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Saturday, 28 March 2015

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Thought I might blog whilst up North. 

And . . . relax. Perhaps too relaxed

Yes, I know, it is Saturday.  I have had a very hard week.  LO has been working late, 10.30pm, 9pm, 11.30pm, 10.15pm and 7pm respectively this week.  I have also been maxed out at work, closing down all the loose ends, or as many as I can, before I have time off, chasing the revenue, filling in the gaps for the reduced workforce, etc. etc. etc.  This has all taken its toll, not least on the writing of blogs.

As for time off next week, due to a greatly reduced team, and the fact that those of us - count them, one, two - still in our UK team are both off next week, I am likely going to have to work a bit.  That equates to me being available by phone when I am out and about, and then doing a bit of connected work - email, approvals, escalations - late afternoon in to early evening.  Not ideal, but needs must, and it avoids any nasty issues.  It did not help that a colleague, who was "only doing her job" decided to send a broadcast email, on which she had cc'd a number of influential managers, asking how I intended to cover next week when both myself and my esteemed UK-based colleague were both off.  Nice touch that.  Anyway, to cut a long story short*, I will sort of muddle through next week, and Luge it.

Today is a significant day in Scobi towers.  On this day, thirteen years ago, Maggot 1 came in to the world, via the usual route, at around 2.30pm.  We have a family breakfast planned for ten o'clock, us and our parents and one grand-parent, appropriately known as Gee Gee** attending for the obligatory "haven't you grown" type discussions.  We plan to indulge in the full English variety of sustenance, with veggie variants for the dodgier members of the group, and I for one cannot wait.

For the rest of the day, we will be preparing for our trip tomorrow.  For me that means:
  • Going to the 'van to get the topper foam
  • Getting the car washed (probably gonna cheat and spend three pounds at the local "conveyor belt in a tunnel" car wash)
  • Checking tyres, fluids and other general items for the car, such as tissues, wet-wipes and the like
  • Getting chainsaw oil, for the chainsaw***, for a pruning of apple tree and maybe bush
  • More detergent for the jet wash, so I am ready for the jet wash action planned for the garden - to clean the winter's grot from the patio, and also to clear several years of moss growth on the fences, in preparation for their treating, with a mid brown colour**** using our newly acquired spraying system
  • Fitting the roof bars and top box - the foam takes a lot of space
  • Bribing Maggot 1 to hoover the insides.
That should keep me busy until beer-o'clock.

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

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* Yes please.  Ed.
** Short for great grandmother, of course
*** duh!
**** Last time I used clear, not wanting any bold re-colouring of our fences, only to realise that that represents a very unsatisfactory end result - hours of effort but it looks no different.  This year I want all the fences, the play area surround and the shed to all be the same colour, to unify them, and for them to be a colour that we can all see when it is done so that there is something to show for all my hard work.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Friday, 20 March 2015

And . . . relax

The working weeks are passing with a blur at the moment, and that means I am sitting here on a Friday wondering where the last five days went.

It has been another hard week; another week where my colleagues and I are feeling the impact of the last round of redundancies.  That is life, I believe, in the corporate world.  I imagine anyone in a similar corporate culture is likely experiencing the same kinds of things. 

The world is changing, with everything being instant access, 24/7, so users, people, and clients, are expecting every part of their home and working life to be the same.  This is putting pressure on us and our corporations, who are large lumbering beasts in a land of new pure-play whippets.  We are trying to change, trying to shed some pounds and some organisational inertia, working towards being an agile company, but that will take time, and to follow through on the "large lumbering beasts" analogy, many species may become extinct along the way, so only the leanest and fastest amongst us survive.  I just hope I can keep ahead of the pack.

This weekend we are pretty busy.  Maggot 2 has football training at his new club Saturday, and his first friendly hopefully Sunday.  To say he is excited is not the half of it.  Around that we have lunch at my parents and my sister's family on Saturday, and lunch at David and Samantha's with Brad and Angelina Sunday. 
It is going to be a busy weekend and, I fear, a fairly alcoholic one.  Oh how long ago my dry January feels right now.

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

Friday, 13 March 2015

And . . . relax

Another busy and frantic week over.  Work is hard work at the moment.  I don't mean I am working hard, though I am; rather, I mean that it is all a bit stodgy and lacking any fizz or fun.  This is simply because we have less people and more work.  Not so surprising that morale and energies are low.  As our furry friend would say, simples.

