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June. Month for birthdays and hayfever, barbeques and strange weather.
Week 1 (June 5th to 11th)
|First day of blogdom. Not at all sure about how this
will go, as it's so public. Hence, not exactly innermost
secrets (trade and personal) unless I get really drunk one night. Or
really Californian (I don't smoke in public, after all). No,
it seemed like a good idea to start this on my birthday. 33 today.
Best to start these things on a palindrome, I always think. 5-6-5
and 33 today, and Anal as ever.
Finally managed to get the small
ginger cat (Floosie) do go through the cat flap at Prentice Court
after much shoving her through, chucking her into the garden and
locking the door, extricating her claws from the carpet when I tried
repeating the process, bathing my wounds etc. etc. It's
because we bought a bigger cat flap for the big fat Scuzzy who,
despite her dimness, has no trouble getting through with her
magnetic collar (even with the cat flap clicking). Floosie on
the other hand is little, and does insist on standing on the rim of
the cat-flap to try to get in, ensuring that the collar is nowhere
near the detector. In the end, she managed to get through
once, and so I left her to it, returning to the house a few times
during the day to see if she was still in. Sometimes you just
have to leave them to it. It's certainly a weight off our mind
though, as the previous weekend, when we were in London for the
Chelsea Flower Show and had taken the cats to kennels, a Tom cat had
obviously managed to get in on a previous day and hidden in the
house. When I got the cats into their baskets, I locked the cat flap
to ensure that whilst I was chasing one, the other didn't escape.
Hence the bad cat couldn't get out, and ripped the place to pieces
trying to find food, leaving the most unnatural sized pile of poo on
the carpet (would have required minimal reworking to make a
substantial if unusual vase), and peeing into every nook and cranny
it could find. Spent the whole of Bank Holiday last week
shampooing carpets, disinfecting every available surface etc. etc.
Hence the urgency for getting Floosie to stop being so bloody stupid
and get her furry brain into gear for once. Seems to have
As birthdays go, this one (today) was one that is best left
undiscussed, if not forgotten. However, plenty of stuff on the
horizon, which I'm sure I'll cover in excruciatingly dull detail.
Pat got me a wonderfully serene picture to go on a wall in the
flat, but unfortunately they seem to be made of titanium as no
picture hanging device penetrates beyond about 2mm into the plaster.
Thus, lots of holes to repair, but until a solution is found, the
picture is propped on the little round table by the window, kept
upright by the lamp. It can be serene in odd moments of recognition.
|Back to London to work at P&O Nedlloyds as a
PeopleSoft contractor / consultant type person. You would
think that I'd be wading in dosh, but since I was made redundant at
Scottish & Newcastle Retail / Spirit group, and sunk all the
redundancy money in starting up as a contractor, I've found that the
extra money (I should be thrice richer) has gone on the expense of
living in London (over a grand per month to rent a flat). Not
quite the lucrative money-maker I'd hoped it would be.
However, early days yet. Looked up various people about
getting a conservatory put in at Prentice Court, walls knocked
through, door put in, electrics, plumbing, ensuite + walk in
wardrobe for upstairs etc. The trick is finding the balance
between paying over the odds, and being pretty sure the house will
not collapse as a consequence of the work!
Pat had a late night
running the evening parents group in Kettering, so not much
conversation, but now that E4 is on Freeview, I could watch the new
series of Smallville at the same time as her. Hackneyed plot
of mutant boy ages quickly long enough for unlikely adoptive
parent(s) to get attached and watch all hope disappear.
Reminiscent of a Deanna Troy Star-Trek Next Generation episode, I
seem to remember (he says coyly). It's the Roman Candle hair that
does it, you know.
Found an old program that I was part-way through developing to
execute FTP scripts using an inbuilt scheduler. Not sure why I
abandoned this one. As it happens, I could do with using this
at the moment, especially as I resume working on the web site.
Will have to revisit...
