Recently I was delighted to help OSTC welcome a group from Poland to the Gherkin for the third year running. The 2015 London Study Excursion was led by the impressive Dominik Keil and the Gherkin was the first stop in a packed schedule of visits across the City and Canary Wharf
Plans for this year's event have been shaping up - there's so much happening on the Gherkin plaza and at the top of the building looks like it will be even better than last year! And of course the work of the NSPCC seems more important than ever. Please join us if you can.
Unexpectedly there is an art gallery in the 38th floor glass walkway of the Gherkin - I say unexpectedly because, as everyone's eyes are glued to sweeping cityscape in front of them they rarely look anywhere else (the walkway is one place where visitors get really close to the glass) and I always wonder how much attention each artist's work actually gets. But then Michael Sole's work appeared and for the first time in five years I found myself as captivated by what was on the walls behind me as what was in front of me in the view. I found Michael's work breathtaking beautiful. I was invited to the Private View but didn't make it then suddenly one day he was there, chatting to some friends so I got to steal him for a minute and ask him about his work - yes, he's passionate about the sea and the sky (especially in extremes like storms) and yes, it shows. He's won lots of awards and is becoming very collectible - I'd say catch him while you can! www.michaelsole.co.uk
My favourite painting in Michael's show at the Gherkin 'Storm on the Rivieria'
I think kindness is important, it makes a difference to people's lives, whether it's making them easier on any number of levels or just more pleasant. I always make it a personal choice whenever and wherever I can and advocate it as a policy to my family, friends and clients. I also think it is hugely important to thank people and am repeatedly struck by how powerful genuine acknowledgement can be, often moving beyond politeness to have a much deeper effect on the recipient and on relationships. Now I want to acknowledge and thank Adrian Foncette (I wrote this on his last day at Searcys).
Adrian brought something very special when he came to the Gherkin. He's funny, friendly, charming and very easy to talk to (the right balance of humour, support, empathy and/or encouragement) and most importantly he conducts everything he does with an ever-present dose of kindness. I see it in the way he welcomes people and in all the little extra things he does to ensure everyone is taken care of. Adrian remembers everything anyone has ever said or asked for - so just-the-way-you-like-it coffee/tea/whisky would appear the moment you arrived. Indeed he often knew what you wanted before you knew it yourself - like the chilly morning he discovered a very-early start had meant I'd missed breakfast and produced a bowl of museli (wheat-free, he remembered of course) and a jug of hot milk (which I would never have asked for but proved to be just what I needed) or the moment he discreetly produced tissues for the member who'd had some sad news. I also found his fantastic attention to detail invaluable - I'd ask him 'Is the name of the guy over there that I met last week, is it Peter or Kevin?' and he'd quietly say, 'It's Neil'...
Thank you Adrian. As someone who always goes the extra mile for others and performs numerous small acts of kindness on a daily basis, you'll be an asset wherever you go and much missed in my daily life at the Gherkin.