Sunday, 28 June 2009

MTB Oh-so-fabulous

This morning was the second of the MTB orienteering events this year - totally fun and enjoyable. This time the event went a bit urban, using roads to link Albert's Farm and Emmarentia.

Yesterday I attended my second Parkour session; my first was 18-months ago. Despite my interest in and enjoyment of the sport it seems to have been a matter of waiting for a gap and the right time to go again. Dane Grant, the guy who heads up Parkour in South Africa, has been in the UK for the last six years. Now that he is back momentum is gathering, powered by structured month-end training sessions.

After the session we were chatting and I asked Dane whether he had a mountain bike. His answer was affirmative so I invited him to join me at MTB O. He was totally keen. How cool! I'd landed myself a buddy for this morning's event.

I woke up with shoulders a little stiff from yesterday's Parkour session and feeling my quads a little from 'precision jumps'. Many parkour moves are explosive, like plyometrics - and they demand balance and control. Fortunately I wasn't stiff like 18-months ago when I couldn't sit up in bed the next morning - I had to roll to get up! So the signs were good.

This morning we were blessed with a beautiful clear blue sky and an icy wind - typical highveld winter's day. We registered and I gave Dane the low-down on how orienteering works, about the maps etc. And then we started. The early part of the route involved LOTS of hill climbing and going to #4 I requested a quick walk - arrggghhh... Parkour jumps and hill climbing don't go well together. My quads felt better later on after warming up completely.

We met up with Heidi and Craig (riding solo) at a piece of open ground where there 'should' have been a control. I thought the open land had come up a little too soon after the bend, but wasn't overly concerned. We thought the control may have been swiped so we took a photo of the four of us. Craig spotted two riders popping out on to the road just below us - there was another strip of open land! The first one wasn't on the map. Doh!

Fortunately the second half of the route was on flatter territory around Emmarentia dam and the suburb.

Zip-zip-zip we were back to the finish after a super morning (2hrs) on our bikes. Piers won the long course in about 1h14. MTB O navigation is easier than foot O, especially when roads are also used. This makes for a nice, smooth course.

Dane was a super O buddy, with natural navigation ability. Over terrain, on foot, where we have to scramble over rocks and logs and low fences he would roast most of us; we'd clamber ungainly and he'd fly over the obstacles Parkour-style. The sports have good synergy. Well done Dane.

Alex, Dylan and Nathan presented a really lovely event this morning - thank you guys.

The third (of five) MTB O events will be on Sunday, 4 October in the Hennops Valley area, presented by Adventure Racing Club.

O Champs - a few lessons from post-race analysis

I've been mulling over the errors I made at Gauteng O Champs last weekend for a week. Something I realised is that even where you're not sure where you are; you actually do know where you are. I'll explain below.

Gauteng O Champs Short Course at Hennops
This is where I made the biggest error of the weekend - going to #3.

My route from #1 to #2 was spot-on. As I approached the control - I was just inside the circle - I saw another control to my right. Yes, I knew it wasn't mine but some little gremlin in my mind, knowing that I'd made bloopses the last two months, toldme to check it anyway, which I did. It wasn't mine. The line that I originally had was so spot-on and if I'd gone just 5-10m more I would have dropped on to the control. Instead I got into the dry ditch and followed it to hit the control.

Coming out of the ditch I was distracted by another orienteer nearby. I took a bearing to #3 - it actually had my original course going more in the direction of #4. I 'felt' that something was off so I crossed the road and headed up hill. I don't remember crossing the ditch (thin brow dotted line) and I evidently wasn't paying much attention to the vegetation. What I was doing was asking myself why I'd been so stupid to even bother checking that previous control that I knew wasn't mine. "What, you been doin' this for a few months instead of 10-years?" I asked the gremlin. Elementary error that, while not serious, does cost time. And I shouldn't be making these errors!

Ok so I headed up the hill and was feeling that something was very off - and I don't think I've even contemplated the distance I'd covered either. So I got to the road and thinking it was the path (yes, yes, I know... silly, silly, silly) I turned left. The picture wasn't fitting but I could see a ditch. I did think it weird that not enough vegetation was around the ditch...

I got to the ditch and really thought something was weird but as my brain had temporarily left me all I could do was stand around for a while. I did see #7 AND I knew it wasn't the right one. What I didn't do was check my list of controls for the control number because that would have told me I was at #7. In terms of spatial orientation I knew that I was near the fence and even more bizarre I read the map perfectly from this postion "where I didn't know where I was" all the way through to #3. So, inherently, I must have known where I was.

