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Friday, 16 December 2016

Nine days to go

Another week over, another mince pie eaten . . .

Work has been steady as she goes, with some frantic activity followed by more sedate moments.  This has allowed me to get some training done, on my chosen subject (which is Cloud, if you have not been paying attention).

We had a great weekend at Brad and Angelina's.  Having become of late a G&T lover, I was able to avail myself of B&A's fairly extensive gin collection.  In the words of LO, I "do not have a sophisticated palate".  I think that is fair enough.  Put simply, I did not like the newer brands, with their botanics and, undoubtedly, their beards and leather satchels and wotnot.  Instead, I preferred the London Gin, the most ordinary of the batch.  Oh well, if you like it, stick with it.

On the music front, I now have something like 8 tracks out there, in the wild.  It was a productive summer for me, having so many tracks taken up for release.  On Monday I had contact from a South American label, wanting to re-release a 3-track EP released last year, and asking for more tracks, so I am working on those as we speak, with a plan to send them something over the break.

It is the last day of school for the Maggots, with Maggot 1 finishing at lunchtime (and then off to play football with his mates), and Maggot 2 finishing normal time, but bringing home his best friend G, who is also the goalie in his football team.  G is staying for a sleepover, and we are taking him to football tomorrow, from where his mum will collect him at the end of the game.  It will be fun for them both, and he is a good lad who is a pleasure to host.  Also, Maggot 2 has, for the very first time (we were able to deduce this from the loud shouting), won entry to the weekend FUT FIFA 16 championship.  This is, apparently, where the creme de la creme of FIFA players meet to wage batter over forty games, starting Friday and ending Sunday, with prizes for those able to win twenty games or more.  To say that Maggot 1 was, is, excited, is to say that Santa will be pretty busy over the next week.  This will, undoubtedly, keep them both busy for the whole time they are awake - hopefully not too late, since they have an hour's training followed by a friendly match tomorrow morning.

Since I have next Thursday off - and with a recent management announcement that we can all take Thursday afternoon off to start our holiday early - I will probably actually look to finish on Wednesday lunchtime, so I will not blog again until the new year.

Therefore, all that remains for me to say is to wish you a Happy Christmas, a Merry New Year, and plenty of mince pies in between.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Sixteen days to go

Christmas is coming folks.  Many of you may not realise that, since there are hardly any adverts on the TV selling you a dream or a product.

Aside from that, life goes on at a pace.  We are very much sorted for Christmas, which is nice, especially since the period leading up to the end of any term is always busy, and the one leading up to Christmas doubly so.

We are away this weekend, so we have football and tennis on Saturday, but nothing on Sunday.

We had our winter logs delivered today.  They are piled up on the drive and will need moving round to the woodstore, which means I will have a very physical lunch time, me and my wheelbarrow.

Nothing else to report, so I will sign off and wish you a great weekend.  Speak next week.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Pinch, punch, first of the month

As I am writing this, two little doors on the advent calendars (for sure, there is more than one) have been opened, and the temperature is dropping like a stone.  This means a bit of window scraping for most.  For us, being able to park both cars on our drive means that they are partially protected from the worst of the weather, so that there is usually only the need to scrape the rear window of the rear car, and that can be done with the window heater if we have time.  The big car has heated front and rear windows, something that is, without doubt, about as good as it gets this time of year.

Anyhow, enough about cars.  At home, things are the same as always.  LO is away tonight at her Christmas do, so us lads have packet pizzas and a quiet night in.

We have football at the weekend.  Last week we had two matches, a replay on Saturday and our regular game on Sunday, against the two best teams in our league.  The positive we can take from the games are that neither team are anything to fear; the negative is that we did not play our best.  The first half of the Saturday game was as good as they can play, and we can in at half time 2-0.  However, in the second half we reverted somewhat to the panicky kick and hope game that typifies the worst or our team performances.  It is all part of the learning process, and I guess it is good for the boys to experience defeat, crushing unecessary defeat, since that will then set them up for a lifetime following the England team.

The Sunday game started poorly, and remained so.

We also went to watch Pompey play, which was a great afternoon out, but a disappointment since, once again, the team lost.  There was an incident in the dressing room at half time where two of the better players got in to a fight, blood may or may not have been spilt, and neither play returned to the pitch for the second half.  To be fair, their replacements did a fine job too, but we cannot help feeling that such a disruption half way through a game would not be improving the concentration of the team.  It's a funny old game.

On other news, we have LO's family over tonight for a Strictly evening, sausages in baps for tea I believe.

That is all from me.  Have a great weekend, and speak next week.

Friday, 25 November 2016

A secure week

I cannot go in to too much detail, but as inferred in the title, security has been the main flavour this week.  To be precise, or as precise as it is wise to be, I have been under an assessment regime for the last three months, the culmination of which was, on Tuesday, notification that I am a secure chap.  Such an assertion is far from a formality, and I have had to go through several levels of assessment to reach this point, but reach it I have, and happy I am.

This means in practice two important things:

  • I can now work on more confidential matters, thus opening up more opportunity
  • I have a qualification that is fairly rare, and its rareness will, I hope, afford a small level of job security as we move towards the next phase of nn, a company which lives, like all others, in an ever changing world.
LO is away this weekend for her yearly meet up with one of her best friends, who lives down in Cornwall.  They meet up in Bristol for three nights and two and a half days of pure girlie pleasure, which is nothing to do with those emails that end up in your spam folder, but rather a time for non-stop retail pleasures.  In other words, most men's worst nightmare.

Us lads have a fairly fun weekend.  Last Sunday's cancelled match for Maggot 2 has been rearranged for Saturday, against the best team in the league, and on Sunday he has another match against one of the top teams in the league.  It will therefore be a testing time for the boys, who are definitely capable of winning both games, but likewise are also capable of losing both games - it is all in the mind, so will depend on which team turns up to play.

In between those two games, we are also off to see Pompey play at home, something to which I for one am very much looking forward.  We will train it down, and the Maggots will get the promised burger off a van, and I will hopefully get myself a Pompey beanie hat.

Otherwise, we will not be doing too much.  I really need to spend a bit of time clearing leaves from the garden.  The wind last night has kindly made a couple of neat piles of leaves, and it would be a waste of mother nature's help not to get them bagged up before she changes her mind, and redistributes them all over the garden again.

Have a great weekend, and speak next week.

Friday, 18 November 2016

I'm not a celebrity, and I am happy in here

Had a good week at work.  More work coming my way, also got some clearance approved which makes me more valuable to the business, and will open up some new opportunities.

At home, we have had a steady week, which means moments of frantic busyness followed by moments of calm.

This weekend we have the usual football, and we have David and Samantha coming over to us Saturday night, which will be fun.  In actual fact, the arrangements have changed and now we are going over to their house for the evening.  Either way it will be fun.

Talking of football, we enjoyed the England vs Spain friendly (so called, though it had more yellow cards than your average competitive international), sullied only by their late equaliser.  Being a "glass half full" kind of chap, I am happy to take the positives from the game - we played well, with purpose and with a fair amount of attacking threat and flair.  I was also pleased for the boy Vardy who has exorcised his demons by ending a goal drought.

Nearer to home, and following a terrible game twelve days ago, the match last Sunday was very much better.  The coach took them aside to the changing rooms for a long discussion at the start of training on Saturday, to spread the message that there was to be only short and tidy passing, no panicky hoofing of the ball, even from goal kicks.  If they were to lose playing like that, then he would not shout at them, he would only shout if they kicked it long in a panic (though if that was a perfect ball to one of their own, the complaints may have been much quieter).  He also talked about not having any fear of failure - something we thought was maybe creeping in to the team's psyche - and the results were astounding.  They played a fantastic match, winning 3-2 against a team who, having heard about the score from the previous week, really expected to beat us easily.  It was therefore very satisfying that we dominated the game.  The cherry on the icing on the case, for me, was that Maggot 2 scored his first header in open play.  A beautiful move sent our striker, and fastest forward player, down the wing, where he whipped in a perfect cross from the right, which Maggot 2 met with a perfect glancing header inside the left hand post.  Nice.

I wish you a fantastic weekend, and speak again next week.

Friday, 11 November 2016

Very well thank you

Things are pretty good.  The course I attended Wednesday to Friday last week is being put in to practice this week, and it is a very satisfying experience doing so.  My current deal is so nicely shaped that it could easily be one of those test cases you use on such training courses.  We just need to ensure that we cover the right bases with the process - ensuring it works for us, not becomes a burden - but we are in really good shape.  The biggest challenge is that our client is so busy, it can be hard to get the time we need with them.  This has resulted in a methodology, if that is not too grand a word, whereby we do all the legwork for them; need a session to bottom out their requirements, baselines and use cases, guess what, we are writing that ahead of time, and asking for correction of what is written, rather than giving them a blank piece of paper on which they have to try and map the same information.

Away from work, home is all working as it should.  LO went away for a girls' weekend last weekend, so us lads had an equivalent lads' weekend.  We went to watch Pompey play, unfortunately the worst game of the season, but fun nevertheless.  So much fun in fact that we have booked to go again in a couple of weeks.

This weekend we are not doing very much.  On Sunday, we planned to go for a family dinner out at a local pub, to say goodbye to Uncle No. 1, the same uncle who built our extension as it happens, who is going back to Thailand for six months.  He splits his time between here and there, and was actually back in the UK to sort out some medical issues.  Indeed, he was quizzed by the health police just to check that he was not getting free treatment to which he was not entitled; they were suspicious that he had been out in Thailand for too long on his previous visit.  He now has a "note to self" to come back at least once a year, to avoid such issues in the future.  It is fair enough that they checked, from where I am sitting, however most of the family were outraged, he having "paid his taxes for years".

