Richard Harpham and his Big 5 Kayak Challenge

Because life is too short not to try, Richard Harpham decided one day that it was time to make things change and start fighting for the causes he has always believed in. Early retired from the corporate world, he co-founded the Big 5 Kayak Challenge few years ago to pursue his dreams of kayaking across oceans and helping people who aren’t as lucky as we are, supporting charities such as the Muscular Help Foundation or the Marine Conservation Society.

Investing his whole life, time and soul to this amazing project, Richard is determined to make a difference in people’s minds showing them how they can contribute to help others and make the world a better place. Because if you don’t push your own limits, you will never know what is waiting for you, it’s time to start taking action and get involved in the causes that matter to you. Read more about this sport junkie and dream fighter…

For those who haven’t heard of it, what is the Big 5 Kayak Challenge all about?

The Big 5 kayak challenge 2009 was about a personal challenge and some adventure with 5 challenging sea kayak expeditions including Round the Isle of Wight, The length of the Thames, Crossing the English Channel and Lands End to the Isle of Wight. The final expedition was 1000 miles from Vancouver to Alaska.  More than anything it was a personal journey for each of us and doing something that we loved doing.  We were also keen to ensure that we supported some good causes whilst we were having fun on expedition. Our causes have included the Muscular Help Foundation, The River Access Campaign and the Marine Conservation Society.

The Big 5 Kayak Challenge 2010 was about setting our sights a little bigger. We aimed to raise more awareness for our causes and in particular promoted the work of the Marine Conservation Society on TV and in the media.  We have begun to also start monitoring the pollution and plastic that we find on the remote beaches during our expeditions.  The Big 5 kayak challenge 2010 has involved kayaking around Malta and Gozo, canoeing 700 miles of the Yukon River, Crossing the Pentland Firth and paddling around the Orkney Isles(unsupported), Scotland to Ireland (unsupported) and London to Marrakech by kayak and cycle.   The team have now completed over 4,600 miles of human power during the 10 expeditions in 2 years. Of course that doesn’t seem enough so the plans are growing again for next year.

How did this whole adventure start?

I had started an online sports community with over 5,000 bits of content in our online community from adventurers and Olympians aiming to inspire others.  After 5 years of hard work we needed more funds to keep going  and grow. Sadly the bank withdrew a loan and we went bust. I decided that it was my time to do some bigger adventures myself. I didn’t want to just write about others challenging themselves. The Big 5 kayak challenge was born overnight and literally 5 weeks later we found ourselves in Prijon sea kayaks kayaking around the Isle of Wight.

Meet the guy: Richard Harpham!

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Publishers Rush to Translate More Titles for American Market

Americans are not heavy consumers of translated literature, but the US success of Scandinavian writer Steig Larsson and the ability to promote translated titles online has convinced more international literary organizations to give it the old college try, according to the New York Times.

While the amount of translated literature purchased by American consumers each year remains at about 3 percent, foreign literary institutes and, in many cases, governments, are working to gain additional market share for their writers by increasing the number of translated titles available. For example, government institutes in Slovenia recently paid for the translation and promotion of a “Slovenian Literature Series” for US publisher Dalkey Archive Press. Read more

20 Endangered British Languages

English may be the third most common language in the world in terms of native speakers, but other British languages aren’t faring nearly as well. In fact, the Telegraph reports that Cambridge University has just put together a database that includes 20 British languages that are either endangered or believed to be extinct. Some evolved here, some were brought here, but all once had active, vibrant communities in the UK.

Here’s a little bit about some of the endangered/extinct languages on the list that are native to the UK:

Old Kentish Sign Language: Now extinct, this was a type of sign language once used in Kent. In some communities in Kent, many children were born deaf, and this sign language let them communicate with hearing friends and family.


Polari: Derived from elements of English, Italian, Romani and other languages, this was a code language spoken by circus and carnival performers, and by homosexuals at a time when homosexual relationships carried stiff legal penalties. When gay relationships became legal, there was no longer a need to use it. Plus, mainstream exposure ensured that it no longer served its purpose as a secret language.


Cornish: In the 18th century, Cornish died out completely. However, it has since been revived and now there are at least 2,000 people who speak Cornish fluently. It is still classified as “critically endangered.” Read more

Where Are You Spending Christmas?

From Athens to Tokyo, Moscow to Christchurch, Vienna to Washington, on the 25th of December, a lot of people are going to celebrate Christmas, some under the sun or the snow, around a homemade meal or at a nice restaurant, with family members or friends, exchanging gifts or greetings cards. Some like traditional and other prefer unusual but no matter where you are in the world, it’s this time of the year when you have to share and give, time to be reunited with the people you care, time to make new wishes, time to enjoy the present.  For those of you who might look for a unique place to spend Christmas this year, here are the 10 top destinations in the world.

Caribbean Islands

2500 mile-long chain of islands, crystal blue sea, best beaches in the world, peace…Caribbean will definitely be the experience of a lifetime.

Goa (India)

People never think of India as a Christmas destination but to tell you the truth, the best of sun, sand, and exquisite seafood is there. Goa, known for its modern life and historical legacy seems the ideal state to get the stress of your daily life out of your system.


Fancy a cosy Christmas with your family? With its picturesque countryside, huge farm lands and large fields of colourful tulips, Holland is the place to experience the rustic lifestyle and a peaceful Christmas.

Las Vegas

So this year, you feel more like a player and just want to spend some good times?  Well my friend, Vegas is where you need to be if you want to spend your days in Casinos surrounded by hot blond girls trying to win the big bucks! Read more

Be the Next Aladdin by Moving to Dubai

Today, I was thinking about a nice place to live on a long term basis and I don’t know why but I remember stopping over at Dubai on my way to Australia, and suddenly I could feel the heat, admire the palm trees, visualize all these incredible shops and see gold everywhere. I picture myself as the next Jasmine (or Aladdin) living in a sumptuous palace, playing with my own tiger, wearing priceless and colourful outfits or even flying on a magic carpet! Who wouldn’t this kind of life seriously?! In case you are still sceptical and I didn’t convince you already, here are some of the top reasons you should move to Dubai.