Updated the web site with poems in Uricon
and On, and the last three editions of the Helper's Network
Newsletter. Haven't touched that site for a year now. Some of
the notes left on the site are quite interesting. One person
finds it all a very interesting trip down memory lane, but really
shouldn't people have moved on by now? I guess the problem for
many people is that there's nothing more recent with similar
sensibilities. The closest ones (e.g. that Tarzan series) fail
miserably in the quality of the screenplay. We shall see.
In the meantime, as and when the newsletters come out, I'm sure I
can spare a few hours updating it on the web site. Apologies to dear
old Gwen for my tardiness on this one.
|PeopleSoft Payroll interface work has been
continuing apace, but without the pressures of project meetings etc.
which has been great, as it means I can concentrate more on getting
the work done.
Started looking at expatriate / inpatriate stuff
again today with the expats department before we start doing testing
through the interface of P&O Nedlloyd production data onto ADP
Freedom's test system. Make sure we iron out any data issues
before we send it through.
Having bought our ex-council house from Northampton Borough
Council about eighteen months ago, we realised that it's just a wee
bit annoying having all windows with uPVC Brown window-frames,
except for two. One can get another's window when that window
becomes French windows into the conservatory, which just leaves one
window. And nobody does flat brown anymore - it's all that bloody
horrible mahogany wood-grain stuff. I contacted the borough
council today in the distant hope that someone there might have some
records of who they have used in the past, and who they use in this
situation now - they must have difficulty matching stuff, too.
The last week or so I've had a horrendous sore throat and
problems swallowing, and have been getting probably 2-4 hours of
sleep (go on, give me a big aaaaahhhh!). Could be
hayfever related. Hopefully calming down now, as I had a bit
better sleep last night (probably about 5 hours in two jaunts.
Perhaps the hay fever medication is finally kicking in. Could
be worse, though. Could be something that keeps me off work.
A contractor's worst nightmare.
Ben phoned during the day to ask
why the Washing Machine didn't work. Suggested turning on the inlet
tap under the sink. Students. Actually, he's just
finished his exams last week - He's just got a first for his
dissertation (He's doing a MSc in Physics with Space Research -
Yes I suppose that does make him a rocket scientist) and
will find out next week about the exams. Apparently very
difficult, so he's (and we's) on tenterhooks a bit, as it's on the
edge between a 2-1 and a first. Quite chuffed about the
dissertation, as we collaborated on a Java program to work out the
gravitational effects on the centre of a series of hollow cylinders
placed around one large hollow cylinder in order to minimize the
gravitational effects on a piece of measury type equipment in a
satellite - preferably to zero, but if not, then at least to the
closest possible. With more time, I'm sure the model could
have been further perfected, and some fancy integral worked out to
produce the perfect model, but we did okay with an iterative
process, methinks. Saved Ben some time, and meant he had a
fancy-looking program in his appendices, and I got an honourable
mention, so all happy as can be.
As Ben's in Northampton, he
dropped by to visit his Grandma (Betty), Becca & Chloe, and finally
Pat when she got back to work (his Mum / my Wife / her Person).
Off they were to trot to a restaurant on the assumption that Ben
wouldn't whole-heartedly approve of calorie-controlled vegetarian
microwave meals (Pat's not a vegetarian, she just likes the meals -
I'm like that too - Often have the vegetarian option at Christmas
dinners). Hopefully they got themselves a table.
The fat cat
called Gizmo that wandered into our lives last year was chasing the
piece of string on a stick for three seconds before flopping down on
his back to wobble his arms around vaguely, until he realised the
grass was actually quite comfy, and snoozed off. 23-hour a day
sleeping cat, that one. I put it down to either a metabolic
disorder, or because he just likes his sleep tooooo much.
I can sympathise.
Ah. Midsomer Murders is on. I missed that
series when it was first on, so might give it a try. Good old
Digiguide and it's creepy robotic voice!!!
Blog pages added to the
Personal web site now that I've got it a bit better integrated and
organized. Oh look, the poor lass just got whopped over the head
with a shovel. Serves her right for going within a hundred mile
radius of Detective Barnaby. Not quite the death toll of
Arnie-beating Jessica Fletcher (who I now use as a synonym for
without a second thought) but getting there.
|Oh wondrous day. Actually, nothing of import to
report. Spoke to Rose at ADP about her wonderful-sounding holiday in
Northern Spain along the Green Coast, apparently. Forty quid for her
flight, and her kids had a wail of a time in rock pools etc. and
great weather too. Just goes to show, sometimes you should just go
with the luck of the draw and see what you get. The flights were her
decider, and she booked a random hotel on the internet, and all
turned out well.