That's all for now folks.  Have a great weekend, and speak next week.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

What are the odds?

When it comes to democracy, naming a ship Boaty McBoatface should raise a smile for most, but Donald J Trump as the next President of the United States, hmm, not so sure.

At least during his nearly-an-acceptance-speach on the news this morning, he sounded statesman-like, calling for unity and wotnot.  Let's hope that is the real DJT, and that he has left behind his more dubious personality characteristics as he takes on one of the, if not the, biggest political jobs in the world*.

* My old boss used to say (and he was not the only one) that you should not write publicly anything bad about a person that you would not say to their face.   That also goes for avoiding libellous content.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Taking a break

Things are hotting up with my deal.  We have a client meeting next week, when the new team (of which I am one) will meet the client, and we start to really refine (or in some cases define) the requirements for the deal.  This may seem odd to the lay person, us having already released to them a rough order of magnitude proposal, aka a RoM, however the truth is that at nn we have a much more developed RoM process, and a different way of handling risk, than Starfleet.  At Starfleet, in broad strokes, the approach was to avoid risk at all costs; they were a very risk-averse organisation.  This means that a RoM can be as detailed as an open to acceptance proposal.

At nn, we embrace risk with caution and appropriate boundaries, which means that firstly that our clients are not bombared with all that we will not do, but also they are get what they want, and so do we.  It also makes the RoM process a "that looks complex, call it half a million" type estimation process, rather than a "all the solutioning, but more relaxed coz it is not open to acceptance" approach of Starfleet.

It is all very interesting, and not a process I have been through fully too many times so far at nn, and with a new process introduced now also, it is harder (in that a process I did not know very well anyway has changed) and easier (a process I did not know has changed, so everyone is at broadly the same phase of understanding) for a relative newbie like me.  Oh well, as the old saying goes, you cannot learn less (unless you are an American voter, it seems).

To be honest, I cannot wait, at long last, to get properly stuck in to a deal, meet the client, really start working my booty* and getting some experience and credibility under my belt.

The only issues is that I have taken next week off, since it is half term.  I therefore plan to work on Wednesday, the day of the meeting, but have the rest of the week off.  This is a good plan, made slightly dodgy only because on Tuesday night we are planning to attend a wine tasting evening.  I suspect I shall be spitting rather than swallowing**.

We don't have any football this weekend, so will need to find useful, interesting, meaningful and "for all the family" things to do, which will be a challenge.  Maggot 1 has a sleepover on Monday and Maggot 2 on Thursday, so the week will be puntuated by Maggots of various sizes invading our front room, but we don't mind, and the Maggots love it.  Rather they were here, under our roof, than on a park bench in some dodgy part of town***.

We are at A&E on Saturday night for a Mexican-themed evening, complete, apparently, with sombreros and moustaches.  Should be fun, and we will hopefully see a bunch of folks we have not seen for a while, including Brad and Angelina.

Have a great weekend****, and speak next week.

* not sure that is the right term. Ed
** really? Ed
*** Yes, they really do exist, even here down south
**** Just a routine reminder for Gorse Fox that for most of us, weekends are those two days when you are not at work

Monday, 17 October 2016

relaxing times

I am obviously so relaxed that I forgot to blog on Friday, so rather than tell you what I am going to be doing, I can tell you what I did.

Well, we had football training Saturday for Maggot 2, Maggot 1 doing his second weekend as an Assistant Tennis Coach (capitals are important, expecially for his developing CV).

On Saturday evening, David and Samantha and their two Maggotettes came over for a "holiday reunion" evening.  It started with the Scobi clan, in their swimsuits, dancing to a tune that was part of our "water aerobics" routine whilst on holiday.  You had to be there really.  We looked at photos and had a lovely evening of food, chat, and a little drink.  I was keeping it very light on the alcohol, since I am still in recovery, but I did have a couple of gin and tonics, a drink I found again whilst on holiday, and one that is just right when you want something, but not too much of it.

Sunday was a big day for Maggot 2.  It was the last game in his mini-league, and a win would secure a cup.  The team we were playing had, but their coach's own admission, been battered by every team in the league so far, so on paper it should have been an easy win.  However, as any pundit worth their salt will tell you, football is played on grass, not on paper, and so it was that, slightly against the run of play, they were 1-0 up at half time.  It was a fantastic counter-attack with their diminuative front man (he only reached the shoulders or our team) out-paced our fastest defender to slot home a nicely taken goal.  To be fair, our team was not playing badly, but we were playing directly in to a strong wind that, in my view (but not those of some of my fellow parents) was the dominant factor in the game.  So it was that in the second half, after a briefing from our coach along the lines of "you got yourselves in to this mess, you can get yourself out if it", they soon equalised, and then went on to win 4-1, with the wind, as already said, playing a major part in the game.  We battered them, the ball rarely left their half, and their goal kicks became a chance for one of our team to have a long shot at goal, so predictably did possession fall to us, the poor keeper unable to kick it far enough with the wind against him.  It was a good win, keeps our winning streak going, and gets us some more silverware.  Maggot 2 also scored, which will help his confidence, which has been dipping a bit of late.  He also had a very good game, working hard on and off the ball.  Overall, a great result.

I hope you had a great weekend, speak Friday (if I can be bothered).

Friday, 7 October 2016

Glad that one is over

We have all been ill this week.  LO had Monday and Tuesday off*, Maggot 2 had those, plus Wednesday and Thursday.  I have also been ill and ticking things over, but without travelling.  This is the bug that keeps on giving since we all have the same symptoms, and it has made this week pretty yuk.

This meant we had some interesting sleeping arrangements; I was on Maggot 1's bed, so I could cough and not sleep without upsetting the others, whilst Maggot 1 was on a put-me-up in with LO, and Maggot 2 had my space in our bed.  It is like some slightly bizarre version of The Waltons.  It did mean we all got the best night of sleep that was available to each of us.  For me, let's just say that I have nearly finished a book (part 3 of the J K Rowling written detective series) in four days.

We are now back in our own beds, and Maggot 2 is back to school today, though to be honest he is not 100%, but, I hope, he is good enough to get through the day.  Plus, being at school gets him back in the real world with a vengence that should get him on the road to normal life quicker.

Maggot 1 has moved his drumming lesson to this evening so that he can then do his first morning as Assistant Tennis Coach**, which should be fun, will get him out the house doing something physical, and will get him some pocket money.

If Maggot 2 is well enough, (i.e. if the kill or cure go back to school approach is positive) then we should have training tomorrow and a match Sunday.  The team have their new home kit now, which was funded by us having a sponsored run - his best pal has his and we may pick it up after school today - and the training/away kits should be coming fairly soon via the club, who somehow managed to wangle a deal that if we return all our old club-logo'd match shirts, then whoever is the maker (cannot remember which company) will provide new shirts at not cost.  Result.

Slightly sad for the boy, but our team is one lighter this week as we had to ask him, via his dad, to not be part of the team anymore.  The issue was with the dad, who has been creating some unecessary tension with both the coaches, to the point that both had considered giving it all up.  We could not have that, since they are both valued and very good for the team, so the dad had to go, and his son with it.  Sad for the lad, good for the team.
The other side benefit is that we now have 12, rather than 13, from which to pick the team of 9.  Ideally, we would want only 2 subs, 3 at most, so if all boys were available, then they were having to take turns in "being the thirteenth man", and not playing that week.  Reducing our numbers by one means this will be less of an issue.
As I may have previously discussed, we have moved from 7 to 9-a-side teams, so over the Summer we had been trialling various people, since we needed to bolster our numbers, and also we needed to find a goalie.  The goalie, G, is Maggot 2's best friend, and was previously the attacking mid-fielder and captain of the team (being a Liverpool fan, he would like to be called the Gerrard of our team), so not someone we naturally wanted to lose from the field by him going in goal.  Our main coach was not keen at all, but in the end he relented, and G took the number 1 shirt, and he has done a fantastic job.  He is a little smaller than average for the age, so size might be an issue, however he is a fantastic shot-stopper (indeed, we won our last tournament because of his saves in the penalty shootout), he has a big kick*** and he, obviously, is also a footballer, so is another player at the back when we have to work it round the back up the opposite wing.
So, we lost him from the outfield team, but managed to sign up three new players, all of which have some skill and potential, and have fitted in to the team well.

Otherwise, it will hopefully be a fairly relaxing weekend, with some football and some dancing on the TV.

I hope you are well, and have a great weekend.  Speak next week.

* To be frank, she was not right, but felt she had to go in coz she had the Auditors in for the rest of the week
** Certainly how we will be describing it on his CV
*** Another change this year is that the opposition no longer need to retreat to the half-way line for goal kicks.  This has made the goal kick a real danger, with the attacking team able to gain a big advantage if the keeper has a small kick or is indecisive

Friday, 30 September 2016


Health is, as we all know, the only thing standing between each of us and death.  i.e. it is pretty important.

That seemed mildly amusing when I wrote it, but hard to follow that with tales of unwellness in Scobi Towers without sound an alarm.  Nothing to worry about, no-one near to their last breath, but we are all under the weather just a little bit.  Both Maggots had a couple of days off at different times, LO is struggling, and even I, paragon of virtue*, have a sore throat and that "a few degrees under" feeling.

