping the sheep together so they don’t get to feather and splinter and go different ways he keeps the shape of the flock. The farmer will get this dog to stay meaning sit crouch stay still eyeing the sheep and then to get a way around heading off the sheep so they stay together. Its an amazing team work. Sheep can be a real handful if they go different ways.

      Anyhow not too much back story. You know we are still on about prodding slow people. People are not sheep. They are intelligent beings who we have to respect. You and I have gifts.The slowness is our survival technique the wrapping of the gift. If you have ever seen a stressed toddler prodded to keep up with an adult who has things to do in say the supermarket you have the scenario.(413).

             Im talking about Marty who was so methodically slow.The apocryphal story goes he was driving his car on a hot day and the engine caught fire. He jumped out but before he did he had the presence of mind to rescue his camera from the back seat of his car and took pictures. He later spoke in his slow drawl ‘I got out reeeeeal fast’ of his car. That sums up marty even when he was fast he was slow and sure and steady like a moving rock.

Turning lemons into lemonade is a metaphor for making the best of a bad situation, Marty was assigned to a school situated on the rump of an elephant. So what did he do? He asked himself the question ‘how do you eat an elephant? And back echoed the reply one plodding foot after the other. Only thing is Marty wasn’t good at doing plodding. He was a doer and things had to happen now and speedily quick as possible. So this is the window on a story. Whether it was successful or not I will let you the reader, be the judge of that.

             The first reaction to his new school in a poor edge of suburbia came when he rounded the corner of the main entrance and surprised a young girl with her friend. She didn’t freeze on the spot but burst out with the loveliest of hellos, which was another metaphor for the socio- economic situation he found himself in. That people who have their backs to the wall often rely on one another to survive. They develop and outward looking stance rather than an inward depressed one. However this often varied. Next came the principal who choose not to meet me in her office with a block of wood between us in the shape of a big imposing desk to reinforce her status, No rather she walked around the school with me pointing out the various features she was proud of being interrupted by people requesting her attention or in greeting her.

                 His introduction the new scenario was over. Marty determined himself he was going to give everything his 101% and make this school all the better for his presence. He didn’t believe in grinding out in a school as some stepping stone for something better. This was the best. As good as he was going to get. No being in two states. His body in one places his head and heart in another space. Marty detested that kind of schizophrenia.   Was I going to be a consumer …………….stuck in my own wellbeing or was I going to shake my situation and make a difference.

Down the road a bit from the Hobbit village constructed in the hills there is a particular adventurer. Vic or Victor was interested in two things one his marathon running and his work as a crane operator. Vic didn’t need an alarm clock. His internal clock seemed to sense the first light. He bounced out of bed threw together his track gear and running shoes and he was off out the gate and down the road. He glanced at his watch sucked in a breath of morning mist and beat down the road past the milk truck. The milk man gave him a brush wave and Vic was off into his stride. He stuck to the rim of the road and avoided the busy thorough a fares. He wanted to be alone with his thoughts and to listen to his body and his breathing. He was in a rhythm in tune. When it came to marathon running everything had to be balanced and at a point where mind body and soul were buzzing. It had to be an instinctual thing. Vic was meticulous about everything he did. He was racing against himself and he shut out everything else. Even in a marathon surrounded with pounding feet and heaving bodies he was unaware. It all began in his training, his discipline the marathon was only icing on the cake.

              Victor made to work on time as was his habit. He drove his jeep in and parked it inside the fenced off area of the building site. ‘I saw you outside running again this morning’ a workmate chirped as he made his way to the building site. Vic greeted him with a ‘hi, when are you going to join me for a run yourself’ ‘ No thanks but thanks for the invite, if my wife saw me with too much extra energy she might find a few more jobs around the house that need doing’ he laughed. Vic laughed back Haaa! As he made his way towards the crane and swung up the rungs leading up. The phone was ringing in his cab as he made it up and stepped inside his little control room. ‘Right we are working on the south side this morning’ boomed the supervisor.’ Be ready there is a truck to unload with reinforcing steel anytime soon’.  ‘Gotcha I’m ready when you are, just get the guys to smarten up in their hand signals they seemed to be getting a little sloppy’ shot back Vic. His boss was a man very economical with words thought Vic. He must have bought a few dozen words for the week and by Saturday he had used the last of them. That was it.

            Vic settled back arranging his drink bottle and lunch to one side. Then he took a thermos and a sandwich and started his breakfast in the sky while surveying the world below. Because of style he was camped in two worlds. He was a marathon runner of modest means and he was a crane driver operator. The two seemingly opposing stances blended well. There he was working on project sites sitting high above the world in his crane sure and steady as she goes. Getting his angles right lifting heavy loads of materials long and short and bulky gingerly up the sides of construction sites clear of any clashes and he did it well. The team work of the ground crew and crane operator is of the utmost of essence he has to be good to where he began his work. His instructor left him to it after a few days as he had learnt the controls up, down left and right slow fast steady. The rest you have to learn as you go. If you couldn’t master the job you were replaced or docked your pay for mistakes. I will come to salary and mate ship or comrade ship later. However needless to say it’s a lonely job up in your cab in the sky after having climbed 150 rungs of the ladder to your office in the clouds. Not everyone has the mental stamina and patience to handle it. Some try it but soon die of sheer plodding boredom and lack of being able to stimulate your grey matter. He could see all the hobbits on the project site down below going about their business. No sign of the truck with the reinforcing rods yet. In his office in the sky he was the boss. Vic was good at his job. He had a steady hand and a good feeling for angles. He could bring awkwardly shaped objects up the sides of the building structures without clipping anything. He was confident in what he did. Yet every now and then some wannabe worker wanted to have a go at being a crane operator and take over his job. ’Sure when do you want to start just let me know?’ Vic would always say. Somehow the takers melted.

            The okay came through. The truck got into position and Vic dropped the strops on to the truck for the ground crew to position everything. The supervisor was there checking off the load and soon the first haul was moving, crane motor whirring, steady as she goes up the side of the building. He felt a slight swing but he managed to keep from rocking.  Victor guided the load to the roof of the 6th floor where there was a prearrange space all readied. After forty minutes the whole job was completed. He finished off his breakfast on sitting back surveying the scene. He looked out over the township with his binoculars and noticed the odd sunbather out on the decks cooking in the sun and as he moved around he looked at the grimy untidy places that were hidden out of view. Up in his unique vantage platform he could take in a lot of things that many people take for granted. He always thought some water blasting or some new coats of paint would really lift the neighbourhood. A few brush strokes of paint would make a fantastic difference. This was what challenged him day after day and made him think about his job and his surroundings. In talking with those who would listen he would often share some of his views about how he saw improvements could be made. Some of his listener’s eyes would glaze over and he felt it was pointless trying to convince people of his vision but he just got more determined he wouldn’t give up. It was out of desperation that he adopted photography and took copious lots of photos from his tower platform. He felt as if he was a man on a mission. Mission impossible or mission possible he knew he had to accept what he saw from his crane tower was not an experience many shared with him. So he learnt to be patient and empathise with the earthlings on the ground.

           The morning runs for the marathon preparation were relentless and longer. He continued running in the evening after work as well. ‘Two more weeks of runs and I will have clocked up 250 Kilometers of mileage under my belt he told his friends’ They were suitably impressed. ’I’m not trying to trying to blow my own trumpet but there are 50 other guys all around the country doing just as much as I do if not more’ Vic said emphatically. ‘I don’t want to let myself down by being underprepared.

           Marathon preparation was like a full time job. He was getting slightly short on patience which was uncharacteristic with his supervisor and some of his fellow workers who were getting under his grill with silly petty little pin pricking things. He started swearing a lot under his breath and decided. He had to keep his cool and not let things get to him. The boss called him aside in the smoko shack and had a talk to him.’Hows it going up there?’ he inquired. He was using up his stock of words with a leading question. Vic tried to contain his irritation. He was doing a steady effort. The boss was hinting that he wanted a young friend of a good friend to look in on learning the rudiments of crane operating. Vic was not thrilled about the prospect. When he met the young guy he seemed to be a bit too jumpy and impetuous. Not a good mix for a crane operator but he thought he needed to give this young guy a chance.

            Come the Saturday the young man was late and most of the jobs were in full swing and so he had little time to really edge him into the tasks. At one time he asked his young charge to sit still and stop rocking the boat. In the end after an hour he suggested that this young man finish the demo and arrange another session another day.

The boss was on the phone asking ‘is that all’ ‘would he be ready to start operating soon’. Vic said ‘To be honest I don’t think he is temperamentally up to it’, It’s not as if he is playing on his game boy’ The boss was miffed that just wasn’t what he was wanting to hear. Vic spent the next while just having a snack and looking around the grubby neighbourhood with his binoculars. He then decided to finish his lunch and to read a Marathon magazine. No phone calls were coming through and so that was unusual. Time flew by and then he chanced to look out of his crane cab. It was quite strangely quiet, too quiet. He glanced at the car park and it was completely emptied with the exception of one car, his, his jeep. That explains everything. Apparently the boss has called a short day for some reason. He didn’t let Vic know and here he was sitting in his cab unawares. This was a real bummer. Vic felt a pit in his stomach he enjoyed his job but it was the lack of communication and the lack of awareness that was stunning. His humour wasn’t better when he got down to the ground and found the security had locked the gates securely and everybody had gone home.

His anger fueled his decision to take make a few resolute steps. He lined up his little Jeep at the gates and decided that a run up would never clear the fence. Instead he drove his jeep into the strops and positioned the crane and simply lifted his jeep over the fence neatly and sweetly on the other side. His anger at having to climb backwards and forwards to the crane cab each time only increased his determination. He decided it would all be good exercise. Just to have a witness he called one of his friends and asked him to come over and take photos of him behind the fence and his jeep being hauled over the fence. Then one last piece of bravado he stropped up the smoko shack and lifted it with the crane and turned it around so it was facing in the a new direction away from the car park with the toilets getting the more prominent   sunny side. I’m sure they will enjoy the new challenge of being on the sunny side of life. ’A change is good as a holiday’ he chuckled. 

      Needless to say the boss was soon updated with the changes and Victor was on the mat in the bosses’ office to explain. Victor produced the photographs and was given a suspension from work until further notice. This gave him a few extra days to get in some marathon training which proved providential. However when he arrived back at work there was a new and bigger and more palatial smoko shack and it was firmly anchored and permanently placed with new planted trees and flowers around it to give a whole new look. Apparently the young guy that Vic had been instructing for half a lesson had tried to work the crane. He tried to right the smoko shack and in so doing had dropped the whole structure and completely destroyed it. That was unfortunately good because the boss was happy to see Vic back and was sorry in his brief way of putting things that he didn’t listen more to Vic. His salary was not deducted so in fact Vic landed jam side up in the whole little storm in a tea cup. 4732

Vic and Frank

Vic deep down wasn’t satisfied he wanted more. The more he saw the more he want to adjust and improve. He had broken the mold and it was no use putting the pieces back and gluing them together. The traditional forms of management needed reworking. The Marathon event came and went. He was pleased with his marathon time. It was a result consistent with the effort he had made. Most importantly he was among disciplined people who pushed themselves and gave 101%.

               ‘That’s it’ my mind is made up I’m going into my own business’ he said to the boss. The boss froze stuck for words. Victor held his salary in his hand. His thoughts went back to when he was working on the wharf after getting his fortnightly salary and putting it his back pocket. Somehow he was knocked off the wharf into the water. He was only there floundering around in the bluey green water when a boat pulled alongside and lifted him out of the water. After drying off in the sun and taking a coffee he put his hand in his back pocket and there was no salary packet. Eventually he tracked his money all laid out drying in sun on the bonnet of a truck. That’s what mates were for they backed each other up. On this job he told the boss ‘everyone looks out for self there is no feeling of working together’. The boss shuffled about ‘what?’ What’s what I’m out of here’? ‘Care to think about?’ Victor walked to his car and decided he had thought enough. Each day is different and everyday new. ’I’m my own boss you make no money fulfilling other people’s dreams I’m going to step out where I don’t know where but it’s not here. The crane whirred overhead the projection and production went on regardless. No ceremony was necessary he had been a cog in the wheel.  

