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Thursday, July 31, 2003

I haven't been to The Proms for years, but I sometimes listen in to the broadcasts of an evening. Tonight they played one of the pieces that I really like, Benjamin Brittens' Young Persons Guide to The Orcheastra. It has something in common with a couple of other of my favourite pieces, Saint-Saens Organ Symphony and Beethovens 9th Symphony. All of these pieces have a theme which is stated towards the beginning of the piece and then, via a number of diversions, return to the theme at the end. Whilst many other pieces use the same device, those three in particular send a shiver down my spine as the main theme returns.

Whilst I rarely listen to classical music these days, I'm pleased for the education I was given at school by my music teacher, Neville Courtney-Bower. My favourite teacher and perhaps the man I admired most as I was growing up.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

We have had our company bank account open for over a year now. Admittedly we haven't exactly been stretching their resources as we wanted to set the company up out of our own capital rather than borrow large sums of money. As that capital is somewhat depleted, (for depleted read nil), we wanted a trading overdraft of £5000 so we could pay for the deliveries as they came in until the client paid us a few days later, and after a few weeks of this we would have built up the profit to provide the neccesary cashflow. They've decided, having told us they would set it up, that they now have a problem doing it and won't necessarily honour the cheques they have been aware of us writing for the last fortnight.

I did point out to the minion who rang me that come next spring we were likely to be in a position to have a balance somewhere around the quarter million mark. (It won't be there long as Kev and I have too many itchy fingers and a need to spend money). I don't expect them to kowtow against possible future profits, we don't do that when customers tell me they/their family/their friends will be doing work later, but I did point out that if they had such worries about handling up to 5k of liability I'm not sure I would be able to trust such an organisation to handle 50 times that of my money. I await their deliberations.

Glass is a deceptively heavy material, or do I mean deceptively, it isn't light. I suspect with it being see-through and reasonably thin, your brain can't compute the likely weight. We had a delivery of windows today at a site where only I was there to meet the driver. There was one incredibly large window with 5 sealed units in it. Normally windows are transported with the sealed units seperate, but these were all glazed up. I had to go find two local youths and bribe them with a crisp £20 note to lend a hand. They thought that was good value when they started. I'm not sure they thought so by the time we'd spent 15 minutes moving it 50 feet.

And whilst I'm talking about work, you just can't make some people out. I mentioned the other day that John, our installer, had let a customer down 5 times. Today, said customer rang up and had a go at me because they weren't happy. That's fair enough, although it was really a supply only deal and John was fitting the windows privately, but hey. I told them I was trying to organise another set of highly reliable fitters and they then went on to ring John and organise him because they didn't want him to lose out on the work! In the end I don't really mind as long as we get our money but the old saying is right. There's nowt so strange as folk.

Monday, July 28, 2003

I bought three new bits of hardware today.

A 56k modem which appears to be running at 115.2K. I don't know why but I'm not complaining.

A 128mb compace flash card to replace the 2mb card I had which needed emptying after every 10 photos.

A 2 usb PCMCIA card thingy as my old laptop doesn't have any usb ports. This hasn't been set up yet but I expect at least adequate, if not great, things from it.

I'm glad I haven't got broadband because the speed of the new modem is already making me dizzy. Talking of broadband, Kev had his put in yesterday, so now he'll be able to get totally confused at least 10 times quicker than before.

(I could have supplied links for the above items but it's 1:30 a.m. and I really coundn't be arsed).

Saturday, July 26, 2003

What is it with trades people?

It's not just when you are the client that they cause grief, it's just as difficult if you are the person "employing" them. This week I have spent vast quantities of time trying to get one of the guys who does some installing for us, and also a window supplier we have had to use in an emergency, to be in the right place at the right time.

All they need to do is be in location a at time b to do action c. How dificult can that be? Bloody near impossible apparently!

