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Tuesday, 27 March 2012

And . . . relax

I was so relaxed that I didn't get round to blogging until Tuesday.  I had Friday afternoon and Monday off, and a lovely time I had as well.

Friday afternoon I watched the rest of Inglorious Basterds which, despite me agreeing with Mark Kermode that Tarantino does fantastic set pieces, but never stitches them together in to a cohesive film, I thought was rather marvellous.

Saturday was spent in pursuit of Maggot 1's birthday, which was mountain boarding followed by Pizza Hut.  Mountain boarding was "awesome dude" and we had a fantastic couple of hours.  The sun shone and the boys (the Maggots plus four of Maggot 1's friends) thoroughly enjoyed the morning.  The only negative was that LO turned her knee on her first descent* and had to sit out the rest of the session.  And spent the following three days limping as well.

Monday say LO and I shopping in Brighton.  Another lovely sunny day and a fantastic day out, with a lovely meal in the middle.

I am now back from 1.5 days off, to an Inbox that would suggest a week or more absence.  i.e. back to work with a bump.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Is it Thursday already?

This is my first day working from home, and I have to say that it was all the more stressful for being so.  Thursday and Friday are the days LO has to leave the house by 7.30am - not so early I hear you cry - however we are going through a phase* of not getting up early enough, which makes the get ready routine a very stressful time for all.

Needless to say, the Maggots were delivered to the breakfast club at 7.42am and Scobi was able to get on with breakfast and work.  I have stopped the pain killers today in an attempt to wean myself off the drugs, and so far the cold turkey is not so bad.  The shoulder is aching a bit, but that may well be due to 3 days of driving this week, so I am hoping that I can stop them and feel no adverse effects.  That will then mean I just need the physio to get it back to full working order, and make sure I treat it more gently in the future.

I have Friday afternoon and Monday off, so will have a lovely long weekend.  I had planned a sports massage for tomorrow, but was not sure whether I should go or not with my shoulder, so I rang for advice, which came back much stronger than I had expected.  "I wouldn't touch you with a barge pole.  In fact, my insurance would be invalid if I did".  That sorted that then.

Better get back to work to try and close down all the lose threads that are dangling.

Have a good one, and speak again tomorrow.

* a phase that started in our teenage years

Monday, 19 March 2012

What a weekend

Maggot 2 ended up in A&E in Friday evening with a continuous cough and a temperature over forty centigrade.  The on-duty doctor was very concerned, and wrote out prescriptions for steroids and antibiotics, the former to break the coughing spasm lest the poor little cock ended up exhausted and in close down, the latter for the tonsillitis that he has also picked up.  Such is the magic of drugs that his improvement was clear to see within twenty four hours.  In fact he may be back to school tomorrow.

I myself have had a few problems as well.  After tennis Wednesday, I awoke Thursday with a bad pain in my shoulder.  This would naturally just go away all by itself.  Thursday night/Friday morning I spent predominantly sleeping in the downstairs armchair, as the only comfortable place I could find to sleep a bit.  Ditto Friday evening, so on Saturday morning early I also went down to A&E, and spent a pleasant two and a half hours waiting for x-ray and follow up inspection, where I was diagnosed with a level 1 separation of the shoulder joint.

Again, the magic of drugs, in my case anti-inflammatory and pain-killers, and I am like a new man.  I still cannot play the violin, but at least I am able to drive.  This has meant that I have been able to attend the customer office today, and have two further days in the office this week.

Next stage is to get some physiotherapy on the shoulder, and I shall wait a bit before I then turn to my private health insurance to provide the service.

Friday, 16 March 2012

And . . . relax

Another day of illness.  Maggot 2 had one of his hallucinations last night so ended down on the sofa with us until we went to bed, which due to the disturbed night the night before was around 9pm.  We put him on to the Z-bed in our room but he ended up in our bed, but I was on the sofa already so no great shakes.

