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Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Some times I likes to sit and think, and sometimes I just likes to sit

It can be very hard to write something, and to write something interesting is even harder. This is not made easier when you have nothing on your mind. (In that case, I shall be providing feedback through the document, Ed).

I can tell you that I have renewed my annual family travel insurance. (3/10, Ed). I had bought some a while back, did not get my documents through until after the 14 days, only to find it had an excess of £250. After several emails it seems, as always, that it is a case of "buyer beware", and so I have a refund on the policy minus a £10 admin fee. I have now bought new insurance from another provider that has an excess of £50, for £17 more. Overall, I am glad to be covered for all my many and varied trips planned, and I guess I have also learnt a lesson that should have been learnt already, and that is to ALWAYS READ THE SMALL PRINT. It could have been worse, but quite how escapes me right now. (5/10, Ed).

I did take a look at an iPad, and they do look quite cool. As Golfy has already written in exhaustive fashion, there has been a lot written about a device that has not even been released yet. The fact that it won't support Flash is probably going to drive HTML 5.0 on to sites, and that can only be a good thing, with Flash being the most vulnerable bit of any PC to being hacked. (better. 7/10, Ed).

Other than that:

- Ricky Martin has just come out. He is very proud.
- Greenpeace are urging data centre owners to run their sites on renewable energy.
- PacMan has been seen on the moon. That is where he has been for the last 25 years. My son has just finished a school project on the eighties, and we did find an old game of PacMan, and I can honestly say I am still rubbish at the game.
- an indian holy man has had to step down after evidence of him cavorting with two ladies has come to light. Very hard not to comment on this one.
- Tony Blair has come out in support of Gordon Brown, praising his "boldness". Just when he was getting over "Taxigate", along comes Tone to really bu$$er up the party. (nice. 8/10, Ed).

Finally, I thought I would talk politics without showing any political persuasion. The chancellors had a televised duel last night. By all accounts, the yellow guy came off best but no knockout blows. The leaders will be following in due course. If they were to appear behind a screen, with their voices changed, I am guessing it may be quite hard to tell one from the other. But again, based on the last week or so, the yellow guy seems to be coming off best.
This may lead one to conclude that the yellows have a chance, but to be honest, while mid-term elections are all about mood and posturing, in a general election ballot people nearly always revert to type. I have heard persuasive arguments from all three sides, and how you receive them is totally governed by your own views, filters and inner voices. And it is these that generally determines where an individual puts their tick.

Those that are wavering are more likely to be so because a particular party is drifting towards them on the political spectrum, rather than them drifting towards a party. I think the leaders can help or hinder a party, and I think that specific economic conditions can also cause a bit of drift. There are the minority who have single issue views, either in race/immigration, environment, or monster raving loonies, and they are likely to drift nowhere fast.

So, what do all those meaningless words mean to my view on where the election will land. My guess, for what it is worth (nearly nothing), is that it will be a hung parliament, so those yellow fellows may well get a look in, regardless of whether the blues or the reds get the most votes. (Splinters, bums, fences. 4/10, Ed).

I hope your day proceeds in an orderly fashion.

Monday, 29 March 2010

A moment in time

I am on a long Starfleet teleconference, listen only, and thought it might be funny to write a blog whilst listening to it, just to see after the event, how blank a mind can get without actually imploding. The writer takes no responsibility to what is written from this point on.

Someone has just asked a question, and I fear he may be taking a bet to ask the question in the style of Alan Partridge. I would say he has won the bet. Oohh, someone else is asking a question. No bets on this question. A straightforward question that is both straight and forward. The answer also sounds very much like no bet was taken.

One thing that IS good about a long, listen-only conference call, is that you have a chance to tidy up your Inbox. Mine looks very tidy right now.

Now we have a financial presentation, which before it has started, I expect it to be broadly structured as follows:

- we did well last quarter/year
- these are the bits that went well/not well
- bit of complicated numbers stuff that only finance people really understand
- we need to do more next quarter/year.

