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Friday, 31 May 2013

And . . . relax

Actually, I have done quite a lot of relaxing in the last few days, so I decided to return to work today, although to be honest that is simply a case of holiday shortage, me having booked all my days off already for all the other exciting things we plan to do today.

We had a fab time in the Isle of Wight.  We stayed in East Cowes, just a free chain-link ferry ride to Cowes, with a view over the harbour.  It is the round the island race next weekend, so there was lots of activity to prepare for that, with yachts on the water doing their splashy thing, and establishments on land putting up marquees for the pursuit of slightly drier pursuits, even if the driest things are the martinis.  Cowes is a delightful town, although the chippie we selected for lunch, taken down on the sea front, left an awful lot to be desired.  LO and A are considering pitching a show called Out and About, where they visit various establishments under cover, then return to advise on what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong.  Let's just say that an ability to speak English would help the chippie; "two with salt an one with vinegar?".  "No, one with salt, two with vinegar and one plain".  Also would be an ability to anticipate a few customers, and have the means, motivation and processes to service them in the fashion of a take-away, not in the fashion of a bespoke suit-makers, since I believe on most streets in Hong Kong, I could have got a made-to-measure suit in less time than they took to delivery eight meals.  And the final icing on the case is that they managed to drop A&E's first order, in which was a special dish that needed special cooking (pretty much everything but the chips), on the floor and had to redo part of them.  Doh.

Anyhow, that actually gave us some ammunition for the drinks/nibbles/Canasta part of the evening.

A&E have left their van over there in storage as they plan to return in two weeks to attend the IoW Festival.  We hope to have a full account to understand whether it is something the Scobi clan could take on.

Otherwise, we are back to normal, with a need to eat less, drink less (alcohol) and spend less, which sounds like a pretty good definition of hell to me.

I wish you a great weekend, and speak next week.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013


Two sunny days - all got burnt - but now sitting in 'van with rain Tippett tapping on the roof.  Business as usual some might say, but just had a latte and pondering a drive. Very relaxed, couldn't be happier. 

Friday, 24 May 2013

And . . . relax

We are in the last day of working, which means for me tying up as many loose ends as I can, and for LO it is doing all the post-even analysis of their OFSTED visit, and trying to bring some semblance of order after the whirlwind of the visit.  It is the last day of half term, so how bad can it get.

The Maggots are similarly motivated, and will likely be doing reading and video type last-day-of-term activities to ease them in to the half term.

We then have an immense evening tonight.  All the events of the week have robbed us of evenings to prepare for the trip, so it will all need to be done tonight, with packing, cooking and general household chores to be completed before beer and TV are consumed, in roughly equal measures.  We must also ensure we have all our favourite shows recorded (The White Queen looks a must, there is another Tudor show as well, and The Fall - not the always-changing-always-the-same, erstwhile Mancunian band, but rather a pretty decent and shocking drama with Gillian Anderson, who plays, apparently, an enigma.  Not sure about that, but I would...) and that things are ship-shape before we depart.

I hope that you have a good long weekend, and speak in a week or two.  Actually, I may well try to blog during my holiday, now I have an app and everything.

Thursday, 23 May 2013


Excitement is mounting in the Scobi household for the impending holiday in the Isle of Wight.  Further repairs have been done to the van (need to look after my little darling after all) and I at least have started a pile of clothes to take, just so I don't accidentally wear them beforehand.  These are clothes that are smarter than my worst, but not the absolute smartest, simply because this 'vannin' lark can be a filthy business.

Work is quite hot right now.  It is mid year and that is, I am reliably informed, the best time for a mid-year review, so in preparation for that, I need to enlist troopers who will say nice things about me*, and write up my "achievements to date", which is really a list of you saying nice things about yourself. 