            It was late afternoon too early for a liquid lunch. A car passed him and angled into the park without thinking Victor gave a comment to the driver as he got out. ‘You’re a little skewwhiff’ there’. The driver wasn’t really wasn’t impressed but he made a slight reverse and straightened up movement. It was something Victor did he had an innate sense of order it could be an instinct that got him into trouble but he did it in good heart. He was not out to play one-upmanship games.one thing Vic was good as being the first to forgive. In fact many of his friends had emerged phoenix like from the ashes of difficulties and misunderstandings. He bumped into the driver he met in the car park and they got talking in at the restaurant bar his name was Frank a local teacher from school in the area. Vic could see he was a real built guy but he handled himself well. They got chatting about exercising and weight lifting, Vic warmed to the idea of doing more weight training and so Frank gave him a few tips. Not only that but Frank got him interested into going into business on his own.   It goes to show how any chances are opportunities knocking. Frank had put him on to mowing lawns and suggested how to go about making a small business out of it. Vic took to the idea and very soon he had his own little source of regular income. This was a perfect job it fitted in perfectly with his philosophy of life and keeping things in order and helping improve your surroundings and lifting your attitude. Vic began to meet Frank and also his other teacher friend Colin and soon they realized they agreed on a lot of points together. Each in his own way was dissatisfied with their present situation. Waxing philosophical Frank would come out with phrases like ‘It’s better to be Socrates unfulfilled than a pig satisfied’. Colin knew all of Frank’s phrases and stories back to front and inside out and could quote them word for word.

Vic sensed these likeminded men were just the push he needed to strike out in a new way. Vic was a lean type and so being satisfied like a pig never appealed to him. He needed ideas and motivation and discipline and to take risks. He came down out of the sky and from road running and pounding the tarmac to strike out in a new ways.

Even as I close my eyes I can still visualize the surroundings. Like whole lot of same, same cardboard cutout boxes of a neighborhood. As unemployment was high and so there was the odd wreck of a car and a general run day drabness that left you feeling that inertia was all pervasive. Yet the school was more of a home for children. In one class there were children predominantly from two streets. So they knew each other well. The problems of the street and the neighborhood were the fabric of the classroom. The children dreaded the holidays because there was nowhere to go or escape the humdrum life. In fact the teenagers feared and loathed holiday time the most. It brought its own set of issues. It was not uncommon for children to run away from home for a few days. Teenaged girls learned to be nonchalant and bored and at the same time fearful at the prospects given the predatory nature of their older male cousins and uncles. Some even carted their bedding across the street to another house to get away from these unemployed older siblings who hung around the home listlessly watching TV.

                 My name is FRANK Shields and I am a teacher who comes and goes from the school so I’m only directly affected. However, I want to come and live closer to the school because the children despite their bleak surroundings are very outgoing and sociocentric. There is physicality and a roughness about these kids and most are endearing. They appreciate someone who takes the time to kick a ball with them or chat. I notice that church and cultural groups take an interest. As well there are police cars who cruise by and stop to stretch their legs and listen to people and their minor issues. Also the Mormon missionaries bike by and shoot a few baskets or a few rubbish bins with the kids. I only wish that by some magic a coat of paint would wrap the peeling paint work and give the run down nature of the streets a lift. As I opened my eyes and scanned the various houses I felt

The children struggled in a drab neighbourhood streets I got myself known as ‘M.T. an abbreviation of name Marty. Although I was fighting sometimes not to show how empty I felt. I was checking on these two guys who I got jobs for at the Paint factory when I thought lets wind this up a gear. I asked the supervisor if it was possible I could get some paint products to help paint the neighborhood. Fortunately I managed to go down the right channels and touch off some decision makers. To cut a long story short I managed to get a good selection of colours and paints. They were looking at putting something back into the community as a company and this was a perfect win-win for them and my plans. In fact it was a shot in the arm. But I hit a brick wall. This was work, I was a well-known in the area but I was tolerated and seen as a fun guy. It was going to be a bridge too far and now my idea had to be there idea or it would fall flat. So when a truck load of paint arrived on my door step I had to get a few people to switch off and switch on and help me unload the truck. Learned passiveness and reluctance were hardy beasts which were like encrustations and barnacles I had to tip toe around. Eventually I found 3 guys who helped me unload the truck and as it happened a kind of village elder chanced to come by. He could give me a run down on the neighborhood and the families. He liked my idea but I was quick to point out painting a few structures would not be just my idea but had to be owned and accepted. He agreed. I felt he was the breakthrough I needed. I asked him to front all future dealings with the people in the neighborhood. All it took was for a well-known sportsman to pop by at the start of the holidays and we had paint brushes and paint being applied in right order. Everyone who was able was out applying paint this way that way. It wasn’t pretty but it was bubbly and boisterous and engaging.

                 The local shopping center which had been bombed with graffiti too many times appreciated how the walls and the shops were spruced up. They showed their appreciation with some drinks and goodies. My elder got stuck in and when he did he brought housewives and mothers and cousins and uncles and kids all together. If anything was to stick it had to be a ground up movement not imposed or laid on like a big trowel from outside the community. You know what they say different strokes for different folks well brush strokes were being applied as the neighbourhood was being lifted out of its dreariness.  My teacher friends were pleasantly surprised and now there was a momentum and the movement I had been looking for which I felt was dormant and

a community good feeling and then step back. Don’t try to seek any kudos but let those who have lived and struggled in the neighborhood and been beaten down by hardships let them feel good about their new neighborhood. For a long time I had to admit in all honesty I was tiring of the teaching game. It had been my bread and butter but now I was looking further. I wanted to get into my own business. It was a dream. I didn’t feel I was betraying anyone. I suppose at 30 years of age I was beginning to think about whether I wanted to settled down and get married and raise a family. It would have been a natural progression for me and yet I wanted to hold of the inevitable. I had girlfriends before but they thought I was too selfish and single minded and what started out as a flourish of excitement soon faded with each new project I got involved in. Still I said to myself maybe one day I will be ready to settle down however please not just now. So I had to admit that what had happened was beyond my wildest dreams. I had hit the jack pot but the next project had to be the biggie and it everything hung on it. 

‘Fear grips the suburbs’ .The first stories trickled through. The rumours were confirmed. The newspaper stories fed the concerns and ratcheted up the anxieties of most parents. A stalker was on the prowl or even possibly several stalkers. The neighbourhoods were no longer safe places. Anytime, night or day. It began with a car stopping and the occupants inviting children walking home from school to ‘get in’. This happened more than once. There was a rogue stalker making his eerie presence felt.

                Marty a local teacher was on school gate duty. He was aware of the concerns so he was on constant look out. It wasn’t easy. A moment’s inattention was all it took. Most good parents and teachers know, they have a sixth sense.   In the hustle and bustle of children heading home after the school day you could be distracted. Marty cast his peripheral eye up and down the street at the same time adjusting a few school bags and listening to children’s talk. He was a caring teacher who forged a good reputation in the months he had been at the school. He witnessed a fellow teacher fully clothed jump in to a swimming pool to rescue a struggling child. While he didn’t agree with that sort of heroism and the lengths that rescuer went to save a child nevertheless he admired the dedication and call over and above normal duty. He always believed in moderate way and thinking the situation through. That was his style. He was a thinker yet a doer. He established a system and closeness with children to intervene and solve each demand each problem. However with the neighborhood stalker issue he realized children needed backup and careful monitoring and help. There was a need for a team cooperative effort.

            He noticed a car cruising on the other side of the street. He made a mental note of it. At the same time he caught the attention of his teacher colleague. Karl was not on duty at the time so Marty called him over. ‘Karl cover me, I need some help here, see that car.

The ‘code word’ was ‘cover me’ and most teachers used it a lot. You see in the movies with SWAT teams all the time. ‘It’s okay I know who this is, that’s Hemi’s uncle, said Karl. ‘Thanks’ I wasn’t sure I’ve never seen that car before, Marty replied. Just then the situation changed in a twinkle of an eye. The car door opened and Hemi’s uncle call Hemi across the road. The young kindy kid bolted right across the open busy road. A screech of brakes and that sickening thump as Hemi and school bag went flying.  Marty and Karl both went into damage control mode. Marty arrived to cradle young Hemi while Karl signaled a stop to oncoming traffic. Hemi was screaming from fright and needed calming the Uncle was beside himself and remorseful and the driver who braked was relieved his quick action had diverted an even more serious situation.

        The events of the past week and talk of a stalker had created a climate where everyone was on edge. Marty sat with Karl and a few other teachers in the outside smoker’s gazebo. Marty wasn’t a smoker but he liked to sit outside the busy staff room and laugh and chat and have a coffee with his friends.                                                                                                

‘You know that uncle of Hemi’s, he was clueless, fancy calling a little boy across the street’ said Karl. ‘Yes he fits the description of an uncle who is unemployed, he’s been sitting at home on a couch watching TV all day’, wistfully replied Marty. ‘Right’ the other teachers nodded in agreement. It was an all too common scenario with people unemployment. Lots of time on their hands and plenty of occasions to do precious little seemed to be the perfect climate for a scary situation where you have a stalker on the loose.

                  Now with Halloween and children roaming the streets trick or treating there was perfect cocktail of trouble brewing. Marty then got to thinking and planning for a school Halloween event where children could get excited and yet do it a safe and pleasant way. A big day was planned for but not without its hitches. Houses in the neighbourhood had been broken into the night before and shops at the shopping centre like the pharmacy had been raided for drugs. To heighten the tensions there were several more occasions of children harassed in the parks and on the streets. The police presence was out in force around the streets ensuring that they were noticed and reassuring parents there would action. Neighbourhood watch groups had a name change they were called Neighbourhood Support. There was need to maintain privacy but not allow overkill and creating nosey neighbour’s and what could be worse giving opportunities for stalkers to increase their network nuisance and fear.

                Marty who lived close to the school was an active presence in the neighbourhood. Being a single guy he loved nothing better to than shoot a few baskets with the local kids whether they went to his school or not. However because of the high number of children in the area who were at the school it was not uncommon for one classroom to contain 35 children who all came from just two streets. This Marty found made for an interesting mix. Often troubles on the street were reflected in the class room. He had discussed the present danger of the stalker and so it was easy to disseminate and get the messages out there. The day of school Halloween event brought the most weirdest and wonderful costumes out of the closets. Grotesque makeup and witches galore and pumpkin lanterns abounded. It seems the children were right in the zone in dealing with mayhem and terror. Considering this imported culture to their country the media of TV got the messages across well and most children were caught up in the event and understood the ghoulishness and blood and gore of the situation.

         However just when there is a big distraction it’s the calm before the storm. Karl was absent from school the next day. He had been the incident bystander to a hit and run accident while biking home on his motorbike. It seems the police were on a high speed chased and the offender ran the traffic lights. Karl was entering the T section when was the wrong person at the wrong time victim . A police car clipped his bike and he hit a fence, fortunately it was not a brick wall.

Marty and John went to the hospital to visit Karl with the good the news the stalker had been apprehended. While this was small comfort to Karl all strapped up and bandaged it was at least some good news. The doctors confirmed he was a lucky guy and should go out and buy a lottery ticket. ‘Here Karl I bought you a few tickets in the Golden Kiwi’ said Marty. ‘Thanks if I win something we’ll have a small party and celebrate’ Karl groaned and grimaced as he adjusted his position on the hospital bed. ‘ Here don’t move and get excited’ said John as he rushed to assist him. Karl was grateful for the visit of his friends. ‘I’ve been thinking’ said Marty. ‘The Halloween event at school was a success on Friday’. ‘ I feel as if I want to do more for the whole neighbourhood. The stalker situation has had us walking on egg shells a bit. Perhaps we can lift the morale of the neighbourhood. It’s looking tatty and run down a bit.’ ‘Yes maybe the school can look outside the gate to having a cleanup and sprucing of whole area’. said John. Okay I can hobble around and give orders but where do we start there is so much that needs improving’, said Karl. ‘That’s where I have had a few thoughts’ began Marty. You know a good painting programme this summer could do wonders. I’m fed up with the graffiti. It does nothing to lift your spirit added John ‘ Okay we have talked about this problem before especially when our school has been hit so many times and been the target of vandals with a spray can or two. So let’s do it.’ 

