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Friday, 22 August 2014

And . . . relax

Nothing very revolutionary to report.

I pinged the person who could be my next boss if I ever get an interview, with a note along the lines of "don't you like me, or are you slow?", and it seems it is the latter more than the former, so here I sit, waiting . . .

Otherwise, work is slightly repetitive, as is often the case after returning from holiday.  This is caused by a combination of:
  • work being nowhere near as fun as being on holiday
  • whilst one can seek the assistance of a colleague-shaped chap to cover your tasks, the reality is that unless those tasks could be completed by a teenager with a short attention span, the chances are they will remain incomplete, and are therefore waiting for you on your return
  • over the four to six-week period, all your team will likely have some time off, so headcount is reduced, but the work keeps rolling in, so you tend to get a backlog of stuff
  • your wider organisation, and indeed your client, are similarly elsewhere over the period, meaning that you are unable to speak to them to move activities forward even if you are working.
All this adds up to something stinky, a problem that often takes halfway to Christmas to clear.

On the home front, I have nearly finished the painting, just one half of the decorative corners to finish, inside part of the porch, the one wall of my study where the sand was, until half an hour ago, and the bastard wall along the alley between us and next door.  Sounds like a lot still to do now I have written it down.

This weekend, we are just doing house stuff, so I will be painting for England, quite possibly aided by the Maggots, who love a bit of painting, and are even pretty good now with a roller.  They are able to avoid the two no-nos of roller painting, namely going too fast and getting paint drops everywhere (and I mean everywhere, LO's car still has the odd dot from the last round of painting two years ago), and missing bits coz they are not organised.  I run my painting crew like a well oiled engine, and you have to shape up or ship out.  We like to make it fun on the good ship Scobi.

Have a great weekend, and speak next week.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Wedding Anniversary

It was fourteen years ago that LO and I finally got married, after nine years of stepping out (we are not ones to hurry a decision).  That is twenty-three years of togetherness, and I just wanted to say to LO "thanks for all the good times".

I also note that Gorse Fox was also made an honest man on this day, albeit one or two years earlier than us.  What are the chances of that?*.

* Presumably just over 1 in 365.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Tuscan Time

I am still obviously running on Tuscan time, having missed my usual Friday blog.

Needless to say, the work week was pretty steady, being the usual mix of me not really running at 100% (indeed, still on Tuscan time) and there being two weeks' backlog of issues for me to get hold of, and in a few instance immediately let go again, the passage of time having sorted them without my involvement.  On the flip side, there are others that needed a second hand to grip them because they were larger than first thought.

On the home front, this was a weekend we planned in over two months ago, to be spent on house stuff.  And boy oh boy, did I spend it on the house.

As I may or may not have already mentioned, we had the patio laid whilst we were away, in the half return between our kitchen extension and the boundary, which looks, I have to say, absolutely fantastic.  It is Indian sandstone, if you are interested, multi-coloured in subdued greys, plums and beiges, which on paper does not sound to appetising, but on the floor looks fantastic, a more muted  sandstone version of the slate we have in the extension and out on to the step beyond the tri-folds.

As you may or may not remember, we are not great gardeners, as reflected in our garden which looks like a cross between and end of season municipal football pitch, and a storage yard for a junk shop.  However, having now had the patio done has inspired us, and we plan to get the garden broadly sorted* this year, so that the start of next we can work on planting and getting the grass to at least passable, so we can enjoy the whole season.

The first step in our progression is actually the front garden, where I have removed the two spiky bushes in anticipation of re-planing with something structural, the exact nature of which is still on the drawing board.

I have also repainted the house.  To be precise, I have started, and am nearly finished bar the big wall down the pathway between us and our neighbour - the so called bastard wall, that includes the chimney - and one wall on the drive against which is currently the surplus sand from the patio work, for which we now desperately want Rob, the patio builder, to return to clear it away.

We have gone for light grey.  We had originally been inspired by LO's old boss round the corner, who had hers done in a lovely mid to dark grey colour.  That inspired us, but it also inspired the new people just over the road, who also went for the mid to dark grey, perhaps a slightly different shade than LO's boss, but near enough.  This gave us a small dilemma that we did not want to be seen as copying, but an unexpected event cleared that away.  Just after it had been painted, I was over giving it a good look over, being totally nosy, when the new owner came out the side gate.  We got chatting, he being the golf pro at Rustington golf course, and he showed me round the back to the garden (totally remodeled) and the lovely two storey extension, complete with tri-folds.

Anyway, in the end, we went light grey only because our house is so large, and the drive wall and beyond such a large expanse of wall, visible from the road, that we feared that a mid to dark grey may well end up making the house look like a battleship.  So, light grey it is, and I have to say I really like it.  Whilst the house if over a hundred years old, the extension is simple and modern, and the grey really ties the two parts together, creating a cool and sophisticated colour, offset by the white detailing for the front corner pieces and pillar caps on the wall.  At least that is probably what the estate agents will write.

* Sorted meaning having had all the rubbish removed, and the grass somewhat resembling something flatish and greenish.  Indeed, I have already had a load of old timber taken away by two** Freecyclers.

** This comment is becoming a bit of a nested loop, but I feel I should explain that there were two due to a cock-up on my part.  I contacted the first person who responded (who passed my "would I like this person to have my stuff" test) and asked them to ring me Thursday, since I was a bit busy first three days.  In the meantime, somewhat miffed that said person had not responded, I offered it to the next responder who passed the test (see above), who accepted.  Then on Thursday, the day of collection by the second person, the first person rang, and he was rather put out that I had given it away when I asked him not to ring until Thursday.  Solution?  Offered them half each, which eased my conscience, and actually both needed about as much they got, so it all worked out fine, though more by luck than judgement.  The second person, a decent chap who is a gardener, turned up with a bid flat bed van and his wife, and who wanted the wood for a path in his house, even gave me a bottle of red wine, not expected or needed in the Freecycle tradition, but received with pleasure, and which I sampled last night, and can report is not perfect, but drinkable.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Told you I'd be back

I'm back.

We had a most fantastic two weeks, and our accommodation was as near to heaven as I want to get for a while.

I will blog in much more detail once I am fully back in the saddle, but the above picture gives is the view from our garden.  In the foreground is our host's plot with all the expected crops - olive, tomato, egg plant etc - plus an unusual one in sunflowers, with the oil being something they use a lot in cooking, the proper pure stuff being well regarded in these parts.  Beyond we look across the valley to other similar small-holdings and small villages (all with some kind of tower).  Delightful.

There is so much to tell, of scorpions, places, experiences and the delightful generosity of our hosts, as well as the really narrow approach roads, the windy hill-climbing larger roads, and the E.Leclerc, our second home.

More to come when I have a moment.