The Weekly interface files since her departure
for holidayings all went through okay, so looks like we're set to go
live on Monday. Joyful and triumphant.
Pat talked of the joys of eating out at the Toby Inn with Ben in
Northampton. The chatted about things, Ben having a very healthy but
humungous salad, Pat going for something that wasn't the carvery,
but ending up having to queue up to get it from there anyway.
Never mind, meant she could get a few roast spuds in. The
service was excruciatingly slow (probably because it was unusually
busy for a Tuesday - balmy evenings do often flush people out of
their little burrows) but I guess that meant they had a chance to
catch up. Ben had been down in London with Emily earlier in
the week - she's worrying about some sort of show where they all get
to display their talents to scouts [not the woggle variety] etc. so
shall see how this goes.
I was lying on my bed in the flat looking out the window -
wonderful azure sunset bleeding to an orange glow - and watched it
disappear into evening as we were talking. Jolly aesthetically
appealing to the finer sensibilities.
Adieu. Goodbye. Time to bog off.
|Aha! The meeting confirmed my suspicions that all
was well with the interface files! So we go live next Monday
with the weekly files. Just the expat stuff to sort out now.
My contract's due to come to an end at the end of July, so the first
pangs of worrying about this are emerging, especially as a plethora
of contracting agencies have been contacting me over the last few
days double-checking my availability. Evidently some company
is looking to recruit some contractors for a project. Never
mind - it's the luck of the draw when they come up, I guess.
In the meantime, nose to the grindstone, making a rather messy
My Vodafone mobile internet card needs updating, and I'm on the
market for a new flat in London, Consolidation Loans, remortgage to
a repayment buy-to-let, and funding for some home improvements.
Threw that lot at a financial broker and I have to say he didn't
seem that fazed - just said he'd look at a few options, and get back
to me tomorrow / Monday. We'll see what he comes up with.
Tomorrow, I'll be seeing the electrician to see how much it's
likely to cost for the various work likely in said home improvements
- nice chap who did our Front Porch light (that one Taxi Driver once
commented on as making it stand out from the other houses around.
That would be because it was evening and quite dark).
Otherwise, working from the flat tomorrow, trolling down to
Northampton and saying "Howzyadoin" to Pat. Who, incidentally,
sent me a birthday card which arrived today (so she probably
actually sent it three weeks ago) in a lovely bronzey-goldey type of
It had a rip-roaring poem
about a cat-based rag-tag band in it, which I shall immediately
add to the Uricon and On web
site so others can share. It won't be indexed properly until
the proper release next month of updates to that portion of the
Pat had a walk down to Weston Favell Centre today to meet her Mum
there. Gets her exercise in when she can - It's a good
half-hour's walk going the slightly greener and more scenic route
via duckponds etc.
Catching up on a bit of Alias. The Amazon DVD Rental thing
is great, except for the small point of only about half of them ever
arriving. I can't work out if it's a scam, or whether some helpful
postie / other flat dweller in the building is snaffling them.
However, very annoying. After all, it takes things about a week to
get here first class at the best of times.
I wonder if other people have noticed a general decline in the
postal system over the last few years. I first heard about it
in Coventry a few years back. Other towns near Northampton
started suffering too, and more recently Northampton is getting bad
too. It's always been crap since I moved into this flat nine
months ago in Islington, London. Except for a few weeks
respite around about the time (I found out subsequently, thinking
that something must have been done to perk things up) the posties
got their bonuses. Hmmm. Something you don't seem to hear
about in the news. Perhaps there's a postal sack with a hole
in the bottom of it they reserve especially for me. I'm off anyway,
'cos I'm waffling now. Blah blah blah blonk.
||Found interesting link Nandan send me some months
back on the HRMS upgrade project at P&O Nedlloyd - taken from the
Internet, so hardly top-secret!