                   There is nothing like two or three activists with a plan that can turn the tide and get the pride back in the neighbourhood. So an idea was born and given wings. Very soon we had the ear of parents and children and every able bodied person in the neighbourhood. Unemployed uncles sitting on couches and mothers formed a formidable army. The ripples were felt up and down the street and every house was caught up in a pamphlet drop or informed by over the fence chats or talks in the markets. It worked a charm. The bush telegraph was working well.  Words 8071

Come the holidays and Marty, Jeb, Karl, and Felix are wanting to go into the painting business.  They want to be innovative and go where nobody has been before by using Drones or UAV’s, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. These are robots that fly  using on board cameras and micro chips and 4 rotors or quads to stabilize the them . Not only is it technology that nobody is familiar with the four business adventurers are putting themselves on the line. The team has to do some fast research work to understand the new field of endeavor they have gotten into. They all share  teaching experience with a smattering of computer, camera and a little of bit of business and marketing skills together with a growing interpersonal and social skills. They soon learn that having a passion and excitement for a new venture has to not only have all the skills in place but they have to relearn everything they know from the ground up literally and figuratively. Their teaching careers haven’t prepared them for anything like they are getting into.

They have 5 to 6 weeks to make an all or nothing  decision and then as business emerges they need to look for other personnel who can fill the slots to grow. They take the risks and get on a roller coaster ride which has them growing faster than they had planned for. They head hunt for innovative members to add to their team. Some emerge by chance and others they gain through contacts. They not only win over new team members and bring them on board but they also encounter their Gollum character Larry who seeks to take them to court. So a court battle ensues as their successes grow. They run foul of some city bylaws and learn to help people to understand both the capabilities but the limits of drone technology.In the roller coaster ride they encounter to young Millennials who take the innovations even further.

Drone Racing

There was a lot to learn about unmanned aerial Vehicles or UAV’s and to understand. They were likened to robots with wings. Marty Karl Felix and Jeb heard about Drone racing so went along one afternoon and happened to bring their precious drone and just so happened to conveniently enter a contest. It required 4 drones racing around a sports field using the running track as a guide. It also had large markers that stood 2 meters high and there was a tunnel to navigate through. A lot of fun and excitement and also meant having a backup set of rotor blades because they were always susceptible in a crash or in clipping the marker pegs as well as bumping other contestants. It was to be accepted in the cut and thrust of competition. It was difficult to follow who was in the lead sometimes if you merely blinked for a second but generally after a few laps one drone took the lead and was hard to haul in and so eventually won by a country mile.

              Learning about the capabilities of drones and what they could do was a big learning curve. Most people are usually satisfied with a passing understanding of drones and they leave it pretty much at that unless of course they happen to own a drone then they’re like the 4 amigos they about drones and the skills of handling. They learn the limits of the batteries that power them. The understand the capabilities of the cameras and what they can see and do. They learn how to control them with a joy stick, a black box or a computer monitor. They real joy is to send up a drone and with a monitor attached to you it can track you where every you bike or run. Most people are surprised to learn that it has these capabilities and even more. It will factor in such obstacles as trees and structures and so navigates. How does it do that? Well either you or your friend carries a tracker monitor in your pocket or strapped to your leg and the drone is very smart it simply follows you from a prearranged distance. However given all the little problems and issues with drones and how they can invade people’s privacy and cause problems for aviation. The rules have had to tighten up very rapidly. However not before it seems, we have been able to get the opportunity to record some spectacular footage in the mountains and sea and sand shots. Now of course some beaches are off limits for drones. Yet we have some remarkable film footage of their capabilities. We hear that they can deliver pizzas and are even big enough to circumvent traffic accidents and get to emergency help and support to a medical team. They can even rush heart beat monitors that can deliver shocks to patients and revive them. All very exciting and futuristic.

               The 4 amigos, Marty Karl Felix and Jeb were each uniquely different yet they were singularly determined to succeed and be successful with a one venture which would gel all their hopes and dreams. They felt the best way to achieve this was to collaborate on some project together. In a nutshell they were tired of living other people’s dreams. They could dream and take the risks and reap the benefits of their own blood sweat and tears. They were single guys and while having relationships and girlfriends were always a possibility. Playing with their toys for boys might be not the girls thing. Nevertheless they  got the fun side of drones out of their systems and started to suck in a breath or two. Maybe they were surfing a wave of new possibilities. What they had discussed many times together was ways to make a business. They had a system that worked well among their teaching colleagues and that was to explore new possibilities by using a thinking system. It was colour coded. They tried on different hats. For example a white hat signified getting all the facts out on the table.  The usual way is not to discuss some things because they might happen too controversial, political or religious or maybe just too sensitive. Never mind just put it out on the table and weigh it up. Maybe the stone that is rejected could be the cornerstone. (word for it ) a special type of thinking. Just can’t remember it. Its where you weigh up everything leave nothing.

Then there is the red hat you put this on to express feelings. Feelings are integral to thinking. Too much heat and not enough light is shed on discussions because it creates blockages so clear the blockages. In some ways we have to be prepared to drop what we know and unlearn aspects of life cpme to see in a new way. Then there is the opposing yellow and black hats one positive and one negative. Both thinking and analyzing are essential. However if we begin with the black hat and become critical too soon we stifle very real possibilities of finding new and creative solutions. Then there is the green hat. Very creative we discuss off the wall and impossibly creative possibilities.

It was from one such discussion that there emerged a possibility of trying to build a drone that could deliver pizzas or even to paint buildings or even analyze and survey difficult hard to get to situations. like in search and rescue. Or even in bomb disposal or a standoff situation. Especially where lives could be put at risk unnecessarily.    Finally the blue hat would bring about a chance to evaluate the discussion. One more over all hat had to do with over all vision. This was the panoramic hat of multi colours. After evaluating the progress of the discussion we then see how it measured up morally with the big picture the team had in mind. Did it fulfill the missing link? Was it feasible short, medium and long term? In other words more than just evaluating their discussion did it have vision. Being creative is one thing and having minds open to possibilities but did it provide a future for them and give them economic returns when and how. They really had high ideals and they wanted to test their theories namely there is nothing as practical as a good theory. The reason so many discussions get ship wrecked is because you have conservatives and progressives. This who like to play safe and those who like to take a little bit of a risk. The group believed in taking calculated risks. They believed in keeping their feet on the ground. Telling an honest story and believing a realistic outcome.

          Out of one of their more fruitful discussions they came to agree that it was more than feasible to uses drones for painting structures and especially paint hard to get to places. That was it they had the meat in the sandwich something they could explore and test further.

Rich kids birthday …………..Having much success with our promotions in schools and he mall and also we went to the the fire station Christ mas party  then the rich kids that was something else.

We felt a close with the fire station in a way. We compared our work with what they do. While they are different because they attend to emergencies however being able to cover a building and see that we know the area well is some thing we share with them. So we decided to offere our services free on a Saturday and put on your usual demo. We adapted a little we had  5  very large mockups of of buildings and there were 5  teams who would race each other. However the drone team pilot would be blind folded once the drone was in place and a child who had a clear voice would be giving instructions to the drone operater go left go right up and down. There were some hilarious results the navigator was still there to ensure that things didn’t go hay wire and they started going off and painting the crowd.     Each building after each session was evaluated and they picked the best and most success house finished with the roof and 4 walls done. The windows and doors were covered over and so it was easy to remove the masked off patches. It proved very funny with some good bits and not good bits. 

It was visual  we had the roof drone  and  the 4 wall dones  so 5 different colours  which made it more exciting.

The children at the fire station also included handicapped and children from poor homes. they were noisy and loud but it was all for a good cause.

By comparison we were coaxed to a rich kids party it was completely a different programme . I supposed these children had a sense of entitlement and needed more sophisticated entertainment.  We decided to paint the houses again but  included  paper mache heads popping out of windows and  getting painted these children were noisy and happy as well  it made for a fun afternood but we decided we would not take on any more of this side of our work . As exteachers we thought it would be fun but we realized how much we had moved on from this sort of activity. Words 9970

Today was Friday and I was determined to get up a little earlier than usual. Just as well the delivery guys were here. Spot on time. Soon a big shiny box all bristling with possibilities lay squarely in the center of the room. “sign here then it’s all yours’. At a glance I thought I saw the delivery guy give me a wink. Only half suspecting yet not fully comprehending that in this instance my life was about to change. ‘Thank you for the delivery’ I said as I slipped the delivery guy a tip. The big moment would have to stay on hold as I bolted to the car to ensure I was in the rush hour traffic and heading  to work to be on time at 8am.

Friday seemed to amble along like a snail with its brakes on. It being the end of another busy school term there was a list of items to stitch up. Then it was off to the local Cuzzie Club for an ale with a bunch of fellow teachers and their cuzzie bros. They came  from an assortment of schools in the area. It was a pleasant enough time but also a general ribbing and one-up-man-ship and a winding down and stress relieving allo rolled into one. Although our association and bonding over the years was held together by our common teacher connections. Also the fact we kept bumping into one another on teachers courses it was really the hardened core of the group who maintained a closer connection. Most of us were fringe dwellers.

‘The big box arrived this morning’ I said to Jeff. ‘ Like a magnet Nick the principal of our school picked up on the conversation. ‘What’s this new holiday project you’ve been hinting at for a few

al type and we had thought we might include him in the team but his wife held an iron grip on him. He never had much spare time anyway and he had to keep her happy. As well he was expected to put in an appearance at the school on the odd few days during the holidays. Actually we are exploring the wonders of Drone UAV’s. Now Rodney started buzzing again ‘Drones!  Drones ! Oh really? Come on they are toys’ Your wasting your time and money. Go to the beach sip a cool one on your deck chair’. Now as I drifted in my thoughts maybe Rodney could be right but a little inner voice was saying you have 6 weeks nearly 43 days beginning today. I just wanted to do something. I had an urge far greater than I could put into words , I really  just wanted do it. I remember back other times when we would share a beer

with everyone. This was person was going to paint a outside deck, another person was going to paint the house and so the list went on

Project after project was discussed and laid out and questions of where to get materials and discounts and bargain sales. Then after a few beers each of the good intentions were criticized and knocked down and then after a few more beers it was as if there was a group census we would do nothing, just take a break. We would all go out the door and go home with new holiday plans of planning to do zilch. We planned to rest and do nothing and meet up again on the odd occasions.  The holidays would be taken up with family commitments and arrangements then Christmas and New celebrations and the January months became a time to stay inside out of the mid afternoon heat and fritter time watching sport and old movies on TV.

Not these holidays. We had an understanding we would get the drone of the ground and then we start a business. There was a future and it cleared our nostrils and gave us steely thoughts. These holidays were going to be a make or break big time. The thought of grinding out another year of teaching in classrooms had always been our back up, our bread and butter. We wanted to get another vision besides if we had to fall back on teaching for another year then what stories we would have to inspire children and show them what UAV unmanned aerial vehicles could do. It was a win-win situation for us. We couldn’t lose.  So our excitement we were fit to bottle as the 4 of us met and in the lounge we opened the big box that had been delivered that sat waiting in the lounge. I wanted to savor this moment that’s why I deliberately didn’t open up the box when it was delivered. I needed it to bring us together and to unite us in a massive project. We were taking a leap in the dark and so it could only a process of shining a light and becoming informed. We had an idea of going into the painting business and drones seemed to be the way forward. How exactly we were naively, blissfully and unaware. As I say the

moment this box was opened and we began assembling all the parts our lives would  be changed moment by moment.

