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Friday, 21 April 2017

It's been a while

Had an extra long weekend last weekend, taking Tuesday and Wednesday off, to give me a full six days of relaxation and other nice things.

We have not had any football with Maggot 2 for a while, it starts again this weekend, so instead Maggot 2, Maggot 1 and I went out to a local school to do some practice a couple of times.  It was fun to have both boys out in the fresh air with no controllers in sight, and we practiced a number of things, including long shots and one-touch finishing for balls put in to the danger zone.
While we were practicing, a bunch of kids turned up and setup for some baseball practice, and as we were leaving an older team, probably under fourteens, turned up for practice on the goal the other end of the pitch on which we were playing.  It is good to see this kind of stuff going on.  The field backs on to the canal, and the sun was shining, so it was hard for us not to have fun.

As a result of my two days off, this was a very short work week.  In essence, it was a case of getting on top of my inbox, chatting with colleagues on the status of activities, and generally getting back in the saddle.  My deal is on a slight lull, so yesterday at least was a very straightforward day that enabled me to ease in to this working thing.  Today has a few more calls, so will be a bit more hectic.  Then it is the weekend again.  Woo hoo.

In the wider world - which represents currently anything happening beyond our front gate - there seems to be some agitation over the calling of a snap election.  To echo Gorse Fox's view on things, I would like to call for what is probably the impossible; let's engage in adult debate, let's respect others opinions, and let's not keep falling in to the trap of considering and arguing our personal opinion as if it is fact.

I am intrigued by the tactics going on here.  The argument made seemed fairly clear - we do not want the election to be happening at the other end of the negotiation phase - however it is hard not to consider what it will do for the Labour party, for SNP, and potentially for UKIP.  It is, of course, a gamble of sorts, and we know the last time a PM rolled the dice - Cameron calling a referendum on membership of Europe - it did not work out as planned.  It is true today, as it was yesterday, that any plan made on a spreadsheet or in a dark corner of some office or club, rarely pans out as expected.  Once the harsh light of reality shines on it, and the opposing parties react to the initial shock by energising their thinking and activities, anything can happen.  And in these post-truth days, it often does.

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

Friday, 7 April 2017

All change again

So it appears I forgot to blog last week.  Sorry about that.  It is basically a measure of how busy I am (poor excuse I know).

I am now working for a new company.  No great upheaval since it was a "spin off and merge", but actually quite exciting to have new branding, free mugs etc.

No great news from work or from home.  No football this weekend, so I will probably have to clean the patio (with my patio cleaning jetwash attachment) and do some general weeding.  I also now have my chainsaw back (falsely accused my father-in-law of borrowing it.  Awkward) so will have a go at (slightly belatedly) pruning the apple tree.  It has just started to bud, so a bit late as I say, but early enough I think I can get away with it.  The main goal is to reduce its size so that it looks neat, and also produces much less fruit later in the year.

Well, that is about all for now.  Have a great weekend, and speak again next week.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Time for Change

In just over a week, on Monday the third of April to be precise, my current organisation becomes a totally new company, merging with a peer in our industry to create one of, if not the, largest pure-play services company in the world.  This means, for the first time in a very long time, there is no drive or incentive to sell our stuff, coz we do not have any stuff to sell.

Instead, we will be totally agnostic and able to sell the best-of-class for any service.  The detail of this is that the offerings for two organisations have been merged and refined so that we have a single point of view and a (relatively) cohesive go-to-market strategy.

To be honest, having been though several events that were mergers, take-overs or some other similar coming together of two cultures, I know that it is a tricky business.  What I have observed with my own organisation is pretty impressive.  We did a "soft split" at Christmas, become a separate interim entity, we have split off key systems to create our own dedicated versions ahead of go live, and we have managed real estate and individual identities with real dexterity.  In short, it bodes very well for the future; if our organisation can do a "spin off and merge" this well, taking as much care as it has with communications and process changes, then I think we are in for a rosy future.  I genuinely cannot wait for it to start.