Outside of that, there is some of yer actual real work to do as well, which consists of trying to reverse-engineer some previously presented figures, to work out cost reductions for not doing all the stuff that the previously presented figures covered.  If that makes no sense to you, then that makes two of us.  Actually, it is not so hard, simply because, as long as you stay within "sanity margins"**, then really you can mostly make it up, since no-one is able to challenge the rights or wrongs of it.  This is slightly disingenuous to me and my kind, because there is a sort of logic to what we do, but there is also a bit of magic.  Part art, part science, that is how my mentor always called it, and I have to agree.  And the fact that it is like that, despite all the attempts by Starfleet to remove any art so it is 100% science, to then enable it to be moved offshore, is the main reason why I am still employed.  And long may it continue***.

* the process leaders would have you believe that "you get more out of it if you ask a wide circle of people, some of which will not give you such a good review, because you will learn more from that".  I say that is utter bo!!lox coz it turns in to a score which is used to quantitatively (and for quantitatively, read "cannot be sued for using this to make decisions") assess each person.
** which are defined as those that the finance lead will use to assess whether your number is high, low or just right
***  -----<< Message removed due to non-compliance  >>----

Tuesday, 21 May 2013


Had a good day yesterday.  Sorted a lot of work bits, gained a few during the day also, including one that is a good example of how our organisation is setup to fail by our customer.  A demo of a mobile app has been promised to the board on a certain date, and rather late in the day a request for assistance has been raised, with very keen dates, none of which feel doable.  This could have been avoided if the customer's partner were to have got us involved a bit earlier.  This is not untypical, and we will do what we can to minimise disappointment, and manage expectations beyond that, because that is what we do.

On the home front, I took the nearly unprecedented decision yesterday to award myself with a lunch break, for good behaviour and all, and managed to get the 'van washed ready for our holiday.  Having fixed the blinds yesterday, I am beside myself with feelings of goodwill towards the little darling.  After all, I need to prepare it for a big trip in the summer.  Which reminds me, I need to move the 'van service to when we have it at home.

Monday, 20 May 2013

On the home straight

A full week ahead before we have five days in the Isle of Wight.  The 'van is on the drive, and I have already completed a few fix ups, getting the loose blind support firmly back in place (thanks to a dollop of sealant) and the dangling fly screen on one of the re-sprung and returning to the top as nature intended.  I have also tested the hydraulic jack given to me by Scobi senior, and it is superior to my incumbent jack, so has now taken its place.  To be honest, they both do the job, but the new one is easier to pump up (rather than turn, with some effort required) and is lighter.  I have filed the old one in the shed, just in case I have made a wrong choice.

I now need to try and find time in the week to clean it, and the car, ready for an earlyish departure Saturday morning.

Our weekend was quiet, as planned, with a lovely "pick 'n' mix" tea Saturday night with the maggots, consisting of bread, cheese and many accompaniments that is, it has to be said, not of the lowest of calories, but certainly is the highest of pleasures.  Washed down with beer and a glass or red, my evening was setup nicely.  We even managed to avoid the Eurovision Song Contest, which seems to have gone well, though not for England.  Nineteenth out of twenty-six is pretty good going, and I am sure the work will help Bonnie to pay for her dentures or replacement hip or something, what with her not getting her pension for another four years.

This week, I shall be mostly tidying up loose ends.

Have a good week, and speak again soon.

Friday, 17 May 2013

And . . . relax

Another week nearly over,* and a nice easy weekend in prospect.  We have the usual tennis and swimming, but otherwise just some R&R, family time and DIY.  I may now have a lead on why the plaster will not set in my hallway, so have invested in a tube of external sealant in the hope that sealing around the circular window (which sits above the affected area) will make it waterproof, and that that is indeed the reason for the plaster failure.

Maggot 1 has just finished in SATS, which weighed fairly heavily on him I think, though of course he is of an age when showing that would be a sign of weakness, thus resulting in the answer "yeah blood" to any "are you OK?" questions.  Never has a child been less street-gang than Maggot 1.

I hope you have a great weekend, and speak next week.