John the installer has got the hump and won't speak to me at the moment because, having let a customer down on 5, yes that's 5, seperate occasions meaning they have to take time off work, I'm getting someone else to install it and he'll lose out on the money. He's due to install for me this Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and as he refuses to answer his phone or return my calls I have absolutely no idea if he will turn up or not. So on Monday I'll try to line up some emergency cover which isn't very easy but I have no choice. If he doesn't, the bloody idiot will have lost out on £1000 for three days worth of fitting work. Unfortunately installers are rare down here so they can afford to be a bit petulant but unfortunately for him I don't run my company the way everyone else runs theirs, so once he's finished anything outstanding, if he turns up, he can then do what he likes because he'll have no more work from us. This weeks most used excuse - The van's broken down.

The supplier only had to deliver some windows 5 miles from where they are based. It took three attempts to get them to deliver them, and three further attempts to get them to deliver the bits they'd forgotten to pack with the windows. Amongst the excuses from them - The van's broken down.

During my time with 3verest, the most common excuse given to customers when an installation team wasn't going to turn up, either through double booking, running late on the previous job, or the sods just deciding to take the day off was.....altogether now........ The van's broken down.

Why do workmen buy vans? They're so unreliable, they break down at least once a week, they apparently have to be in for MOTs at least 6 or 7 times in any 12 month period, tyres go flat the moment they approach a motorway, engines spontaneously combust, and gearboxes and clutches burn out quicker than a 10 year old pop singer.

We do have one rather good recourse. When they ask for their money we usually come back with - " mate, we were just writing out your cheque and the bloody pen broke down, hopefully it will be working again in a couple of days". Strangely, they don't find that amusing. Please feel free to use it the next time a tradesman let's you down.

My favourite excuse from John this week was directly to the customer. Day 1 was "the van's broken down". Day 2 was "the van's still off the road and I've had to hire a van to take some windows down to my dad". It didn't occur to him, but funnily enough it did to my customer, that if he could hire a van to get to his dads, he could have hired a van to get to them. I shall await his answer when he deigns to speak to me.

So, what's the best excuse you've ever been given by a tradesman for not turning up when they were meant to? Surely there has to be some creativity out there.

Friday, July 25, 2003

Special handy tip.

When deciding to defrost your frost-free freezer don't start at 7:00 p.m. because it will still be dripping on your floor like mad at 1:30 in the morning.


Thursday, July 24, 2003

I'm telling you now. My danders up, my hackles have risen and everywhere I look there's red!

I can put up with, albeit with a lot of grumbling, customers, suppliers, installers, builders and every one else that my job throws in the way of making me my first million but in the end, that's just work. But Blackpool is Blackpool!!!

So what's happened now you think whilst diving behind the sofa for cover and trying to retrieve the jammie dodgers so they don't get crushed. Well I'll tell you! (As if I wouldn't).

When I started going to Blakpool for the weekends it was at the behest of my mate JC. The last couple of years though he has handed over the running of the weekend to me, and as such, an invitation to join us on the weekend comes from me and me alone. I might take on board suggestions as to who could be invited but it's something I decide and, whilst it might seem strange to some, it is something I take very seriously. We were already a group of 4 when I invited a couple of relatives of Kevs who'd expressed an interest in coming in previous years. I spoke to them the other night and gave them the details and they were up for it. I also invited Kevs brother Ken although he had already fuffed about as to whether he'd come or not, a typical one of those who talk about being one of the lads and coming along and then when the time comes can't hack even the booking, let alone the weekend itself. Anyway, Kev had talked to Andie about him still going, and because Warren, her brother, was going she was happy that Kev wouldn't be left completely in my clutches.

Kev spoke to Ken last night and Ken made it clear that he wasn't happy that Kev would still be going. I should point out here that although Kev has gone a bit tits up again in recent weks it is nowhere near as bad as last time and we still have three months to go, and to be quite honest, if he didn't feel right he would back out himself. However, whilst I'm at Kevs today he gets two calls in quick sucession from a) Warren, saying Ken had been on the phone trying to persuade him not to go and b) the other relative saying he wouldn't be able to make it but couldn't really come up with a convincing reason.

I thought I might calm down a bit by this evening but if anything I'm more annoyed than earlier. How dare Ken interfere with my organisation of the weekend. I couldn't really give a toss whether he went or not from the start but Kev, I know, wanted him to, but I'm not having him talking to people who I've invited and know, and would be quite happy for them to come even if Kev didn't! There's going to have to be words! Big ones, and probably loud ones.