This weekend we are off to the theatre to see Cirque √Čloize - CirkopolisI have been fed the line that this is "very much like Cirque du Soleil", and being a trusting chap, I am sure it will be just like that.

Not having even known its name until I just Googled it - everything I am told is on a strictly need to know basis, and mostly I don't need to know - I have to say that it does look rather splendid.  Full report next week.

We are meeting Brad and Angelina there, and are very much looking forward to the day out, and to seeing them.

Maggot 2 is also moving to a new football setup on Saturday mornings.  This is training for a team, and although their matches are over for now, they need a new striker, the training is at the same time as the old football, and Maggot 2 is very much looking forward to it since his goal is to "get in to a team" since he knows that only by getting in to a team does he get scouted, and only by being scouted can he early one-hundred and eighty thousand pounds a week.  Never let it be said that he doesn't aim high.

Otherwise, I hope to be a relaxin' and a noddin'.

I hope your weekend is as well balanced as ours will hopefully be.  Speak next week.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

It is Wednesday, so it must be tennis

We had a great weekend.

The theatre back stage tour was fantastic.  We saw everything, from the under-stage area, where we learnt that the stage is modular, so they can remove sections for trap-doors or other reasons, through to costumes, wigs, dressing rooms (nice!), back stage, front stage, on stage and the control room.

What I really enjoyed was the fact that the design of the building, which is hexagonal with a thrust stage, was so important.  It was built in the sixties, with a budget of something like £150k, with a design brief to be cheap and honest.  That would be around £1.5m in today's money.  The fact that they have just been through a Renew program which cost around £11m makes you realise how cheap it was originally.  In design terms, they adhered to the "form follows function" paradigm, and also "truth in materials", so there is plenty of exposed concrete elements, including the cantilevered load-bearing elements, and followed through to the newly laid polished concrete flooring in various zones of the foyer.

The low build price did come with a hitch; there was not back-stage area in the original building.  They had to winch props and staging up the back from outside the structure.  Needless to say a back stage was added, and expanded in the Renew program.

One nice touch was the floor in the Green Room.  It was made of very thin wood strips, highly polished, with cracks and gaps and general imperfections.  It turns out that that flooring was the original stage floor, which was lifted and re-laid in the Green Room, to provide some continuity back to the original structure, one on which the first Artistic Director, Sir Laurence Olivier, had walked when it first opened.

I also managed both the repair jobs on the 'van, so hopefully it is now waterproof again, and with a fully functioning double bed.

Oh, and we have booked our Summer Holiday at long last. 

Friday, 6 March 2015

And . . . relax

The second round of redundancies kicked in yesterday, so there were a few notes flying round from colleagues, saying what a great time they have had, what great people they have worked with, etc. etc. 

It is always a bit of a fraught time.  Those going obviously need to be polishing off their CVs and getting out there, and those being left behind carry on as if nothing has happened, albeit we know that things will be a bit more difficult as a result of fewer troops in the ranks.

Of course, for some, this also offers opportunity, including me.  I pinged one of my contacts, asking if anything had moved, to be told that nothing could move until after yesterday*, but that my name was on a list.

That is all I need to hear for now. 

This weekend, we start with a back-stage tour of the Festival Theatre.  LO keeps dropping suggestions to the Maggots about either getting in to acting, or sound/lights back of house, so maybe this will be a catalyst to getting them interested.  if not, it will be an interesting experience, and one to which I am very much looking forward.


I also hope to get down to the 'van to carry out a couple of modest repair jobs.  The corner seals at the back on both sides has cracked (surprising when it is non-drying mastic) so needs replacing.  Also, one of the bed slats has broken - Maggots, trampoline, say no more - so I need to reinforce and No Nails that.

Finally, we have a night in, which is just what the doctor ordered.  A bit of vegging out, and also watching one of our films**.  We watched The Equaliser last night**, and have The Grand Budapest Hotel tonight.


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

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* both bad show, and also questionable legally, to be filling new roles whilst those on death row are still in the organisation
** LO had a mad five minutes, and has enrolled in one of the "mail out two DVDs at a time" services, can't remember which one, so we are starting to catch up on some films
*** Six out of ten.  I liked the "arty bollox" but not the big violence scenes, LO did not even like the arty bits