* I now know that this comma is often known as the Oxford comma, which is one that appears before the word "and" which, for those grammar purists out there (and I think I can safely conclude that Bad Man is such a person, after his recent blog), is not how it should be.  Apparently, or at least as far as the Oxford dictionary is concerned, you can if it improves meaning.  I just hope mine does.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013


In the office today, second day in a row, so starting to get a nose-bleed.  I have a full afternoon at a customer event, which is at a golf course local to their office, but not to my home.  This is why I am in a suit at the Starfleet office half way to the event location, waiting for 12pm to arrive so I can go get my Wednesday veggie curry.

If this all sounds just a little bit twee and comfortable, then you are right, it is.  I quite like the familiarity, but at the same time it does keep nagging at me, with the adage someone gave me a long while ago that once you are comfortable, it is time to move.

For info, Lee is homosexual, but just does not know it.

Monday, 13 May 2013

That really was the weekend that was

As already blogged, from my table at the pizza restaurant (Pizza Express if you are interested, not really a "little Italian" at all, except it was very little and it did sell Italian food - I did, as is custom, have roasted tomato intro and a Padana Romana, or is it a Romana Padana, pizza, so we had not entirely lost our senses), we had a day in London on Saturday with Brad and Angelina.  It was a great day.  The Bowie exhibition was, by anyone's standards, excellent, and for me, something of a fan (maybe of old more than now, but still admire his "body of work"), it was simply sublime.  Automatic audio tour, that played whatever you were near, with lots if visual and audio elements to the many areas, made it an audio-visual feast of interjecting and overlapping sensations.  I may have even had a small tear in my eye at the final auditorium bit, which showed a number of live performances, including his last as Ziggy Stardust.  Or it might have been grit.

The rest of the day was very pleasant, although we were somewhat misled by the directions on a Smartphone, which did nevertheless take us via Harrods and Harvey Nics, so the girls were happy.  It did, also take us not entirely in the right direction, so after a lot of walking we said sod it and got a cab to Covent Garden, where we singularly failed to find a suitable coffee and cake establishment, so had to settle for a (very pleasant) chain.  We did go to the Doc Martin shop, which was nice, and someone of my years can only but marvel as to how their star has risen.  Boots that were £45 in my day are now around £130-280, depending on the design and finish.

Sunday was fairly quiet. We dropped in on A&E to see their new 'van, which is, it has to be said, very fine indeed, with fixed double bed, lots of space (both storage and empty), and all the little niceties you get from a newer 'van.  LO and I are pretty even-keeled about it, but the Maggots did both chime "why do we have such an old caravan" in the car afterwards, to which we responded with the usual parent chat about financial priorities blah blah blah.

Saturday, 11 May 2013


In a little Italian in Knightsbridge, having just seen Bowie at the V&A. Apart from sounding just slightly pretentious ( pretentious, moi?), it does not get much better. Bowie exhibition was awesome, 10/10 from me, and the beer is coming. Nice. 

Friday, 10 May 2013

And . . . relax

Well, isn't it nice to be Friday, and so quick to arrive.

This weekend, we are meeting Brad and Angelina in London to go to the Bowie exhibition.  We can't wait.  The Maggots are on a sleep-over at the outlaws, so we have an evening and a day out to look forward to, and look forward we are.  We will probably go to Camden in the afternoon, somewhere I have not been for many years, and I can't wait to see how it looks these days.

Sunday should be more normal.  A&E should be taking delivery of their new 'van on Saturday, and we are hoping to go over on Sunday to take a little peek.  We are now only a few weeks away from our trip to the Isle of Wight and I cannot wait for that either.  The weather is bound to be utterly gorgeous, and our visits to the Garlic Farm (yes, way) and Osborne House are going to be fab.

Have a great weekend, and speak next week (unless you are Brad or Angelina, in which case speak tonight, and see you tomorrow).

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Just a quickie

Got a date booked in for an evening of fishing, which is nice.

