Summer 2016: From England to Canada and a few places inbetween

I am coming to an end to six months of working remotely!  This has been quite an experience and only made possible by the internet, skype, zoom and e-mail – and having excellent and accommodating clients.  Having had all our immediate family living away and wanting to travel and explore, we decided to go and spend some time with them and get out and about.  This meant England and Canada primarily – with some side trips to Ireland, Norway and Iceland.  We were able to welcome a new granddaughter (Myla – Amy’s second daughter) into the family in London, explore Dorchester-on-Thames with Ben and Evie and go searching for moose and bears with grandsons Beni and Alex in New Brunswick!

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Spring in England

This blog is coming from London.  I left Autumn in Toowoomba for Spring over here!  I’ve always enjoyed coming over this way – the history in the buildings and cobblestones, green meadows and stone walls.  Its not that I don’t also enjoy gum trees, kookaburras and windmills – its just different.  I wonder how many generations it takes before one fully identifies with the country in which you were born, and not, in part, the country of your ancestors?

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Hobbits and Hope

The Christmas and New Year break is now past – and January 2016 has started with a rush!  Some welcome rain is falling around Queensland and it gives some hope for many of the properties that have faced drought over recent years.A delight in a recent trip to New Zealand was a visit to Hobbiton.  A great example of diversification!  There in the middle of a sheep and cattle property, among the beautiful green rolling hills of New Zealand was this magical legacy of Hobbiton – with clothes drying on the line, food on the tables in front of the hillside dwellings and so well kept that you can imagine that the hobbits are just away for the day!

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Spring, a New Prime Minister, and a New Reef Report Card

It’s now Spring – and it is very evident in Toowoomba – host to the annual Carnival of Flowers!  This year we even got to the parade and viewed some of the flowers – usually we are away somewhere and leaving Toowoomba for the tourists!There are other ‘new beginnings’.  Australia has a new Prime Minister and who knows what that will bring for rural and agricultural policy?  One interesting change already is putting agriculture and water together in the hands of the rural focused National Party!  Agriculture certainly has a strong interest in water and its management and it is hoped that it is mature enough to recognise other water needs and to be able to negotiate mutually beneficial policies and approaches.

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Desktop reviews don’t have to be boring

Many evaluations I’ve worked on have either been focused around or include a desktop review. This could be of existing documents and/or trawling the web for other sources for information.

Trying to find relevant information is not always easy and can be very overwhelming, particularly when you have a big pile of documents to go through! It’s easy to fall into the trap of including too much information (just in case) into the report which then ends up huge and essentially just repeating what is already out there. This isn’t a very useful or analytical approach.

So I thought I’d share a few strategies which I have found helpful when having to trawl through a lot of information.

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