Nandan, by the way, is the support chap (IT Support is operated
from Pune, India) who came over for a few months during upgrade, and
went back again afterwards! He's been joined by Sailaja
recently to help with the various support tasks the ever-expanding
HRMS (i.e. being adopted by more and more P&O Nedlloyd countries)
Better stop, actually, because the train will be making it's way
into Wellingborough shortly, and it takes a while to shut this thing
down - ah yes, Northamptonshire countryside that I recognize. Gotta
|Was due to meet electrician bloke at Prentice Court
on Friday to go through the various electrical stuff we need doing
during our renovations. Didn't turn up, nor answer his mobile
or home number. Didn't get back to me after I left a message either,
so either he's indisposed (hopefully nothing terrible) or not that
interested in the business. Will try someone else next week, and
give him another ring to see if there's a valid reason for what
happened. At least we got to have a barbecue, even it was a
bit nippy by the time it was all done. Pat's the barbeque queen. I
do the scrubbing and prepare the salad. Not traditional, but
I'm happy with it!
Anyway, saw the builder bloke to see what would
be possible with our renovations. Possibility of an RSJ
(Rolled-Steel Joint to we plebs) to replace the dividing wall in the
dining room / back office to become large sitting room.
Theoretically, a timber-framed house should be able to hold itself
up, but the inside walls and joists do sort of help it from caving
in on itself, just a tad. If the joists run the same direction as
the divide, we should be okay without one, otherwise it shouldn't be
too much dosh (he prays).
The B&Q bloke wasn't going to turn up until 12 o'clock, so I
suggested he not bother coming as this would clash with the builder.
Anyway, they want to sit down and plan it all out over two hours,
and really didn't have the time.
Managed to get the damnable 10ft work surfaces that have been
propped up in the stairwell for about four months now moved with the
help of my Van Man, moved back to Homebase where they belong. They
were the original ones that turned out to look a bit out of place in
reality, so got replaced with new ones.
Pat and I had a troll down to Weston Favell where we met up with
Becca, Chloe and Caitlin (Becca = Pat's Daughter, Chloe & Caitlin,
Becca's Daughters). Chloe was as hyper as usual and I must
admit I lost my temper a bit with her as she was swinging from the
checkout at Tesco, desperately trying to pack the goods being
torpedoed at me by the cashier who seemed to be going for a world
record in swiping, and pay her at the same time.
Unfortunately, Pat was a little preoccupied with Becca at the time
as she'd just been rang to be told that the person who put an offer
in on her house had pulled out, which meant the home they were in
the process of buying was clearly in jeopardy too. About time
they had laws to hold people to their offers unless they have good
cause (e.g. they die!)
Anyhow, we managed to have a little respite in the evening (well,
I think Pat ended up consoling Becca for several hours, but there we
go) and that's that, really.
Week 2 (June 12th to 18th)
|Ben paid us a surprise visit today with Emily. We
had about an hour's notice at least, so we got the placed spruced up
as the carpets haven't had a sniff of a vacuum cleaner for some time
now in some places.
It was quite nice catching up. Rebecca
couldn't come over, as she'd been up all night being ill (stomach
bug probably - they seem to get them all the time in that family!)
We decided to have a spot of lunch in Weston Favell Centre at
so Ben & Emily went in his car, Pat and I went in mine (Pat driving
of course, as I'm sooooo terrible and aim for each and every
lamp-post / pedestrian that I see).
We spent a little while enjoying Chav central (really,
Northampton seems to make people fat & ugly - I'm taking some
time to recover myself, even living in London most of the time).
We bought a few bits & pieces from Tesco to keep us going, including
some hair colour for myself and Pat - my hair seems to have turned
dark brown over the past few years. Probably because all the lighter
hairs have dropped out (hence generally baldiness creeping up on
Ben & Emily went to visit Becca and were back at about quarter
past six. In the intervening two hours, I had managed to colour my
hair, Pat streak it, and prepare a very scrummy dinner that was
enjoyed by all, before Ben & Emily departed for the cinema.