To correct, I headed up on to the grassy slope, out of the ditch. I moved downhill, parallel to the ditch with the fence on my right. Hit the road, found the path, found the control. Easy-peasy. I knew exactly how to correct, which means I must have known where I was...?

It should have taken me little over one minute to reach #3 from #2; I think it took me just under six minutes.

Some errors are hard to explain because how they happen is so... so...inexplicable.

Lessons are:

  • Pay attention to the vegetation - if the control should be under trees then you won't find it on a grassy hill...
  • Don't shout at yourself; if you make a mistake, move on because scoldig yourself usually means that you'll mess up the next control
  • If the picture on the map isn't fitting the reality, don't make it fit
  • Even if you feel 'lost', chances are good that you actually do know where you are - trust these instincts.

Gauteng Orienteering Champs Long course at Protea Ridge
So now it is the next morning and the long course - my favourite - is at Protea Ridge in the Krugersdorp-ish area. Nic told me the previous day (he was the planner) that the terrain would be more friendly and runnable - not as rocky and grassy as Saturday's short course.

Overall I had a MUCH better run and I focused on making sure my navigation was clean. With the exception of the two controls below, I did not hunt - not even looking over my shoulder and all around. I walked/ran onto every other control spot-on. Navigationally I was happy; run-wise I didn't push it so I did lose time between controls purely on speed.

OK, clear route coming up the road; and would you believe that I actually was paying attention to choosing the correct path... yes, I got on to the wrong one! The bends weren't exactly matching (problem #1) but I kept going figuring that I'd get to where the path loops. When I started feeling that I'd gone too far I saw a control to my right. It didn't match the description either so I realised i was wrong, without even having to check the control number. I also bumped into Karin there; I think she had done the same thing and was also in the wrong place. Easy to correct and I ran straight to #3.

Leaving #3 I had a good sighting on the ridge. I like hitting junctions instead of just crossing roads so I was very happy with my route.

From the rocky ridge I could see the road below - see where my pink arrow is pointing. OK, OK, OK... this is where I erred. I was mis-reading the contours and although I'd crossed the ridge I thought up was down and down was up. I stopped at the place where the arrow is pointing. I think I thought I'd overshot... and I couldn't figure out why the 'excavations' (for 4x4 driving) weren't on the map. I stayed exactly where I was and realised that I was near the solid black lines (to my left) and that the control was dead-ahead. I'd approached it from a perfect line. Doh!

It was steep down and then up so I opted to take the nearby road.

I really don't know why I was so confused there for a while - enjoying the day and the runnable terrain too much perhaps? After this I got my mind back in its place and had a lovely navigational run.

Even after 10 years of orienteering I still make errors - as do others who have been orienteering for even longer. The object, when you make mistakes - because you always will - is to recognise as soon as possible (like within a few metres) that you've gone wrong. And then to correct there and then without missing a beat.

In orienteering there's no time to think "Man, this is easy" because on the next leg - or event - you'll be knocked down to size again. And because the challenge is always there - against yourself - you'll be back for more. Works for me.

Next event is at Bushtrails next Sunday, 5 July. Focus Lisa. Focus.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Gauteng Orienteering Champs

This weekend was the occasion for the annual Gauteng Orienteering Champs. The usual format is a sort/middle distance event on the Saturday afternoon and a long distance course on the Sunday morning.

Garry Morrison and Michele Botha (AR Club) presented the short course event at Hennops Pride, having created a new map for the event. The terrain is very grassy and rocky and the afternoon saw a number of casualties. Our own Jeremy Green was one of these, sporting lots of blood on this right forearm and an impressive roastie across this chest as the result of a wipe-out on the second last leg. He also suspects a cracked rib.

My run was not great at all. I made one stupid mistake going to Control 3 and generally felt like a child ambling over the rocky ground - never my favourite especially when I can see the rocks through the grass. So, I did very little running. Nonetheless, the course was decent and Garry and Michele did a good job with the mapping.