Other than that, I see that that Sven-Goran Ericsson has been named as the Ivory Coast national team coach. For some reason it amused me as a dichotomous pairing - the restrained, up-tight northern hemisphere manager from a very cold country, managing a gregarious, layed back African team from a very hot country. Cool Running sprang to mind. And then I started to think of other similarly dichotomous pairs:

- Wayne Sleep managing the WWF tag team (editor's note: they are now known as WWE, World Wresting Entertainment, which is an interesting change, perhaps confirming what many have thought)

- Gordon Ramsey named Women's Guild Cultural Ambassador

- Quentin Tarrantino to produce follow up to Bambi

The call is nearly over, so I will probably need to go and do some work now.

You are as old as you feel

And boy do I feel old today. The sleepover for maggot 1 and his 3 friends was a lovely evening, enjoyed by all. Pizza for tea followed by a swim followed by a film and a "midnight snack" and the little darlings were asleep by around 11pm. Unbelievably, they were awake again at 5am, raring to go. This does seem rather naive in hindsight since it is well known that the young, unlike the older ones, do not wake up any later just because they went to bed later. Really not sure how that works, but it is undoubtedly the truth.
On the Saturday we went to How to Tame a Dragon in 3D. Now, as a fan of The Good Doctor (see previous posts for details if you don't know who this is) I was expecting the 3D to be a bit of a distraction. However, and this is twice now that I have disagreed with The Good Doctor, but I found the 3D to really enhance the film. It was a very enjoyable film, and the 3D really added to the experience. It may be our absolute fascination with all the Disney theme rides etc, but it did indeed seem a bit like a theme ride, with the scenes where the dragon flies up high then swoops down to the sea are really something. My guess would be that the Good Doctor would probably like film, but probably not the 3D. As I often say, film is art and art is subjective...

I am on a two-day week this week, with Wednesday and Thursday as holiday, Friday and Monday being Bank Holidays. Six days off, can't wait. My parents are home later tonight, and it will be lovely to see them. We already have a long list of baby-sitting dates for them, as well as a number of dates for them to come to us for meals. I am just praying that the weather stays good for them, since they do have high standards weather-wise.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Retail Sandwich Index

The thing that economists have been warning of for a while has finally come to pass. As anyone could have identified by the devastating fall in the Retail Sandwich index (RSI), the Worcester sandwich shop has closed.
Golfy first brought this news to you two days ago, and the poor chap has been inconsolable ever since he found out. Even the mighty Gorse Fox is planning a boycott of the West Midlands in support of the place.

I would just like to give a shout out to Lucas, the owner, and his daughters. Lucas was, I am sad to report, a Manchester United fan. He may indeed still be a Man U fan, depending on how the counselling is going. Ha ha.

Anyway, I shall miss my brown-baguette-egg-mayo-and-salad-with-lots-of-black-pepper sandwiches, a friendly chat with Lucas, a checkout of the latest wacky nail painting on one of the daughters, and quick peek at The Sun. Just about the most perfect lunch break you could ask for. I am salivating just at the thought of the egg sandwich and really will miss every aspect of the experience. Lucas, if you are reading this (which of course he almost definitely is not) then good luck in whatever you are doing now, and maybe we shall meet in another food outlet sometime.

I is nearly 8 years to the day that maggot number 1 was born. It feels like a lifetime. I really am not sure what we used to do before children, but I dream that it including a lot of sleeping, reading, eating and drinking. It may have even included a bit of the other, which of course got us into this mess in the first place.
I do remember that when we were in the flat we sometimes did not get up until 8am. Sometimes I can be up and have driven two and a half hours to be in Worcester by 8am. And even if I was not driving all that way, then there are plenty of other ways to welcome in the new dawn as one or other, occasionally both, maggots dive bombs us in search of a cuddle.

Maggot 1 has three of his friends from school coming over for a sleepover that will involve swimming, cinema, an almost uncontainable amount of excited energy, and the illicit eating of a mountain chocolate at midnight that maggot 1 has been stockpiling since Christmas. One of the mums said to me in the playground today that we must be mad, oh, and also mentioned that her little maggot often stays up until midnight when he stays with his grandparents. I need to check the contract, because I don't remember that being part of the service. Let's just hope we can knacker them out before then because, let's be honest, we need to be in bed way before then.

And I certainly didn't do that BM (before maggots).

Let's hope the sun keeps on shining right through the weekend and into next week. Scobi senior times two return to these shores in 5 days and we really do not want to be scaring them off with cold weather and rain.

I hope you all have a great weekend, and let's meet again next week.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

It's all in the numbers

GOOD NEWS: Well I'll be tuggered, Golfy has only been and gone and done it. I now have a read count on my blog.