Nevertheless, it is a timely reminder, especially at this time of year, that we must all do what we can to keep well, to keep fit, to eat well, to drink plenty of the good stuff (boring old water) and not so much of the bad stuff (lovely beer and wine).

This weekend, health permitting, we will have football, drumming and, on Friday evening, for the older members of the clan, an evening out with David and Samantha, which we are really looking forward to, a chance to catch up on life, and possibly to reminisce on our holiday, the traces of which can still be found at the bottom of our respective sock drawers.

Talking of drumming, Maggot 1 will have to move his drumming lesson to Friday evening, because he has a job.  His old tennis coach contacted him asking if he wanted to be his Boy Friday, or rather Boy Saturday, helping out with junior tennis lessons on Saturday morning.  This came out the blue, but was rather flattering for Harvey, and an opportunity he has snapped up with indecent haste.  He has wanted a way to earn some money for a while, and this is an opportunity he cannot, and has not, turned down.  It will also look good on his CV, for when he applies for university (since it is no longer enough to have straight A+ results, one must also have volunteered, or climbed Mount Everest, or indeed spent some time as a junior tennis coach).

Talking of CVs, I have grasped an opportunity to go in to Maggot 1's school to help out with CV writing and interview techniques.  I have wanted to do some kind of volunteering, using my supposed experience to help nippers, and so when this was announced at the recent Year 10 evening, I grasped it with both hands.  I am really looking forward to helping out - I just hope that I have something useful to give.

Well, that is me done.  Have a great weekend, and speak next week.

* hmmm. Ed.

Friday, 23 September 2016


Just a quick update this week, coz have a fair few things I need to sort out.

Work is steady, about to get very busy I think.

Home is fine.  We are all a bit under the weather at the moment, mouth ulcers and general unwellness, which all sounds like run down, which is sad with so long to go until Christmas.  Luckily we have half term off and will spend some high quality R&R time over that week.

We will probably have football all weekend.  If Maggot 2 is picked, they have a 5-a-side tournament on Saturday, and a league match Sunday.

I have managed to sell some of my old vinyl (in the loft, some fond memories, but not actually looked at them for ten years) to fund a new PC for my remixing, and it is fantastic, must bigger and faster than the old machine.

That is all for now.  Have a great weekend, and speak next week.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Wedding Bells

We are at a wedding this weekend.  This involves an hour drive to the church, via a local Sainsbury's to have a coffee and get changed in the toilets, so we are crease-free as we arrive at the church.  It is then about an hour's drive to the venue, which is also where we are staying the night.  The up-side is that this is actually only about half an hour from home.

The wedding is for LO's cousin.  To be honest, we do not see him very often, once a decade or so, but his side of the family is very spartan, so we are in a sense making up the numbers.  The fact that his bride is Ghanain, with a massive Ghanain family behind her, makes the contrast all the more so.

Nevertheless, we are looking forward to a night away, to nice food, and not having to cook, wash up or any other of those usual daily tasks.  We will also be able to spend some time with the in-laws and Gee Gee (great grandma).

The Maggots both have their outfits - Maggot 1 a suit and tie (which will be used again during his upcoming work experience week), and Maggot 2 a jacket, a shirt that is "tight like the footballers wear" and a trendy bow tie.  Biased I most certainly am, but they will make a handsome pair of young men . . . right up until the knee-slides start.

This means no football this weekend, which may be a blessing.  They were beaten 9-0 last weekend, and while the team that beat them is one of the best in the league, our best performance would usually give them a good game.  The trouble was, we did not give anywhere near our best performance; it was, rather, dire.

The coach was not there to see it first hand, but by training on Wednesday, he had heard about it second hand, and he has decreed that until they start playing as a team, they cannot wear their team shirts.  This means that for the match on Sunday, the team will wear shorts and socks from their kit, but not the shirt - the orders are to wear anything, and then they will be given bibs to make them the same colour.  Unconventional, but I suspect it does at least get the point across.  Let's hope it works.

That is all for now.  Have a great weekend, and speak next week.

Friday, 26 August 2016


The weather and me.  Hotter than hot.  My office has a number of bits of kit; my work laptop as well as my home computer, on which I mostly do my remixing.  I also now have powered monitors, and they throw out some heat.  So, even without the external influences, my office can be pretty warm.  This will work fine Autumn in to early Winter I think, when I anticipate no need for any heating.  However, right now, it just makes things a little bit more uncomfortable.

Work is picking up now.  I have two deals assigned to me this week, and the first one alone will be 50-80% of my time.  I need to busy, so this is good.

At home, we have a long weekend, then I have Thursday and Friday off to go to Golden Cap, so next week will be a very short working week.

This weekend, football starts are our new home, which is a local private school, which has permanent goals setup, plus an all-weather pitch (not sure yet if it is astro or 4g, hoping the latter).  Maggot 2 has new boots, decent leather boots this time, and he cannot wait to play in them.  The are "mini sock" boots, and if that means nothing to you, then you should probably look it up.  Think Messi sock boot (come on, everyone is wearing them) but not as long, indeed a mini sock version of them.

Otherwise, I have some DIY round the house to complete, and some beer to drink.

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

Monday, 22 August 2016


Still obviously carrying some of the holiday vibe, having missed doing my Friday blog.  Sorry about that.

My first week back was uneventful.  Things have not fully picked up yet, so it was a steady and relatively uneventful week.

On the home front, we are still all in shock not to be on holiday any more.  This holiday was so good that it is going to take longer than usual to recover.  We did not win the Euro Lottery on Friday, so we are yet to be the owners of a Mallorcan villa, but the general feel-good vibe is still fizzing away.

We have even continued to play games sometimes in the evenings.  Texas Hold'em is our current favourite.  The basic rules are understood - though it still vexes Maggot 2 that three of a kind beats two pairs - but I think the poker faces are gonna take some time to develop.

My home mixing is going quite well.  One single was released on 5th August, a New York label, for a song called Shapetracer - Scobi New York Mix.  Of course it goes without saying that it will not be to everyone's taste, but I am proud of it none the less.  I had to provide some details about the song, so wrote this piece of waffle, which is both pretentious and true, both at the same time:
The sound is urban, the growl of people and traffic, of machinery and life.  Suddenly you turn a corner and the noise is dimmed.  You look through a window to see a ballet lesson, or a choir rehearsing, the growl of the city still audible.  As turn another corner, you are back in the noise and the heat and the energy.
I also have two other singles which are original mixes that have been signed up by a Florida label (Del Sol Records).  In contrast to the New York mix, which is gritting and a bit industrial just like the city, the two that Del Sol have taken up are more deep house - mellower, as befits a place where the sun shines quite a lot.

I actually think I am finding my niche now with the music.  I have joined a closed Facebook group called Mix Critique, where you can post remixes for feedback, and where you can also provide feedback on other people's mixes.  I have been doing a lot of You Tube learning on various aspects of music making, most of it technical stuff, and am probably now at the stage when at least I know what I don't know.  Nevertheless, the whole subject is very daunting.  Being on the Mix Critique site, I suddenly feel like I know something, which is nice.

One final comment.  Yesterday, for the first time in about a month or more, I work both socks and long trousers.  It was a momentous occasion and one that I hope not to repeat for a long time to come.

Have a great week, and (hopefully) will speak again Friday.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Was that really two weeks?

We are back.  It is so obvious a statement that it need not be said, but when have I let that stop me.  The time really did go way too quickly.

We had a most fantastic time.  The villa was outstanding - we have a few suggestions for improvement, but they are mostly about it being a fairly new property on the rental market, so time will tell.

The route to the villa was "interesting".  We turn off the Mallorcan equivalent of an A road on to a cinder track, which is not terrible, but had a fair few ruts.  It is uphill all the way, and we were in first gear for the whole drive.  We took a wrong turn on the first approach (or rather we did not take a turn we should have taken) and had to turn round in someone else's property.  The final turning took us on to a track that was so wild-looking, we simply did not believe that our property could possibly be at the end.  But it was, and when it appeared, it was like a mirage.

The property is in a wooded area, with the nearest property being several hundred metres away.  Indeed, as we went in to the second week, we were rudely awoken by noise that sounded like a bunch of red-necks having a wild forest party, high on hooch and readying to attack us in our beds.  In fact, it was simply some exuberent Germans in one of the villas near to us, making a fairly normal, if excited, amount of noise as they enjoyed their pool, and some unspecified variety of the local hooch.  That was a measure of how little we had to intereact with other people, which is just as we like it.

We travelled a day early, simply to save seven-hundred pounds on the flights, and so stayed at a hotel sourced by David and Samantha.  It turned out to be a converted monestry on top of the highest hill in the area (a probably modest 500m above sea level), with two massive crosses either side of it (think Rio statue size).  We could see it from half an hour away, having the thought that it could not possibly be our accommodation for the night.  It was though, and the journey to it was, as already said, rising 500m, on a road that is about 5km long, which means a lot, and I mean a lot, of bends.  We were in second gear all the way and it was not fun for the passengers of my car.  That is an under-statement.

We finally arrived at the top, checked in and got our first beer, sitting on the terrace, with a view to die for.  We had several hours to kill the next day, having to checkout by 10am, and not able to get in to the villa (or so we thought) until 3pm.  We we found some shade and played cards, and the men walked to the two crosses.