My shoulder pain is continuing to be a problem.  It has probably got worse over the day, and is a funny thing.  I can do unexpected things like replace the padding and net on the trampoline, which I completed without any great pain by ensuring I did not raise the bad arm over my head.  This is contrasted by the fact that it is very uncomfortable sitting on the sofa, and also to lie in bed.  In fact, at 1am I took a strong pain-killer and retired to the sofa so I could sleep sitting up.  Instead, I ended up watching Russell Howard's Good News, which I have caught from time to time and which is actually very funny.  He had a comic on whose name I cannot remember or find, and he was also very good.  His delivery style was to shout at the audience - doesn't sound so good so far but it was very effective - and then to get slowly more morose as the topic stayed, and remained, on lost love, as it became clear that he himself had lost love, with the story unfolding through jokes, verbal abuse and song.  It was properly edgy and the audience laughed, joined in and, on one occasion, heckled, but in the round were totally on edge not knowing what would come next, as was I.  Hard to explain really, and without a name I cannot even point you to a clip, and it is not for the want of trying.  I have Googled and Googled but with no success.

Back to the shoulder.  I have found that it really is a bit unpredictable as to when it hurts, and it is hard to know where to put it to avoid it causing pain, to the extent that I have now got a sling and keep it in that whenever I can, and while it looks ridiculous - there has been the odd snigger - it really is the most comfortable place to keep it.  My preference, as it is with all men, is that as time passes it will just go away and I can avoid the tedium of medical intervention, and usually I am able to strongly and without guilt support that posture.  This time however, there is a little niggling voice that it is actually quite serious and that I may need to get the professionals involved.  Which is tedious.

"Will I be able to play the violin afterwards doctor?".

"Yes, of course..."

"Great! I never could before!"

I hope you have a pain-free weekend.  Speak next week.

P.S. I thought I would Google "violin jokes", and as usual Uncle Google did not disappoint.  There are actual whole websites devoted to the subject of violin humour.  I am guessing they are a pretty small and inward-looking community, but exist they do.

So, here are some violin jokes.

Q: How can you tell if a violin is out of tune?
A: The bow is moving.

Q: How do you make a violin sound like a viola?
A: Sit in the back and don't play.

Q: How do you make a violin sound like a viola?
A: Play in the low register with a lot of wrong notes.

Q: What is the difference between a violin and a viola?
A: A viola burns longer.

Q: Why does a viola burn longer than a violin?
A: It is usually still in the case.

Q: What do a viola and a lawsuit have in common?
A: Everyone is happy when the case is closed.

Q: Which is smaller, a violin or a viola?
A: They are actually the same size, but a violinist's head is so much bigger.

Q: Why is a violinist like a Scud missile?
A: Both are offensive and inaccurate.

Q: How do you keep your violin from getting stolen?
A: Put it in a viola case.

Q: What is the difference between a violist and a terrorist?
A: Terrorists have sympathizers.

Q: Why don't violists play hide and seek?
A: Because no one will look for them.

Q: Why shouldn't violists take up mountaineering?
A: Because if they get lost, it takes ages before anyone notices that they're missing.

I am sensing a bit of tension between the violin and viola camps, aren't you?

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Illness is stalking us

Maggot 1 can down after bedtime to inform us that Maggot 2 was "having a funny", which is what we call the hallucinations he gets when he has a temperature from a fever.  His glands are now up and he has a headache and sore throat.

This has meant I have had to rearrange my day.  LO has to be at work Thurs/Fri so I am now working at home, keeping an eye on the patient.  This means I am at the kitchen table rather than my office, so am lacking the usual palatial elegance and services to which a chap has become accustomed.  I do have the beautiful new extension in which to sit, so not all bad.

Other than that, the new guy is settling in and I am having to go through the same education and discussions with him to get him up to the speed needed for him to do his job.  This is made less bad by the fact that, due to the resources taken from my team in January, I am in the same pickle now as when I was when the new chap's predecessor started.  I guess I am featuring in my very own Groundhog Day.  Yay.

Rusty Rackets last night was great fun, although I have done something to my playing shoulder that came on during sleep, so I am hoping that it is not my aged body screaming at me to desist from the madness, but rather the unfortunate combination of tennis and a dodgy sleeping position.  If it is the former, then boo hoo coz I am really enjoying playing; if the latter, then "she'll be right" tomorrow.  I have to say that I had warned myself to expect some aches and some pains in places that I neither know I had nor where the sun usually shines, but the level of these are exceeding predictions.  To say I am hobbling around the house like an old man is taking it too far, but LO did give me that funny look today as she left for work.

I feel a charm offensive coming on, and when it comes to charm, no-one can be more offensive than me.