One good thing was that Kev handled it all very well, and apparently a lot better than I have, but I won't have people interfering with Blackpool, it's too important to me.

OK, you can come out from behind the sofa now, but sit quietly and give me one of your jammie dodgers or I might go off on one again.

Did anyone see Mystery Science Theater 3000 - The Movie on ITV tonight?

It was hilarious. I suppose in a so bad it was funny kind of way, but that was, I suspect, the whole idea. Now if I can track down the DVD that will be Ians Christmas present sorted!

Monday, July 21, 2003

It's been decided that, as his kids are breaking up on summer holidays, Kev will stay off until they return to school in September. He hasn't promised to do absolutely no work during that time, but it would only be low stress jobs like putting out leaflets, for which he will be pressganging the kids to help. After he returns, then we will look at the number of hours we both work and try to get some sort of routine going rather than working every hour of every day.

In the meantime we will be meeting up for the odd swim or walk or a bit of geocaching all of which will give us both some much needed exercise.

Anyway, we've got to get fit and trim. There's only 3 months until Blackpool!

Sunday, July 20, 2003

The countryside of Sussex, particularly the stretch of the A27 from Lewes to Eastbourne, was looking particularly gorgeous today, as no doubt were many other parts of the U.K. Definitely a case down south of Englands "green and plesant land". More and more of it though is becoming Englands yellow and slightly sweet and sickly smelling land as the amount of acreage given over to rape seed production increases.

What on earth is it all used for? I know we get oil from it and we must be harvesting more oil from that source than we do from The North Sea! Is that it's only use, as a cooking oil? If we are going to change the verdant look of our scenery to that degree I hope there is something more useful from the end result than something to fry an egg in.

I used one of the directory enquiry alternatives yesterday. The B.T. online enquiry system hadn't got the number I wanted, but to be fair, it does say it isn't complete compared to the phone-in service. I rang 118888. Not only did they have the number, whilst I was being given it a text message arrived confirming the number. Maybe all of them do that, but they are the first company to do it to me.

I'm impressed.

David Essex was a guest on the Jonathon Ross Show. He was talking about how he now only releases his new c.d.s through his website because he can't take all the grief that the record companies give artists. JR asked him how many copies he could expect to sell that way. I thought he would probably be saying around 10k-20k tops. He normally clears about 100,000+!!! I know he has a loyal fanbase, but if he did sell through the shops then that figure would be ood enough to get him a top 3 placing in the album charts, let alone the other people who might buy it not knowing at the moment that a) it was out or b) where to purchase it.

Not bad going after 30 years for someone who could never have been described as a top flight musician.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Linda wants to have her hair cut but she begrudges paying £30+ to have four inches cut off the bottom of her hair and that's it. Then again, she'd rather pay that than have me cut it for her, and who can blame her. Edward Scissorhands I ain't.

There is a chain in London, and perhaps further afield, called Supercuts, who don't charge much but are nearly as inept as me, or at least the ones near us are.

So, my dear female readers, how much do you pay to have your hair done, and is it a chain salon or a one off? (Kacroon - you can round it up or down to the nearest £1000 for the work of art that you have done. :) )

Playing a quiz machine the other day it referred to The Beatles as "a boy band". I suppose in a way they were but it is hard to think of them that way when compared to the boy bands of today, but certainly the screaming and adulation were there.

Then again, if you thought of The Beatles like that, would you also have to include, The Monkees, Hermans Hermits, The Rolling Stones, Manfred Mann, The Searchers and The Hollies etc?

And apart from The Supremes, I can't think of any other all girl groups off the top of my head in that bit of the 60s.

So, were the lovable "mop tops" a boy band or not?

Oh dear. It looks like we might be talking 2 or 3 months rather than 2 or 3 weeks before Kevs back, although there is one train of thought that thinks he might not be back at all.

This now means I have to go ahead with D3sk B as a solo project with support from Karen, rather than Kev and I working together. I could stay with Everest I suppose but I've always been the sort of person who moves forward so D3sk B it is. I may have to change the speed and way it is done, but I still think it is the way forward.

