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Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Unbelievably, and to me it is, I'm about to go through 10,000 hits to this site. It doesn't seem that long go that I was desperately awaiting the 1000 to come up. If you discover you are number 10,000 let me know. There will of course be absolutely no prize.

I'm a Yorkshireman, I'm not made of money. You know what they say about Yorkshiremen, "just like a Scot but with the generosity squeezed out of them!"

I was in Sainsburys yesterday and they had a display of packets of seeds and since then I've had a song in my head.

Once again, it is those of us of a certain vintage who will best remember it. In 1962 Jimmy Rodgers took an old English folktune into the charts. English Country Garden spent 13 weeks on the charts and reached number 5. If you follow the link not only will you get the lyrics, with all the mis-spellings by whoever typed it, but also a rather dreadful midi version of the tune.

Now I bet you won't get it out of your head either!

The first hour of today was taken up with frantic phonecalls. Merrie, my stepmum, was due to fly back home this morning to Houston for her mums 80th birthday tomorrow. She gets to the airport to discover there was a problem with her passport and panic ensued. She's ovbiously rather upset as the whole idea was that she would surprise her mum by turning up on "Birthday Eve" but will now, with luck, a tail wind, and help during today from The U S Embassy, she should be there for tomorrows celebratory lunch US time.

Update: My dad faxed her a page of her US passport and she rushed from Gatwick to Grosvenor Sqyare where the embassy processed her papers and got her a new passport before the UK passport office had managed to get back to her about the problem with her British one.

She still can't fly until tomorrow morning though.

Monday, April 28, 2003

I woke up this morning with cramp in my leg. Is there a more horrible way to wake up than that? It's much more powerful than an alarm going off in your ear. And it carried on hurting all day too.

Went to my last Quarterly Divisional Meeting for 3verest today. I hadn't realised I was getting one but I got my first long service certificate for completing 10 years, (even though I joined in July 1992. These things take time). On it the chairman of the company had written "I hope we have many more years of succesful partnership together". You'll be lucky. 48 days and counting!

Linda was saying she was watching a programme on the SARS virus which looks like, once again, this is another disease caused by feeding animals the remains of other animals. I'm beginning to think that the manual on livestock rearing has been mixed up with the lyric sheet for On Ilkla Moor Baht 'at

Saturday, April 26, 2003

I've been trying to get to grips with some graphics programs. I can normally get my head round most things but when it comes to any sort of visual art which requires my physical input then disaster normally looms. I can't draw, paint, model or create anything of that ilk. My brother was great at origami but I can't even be trusted to fold a piece of paper in a straight line. Talking of straight lines, I'm not particularly good at drawing them even with a ruler. Whatever part of the brain is needed to accomplish those tasks appears to be dormant, or possibly even missing, but no, I guess since I managed to create a photo montage today that had all the bits where I wanted them then I guess it was sleeping. I can't honestly say I think it will turn out to be a sleeping giant though.

Friday, April 25, 2003

This weeks Friday Five

1. What was the last TV show you watched?

In real time, probably Frasier last monday night, but we are ploughing through a rather large backlog of Top of The Pops on video. We've reached last November!

2. What was the last thing you complained about and what was the problem?

I delayed posting these answers just so I could mention this. The Inland Revenue. When we use installers they have to have the tax deducted by ourselves and we give them a voucher as proof that they have paid tax. We have spent the last 5 months trying to get The IR to issue us with the vouchers so we can send them to our guys. By yesterday afternoon they couldn't even tell whether we were registered on the system. Karen had had enough so I put on my mighty Managing Directors hat and phoned to kick ass. This had the effect that they ignored what I said but in a slightly more deferrential way. I will be ringing again on Monday to make sure we are registered as they have promised.

3. Who was the last person you complimented and what did you say?

I have no idea, which probably means I should try doing it a bit more.

4. What was the last thing you threw away?

Probably the detritus from my last McDonalds meal.

