What do County Battery Services Want From Employees

The most watched Ted Talk is by Sir Ken Robinson entitled Do Schools Kill Creativity?  Sir Ken’s suggests that to attend the first schools was very expensive so the only people that could afford to attend were in business in some way or another, hence the important lessons were English and Mathematics. Art and music were much further down the list and the structure is still the same today.  

Brazilian entrepreneur Ricardo Semler has set up several schools in his home country called Lumiar that are different from the normal. His goal is to create an environment for wisdom he says not to do specific things that are available in 30 seconds from GoogleThe process works on threads how do we express ourselves? How do we change? How do we measure ourselves? What don’t we know? They have one person who is  a teacher who knows the children their interests their culturethey make sure they find masters from all walks of life it may be a painter a violinist and has them teach the childrenBecause these masters are passionate about their subject and the children are interested in the subject the learning is very effective. If you were learning about brick laying then you would have to include mathematics in the lesson because it is relevant and the child can see that. Measured against the other schools in Brazil the schools get almost double the national average in results. 


County Battery Services run a system of continual improvement called two second lean. The system promotes quality and efficiency and the system develops people.  The directors of the company have recently toured Japan on a study mission as the experts in Lean Manufacturing are in Japan  to help the company move into the manufacture of Lithium Batteries in the UK. Whist there a school was visited the children were at lunch. They ate all the food they had been given there was no waste. We were told that they should not take the food if they did not want it. The older children served the younger ones and the whole room was tidied and cleaned by the children. After lunch the children cleaned the school with mops and brushes, they all cleaned the older children supervised the younger ones. The older children were learning to be leaders they were all learning respect. 

One of the great minds of lean was W Edwards Deming Educators look at Deming’s 14 points and think they only apply to business I believe it applies to all organisations. 

  1. Create constancy of purposeDevelop a mission statement and make sure that everyone in the organisation knowhow they contribute to the mission  
  2. Adopt the new philosophy. Make sure that there is quality in everything from teaching to exercise books. To achieve this quality a greater cooperation is needed ask questions like what can the teacher and students do to make the learning experience better? 
  3. Stop depending on mass inspections. Exams and tests should be kept to a minimum the quality should be built in. Tests only stop bad quality product from hitting the market. The focus should be on getting the process and the product rightHaving a student study then fail a test is a failure by all parties 
  4. Do not conduct business on cost aloneMake sure that in all areas quality products and services are procured. 
  5. Improve constantly and forever. Are your customers (the studentshappier than they were last term if not find out why and fix the situation. If the answer is yes, then look at the process and find what made it so then encourage innovation but incremental improvements 
  6. Training. Quality management training is essential but CPD is necessary to continue the improvement in quality 
  7. Implement leadership Not management leadership be a coach and a teacher not a judge or overseer  
  8. Eliminate Fear in an educational setting fear is often a big factor in performance, If the organisation is filled with fear suggestions for improvement will not be suggested, problems will not be reported   
  9. Break down the barriers between departments encourage cooperation not competition between departments there is only one team and that should be working together 
  10. Get rid of unclear slogansRemember that people are not the problem the process is if the process is wrong you will get defects  
  11. Eliminate management by objectives KPI and management by numbers is detrimental to quality. Under this type of management, the focus is just targeted at those few outcomes sacrificing others and often taking shortcuts to achieve targets  
  12. Remove barriers to pride of workmanship. Pride is a strong motivator giving students a say in how things are run or asking their opinion will help grow that pride 
  13. Implement education and self-improvement An organisation needs good people to make the organisation improve the people need to improve 
  14. Make transformation everyone’s job. To implement a Lean system it should come from the top down if the CEO MD or Head Teacher is not interested then the project will fail. 

 In our school system we have a MP who will be Education Secretary in 6 months he could be transport secretary, mostly they have only ever done politics I don’t think most of them know a lot about either business or education I would like them to keep out of it. 

What do we want at County Battery Services, respectful young people who are happy to make change for the better, who aren’t afraid to fail admit that failure learn from the failure and have another go, who want to improve and develop that one day they can with our help become tomorrow’s leaders 

Patriotism: Why only once every 4 years?

