My friend and former business partner Niall died so I’ve been quite sad these last few days. After a brave, decade long, battle with a brain tumour he passed away on Friday afternoon and will be missed by all who knew him. I’m sure some readers from his email list will have crossed paths with him once upon a time.
When I came back from a stint in San Francisco in 1999 we partnered up to form Oak Landscaping and we had a few good years creating, if I may say so myself, some jolly nice gardens. Truth be told Niall was the brains behind the designs and those gardens are now his proud legacy. We ‘divorced’ in 2003 for reasons that don’t even matter now, and not too long afterwards he received his diagnosis. To say that he was philosophical is an understatement. He soldiered on and even when he could no longer work/operate away independently he was determined not to be a burden on anyone. I’d see him on and off over the last few years and always came away admiring his fortitude.
I feel for his family, but, to be selfish for a moment, the thing I always take from such tragic news is that life is short. Death awaits us all and it behoves us to make he most of the time we’ve got. We’ve a moral obligation to strive, not just to be happy but to make the most of our God given talents so that, some day, when our number is up, we’ve left the planet a better (and more landscaped) place than it was. That might all sound glib or trite but its what I believe. Fuck the begrudgers and lets not take things too seriously either. None of us are getting out of this thing called life alive.
For example, on a lighter note, (and here’s a story I might regret telling), yesterday, mid morning, one of my guys rang me a little sheepishly to “explain what happened”. Here we go….
” what’s going on?”
“eh, we dug out the wrong garden” (lawn sod removed to depth of about 5/6 inches)
” The sat nav took us straight here, no one was home, the side gate was open and it looked just like the photo on the instruction sheet”.
Only the actual garden was the far side of the green where the intended customers were, wondering where the fuck we were.
In a lash I dispatched 1 man in a van to collect new rolled out lawn turf and got the rest of the crew to prep/ level and tidy. Within 1 and 1/2 hours the unsuspecting householders had a fresh new lawn – apparently their old one was crap and mucky anyway – and we were gone before lunchtime. In fairness the lads did leave a note in the door, kindly giving them my fucking number.
So it remains to be seen if the occupants see the funny side of it or if we can expect a solicitors letter.
I’d say Niall is laughing his head off at us now. I’ll let you know the upshot if any. Feel free to share your own stories of similar fuck-ups in the comment box below.
Finally I’d like to share with you an official briefing I received the morning after the budget – this from a professional guy in Cork who, like me, likes to email people on his list a couple of times a week.
What one hand giveth the other taketh away.’
Says it all really.