5. What was the last website (besides this one) that you visited?

The UK Geocaching Forums.

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Talking with a customer of mine today he mentioned about when he used to run a van hire place. Amongst the vans they hired were VW camper Vans and one weekend a guy came in to hire one. All seemed well until it came back. They valeted it and the next renter picked it up and drove off. Half an hour later the new renter rings up and says it's not running properly. Steve tells him to bring it back so he can look at it but he's a bit stumped as it was a relatively new van and had just been serviced. The guy returns and Steve asks him a few questions and goes to look at the engine.

Well, there is an engine, but not the one the van had last time it was serviced. The previous renter had taken it for the wekend and stripped out the real one and replaced it with an engine that had long since been a decent runner. There were oil leaks and god knows what else wrong with it.

I never found out whether they caught up with the bloke who'd done it but they were a bit miffed to say the least.

Special Note - No Karen, don't do it, I'd hate to think I'd put the idea in your head.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

I could write about the absolute rubbish that I've had to put up with today whilst 3verest sod about playing stupid games, but it would mean little to you and I would only be ranting, but what I am focused on is there are now just 54 days until I can hand my notice in.

It won't be stretching to 55!

Monday, April 21, 2003

Two losses to the world of music today. 1 & 2. One is a real loss and the other a cause for celebration.

I'll leave you to work out which is which.

Another good day. Although I had to work a couple of appointments I sold them both, not for much, but I needed to know I could still sell! Then it was off on anorak duties. Whilst looking for a particular trigpoint I discovered a wood full of bluebells

A clump of bluebells

of which this was a slightly out of focus example. I haven't seen so many bluebells since I started school at about four and a half. Every day, to give my mum a break, our next door neighbour would either take me to the canal to see if there were any barges or to Boston Manor Park which had a bluebell wood. I'm not a big lover of flowers but to see a carpet of them does look good.

Two relaxing days in a row. I didn't realise how much I'd needed it until now, although I'm knackered. Sometimes I have to remember to take a break and smell the roses, or of course, bluebells.

Sunday, April 20, 2003

I've had a great day today. For the first time in I don't know how long I have done absolutely no work. I've been geocaching nearly all day, mainly around Central London but that inolved trips round Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens and Regents Park. I've walked quite a few miles and the feet are killing me and god knows how I'll feel tomorrow but for the moment I feel relaxed. I've got to do a bit of work tomorrow, I can't get out of it, but I shall also do a bit more caching.

I do have an awful confession though. If you thought geocaching was a bit anoraky I've now diverted slightly into trigpointing. I don't expect anyone to understand but it's a bit like a trainspotter suddenly realising bus spotting is fun as well. If it wasn't for the fact that it gives me some much needed exercise and gets me out in the fresh air I think I'd be seriously worried about myself! :)

Friday, April 18, 2003

Problems with my dial up connection, and it has to happen on a Bank Holiday. AAAAARRRGGH!

If I'm quieter than normal for a couple of days you'll know why.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Indeed things are looking up. E-mail just in from Steph, my bro-in-law Andy has returned from Iraq today, somewhat tanned, short of hair and carrying a septic toe, (on his foot, not in his hand or anything), but all in all in pretty good nick. She had two hours notice of his return so there was quite a lot of tidying up, shopping and making of welcome home banners by the two boys to be fitted in.

We are obviously all delighted he's back in one piece but there are some of his regiment who won't be returning and many other families of all nationalities who are not in the lucky position that we are tonight, so while we all enjoy ourselves we are also remembering those families as well.

For my Mum it's the shortest day that her year revolves round. Once we go past that she knows the days are getting longer and her moods lift. Whilst each year the actual date varies, this year it is today. I am now closer to going to Blackpool this year than last year.

Things are looking up.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Bit of a shock tonight on the local news. There was a report about a Battersea man who'd gone missing a couple of years ago in Australia. I can't find a link to a story about the fact that the Aussie police may have just found his body.

