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Monday, 30 April 2012

Mission Accomplished

I managed to execute faultlessly on my to do bullet list from Friday, however there were two additional events that changed some of the complexion of the two days.

The first of these was the weather, with the relentless rain shaping what could, and what could not, be done to keep us entertained.

The second event was sickness from Maggot 2.  This started in the back of my dad's car returning from David and Samantha, where we had enjoyed a fantastic evening.  Dad is about to sell the car, so vomit on the seats was very much not on the agenda.  Luckily, some nifty slip catching from LO and a hasty hard-shoulder pull over managed to mitigate the worst of it.

Thankfully, the illness was short lived, so a Sunday under the duvet has mostly cured him, which is good because today was the day that my dad was going in to Maggot 2's class to talk about growing plants, and he plans to return at lunchtime to plant some fast-growing vegetables.  I think dad enjoyed it, and based on the sample of questions asked, so did the children.  The true test, and the "Simon Cowell" review moment, will obviously come from Maggot 2 himself when he gets home.

My goal this week is to get some meaningful event written in to the history books.  This is a stiff challenge but one I shall attack with gusto, and where any skill is lacking, much making it up as I go along.

I will update you on progress later in the week.  Have a good week, and speak soon.

Friday, 27 April 2012

And relax . . .

Well, that week went well.

  • I feel like I have worked like a trojan.
  • I have played tennis.
  • I have arranged some important home things to get our ill-fated shower room finished.
  • I have not drunk any beer.  I shall be making up for that beer absence tonight.
  • We are at David and Samantha's for Saturday afternoon and evening.
  • We will probably go fishing off Felpham beach.
  • We will probably eat food.
  • We will definitely drink beer.
  • We will be coming home at the end of the evening in a taxi.
  • We will be sleeping in our own beds.
  • We are going to lunch on Sunday with the outlaws at a local carvery.
  • Quite when I am going to do nothing is yet to be ascertained.
Enjoy your own bullet list. Speak next week.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Thursday, oh Thursday...

The news on the front pages of several of the Red Tops, and also plastered on numerous blogs and other internet sources of repute, including the Daily Mail Online gossip site, which rarely fails to titilate, is that today, Thursday 26 April 2012, will not be a day of any great note.

Sure, coffee will be drunk, lunch will be eaten, tea will be drunk and dinner will be eaten - solo tonight as LO is out, how dare she - and some family interaction will be undertaken, all sprinkled with that heady and intoxicating spice that is called work (enough already of the food analogies. Ed), and maybe there will be the odd cheeky little conference call to garnish the dish, but other than that, nothing much will happen.  The annuls of history will be blank on this particular day.

This is all good because it means the day has some room for routine bits to be completed, at work and at home.  The home bit is that I have now booked in the "Finisher" to come and fix the chips and dents in my shower tray.  The quote from the original company, used to size the claim to our insurance company, proved not to be correct.  When I sent pictures of the damage it transpired, perhaps even conspired, that the damage I had discussed, on which the quote was based, did not match the visual evidence thus provided.  In short, it would cost £100 more to do the actual fixing that needed to be done.  I blame myself for being naive in the competitive bath and shower repair market, and have learnt my lesson.  Luckily, this is a fairly buoyant market because I have found another company who can do the work for the budget set, and they are now booked to do the work tomorrow.  Result.

The new shower door is also ordered.  This I shall be fitting with the able assistance of my dad, to ensure no further mishaps befall us during the installation of what is obviously delicate glass components, or at least more delicate than one man who apparently "attacks everything like a bull in a china shop" can manage.  Hopefully we are now on the path to finally finishing the downstairs bathroom.

Gotta go, I have a conference call to attend.

Monday, 23 April 2012

What a weekend

We had a fantastic weekend.  Brad and Angelina, and their respective ankle-biters, arrived Saturday afternoon for an overnight stay, and we then hosted the meal for eight that evening.  It was a great evening, and LO excelled herself with a choice of two soups for starters, two "en croute" items for main course and three, count them, sweets, the highlight of which was home-made Tequila ice cream.  It was not the Tequila itself, but the overall creamy loveliness of it.  This was to accompany either a Raspberry Roulade or a modest looking but totally top-drawer Brownie square.

Sunday started lazily, and then began to speed up as we nipped down to GG to sort out her DVD player, then back to home for a "Water Regatta" at the canal basin.  This latter item ended up being a couple of blokes in canoes, one of which being LO's uncle (the main reason we went), and some remote controlled boats doing their thing.  These included two very large boats that were controlled by the bloke lying down inside the boat itself, using a small camera on the mast feeding a small TV screen in the "cockpit".  Both were warships and both had VERY loud guns that went off when you least expected it.  I guess the word Regatta can mean many things to many people.

We then retired to said Uncle's house, which backs on to the canal, for tea and cake, before riding home just before the heavens opened.