Sun all Year

With its 8 to 9 months of sunshine in the year and an average temperature of 20 degrees in the winter, Dubai sounds like the ideal destination to get your perfect tan.

No Tax

No Guys, you are not crazy and you read well…Dubai is a tax free place! I repeat: TAX free!! How come you are still here then?!

Let your Door Open

There are absolutely no worries to let your door open in Dubai as it’s ranked in the top five safest cities to live in the World. Pretty impressive, right? So you can threw your key out of the window, disconnect your electronic alarm and store away your baseball bat. 😉

Enjoy Luxury for a Penny

Compared to other countries around the World, Dubai properties are considered relatively inexpensive, with great value and more luxurious. Don’t wait, sell your British house and buy an Arabic Palace. Read more

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Google to Help Translate European Patents

Google just announced that they now have an agreement with the European patent office to translate patents. According to the International Business Times, Google will use their automatic translation software to translate patents into 29 EU languages.

This is important news because the EU has been trying to implement a standard patent system for all of its member nations but thus far, translation disputes have kept that from happening. The original proposal called for patent documents to be translated into English, French and German only. Naturally, this left Italy and Spain feeling somewhat neglected.

Since the patent process has not been standardized, according to the International Business Times it actually costs businesses about 10 times as  much to patent an idea in the EU  as it does in the US. Per European Patent Office president Benoit Battistelli, the agreement with Google will hopefully make the proposal more acceptable to the countries that have so far refused to accept it:

“The deal is a kind of compensation for those countries so they can accept the idea that for economic reasons it’s necessary to choose only a few languages and not to use all of them.”

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Home Made Christmas Trees

Two years ago we started our tree planting program. To kick it off we bought 75 extra trees and gave them to the team @ K. Not everyone had the space for them so I planted a couple of dozen on a site just north of here and had a couple left over in my back garden.

It’s minus 7 Celsius (17 Fahrenheit) outside at the moment… very very cold for England. So I wanted to check on the trees this morning and they looked so beautiful I wanted to share them with you.

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Translating a Resume

When you’re looking for a job, you want to put your best foot forward.  Getting your resume “just right” is enough of a challenge in English. However, if you’re looking for a job overseas, cultural differences can add a layer of complexity to the task that a simple, word-for-word translation can’t solve.

For example, when writer Jesse Newman of The Australian had his carefully tweaked resume translated into Chinese, native Chinese speakers were quick to let him know that his message was getting lost in translation. Newman explains:

“As a character-based system, Chinese focuses on key words to an extent that would be impossible in English. As a result, even in something as functional as a DVD player manual, basic Chinese sentences can seem like abstract poetry. In contrast, English, weighed down with the grammar of a dozen root languages, seems clunky and overly specific, full of wandering prose and repeated information when written down in the Chinese hanzi.”

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Enter the Geek World

I think the best way to start this post is to tell a bit more about my high school experience as I believe I was the not-perfect-but-close incarnation of what we call affectionately a geek, nerd or dork according to your preference. Of course, at the time, I thought I was pretty cool, not as popular as the footballers or cheerleaders that you can see in all American movies but still. I was only wearing Quicksilver (you know the brand!) and never giving up on Vans for my feet, pretending to be part of the skaters crew, or with lot of imagination, the surfers one. Unfortunately, I never had any talent whatsoever to ride a board…maybe with a lot of practice, I could do it but at this time, I was more into watching other people do it than actually try! So, yeah, I wasn’t going to become Tony Hawk or Kelly Slater anytime soon.

Despite this, I still had a bunch of friends, well if you consider that 2 is a “bunch” of course, though it’s more than 1 by definition. For my defence, it was hard to make friends in Maths or Physics classes because there were only so many girls in it. Concerning the guys, well, I didn’t want to end up in Maths or Chest clubs just yet, my dad already set up a one-member-only-club for me anyway every Saturday morning, so I thought it was too much commitment to join 2. Speaking of my dad, he is part of the reason of my non-social life in high school as I was not allowed to do anything really except working on my Maths and Physics problems, though, at rare occasions, I had the huge chance to learn the subject in “real” when he needed me to help him to sort out the electricity of our house. Read more

Business Networking Event Coming to Milton Keynes


Want to know all the secrets behind entrepreneurship? Already an entrepreneur yourself? Fancy sharing your experiences and ideas? If you answered “yes” to one of these questions, you are cordially invited to the best business networking event about successful entrepreneurs coming in town soon! My mate Liz Endler is going to hold the conference here in vibrant Milton Keynes, check the details out if you want to join the party…

Join us at the Hilton Doubletree in Milton Keynes for a new style of business event which has been specially designed to activate the rich seam of creativity and growth amongst the entrepreneurial community.

Our aim is to bring together entrepreneurs, the academic community and those involved at strategic levels in helping to foster business growth to share their different skills, knowledge and perspectives and provide a springboard to creating new business growth.

Listen to some of the best business speakers share their experiences of developing successful businesses and practical business theories – both to inspire you to focus on further growing your business and to give you a host of practical tools to help you maximise the potential of your own unique business.

Some of the benefits of attending:

  • Connect with other like minded passionate entrepreneurs in a vibrant atmosphere.
  • Listen to successful entrepreneurs sharing their experiences.
  • Take away a whole range of ideas to harness further growth in your own unique business.
  • Find new opportunities for growth in the expanding local economy.

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