They showed a picture of him and I recognised him even before they mentioned his name, David Eason. I hadn't seen him for about 4 years as I'd done all the work he needed prior to that but out of all the thousands of potential customers I've seen, and the hundreds who became customers, David was one of the few that I always enjoyed meeting. We'd crack open a couple of bottles of beer and we'd talk about his company he'd set up over in Maidenhead, about his sailing and his car(s), and you could always spend a pleasant hour or two in his company.

I suspect he has been very badly missed by all those who knew him better than I did. There aren't many people you can describe as a genuinely nice person but he was one.

The answers were -

The chromosome quote was from The Golden Girls. Dorothy, played by Bea Arthur, was describing her no good, layabout, ex-husband.

The Peanuts quote was made by Lucy (Van Pelt).

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Occasionally I set a question that I think will stump you all and then someone gets it within about 5 minutes, and it's usually Pat. This time I'm pretty certain I'll get you.

I use two tag lines on this site.

The first, "One chromosome more and I'd be a potato" is a slight corruption where the original was "he'd" not "I'd". It came from an american comedy, which one, spoken by which character and what is the real name of the person who plays that character.

The second "If you can't be right, be wrong at the top of your voice" is from a cartoon strip. Name the strip and the full name of the character that utters it.

If you'd like a hint, I googled for both sayings and whilst nothing came up on the first the second brought up a number of sites which may give a clue. To be honest if you went through enough links you might even find the answer but I couldn't be bothered to look past the first few.

If you get this I'm going to be so brassed off but I reckon it is either something you know or don't and there's no reason for most people to know.

Monday, April 14, 2003

Want, want, want, want, want!

I saw one yesterday in the showroom on Park Lane in this colour combination. It's nice, although I've seen one on the road in a light blue, not normally my first choice of colour but with the cream leather interior it did look good. It's exactly the right car for a director of a home improvement company, well it is if I'm the director. Only one downside. It's £51,225.00 on the road. Good value compared to it's competitors, but perhaps not a possibility this side of Christmas. And I'm not disclosing christmas of which year either.

Sunday, April 13, 2003

I passed a block of flats today called Prince Albert Court.

How painful is that!

What an interesting day I'm going to be having. I've got to go and count the number of windows on 2 blocks of flats. Having done it once it will be double-checked, which usually results in a differing total number so requiring a third count. Rather than confirming one of the previous two I'll no doubt find a third. And they reckon it's going to rain.

The other night on Radio 4 they ditched the programme that should have been on and replaced it with a play/sketch show/somthing or other starring Barry Cryer and Graeme Garden. It was also written by Barry Cryer and someone else who's name I've forgotten. I only heard the last 10 minutes but it was enough to hear a joke that still has me laughing to myself.

Graemes character has been slighted in love by the girl of his dreams and goes into a fit of depression. Sometime later Barrys character is talking to him and says,

From the moment you entered the room on your unicycle wearing your orange wig and carrying a custard pie , all I could think was , "I hope he isn't going to do something silly".

O.K., it probably came over better on the radio but I wish I'd written it. And it gives you some idea of the type of terrible jokes I strive to write for pantomimes.

Friday, April 11, 2003

Things continue to look up, I've just remembered I won £5 on the Thunderball draw on Wednesday night! Only the last £25,503.70 to go.

The pile of post is no more. To be honest, apart from the fact I couldn't see my desk and the fact it was beginning to be a danger to anyone passing, it could have stayed there for ever more.

What it has allowed me to do is to come up with the exact figure that I am in debt to, and I can reveal it here first.


That doesn't include the outstanding mortgage of £57,000.00. Since £15,093.00 is owed to Her Majestys Inspector of Taxes a quick £10k and I'm up straight. Whilst some people may go into a cold sweat at the thought of that level of debt I'm actually presently surprised that it's only as bad as that.

Please feel free to send money and as much as you like. I won't mind.

It's shrunk to 5 inches so I'm having a rest.