We visited the supermarket on the way to the villa, and arrived at the gates at 2.55pm, only to be told by the lead cleaner that we could not come in until 4pm.  It seems that the email we had from Vintage Travel to say we could check in an hour early did not reach the team on the ground.  We negotiated a wait on the outside seats while they finished their work.  Just before 4pm, the lead lady told us it was ready, and we had a quick tour, before we were then getting our costumes on for our first swim, the first of many.

Although we could not see it from the villa, we were literally in the shadow of one of the crosses of the monestary.  Indeed, we could have walked about 300m downhill from said cross to get to the boundary fence of our property.

What followed was two weeks of swimming, heat, fun, drinking, eating (oh yes, we fully embraced the Mediteranean diet), and some visiting of amazing places.

One day, we drove to Soller (north of Palma) to take an old-fashioned train to Palma, which was one of the recommendations of LO's parents.  We had read some comments on the train and the advice was to do the trip in this order, to avoid the crowds.  It was good advice.  The train was built in 1918 and it was the same as it always was.  At one point, we were in the longest tunnel, which was uphill all the way, and being taken slowly by the train.  At one point, the train could not get traction on the rails, they being wet, the speed being slow, and the route being uphill.  We kept having to roll back ten or twenty metres to take another run up at the troubling section of track.  This was not a pleasant experience.  It was topped by the jovial guard coming through the train telling us "no panico".  That was the point when several of our group woke up and took notice.  Anyway, after about twenty minutes, we did get moving and completed the journey to Palma.  It was worth it, because the terrain was amazing and the views fantastic.

Once in Palma, we walked about a bit, got a little light lunch, and then returned to the station to take the return train, only to miss it by four minutes, leaving us with an hour and a half wait for the next one.  Let me tell you, there are only so many games of I-Spy you can play before the inside of your heads starts to scream.

Once back in Soller, we took a separate tram down to Soller Port, which was beautiful.  The tram itself was rammed, and such situations seems to bring the worst out of people.  The port iteself was lovely, and we did some boat-spotting, more precisely we were agreeing which boat we would get with our Lottery winnings, and we had a lovely ice-cream before taking the tram back to our car.

Other days were to the beach.  Many of the Mallorcan beaches are coves.  Relatively small amount of sand at the back, with rocks down each side to the mouth of the cove.  They are beautiful, and great fun.  The one we preferred was actually one of the more built up areas, but it had the best snorkelling, and the rock jumping was great fun, with ladders able to take us back to the jump spot.

We really fell in love with Mallorca, and over several evenings were planned how we would spend our Lottery win to buy a property there.  On the subject of property, it seems that Mallorca is pretty expensive, certainly for villas with pools.  We estimated that the one we were staying at probably cost between 1.2 and 1.5m Euros, and to be honest, we would not want anything less than that for our own property.  We just need that win.

That is probably more than enough for one blog.  Let's speak again on Friday, when I can tell you all about what I have been missing at work.  I know, you cannot wait.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Nearly there

My working world has come to a natural pause, so I am fairly relaxed as I get through my last working day.  That is also why I am double-blogging.

We are in pretty good shape.  The whole family have had a haircut, and we have layed out all our clothes.  Note "layed out" rather than packed.  We seem to be unusual in that our preference is not to pack, but to lay out.  Then we pile it into the suitcases at the last minute; for us that is tonight.

The reason we do this is to avoid the "did I pack the blue shorts?" problems.  By laying out everything, and piling them in to the cases last minute, we avoid that, and can use our packing list* to check we have everything.

It works for us.

Maggot 1, father-in-law (F-i-L) and I went to watch Pompey play Bognor Rocks last night.  This is a warm up match for Pompey, and a very good earner for The Rocks.  Pompey won 4-1. It was a great evening of football.  We were ten metres from the manager, Paul Cook, and could hear every word he said.  And boy did he say a lot.  F-i-L says that he is always like that, he being a season-ticket holder so sees a lot of games.  It was fascinating listening to his fairly constant narration.  One amusing moment was when one of the strikers did not close down a defender**, rather lazily leaving it for the other striker.  Immediately afterwards Paul Cook was shouting "work harder, close him down" several times, in several different ways.  The player did not make that mistake again.

The family is getting excited now, and I am also starting to believe that tomorrow will actually arrive.

One more day, and I can wear my new hat.

And my speedos***.

Come on.

* Oh yes, we have a list
** It seems to be part of his team instructions that the front men aggressively close down defenders and keeper
*** Only joking, I could not inflict that on the world, my family or my friends

Nearly there

My working world has come to a natural pause, so I am fairly relaxed as I get through my last working day.  That is also why I am double-blogging.

We are in pretty good shape.  The whole family have had a haircut, and we have layed out all our clothes.  Note "layed out" rather than packed.  We seem to be unusual in that our preference is not to pack, but to lay out.  Then we pile it into the suitcases at the last minute; for us that is tonight.

The reason we do this is to avoid the "did I pack the blue shorts?" problems.  By laying out everything, and piling them in to the cases last minute, we avoid that, and can use our packing list* to check we have everything.

It works for us.

Maggot 1, father-in-law (F-i-L) and I went to watch Pompey play Bognor Rocks last night.  This is a warm up match for Pompey, and a very good earner for The Rocks.  Pompey won 4-1. It was a great evening of football.  We were ten metres from the manager, Paul Cook, and could hear every word he said.  And boy did he say a lot.  F-i-L says that he is always like that, he being a season-ticket holder so sees a lot of games.  It was fascinating listening to his fairly constant narration.  One amusing moment was when one of the strikers did not close down a defender**, rather lazily leaving it for the other striker.  Immediately afterwards Paul Cook was shouting "work harder, close him down" several times, in several different ways.  The player did not make that mistake again.

The family is getting excited now, and I am also starting to believe that tomorrow will actually arrive.

One more day, and I can wear my new hat.

And my speedos***.

Come on.

* Oh yes, we have a list
** It seems to be part of his team instructions that the front men aggressively close down defenders and keeper
*** Only joking, I could not inflict that on the world, my family or my friends

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Who the hell is Scobi?

I saw this, and had to smile just a little bit.  I wonder which one of those I am?

Friday, 22 July 2016

Six days and eighteen hours to go

It is starting to feel real now.  The Maggots are both finished, and LO has an INSET day today, so may be home at a reasonable time.  Maggot 1 has actually gone to the beach and won't be home until after 8pm, but once he is home, then I can really start to believe that we are nearly there.  The rest of the family will have finished, we have the usual football commitments at the weekend, are at David and Samantha's in the evening to do the final holiday logistics, and then we are in to my last four days at work, which are punctuated with a haircut on Monday, going to see Pompey at The Rocks (Bognor Football club to the uninitiated) on Wednesday, final packing Thursday before finally being picked up by the taxi on Friday.

LO and I have just returned from the Leavers' Assembly at Maggot 2's junior school.  He has another year to go, so it was not his leaving that we witnessing.  It started with a rather cryptic call last night from Maggot 2's form teacher, saying that he had won a prize, and it would be good for us to attend if we could.  We both duly turned up at 1.30pm to sit on hard seats in a very hot hall, to watch the cups being presented to each year, before the Deputy Head and Head boy and girl (so four in total) were announced for next year, and I am delighted to say that Maggot 2 is Head Boy for next year.  Proud as punch and gob-smacked, the Sun headlines would no doubt read.  We are delighted and are just hoping that Maggot 2 does not try the wind up Maggot 1 too much.

Otherwise, not much to report.  Just keeping my head down to close off my work tidily before our holiday.

I hope you have a great weekend, speak when I can next blog, which may be whilst on holiday, or it may not, depending on how relaxed I get.

Friday, 15 July 2016

Thirteen days to go

This is the second to last Friday at school for the Maggots, next week being their last this acedemic year.  Ditto for LO, though she has a couple of funding bids to complete, so may work the first day or two of the holiday.

For me, as the title suggests, it is thirteen days until our holiday, and until I finish.  That is not to say that it is the only thing on my mind; I still manage to think about sex about every seven seconds (I have the pride of the male species to maintain after all), but it is fair to say that there is a significant sub-terranian bubbling of excitement building in our clan, and also that of David and Samantha*.

This week I attended a funeral, the father of one of my college friends, and due to the location of the funeral, in North Wales, I spent most of Wednesday in the car on an epic ten hour round trip.  I was pleased to be able to attend** and it was a funeral that was sad, of course, but also a joy in celebrating a life well lived.  John was quite a character, spending the final phase of his life lecturing at a local college, befitting his lifetime desire to bring out the best of anyone he encountered.  Indeed, in his mid-sixties he got himself a degree (getting a First too).  My thoughts are with his family, particularly his wife who is now coming to terms with the loss of a life partner.

This weekend we have football and cricket, a football tournament for Maggot 2 and the final cricket match of the year for Maggot 1, both on Sunday.  LO and I will do a split shift and, depending on how Maggot 2's team does, they will come over to the tournament after the cricket is finished.

On Saturday, we have the pleasure of celebrating Gee Gee's birthday.  Gee Gee is LO's grandmother, and great-grandmother (GG) to the Maggots.  We are planning a brunch on Saturday morning, which will be nice.