If you could just pass me the Raljex then I shall be in a position to bid you farewell.  Until next time.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Early start

Up early with a wriggly Maggot 2.  He had tried to stay in his bed until 6am.  And failed.  He tried to lie quietly and still in our bed.  And failed.  He tried not to talk about the day and the upcoming 2 slices of brioche bread.  And failed.  I tried to ignore him for a bit.  And succeeded.  I then gave in and got up to furnish the little chap with those items of digestables to which he had earlier referenced.

I am now catching up on work email with a cup of tea on the side, slowly getting cold.  I am anticipating nothing of interest to happen today, so will just doggedly do my work, and patiently wait for time to pass.

Actually, that all sounds a bit negative and not my usual chipper self, so I guess I need my morning shower, a rub down with a loofah and the application of my body creams impregnated with happy juice.

This week will gently flow and there are no nasty bumps expected.  I do have a visit from a new team member from Poland Tuesday to Thursday, so there will be a bunch of inductions and pressing the flesh to get the new chap up to speed.  To be honest, his newness to the role is a bit of a drag.  Not that I can be choosy, since my demand for resources is far out-stripping the supply from my competency, so the only available resources are new to the role, new to our customer and often new to Starfleet.  That equates to a very steep learning curve, one might even say vertical.  In fact, if you have ever seen indoor rock climbing competitions then the learning curve is like that upside down bit that only those cross-bred with flies can traverse.  Nevertheless, induct I must and the sooner I can get him up to speed and doing useful work, the sooner the output of my team will increase, and the sooner the vast backlog can start to be cleared.

In fact, in terms of clearing the backlog, I have done some projections that suggest I need a further five members of the team - and they need to be experienced troopers able to "hit the ground running" - and that number is exceeding the supply by some considerable quantity, in fact taking in to account the fact that they really need to have experience, it is fair to say that the supply issue has just been made worse by an order of magnitude.  Anyhow, I am just a player in what I think it is fair to say is "the resourcing farce" and I need to play my role by calling out what I need, and then allow others to fail in supplying them.

I hope your day similarly flows.

Friday, 9 March 2012

And . . . relax

Two days after the Rusty Rackets and I am still aching like I have fallen out of the beautiful tree and hit every branch on the way down.  I can definitely vouch for the Rusty bit.

What I need is a lovely weekend at home, nothing too much to do other than the usual routine stuff, and a chance to just potter, or maybe even just sit.  Apart from a poetry competition in which Maggot 1 is performing, the weekend is planning to be just that.

Oh, other than David and Samantha coming over Saturday afternoon and evening.  In fairness, they plan to come earlier than usual and leave at around 9ish, so it won't be a late boozy night, which were there a doctor on the scene, would definitely be something he would order.

I may not even have any DIY to do, but I will probably start a bit of a non-specific and non time-bound activity to make our garden fit for summer and human habitation.  I either have to build the fort I have been promising for 2 years or look to find a home for the old decking wood, and I need to start tidying up mess, and probably also prune the apple tree, and start to prepare the lawn, at least what is left of it after a heavy winter season of football, and think about moving the remnants of the fire wood that has killed off one corner of the lawn.  In short, I need to try and turn Armageddon in to something that vaguely resembles a garden.

I hope your green fingers are as occupied as mine this weekend.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

The Wall

Thought I had better improve on my previous tardy blog.

Rusty Rackets last night was as good as always.  Numbers were down, only six, which meant that we all got to play more tennis and practice more skills, and that meant that the Scobi, a man known for his stamina and strength*, was absolutely cream crackered by the end of the ninety minutes.  In fact, he can reveal that as he through the ball up to serve, at 5-4 in a game that ended 9-8, he genuinely "hit the wall".  A complete sense of the tank being empty, and likely the ultimate reason he lost 9-8, and then 5-2 in the following game***.

Now, I know what you are thinking, hitting the wall usually happens around the twenty mile mark in a marathon, the point at which all the carbohydrates have been burnt, which burn like a cigarette paper on a bbq, and the body is turning to the fat in the body, which burns like a damp newspaper on a matchstick.  According to Brad, who knows such things, actually with today's isotonic drinks and carb-loading**** you needn't hit the wall at all, and that may be where I have been going wrong.  Not all that clever stuff you need for a marathon, but maybe just a snack sometime after lunch and before I play.  Maybe even a banana, like Andy Murray.  Now that would be nice.