BAD NEWS: Now people know the paltry number of people reading my blog.

Well, you cannot hide the truth. Well, obviously, with statistics of course you can hide the truth. You can even create a whole new truth with statistics. In fact, when you come to really think about it, in the world of statistics, the sky can be any colour.

Squirrels. Don't you just love them. Golfy's nickname for me is Squirrel. It is a reference to a scene or two in Up. You know the one, where the dogs are chatting and half way through a sentence one shouts "Squirrel". All the dogs look at the same spot on the horizon for 2 seconds, then continue on chatting as if the squirrel had never existed. Apparently, if Golfy is to be believed (and let's be honest, there is a lot to believe), then that is me. I am king of the digression, and I am very proud of that title. When I talk, everyone else is either confused at best, lost at worst, and maybe even thinking "what has this person been drinking?".

I am in a meeting at the moment, and we are discussing getting up early and doing exercise and blogging and other stuff. The scottish bloke can do exercise, but not blogging. The west country guy can do blogging and a bit of exercise. The really good looking and charismatic one (me, of course) does blogging a bit, exercise not much, but holidaying a lot. I can holiday anywhere, anytime and with anyone, and that is what makes me tick. Give me sun, or quiet, and no access to TV or phone, and I can become very happy. Throw in an egg bap, cup of tea and a slice of cake for afters, followed by a game or two of Canasta, then I am in seventh heaven.

It reminds me of the tale when a slug meets a centipede on the road, and the slug says to the centipede "How do you walk with all those legs?". The centipede thinks about it for a while, and trips over his own feet. Moral of the story, is probably something about not thinking too hard about stuff before doing it. Like when I was young, I used to try and ride my bike along the top of a low wall. This is a wall that is about 25cm wide (10 inches on old money) and a drop of about 1 metre (3 feet in old money). Now, if I was trying to ride along a white line painted on the floor that was 25cm wide, then I could easily do that. No problem. Take that white line and suspend it 1m above the ground, then it becomes a totally different experience. Thinking too much about the pain if I fall see. I can do it, but the impending pain makes me think too much. Result? Bruised shins and a feeling that I won't ever be trying that again.

So, where was I?

Monday, 22 March 2010

Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins

Some of you may know what "Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins" is all about, but I am guessing that some of you don't have the faintest idea what I am talking about. Let me explain.

I am a big fan of the Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo film review radio slot on Radio 5, which I catch on Podcast. Mark has a doctorate in something probably rather trivial - but don't tell him I said that because I was only trying to be funny, not to insult him although to be honest, I have more chance of winning the lottery 2 weeks in a row than him finding out, so if you do bump in to him, please say "hi" from me - so is often referred to as "the Good Doctor". So, the Good Doctor reviews films, and does so in quite an amusing way.

One of the films he has reviewed this yeas is Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief. He is not much impressed with this film. It is, I am reliably informed, directed by the director of the first two Harry Potter films, and is such a seemingly blatent rip off of HP that Mark very much questions the point of its existence. Having seen the trailers, I expect my vote would come down on the Good Doctor's side every time. During one of his rants, he made some comment about how pointlessly the same as HP it was, and why did they not just call it "Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins" to really make the point that it was indeed a pointless rip off of the relatively original HP (which itself has had a plagarism charge made against it).

So, it turns out that I am not the only person on this planet who listens to the good doctor, whether live, via the internet or on podcast. I may be the only sane listener however, because one or more of his followers has been rather inspired by BSatCoP and started a blog, has created a poster and generally grasped the baton with a vigour and creativeness that means that, within our lifetime, someone will probably have made a film with that title!

So, anyway, back to the reason why the phrase "Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins" came into being. Mark K absolutely hates this film because it has no purpose, except, in his words, as a way to mercilessly make money.

So, being a balanced kind of individual, I feel the need to put forward an alternative viewpoint. Maybe actually it is because I simply like to argue the opposite of anyone I meet.

So, maggot 1 went to see this film for the second time at the weekend with our friend's daughter who is 12. He loved it as much as the first time, and she loved it for the first time. But the point is, they both loved it.