Then it was a small rest before I had to scoot off to London again
with all my washing. Did I mention that on Saturday I managed to get
through three loads of Washing & Drying in the morning at the same
time? No? Probably because it's incredibly boring. Spent a couple
of hours in the evening preparing + checking file for Monthly people
for tomorrow. Bye then.
||Back to work. Prepared + checked + sent off
weeklies, sent back some feedback on the last files, compared expats
on modified payscheme between PeopleSoft and ADP Freedom and
consequently had to revise our schedule a bit as there's a bit of
sorting out to be done there. Stuart helpfully showed me
around ADP Freedom (quite roomy really), now that I have a working
login. Had some figures back about the remortgaging etc. Looks
quite hopeful. Will have to check if we are likely to get any
penalties on existing dwellings from withdrawing from the mortgages.
Only got about two hours sleep last night, so going to bed early to
try to catch up.
Three new CDs received through post - two by Bt and the new one
(Unholy) from Martin Grech. Bt does sound a bit like a re-hash of
Fatboy slim / Euro Dance music of the nineties, but there we go.
Martin Grech sounds like a chorus of worried Czechs going through a
threshing machine, but there we go. I won't compare him to
early Radiohead with an emphasis on the avant-gardy bits, as I'm
sure that's an eye-rollingly common comparison. Will give it a
few more listens (not at suicidal moments, though) to help make up
my mind. I'm liking X&Y - the Coldplay album. Rather
like the Red Hot Chilli Peppers' "By The Way" - The more you listen
to it, the more melodious and middle-of-the-road it sounds.
Give it a few months, and it can join my Barry Manilow!
Watched "Shaolin Soccer" on DVD - Very funny, and actually quite
a cohesive plot for this type of flick. Well worth a watch for
anyone who enjoys the old Martial Arts type stuff and
tongue-in-cheek type comedy
Bit worried that Pat's going to lose a day's medicine as the
prescription I ordered today won't be available until Wednesday
afternoon. Unfortunately, Rebecca's in hospital on Tuesday
(possibly overnight depending on how the anaesthetic hits her) so
won't be able to help, and of course David will be looking after the
kids, and I'm in London, and Pat's working late. Sounds like a hell
of a week for her, as she's doing groups every night, late
back all nights too by the sound of it. This is the irony of
lopping a day off your working week. You end up being expected
to fit a whole week into the same space, and consequently don't end
up having enough time to take the time back that you took off in the
first place!!! I wonder sometimes if it would simply be easier
to go back to a full working week. Really, she needs more
help, and until the people where she works acknowledge this (she's
been trying for seven years) I can't see it getting any better.
Next step grievance process, if they're not careful. We've
already spoken to ACAS about it and I've got all the HR info about
the process from the internet, so at least we're prepared. The
Care Manager there will hopefully come back with some news soon,
otherwise there's really very little alternative. Hell at the
moment for Pat.
||Bit more concerted work on the interface. I've
put together some Oracle PL/SQL which will be generated by the
Interface. Getting the SQL to the SQR so that it can be executed
there is a bit of a pain, so I've put together a utility called
SQLtoSQR to do this job. I created a similar program some
years ago, but it seems to have got lost in some spring cleaning,
and the site that originally hosted it seems to have gone a bit
I've fancified this version a bit so that it incorporates
a few variables to make the translation easier, and a facility to
store these variables to a file in case the process needs to be
repeated a few times before getting it right. I'll release it
onto the software site as Freeware when I get the time.
Took Pat's espadrilles (shoes made out of bits of old string to
you and me) back to Oasis and was rewarded the princely sum of £28.
Have to take things back more often. Wonder if they'll take my holey
old knickers. Must be worth at least £40 a pair for all the effort
I've made into making them that way - abrasive flatulence and all.
Apparently, Becca had her operation today, was sitting up and
chatting by one o'clock and home by four!! And that was a triple
bypass with a blood transfusion and bone marrow transplant thrown
in!! The NHS today - they really do get you up on your feet in
no time. With props. And heavily starched clothes.
Hopefully, she'll be okay. Although it wasn't really a triple
bypass operation. An exaggeration for political effect.