Otherwise, we will be starting to plan our holiday arrangements.  I am pleased that stability is starting to return to the nation after the (still) unbelievable Brexit vote, which on a personal level means that the currency exchange rate for the Euro is improving, just in time for our holiday.  Who says politics has to be selfish, ha ha.  Otherwise, the arrangements are fairly well structured; we are going over to David and Samantha's next Saturday to go through all the arrangements, split out the tickets and details, ensure we have all the pre-requisites sorted.  I have a haircut on the Monday before I go (I don't like to have a white line round the cut) and hopefully am going to watch Pompey play the Bognor Rocks their ground on the Wednesday.  Then the excitement will really start to build.

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

* As pseudonyms go, this one is now rather outdated, and I need to consider if I should start referring to them as Theresa and Philip
** one of our group was unable to attend because he was appearing on Come Dine With Me.  As excuses go, that is not a bad one

Friday, 8 July 2016

Three weeks (and definitely counting)

... to my holiday, in case you were wondering*.

Things are starting to line up nicely, including:

  • Having initially considered it unthinkable that Brexit would win, and then when it did win, feeling that surely, that terrible word surely, they might go down for a bit while all the nutters panicked, but once the realities sank in that nothing really has changed, they would rally.  What am I talking about?  The markets of course, and just now the Pound to Euro exchange rate specifically.  It seems to be rallying very slightly, so if I can just ignore the fact that the rate was considerably higher three months ago, then I think we are going to be OK
  • Gorse Fox has warned Urban-Cub to warm her hands, so any security checks at Gatwick will be nothing more than a pleasant, warm massage from a nice lady (hopefully).

Work is getting busier, which is good.

This weekend, we hope to do plenty of nothing.  LO is getting very tired, with the tell-tale sign of a sore throat warning her she needs to slow down a bit, and I have had to travel quite a lot in to the office so am also more tired than usual, and my usual amount of tiredness is more than most people, due to my sleep issues.

Talking of which, there was an interesting show on ITV last night (don't worry mum, I only went to the "other side" by accident) about sleep disorders, which said that sleep issues are becoming one of the biggest growing health risks, presumably, though not explicitly mentioned, behind dementia, cancer and obesity.  It gave me some hope that I am not a rare freak, but also made me think about maybe trying to do something about it.  Not quite sure what yet, but the idea is fermenting, and I will be sure to let you know what comes of that when it grows in to something tangible.

Maggot 2 has football training on Saturday, a sponsored bleep test actually, looking to raise money for a new training and match kit.  On Sunday we have a practice 9-a-side.  The team is shaping up nicely, playing well together and relishing the bigger pitch and the greater numbers.  I really think this format suits them as a team, and with a couple of promising new starters, they are shaping up to be quite a formidable team.

We had a good tournament last Saturday, up until the semi-finals when a ridiculous decision** robbed us of the game, but overall the tournament was fine.  The whole team played well, and Maggot 2 scored half a dozen goals or more, which has given him his confidence back, just in time for the season to start.

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

* and if you ARE wondering, where the hell have you been?

** We had been awarded a throw-in by the ref, but the other team took it instead, and scored from the throw, with the ref doing nothing about it.  In fairness to him, he had been reffing all afternoon, but nevertheless there is only so much laissez-faire you can take.  The parents of the coach were incensed, and invaded the pitch at the end to tell the ref quite how disgusting his decision-making had been.  The boys themselves were devastated, with a modest amount of wailing and gobbing off ensuing.  Most unsatisfactory way to be knocked out


Friday, 1 July 2016

Four short, little biddy weeks to go

This time in four weeks, the Scobi clan will be awake, arisen, showered, and filled with a certain amount of tension, as we prepare to be picked up at around 9am by the taxi, which will then go to our friends' house to pick them up, before taking us up to Gatwick.  There, we will likely have the usual EasyJet scrum to check-in, and where the accuracy of our bathroom scales will be tested - we want to be taking our bags to within a gram of 20Kg each, or actually we can also do a total of 40Kg across the two bags, as long as any one bag does not exceed 35Kg.  Confused yet?  If not, then hand luggage is worth a mention.  Its dimensions must not exceed 56 x 45 x 25 cms and its weight must not exceed 5Kg.

Once we are checked in, we will have all bags, belts and body cavities checked by security, before we are then free to explore the relative bountifulness of the departure lounge.  After one to two planned hours, and any additional hours air-traffic control or other external factors wish to add on to our waiting, we will board the flight, I think to booked seats, for a further couple of hours of reading and listening to music.

On arrival at Mallorca, we will pickup our hire car from the rental company that was at the cheaper end of the scale, so may be troublesome.  It is at least in the airport itself, not a transfer bus away, so how bad can it get.  No doubt I will tell you after the holiday.

We will then drive to our first night's accommodation, an ex-monastery atop a hill, with, if their website can be believed, views across the valley to the sea that are out of this world.  We travelled on a Friday to save money on the flights, since even with the hotel to pay for, we are saving plenty of hundreds of pounds.  I know, forced to have an extra day of holiday, how very dare they?

At that point, our holiday has started.  We will eat, we will drink, we will rest and we will admire the view.

The next day, we can take a leisurely drive to our villa for the fortnight, which is less than a kilometre away.  We may go via the supermarket, if our small cars have capacity, to do the initial shop, and thus save wasting any lying-by-the-pool time.

In the meantime of course, I have some working to do and some football to watch.  Work is going well.  I am now on an account helping out for a bit, and to do so have had to submit to a bunch more security vetting procedures.  Tales of what can happen if you get it wrong give great incentive to get it right.

At home, Maggot 2 has a football tournament tomorrow, which uses the field belonging to his school, so we can walk to it.  Once it is over, we are off to Brad and Angelina's to celebrate their own Maggot 1's sixteenth birthday.  Should be a good weekend.

Have a great one yourself, and speak next week.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Who hid the blog?

I had a rare day in the office yesterday, getting all officialled up for the piece of work I am doing that will probably run until my holiday and beyond.  It is interesting, I think, and will be a good distraction from all the football.

Brad is at Glastonbury with his own Maggot 1, and I am getting daily updates from him on text or Whatsapp.  His journey down started Wednesday afternoon, and he got in to the ground at 6am Thursday morning.  His campervan was diverted to a local show ground to clear them off the congested entrance, but they were woken at around 4am to be told that now was the time to get in, and a good thing coz within 2 hours the entry was closed again due to another batch of congestion.

He has got a bit wet, but with a van to retire to for chilli and dry clothes, he is doing good and having a fantastic time.  Were it not for the mud, the rain, and the requirement to stay away after 10pm, I think I would rather fancy it myself.

We have a clear weekend, with only sport on the horizon.  Cricket match last night, which we lost dramatically, football training today and a match tomorrow.  Otherwise, I need to crack on with some DIY bits, mow the lawn, and get an afternoon kip.

Maggot 2 has been getting headaches, indeed he had 2 days off this week, so we took him off to the doctor again, and this time he has been referred to a consultant, which happens in 3 weeks, so that is good.  We are keeping a headache diary in case, and hopefully we might be taking the first tentative steps to getting some kind of diagnosis, if indeed there is anything other than "he gets headaches sometimes" to diagnose.  The doctor seemed to rule out migraine, brain tumor and diabetes, so let's see what the consultant says.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Made me laugh

This made me laugh.

You may want the volume fairly low coz there is a LOT of mic noise.

EU or not EU?

I was at Brad's birthday party on Saturday and Sunday, and during the evening, an impish person (might have been me, who's asking?) said "EU" and stood back to watch the fireworks.

It was, not surprisingly, a hotly debated topic.  Most people had entrenched to what I would have guessed to be their decision.  The only person whose stance was not as I guessed it, someone whose view I would also consider fully, was Brad.  He was Brexit, when I thought he would ultimately choose Remain.  His argument is sound, or as sound as anyone's argument can be when based on all that has gone on over the last few months, on both sides, so I was comfortable that it was a rounded, well-considered view*.

It was therefore a great surprise when he sent me this link, saying he had changed his mind.  It must indeed be powerful stuff, and I am listening to it now as I type this.

Since I know some reading this are also considering the arguments, I wanted to offer it up for your consideration, at least if you have any more capacity, energy or enthusiasm for doing so.

* and without wanting to be accused of taking pot-shots at the defenceless, I would judge it to be infinitely better considered than those who read The Daily Mail or The Express.  What I struggle with is the idea that a story about "a legal immigrant who has managed to milk the benefits system" equates to a good reason to opt for Brexit.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Two one

Not my degree, but rather the score of England vs Wales.  It was a nervy affair, and while we have been undone by freak goals before, more than once, overall I think we were dominant, and certainly from an English perspective, were good for the win.  Our performance was not perfect - hoping Kane and Sterling find an extra gear for next game - but it was encouraging.  I note that previous tournament winners have often started modestly, and have grown in to the tournament as the competition progresses, so hoping England can follow that path.

Monday evening will be a much more comfortable event now we have four points on the board; we just need to maintain our energy and performance to see us over the line to the knockout stages.

On other news, we had a great weekend away in Riverside Lakes.  It was as we remembered it, only more so.  I caught a six-pound hybrid carp and lost a three to four-pound bream, and in between Brad and I indulged in a little bit of tiddler bashing, going shallow with maggot after little greedy perch, which was fun.

We also had an afternoon of camp Olympics, including a three-legged race (which we would havfe won had Maggot 1 not sabotaged us) and other activities.  Brad and Angelina also brought their giant bubble maker (two sticks with some string) and their "patented recipe" for bubble mix, with which we produced some amazing bubbles, as you can see below.