I am planning on going to my nearest office for the launch day, which will centre around our new leader ringing the bell on the New York Stock Exchange, to announce the arrival of our new company, and locally there will be cakes and a lot of merchandise.  Our company brand colour is black, so we are also being urged to wear black clothes.  I will let you know in a couple of weeks how it went.

Next week I have three days of training.  I will meet my manager for the first time face-to-face, and I will have a bit of a break from the usual routine to get myself an education.  I am staying away for two nights, which will enable me to socialise with my peers, colleagues and also hopefully my boss.  I really cannot wait.

On the home front, not too much to report, so on that note I wish you a great weekend, and speak next week.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Even briefer

Putting a lot of miles on the car for work.  Good to be busy, catching up on my podcasts, but running high on miles per year against the lease agreement.  Need to keep an eye on that.

Usual weekend of sport and relaxing.  If I could just ask my team to play well on Saturday and keep their slot, third in the league and the final automatic promotion slot.  Really would be good to win everything now, go up without play-offs and start working on building the team for next year in Div 1.

Otherwise, nothing much to report, so I will wish you a great weekend. and speak next week.

Friday, 10 March 2017


Very very busy with work.  Really enjoying it, but it is certainly keeping me awake at night.
Had a visit to the client's training centre, and it was exceedingly impressive.  The fact that our solution is its replacement, to run until 2025 at a minimum, is quite daunting and exciting.

On the home front, it does not feel like I have been here much, so quite looking forward to a normal weekend at home.  The weekend has a heavy mix of sport; Maggot 2's usual training and match on Saturday and Sunday, rugby all weekend, and I hope to catch Pompey on the radio in-between.  I would like to be doing some garden chores, clean the car, and generally potter round the house.

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

Friday, 3 March 2017

Time is most definitely an abstract concept

Another really busy week at work, with plenty of travel, and plenty of thinking.  One of our number was sadly taken ill with a heart attack in the week, so my thoughts are with him.  The prognosis seems to be that it is not life-threatening but he will be off for several weeks.

Home this week is therefore a bit of a blur.  I know that Maggot 2 played cricket for his team, and they came second in a tournament, and I know that Maggot 1 continues with his strategy of "why use 10 words when 1 will kind of do".

This weekend is fairly normal.  On the sport front, we have football training (Maggot 2) and tennis coaching (Maggot 1).  I plan to do a bunch of tidying up the outside of our house, and will hopefully listen to Pompey whilst doing so, and in the evening we have A&E over for a meal.

Have a great weekend, and speak next week.

Friday, 24 February 2017


We had fun at Center Parcs last weekend.  My body is testament to that, with aches, pains and bruises in places that a) I did not know I had and b) where the sun definitely does not shine.  We lived in a little bubble for three days and it was absolutely wonderful.

On the work front, I am still very busy, in fact in truth I am as busy as someone like me should be, and my expectation is that I will be like that for the rest of this year at least, based only on the deals in which I know I we be involved.  That is quite a nice feeling, to be busy, though with it does come the commensurate amount of stress.  Nevertheless, I have heard that gin is a pretty good antidote for that.

It has been half term for the Maggots and LO, though LO has been in to the office a couple of days, which is part of her contract, but much more that she needs that extra "quiet" time to clear some of her task list.

This weekend is a normal one, with Maggot sport and not much else.  We will probably do a family thing on one of the days.  Otherwise, I am really hoping to not do that much, except watch some rugby and possibly drink the odd G&T.  Sounds good to me.

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

Friday, 17 February 2017

Nearly there

I have a long weekend this weekend, and cannot wait.  Work has been busy, which is actually really good, but it has also been the other things that busy tends to attract - frustrating, confusing, stressful, etc etc.  Nevertheless, I would rather have busy and all those other things than nothing.