Bought a new notebook (paper kind) for £3.25 which is annoying
because it has different coloured sections that I just can't
utilise, but is exactly the right size for daily "to do" lists that
I keep on doing because life is so damned complicated these days. I
keep a master "to do" on Outlook / my organizer (actually it's
mainly an MP3 player / encyclopaedia, but serves it's intended
purpose at times). Oh, and each page on the notebook has a little
rectangle at the top to put a heading - a place for the day of the
week!!! Ooh, so exciting, so exciting. Highlight of my week!!!
On the espadrille front, I was supposed to be exchanging it for a
cream bolero, a grand £35 (It's the holes you're paying for - very
complex to put in - small square holes require small square anuses,
you see). However, they only had white or blue (the white is like
the "Elmlea" of cream boleros - just as expensive, goes with
everything fine, but just not so interesting), so just had to keep
the money. I was woebegone. I'll pop in there from time
to time to see if they restock, otherwise I will be perpetually
seeing Pat's tearful "I have no cream bolero" face in my mind's eye,
which could account for the two hours sleep I had on Sunday night.
Popped into Tesco on the way back. They do cans of barley wine.
How nice. I picked up a four-pack so I can put one in my Tower of
London pitch-innarded leather mug / "leather drinking vessel".
Not had the courage to try it yet, as it cost so much. Not allowed
to wash it. Oh god, how will I cope? Barley wine is about as
alchoholic as normal wine, but sort of beer like. But made of
barley. And stronger than beer. I shall give it a go, not
having tried it before, and tell you if I say "Mmmmm...", "Hmmmmm?",
or "Phlugh!! My guts, my guts!! Hraaaarrrhhhhh..." or similar.
Also picked up Rabies from Babies, Whores from Bores, and Rhymes
from The Times.
No, I didn't actually.
I picked up some shopping bags. And went up the stairs to
my flat. And put them shopping bags back down. Then
wrote this - just for you.
||Answer to my question. A "blog" is a contraction and
shortening of "web log". My usage seems to be reasonably accurate,
except I'm putting stuff in chronological instead of reverse
chronological order. I think I can live with this. I'll just
make the index with the most recent month at the start, like I do my
web histories for other sites. Otherwise makes for a very
strange read. Useful
article on wikipedia
Ben phoned up in the morning to let me know his
Master's degree results. A first! I was unusually enthusiastic
- but then, he's done incredibly well, against lots of odds (and it
sounds like some of his tutors were very odd) but well deserved - he
really was incredibly dedicated in his revision and project work.
Anyway, congratulations to Mr. Msc in Physics with Space Research (a
first in Rocket Science! Now there' something to brag about!)
and I couldn't help suggest the he perhaps shouldn't get so drunk
that he dies and never has the opportunity to enjoy his success!!
A little grey cloud to accompany any bright ray of sunshine!!!
Alliance & Leicester, who we currently have our mortgage seemed keen
enough to give us another fixed rate mortgage for another two years
(the last fixed rate is up this month) - just goes to show, it's
worth asking - I was genuinely considering a new mortgage, so good
think I asked, really.
||More from the Mortgage broker chappy, who agreed the
Alliance & Leicester thing is a good bet. Just need to look at a
different mortgage on the other house with a view to renting it out,
and another mortgage for a place in London, ready for when the
rental period on the flat is up. No we're not property
magnates, just making the best of an unfolding set of circumstances
with a few to modelling those circumstances into something a bit
more sensible and cohesive. Not sure the best area to go for at the
moment in London. Probably Hackney, as it's a bit cheaper than
Islington (quite a lot cheaper) but won't be soon, so worth getting
in there. Gentrification, it's called apparently - buying up areas
in London to make them into apartments etc. for business types and
turning fairly run-down areas into pretty affluent areas.
Unfortunately driving out the natives in the process. There's
just too many people going for jobs in London, and the surrounding
green belt commuterland area is equally stupidly expensive, so why
not just live in London? Hmph. Apart from which, when
you've lived in Northampton, it's not hard to fall for London, which
is at least a tad less supine. Actually, Northampton's beyond
dead. It's festering these days.