I arrived home, a spent force and a tired little bunny.  Tea was a Houmous Sandwich***** and a bit of a sit down and chat.  LO was thankfully feeling slightly better, and we went to bed early, not for the thing you normally go up for, but for sleeping, which is the other thing you normal go up for.  And sleep we did, until we woke up.

* just in case, that is what we call in the literary game "irony"**.
** Thanks for that startling insight. Ed.
*** Okay, I think we can go with that for now. Ed.
**** I have always called it pigging out at the Italian, but apparently it is also a technique for beating "the wall".
**** A delightful meal filed under Snack/Small meal and something I first experienced in Denmark, home of the open sandwich.  It consists of half a Chiabatta bread loaf, which itself is cut in half, liberally coated with houmous, then a layer of roasted veg, followed by grated carrot and salad.  The top half is spread with pesto, green by preference, and placed on top of the "sandwich" at ninety degrees to the base slice.  Lovely.


At home.  About to go on the sixth conference call of the day.  And yet I am blogging.  Enough said.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Just a quickie

In a meeting, and yet I am blogging. Enough said.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Sickness is in the air

Still two down at home, but life goes on.  Maggot 2 has football after school, which adds an hour to his pick up time and whole lot of stress for the morning preparations, because I now also have to find his kit, in addition to the lunch box/breakfast/teeth/shoes/coat/where's the reading books routine that is the usual pandemonium.

I am now approaching the run-in to the "tunnel of death" of my Tuesday conference calls.  On paper it does not look too bad, but in my mind it is buttock-clenchingly painful.  My routine is that I can only get through it with caffeine, so at 10.15am precisely I start the morning elevenses ritual of hot water on coffee in the caffetiere (with 4 large spoons of coffee to approximate an espresso) and two thirds of a cup of milk heated in the microwave, a loving mix of semi-skimmed and skimmed milk, to create what us Baristas call a semi-semi.  The sort of thing you might get watching an MTV video (pure smut, Ed).  That should provide sufficient caffeine to send me in to orbit for the rest of the day.

The rest of the day is a sprinkling of calls, some actual old-fashioned work, and picking Maggot 2 and A&E's two children up from football at sixteen-ten hours.

I am sort of looking forward to tea time, which I shall be cooking of course, but that will shortly be followed by doing nothing, which is fast becoming one of my most favourite things.

Monday, 5 March 2012


There is a bit of illness in the Scobi household, with both LO and Maggot 1 sick.  LO needs to complete her course assignment by the end of the week so is soldiering on in her dressing gown, although she is not looking so hot.  Maggot 1 is virus-ill (that ill-defined thing that has a bit of this and a bit of that, but nothing you could hang your hat on) and on the sofa not eating much (a sure sign of proper illness).

I was therefore drafted in to the school run, and a more shambolic start to the week I can barely contemplate.  I have a bunch of conference calls and some things I need to do and some people to which I need to speak; in other words, a normal working day, and am savouring the well-planned if slightly monotonous rhythm of that working day.

We had a great weekend.  LO spent most of the daytime hours on her college work, which fitted well with the boys' plans, which included Maggot 2 swimming lesson Saturday morning, and a four hour football tournament in the afternoon for Maggot 1.  Myself and Maggot 2 stayed to watch and to kick footballs whenever possible, and it was a pretty good afternoon.  To ensure no parent-related incidents*, the cub packs were all mixed up, and the team for which Maggot 1 played goalie came a creditable third.  To be honest, and this is not the rose-tinted glasses of a parent, but he really made a difference on the one game he played outfield, however he prefers goalie, and did a pretty good job playing that position as well, even saving a penalty in the penultimate game.

Saturday evening LO and I went to a party for a friend who lives round the corner who was celebrating her fiftieth birthday.  She is the parent of one of Maggot 1's class mates and so probably a tier 3** friend overall, but they are very friendly and we usually play on the same quiz team at the Kingsham quiz and we had invited her to a music quiz evening chez Scobi on exactly the same day.  In a nutshell, we got an invite, as did A&E, who dropped by for a quick drink before we all four left for the party.  The theme was "hippy" and I would say overall the turnout was excellent, although the interpretation was broad, and I would say would more accurately have been described as "late-sixties to mid-seventies" since there were a number of white high-heeled boots with short dresses, as well as a bunch of outfits which one might guess had been pulled from the back of a wardrobe having not been worn for forty years.

