Friday, January 9, 2015

Amsterdam @ Twilight

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Business ended as the sun set; my flight was hours away.  Better time taken strolling than sitting.  Dusk brought out the city’s lights and color, reflecting in the still canals and along the rain-slick streets.

‘Not an evening to be rushed; ‘not a time to be lost.

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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Rushing about, pointlessly

InstagramCapture_190509b7-e14b-45c3-a417-0abe1ffde672Next week, I submit documents in support of my ILR application in the UK.  After 5 years as a Tier 1 resident, the permit is no longer renewable, and so must either be converted to Indefinite Leave to Remain, or I need to leave the country.  I’ve retained Dean Morgan and his trusted crew to see me through the process, yet again, and we met on Tuesday to review my documents.

Unfortunately, the UK’s tightened regulations require additional original, stamped documents from the Dutch; bank statements from ABN, business registration from the KvK, and an accountants letter from Finsens. 

Worse, I would not be allowed to leave England after Saturday, the 10th, when my permit expires.

So, there was no cure but to fly to Amsterdam urgently and spend the day running spot-to-spot collecting the pieces needed.

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As a diversion, I live-blogged the rainy, cold scavenger hunt as it progressed.  Unfortunately, Facebook has become a swamp of petty cruelties, so this was a good opportunity to explore the happier alternative climate of Instagram.

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In the end, I got almost everything I needed: one last document will be couriered over the weekend.  

And there were some nice responses from Insta-friends along the way.  So, the narrative experiments will continue: you can join me @drhamptn.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Building the business

DSC00821 (1300x974)I’m in our Sheffield Incubator site today, hosting an investor visit to review our product and facilities.  A grey, rainy January outdoors contrasts with the tidy, warm lab space that our chemists have built in the past few months.  The plasma rig glows in the corner, vacuum pumps and fans rumble across the room.  Magnified images of the coated surfaces flank the full catheter prototypes, progressing towards clinical trial.

A couple of weeks ago, I was sorting through the progress made during the past two years: coating absorption in 2013, incomplete drying in 2014.  Were we making any progress year over year?

Today, its clear that we have.

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Everyone has done a great job working together to get to this milestone, and the investor assessments are uniformly good.  I’m taking a pair of prototypes back to London on the train this evening with a lot of optimism and gratitude for our scientists and angels. As with the new Engineering Building rising net door, we’re building something wonderful.

At last.

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Monday, January 5, 2015

Thornbury Castle

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The thick Tudor walls lie heavily against the broad fields surrounding the castle, narrow defensive slots glowing yellow and orange.  Inside,  winter box gardens (yew bushes and spruce trees) lie in geometric contrast to spare courtyards.  Wales,this time of evening, is peaceful and still, quiet as mistletoe amidst the bare branches.

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Five big issues need sorting; their resolution this month will set life onto a new course in February. Some of the choices are out of my hands, others take an uncharacteristic degree of tough-mindedness to close. 

I refuse to get stressed, but sleepless anxiety is here to stay for a few weeks.

DSC00769 (1300x975)Nothing would be gained by sitting and worrying, and so Chris took the initiative to book me a couple of days of days away from it all.  Then touch of luxury included lush medieval rooms, a talented Continental chef, wide fields, chocolate cake, and a picturesque village to roam.  Taken together, it was just the tonic.

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It really was a lovely break, a fitting entry to 2015 and a harbinger of new adventures to come.