Watched "eternal sunsine of
the spotless mind" yesterday, in which Jim Carrey comes across as a
painfully shy person (I guess he can be something other than "The
Mask" or similar - although, you get the vague suspicion that it's
bubbling away under the surface there) who meets a wonderful person,
relationship descends, she has a procedure to blank her mind, he
finds out, does the same, film plays out in his psyche during
procedure (see "Maribou Stork Nightmare" or similar) and Hollywood
ending on vaguely arty-type film follows. Sort of interesting,
but the arty loose-end bit that leaves you thinking is lost in the
general tidy-up at the end of the film (i.e. Hollywood style).
Shame, really. One of those films that had potential, but
leaves you wondering if it was really worth the effort.
The film title (must be arty with a title like that) is taken
from a very thoughtful Alexander Pope poem, according to a passage
in the film. Must pick up some of his poetry some time, as I
keep stumbling across it and being quite interested, momentarily.
None of yer, "Theres's a pretty flower, let's compare it to
Cherubim" crap. Well, actually it's more yer, "How funny
people are, let's compare them to Cherubim" [crap]. Ho hum, to
live in a secular age.
Five hopefully skilled professionals (actually, one of the
plumber chappies we've used already and is great, hence booked up
six years in advance) to meet at Prentice court in two hours
tomorrow to see if we can get some quotes on Windows, Conservatory,
Electrics, Plumbing, moving radiator, knocking down a wall, building
another, putting doors in etc. etc. Possibly slightly cheaper
than bombing the place.
||Back to Northampton again, where had fun sorting out
post etc. as usual. Mortgage and Loan details had come for Prentice
Court for the home improvements / change to interest only mortgage.
Yawned myself silly with excitement of it all. Drove Pat made by
rambling about finances and stuff, and failed to shut up about it
even during a barbecue, so lucky I didn't get burning hot cinders
shoved down my underpants. Dog with a bone.
||Was doing a bit of tidying up when who should come
around but builder chap with a quote. Looked very reasonable,
and he said he could go ahead ASAP. The plumber bloke
theoretically can start on Thursday, although he's on holiday
officially until 3rd July according to his answering machine (the
following week) so that means I've got about a day to have a life
(theoretically) and also tidy up Prentice Court enough to chuck some
stuff out to make room for other stuff from other rooms that need
work doing to go into the place of the said stacked up piles of
crap. And tidy away stuff into appropriate places that shouldn't be
chucked. Yeah, right. Did as best as I could, went to see Becca and
Chloe & Caitlin later in afternoon, but otherwise, little in the way
of life, methinks.
|Sun 19th / Mon 20th
||Six trips down to the tip in the morning taking down
various rubbish that's piled up from the contents of various houses.
I only have a little car, unfortunately. Hence large pieces of wood
trimmed with circular saw. Fun fun fun!!! It was a glorious
day, just right for sweating away in a dingy house that seems to
trap all moisture and heat for days and days. In the afternoon, Pat
and I took a trip to B&Q, bought some doors and door furniture,
ordered ourselves the makings of an ensuite bathroom on the usual 6
months interest free option which is easily long enough to cover
what we will be taking out on the remortgage money. And bought our
tiles. Then had time to nip back to Weston Favell Centre, take back
and swap clothes (two pronged attack with Pat in one shop, me in
another) and onto Tesco to take back further stuff, do a bit of
shopping, take money out to pay builder, etc. etc. Somehow we
managed to fit the whole expedition out into about two and a half
hours. Should not have been possible, but when time's at a premium,
you manage it somehow, I guess.
Anyway, we had ourselves a merry
little microwave meal and bag of veggie each, watered the garden,
put down some ant stuff and slug stuff, tied up the Buddleia which
is getting a bit too big for its branches now, and cleared out and
covered the barbeque ready for next week. And just to make sure it
doesn't rain (which it would if I didn't). Then in the
evening, I went all out to clear out two rooms and move all the
stuff, including dismantling of furniture, to the previously cleared
out room. I was actually doing this from about 10pm to 5am
(alongside washing / drying my clothes so I'd have something to wear
to go to work in), showered and readied myself in half an hour,
caught a taxi (which I had to reschedule twice due to thinking I am
Superman or something) and off to Wellingborough to catch the train
back to London, whereupon I went straight into work, and prepared
the files for Weeklies, Monthlies, and test data for expats. My God,
I only survived the day by drinking ridiculous amounts of Coke /
Coffee, taking regular stumbles, and propping my eyes open with
match-sticks. People must have noticed my head nodding every
thirty seconds!!! Embarrassing.