Now, we have another friend whose child has watched Cars probably 100 times. He loves Cars. Actually, I love Cars, and have even shed a tear at one bit ... when I got something in my eye. Anyhow, if we told this child there was a film like Cars, called Broom Brooms or something, then he would be over the moon. Another film AS GOOD AS CARS, that is amazing. I am guessing now, but I reckon the child would absolutely love Broom Brooms. I am also guessing a bit, but I would imagine that the Good Doctor would absolutely HATE Broom Brooms for the same reason as he hates Percy Jackson.

So, who is right?

They both are, obviously, because film is art and art is subjective. I love Radiohead. Many people I know do not. I love Marmite, and I am led to believe there are some who don't. I even love The Cardiacs, Cardinal Sin and the Bum Notes and Tom Waits, and you can be damn sure that there are plenty of people who have never heard of them, and if they have hate them.

But I digress again. The actual point of all these words is to say that yes, PJ is a bit derivative, and yes, it looks very much like a cynical attempt to extract money from young folks who don't know better. They don't have the experience and depth of knowledge the Good Doctor has, and they are obviously enjoying different things than he is. But, I tell you, there is someone down our way who absolutely loved the first film, and cannot wait until PJ the sequel is released. He even went to the World Book Day at his school dressed as none other than Percy Jackson. Obviously, he had to explain to everyone who he was, and for some being told did not improve their understanding, but hey, as Esther Rantzen often said, that's life.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Lies, damn lies and Statistics

My esteemed friend and fellow blogger Golfy has just told me that he will sort out how to get stats on my blog, so that I can see how many millions of people are not reading it. So, dear reader, watch this space, and I promise I will report back on Tuesday, after Golfy has tested it on his site and talked me through getting it on my site. There may even be graphs.
Golfy is very excited at the prospect of a weekend fiddling with his technical bits, and is frankly rather over excited. Hopefully seven pints of Guinness will sort him out.

750 Words and what do you get....

... another day older and deeper in debt.

So goes the old miner's song, where they sold their souls to the company store.

In the modern day reinterpretation of this old classic:

- Starfleet is playing the part of the company store
- Words are playing the part of 16 tons of coal
- Aging and Debt are playing themselves.

For further reference, please see the following:

I have been nagged by my fellow blogger Golfy to do this blog, and his stinging words have forced me in to action.

I guess I should tell you a bit about Golfy. You can see his blog from the link to the left hand side of this page, and I urge you to read his blog because he makes you very glad you are not him. Only joking, he has a fine turn of phrase, and while I understand almost nothing he writes, I am sure it is all very interesting. I can tell you that he comes from the wild west, or Gloucestershire as we know it now, and he tinkles when he walks by virtue of his spurs, his unfeasibly large, um, insteps, and also due the large amount of small change that he carries in his pockets. The said small change is of course to put in his hat when he is busking, so that people passing think "boy, he must be good!". To be honest, once you have seen one naked tap dancer, you have seen them all, but he does have a neat trick where he can make his left nipple rotate clockwise while simultaneously making his belly button rotate anti-clockwise and his comb-over do the Hokey Cokey.
The other thing about Golfy is that he likes Apple Macs. If you don't know what these are, then all I can say is that they are basically like Swing-ball, but with a screen. He is a prodigious technical talent, which means that he provides free technical support for everyone from his mother-in-law to his mate's wife. And me.

So if you are trying to work out the relevance of 750 words, you can read more here This is what inspired me to start this blog, and the key message from it is that writing every day helps to clean the soul etc etc. It doesn't have to be anything very profound, just a stream of consciousness, sort of a sauna sweat session for the brain. Now you know this, I think you can see that I have taken the "does not need to be about anything in particular" bit very seriously, not least in this entry.

Well, all to say is have a lovely weekend and let's meet up again next week. I am off to see Traces, which is "A high energy, dazzling display of urban acrobatics". I am expecting Cirque de Soleil transported to the streets of Brixton, and will let you know whether I got that right or not on Monday.


Thursday, 18 March 2010

Old Haunts

My life as a foot soldier of Starfleet has, in the last couple of years, revolved around 4 main locations, namely my home office, Worcester, Farnborough and London, in order of frequency. So far in 2010, due to a combined effect of stricter rules on when you can travel, and also less of a need to do so anyway, I have spent too much of my time working from home.

"Oh, how lovely, being able to work from home."