We needed to undergo lots of research and info building. I will leave all that information and the capabilities and the potential for Drones for a later discussion. Right now we were on a mission to just fly this new bright smooth wonder and just play with it.  That we did late into the night and satisfied for the time being with what we discovered we crashed and slept until the morning awoke us all. had both been on edge and to put it politely it was a bit of a shitty time. Everything we were doing in the Drone painting business was ground breaking. Everything we were attempting to do was all ‘if’s and but’s’. Really we ask the impossible to get a Drone off the ground with a 2 liter tank of paint and a variety of spray nozzles clear of the onboard cameras. Various other interested investors and hangers on had long since left us two stubborn technicians to soldier on. My expertise was solely in electrical engineering while my partner Sean was the computer whizz. Not a stitch of business know how between us. Just a big desire to work together and put up the cash to get the whole unique painting business up and going.

The idea of using a drone to fly in close to bridges and tall buildings and get into difficult out of the way places was a very feasible idea. I reasoned that we could get a paint job done in half the time and therefore half the cost. Once we had done a little bit of further testing which I conservatively estimated to be a 1000 hours we would be in real business. ‘Sean look at it this way’ I waxed sagely ‘this

drone work will market itself’. ‘Right Jacko, I believe we can set up the a parameters for the drone to move in close to any structure and get the fine jet sprays to do a real professional job’So that’s just what we did week in week out. I observed the drone moving in and painting and I also manned the paint refilling platform while Sean worked the x-box and monitor and programmed the drone to hover back about half a meter from the spray target area. ‘I believe that I’ve read somewhere, I’m not sure where I got this information, but I remember reading it, that if you want to be an Olympic champion you have to clock up at least 1000 hours in your chosen sport’.  Sean agreed with me. The next few months we painted everything we could. My grandmother’s house my own house twice and Sean found further work with the city council. We even did some crop spraying for the local farmers using pesticides which was tricky because there are a few people who are suspicious and ‘anti’ with anything to do with spraying. Fortunately with a drone you can get in and out and                     away before there is any fuss kicked up. We learnt one thing along the way and that is as this technology is all so new we found it necessary to sign an agreement or a letter of understanding. We would do the work but those who employed us must back us up and defend us legally if there was ever any dispute for whatever reason.

So now after 3 months armed with photographs and much positive feedback and much valuable testing we were ready for the world. However there was just one small matter and that was in getting a patent of this idea so we protected ourselves from any cowboys who wanted to jump us and our fledgling efforts by flooding the market with shonky spinoff takes on our work. It didn’t take long before we were considering the possibility of involving more drones and spreading the work load. That meant training up others in the skills and creating a school for drone paint operators. You might say

that our business idea did market itself and simply took off. We didn’t even have time to think of a name for our Drone painting venture and no mission statement or even a business plan let alone a 5 year plan. However the investors who previously turned their backs on us were now starting to get excited and come back round to offering a good investment package. Bank loans from Conservative members of the banking fraternity were picking up the buzz and becoming more receptive to our calls

Life begins at the end of our comfort zone

Frighteningly enough Colin was envied for one thing. His perfect perfectionism. His friend joked and teased him about his meticulous rituals as being a bit of a fetish. That only made Colin more determined and even more convinced and convicted as to his modus operandi. Today was the usual Monday and he let the phone ring. He was a man on a mission. He needed no distractions to throw a spanner in his workings.

          Up at 6.30am. Clicked on his pedometer to keep track of his vital movements. His goal was to get to 10,000 steps each day. He achieved that yesterday while walking around a bit shopping and viewing the markets. So Mondays was as good as any day of the week to crack another ton.  He was not going to make a list of what he would do this day he was just going to avoid wasting any time. That meant a light workout putting the washing in the washing machine. Outside to feed the fish and sweep the yard water the plants and generally do a few little odds and ends then. In for a shower get dressed have breakfast, The phone rang he thought he was suitably on top of his day so he answered the phone. Hi __________ yes I’m up and firing for the day. My pedometer reads 200 steps already. Yes didn’t I tell you my new goal is to get to 10,000 steps each day? It’s easy, hang my little pedometer around my neck and forget about it.   Just check it now and then to get an idea of how each I’m progressing. Oh of course when I’m sitting down having breakfast there is no movement so the pedometer has nothing much to record. Yea that happens throughout the day quite a bit. I clocked up 2100 steps after I finished my work out on the tread mill. Sorry to bore you with the mundane but I just want to do it.  Okay see you later you at 12 noon don’t be late. He signed off the conversation in his usual manner. He hated lateness. He was always precise and punctual.

              Colin was on a roll now. The phone went again but he was not in the mood to answer it. He had some reading to do over coffee and that was number one. It was probably his ex-girlfriend wanting a friendly chat about sweet nothings. He never had the time to explain to her he had moved on and she was probably still thinking he was interested but the interest was far gone. He had too many other things to occupy his life. Like reading the latest gadgets and trends in the world of technology. He was so happy to be living life and the explosion of inventions all around him every day. What caught his interest today was an article about ‘drones’ or UAV’s. This was so interesting. If he had the money he would go buy one today. Maybe he could interest his friend and see if he would invest in this idea. Worth a try. There were quite a few gaps in his knowledge about how drones worked. So his mind was buzzing. He could see they were held up in the air by these little propellers. He couldn’t see how they were controlled. Looks like joy sticks or something. Then was impressed by the cameras and the whole technology. This gut straps on a remote device and goes running and the drone follows him. It avoids obstacles and trees and buildings as he goes running. The phone rang again it was his friend to adjust the time of their lunch meeting forward an hour. Fine by me. Make it one then and don’t be late alright gotcha.

         Colin for all his meticulous ways and perfectionism was quite an easy going guy. So it is a surprise to discover how governed and precise he was. It’s disguised well and you have to get to know him to learn about his mannerisms. Then by the time you get to know him you learn to accept him and if you do you discover he is quite a likeable character.   Not regimented and difficult like a soldier. He was very tolerant of those who were a bit messy in their ways. In fact it was not uncommon for him to be going around picking up and putting things in place. ‘Oh sit down and relax Colin let’s do the dishes in the morning’ his friend would whine out. ‘It’s okay I want to do them and 30 minutes later everything was done ship shape and in Bristol fashion. 

        The lunch meet with his friend was took place at 1pm although Colin had been sitting and playing around with his cellphone for over 30 minutes. The café was one of his favourites tucked out of the way around the corner off the main street away from the hustle and bustle and noise. ‘what you having the usual he asked his friend. Yes just some cheese sphagetti thing. When they were settled Colin started chatting about drones enthusiastically. His friend said sounds good. I have another friend who is into drones you’ll have to come with me and meet him. ‘Really that’s great I would like to see what they can do. ‘Are you interested in investing with me in a little a bit of research about them? I think they have a lot of potential in what they can do?  Like what? His friend asked. Well the camera angles for one thing they seem free to wander. I think there would be some pluses and minuses with that. They could be nosey little blighters.  You have to believe it. They are becoming notorious and a pain for some people. The army has the technology to shoot them down.  Once they are spotted on radar they take these gun and shoot them out of the sky.  Of course drone warfare was where they first became famous or infamous. They were highly effective and did quite a bit of damage. It seems amazing that here is this guy piloting this little craft like he is playing war games on his computer but in reality he is targeting real targets in real time.

    Over lunch the discussion seemed to be steering towards drones. Colin zeroed in and just kept feeding his appetite for answering so many questions. His friend could see he was totally in raptures about the many possibilities. Okay Colin here is the deal you do the research and learn more and choose a good model. I know you will do a thorough with that and I will put up 20,000 dollars and we will go into together with learning more. In the meantime I will arrange you to meet my friend  and we can see a drone in action. Right thanks for your understanding  Words 12759

 Now we were laughing all the way to the banks. Our drone painting franchise was growing from being Phony Baloney talk to the real deal. In fact we were turning down work which was good because we then specialize and go into sign writing and real intricate artwork. We even turned down assignments such as children’s birthday parties and a lot of Agricultural shows and advertising stunts. ‘Marty it just keeps on getting better ,Karl  said one day as we were having a quiet beer together. Just then we saw a rather attractive woman weaving through the restaurant straight towards. As both

Jeb  and I are single guys we obviously we were taken right back by this impressive confident woman who obviously could come right and cut to the chase. ‘Hi there’ she opened up ‘I heard you are into painting and using drones to get the job done’  ‘Yes that’s right’ I said rather curiously. Secretly I was hoping she was going to give us some project which would be a chance to get to know her better. ‘What do you have in mind? Asked Jeb, which mirrored my question as well. ‘I have little project, a birthday surprise I need you to do for me’.  ‘Oh oh!’ I said and Sean laughed as well because we had turned down birthday parties left right and centre. ‘No’ she said as she motioned the waiter to get her a beer and us another round of beers. I want you to paint my boyfriend’s car as a special surprise. I want him to wake up on his birthday morning and find his Cherry red Lamborghini is a nice new bright  Canary yellow colour, fifty fifty with a Prussian blue. Both colours with a black stripe running nose to tail in his favourite football teams colours. She gave us a mock up picture of the design she wanted.

Shifted the car to a big factory warehouse where we had it masked and ready. Three drones on the job each taking a colour yellow then blue then black. Working through the night steadily we had the car painted and polished. At around 5 am the woman called by paid us handsomely and signed the agreement of understanding in which she took responsibility for the completed work. She wished to have the agreement mounted and framed and put with the car. This we did and then we delivered the car well before life began on the street.

We wished we could be there to look at the boy friends face when he woke and pulled back the curtains. ‘I can assure you he will be over the moon when he sees the wonderful work you have done’. He has a whole new car.

The boyfriend was not in a very birthday mood. In fact he was speechless and coming down the phone at us. He read the agreement attached to the car

windscreen and got our phone number. His one off valuable Lamborghini had not only been repainted in two hideously clashing colours with a black racing stripe but its value had been reduced according to him to the same price value as a dodgem car at the fair. ‘That bitch moved out and this was her parting shot.’ Fortunately it was out our hands and we politely recommended that the birthday boy speak to the girlfriend.

‘Thank goodness Marty we had that agreement drawn up’ said Jeb. I agreed wholeheartedly and had a laugh. ‘Sean would like to make him an offer for his Lamborghini, Im sure the price would be right’  We had breakfast rang into the other

drone workers shared the funny story and told them what we did and then after the all-nighter it was time for some well earn rest and a sleep 

There had to be a defining moment when everything came together and it did. It was more a filling up and then. The only recourse was to keep getting bigger and bigger and more and more containers. We had the information but it was if and but too many times. Colin was nudging things in his precise way to say guys ‘hey we have enough information what say make something fit. Frank agreed and so did Victor and just at that tipping point came a knock on the door who should be but Nick with Rodney in toe. ‘You’re just in time’ said Frank. Really I passed Felix and Jeb were expecting them as well. ‘The more the merrier just put a few cups of water in the stew.

            The door was opened so in came Felix and Jeb as if we were expecting them. ‘We were in the area so we thought we could just come by. ‘Well’ said Colin slightly fussed and urging things to happen. ‘Let’s rock and roll’ We have enough information on drones or UAV’s to sink the Titanic so let’s have a discussion. ‘What’ said Rodney you’re not still droning on about Drones. Yes we are said Frank and we’ve done some boning up and honing up and now we are zoning in.

        Here is how we get the discussion going. It’s all a simple strategy. We are all going to be on the same white page together. So Victor has agreed to start with the white position. We have had to go through a process of unlearning so as to get ready to learn added Colin. First up we all feel fed up with our present lots. I’ve been in between jobs for a month or two. Victor has made the big step with his job and Frank isn’t too far behind. I talked to Felix on the phone and sensed he and Jeb will share a bit about how they feel.