The long distance course this morning, planned and mapped by Nicholas Mulder (ROC) was set on far more runable terrain. The Paardeplats 4x4 venue is situated on the southern slope of the ridge that overlooks the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens in the Krugersdorp area. As the area burned recently the ground is great for running, albeit a little tough on your feet and ankles. As I prefer the longer distances, I thoroughly enjoyed today's course. My objective was simply to have good, clean navigation with no hunting or grid searching - the latter being a technique Piers favours *grin*

Aside from a slight bloops (wrong path; not quite parallel) going to #3 and a bit of distance misjudgement and ridge confusion approaching #4, I had an absolutely spot-on navigational event. OK, so I walked too much (lots of hills) when I probably should have been running... but overall I was very happy with my run.

My placings over the two days were not great - definitely slower than my competitors; but in many cases I'm not making as many mistakes - just taking a bit longer between controls.

Last year I probably only did two of the colour-coded events and this year I did one short course (the first one!) and I've done two of the three colour-coded events. This lack in regular orienteering shows in the mistakes that I've made at these recent events; they're mistakes I really shouldn't be making. The next two months should get my mind more into it and I'll get more comfortable over this rough highveld terrain.

Navigation, like running and biking, is something that needs regular practise and maintenance, even if you've been doing the sport for years. I think that's what I really appreciate about this sport. With navigation you can never get too high on your horse because it will cut you down and teach lessons again and again to ground you. And that's what keeps orienteers coming back - each event presents and opportunity to navigate more accurately and minimise mistakes.
In the next day or two I'll post sections from my runs.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

33 years and more to come!

Today I turn the very fine age of 33. I'm also celebrating because I start a new adventure today. I wrapped up my work at PenQuin yesterday and today I am officially working for myself again. So what motivated this move if PenQuin was such a funky company?

There have been a number of factors, the most important being that I have to follow my heart and to do what motivates and inspires me to get up in the morning. Through PenQuin I've discovered that I am most motivated by working with individuals and small companies with their publicity, media and comunications - especially where they've reached a point where they just need h.e.l.p. I'm able to make a meaningful difference to what they do. This works for me. And I'm also a softie for getting involved with social responsibility initiatives.

I don't have a specific job title because I'm certainly not one to be defined by titles and I've got too many mixed experiences in various media and other elements - writing, reporting, scripting, tv, websites (building and editing), event media, event organising... I like to think of myself as a 'problem solver'. You got a communications/media/fun problem? I'll solve it; or I'll know someone who can.

Oh yes, it is scary going out on my own again, but it is something that I have to do - for me.

One very important discipline that I learned at PenQuin is the importance of having a separation of home and work, which I never had before. At PenQuin I had a work computer and I had my laptop at home for AR stuff and fun and games. When I previously freelanced I would work over weekends and every night and if client emails came in any time of day or night and I was online, I'd respond to them. This is something I will aim to avoid. Sure, I know that I'll be putting in more hours working for myself, but I need to maintain that elusive essential - b.a.l.a.n.c.e.

And there's another thing... 3 years ago I did 3 months of Spanish lessons at the Spanish Academy (Slade is an amazing teacher; I learned more in one lesson than in 3 months at Alliance Francais!). I love South America and I'd like to spend more time traveling there. I decided back then that I'd like to spend a month in Buenos Aires doing intensive Spanish lessons so that I can get to a reasonable level of fluency. Well, 3 years have passed and I don't want another 3 years to slip by! The internet allows one to work from anywhere in the world and as much of my work is communications based and can be handled online, working for myself allows me the freedom to do something like spend a month in Buenos Aires learning Spanish. So, I'm looking at March 2010... In the intervening months I aim to build my vocabulary in preparation for total immersion!

And, of course this move to freelance is also motivated by lifestyle, job satisfaction, training, community involvements...
To celebrate my birthday - and new adventures - I'm going for a late-afternoon run to take advantage of Jo'burg's beautiful winter days.

So, hip-hip-hoorah and here's to an exciting and challenging year ahead.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

101 Blood Donors!

Our Blood Donor Day at my office was a wonderfully festive and successful affair. Donors from our building (PenQuin and Group 5 Civil Engineering) were well represented. We also welcomed many guests from surrounding offices in our area of Bedfordview. We received ONE HUNDRED AND ONE donations. And there were a good number of other people who came through but were unable to donate because of low iron, low blood pressure, too light (<50kg), colds and recent antibiotic use.