Work is going well.  I had a contact from three ex-colleagues at Starfleet in the week.  Two were affected by a TUPE situation where they may well end up working in the same company as me, so were after advice on my thoughts and experiences.  The other was my padawan at Starfleet who has now definitely grown up, flown the nest and doing great things.  He is interested potentially in a move to nn, so I have facilitated a contact for him.  Fingers crossed he gets what he is looking for.

This weekend we are at Brad and Angelina's for Brad's birthday celebration.  There are a host of attendees, some sleeping over at B&A's house, some choosing a local hotel.  Unfortunately we will have to leave early for a Maggot 1 cricket match, so will miss the extended breakfast planned.  It will be a fun weekend and we are very much looking forward to it.

There is no football for Maggot 2, he having to make a big decision in dropping out of the tournament planned for Saturday because there were too many boys wanting to play, and we can only take eight.  This means he will play in the last two tournaments for sure, with others likely having to drop out from those to keep numbers down.  It was not easy for him, but in the end the decision was made easier because his mate had also volunteered to drop out, so knowing it was not "just him" made the decision a simpler one.

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

Tuesday, 7 June 2016


A word with several meanings.  The meaning of mine are NNN's half year (aka H1) results broadcast.  They are good.  As with all these, there is a bit of "good here, could do better there" about it, but definitely upbeat and a promising start for the new organisation.

We also had a result at the weekend for Maggot 2, whose 6-a-side team won the Under 10 Felpham cup.  We even played Felpham in the final.  It was a well-fought victory, and while there were moments where we were lucky, and moments where the other team was lucky, we did make some of our own luck, and the ball seemed to mostly bounce in our favour.  A great victory, and hopefully we can extend that, now we have the winning feeling, to the remaining three tournaments.

Of these three, Maggot 2 has had to volunteer to drop out of the first, since we can only take eight boys, and nine put their names forward.  This took much discussion with Maggot 2, to which I could easily relate, mostly revolving around the idea of "why do I have to miss it, when everyone else will be playing, all my friends".  This was interrupted by a text from our coach saying that T had volunteered to drop out of the first, which is our own tournament.  Immediately, Maggot 2's decision changed and HE wanted to dip out of that same tournament, mostly I think because he could see that if T can do it, then so can he.  A quick call to the manager hopefully sorted it.

This does make life easier in that we are due to Brad's birthday celebrations on that day, so do not now need to arrive late.  We will have a match Sunday, but that is easier to manage.

Otherwise, I am really getting back in to this working thing, getting some deals moving, and generally trying to generate my own workload.  I know, I am one-hundred percent sure, that it will get busy, sometimes very busy, but right now it feels a bit strange that I am not daily chasing forty open deals.

We are away this weekend, with Brad and Angelina, and associated Maggots, at our favourite campsite, Riverside Lakes.  Having just checked that link, I have to say it does look a bit hippyish, but what it really is is a very relaxed site, with restricted pitches so it never feels anything near to busy, that allows open fires, has masses of land, water, grass and woods for the Maggots to explore, plus a couple of fishing lakes, for Brad and yours truly.  I have had to read up on bream tactics, since that seems to be the fish I catch most there.  The lake does have carp and silver fish also, however about five years ago the stocks were somewhat decimated by otters.  It has recovered a bit, but it is fair to say that it is not a bountiful fishing experience, but it is there, it is free, and it is good enough.  Hopefully we can get a bit in on the first night, and my natural early waking means I will also get a few hours done first thing, before the rest of the clan are awake.  I cannot wait.

Also, this will be the first outing, with us at least, for Brad and Angelina's new (to them) campervan.  They have been threatening to buy one for a couple of years, but what they want is not so easy to find.  As Brad explained, there are broadly two types of seller conversations; the first ends with the line "...if you can meet me at the services on the M4 with the cash...", and the other start with the line "sorry, it is already sold."

The one they finally found really was fate.  Brad arrived early at the dealership, gave his requirements, to which the salesman said "you are standing right next to it, and I must tell you that I have sold this van twice already."  The original buyers had the same surname as Brad - fate writ large - who had it for many happy years before part-exchanging it with the same dealer for a newer model.  The next couple bought it and sold it back again within a couple of years, since they did not get on with it.  And then Brad appeared, stage left, camera tracking his walk towards the van, to buy it.  We are all very excited here to see their new purchase, and I am sure they are even more excited to use it in anger for the first time, at our most favourite site.

It may be this is my weekly blog, so have a great weekend when it comes, and speak next week.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Time off

The story this week has really been about time off.  We had a Bank Holiday Monday, which coincided with the first day of half term for the rest of the Scobi clan, and I personally have Thursday and Friday off this week, meaning I have a two day week this week.  Still two days more than GF, but a welcome thing nonetheless.

On a work front, that is fine, since I am basically between deals, and I am still getting used to the deal cycle, since my previous role was about large quantities of everything, so the business was about volumes, and rare dipped.  Being somewhere near the top of my game definitely helped with that I am sure.  With my new role, similar I think to Bad Man (and Golfy come to think of it), the deals are larger and longer, and will be, once I am in the swing, a cyclic thing with moments of hard work and intensity, leading up to submission, and moments of slack, in-between deals.
The fact that my deals are also a little slow means that I am not busy enough.  This will change I know.

During the long weekend, we had some sport; a football tournament for Maggot 2 on Saturday, where we did quite well, but faded in the knockout stage, and were definitely hampered by the lack of a goalie.  I now realise this could shape the whole of next season if not solved.  See next comment for possible news on this.

On Sunday, Maggot 1 was playing a cricket match at a local, well-to-do village.  The scene was idyllic, the match well played by both sides, and the weather was balmy.  We lost, but only just, and having put up a pretty good batting performance, something that has been lacking in previous games.  It was a very pleasant way to spend a couple of hours.
At this match, a young lad approached Maggot 2 asking if he played for the Trojans and if he know the coaches.  Maggot 2 is never one to be overly effusive to anyone he has not known for at least a year, so did not say too much, but I picked up the mantle and managed to discover that this lad was, let's call him Charlie, and someone Maggot 1 had mentioned a while back as "joining your team" but who, when I enquired, no-one on our side knew about.  It transpires that one of our less frequently used coaches DID know about him, and was meant to be passing on his details, but has yet to do so.  I was therefore asked to make contact.

Making contact was to be done by asking Maggot 1 to send a message (on social media) to his mate, who is the older brother of Charlie.  Having been informed during many a high-volume discussion that all his mates are allowed on their phones whenever they want, and he hates us, Maggot 1 did throw in that this particular mate was not allowed on his phone much.  It took two days for him to acknowledge Maggot 1's message, and goodness knows how long to actually get Charlie's parents to ring me so we can arrange for Charlie to come to a practice.  Note to self not to ever rely on a teenager for any kind of urgent communications.  And I thought this social media thing made everything instant.

Anyhow, when I was chatting with Charlie, I asked him if he knew a keeper, to be told that "Alan" was also looking to join and he was a good keeper, so once I have made the first contact, I then need to try and make a second one with Alan to see if we cannot bag ourselves a keeper.  Now that really would be a result.

It is fair to say that the Premiership has nothing on local U11 football.

On our time off, we are off the Windsor for two days and one night, staying in an ubiquitous Travelodge hotel.  We plan to see the castle, maybe Eton if we can get there, and generally see the sites.  It will be fun and we are all looking for it.

Before I sign off, just wanted to give an update on the floor.  It is two thirds done, with the utility and study area done last week, and the front half of the main room now also done.  The trickiest bit, around the cooking and eating area, was cleaned last night, and has been left for the required twenty-four hours to dry out.  I plan to seal it today, first coat at lunch and the other two either side of football practice tonight.  We have opted for a gloss finish, as I may have said before, it is not particularly in favour at this time judging by the low stock levels at our supplier, but for us it is just what we wanted.  Having moved from satin back to gloss for our woodwork (part of this work started with a redecoration of the utility area, with the walls freshened up with a new coat of emulsion, and the doors all now glossed) it was the natural next step to do the floor also.  It is lovely, better than we hoped, and not surprisingly it really does bring out the colours in the slate, as well as making the rooms feel brighter.

On that note, I wish you a happy rest of the week and weekend.  Speak again next week.

Friday, 27 May 2016


When we had our new extension done, about three years ago now, it included a slate floor.  This was, and is, beautiful, and we really love it.  The Maggots complain that it is not as soft as Nanny's carpet, but that's the kids of today for you, way too soft and don't know they're born.

One of the "features" of real stone flooring is that, from time to time, you need to re-seal it.  That time appears to be now.

The art of re-sealing can be learnt on the internet, since it is not particularly complicated.  You need the right treatments, and the right tools, of course, but mostly you just need to apply some back-breaking elbow grease*.

Step one is to fully and thoroughly clean it.  For this, I am using LTP Grimex.  This is a strong-smelling ammonia-based fluid, that you dilute down (the dirtier the floor, the more concentrated the mix) and apply with a scrubbing pad, leave for five minutes or so, agitate once more, then mop it off, before then using a wet 'n' dry hoover jobbie, ours is called George, to fully remove all trace of the Grimex.

You then leave it to dry for at least half a day, before you apply the sealer, which is step two.

This time we are going for a gloss finish, which is not the finish of choice for the majority, if the stocking level of our local supplier are any sign.  This gloss finish looks like diluted milk** that you sponge on, remove any excess bits so that you have applied a nice, even and thin layer of the sealant, and then you wait for about an hour before repeating the operation, for a total of three layers.