Work is getting a bit hot right now, and in this, the year of the career, I am actually doing quite a lot of things to get mine in some shape.  We have to make a commitment to doing 40 hours of training this year, as part of a move to maintain and develop Starfleet's trooper excellence.  This, like in good recipe, is 3 parts good idea with 4 parts bollux.  I have managed to get to 15 hours so far, and looking at what else I can do, which seems to be quite a lot, although I am not that confident that all that is available to me is actually useful, interesting or in any way, shape or from of educational benefit.  But that may just be me and my resistance, nay indifference, to online training.  I am reminded of that old saying which goes something like:

"Tell me, I'll forget. Show me, I'll remember. Involve me, I'll understand"

The modern equivalent of this is therefore probably something like:

"Send an educational email and I will forget, give me some online training and I will remember (why I hate online training so much), give me proper training and then cancel a week before".

Now, I have to say, exercising my cynic muscle has been very refreshing.  I feel ready to get another hour or two under my belt.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013


We had a fantastic long weekend, which really felt like a holiday.  We did not do anything particularly exciting, bit of Ikea, bit of beach, bit of gardening, bit of DIY (in fact, a lot of DIY, finishing a number of little jobs) and just generally a bit of family time, kicking back and relaxing.

So relaxed, in fact, that none of us really wanted to return to the real world.  It will pass, and so, hopefully, will the wind, caused, I am reliably informed, but the jalapenos on our home-made pizzas last night.  Either that, or the barrel-load of beer.

This week is one of this cool four day weeks, which means that Friday will be here a day early, and this weekend we are off to London, but won't say more, only coz that will give me something to blog on Friday.

Have a great week, and enjoy the weather while you can.

Friday, 3 May 2013

And . . . relax

Funny old week, but still glad it is over.  With the Bank Holiday weekend ahead of us, I plan a bunch of DIY bits, some family time, a bit of down-time and some out-and-about time.

Can't wait.

Have a great weekend, and speak next week.

Thursday, 2 May 2013


Brad and I had a great day fishing.  To qualify that, it was probably a day that will be measured as a good day for the fish, since now were killed, injured or even in fact bothered all day.  This ought to translate in to not such a good day for the fishermen, however it was a lovely day, the scenery was broadly lovely*, and the company very agreeable, so really whether or not we caught anything seemed to be of very little consequence in determining the pleasures of the day.  I was also able to schedule my sandwich eating throughout the first half of the day thus creating almost zero stress on the food front as well.

We ended up on the small lake, probably almost a large pond, and definitely my favourite, which real "big fish" anglers shun due to it having carp only up to 5-10 pounds, but us lesser mortals, who prefer action to size, are happy to fish.  The fact that we did not get much action was, as already discussed, not a great downer on the day.  Brad has never yet "drawn a blank" on this pond, so a small piece of history was written that day.
Mid afternoon, we were joined by a guy on the lake who had moved only coz the other lake was colder, and he proceeded to catch three fish, the second so big he could not land it himself so I nipped round to his swim to assist with landing, to talk bait and to get a bit of his luncheon meat to use as bait.  Even then we did not get much - a few bites but no fish - and so when he left, we jumped in to his swim to fish the two places he had already baited up, and on my last cast, I did hook a fairly large-feeling fish that broke my line.  So, a sad story of the one that got away.

The plan for the rest of the year is to aim to go evening fishing, with me working at an office nearer to the lakes, possibly bunking off, if not early, then on timeish, and us getting a few hours evening fishing in, which is likely to be the most productive part of the day, and does not need holiday to be taken.  Basically, not much more than a night out, and I don't have many, or even any, of those at the moment.

* there is a train track within 100m of the smallest lake, but just like people who live near trains, have very loud clocks or whose partner perpetually nags, after a while you just stop hearing it.  I did nearly jump out my skin when one passing train sounded its horn, but then I can jump at adverts, so I may not be the best yard-stick as to the intrusion of said horn.