SANBS were outstanding. They arrived on time and promptly set up the donation area. Sure, they do this all the time, but it is great to see their efficiency. The sisters were all very friendly and helpful, keeping the steady stream of donors flowing through the blood typing (a special add-on they offered on the day, so that first time donors could find out their blood type there and then), iron level testing, blood pressure measurements and on to the beds.

Two of my friends, Simon and Lauren, came from across town to join our Donor Day (thank you!). And another friend, in the E. Cape, Darrell, went to his local donor clinic last week to make his contribution. He sent through a smiling photo.

My thanks to PenQuin for saying, "Yes!" and for letting me go ahead with putting this together. To Sini and his team from SANBS - Wow! You are all really fantastic. To my friends at work, thank you for helping out with the design of the flyers and tattoos, blowing up of balloons, handing out juice, putting temporary tattoos on to the donors and holding the hands of new donors; and to Eddie and the ladies downstairs who gave me permission to use the floor space in our building's atrium, without hesitation. And also a BIG thank you to each of the donors for coming through to donate. Your blood saves lives.

In special mention, Roz from Active Power Trading printed our promotional vinyl banner at no charge; Lesley from LawPrint did our posters and flyers - and they printed the posters and an extra 1000 flyers for us just because they could, at no charge. Jade from GeckoMedia handled our temporary tattoo order professionally, chasing the couriers who didn't deliver on time. Jade drove through to the airport from Sandton, on the morning of the Donor Day, to collect the tattoos for us. Wow!

As a final thought, I'd like to encourage you all to become regular donors - that's 3 or more donations each year. It is only when you are a regular donor that all your blood components are used. There are SANBS donor clinics all over the country so donating is convenient. SANBS will also visit your office every 3 months; this is something we're going to do for our building - and the donors who attended on Friday. Their website is very informative -

I've been a very slack donor the past few years due to regular visits to malaria areas and racing - I got out of the habit. It feels good to do this little something - it's a good turn that along the way I may need in return.

Say, "Yes!"

Last night I watched 'Yes Man' on DVD. It's a Jim Carrey movie (2008) about a guy, who has become withdrawn and depressed since his divorce. He spends his spare time watching DVDs alone in his apartment, ignoring invitations to parties and neglecting his friends. His outlook on life is totally negative.

A friend persuades him to attend the "Yes!" self-improvement seminar (cool appearance by Terence Stamp as the motivational guru). Jim's character, Carl, reluctantly promises to stop being a "No Man" and vows to answer "Yes!" to every opportunity, request or invitation that presents thereafter.

Carl adopts a positive mentality and seizes every opportunity that comes his way. He takes flying lessons, attends Korean language lessons and learns to play the guitar. Saying "yes" constantly works to Carl's advantage.

Although there are the obligatory OTT Jim Carrey acting scenes, I liked the theme of this movie. It's a bit like Green Eggs and Ham. Try things. Do stuff. Saying "YES!" opens doors.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Litter: Pick it up!

There was an anti-litter campaign held on Saturday, promoted by radio stations, to encourage people to clean-up their neighbourhoods. I think it may have only been Joburg? This initiative aims to clean up the areas of Jo'burg around the stadiums and tourism attractions. Pikitup, the garbage collection company, was involved and the campaign's message was, "You pitch in and we'll Pikitup".

My local resident's association organised a litter clean up along the main roads in Kensington - Langerman Drive and Queen Street. A small number of residents (there were more than just the bunch in this photo) assembled on the corner of Queen and Langerman, receiving garbage bags from Pikitup. It was really great to see parents arriving with their children. We split into groups and got to work.

Although there were the usual plastic bags, sweet wrappers, bottles and papers, my pet hate is the hundreds of cigarette butts. When the regular street cleaners clean, they pick up papers, cans, bottles and such. Cigarette filters and bottle caps and straws require one to bend down to pick them up. Joburg City Parks uses the term 'deep cleansing' to describe the process of cleaning up little litter pieces. I deep cleansed.

It only took us about 90-minutes to do our sections and it was great fun and satisfying to see what we'd accomplished. Also a lovely sense of community and neighbourly spirit.

Our resident's association is leveraging off this spirit to establish regular teams to tackle various hot spots around Kensington with regular clean up days.

I'd really like to see homes and stores take responsibility for the patch of pavement and road outside their walls. If each one took responsibility for that small section, it would make a huge difference. Sure, some other dirty pig put the litter there, but now it is in your space. Zip-zap... you can clean it up in a few minutes with little fuss (keep a pair of dishwashing gloves handy for this task).