"Yes it is, but to do it all the time gives you cabin fever. It is great to have the option, but it is also good to mix in person with like-minded colleagues from time to time."

If I have a pound for every time I have said that this year, then I would have exactly £17.50. The 50p relating, obviously, to a very abbreviated version of that conversation.

It is true, having the option of working at home is a fantastic privilege, if privilege is not too strong a word for it. In my industry, it is fair to say that Starfleet leads the way in supporting, in fact actively encouraging, home working, even if they did take away the company funded broadband connection last year, leaving me to either pay for my own, or change my working status to "office-based" and be allocated a desk in my local Starfleet starship. The latter being somewhat more of a threat than something they would actively want to encourage, in my opinion, but nevertheless a clever tactic to help ease the transition without mass revolt. This does, I know, sound a bit ungrateful, since most people do not get their company to provide broadband for home working. I accept this and the best defense I can make is that when you are provided with something, and then have it taken away, then you do feel like you have lost something. Maybe bankers are likewise moaning about the million pound bonus they are not getting this year. Oh sorry, they are getting it this year, but only to ensure that each bank can retain their best "talent". Claws away, rant over.

Anyhow, my lack of travel means that I have not been to Worcester this year, a massive change from last year when I went every week, usually for two days and one night.

My stay would normally be at the Fownes Hotel. This was a glove factory "in the old days" and is now a local hotel that is a bit tatty, but a place that feels like home. I always liken it to a dotty aunt's house - not perfect, but somehow charming in its imperfection.

On Wednesday, I visited Worcester, just for the day. I was unable to stay at Aunty Fownes' house because I had to work from home to look after the recuperating maggot 1 on the Thursday. It was nice to see a number of old faces, and to catch up on what is going on with the program, which is long and complicated. They were all able to confirm that any rumours of shortness and simplicity are much over-blown.

Primary reason for attending Worcester was to meet with my customer to agree and sign off an important proposal. This went well, but needs a bit more work so back next week for an overnight stay. This overnight coincides with a leaving do for a couple of colleagues, and will effectively be also my leaving do, since I do not imagine going to Worcester again, so it will be nice to have a beer with people who I have worked with for several years.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Mini Sales School

I spent Tuesday and Wednesday this week on a Mini Sales School course. This is like normal sales school, but smaller. No minis were hurt in the making of the course. It was a very intense 2 days, with day one giving us the "tools" to manage and structure a sales call, and day two giving us a chance to sharpen our blunt tools during two simulated sales calls.
Simulations are strange things. They are most definitely artificial, in an Instant Whip kind of way, yet they are also useful ways to practice and do fulfil a need, just like an Instant Whip. Some people approach them as about as frightening an event as they have ever had to do, and the sense of nerves in some was amazing to see, and not something I could particularly relate to.
As for how I did, I did alright really. I managed to sell the double glazing manager some Starfleet laptops to reward her top performers, rather than them getting a skiing holiday. Oh how those sales folks must be cursing me ;-)

This was a two day, one night event, and so that meant the obligatory evening meal, which was great fun. A couple of beers and some red wine made sure I had a "healthy" glow, and avoiding the shots, non-flaming zambuchas (without the flames due to health and safety!) and depth charges that some of the group decided to partake in after the meal ensured that I, at least, was able to walk in to the training room next morning unaided, and with my eyes fully open. They were living proof that you are never old enough to know better.

The inevitable consequence of two days getting an educashun is, of course, an overflowing Inbox. Thursday morning was therefore partially spent clearing that down, attending to any urgent ones and generally getting my feet back under the metaphorical desk. The early start, as previously mentioned, was very useful in helping sort this out in a relatively painless way.

So now I find myself on Friday, preparing for a call today and meeting next week to close my biggest outstanding solution. I am hoping my absence from the customer offices will not set me back in my quest to get the thing signed. I am also hoping, as my already trained sales colleagues has been ribbing me about, that Mini Sales School did teach me something, and I am able to put in to practice some of the stuff I learned. Here's hoping.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Time for Tease

Burlesque. It is an unusual experience, eating sandwich slices with the crusts off, sipping tea (to wash away the taste of champagne) while a procession of women dance a bit and do a "living picture" with various different themes, the common element being that all of them were in their smalls.

