I managed to get up to Grasmere last week for a couple of days and thoroughly enjoyed battening down the hatches as the season’s first snow tumbled down. Everything around me was covered and all you could see was the odd deer track. The bordering fields, fells, and hills glistened beautifully in the crisp, bright sunshine. It was truly a Winter Wonderland.

I didn’t leave the cottage for 48 hours until my sister, Trisha, arrived from New Zealand and we went for a great dinner at Holbeck Ghyll. The chef there worked at Michaels Nook for eight years so it felt very much like home away from home. Holbeck Ghyll is a hotel with a one star Michelin restaurant, and is where Renee Zellweger stayed when she was filming Miss Potter. It’s a classic Lakeland house with beautiful views over Lake Windermere, a roaring log fire, and a lovely lounge full of comfortable easy chairs; the perfect place to order your pre and post dinner drinks in the most leisurely fashion. It also has the beautiful Lakeland habit of personally welcoming and farewelling you.

Trisha and I started to talk at 6:30pm and we were still going strong at 2:30am.

There’s a lot to be said for brother/sister one-on-one’s. Trish and I certainly don’t do it enough; there are always other people around. This time, however, it was just us and it turned into one of the most enjoyable nights of my year. Trish emigrated to New Zealand way before I did and paved the way. She’s made a stunning success of her career, starting out at the Housing Corporation, going to Shell, then heading up HR at Fletcher Challenge and latterly Telecom New Zealand. She’s probably the most highly respected HR leader in New Zealand and is certainly the most caring and nurturing. Now Trish is about to embark on a new adventure having tired of corporate life and eager to take on a new challenge in recruitment/HR development. When we met at Grasmere she was looking at loads of options and it was great seeing her so excited.

She’s been my greatest supporter over the years and, although younger than me, has acted in many motherly ways. I’m pleased to say, my daughter, Bex, has much the same relationship with her elder brother, Ben. So here’s a Christmas toast to sisters all over the world. Long may they thrive.

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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