Litter has always been my pet hate. Please don't turn a blind eye to it, especially when it is outside your doorstep. Bend over and pick it up; in one movement you've made a big difference. And try to get the people along your road to do the same.

Circuit running in August

I've just submitted my entry form for the Dawn 2 Dusk 12hr Circuit Race. The event happens on Saturday, 22 August in Pretoria. This is the first major event that I've entered since mid-March's Midnight Hell Run, so I'm really excited to have this goal to work towards.

I've only ever done one circuit race before - in April 2006. It was a 12hr event in Randburg - we ran through the night from 19h00 to 07h00. I logged 98km to finish 3rd overall and as 1st lady. Oh yes, I do hope to get over 100km this time. And like the Randburg race, this one is also a 1km loop.

So, there we have it - a super fun goal. And when I told Ray, in Cape Town, about the race this evening, he got hell-fire inspired and has just submitted his entry form too. Now we wait until 15 July to see whether our entries are successful.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

HELP! I need somebody

The Beatles' song 'Help!' is one of my favourite high-speed treadmill running tracks. At 95bpm it is a VERY fast-cadence song.

On Thursday I had a fortuitious meeting with a friend; someone I've known for a few years through sport involvements, albeit not very well. He has had a rough couple of months with a turbulent relationship split, job changes, little exercise and general un-wellbeing.

When dealing with emotional stressors - relationship, work, financial, social committments and obligations - there comes a time when enough is enough. Too much rushing from one thing too the next; too many obligations - things you're obliged to do and from which you get a level of personal satisfaction but which you don't really want to do; too little time for yourself and exercise - things that are important to you; and too many things that you've given a little attention to instead of giving lots of attention to fewer things to get a better result.

And then you sit back and see so much time has passed in which you've accomplished much but it feels like little and you haven't done many things that you really wanted to because you've been fulfilling obligations. And through this all you take knocks, like a boat on a rough seas - the result is shattered confidence and the desire to climb into a hole and not get out.

Although the reality of the situation is not dire, it feels dire. Molehills feel like mountains and even the addition of one more task, even something as simple as having to submit an event entry form, causes distress. It's a small task that feels like a huge task; but is yet another one to add to all the overwhelming others.

My friend is looking at changing jobs, leaping from independant consulting to a coporate position; it is scary when you've had your freedom. He has to now get back on the map, update his CV and sell himself. He's good at what he does; very good. So good that he is headhunted by international companies for top-notch positions. Although he knows this, he's feeling low. But he also knows that he has to dust himself off because there are changes to be made.

We often live in isolation, taking stress as it comes and dealing with it on our own. But when it gets too much? That's when you need to shout, "HELP! I need somebody!".

The most difficult part is to find the right somebody - and you can't recruit through a classified ad in a newspaper. Sometimes the somebody just needs to listen and be an understanding ear; other times, like this, the somebody needs to do. And you don't have to be a close friend or relation to be this vital somebody. A right somebody is the right somebody regardless of association.

Although I am in favour of psychologists, there are times when you almost need a practical somebody with knowledge of your industry and issues to say, "Do X first, then Y and then Z". Yes, instructional handholding to get you back on your feet emotionally. You do the work; they provide the step by step instructions and those all important pats on your back.

My friend started by taking a took a look at what he needed:
  • somebody to help him fix up his CV - this somebody would need to look at the things he has done over the last few years, which he considers fairly routine but which speak of his expertise and specialisations
  • somebody to guide him through the steps needed to market himself because he just didn't know where to start.

I'm honoured that he thought of me because of my involvements in publicity, media, marketing and communications. Having been through a similar situation recently and totally understanding the fearful leaps involved in either going freelance or into corporate, the 'molehill to mountain syndrome' and dark sadness where you feel trapped, I was an empatheic somebody. Best of all, I knew a more suitable somebody with greater expertise who would be able to help better than I could. The sun has started shining again.

Late last year I completely cracked (total overload - I finally hit my limit). A somebody pulled me through. She listened, she saw and she said, "I can help". And she did - beyond words.

Keep your ears open and listen carefully because you may be such a somebody; a vital lifeline. It takes great courage and insight to say, "HELP! I need somebody". And when you hear this, it is very important that you, like my somebody, reply "I can help".