The rest of the day was tidying from the visit and settling down for our weekly dose of reality show from the Humax.

Friday, 20 April 2012

And . . . relax

We find ourselves at Friday, and two cheers for that*.

This week has been long and it has been hard.  Some of this has been to do with the accumulation of fun that naturally occurs during time away.  Like the mail on your doorstep, it tends to pile up with no regard for human dignity and a chap's well-being.  The rest of it has been to do with some really big, hairy problems.

You know when you are at a party, or anywhere in a social setting with at least some people who are unknown to you, and you are circulating, and you are asked the "What do you do?" question.  "I work in IT", you say.  At this point about fifty percent glaze over, or see someone over the other side of the room to whom they just have to speak.  The other fifty percent then ask "Oh, who do you work for?".  Once you have delivered the "Starfleet" answer, a further ninety percent get a call from their baby-sitter.  For that tiny percentage who are still talking to you, the next obvious question is, as I have discussed before, "I know someone in Starfleet, you probably know them".  If not, then it might well be "What do you do?".  I have experimented with several different answers to this question and based on the blankness of the look, have concluded that the easiest and most effective answer is "solving problems".  And that is about it really.  There is a lot of devil in the detail, but basically it is about being faced, every day, with a bunch of problems, and looking for ways to solve them.  The sad fact that many of these problems are those of trying to get a behemoth like Starfleet to do your bidding, or more precisely how you work out a way round Starfleet not doing your bidding.  This naturally leaves only a small amount of your time to actually, you know, talk to your customer and stuff like that.

This weekend, we are having a Dinner for Eight and look forward to seeing Brad and Angelina, who are staying at our Saturday night.  We can hear all about Brad's marathon exploits and be rather glad that our ambitions do not point in that direction.

Have a good weekend, and speak next week.

* too tired to do three.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

End of season

Apparently, Drogba's agent is expecting a bidding war for his player at the end of the season, between Casualty and Holby City.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Wednesday is here folks

Second day in the office, which has been good to get back in touch with colleagues and all their issues.  It is also time when you get very little time to yourself, because everyone wants a piece of you.  I don't mind this because it nails dozens of issues in a relatively short space of time, but I am looking forward to working from home tomorrow just so that I have some time to do some actual work.

I am at a leaving do tonight, to say goodbye to a colleague, and I will be sad to see him go.  He was good fun and good at his job working as the portfolio lead for a complex programme of work, and will be sadly missed.

Attending the drinks means I will miss tennis this week.  Having been to the physio last Friday, who gave me a caveated green light to gently break myself back in to playing tennis, I will be looking forward to getting back on court and (gently) smacking the hell out of the little yellow balls.

Monday, 16 April 2012



Brad ran the BRIGHTON marathon, not the London marathon.

I saw this...

... and thought of you.  Made me smile, which is all you can ask.
  • "Military justice is to justice what military music is to music." Groucho Marx
This reminds me of the other one which is:
  • "A gentleman is a man who can play the accordion but doesn't." Anon.
and this one, a definition of "perfect pitch":
  • "When you toss a banjo into a skip and it hits an accordion" - Pamela Stephenson, wife of banjo-playing comedian Billy Connolly

So that was the weekend then?

We had a great weekend, mixing DIY, family stuff and socialising in to a perfect cocktail.  The Saturday evening wedding anniversary was fine.  We knew hardly anyone, which is always a bummer, but managed to find a few people to talk to, including an old friend of my sister's.  The husband ended the evening with his covers band which provided MoR musical entertainment.  Not quite Mark E Smith, but then anyone who likes him tends to expect to be marginalised in any "what music do you like?" discussions.  We were out of there by 9pm also, so this meant we were able to get home in good time, take over from my dad, who was baby-sitting, and get a recorded TV show in before bedtime.

Sunday saw us at lunch with David and Samantha - a lovely roast followed by five, count them, sweets.  Heaven.  We then went down Felpham beach for some stone-throwing, long-jumping and general "get some fresh air after a massive lunch or fall asleep trying".

As for the long-jump competition, needless to say I came second, and in pursuit of first place, I have bruised my instep.  Not actually sure whether you can do such a thing, so for the medically inclined, the bit between my heel and instep arch hurts like hell.

Once home, LO took a turn for the worse, and she was in bed at the same time as the maggots.  I followed at a more reasonable hour, and slept all the way round to sometime early for most, but quite late for me.

Finally, wanted to give a massive WELL DONE to Brad, who ran the London Marathon yesterday.  I don't have the details on his time, but unconfirmed reports say under twenty four hours.  Well done Brad, and see you next weekend.

Have a good week, and speak later.

Friday, 13 April 2012

A couple of Friday Funnies

"Ask five economists and you'll get five different answers - six if one went to Harvard." Edgar R. Fiedler

"If you look like your passport photo, you're too ill to travel."  Will Kommen.