Rodney and Nick you are welcome at this point in time to our ground zero discussions. We ask you in particular Rodney to trust the process trust one another. You’re welcome to share you viewpoint it’s valuable. However this is not a debate of pro versus con just yet. We have a few coloured party hats to put on. White hat thinking is about sharing the facts first. So Victor the first question if you would.   Okay what is a done ? It drew on the board drones 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10. Frank ‘a robot in the air’ Jeb a UAV. What’s a UAV asked Rodney. Jeb replied sorry I’m using short hand for Unmanned Arial Vehicle. It has a camera added Nick. It’s like a helicopter replied Rodney. The run on battery power said Felix. Right keep it coming that’s good we have defined what a drone is and we have yet to explore what a drone does. After half an hour they had a whole list of capabilities of what a drone could do. Remember said Victor that we can facts later from a positive or negative view. White hat thinking is about gathering information. Someone mentioned they look like toys in the air Colin pointed out yet we have a whole lot of things that drones do like spraying crops in pest control. Even sowing seeds or sowing wheat and rice from the air. Surveillance is especially a useful purpose for drones. Drones were common in warfare where I believe they first come into prominence. The forestry guys have a big drone for scanning the forests for potential fire hazards to do information gathering which they need to do regularly. To map uncharted places difficult to get at. Getting back to the forestry guys may be in some way they could fight forest fires and that is where we will come back and discuss.

        Now Colin and Frank have a friend who demonstrated his drone for them. Can you share a little about what makes a drone a drone.  Sure well I have a friend who is mad on drones and flies them for fun said Frank. He has two or three but we only saw one in action which was perfect. First Colin said they look and move like helicopters and have these little quad rotors which help them remain stable. They hover and they can be controlled from the ground by computer or Xbox or joy sticks or simply they can be programmed with a set of instructions to form to and they follow a remote which a person carries. Some drones take a cellphone clamped on to it and you can follow with another cellphone as its signal is beamed back to earth. The technology is growing each day and as we speak observed Nick. As you all know we ordered and received a drone but a small trial we had to return it because it was faulty with the battery. Fortunately for us it didn’t come to any mishap but we have heard stories spectacular mishaps and crashes. You can see these on Youtube if you have the time. It’s all a big learning curve Okay Victor can you sum up called Frank.

              Victor was brief, thanked the discussion and we all agreed with him that it’s early days. Finally Victor challenged are you ready to surf with a bigger version of a drone in a financial venture? Red hat time called Colin. It’s a chance to express feelings. I’m excited said Jeb. They are clever little robots mentioned Victor and what about you Nick and Rodney? As you know I have been committed in my job as a School Principal but like you said at the beginning I’m tired I could do with a change. Rodney promised me he would be on his best behaviour also. ‘That is true that so true. I can’t wait to test and provoke more discussion said Rodney. Excuse me a minute my wife is calling and her timing is perfect, I’ll be right back. While they were sharing their feelings about drones and the future. Nick was sharing his feelings on the phone with his wife. Nick found a quiet spot and checked to see if his wife was comfortable and sitting down. I know you have trusted me on many a decision I have had to make. I’m with Frank, Victor, Rodney, Jeb and Felix and a new guy Colin. Nick said his wife over the phone. Our children are grown up and have their own lives and we have had your income plus a pay out of inheritance from my father so you make the decision Nick. Thanks Gloria that’s what I need to hear. Love you see you this evening.

            Nick knew as school principal of a medium sized elementary school the time was ripe for a change. He was 2 years from retirement and he was not tied down he could be a free agent anytime he wanted to be. ‘That was Gloria on the phone he said when he got back to the group. Frank brought him to date with discussions. We are just concluding on our feelings about the drone business so far feeling is running 50 50. Rodney of course is ever cautious but he needs time like we all have needed. So Nick how do you feel about the future and drones? Well I’m glad you asked because I’ve just got off the phone talking to Gloria. I feel very positive. I won’t hold back. I’m ready to make a commitment. Gloria trusts my decision and so I will say yes when we start. Congratulations Nick for anticipating our purpose for this meeting and the need for clear decisions. Welcome aboard. I think we will conclude for lunch now and after lunch we will put on our yellow and black hats for some positive and negative inputs. Jeb agreed to take the positive questions and Colin the Negative positions so see you after lunch everyone. I think we can pop around to our favourite deli bar for some snacks we can bring back here and these coffee and tea here already.

             The news of Nick’s decision plus a good lunch and the fact that Jeb close to coming on board. This was the short in the arm Victor, Frank and Colin were hoping for. After lunch the group was melding together well. Rodney and Felix had gone quiet and they were obviously weighing up the situation nevertheless they stayed in touch with the conversation by asking questions and making useful observations. It was early days and the core group knew it.  

             Rodney excused himself and went down the street for a smoke just to clear his head. He bumped into a friend and they got talking and smoking together. What are you doing over here I don’t see you this way much? Oh I’m meeting with a bunch of starry eyed guys who want to go into business together. What sort of business? His friend asked. It’s a new start up drone business it’s a crazy little idea but you know what they say about fools and their money. ‘Look’ said his friend ‘stay clear of technology until those who have crashed and burned up have got over their excitement. I’m in the banking business and we see these start up characters all the time with their business plans and their hands out for cash loans. Wait, just wait for 5 more years stay in touch with them and try to avoid jumping in feet first. Believe you me. Yes thought Rodney who was wavering and ready to be fed with dire news.

                As planned Jeb lead off with a positive question. What in one positive word can you use to describe drones. A flood of words came from the group slow down slow down I’m writing as fast as I can. Flexible, innovative, mobile, nosey, compact, fragile looking but tough, heh? That’s a contradiction isn’t it Frank. Oh just putting it up for what it is worth replied Frank. It doesn’t have to be 101% accurate. Okay right I see said Jeb anymore positives? Maneuverable, smart, intelligent, price coming down soon value for money added Colin.  What have you to add Rodney asked Nick. ‘I’m saving myself for the black hat discussion next replied Rodney. Okay Rodney would you care to add one more word then. Sure they are a puzzle a mystery to be unravel further.

              The negative discussion got under way now that there was an open and positive foundation to build on. You see to start with the negative discussion puts a damper on the thought and stifles everything. Now Colin being the newest member was yet to fully reveal himself to the group but Frank knew him to be precise and proper. Well here is a chance to speak up now as to why we can’t enter into a marriage with drones. Speak up now or forever hold your peace. Ordered Colin injecting a serious bit of humour into the discussion. ‘What are the possible flaws and weaknesses of a drone?  Robots are not taking over the world as predicted. Drones are the same they are way overpriced added Rodney as his flood gates opened.  Seeing Rodney was on a roll Colin then asked the others. They are expensive true said Frank but their smartness and versatility have got them into trouble. The army employed them for war like activity and they were so nosey and fed back important information. The Iranians I believe shot one down and some soldiers were regarded as war heroes for getting up close and personal and analyzing them.

I think as Rodney hinted before they are still a mystery maybe that means their potential is untapped. Maybe what we are seeing is the experimental and prototypes of something even better to come. Can we go with something that has potential that is untapped and in its raw stages? I think not even a quarter of the world population knows anything about drones maybe even less have any concept of what they can achieve. Did you know they are making guns for shooting down nosey drones especially drones that pry and cause problems like potential air accidents? Pointed out Colin. It’s inevitable even with the likes of the cellphone that there is an upside and a downside to them.

            Great discussion you guys. Now Nick would you do us the honour of putting some green hat questions in front of us. Sure green as you know means growth and I am going to ask the question like Give me a101 uses for a dead cat are but what are 101 the uses for a lively drone? You could take amazing selfie’s at a wedding said Victor. You keep an eye on your wife or your girlfriend. Oh! Oh! Don’t go there this green hat now not the black. You said anything. Okay the sublime to the ridiculous anything goes. It could help me find my car keys. Good that’s a great idea. Maybe it could be programmed to fetch like a dog. You could use it at football matches to get crowd shots even used in crowd control. If it sprays crops for pesticide then it could be used in painting buildings and hard to get at places. It could be used in advertising and carrying banners. The discussion just kept bouncing off the walls. Frank and Victor felt as if 101 uses for a drone were possible and some of the more ridiculous suggestions like putting a loud speaker messages on them to relay around a sports carnival or Fair ground was out of sight and out of mind. Maybe as baby and child minders. They could be used to highlight dangerous traffic intersections and draw people’s attention. They could be used to deliver pizzas. Where’s a drone when you need one? I have ordered pizzas but by motorbike they should be coming soon said Colin.

           The afternoon session drew to a close when Frank went back and got everyone to eliminate the suggestions that were too creative and see what they were left with. Either first pick or second even third pick made it clearly that going into the painting business what was one idea that was unique and that no one had yet come up with. He then asked Felix and Rodney help him to wear blue hats and to join in evaluating the final stage of the discussion. It was clear from most of the group that they had all had a chance to breathe and think and to grow. Arguing about drones would have burnt up value energy. Instead the energy was harnessed and directed to coming to some sound conclusions. Nick made an observation. He said when I was growing up I saw my first black and white TV at 12 years of age a flickering bluish white and black picture . 50 years later and I have the potential to manipulate a camera and go where no one has dreamed of going. I want to be part of this new venture to learn about to discover its potential. It doesn’t have to be perfect just like a flickering black and white TV was not perfect. We are at an exciting stage. I chose going into painting buildings and hard to get at places using drones. I think that is an exciting possibility. Yes said Felix they are the unknown but we are not going in blind we can see everything and weigh it all up. Rodney held in his mind the words of his banking friend ‘avoid jumping in feet first’. Now he was more bewildered. Part of him was saying woah! and another part of him said go! What ta heck he was going to go and if it wouldn’t be the craziest thing he had ever done in his life but he trusted Nicks intuition more after all Nick will have a lot more to lose than he would so it’s a good risk. Yes he said out loud I’m going with this venture and painting is a good start. Pizza delivery and painting have a potential.

             They enjoyed sharing a pizza together and the satisfaction that they had come to some fruitful decisions. Rodney aid yes and came along with the group and then next Felix followed. It was as if the tipping buckets of water over flowed to the buckets on the next level and so it snow balled. There was no pressure on anyone just reasonable discussion and a chance to putt all the pieces on the table and seeing the interconnecting of the puzzle. The fog of mystery and the unknown was clearing and it was all falling into place. The final wrap up was to be tomorrow with a meeting after lunch. Each person was to go home and do his homework and then join in big meeting to iron out the best way forward for the future.

There had to be a defining moment when everything came together and it did. It was more a filling up and then. The only recourse was to keep getting bigger and bigger and more and more containers. We had the information but it was if and but too many times. Colin was nudging things in his precise way to say guys ‘hey we have enough information what say we make something fit. Frank agreed and so did Victor and just at that tipping point came a knock on the door who should it be but Nick with Rodney in toe. ‘You’re just in time’ said Frank. Really I passed Felix and Jeb were you expecting them as well? ‘The more the merrier just put a few cups of water in the stew.

            The door was opened so in came Felix and Jeb as if we were expecting them. ‘We were in the area so we thought we could just come by. ‘Well’ said Colin slightly fussed and urging things to happen. ‘Let’s rock and roll’ we have enough information on drones or UAV’s to sink the Titanic so let’s have a discussion. ‘What’ said Rodney you’re not still droning on about Drones? Yes we are said Frank and we’ve done some boning up and honing up and now we are zoning in.

        Here is how we get the discussion going. It’s all a simple strategy. We are all going to be on the same white page together. So Victor has agreed to start with the white position.  We have had to go through a process of unlearning so as to get ready to learn added Colin. First up we all feel fed up with our present lots. I’ve been in between jobs for a month or two. Victor has made the big step with his job and Frank isn’t too far behind. I talked to Felix on the phone and I sensed he and Jeb will share a bit about how they feel.