It has been a good week for Pompey too.  Two wins on the bounce, new striker scored his first goal, which started from him doing the sometimes thankless task of being one up front, but he got the ball, held it up, beat a player, layed it off to Evans before receiving it back to slot in the back of the net.  It won't make goal of the month, but it is good he is off the mark and is looking strong and fit and willing.  I took Maggot 1 and his friend (since Maggot 2 was at a birthday party) to Fratton Park last weekend, and while the journey was fraught*, the game was excellent.

This weekend we are away with David and Samantha, or at least that is what they were called.  To show that I can still move with the times, from this point onwards they shall be known as David and Victoria - apart from the tatoos, and maybe the football talent, and the fashion empire, they are spitting images.

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

* Bought the tickets, and as we stepped on to the platform, our train was cancelled, with no other running to get us to the game on time.  We then had to walk home, calling LO back from Tescos because she had my keys, so that we could pickup the Red Devil (LO's old Punto) to drive to Havant, where we then had to go on a replacement bus service to Fratton, thus having to brave the traffic nightmare that is the Eastern Road.  Nevertheless, we go to the ground with ten minutes to spare, and very much enjoyed the game.  It was bitterly cold mind, so by the end of the second half, we were happy to accept a lift back to Havant with my Father-in-Law, who was ten seats away from us.  This avoided the nightmare that is the train back from Fratton, caused by everyone's favourite villain Southern Rail.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Busy busy busy

I have had a very busy week working, lots of driving and lots of brain-hurting work.  This is good, but it does leave me pretty tired, and ready for the weekend.

That is all I really want to say about work, mostly because it is all pretty classified*.

On the home front, the rest of the family have also been pretty busy.  Maggot 1 has his work experience this week, working with one of LO's governors, which has turned out to be a really good placement, working for a local logistics company.  He has been in meetings with large suppliers, dealt with pest control, reworked a spreadsheet and generally got involved in some pretty interesting things.  Not surprisingly, he is also pretty tired.

Maggot 2 is on a sleepover tonight and going to Flipout tomorrow.  We are going to see David and Samantha, minus Maggot 2, for an evening of intellectual chat, and a fair dash of gin and tonic.

Tomorrow Maggot 1 and I have going to watch the mighty Pompey further their promotion ambitions by beating Acrington Stanley.  Let's hope our lads have had their milk.

Otherwise, I hope to do a whole heap of nothing for the rest of the weekend.

I hope your weekend is as exciting and restful.  Speak next week.

* That sounds rather grander than that it feels

Friday, 3 February 2017

An interesting couple of weeks

I missed last week's blogging due to being out of the country.  I had a call from Spain from my dad to say my mum was very unwell, so I flew out Tuesday morning, not sure whether it was going to give my last respects or to say hi to my mum.  As it has turned out, she is about to be discharged, which is great news.  There are still challenges with her not likely to be able to walk, having been weak before she went in, and now after 2 weeks in a bed, likely worse.  But as my dad said, he would rather have that challenge than the one he has so far endured.  I think being in the hospital 24/7 is bored him rigid.

On other news, since returning from Spain I have a horrid cold, and have had a tough week keeping going to catch up on a lost week.  The rest of the family also have sniffles.  Welcome to the UK in Winter.

We had planned to go to David and Samantha's tonight, but with us all under the weather, we have cancelled arrangements, to avoid sharing the love with our germs.

The weekend includes the usual mix of sport, as usual, and actually nothing much else.  Hopefully I can get some TLC and R&R and get back to my version of normal.

Hope you have a great weekend, and speak next week.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Cold and busy

That is, respectively, the weather (cold) and work (busy).  Really getting stuck in to my two main threads of work, and likely that one is going to encroach on the other from time to time.  Keeping both humming along correctly is probably why I am paid the big bucks - if it was easy, anyone could do it.

So what has happened of note this week.  Probably nothing really.  The wider world is full of Trump and May, the new power-brokers of world politics.  With the desire to avoid politics as much as possible, I think it is fair, and balanced, to say that we are in for some changes over the next few years.  Some of it maybe I will support, some of it I will not.

