Self-grilling … dangerous but cathartic! [Part 1]

Part 1

Who is Edward Bryans? In a nutshell: gregarious, truth seeking, prepared to fail, prepared to win, spiritually awake, eternally confused, frequently delighted, intermittently enraged, incessantly surprised, occasionally disappointed, forever hopeful and intent on being positive. He is also the person who cannot format Steemit posts properly!

The subject matter of this post, confused again! Confession … just a bit out of date.

Like most people I find it hard to write about myself without being cautious and somewhat defensive in approaching this strange subject! 

So, in the light of that I have taken a list of interviewers questions as dispassionately as I could and tried to be as open as I can:

 Q: Where were you born and brought up?

A: Hampshire, southern England. I was born a few months before JFK was assassinated. I am still twenty-three in my head, though the infrastructure rebels! My aunt told my mother to take me back when I was born. I was too ugly!

That is me under the hay stack, right hand side front row, aged fifteen. Some great hair going on here!

Q: How would you describe yourself such that a stranger would “get” you?

A: Bond, James Bond … no, I suppose I am outgoing and am prepared for any occasion. Having lived outside my country of birth as much as I have, one is naturally adaptable to and respectful of foreign cultures, customs and daily life.

My sister, Cosmo

I am probably quite old-fashioned in some ways: viz. being late means that you value your time over someone else’s, thumbs up to writing in fountain pen, interrupting is rude, praise for other people is becoming rare, complimenting a lady on something can be dangerous (it is always worth the risk), speaking on the phone loudly in public is noise pollution. Put the effing thing away.

OK, I just think mobile phones have taken more than they give

Q: Tell me your likes, dislikes, indulgences, avoidances, what makes you laugh/cry and what would you say is your driving passion in life?

A: Wow, OK, likes: people, sport, countryside, horse riding, conversation, photography, presenting and wilderness.

Dislikes: lies, loud people, bigots, body odour, cold and driving rain, wrongfully rich Presidents.

Indulgences: music, philosophising, ridiculing politicians, time alone, wine and whisky.

Sunset in South Beach, Miami.

Avoidances: crowds, noise, ignorant egos, anything with negative energy.

I laugh at a good joke, life (at times), a well-scripted show, myself (often), good comedians like Tommy Cooper, Robin Williams, Jimmy Carr.

Crying: I am hopeless at films, especially when horses are involved for some reason; national anthems at the Olympics can do it too as when Sir Steve Redgrave won his fifth gold in Sydney.

Driving passion: truth and integrity, fairly nebulous words but with so much might behind them. If I was to sum it up even further, my most important, not favourite, word is ‘respect’.

Bad comb day, leave me alone!

Q: Which sector(s) have you worked in and where?

A: I set out on my travels aged twenty-two and seem to have been at it, on and off, ever since! My first port of call was Baltimore, Maryland, USA; I was working for a big food company in marketing.

Whilst in the USA I suffered the ignominy of being pulled over (in my “flash” Chevy Citation) by a policeman on a horse. I assure you it was a racehorse and I was in rush hour traffic!

The Opera House as an exhaust pipe.

Owing to Green Card complications, I was then offered roles in Jamaica and Melbourne. Australia is somewhere I had always had a fascination for and so off I went, very wet behind the ears.

From Food I went into Textiles, then Financial Services (all in Australia). Back in London I started an Event Management company, Force 10 Events. This was my favourite period for just work. I loved it, probably because, dare I say it, I am quite good at it.

Gary Lineker in his England days

I shall digress a little; Force 10 was renowned for creating unique experiences with the aim of delivering dynamic change in companies and organisations. International Bankers bungee jumping over the Swiss Alps, Mars merchandisers making millions (of Indonesian Rupiah) and the promotion of the Post Office’s services which saw us release 10,000 helium filled balloons from Battersea Park in central London. Gary Lineker, the ex-England footballer, was our celebrity; I have scarcely worked with anyone quite so professional!

The rocks at La Perouse are one of my favourite Sydney getaway places.

Back in Sydney, I enjoyed working in Digital Marketing and Financial Services. I subsequently found myself in the position of General Manager of a Sydney based gold mining company. As an unlisted public company, the responsibilities were substantial. The mining operations were to be in Ecuador and after several visits, I eventually moved to Ecuador full time in November of 2012.

At the office with my new friends. That is me at the back in the middle. This mine is located right on the Colombian border in the north of Ecuador

This is why I came to Ecuador.

Extraordinary rainbow found on the way down from the high country around Zuletta, near Otovalo, Ecuador.