Rodney and Nick you are welcome at this point in time to our ground zero discussions. We ask you in particular Rodney to trust the process believe me let it go and let it happen just trust one another. You’re welcome to share you viewpoint it’s valuable. However this is not a debate of pro versus con just yet. We have a few coloured party hats to put on. White hat thinking is about sharing the facts first. So Victor the first question if you would.   Okay what is a done? A few laughs, a a few rye comments. He drew on the board drones 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10. Frank ‘a robot in the air’ Jeb a UAV. What’s a UAV asked Rodney. Jeb replied sorry I’m using short hand for Unmanned Arial Vehicle. It has a camera added Nick. It’s like a helicopter replied Rodney. They run on battery power said Felix. Right keep it coming that’s good we have defined what a drone is and we have yet to explore what a drone does. After half an hour they had a whole list of capabilities of what a drone could do. Remember said Victor that we can see the facts later from a positive or negative view. White hat thinking is about gathering information. Someone mentioned they look like toys in the air Colin pointed out yet we have a whole lot of things that drones do like spraying crops in pest control. Even sowing seeds or sowing wheat and rice from the air. Surveillance is especially a useful purpose for drones. Drones were common in warfare where I believe they first come into prominence. The forestry guys have a big drone for scanning the forests for potential fire hazards and to do information gathering which they need to do regularly. To map uncharted places difficult to get at. Getting back to the forestry guys may be in some way they could fight forest fires and that is where we will come back and discuss.

        Now Colin and Frank have a friend who demonstrated his drone for them. Can you share a little about what makes a drone-a-drone.  Sure well I have a friend who is mad on drones and flies them for fun said Frank. He has two or three but we only saw one in action which was a sniff at their capabilities. First Colin said they look and move like helicopters and have these little quad rotors which help them remain stable. They hover and they can be controlled from the ground by computer or Xbox or joy sticks or simply they can be programmed with a set of instructions to form repetitive patterns. They can track a person carrying a remote. Some drones take a cellphone clamped on to it and you can follow with another cellphone as its signal is beamed back to earth. The technology is growing each day and as we speak observed Nick. As you all know we ordered and received a drone but after a small trial we had to return it because of a faulty battery problem. Fortunately for us it didn’t come to any mishap but we have heard stories of spectacular mishaps and crashes. You can see these on Youtube if you have the time. It’s all a big learning curve Okay Victor can you sum up called Frank.

              Victor was brief, thanked the discussion and we all agreed with him that it’s early days. Finally Victor challenged are you ready to surf with a bigger version of a drone in a financial venture? Red hat time called Colin. It’s a chance to express feelings. I’m excited said Jeb. They are clever little robots mentioned Victor and what about you Nick and Rodney? As you know I have been committed in my job as a School Principal but like you said at the beginning I’m tired I could do with a change. Rodney promised me he would be on his best behaviour also. ‘That is true that so true. I can’t wait to test and minute said Nick my wife is calling and her timing is perfect. We seem to be telepathic over distances. I’ll be right back. While they were sharing their feelings about drones and the future. Nick was sharing his feelings on the phone with his wife. Nick found a quiet spot and checked to see if his wife was comfortable and sitting down. I know you have trusted me on many a decision I have had to make. I’m with Frank, Victor, Rodney, Jeb and Felix and a new guy Colin. Nick said his wife over the phone. Our children are grown up and have their own lives and we have had my income plus a pay out of inheritance from your father. ‘It’s your call Nick you make a decision said Gloria Thanks Gloria that’s what I need to hear. Love you see you this evening.

            Nick was a school principal of a medium sized elementary school. He had a gut feeling too terrible to fully take in. The time was ripe for a change. He was 2 years from retirement and he was not tied down he could be a free agent anytime he wanted to be. ‘That was Gloria on the phone he said when he got back to the group. Frank brought him up to speed with discussions. We are just concluding on our feelings about the drone business so far feeling is running 50 50. Rodney of course is ever cautious but he needs time like we all have needed. So Nick how do you feel about the future and drones? Well I’m glad you asked because I’ve just got off the phone talking to Gloria. I feel very positive. I won’t hold back. I’m ready to make a commitment. Gloria trusts my decision and so I will say yes when can we start? Nick was jumping in feet first. His heart was one step beyond his head. So what it’s a calculated risk. Congratulations Nick for anticipating our purpose for this meeting and the need for clear decisions. Welcome aboard. I think we will conclude for lunch now and after lunch we will put on our yellow and black hats for some positive and negative inputs. Jeb agreed to take the positive questions and Colin the Negative positions so see you after lunch everyone. I think we can pop around to our favourite deli bar for some snack. Let’s bring everything back here where we can make some coffee or tea. Go go go go go!

             The news of Nick’s decision plus a good lunch and the fact that Jeb also was close to coming on board was the shot in the arm Victor, Frank and Colin were hoping for. After lunch the group was melding together well. Rodney and Felix had gone quiet and they were obviously weighing up the situation nevertheless they stayed in touch with the conversation by asking questions and making useful observations. It was early days and the core group knew it.  

             Rodney excused himself and went down the street for a smoke just to clear his head. He bumped into a friend and they got talking and smoking together. What are you doing over here I don’t see you this way much? Oh I’m meeting with a bunch of starry eyed guys who want to go into business together. What sort of business? His friend asked. It’s a new start up drone business it’s a crazy little idea but you know what they say about fools and their money. ‘Look’ said his friend ‘stay clear of technology until those who have crashed and burned up have got over their excitement. I’m in the banking business and we see these start up characters all the time with their business plans and their hands out for cash loans. Wait, just wait for 5 more years stay and stay in touch with them and try to avoid jumping in feet first. Believe you me. Yes thought Rodney who was only too flakey and ready to be fed with a diet of dire news.

                As planned Jeb lead off with a positive question. What in one positive word can you use to describe drones? A flood of words came from the group. slow down slow down I’m writing as fast as I can. Flexible, innovative, mobile, nosey, compact, fragile looking but tough, heh? That’s a contradiction isn’t it Frank. Oh just putting it up for what it is worth replied Frank. It doesn’t have to be 101% accurate. Okay right I see said Jeb anymore positives? Maneuverable, smart, intelligent, price coming down soon value for money added Colin.  What have you to add Rodney asked Nick? ‘I’m saving myself for the black hat discussion next replied Rodney. Okay Rodney would you care to add one more word then. Sure drones are a puzzle a mystery to be unravelled it’s like peeling an onion layer by layer. Positive please Rodney you’ve forgotten yellow hat thinking chimed in Nick. Okay drones have enormous potential

              The negative discussion got under way now that there was an open and positive foundation to build on. Say if we started with the negative discussion that only puts a damper our thoughts and stifles everything. Now Colin being the newest member was yet to fully reveal himself to the group but Frank knew him to be precise and proper. Well here is a chance to speak up now as to some probable reason why we can’t enter into a marriage with drones. Speak up now or forever hold your peace. Ordered Colin injecting a serious bit of humour into the discussion. ‘What are the possible flaws and weaknesses of a drone?  Robots are not taking over the world as predicted. Drones are the same they are way overpriced added Rodney as his flood gates opened out.  Seeing Rodney was on a roll Colin then asked the others. They are expensive true said Frank but they’re are smart and versatile so smart it’s got them into trouble and strife. The army employed them for war like activity and they were so nosey and fed back important information. The Iranians I believe shot one down and some soldiers were regarded as war heroes for getting up close and personal and analyzing them.

                 I think as Rodney hinted before they are still a mystery maybe that means their potential is untapped. Maybe what we are seeing is drones are at an experimental stage. They are prototypes of something even better to come. Can we go with something that has potential that is untapped and in its raw stages? I think not even a quarter of the world population knows anything about drones maybe even less have any concept of what they can achieve. Did you know they are making guns for shooting down nosey drones especially drones that pry and cause problems like potential air accidents at airports? The army has counter measures to deal with them so what is that saying? Pointed out Colin. It’s inevitable even with the likes of the cellphone that there is an upside and a downside to them. We want to land jam side up and not made to look silly with jam on our faces.

            Great discussion you guys. Now Nick would you do us the honour of putting some green hat questions in front of us. Sure green as you know means growth and I am going to ask some questions. Remember the book doing the rounds we had a laugh over ‘101 uses for a Dead Cat’ Well what are the ‘101 uses for a Pesky Lively Drone?’ You could take amazing selfie’s at a wedding said Victor. You keep an eye on your wife or your girlfriend. Oh! Oh! Don’t go there this is green hat thinking don’t go over to the deep and dark side. Okay you have a license to go from the sublime to the ridiculous. Anything goes. It could help me find my car keys. Good that’s a great idea. Maybe it could be programmed to be a dog and fetch. You could use it at football matches to get crowd shots even use a drone in crowd control. If it sprays crops for pesticide then it could be used in painting buildings and hard to get at places. It could be used in advertising and carrying banners. The discussion just kept bouncing off the walls. Frank and Victor felt as if 101 uses for a drone were possible and some of the more ridiculous suggestions like putting a loud speaker messages on them to relay around a sports carnival or Fair ground was out of sight and out of mind. Maybe as baby and child minders. They could be used to highlight dangerous traffic intersections and draw people’s attention. They could be used to deliver pizzas. Where’s a drone when you need one? I have ordered pizzas but by motorbike they should be coming soon said Colin.

           The afternoon session drew to a close when Frank went back and got everyone to eliminate the suggestions that were too creative and see what they were left with. Either first pick or second even third pick made it clear that going into the painting business was one idea that was unique and that no one had yet come up with that in the commercial world that they were aware of yet. He then asked Felix and Rodney help him to wear blue hats and to join in evaluating the final stage of the discussion. It was clear from most of the group that they had all had a chance to breathe and think and to grow. Stretch even. Arguing about drones would have burnt up value energy. Instead the energy was harnessed and directed to coming to some sound conclusions. Nick made an observation. He said when I was growing up I saw my first black and white TV at 12 years of age a flickering bluish white and black picture . 50 years later and I have the potential to manipulate a camera and go where no one has dreamed of going. I want to be part of this new venture to learn about how to tap into the drone’s potential. It doesn’t have to be perfect just like a flickering black and white TV was not perfect. We are at an exciting stage. I chose going into painting buildings and hard to get at places using drones. I think that is an exciting possibility. Yes said Felix they are the unknown but we are not going in blind we can see everything and weigh it all up. Rodney held in his mind the words of his banking friend ‘avoid jumping in feet first’. Now he was more bewildered. Part of him said woah! And the other small part of him said go! What ta heck he was going to go in with drones. Not the craziest thing he had ever done in his life. The clincher was he trusted Nick’s intuition more after all Nick will have a lot more to lose than he would so it’s a good risk. Yes he said out loud I’m going with this venture and painting is a good start. Pizza delivery and painting have a potential.

             They enjoyed sharing a pizza together and there was a glow of satisfaction that they had teased out some glittery bits in discussion. But all that glitters is not necessarily gold.  Rodney had said yes and had come along with the group and then next Felix followed. It was as if the tipping buckets of water over flowed to the buckets on the next level and so it snow balled. There was no pressure on anyone just reasonable discussion and a chance to put all the pieces on the table and see the interconnections of the puzzle. The fog of mystery and the unknown was clearing and it was all falling into place. The final wrap up was to be tomorrow with a meeting after lunch. Each person was to go home and do his homework and then join in the big meeting to iron out more details. No one would have believed it was going to be easy yet we had to make a beach head and be satisfied with how we explored the best way forward for the future.

      The crowd was bristling the fans were going wild. Well the room air fans at least. The crowd weren’t shuffling in they were bouncing in namely Frank, Victor, Jeb, Rodney yes even Rodney was bouncing in laughing with Nick and Felix and Colin. They were armed to the teeth with laptops. There was a new apparent confidence it would seem because when one person finds his mojo everyone gets their cue and they all fire together. I would like to point out said Frank that while I am assuming some sort of leadership you really don’t need a leader. We have lived under some top down management system which we have all been weaned on over the years. No one told you to bring laptops today and yet you all have laptops and or at least you are sharing one. 4 laptops among 7 guys that’s about good. You must have done some homework and are already to pick up where we left off yesterday. Now the usual stance is to review or recall the points we have covered already and then march on as if somehow wary things could have evaporated. I didn’t sleep last night anyway said Nick. Oh no Nick you have you got cold feet already? chipped in Rodney. Oh no just a little excited this is the first time I can say to my wife after 40 years I’m not dragging my feet to go to a meeting. Great Nick well your decision yesterday inspired us all. We needed to be tipped over the edge and face a commitment situation. It’s okay Frank I know after 40 years and having to inspire encourage 100’s and 1000’s of teachers how vital it is to be supportive. That’s my leadership style. I agree with you Frank we are all leaders we are all here to back each other up and do it cleanly.