We have a wine tasting evening tonight.  It is at a local independant wine merchants, and I will be falling off my Dry January waggon for just tonight, since it seems to me to be a great waste to even consider spitting the wine out.  I suspect, having not had a drink for twenty days now, it will go straight to my head.  Should make for an interesting evening.

Otherwise, we have the usual Maggot sporting endeavours,  Maggot 1 off to be assistant tennis coach and Maggot 2 to play more football.  He has practice on both Tuesday and Wednesday in the week now, so his fitness should be improving, shaking off the lazy Christmas break, which itself was preceeded by a week or so of illness.

Otherwise, not much else on, which is just how I want it for this weekend.

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

Friday, 13 January 2017

Things are hotting up

This week work has really started to pick up.  I have travelled (three hour round trip) three times this week, and a number of my deals are actually going somewhere.  In fact, I have even had to attend one of those "I cannot do all this" calls with various interested parties.  This makes a difference from just before Christmas, and while my "get a lot of stuff done" muscles need a little working, it is good to be busy, and I now just need to ensure that I am also effective.

Our home life is extra busy as a result.  This is OK, but it does mean that certain things are not getting done.  Nothing life-threatening, but things like not putting out the rubbish last week, which was extra full from Christmas.  Luckily, my parents, who did visit the UK over Christmas, had an empty bin, so it was a simple case of transferring the bags from our bin to theirs.  Of course, when I say "simple", I mean messy and smelly and just a little bit squidgy, however the deed is done, the bin is empty (enough) and equilibrium has been re-established.

My dry January is continuing without any risk of failure, though we are at a party this Saturday.  My intention is to drive and not drink, and that combination should be enough to ensure I succeed.  I will probably drink G&T without the G, which should get me through the evening.  It will be an interesting experience being the only sober person in the room.

On the home front, we have a football fiesta this weekend; the usual Maggot 2 practice Saturday and game Sunday, plus us three lads are off to the (soon to be) mighty Fratton Park for another dose of first class* football.  Hopefully it will be third time lucky, and we win this game.  It is going to be between four and six degrees, so we will be wrapping up warm, and my long johns may also get an airing, but don't tell anyone.

On that note, I would like to wish you a great weekend, and speak next week.

* ahem, FIRST class???

Friday, 6 January 2017

Well, that was fun

I am back at work, and the last few weeks are already feeling like a slightly hazy dream.  Having said that, we did have a lot of fun, the Maggots really enjoyed the time off, and while we did a lot of events, we also had a couple of days to do nothing, collectively.  This is an exercise that, on reflection, is very much more enjoying on reflection, than when actually in the doing.  What I mean to say is that it just felt like another day when we were doing it, but looking back it was wonderful to get up when we wanted, have a massive brunch, then watch a film, taking in a bit of remixing, or just dozing, if the feeling took us.  Lovely.

Oh well, no point griping, we have to pay for it all now, both financially and health-wise.  I am doing another dry January, though will probably pause it half way through since we are invited to a wine tasting evening, and while I really enjoy the learning part of the event, it would be churlish of me not to mention that I am also not averse to the tasting part either.

We are also on diets, though this is as much about eating healthier, though as part of that also to eat less, both volume and calaries.

So, by the end of the month I should be practically perfect in every way.  I even have a new smile, courtesy of a chain of events that started with a Christmas toffee, and ended with a trip to the dentist to replace a filling that was "painted" on one of my front incisers to replace some bad discolouration.  This is actually either the second or third time the filling has been replaced, so I suspect that this new one will eventually fall off, but for now, I am beautiful* again, and my teeth are, if anything, straighter than ever**.

That is enough for now.  I hope you all had a great break, and are back in the saddle, ready to either:

  • find a new job
  • carry on being retired
  • keep on keeping on.

Have a great weekend, and speak next week.

* notwithstanding the raw materials at my disposal
** lest this give the wrong impression, they are not very straight, for reasons unknown, though probably due to braces not being invented when I were a lad