I must own up to the fact that I really don’t like football. It may have been because I was never good enough to make the school team so I lost interest. That does not mean I don’t want England to win!

I am English and very proud of that fact and also a citizen of the United Kingdom of Britain and Northern Ireland.

I somehow think we have it wrong. We in England only seem to get flags out at football matches. Why not celebrate on the 23rd April? A bank holiday marches parties pomp and ceremony about all that is English. The Irish are good at it, they even exported Paddies day to the U.S.

We at County Battery Services make sure there is a flag flying at our head office everyday, either the Union flag, George Cross or County Flag. We invite you to do the same and shout for England not just for the football.


Day 12 Tandem Rhine Tour Millingen an der Rijn to Vienen via Arnhem

We now have only two more nights and probably 130 miles to cover to the ferry terminal. We decide to have a reasonable push of about 60 miles to Vienen.

From our lodgings we were only 100 yards to the ferry for the start of our day the further we got into Holland the more we liked it.

We soon came to Arnhem which is famous for the Second World War battle which took place there. There are museums, statues, and sadly graves to remind us.

If you want to buy a Tank battery click the link. The ride from Arnhem was really pleasant with thatched cottages and tree lined avenues.

There were some great fruit stalls on the way, we bought strawberries and cherries picked that morning.

the cycle paths here are the best we have yet encountered. Along these roads we heard quite a commotion if your Battery croaked


We cycled on to Wijk bin Duurstede and saw our first Dutch windmill of the trip.

We carried on to Vianen to the Van Der Valk hotel, £150 per night including breakfast. With a pool, a spar and a massive bed.

Day 4 Rhine Cycle Route Waldshut to Neuf-Brisach

On our County Battery Tandem Team we have covered about 210 miles from the Oberalpass. We checked our itinerary and decided to up the mileage and do 80 miles to Neil-Brisach.

The morning of 29-05-2018 was grey and raining but it was cool. I was interested to see how well our Sealskinz over-socks and our panniers and saddlebag performed. However the rain soon subsided, although everything was dry the test was not good enough.

It was quite amazing how fast the size of the river was growing.

And more so when the Rhine canal joins at Schwaderloch.

We followed the Swiss side of the Rhine and then came to the pretty town of Rhinefelden.


We pushed on to Basel and for some reason unknown to me it was more difficult to follow the marker signs and we got lost in Basil.

And found some disinteresting places, the second picture I put in for our friend Ross who is our favourite freight forwarding agent.

We did discover that if you book using booking.com the app will give you the address of that hotel which you can open in google maps and use as a satnav if you don’t have a Garmin. Beware it is heavy on Battery

After Basel we headed up a canal, the whole of the route from then on appeared to be on the flat.

Another German cyclist pointed out the oldest nuclear power station in France which he said could go at anytime. I am sure it would wreck the Black Forest behind it

We reached Neuf-Brisach in the late afternoon, what a great surprise. It is a fortified town built on the orders of Napoleon walled and fortified

Even better, the best hotel room yet in the town an apartment Booking.com

Cost only €79

Just so you all know how we are managing with so little luggage. We wash our clothes every night. They get very dirty.

Strasbourg tomorrow.

Day 3 Rhine Cycle Tour Konstance to Waldshut

We left Konstance at 7.30am to try and miss the heat of the day. We headed along the Rhine and after about 20 miles came to Stein am Rhein.

Amazing place. We then headed for the Rhinefalls which we were told is the biggest waterfall in Europe.

We then picked up the D8 cycle route with amazing scenery on the way.

We finished at Waldshut. The temperature on a sign outside the Chemist said 33 degrees.

The hotel in Waldshut is the best yet. It is 4 stars with an extra big bed for €148 called the Bercher.