               Nick had stolen the thunder from the lightening. That’s exactly in one hit he had preempted what was going to be discussed without realizing it. There was the 7th hat and it needed to be given a colour and a name. Frank spelt it out ‘okay I resign from any leadership forthwith this very minute but since I have 54 seconds left I will say we need to be ethical and avoid the habits of lying cheating and cutting corners. Some of us more or less have all had to resort to dodgy strategies  in order to survive day to day. Anyone got some suggestions? A brief pause and Colin caught the suggestion. Yes I have one said Colin ‘I’m not gay but I’m gay friendly I think we should have a rainbow coloured hat that will help us to be inclusive of others. We try to respect and include everyone the rich and the poor in our dealings, Treat people the way we wish to be treated, added Felix ‘Right the GOLDEN rule Rodney said with emphasis.  I was a little quiet yesterday for one good reason. Said Felix I’m financially on the ropes, it’s a long story. However after a good sleep I feel on top of my game. I want to be in.

        Felix was a teacher like Frank and Nick and Rodney. He was always concerned about his health especially the great red rash brought on by the stress of teaching yet he was caught in a bind. He needed to finish teaching so as to recover his superannuation. Frank had often said Felix it’s not worth it, your health is more important. Colin who was a fitness instructor and a health trainer had many years at working with rehabilitating people. He did wonders for both Felix and Frank. So Colin and Frank and Victor who of course was a marathon runner were all too aware of the need for good health in both exercise and in eating. You had to listen to your body and it didn’t mean much to be the leanest and biggest muscle bound body in the graveyard nor did you need to wait until you were six feet under to do something about your shoulders drooping and your saggy baggy laying around like a couch potato. There was a middle way. Just look after your body like a friend and it will be good for you.

            Agreed this final hat said Jeb should be rainbow coloured then. A rainbow is a sign of hope and a new covenant, a new promise and purpose for the future and if you’re gay you’re okay. Yes well if we build a brand image it will grow because we chose to be ethical in our dealings. Jeb was an accountant and so he was a bottom line man tight and careful yet he saw the benefits early of going into the drone business and the painting idea was feasible. Just needs a little more discussion to get started. Colin and Jeb also had skills in computer technology and Frank and Felix both knew their onions when it came to cameras.  Rodney and Nick were computer savy as well and Rodney had a lot of interest in financial matters although he was very conservative in his dealings but he balanced out Jeb who was a risk taker and worked the stock markets. Each of the team members had good people skills but they agreed they needed an office manager to interface with the public as they grew. There are a whole lot of things we are going to need as our personnel expand. As we expand and grow we need to form a company and there is a government and a labour ruling that we must seek to employ and support young apprentices and train them into the ways of our company. I think that young millenial’s are exciting because they have grown up in the digital age. They are flexible and flexibility is essential.

            I have in mind a new manager said Frank and her name is Trina and she will bring to our organization personnel training skills. As well as human resources she is familiar with industrial resources. These are the decisions we need to address. She can interview each of us individually to see what money you can personally invest to help us get started. We are going to have to  put off going for a bank loan for as long as possible. I have a friend in the banking business who I can tease out for a loan he is familiar with startups said Rodney. Great said Frank this is where all the networking we have done over the years will bear fruit. Now I know you have all been doing your homework and you’ve got some useful stuff on drones. Anyone got some good feedback. Yes said Colin I found out there are drones that are like small helicopters. They can act as small ambulances. There are even manned vehicles but I don’t think we need to go there. If a drone was able to lift 5 maybe 10 liters of paint up into the air and we had the spray jets to deliver the paint with the right amount of viscosity and the right pressure we are in the box seat. The issues of battery power I will let you deal with Jeb. So what are the main issues about painting? Asked Nick. They would be the same for us as on the ground as in the air. The weather. Windy and rainy days won’t be our friend. I read and we have to test this that if we set the parameters for a drone it will paint all day in the one spot or arc around a building. We just have to figure out who does what and when and how.  Oh Victor your crane operating skills are important we need you to train up a few pilots so we have people who can man drones on the ground via a monitor. So what have we decided? We are going to be aware of operating ethically and as a team. These teams can expand and branch off into new cells groups. I can arrange to get a few millenial’s involved in our project. Trina the new office manager you can  meet as soon as possible and after so testing and trials of various drones with a good carrying capacity we should be up flying. One last thing we can share we have a new office situated in the down town area right next to the Home Improvements Centre. If anyone has any queries or suggestions please feel free to discuss them among yourselves and if you think they have some merit it only needs two people or more to agree then we call another meeting. I’m sorry said Frank if I have made a few decisions already but it’s only to keep up the momentum and get going.

               Frank and Colin took the opportunity to go by the department store and there were a few young people kicking about laughing. They observed them for a few moments. They were playing with the front doors of the store and tripping the beam and the doors would open then shut again. It was a bit of fun and it killed some boredom. Watch this said Colin and went over and spoke to the group and Frank tried to figure out the conversation. First when Colin spoke the group listened, went blank, spoke back a little, went blank again, and then burst out laughing. What did you say to them Colin asked Frank curiously? Oh you know I told them a little about the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees? What you did you say what? Inquired Frank. I just said if you play around with those doors and the infra-red beam you will either go sterile or impotent. Which would you prefer? When I explained to them that they would not be able to pass on their fried seeds to the next generation they didn’t get the connection between doors and infra-red beams and producing babies. Neither did I really I was only bluffing. But they laughed and so kind a rebonded. I already know some of these kids from the gymnasium where I work. So I have a handle on one or two who of them and they are really smart. They maybe just who we are looking for. Without any hesitation Frank took them on. Okay you guys what do you know about drones?  A little bit came the reply well what’s your name?  ‘Clem’ came the terse reply. ‘And you’ he spoke to a tall gangly kid itching to play on his cellphone. ‘Scott’ Okay Scott okay Clem we have something that will interest you and possibly your friends. Trust me on this one you will be totally interested. You will never have to kick around being bored ever again. You will be opening doors and flying. Colin here knows you so if you can give us your contacts we will set up a meeting. Yes guys you’ve lucked out this is a grand opportunity. That’s enough to get you thinking. How do you know each other? We went to the same high school and we also played around with a basketball at the gym. Thanks for listening and keep believing that even small things that happen can lead to greater things with bigger happenings.

                Jeb also found a young woman who was a bit of a tom boy she seemed to have leadership skills. She hung outside the apartments and was forever playing and laughing and stirring up something. I think she was a bit of a handful so her parents kicked here outside. She was a natural she stood out in any group with her long wavy hair and her lean body. She was not interested in girly things like dolls and makeup and horses and fashion. She totally rebelled against all that a sweet nice girl should be. Instead she played around with her IPad and when someone came a long she was forever teasing and joking. Jeb said to her I know you I have seen you around here a lot. ‘Yes you know my mother everyone knows my mother she owns the restaurant on the street over there. Okay Betty’s place, I see. My name is Esther people call me Essie you can call me that if you like. Well Essie if you have a friend I have an interesting job for you. ‘Like what? ‘she said with a quizing street wise manner.  

What do you know about drones? I know a lot my father has one and he flies it out on the farm most weekends. Have you flown one then? Yes I have I’m saving up for my own small drone. Essie find a friend and you’re in. Does the someone have to be a girl or a boy? Just as long as you trust your friend because you will be working in a team. Good by me replied Essie. Can you tell your mother that you were speaking to Jeb and he has a good idea than needs a drone pilot. Okay I will thanks and when can I see you again? Well as long as your mother is on board with you and this drone idea we are sweet. Okay I think she will be happy to see me being useful at something. Can I get my father to join as well? Sure why not? 

         I had the presence of mind to ask Essie what her father worked at. He works at managing the government apartments at the accommodation bureau. Essie was so quick and lively it was like I needed a skate board to keep up with her. Anyhow I thought I would need Frank and Colin’s help and between the three of us we could redirect her energy and get alongside her and understand her better. Maybe Frank is right we don’t need to control and reshape people just give them a new purpose. You don’t need a boot camp. After all some people may need a carrot and some a kick. Essie just needs a small nudge and some incentive to get her going in the right direction.

            During the next week Rodney approached his banking friend. ‘I told you to be careful I warned you remember’ he said emphatically. In between deep puffs on his cigarette he eyed Rodney. Okay I will see what I can do, aren’t you smoking today Rodney? No I have given up smoking for a few days to see if I can stick at giving up smoking altogether. Wow you are changing. Good for you well I will let you know when we can arrange a meeting see you. In the meantime just three bits of documentation are necessary. A business plan, some security maybe a property, and a recent bank account or preferably think about opening an account with our bank. The big manager is very much a forward thinking man. I think he will like your plan. So I will zip up and by refraining from prejudicing this crazy idea. I won’t give him my views. Thanks said Rodney I know you can do something for us in the future.

          Felix was feeling much better these days. He had been on medication for his rash problem which was connected to his stress problem which was connected to his job and his home circumstances where his mother loved cats. She had 20 cats which Felix had to trip over each day he came home. If he had the chance he would go and find other accommodation but he felt a duty to care for his mother who was getting old. Her cats were her one little splash out and piece of enjoyment. Besides Felix was often out during most of the day. However he was close by his phone and either she or her neighbours knew to buzz him quickly if he was really needed. Felix was an only child and it’s as if he was her one and only golden haired little boy. Felix’s father had passed away when he was 12 years of age so it was like he was the man around the house.

              Frank finally as promised hinted to be ready this week. At about hump Wednesday he called us all his merry men together like Robin Hood in the forest of Nottingham to meet the new Maid Marian. None other than the lovely Trina and our manager to be. Trina was very presentable and professional and unarming at the same time. She was pleased with the prospect of working again after staying at home to nurse her father who finally died a month ago. She was getting her life back together and so welcomed a chance to reactivate her career. A new startup venture was exactly the ticket for her and a perfect opportunity. She didn’t need a high pressured high paying job in the city, just something to get ticking over and find her way back into working with people. We all were instantly happy with Trina. But who should be grinning like a Cheshire cat with cream on its face. You guessed right, Frankie boy. There was barely a hint from anybody like I hope you know what you’re doing Frank? It was like Frank couldn’t be more determined and assertive. Trina was the one and her small list of requests could easily be met they weren’t demands. Frank agreed she would have a receptionist with typing and accounting skills, a small office within the bigger reception area and a separate toilet from the public or general toilet. She already had a car and asked for its up keep and maintenance and fuel registration and a car wash once a week. She was able to negotiate a petty cash arrangement for phone bills. All this was negotiated privately with Frank and so it was conveyed in general terms to the rest of the team. We had agreed that where two of us agreed on anything we would call a meeting. Well Frank consulted with Jeb who was an accountant and he set up a contract for Trina and they both confirmed on things to do with accounting.

                It was an exercise in trust and good management. No army hierarchy and people to impress and kowtow to it was all kept short sweet and simple. The K.I.S.S.S principle in action. We only needed to convey a news in brief. In fact what was so convenient was Colin being so good at this only needed a hint and a sniff to get together a newsletter which summed up all we needed to know. To those who had lived through power plays and hidden agendas and double crossings and palace coups and every form of blindsiding and bullshitting and empty worded long winded speeches this was like paradise. Nick of course with his valuable set of skills was priceless here. He explained to us a just a few things to get us going and the rest he fed to us if and when we felt we needed to know anything. He was our mentor and everything clicked. To show you how small the world was getting.Nick’s wife Gloria knew Trina reasonably well they were involved in a bridge club together. Trina hadn’t been for many a month but Gloria was happy to invite her along and she went happily.

                 Just a word about Nick he did hit a purple patch and needed to serve out a month at his old school. His principal a position he could walk out on. He had a commitment to his board of trustees to serve out a two month handing over period but luckily a new principal was installed from among his staff. The Deputy Principal was due for retirement so he graciously stood back and encouraged another teacher who was more than capable of stepping into the role. One that knew Nick’s methods well.