Q: And what are you doing now and plan for the future?

A: Right now I am doing a few things; firstly I have the LatAm rights to a very green chemical which assists in the extraction, distribution and storage of crude oil. In addition I have been working on some design ideas which I have had for some time and I am writing a book.

Traditional dress at Easter, ‘Semana Santa’, in the centre of the ‘Centro Historico’, Quito. My first impression of this was somewhat disparaging, as the pointed hats might suggest!

Getting the horses in for saddling on a very cold morning in Zuletta. It was about 5am and I had not yet had a coffee.

Q: Book? What are you writing?

A: It is a novel but it incorporates much of my personal experience. It is a fun thing to do and much more intricate than I had believed upon starting.

Playing with the exposure settings on my camera.

Q: Let’s get away from work, what are the important things you would like to have known before you set out from the UK in the first instance?

A: There are a few things and I suspect we all share them to some extent but the big ones are:

* Stay true to yourself and your gut feeling. It can be easy to be swayed (I was) and the lessons from this can be expensive and recovery can be a long-term process.

 * Be careful of some of the assumptions which are imposed upon you from a young age. These can bite you hard. Question yourself and others. If nothing else, you will know yourself better. If you do not, you may find yourself having to “unlearn” things – this is too big a subject for now.

I called this photograph ‘Exposure’. The Ecuadorians would call this showing some huevos (eggs!)

 * Always try new things and try to learn something new every day, if you can.

 * Even if you do not smoke, always check out the smokers’ corner, some of the most interesting minds will be there.

 * Take your whole being, spiritual and physical, seriously. This should allow you a full experience of the potential of life’s precious offering.

 * Be conscious of the wallflowers at gatherings of people; there are some seriously amazing experiences amidst some bland moments. The big names are too busy to give you any serious attention anyway.

 * Save 10% of everything you earn; even if it is pennies, it works.

 * Enjoy life, every day and every moment and do not take it or yourself too seriously.

 I do really wish that I had understood each of these. Painful and expensive lessons were the fallout.

An Ecuadorian haircut. Not for the faint of heart, but at only 50 cents …

Grace Kelly, as she then was, a year before she married Prince Painier of Monaco. Photographed by Irving Penn, Vogue, March 1955

Q: If you could invite eight people to a dinner party, whom would you invite?

A: Nice one! There are some notables omitted, such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Lech Walesa (Polish Trades Unionist), Robin Williams, Prince Harry, Michelle Obama, Gwynneth Paltrow, Anne Hathaway, Elle Macpherson.

Younger brother, Rob, warming up for a tournament Marco Island, Western Florida.

My younger brother – an outstanding friend as much as a brother.

Princess Grace of Monaco – she was just so beautiful and was a conversationalist.

Sir Winston Churchill – to tell me about the “naughty” years.

Aung San Suu Kyi – a very brave woman who can teach us a lot.

Sir Ian Botham – England’s finest cricket all-rounder and he is thirsty.

Jessica Watson – Aussie who sailed around the world single handed aged 16

David “Bumble” Lloyd – a very funny cricket legend, check out his box story!

Baroness Thatcher (table control) – extraordinary, no matter your politics.

Chef: Heston Blumenthal (had to add that in!)

She is a very fine lady, no? She lives in the gardens of Hacienda Pinsaqui, about one and a half hours drive north of Quito.

Q: OK, Edward, what have you not told us?

A: One topic which is inappropriate to discuss here, other than to say that I dearly love them all, is my four children. They are extraordinary.

Cotopaxi, one of the more active and threatening of Ecuador’s volcanoes.

There is also my proudest moment when I rescued a man from prison, via legal avenues, not physically! A foreigner had accused him of rape and I found conclusive evidence that he was innocent. Had he gone to trial, he had no chance. In prison, he would be long since dead and a very unpleasant death it would have been too.

Hacienda Cusin, near Otovalo, Ecuador

Q: Thank you, Edward. Please, something amusing to end on …

A: OK, it is quick … Johnny and Mary are in the bath, aged about four. Johnny keeps standing up and playing with his tackle. Mary is quite distressed and calls for Mummy, who soon appears at the door. “Mummy, mummy, mummy, Johnny has one of those things and keeps playing with it. Why haven’t I got one?”

” Don’t worry darling”, explains Mum, “when you are a bit older, with one of yours you can have as many of those as you like!”

Finally, I would encourage people to follow this or a similar format. It is quite cathartic and never a bad exercise to do a self-appraisal.

My future island paradise in the Florida Keys!

All images, except that of Grace Kelly, ©Edward Bryans October 2016

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