Maybe it was due to the freezing snow storms we endured recently, but I started hallucinating about Sir Richard Branson luxuriating on his Caribbean island.
At the same time a weather check on my phone said “feels like -8°C” where I was in Aberdeen, as the commuter “rush” limped along in the snow.
I’d stopped for coffee and a bacon roll to survey the scene from the safety of a cosy cafe.
The sun was shooting around behind fluffy clouds in a beautiful blue sky during one of those respites between snow bursts.
Across the sea to the south-east, dark clouds fled the scene like muggers after dumping the last lot of snow on us.
I thought I’d check the weather on Virgin owner Branson’s Necker Island – in the British Virgin Islands, of course.
It was 25°C and windy; it sounded perfect for me.
Similar to when I visit Lanzarote where, like Branson in the Caribbean, I happen to be a landowner of some note.
Well, not quite.
Actually, I merely have a timeshare interest in a small villa for a few weeks of the year – not Branson, but I can dream.
As it happens, there were a couple of more serious reasons behind my sudden Branson interest.
Does council bosses working from home impact effective leadership?
There was a lot in the news about executive bosses at Aberdeen Council working from home just like their staff, but with obvious implications that this might put the brakes on effective leadership.
There was a connection here with Branson as I’d read he was a big believer in working from home; he often does it himself.
Directing his empire while swaying in a hammock on Necker, or even from his bath.
If I was supposed to be working from a hammock on a paradise island I think I’d nod off, only waking now and again to sip rum and orange juice over ice.
Full marks to those who do their best work at home – or a hybrid combination of home and office – and the companies who make a success of it.
I’m now a permanent part-timer at home, but I have to escape the house because I’m too lazy: easily swayed by domestic distractions.
So I write better in the hurly-burly of cafe life; just like J K Rowling used to, but obviously from an enormously less-talented starting point in my case.
It’s fair to say some bosses suspect staff of slacking when not in the office, but what do we think of top managers who work from home?
Are they setting a good example?
A P&J investigation revealed that Aberdeen Council chief executive Angela Scott was only in the office half the time, while planning director David Dunne about a third.
Far from it for me to suggest they’ve got their feet up, sitting about all day in their jim-jams.
Would I dare cast such an outrageous slur on pillars of society?
Just look at the public backlash about Aberdeen’s awful bus-gate saga, over which Scott and Dunne presided.
Private drivers now need the mindset of Indiana Jones to avoid being trapped and fined by the council.
Surely semi-absentee council bosses actually travelled up and down these roads like the rest of us before daring to change things so drastically?
Now we discover that many Aberdeen councillors love being at home, too.
Quite a few of our elected representatives are also staying away in droves from their workplace.
It’s claimed these armchair councillors can’t stand the toxic party-political bearpit that is the debating chamber.
Or the “debasing chamber”?
So they zoom in.
Is there anyone left in the town house?
Is anyone left in the town house?
My other Branson fixation came from watching a television interview with heroic Post Office-slayer Alan Bates, inspiration for Mr Bates vs The Post Office.
While live on air, Branson offered him and his equally heroic wife a free holiday on Necker Island.
Thoroughly well-deserved because we’ve grown to admire Mr Bates’ never-say-die spirit to breach the battlements of powerful and seemingly impenetrable organisations.
He highlighted a sense of exasperation felt by many of us facing similar challenges on differing levels.
James and Julie Haig, for example
The award-winning Haigs Food Hall owners threw in the towel in their battle against the system and quit premises in Aberdeen to expand their mobile-van service.
They became the filling in an unpleasant sandwich.
Slapped between the new bus gates, which they say drove business away through fear, and soaring costs.
The couple were also heroic in their own modest way for fighting on while flying the flag for other threatened independent family enterprises in the city, whose plight seems to fall on deaf ears.
Maybe no one was listening because the people who matter were all at home.