The whole school was shocked at Principal Nick Manning’s decision but as Nick lived out the belief we are each and everyone responsible for leading and living our own lives in that way we are all called to lead. He wasn’t a one man band who tried to control and seek to get his own way. He put it this way to his rapt audience. There are 3 big C’s. Everyone could understand. He used words that even your struggling student in grade one could comprehend. The first C he said waggling his little fingers and perforating the air as he spoke are Chromosomes.  If  you don’t have any chromosomes you must be a jelly fish. The assembly laughed. Please check with your science or biology teachers today they will help you find your chromosomes. They really are the messages that are sent to your body that determine everything from the colour of your eyes to the curl of your tongue to the shape of your nose to the size of your body. If you’re not happy with your body blame your chromosomes or your parents and grandparents and your great, great grandparents. Did you have a choice in all this? I don’t think so. Now the second C is Circumstances. Most of you were born around here in the suburbs about our school. Others were born in other foreign lands and islands far away. Did you have a choice or a say in where you were born? I don’t think so

          Then what is the third big C. your couch and watching TV? The colour of your car?  a chocolate bar ? a cheese burger?   It’s all these things start with C  Really the third and biggest  is called Choice we can choose. Life begins when your Comfort Zone ends and you are ready to make choices for yourself. It’s what happens when we are away from the cameras. That’s real. I will choose to come back to this school next year to visit you again and it won’t be as Principal Mr. Manning I will be just Mr. Nick. I won’t forget the 40 wonderful years I had at this school. That has been the biggest part of my life. Bye and all the very best. Nick didn’t choose to elaborate on his reasons for leaving nor did he choose to put in an advertisement for drones and drone technology. That would have been selfish. He wanted to do and say something meaningful for the students and to leave them with a simple message which even if they didn’t understand would have figured out that with three fingers poking the air he had three things to let them think about. The biggest book we ever ready is the people who touch our lives and Nick had done that. His message would catch up with them later when they have lived and learnt or unlearn a bit more.          

       So Frank in a little aside snapped Nick back to the present moment by asking him what do you think Nick about Trina? She seems to have her head on and her feet firmly grounded. She gives that sense of confidence and in a straight forward old fashioned reliability that’s what we need. Nick was really struggling to put into words his own situation and yet he had to think about what other people’s concerns  were ,While he had lost something dear to him something deep in his soul that he had lived and fought for yet the month at his old school went by quickly. There were days he went through which he could never fully explain. He needed to go through a changed state like a butterfly emerging from a dark cocoon out into a new light. So Frank’s questions and those of the team were important as they helped him keep focused and come out and face a new challenge. Trina was going to be fine and Nick was going to be fine and the whole drone challenge was going be super fine. We just had to keep our balance. He was grateful to Victor and Frank and Colin.

         Nick never wanted to show for one minute that he was caving in and he was not a superman. Yet he did crumble only briefly. He was having coffee with Trina and Rodney one afternoon and for no apparent reason he just started crying. Rodney knew what to do he just motioned to Trina the okay sign and Trina signed back okay and they just let Nick cry for a few minutes. Nick’s phone went it was his wife Gloria. Thanks love for ringing. I needed that Yes, yes, yes he trailed off Bye love. It wasn’t possible to guess what his wife knew but somehow they communicated in a way which was beyond words. Then he turned to Rodney I think I need to have another cup of coffee I’m not sure where the first one went to. They laughed and while we might not have the words still Trina squeezed his hand for a second and Rodney leant in and gave him a punch.

             Meanwhile Victor who was a tower of strength came through with some good news. His project manager was missing his wonderful skills at crane operating. So without further ado he bundled his team into a van and headed up country. My old boss has a surprise for us. When he got to the project site all the workmen were out in numbers to welcome him like a long lost brother. They of course asked him when he was coming back but no need said his old supervisor boss. You’ve given us so much so now it’s our turn. Did they know anything at all? Could they half imagine what had bumped Victor’s compass? What had made him leave a good job?  Had they any clue? I don’t think they knew what even half of it? Maybe they wanted to present him with some running shoes? But marathon running was behind him. Yet there was now a team of runners at the site who had been inspired by Victor’s interest in doing marathons. Victor was embarrassed, He was cringing horribly inside. He brought his team all the way out to the project here just to see him get a gift of some running shoes. Oh no please, please say it isn’t going to be true.

 Come this way to the workshop Victor. So everyone trekked around to the workshop. Oh the suspense was killing him. The team were laughing. What is Victor screwing up in a ball for? They entered the work shop and under wraps there was unusual shaped object. Victor was holding himself together just. Until they removed the covers and as if to order there was their first drone. A magnificent specimen black and with racing stripes. What???!!!  It had a boulbulous body and a front like a preying mantis ready to spray out Fire? Water? Air? Maybe Paint. Okay said Victor when he found his surprised voice again. Who put you up to this? Come on Frank, Colin, Nick, Rodney, Jeb, Felix which one of you is responsible for this? At this point Trina emerged and said glad you all met my brother. Brother and sister combination. Well that was totally unexpected. The big boss was Trina’s brother. I didn’t see that coming thought gob smacked Victor.  

              After Colin took the controls and flew the massively big drone out straight out of the workshop. No need to carry it out. It hovered a bit and then flew straight up to the smoke stack and bombed it with water and completely cooled the smoking smoke stack in one go with an enormous thrust of water burst of water. We thought we would christen it with water next time we will get the paints flowing. Trina had negotiated to order three drones. It was a buy two get one free deal.

       In the smoko shack there was a huge selection of food and drink laid on and Victor didn’t need a place to hide anymore. Was happy as all the memories came flooding back. It wasn’t proper for the day to go past without reminding everyone about Victor’s colourful past adventures. How he had turbo boosted his jeep over the fence and out the gate with the help of a crane. How he had hijacked the smoko shack and gave it a new orientation with the toilets on the sunny side up with sun shining up your butt he laughed.  Thanks Victor we have never stopped laughing for these last 6 months. We needed a new smoko shack so when ours was dropped on its side in the sewerage ponds unceremoniously the only thing was to upgrade and here we are bigger and better.

               It’s a small world and so Trina had a good laugh and brought about a good connection. It was to be her one endearing feature of being able to connect the dots and make things happen. There is a well know saying that connects and expands upon comfort zones and goes like this. When you step out and take the risks it’s as if the whole universe conspires and wills you on. This willing to achieve and to do something timely and inspire a work ethic or collaboration. It is good for the soul. We as men strive sometimes for independence and to be free of restraints to be become battle hardened individualists. Nick knew it and felt it that day when he broke down. Rodney knew it was coming Trina accepted the process. Women are experts at allowing the cleansing of tears just to overcome you and to release so many pent up feelings. She had gone through this with her father’s death.  Each person was being purged and reshapened and put back together in goodly fashioned. Frank held out, Jeb held, Colin held, they were all  stiff individualists too but each one in turn came to the realization. They were all interconnected and no longer independent. Being a soldier and told to toughen up had little fundamental and yes, absolutely no value. Being vulnerable and connected was the new way to unlearn how to learn. The 6 hats +1 taught us techniques for letting go and letting back on the throttle. We had come to trust and that is something they can’t teach you in school.

             Rodney’s bank manager friend came back with a few proposals and we felt interest rates were a little high. We stayed in touch with the bank we were all being so accommodating to one another. We wanted to just hold tight until interest rates on loans made a move down. Jeb kept tabs on that for us and he knew that things had to lighten up. So we were in no hurry there. Besides the first drone was being tested and got ready and we hoped to be in a position to be open for new contracts and an income. Trina’s brother Justin could supply us with drones. All we needed was to have a monthly payment ready for him starting with a 3 month grace period until we managed to get some income and become viable. That was as good as an interest free loan. Also there was a dangling offer to bring him in as member. Jeb and Frank together with Trina were covering that. The Colin’s monthly newsletter was two pages long both back and front covering all the new developments and it included diagrams and photographs of our as yet unnamed drones. One was completed and seen in action number two was almost ready and three was still on the drawing board. It was delayed to give enough time to include any modifications if they were seen as necessary. They’re would definitely be some slight modifications but nothing noticeable.   

          So everything was hanging nicely together. We judged it about the right time to bring the young millenial’s into the frame of things. Essie came with her father and with new friends Tom and Susie. She was so funny because she was ready to bring a whole string of friends. They were waiting lined up for us but we said let’s just see .Put them on a waiting list. They were flexible and that’s how we liked things. Then Clem and Brad that is Frank and Clem’s contacts came together and we were able to show them the drone number one in action.  Trina marshalled the troops plus her new receptionist whose name was Selina she was like a shadow she covered Trina where ever she went. She was a younger woman just newly married and her husband was as it happened to be a Commercial airline pilot. This was amusing because airline pilots were always on the lookout in their take offs and landings for any stray drones in their flight path. Little toy drones could be sucked into a planes turbines just like stray seagulls. However our bigger paint drones would cause a fair bit of damage if their paths cross with a commercial airliner so it didn’t bare thinking about. It just wasn’t going to happen. 

              So it was good we had made efforts to establish the team or teams. Then we were ready to bring on board Trina who was up and running. Selina was well supported by Trina. However the millenial’s Essie, Tom and Susie, Clem and Brad were a whole new ball game we wanted them to feel supported and to grow in confidence. We spelt it out that we we’re willing to accept that people make mistakes that’s why training decisions were in the hands of the instructors. We wanted confident pilots not under or over the top confidence. There was a mark on the white board, Hover in between here Colin showed with his hands.  After the first week most people went through showing they were temperamentally capable. We never had to fail anyone. Essie after her success was able to be more selective of her friends. She now had a simple test of being able to use a hand eye coordination game which you couldn’t simply practice and learn you had to master after a few goes. It’s surprising how many people couldn’t throw a tennis ball or an orange from one hand to another. It was an easy simple test easy to apply and quick to check and apply. We weren’t asking anyone to throw a peanut up and catch it in their mouth. It was pass from one hand to another. So effectively simple.

Further good news .We manage to secure a contract for the harbor bridge along with the painting of apartments from Essie’s father. They were important contracts.

       We aimed to be ready in two more weeks. As well Rodney prompted his friend to give us a good loan offer and now we could show him developments that didn’t need a lot of money to get up and running. The three new drones and the 5 Millenial’s were impressive developments we could show the bank concrete proof of our endeavors. If we secured a loan we could go into producing maybe 3 or 4 more drones. The bank in their wisdom gave us a much needed boost. Rodney was feeling good as a negotiator plus. Trina was on the phone with her brother to get some more drones. We estimated conservatively that we would need 12 new drones altogether to be put into service. That meant we would need 4 new teams. That is exactly what we had planned for. It was our dream to be painting in time for the new summer

Further good news .We manage to secure a contract for the harbor bridge along with the painting of apartments from Essie’s father. They were important contracts.

       We aimed to be ready in two more weeks. As well Rodney prompted his friend to give us a good loan offer and now we could show him developments that didn’t need a lot of money to get up and running. The three new drones and the 5 Millenial’s were impressive developments we could show the bank concrete proof of our endeavors. If we secured a loan we could go into producing maybe 3 or 4 more drones. The bank in their wisdom gave us a much needed boost. Rodney was extra feeling good as a negotiator. The team high fived Rodney who was coming around to being a staunch group member so much more rounded than the old Rodney we once knew who was a sour lemon.Trina was on the phone with her brother to get some more drones. We estimated conservatively that we would need 12 new drones altogether to be put into service. That meant we would need 4 new teams. That is exactly what we had planned for. It was our dream to be painting in time for the new summer words 26,365

1 Comment

  1. Now I have 3 Novels together with their covers . I have varied collection of KPEG which needs work on and I have Walks with Jesus ragged in some places needs work on but seems to be all there and the I have Brush strokes which looks almost all there. Needs work on as well. I will keep the original together and save. I want to show my developments as a writer. Thar’s gold in thar hills.

    Like

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