Most surprising was the audience, which way 95% female, the majority of them on a birthday bash, so as time went on, the volume went up. All in all a very enjoyable, if slightly surreal, afternoon. Near the end of the afternoon, a lady even walked round selling nipple tassles off an around-the-neck box similar to the ice cream vendors in cinemas of old. Raspberry Nipple anyone?*

The rest of the night was the usual chat/drink/eat format.

So, the other thing I want to talk about is my employer. I shall borrow from fellow blogger, the mighty Gorse Fox, and call them Starfleet.

So Starfleet are a multinational organisation, operating in the same difficult financial conditions as the rest of the world, and the impact of those trading conditions are making their effects felt in our organisation. The last vestiges of Final Salary Pensions are being closed down, and redundancy is looming for some. Many senior colleagues have already taken the early route to a less stressful life, and the true effects of losing so much wisdom and experience has yet to be felt.
"Our business is our people" was a rather tired cliche in "the old days", and maybe it is a sign of the times that, cliche as it is, that is never said these days. Any sense of nurturing and valuing their people has definitely left the building. Times are undoubtedly tough, and when things get tough, executives turn to their spreadsheets for the answers, and lives are changed forever. If only they had more empathy for their people who really are, when all is said and done, their business.

* That was in poor taste, Ed.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Day 4

I am really messing with your head now. I know for a fact* that productivity across the UK fell by 3.74% as a result of no posting yesterday, across all sectors, except apparently the clothing sector, who were totally unaffected. But no worries, I heard on The Chris Moyles** show this morning that economists are predicting an immediate bounce back today. It was reported on Newsnight last evening that if my postings continue as the first two have gone, then we will be out of recession by the end of next week. And that is no lie***.
It certainly makes you stop and think as to the

Yesterday felt like wall to wall calls. I started at around 6am and went through to 7pm, stopping for an hour to take maggot 1 swimming. Over half the day was spent on conference calls, a wonderful invention rivaling the thumb screw and the corset in its ability to impart pleasure to those partaking of its services.

Anyhow, today is Friday, and that means beer. Tomorrow I am off to the bright lights to a burlesque afternoon, or as I like to call it, strips no nips. I may tell you all about it on Monday.

* I am using "fact" in the loosest sense of the word.
** a popular wireless presenter, apparently.
*** I am using "no" is the loosest sense of the word.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Day 2

Day 2 looks actually quite a lot different from day 1. I woke up later, got up earlier, did only a short amount of email clearing, then was on the school run, again, and a cheeky haircut - the only time my hairdresser had in his very busy schedule.

So, I should tell you a bit about my hairdresser. He is very good, and runs his only business with his partner, business only. He is a total mod, has an obsessive collector stream in him (... 150 Lego Star Wars figures and counting), drives a mini and a scooter, drinks too much whiskey and has a wife and two kids who are the source of endless amusing anecdotes. Where we are holidaying this year is rarely discussed. I can strongly recommend him.

Today's story was about his son, who doesn't like getting his haircut. "I don't like it too short dad". "What you need, son, is a 'medium'". And now, he gets a medium and he can't wait to get it cut. Result.

Rest of the day will be spent viewing the world through a fourteen inch laptop screen.

Tonight, Little One is out so it is the England vs Egypt footy match and a home-made curry. Result.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Day 1 in the Scobi household

Day one is very much like day zero, day minus one and day minus two, except on this day I have to try and make it sound interesting. So here goes.

Bad night sleep, up at six, made toast for maggot number two, apple juice for maggot number one, and sat down to check the overnight email. This has become something of a standard start for me. It gets the worst of it out the way early, and then I can break for shower and getting the maggots off to school and nursery. On this day I was on the school run, which consists of leaving it all a bit too late, and then shouting several times for teeth, shoes, coat and lunch boxes. Today was made a bit worse because it is World Book Day, a day invented by someone who obviously doesn't have children, but a day that children themselves absolutely love. So on this day, day one, there was the additional cry of "have you got all the bits of your costume?" to which the answer was inevitably "has anyone seen my ...".
Now I am back at work and finishing a number of overrunning solutions. This means sitting in my little untidy office viewing the whole world through the seventeen inches of my PC screen (being a bit clever I plug my laptop in to my home keyboard, moose and screen, wey hey!). It is a strange working life spent on the end of a broadband connection.

Anyhow, back to work, the screen is shouting at me.