A Husband Shopping Centre has opened where a woman can go to choose a husband from among many men. It is laid out in five floors, and the men increase in positive attributes as the shopper ascends the flights. There is, however, a catch. As you open the door to any floor you may choose a man from that floor, but if you go up a floor, you cannot go back down, except to exit the building.

So, a woman goes to the shopping centre to find a husband. On the first floor the sign on the door says: Floor 1: These men have jobs and love kids. The woman reads the sign: "Well that's better than not having jobs, or not loving kids, but I wonder what's further up?"

So up she goes. The second floor sign says: Floor 2: These men have highly paid jobs, love kids, and are extremely good looking. Hmmm, better." says the woman. "But, I wonder what's further up?"

The third floor sign reads: Floor 3: These men have highly paid jobs, love kids, are extremely good looking, and help with the housework. "Wow," says the woman, "very tempting. BUT, there must be more further up!"

And, again, she goes up. On the fourth floor the sign reads: Floor 4: These men have highly paid jobs, love kids, are extremely good
looking, help with the housework, and have a strong romantic streak. "Oh, boy! But just think...what must be awaiting me further on?"

So up to the fifth floor she goes. The sign on that door says: Floor 5: This floor is just to prove that women are impossible to please. Thank you for shopping and have a nice day.

Now is this meant to be a joke or factual? :)

Well, I've put it down on the desk and measured it and it's a full 9 inches. Why do I not keep up with the ever growing pile of post when it comes in?

Here are my two lifelong companions.

My two oldest friends, Panda and Rabbit

Panda was mine a few days after my birth, and the hand-knitted rabbit turned up a few days after that. Unfortunately both are now looking particularly old and threadbare with missing bits, not unlike their owner, and as they live on top of the book cupboard normally, they are somewhat dusty, but I guess they'll be around to the end. When I take that big journey into the unknown I think all three of us will go paw in hand.

A few weeks since I did The Friday Five.

1. What was the first band you saw in concert?

I think it was either Rick Wakeman doing Journey to the Centre of the Earth at Crystal Palace in summer 1974 or Sparks at the Hammersmith Odeon. On the Wakeman bill one of the support acts was a young bloke dressed as Pierrot. It was Leo Sayer in what must have been one of his first large concert appearances.

2. Who is your favorite artist/band now?

I don't have a single favourite anymore. I try to keep up with music in broad terms so the last few cd purchases would be Eminem, Destinys Child, David Gray, Ian van Dahl.

3. What's your favorite song?

Everytime I think I've chosen my favourite something else gets played on the radio and I realise I've forgotten more favourite songs than I remember. If I could listen to anything this minute I'll plump for Misty Blue by Dorothy Moore, but ask me again in an hour.....

4. If you could play any instrument, what would it be?


5. If you could meet any musical icon (past or present), who would it be and why?

Probably David Bowie, who I know I am going to meet on his next UK tour, but a musical icon that I didn't get to meet but talked to on the radio was the songwriter Sammy Cahn. Probably best known for writing quite a lot of the mid 60s stuff for Sinatra with his partner Jules Styne but had a long and successful career. I spoke to him a few months before he died. He was a master of rhyming lyrics and wrote a dictionary of such.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

For lovers of teddy bears, drop everything and hie thee to the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood where there is an exhibition to celebrate 100 years of the Teddy Bear. There are displays for Rupert Bear, Paddington, Sooty but the interesting one will be Andy Pandys' "Teddy". If you're not interested in bears it's still worth going just to watch middle aged men look at "Teddy" and burst into tears as they remember their childhood.

I'm definitely going, and I'm taking a box of tissues. My inner child is likely to burst out like something in Alien.

Monday, April 07, 2003

Following the excitement of Glassex the wonderful world of windows exhibition, I have just registered for Exterior Lighting and Security Roadshow 2003 in Kettering.

It's one non-stop round of excitement.