Help! The Beatles (lyrics)
John Lennon wrote the lyrics of the song to express his stress coming from The Beatles' quick rise to a massive level of success after years of obscurity.

Help, I need somebody
Help, not just anybody
Help, you know I need someone, help

When I was younger so much younger than today
I never needed anybody's help in any way
But now these days are gone, I'm not so self assured
Now I find I've changed my mind and opened up the doors

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won't you please, please help me

And now my life has changed in oh so many ways
My independence seems to vanish in the haze
But every now and then I feel so insecure
I know that I just need you like I've never done before

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won't you please, please help me

When I was younger so much younger than today
I never needed anybody's help in any way
But now these daya are gone, I'm not so self assured
Now I find I've changed my mind and opened up the doors

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round
Help me, get my feet back on the ground
Won't you please, please help me, help me, ooh.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Orienteering: Cinderella Dam

This past Sunday was orienteering at Cinderella Dam. I think I last ran there about four years ago.

Again I didn't have an astounding run and I certainly didn't speed over this grassy terrain; I almost landed on my face a few times! Overall my navigation was ok - not spectacular. I did hunt for controls a few times.

Without going into each leg, I'll just mention the bloopses that I made.

Part 1

Going to control #4 I was on target, found the dry ditch and the road... except, I think that I was one vegetation boundary too soon. I'm not completely convinced but this is my only explanation. The road that I found wasn't on the map. I should have used the reeds (green stripes on the map) as a second positioning reference. After a few mins there were a few of us hunting around this same area.

To control #10 I underjudged the distance. There was a small brick building to the west of the pipeline, which I thought would be a useful feature. Except that I thought the black triangle near the "1" of the number 10 was a square. But it isn't, it's a triangle depicting a boulder cluster. so, I stopped a bit too soon, realised my error. I continued straight ahead and hit the control spot on.

Part 2Going to #11 I headed for the stone wall, planning to follow it. Not in the mood or long grass, backjacks and khakibos I turned back up on to the path that was on the ground, but not on the map. Only problem with this kind of thing is judging the distance to leave the path and look for the feature. I judged well when I headed back to the stone wall, reaching the wall about five metres short of the feature.

#13 should have been easy... I did notice the cross-road and the control should have been about 50m from it. I'm quite convinced that the control was a bit sooner than marked on the map. I'm not sure... I did overshoot into the open vegetation and backtracked to the control.

I took an odd route to #15, choosing to run on the dirtroad.

I did mess up #19 - the second last control! I was spot on but didn't see it wedged between two rocks. I saw another control for another course a bit further up, close to the fence. I knew it had to be wrong. I then tookmy position from the marked significant tree, which has a rock next to it and worked back to the correct boulder cluster. Some other guys were also looking around there and as I got to the rock they found it too. Really irritating 'cos it is such a silly error.

The orienteering juniors are organising an event at Heron Bridge school on 16 June, which is a public holiday. As the event is on school grounds the terrain is easy going but navigation could be a good mix of easy and tricky, especially where school buildings, quads and corridors are concerned. 20/21 June is Gauteng Champs - and I do hope I have a better run than what I've had this past month!

Contemplating apples and oranges

I've had a new epiphany...

Let's say that you're an orange farmer and I'm an apple farmer. I happily trade my apples for your oranges; and you're pleased to trade your oranges for my apples. And every now and again I'll give you an extra apple or two just because I can and because I want to. And you'll do the same. I appreciate our arrangement and the effort you put into growing your delicious oranges and you appreciate my apples. These items are equal in value and we each desire - and need - the one we don't have.

This principle can be applied in the home and work environments - in fact, any interaction between two people.

Considerations are:
  • Each party should contribute equal products to the trade agreement.
  • Stand up for yourself and put your foot down if you're offered vrot oranges for the apples that have taken you a lot of blood, sweat and years to cultivate. Aim to not undervalue your apples just because you want those oranges. Plums and bananas are options too.
  • Always make sure that your apples are up to standard; and don't be shy to throw in an extra one or two just 'cos you can. Any orange farmer worth their salt will appreciate your gesture.
  • If you want to negotiate a new trade with the orange farmer, make it clear you want a 'yes-no' answer. There are few things worse than being ignored when something is important to you.
The best thing is that mutually beneficial, respectful and appreciative relationships - at home and work - do exist. Most importantly, it is under your control to create and cultivate them.