Anyway, got to bed early, and managed to sleep from about 6.30pm
to 9pm, 10pm to 1am, and 1.30am to 7am approximately, so caught up a
bit, I think. Not sure if I ate anything. Oh yes, curry at
lunch and something indeterminate before I slipped into a coma.
||Aha! Got some more programming work done! Briefly.
But spent most of the day working on expat stuff (had to redo as no
actual work had been done on data to be tested last week, bah!)
Went through this with Kelli - every little change they made.
Infuriatingly dull for both of us, but necessary if we're not going
to be repeating this test ad nauseum.
Watched Bubba Ho-Tep in the
evening. It was shite shite shite. Oh, and boring. It
was a bit like a good idea someone had for a drama production
(amateur drama production) that somehow found some funding for a
film. And never quite broke into the genre. The concept
had huge comic potential, but basically it was a one-joke film -
look at the funny decrepit mad old people who think they are famous
people (or are they really famous people?) eventually fighting
Egyptian forces of evil. Unfortunately, the actual interesting
bits (i.e. when there's no embarrassing dialogue going in that just
doesn't quite manage to reach humour pitch) are when there is some
sort of fighting of special effects beatles or mummy. And that's
only interesting because you need something interesting to hand your
interest on in the mad desperate hope that you haven't just wasted a
few hours of precious time. Oh god, just don't watch it, it's
so bad. It's not even so bad it's good! If it's trying
to be cultish, it even fails there. You can understand how
something like Bad Taste became popular - it's so bad, it's
good, and yes, it manages to have actual humour that isn't
wrapped up in horrendously boring and clearly scripted monologue, er...
dialogue? And yes, the director of that film went on to
do the Lord of the Rings films some years later, so I guess
someone saw the potential there. The sooner this goes back to
Amazon, the better. Managed to get my clothes washed from last week,
and the bedclothes all washed and changed ready for Pat's arrival on
||Monthly cut off was Monday, so mad preparation of
several files - Monthly for cut off day, Weekly until today (but
actually should be tomorrow we now decide), Expat test file went
first thing, and as payroll cut off times tend to go shortly after
going live with a new provider, mayhem ensues as all the loose ends
are tied up. I actually find it quite fun in it's challenging,
not quite sure what's coming next, watch as we sort out the various
threads, sort of a way. Lots of planning to do for weekend, keys to
cut, plumber to contact, Re-mortgage on other property to sort out
for rental purposes (approved, just the paperwork to do) etc.
Pre-payment certificate to sort ready for collecting my prescription
on Friday. I'll need to sort out the flat for Pat to come - needs a
bit of a vacuum and clean around, but generally okay, so not too
much hassle. Looking forwards to this weekend. Pat seems to be
working late tonight - been ringing for ages. Her work really
does take advantage. Anyway, until tomorrow... Lots to do,
Well, actually when I got back to the flat, I just
couldn't be bothered. So did a bit of shopping at Sainsbury,
booked some tickets for Friday to see Batman Begins at the local
cinema after we'd finished restauranting, and that's about it. Shall
have to have a quick whip round with the hoover tomorrow morning
before I go in.
Watched Batman & Robin to get myself in the mood for the next
film (not seen it before). Very pantomime. It's a bit
obviously pantomime, which was fine in Batman Forever, as Jim Carrey
excels at the sort of thing, but George Clooney was... George
Clooney, and Chris O'Donnell looked a bit lost with the crass "I'm a
Kevin Teenager" script - try acting that rubbish! Anyway, at
least it was better than Bubba Ho-Tep. Then the grey fuzz left
over after I've taken the DVD out of the telly is slightly more
enticing than Bubba No-Hope. To bed....
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