(Vicky - This one you can take the piss out of! :) )

We had the conversation. I now have 9 weeks to have D3sk B running to a position where it can pay me at least what I've been getting from 3verest, which in all honestly hasn't been that much. I feel like I'm balancing on the edge of a cliff and I've just discovered there's no handy ledge to break a fall. All the talking, all the planning, all the everything has to stop now and be replaced with making it work. For probably the first time in my life I am going to have to be totally reliant on my own efforts. If I want work, I will have to go out and get it. And what's worse, there will be two people by June who rely on me for their wages.

Forget what I said two posts ago, now is the time I have to grow up and start taking things seriously.

They reckon that it is impossible to run two businesses, or at least to run them well. I wouldn't know, but I can confirm that three is definitely too many. I'm not giving any of them the real attention they deserve and it's also becoming very tiring. Therefore, this morning I will be trying to see my 3verest manager to tell him that as soon as the bonuses are paid in June I will hand my notice in. Technically I should work 6 months notice but the normal convention is just to forget about it and walk at that point.

11 years I've been with them and I'm not enjoying it one bit at the moment, but it will still be a difficult conversation to have as he is also a friend and I will be sad to go in the end, but the future is elsewhere, and I always walk towards the future even if I enjoy looking back.

Sunday, April 06, 2003

Once more silliness reigns supreme. One of our contracts is for a company who have taken over Kate Winsletts old house in Walton, so Kev and I spent half an hour imagining how we could fulfill everything by referring continually to Titanic. Such things as writing into the terms of the contract that installation can't take place over winter for fear of icebergs, the installation takes place with a small orcheastra playing throughout, etc.

I thought I might have grown up by this age but it looks like it's never going to happen.

Saturday, April 05, 2003

Tomorrow sees the rowing of the 149th University Boat Race. The school I went to were a good rowing school, the present head of British Rowing was my history teacher. Two of my classmates were part of the Four who won bronze medals at the 1980 Olympics.

Tomorrow, as always, I shall be supporting Oxford, as that is the University I went to. Not to study of course, I was way too thick for that, but a mate of mine, in fact the Mike of the previous post, went to St Catherines and I went and visited for a night. That alone has been enough to ensure my undying devotion to the dark blues come boat race day. Luckily nobody ever invited me to Cambridge otherwise I just wouldn't know what to do.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

When I was in my early to mid-teens I was part of the local church choir. I became good friends with Pete and Mike who were a year older than me and Mike also went to the same school as me. We started putting on entertainment shows at the Harvest Supper and pantomimes at Christmas. These have been running for over 30 years and have just come to the end as there isn't enough support. The announcement was made by e-mail and Mike sent in a reply.

In it he mentions me as part of the original group but talks only of him and Pete being the scriptwriters, even though I had input from day 1. I haven't seen Mike for ages but the last two times I've tried to make contact he's blanked me. I have no idea why. I'm not going to correct his information, the people on the distribution list know of my involvement, and I shan't try to contact him again even though I would have liked to at least met up with him once to reminisce about the old days. I can't decide, however, whether to be hurt or annoyed by the blanking and non-recognition.

I suspect it's a bit of both really.

If you've ever had an interest in personal improvement and personal improvement gurus, by choice or by force, then I think you'll enjoy this.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

I always enjoy logging on for my e-mails to see what the new day brings, other than offers to "increase my length by 3 inches" which had I taken up all of them would have resulted in me being able to offer some lucky lady the chance to get to grips with a 600 yard monster, but whilst my bro-in-law is in Iraq there is always the nagging doubt that one will turn up from Steph with bad news. Anyway, she hasn't heard anything from him since the start of the action so everyone is working on "no news is good news".

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Kev and I were discussing diets yesterday. As everyone knows there has to be a latest fad diet for people to try and I have devised "The Triangle Diet"©

This diet allows you to have anything to eat which is triangle shaped, thus follows the first few items I am allowing, and you can eat these in any quantity;

Other suggestions welcome.