"I take my wife everywhere, but she keeps finding her way back."  Henny Youngman.

And finally...

A sailor meets a pirate in a bar, and they take turns recounting their adventures at sea. Noting the pirate's peg leg, hook, and eye patch, the sailor asks, "So, how did you end up with the peg leg?"  The pirate replies "We was caught in a monster storm off the cape and a giant wave swept me overboard. Just as they were pullin' me out, a school of sharks appeared and one of 'em bit me leg off." "Blimey!" said the sailor.

"What about the hook?"  "Ahhhh..." mused the pirate. "We were boardin' a trader ship, pistols blastin' and swords swingin' this way and that. In the fracas me hand got chopped off." 
"Zounds!" remarked the sailor.

"And how came ye by the eye patch?"  "A seagull droppin' fell into me eye," answered the pirate. "You lost your eye to a seagull dropping?" the sailor asked incredulously.  "Well..." said the pirate, "It was the first day with me hook...."

And . . . relax

I know it has been a while, and from my bulging post bag I know you have all been missing me.  I like to live by the adage "don't let a good story get in the way of the truth".

Due to silly stuff at work, the usual pile up of pleasures and personal invitations, I am going to be brief today.

I very much approve of a two-day week, and maybe two days on and five days off is something I can suggest at our next "bring us your wonderful ideas" days.  This weekend we are at a wedding anniversary on Saturday, starting and ending early so it is child-friendly, for friends who live round the corner.  Sunday may be lunch at David and Samantha's, depending on their general preparedness for the Monday start of the Summer term.  This may well be a "kitchen supper", something most of us had not heard of until fairly recently.  To be honest, as a major donor to David's Euro Lottery Investment Fund business opportunity, a kitchen supper is the least of it.  A few double-digit wins wouldn't go amiss either.  And if we go to lunch with them, we may avoid the usual Sunday afternoon Monopoly marathon, a game which involves a lot of dodgy dealing and ending with world domination by me.

Other than that, I hope to have a fairly quiet and family-friendly weekend.  Until we can sort the insurance claim for the accidental damage to the shower door and shower tray, my main DIY task needs to go on hold, and all the other bits are tiddlers for which an hour will probably suffice.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

First day back to work

So, today is the first day back to work after four days of illness followed by four days holiday wrapped round the Easter weekend.  This means that I have not been at work since 28th March.  That is like a two week summer holiday.

This means that I have returned to work to a ridiculously full Inbox, the modern day sweatshop, and an awful lot of loose ends that have been created, nay unpicked, during my absence.  It is always a bit daunting coming back to work after such a long time off, and it is worse at the moment due to the resourcing challenges that is making everything be cranked up a few degrees.  Hey ho, at least it is keeping me off the streets.

I am also sorting out the fitting of my shower door, which was going well until something went wrong when I was handling the glass panel, I really don't know what happened, despite the insistent questioning from LO, but the result was my shower panel was turned in to hundreds of little safe pieces of glass, and a few not so safe shards.  I have also managed to take a chunk out of my shower tray.  The air was blue (and the F-words were replayed to us by the Maggots later that evening) and the levels of frustration was very high.  And that was putting it mildly.

We have since called the insurance company for advice and have logged a claim for accidental damage, which our policy luckily covered, and we now need to sort the details to try and determine if it is worth the pain and cost of pursuing a claim.  I am now versed in all the techniques for repairing dents, and there are a number of products I could choose to buy, with the main issue seeming to be the colour you put over the resin applied to the dent.  It turns out that the colour white can be in many shades, so I have now logged a call with a company that can do it for you, including colour-matching the final finish, which sounds like a service worth paying for.  I am expecting a call back today to get a quote, and then can evaluate whether it is costly enough for me to go via the insurance route, or cheap enough it is in my best interests to do it myself.

This story will run a while yet.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Wot, no blog?

They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and if that is the case, then it is probably just as well Starfleet is a remote-working company, because all that man-love can upset a chap's constitution.

The reason, I am sad to say, is due to illness.  Today is day four of sickness, and I am now on antibiotics for a chest infection.  This is an illness that almost feels better if I do nothing, but as soon as I raise a finger, to ring the butler bell for example, then I break out in a sweat and need to "sit down for a while".  Also, all this sweating is doing terrible things to the crease in my plus-fours.

Normal service will be resumed after Easter.  I am hopefully off 'vannin' for 5 nights - here's hoping those drugs do their thing and I get the usual health improvement in day three or four - and then it will be back to work to a terrible mess.  That is not to say my cover is not capable of doing good things, but rather the team is depleted over the holiday period and so the backlog will grow.  Ho hum, that seems a long way off right now, and we all know the truth, or lack of, in that statement.

Have a good break and speak after Easter.