We had a meal in Waldshut, there is no comment or picture. It was OK but nothing to recommend for this blog

This trip is really quite tough. The schedule is tight and the weather is really hot. If you do this trip, bear these things in mind. We have decided to up the standard of hotel making sure we have as many luxuries as possible. We didn’t book hotels before we came, just the first two.

and have been managing the rest through Booking.com

Switzerland to Mansfield by tandem Day 1 starting at The Oberalppass to Buchs

We decided that we would have a long ride on the first day. We thought coming off the mountains would be all downhill. Mistake number 1 lol.

We got up early. Knoxy said he wouldn’t come as he doesn’t like heights, which is just as well because the bike can only seat 3. So we were at the top of the pass at about 8.30. You could cycle from Andermatt but bear in mind it is a 1000 metre climb.

It was then, tentatively we started down the hill. We were concerned the brakes would overheat. It is probably 10 miles of steep downhill

The picture doesn’t show but I guess about 1 in 7.

We then peddled about 20km and just before the village of Disentis/Muster the route travels down rough country tracks. We decided to come off the trail and go by road to Ilanz through very quaint alpine villages.

In most of these there is a water fountain supplying free water. After Ilanz there is a hard climb but stunning scenery and great views.

We then made our way to Chur and lost the trail after riding around in circles for about an hour. Garmin came to the rescue.

The final stage to Buchs was along the side of the Rhine and was fairly flat although there was a strong head wind.

We stayed at the Landgastof Wardenberg hotel which was very clean, very basic and cheap at about £80 per night. Breakfast was extra 8€ each.

We walked down to Galerie am See, sat in the sunshine and looked at the view.

24chf for a burger is a lot more than McDonalds but what a view.

Here’s where we went…

Switzerland to Mansfield by Tandem the packing

Cycling home from Switzerland carrying your clothes needs some planning the first being what do I put them in? After much research and questioning of people I decided to get some Ortlieb panniers and we already had a Topeak saddle bag which again is quick release and portable.

The Ortlieb panniers are waterproof and also have a quick release. We packed all our clothes into the panniers and mine weighed about 10 lbs (4.5Kg)Jane was at 14 lbs (6.kg).


This is my apparel for the two and a half weeks we are away. We have decided to take some hand wash soap for the clothes and possibly wash every two days (or stink) Here is my list:

  • 6 pairs socks (I plan to wear and wash then throw away)
  • 5 pair underpants (I plan to wear and wash then throw away)
  • 1 pair espadrilles
  • Sealskinz oversocks (these are advertised as waterproof hopefully it won’t rain)
  • 2 pair cycling socks (1 to wash and 1 to wear)
  • 2 cycling shirts (1 to wash and 1 to wear)
  • 2 tee shirts (1 to wash and 1 to wear)
  • 2 pair cycling shorts  (1 to wash and 1 to wear)
  • 1 travel towel
  • a pair of trousers that will unzip  to make into shorts
  • a pair of shorts
  • a raincoat

we also have cycling helmets, shoes, fingerless gloves and sunglasses.

We need to remember toothbrush and toothpaste, shaver, passports, credit card, wallet, travel insurance documents and money. We packed our saddle bag.

  • suncream
  • innertube
  • patches
  • multitool
  • bike lock
  • tyre inflators
  • tyrelevers
  • euro plug adaptors
  • powerbank
  • Garmin
  • mobile phone
  • multi charger lead
  • charge leads for anything battery operated

At the last minute we decided that it might be good to have cycle insurance so after phoning around decided to go with Veloshaw for about £150 (which covers us for a year for everything from UK breakdown cover to insurance for your teeth against road rage hopefully I am too old (or too scary)  for all that.

To qualify for the insurance we had to buy at least a silver standard bike lock never come across that one before anyway picked one up and then spent half an hour trying to make out the Abus instructions that were just pictures before resorting to YouTube

Another 2 kg to an already heavy bike.

Wednesday night Knoxy and Dobbo turned up and we loaded the van.

Next time we see them hopefully will be in Switzerland.

The team at County Battery requested I weigh in before and after I was 16st 10lb. I guess you could have a sweep stake at Thursday morning Mansfield and Ashfield 2020 breakfast meeting see if I lose some or find some on the way.

We pre-booked a taxi to Heathrow for our flight to Zürich it was cheaper to get a cab than the train £130.