It was a lovely party, the hosts were very host-like and the food was great and their house is a lovely warm and inviting place.  LO had her mental notepad out, jotting down "ideas for my fortieth", which may include a Yurt in the back garden.

Sunday was fairly relaxed, with a monster game of Monopoly in the afternoon.  "Who won?" I hear you cry, but a chap is too modest to comment that he absolutely completely and utterly wiped the floor with his sad loser family, and they were all left homeless and penniless and begging for one Monopoly Dollar to buy a cup of tea.

On that high note of family accord, may I wish you a great week, and speak again soon.

* In previous years, I am reliably informed, there have been numerous "ugly incidents" with parents getting over enthusiastic about their little darling's input or treatment at the hands of others.  Nuff said.

** Just in case you find me callous or something worse, I just made this up on the spot as it kind of paints a picture.  I don't want you thinking I tier my friends or anything, coz that would just be a process too far, and that is from a person who works for a company whose motto is "No process too small, no process too far".

Friday, 2 March 2012

And . . . relax

I don't know about you, but I am liking the way the days are starting to draw out, the warmer temperatures that are appearing, if not all over the UK map, at least in the southern regions.  I have noticed the odd bud appearing on the flora, and the odd skip in the step with the fauna.  All in all, there is a sense that while the world's economics remains flat at best, and sinking at worst, at least Mother Nature is doing her thing when she should be doing it.

This weekend looks like being a bit of a lads weekend.  LO has waxing (don't ask) and will probably spend most of her day on college work (swot), so it will be me and the lads doing swimming for Maggot 2, followed by an afternoon football tournament for Maggot 1 with the cubs.  I have manfully volunteered to assist, which may mean anything from nothing to refereeing a match, with a bit of cat-herding in between.  Maggot 2 is coming too, and I hope that he can contribute in some way, whether by running the line, or maybe taking the bungs.  Both he and I will take our boots "just in case we are needed".

Once that is over, it will be back for a cup of tea and a slice of cake, and quite possibly a little nap for the elder members of the lads' club.  Then in the evening we have a 50th birthday party, with a "hippy" theme.  I did try to suggest to LO she has hips enough already, but selective deafness led her to eBay and the purchase of a hippy wig with tinted heart-shaped sunglasses.  My outfit is based completely on items I have found in our "dressing up box", which we keep in the loft to ensure that it is slightly damp with a faint odour of eau-de-mould.  I will be wearing flares and an old leather, likely with a stupid hat (that I actually did originally buy for normal wear) and some beads or something.  I believe that in such situations, a token gesture usually gets you through the door, and within the hour everyone has either swapped their items or are naked*, so it doesn't really matter any more.

I hope you too have a groovy and love-filled weekend man.

* Humour of course has no respect for the truth

Thursday, 1 March 2012


That is how the week is panning out.
I had fun at tennis last night, and definitely took out a bad day on the little yellow balls, and were it not for the very high fence I suspect we would have been down a dozen of balls or so, but boy oh boy did I get my frustrations out.

My top spin is to die for, and in terms of points won, death was probably too good for my game.  Nevertheless it is a fun group and we play a lot of tennis and get some good coaching, so long may it continue.  Last night we covered how to "neutralise" our opponent, which is basically to keep them playing their shots behind the baseline, and then starting to move them around the court so that they are put under pressure.  At the point that they play a short shot, we move in for a transition shot, to put them under further pressure with a view to moving to the net to smash them in to oblivion.  It is fair to say that I approached the final stage of this like a Red Setter chasing a deer.

I also watched the England game, and enjoyed going down two-nil, but then gallantly coming back to two-all, only to be robbed of a point in the ninety-third minute.  Damn those Dutch and their infernal left feet.  Overall it was a good game, and there were positives to take away, as well as negatives around "naive defending", a fact with which everyone, including the stand-in manager, agreed.

On the subject of Stuart Pearce, the boy done good.

There was a bit too much
Stuart Pearce-England cropped

and not enough

and on occasions maybe there should have been a little bit of

He even, according to Maggot 1, looks a bit like 'Arry, but I can't see it myself.