You can buy long handles with velcro pads on the bottom, to which you can attach the large brillo-like pads, but that seemed awfully expensive, and I was a bit concerned that being that far from the floor, you would not see what you had missed.  And so it is that I have done all this on my knees.  My back has been better, but no pain no gain, so onward and upward.

I am splitting the floor in to sections, and was up at 4.30am today to finish the study, utility and downstairs toilet area.  This is now done and looking fantastic.

Next phase is more tricky, since it is the main kitchen and living area.  We have David and Samantha over Saturday evening so I will leave things until Sunday at the earliest, but whatever I do, and whenever I do it, there will be inconvenience for the family.  I suspect this will mean doing it is a number of sections, so that the not-being-done sections can be used to store the table and sofa, and to give the Maggots and other wild beasts space to roam freely.

We also have a weekend of sport.  Tomorrow we have a football tournament, and on Sunday a cricket match.  The weather is looking fair to middling, so hopefully it will be as fun to watch as it is to play.

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

* Never has a metaphor been more mangled
** Some people call this skimmed milk (and that is from a skimmed milk lover)

Thursday, 26 May 2016


Anyone who knows me at all, know that I like a website called  It has lots of tech and life advice, and today it had this:

One of the more balanced (high-level) discussions on the pros and cons of the upcoming EU "leave or remain" referendum.

I wonder how you guys are doing with your thinking on this vote?  I read GF, who said that every time he hears an argument for "remain", he leans towards "leave" and vice versa.  I can relate to that.

My overall observations are:

  • the remain camp have a bigger budget, and more "specialists" at their disposal than the leave camp, so are coming up with some high-powered and seemingly "respectable" sources for their remain arguments
  • It is a lot easier to argue the remain argument of "things ain't so bad, and they could be a lot worse" than the leave arguments, which seem to revolve around "we think if we make this big change, stuff will be better" and also "that last thing the remain camp said was bunkum"
  • I guess in essence it is hard to argue a negative
  • I am not overly convinced by anything that I have heard to date.

There was an interesting item on the radio this morning which gave an unusual angle on rights to work.  An Indian restaurant owner was talking about the fact that his chefs were Romanian, because they can move freely through the EU, whereas their preferred Bangladeshi or Indian chefs cannot get a visa to work here.

Another interesting thing that came across my desk recently was an email from my employer's senior management in the UK.  The tone of it, paraphrased, was "it is your decision, and whatever your personal decision, we do urge you to vote.  Some have asked what our advice would be, and it would be to remain".

I also saw a video of our US-based CEO who was being interviewed on a morning finance show about our Q2 results, and she was asked about the EU vote, and her view was that the UK is better in Europe.  So there you go.

Friday, 20 May 2016

The memories of a working man

A quick report on last weekend.  We had a football tournament in Worthing, starting at 2pm.  We all went.  The weather seemed quite warm when we left, but was just a little cooler at the destination*, though still warm enough when the sun was out, but not so when behind a cloud.

This was a tournament that falls under the category of "least said, soonest forgotten".  We were in a league of five teams, with only the top team going through to the semi-finals.  This meant we played four games.  We lost all four, and did not score a single goal.  We were trying out our new keeper, who is probably "a lovely bloke***", but is not likely to be our keeper next year (so our search goes on).  To be fair, we did not play badly, but neither did we play well, and we lost three of the four games to sucker punch chip and rush goals, which tend to be the modus operandi for such tournaments, not that we ourselves take advantage of the tactic.  This chip and rush tactic makes them dull and frustrating games to watch and play.  It has made me hanker for proper nine-a-side games, thirty minutes each half. i.e. next season.

On the Sunday, we had another tournament, this one more of a fun day, since it was the Barnham Trojans prize giving day, which incorporates a fun tournament, mixing years and players up in to a bunch of teams.

Maggot 2's year mixed in with the Under Nines, and I ended up managing a team, Swansea to be precise.  I had a couple of good players, and plenty of bad players.  We had no keeper, though luckily we had three, count them, one, two, three, players who "regularly play in goal".  Hmm.  Let's just say that they were also "lovely blokes" and also unlikely to be filling our missing keeper position.  We did not do terribly, but did not progress to the semi-finals.  Maggot 2's team did, and won on penalties, only to lose in the final.

It was a good fun day, with fairly good weather.  I had a go on the "how hard can you kick the ball" game, which has a speed camera type device at the end of the inflatable net cage, and I managed to score 64 which was the fastest of the day, until "Darren" (damn him) beat me with a 65.  What was most gratifying was that A and S, our two coaches, were unable to get near my 64.  The old fella still has it.

This weekend, we have a tournament Saturday afternoon (with rain threatened), and nothing Sunday, so we should be having the outlaws over for Sunday lunch, which is always fun.

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

P.S.  Good luck to Bad Man on his search for a new role, looks like it is going well.

* As we all know, Scobi Towers sits in a perfect micro-climate that is, most of the time, similar to the South of France**
** OK, that is a slight exaggeration
*** An old story, for those who do not recall it, that an ex-colleague, also my mentor in my early years in Starfleet, used that phrase to describe people where were lovely, but useless, and it has stuck with me

Friday, 13 May 2016


There is a lot of football in my life at the moment.  As it is the closed season for Maggot 2, we have, instead of weekly league games, weekly tournaments.  In terms of time, a league game runs four around an hour, whereas a tournament can be all day.  So it is that this weekend we will be at two, yes, count them, two tournaments.  Saturday is in Worthing, 2pm to 6pm, and on Sunday it is at our own ground, registration at 8.30am, and likely to last all day, because it is combing a tournament and prize giving.

As if that is not enough, my chosen football team, once the biggest South Coast team, these days not so much, had its first play off match last night.  Two legs of football, the winner overall going to Wembley for the final.  Last night we drew 2-2 at home, which is not the best result, but is an improvement on our previous game at home to our opponents.  As it happens, both us and them have a better away record, in general, and specifically against each other, so the second leg on Sunday should be a humdinger of a game.

If we were to win, or rather when we win, and we are therefore in the final, I plan to try and get tickets.  It is not every day, nor even every year, that you have the chance to see your local team playing at Wembley, so I hope to go, just so I can tell my grandchildren about it (in nauseating detail if my memory will allow).

On other news, I am not sure I have mentioned yet that Brad and Angelina have joined the hallowed ranks of mobile home owners.  They have just bought a campervan, in time for our yearly trip to Riverside Lakes, a most magnificent natural site which allows open fires, and has three lakes, all fishable, and a multitude of wooded and long-grass areas.  They have been threatening to buy one for a wee while, and have now been and gone and done it.  I cannot wait to see it.

Finally, it is with great happiness that I can announce that Bad Man is back in the blogging business.  He has presumably overcome his challenges, and is back behind the keyboard.  It has made me realise quite how I have missed knowing the intimate details of his lawnmower regimen.  And before you write in to complain about my sarcasm, please be aware that BM himself was the first to poke fun at himself.  It is great to have him back, and I see he has added bees to his small-holding.

Friday, 6 May 2016

That was quick

I love Bank Holiday Mondays (I know GF, every day is a BH for you), because what follows is a four-day week.  And so I get to Friday much quicker than usual.

This week has been fairly steady at work.  Down to one deal for now, and some system testing for a major new system being implemented for my clan.  For some this may be seen as another change to something that works okay, but as a newbie, it is all very exciting.  I actually think there are some profound and well-crafted changes afoot that will make the role more fun, and less drudge, and I say hooray to that.

At home, we have a busy weekend ahead of us.  Maggot 1 has his first cricket match (and only after his second cricket practice tonight) on Sunday at West Chiltington, and I am taking him to that.  Maggot 2 has a football tournament over in Shoreham, and LO is taking him to that.  Once the cricket is over, I plan to head over to the football to see the second half of their games.  Depending on how well they do, it may be even more than that.  It is a five-a-side tournament and we have only five players, one having dropped out because "we don't have a proper keeper".  It is true that we are looking for a new keeping, the old one, who was the best in the league, deciding that he (or is it his parents doing the deciding) does not want to play in goal any more, but on pitch, ideally as a striker.  Unfortunately he is not currently up with the pace; he is petulant, he does not track back and he is prone to histrionics if he feels he has been impeded unfairly.  None of this sits well with the rest of us, and he may find he is the main sub going forward, since at the moment his standard is not high enough.

Anyway, enough of our goalie problem, we also have a player problem, as already mentioned, in that they are refusing to play because of our lack of goalie (Maggot 1's friend, let's call him Limpy, has a bad foot so is going to play in goal, and he is OK), which is not endearing him to the other parents.

To be honest, the dad has a bit of history of this, having previously tried to start a new team around his son, with the hope of attracting away the best players from our team.  Luckily, the other players were not that keen, and the FA closed him down too, so that went nowhere.

What I am learning from all this is that there is a lot of politics in children's football, and memories tend to be long.  Luckily, I am slow and too dumb to notice, so can enjoy my football watching without any interference.

Have a great weekend, and speak next week.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Quick one

  • first half of deal going well - one down, one to go
  • Caravaner of the Year, hideously addictive, crack cocaine for the middle classes
  • Looking forward to a long weekend
  • Enjoy yours

Thursday, 21 April 2016


Our internet and phone line has been down all today.  I have therefore had to tether off my phone to get any kind of connection, and it is slow.  In a sense, it is a walk down memory lane, to the days when the main broadband was this slow.

I had to Google the likely speeds for my 3G, and to be honest it is faster than I thought at 6-7Mbps.  I was not sure if that was a real bandwidth possibility or just pie in the sky, so I loaded a Speedtest app, and can confirm that it is actually delivering me 5.46Mbps just at the moment, which I have to say is pretty amazing considering.  It certainly blows out the water my first broadband, which ran at  the nose-bleeding speed of 0.5Mbps but which was, nevertheless, awesome compared to the 64Kbps of my dial-up modem (younger readers may need to ask an oldie about this).

I have been able to get on with bits and pieces, but all at a much slower speed than normal.

Tomorrow I am on my travels to near Bath to visit my client, a one and a half hour meeting that will basically take me all day, with a two and a half hour drive each way.  I am therefore unlikely to blog, but I will be able to get through a shed-load of podcasts.

LO is away Saturday night at a fiftieth girlie night away, so it is just us lads for most of the weekend.  Maggot 2 has a match Saturday and Sunday, and Maggot 1 wants to go over to Pompey to a five-a-side football place with his mates Saturday afternoon, so Sunday evening is likely to be lazy time, as we all get to know each other again.

Have a great weekend, and speak next week.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Busy week.

Been on a two-day conference with my practice, which was fun, interesting, alcohol-laden on the night inbetween, and a great chance to meet more of my colleagues.  I am starting to build, if not quite a network yet, then at least a mesh of acquaintances with whom the next interaction will be the easier for us knowing each other.

First two days I was up at Head Office, helping two new starters with their early induction.  One was ex Starfleet, and the other ex the "phone place" where Brad used to work.

I am now back to the day job, with a client visit in the offing.  For this, I will need to be on my best behaviour and top performance, since I am representing the technical aspects of our unsolicited bid.  It will be fun, and all part of the ever-steeper learning curve.

I had a text and an email from two Starfleet colleagues who are likely to be in line for redundancy.  Both excellent people, good at their jobs, and I would say an asset to the company, but I fear they both suffer from two fatal flaws:

  • they are UK based, never a good thing is this new global marketplace
  • they are the "good workers but don't shout about it" variety, and that breed of animal is often overlooked, their good bits not fully visible to the spreadsheet-poring managers looking for heads to cull.
Sad for both of them, and sad for the business they leave behind.  Maybe it is progress.  All I know is that, while anywhere near immune from such activities, I have at least, for now, made a positive move that has avoided such a thing for a bit.  I am definitely on higher ground now, higher up the pole, so that gives me some time.  I just need to get good at my job, really start adding value, so that my current employer looks past me if they are searching with their axe for a head to fell.

Enough analogies I think.

Normal weekend for us.  Football was this morning, we lost something like 13-3 to the team in the year above.  Some good points, and some things we can work on, so a good workout, a good test, and only by playing better teams can we really see where we need to improve.

We are at David and Samantha's this evening, which will be nice.

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

Friday, 8 April 2016

That is a bit better

It was inevitable, but never the less it is rather pleasing that it is coming to pass.

After another week, I am starting to feel like I am starting, just starting, to start on the journey to starting to get it.

That is a lot of starts I know, but for good reason.  I am still regularly being side-swiped by acronyms, ffs, and also with impenetrable process and baffling colleagues.  But* at least I am saying words, and they mostly make sense.  Even my "I know this is probably a dumb question"**  questions are hitting the mark.

I have been working from home ever since my training.  I nearly went to head office on Tuesday, as part of a deal I was loosely supporting, but in the end it sorted itself out so I was not needed.  I think things on my main deal will start to build now, with client meetings planned for a week or two's time, but so far my main fear that I would be putting too many miles on the lease car has not come to pass.  I suspect they are savings now that will need to be spent later, but that is fine.  It may also mean that I can fit in a European tour within the upper limit as well.

Last night, we had ten teenagers on a sleep over for Maggot 1's fourteenth birthday bash.  They are a good crowd, but that does not take away from the fact that they are ten basically fully-grown, testosterone-oozing*** lads, like overgrown puppies after one too many Red Bulls, intent on "pulling an all-nighter" and mostly succeeding.  Mind you, they were not so clever at 8.30am this morning as I made the commute from bedroom to study.  Ha!

This weekend we have the usual sport, and also lunch at my parents with my sister and her family, to celebrate my mum's birthday.

For the rest of the weekend, I hope to do not much, though I now have a DIY booklet, not list, booklet, with all the stuff I need to do, and I will probably try and knock some of that off.  To be honest, a Saturday afternoon painting Maggot 1's bedroom (some residual and historical damp patches that my filling and painting the year before has sorted, but it takes a year sometimes for it all to dry out once the exterior is actually water-tight) with the football on the radio is not a bad way to spend a few hours.  I continue to be happy doing anything, if it can be uninterrupted, since that is the complete opposite of a normal working day.

Anyhow, enough from me.  I hope you have a great weekend, at least for those that know when the weekend starts and ends, and speak next week.

* I know you, dear reader, like things to be correct, so I did just Google whether starting a sentence with a "But" was acceptable, and apparently it is, for some people.  I just hope you are part of those "some people"
** A technique taken from the same stable as "you are probably going to kill me dad . . . " and "I could have bought a £500 pair of shoes, but instead . . . "
*** I have missed using my stars!  Teenage boys stink, if not of body odour (Lynx and the ladies seem to keep that to a minimum) then of testosterone.  I mentioned this to my hairdresser, let's call him Paul Weller, and he told me the day that forty-one rugby players were in for a sponsored head shave.  They had a 2m x 2m bag 15cm deep with hair after the cut, and the whole salon stank of "eau d'homme"

Friday, 1 April 2016


I could get used to these four-day weeks.  As I write those words, I can hear Gorse Fox muttering something about zero-day weeks, but I shall choose to ignore that.

I am now officially working.  I have two deals and a side project on my plate.  This is still not really working me fully but it is getting there.  It is a very frustrating experience being in the position of needing to do stuff with not enough idea as to how to do it.  Everything is different (as I expected); department names, department responsibilities, the client's departments, divisions, groups and systems, and most of it is described with either three or four letters.  I have a little list going at the back of my notebook as I find out the meaning of each one, but what I am finding is that people do not seem to want to slow down too much on the local jargon, expecting me to be able to just pick it up.

Anyhow, it is Friday, the rest of the clan have had the week off, and we head in to a weekend of fun.  We are seeing David and Samantha tonight, and Brad and Angelina on Sunday.  It will be good to catch up with everyone.

We are also blessed with no football at all this weekend.  That means lay-ins, but also a need to do something physical to stop the wild animals from crawling up the wall.  On the subject of football, I have shown Maggot 2 the John Smith's "av' it" advert with Peter Kay, and he now introduces "av' it" in to any appropriate situation.

It has been nearly two months now since I made the leap, and I feel the need to ponder, briefly*, how it has gone.  I have done well to get all the required training completed and passed, which will put me in good stead for the future (indeed, I got an award from my boss for doing so), and I have started to build a network.

The bit that concerns me is simply that I need to be doing a job, and I don't really know how to yet.  I have observed in me the fact that I do like to know all aspects of a role before I feel I can really do it, to understand the ins and outs of a cat's behind, and this may hold me back, so I need to constantly remind myself to deal with what I can with what I know and keep pushing forward.  The trouble is when faced with an issue for which I do not have a clue, I feel so impotent not knowing how to handle it.  Oh well, that is all part of the package, so I just need to grit my teeth, gird my loins and clench my buttocks, and settle in for the ride of my life.

On that note, I wish you a fantastic weekend, and speak next week.

* thank goodness for that. Ed.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

The real world

My first week, post on-boarding, in the real world of work.  This has not been that painful so far.  I have my first deal, actually taking over from one of my clan (at least his surname suggests so) though we have not yet found the family tree intersection point.

The real issue is that this was a deal that was completed, the client put it on hold, and it is just coming alive again.  My namesake is now on another deal, and so is handing over to me.  This at least gives me someone to buddy up with, however I am going to have to be on my own sooner or later, and I know little about the client, nor its infrastructure, nor the account team, nor the very many new three letter abbreviations, aka TLAs, I will need to learn.  It will all come in time I know, but sometimes team members do not have the patience with the new guy.

My other bit of work a mini project to get a new system populated with information for a bunch of different opportunities, one of which is my new deal.  There is some irony in this because I have just spent two weeks being trained in the process, and now there is a new tool to run it.  In truth, most of what I have learnt is useful, but this new tool will change the way we do our bit, and I guess being near the front of the queue of people who are learning how to use the new system will give me some kind of advantage over my more experienced colleagues.  The challenge with this bit is that I am engaging with people on opportunities, and all I have is my classroom training, so I am asking "do you have a wotsit?" they are asking "what is a wotsit?", or worse, "ah, for our proposal, we did not bother doing one".  What does the newbie say to that?

We are off to the New Forest tomorrow in the 'van.  I have installed the new hitch on the it, so it fits on the new car, so it will be a new experience towing with the new car, and without the snake-bar (but with an Al-Ko hitch instead).  Apart from the weather, I am very much looking forward to it.  LO is out tonight at a leaving do for one of her teachers, so we are packing and leaving tomorrow morning.

On that note, I shall wish you a great long weekend, Happy Easter, whether the Jesus or the chocolate variety, or indeed if both.  Speak next week.