The downside for me, Karen being in Eastbourne, is that it puts me back to working on my own again. I easily get bored with my own company, so I'll have to make sure I build in plenty of downtime with friends and, like last time it happened, reading others sites and posting here is a social thing for me and forms part of my support.

So stick with me, I shall try now not to talk too much about work, and get back to blogging rather than the journal this has turned into.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Well yesterday turned out to be pretty interesting.

First thing in the morning I took the letter in to Window 3xchange severing our links. We are not numbers, we are free men. Hurrah.

The plan was for Kev to go to Eastbourne to stay at Karens but that looked like it might have to be put in abeyance as the hospital in Bristol rang to say Karens mother-in-law-to-be had taken yet another turn for the worse and they might need to go straight there. Luckily in the end she didn't need to go so Kev could go to her for a few days.

He needed to get out of his house because Andie is going off the deep end. She's probably in a worse state than he is but his doctor has said he needs two weeks rest and he wouldn't get it round her. At one point she was screaming at me to say she would sue me for ruining their lives! This is a popular theme of hers as she is regularly going to sue 3verest who ruined it before I got the chance. Andie is a deeply unhappy person who really should seek help, but like her alcoholic mother before her, who has no doubt caused many of her problems, she cannot admit to any responsibility for Kevs condition or to have any blame laid at her doorstep. She refuses to go to the doctor or acknowledge that there is anything wrong with her, it's all Kevs, mine, and any one else she can name's fault. He hopes when he goes back to see his doc in two weeks time and she goes with him, that he can engineer a chance for the doctor to ask how she is coping with Kevs illness. Of course, if she says she is o.k. then the doctor won't be able to do anything about her present state of mind.

So in the end I had the longest drive I've had since I had my courier company. We left Kevs at 4.30 and arrived at Eastbourne at 7.30, twice the normal time due to the M25 and they'd shut the A27 at Lewes. We had a scenic but slow trip along the coast road through Newhaven and Seaford and a great view of Eastbourne coming off the road to Beachy Head. Then I picked up Karens fiancee and drove him to Bristol, which for speed meant back to within about 5 miles of home, and then having dropped him off at 11.30, back home to a frosty reception at 1:00 a.m. I reckon that was about 400 miles.

I'm typing this at 10.30 this morning although it won't be posted until later and as to date Kev hasn't rung me, so hopefully that means he's sleeping, or at least not worrying about work.

If only life was simple once in a while, but then, we'd probably only get bored.

Monday, July 14, 2003

Kev's had another minor breakdown. The pressure of what has been happening with Window 3xchange, plus the usual stress of his marriage and a few other bits and pieces, was too much, and last night he started to feel a bit paranoid. The good thing was that he realised for himself what was happening and took steps to not let it go any further. He should be going down to Eastbourne for a few days R&R tomorrow and I'll tidy up the loose ends back here. Luckily I'd been running most of the D3sk B work so there's no problem from that side.

I knew he was under pressure, I knew we were finalising things tomorrow for our exit from W.E., but in the end, despite the warning signs, I didn't take enough action to protect him. It's not easy to tell anyone what to do at the best of times, but even more so when you discover that they think everything you are doing is to harm them in some way. It's no excuse for letting him down though.

He hasn't been taking his medication regularly just recently, and he hasn't slept well for a few days, a mix that is bound to cause problems. Hopefully he'll be fine after his days away.

Saturday, July 12, 2003

The Goodwood Festival of Speed is presently on.

How do I know?

Because it was on the traffic news because of all the traffic in that part of Sussex grinding to a halt.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Our fridge freezer is f*cked. Even in the depths of despair a nice piece of aliteration always goes down well.

Somethings not working because although the internal temperature of the freezer is -18C everything is defrosting, and the stuff we put in their two days ago, (sweet and sour sauce), is still liquid. The fan must have packed up because I can't think of it being anything else. Linda has decided we can fix it ourselves, which actually means she will try to fix it and I have to stand there watching, so tomorrow I shall be checking out repair manuals.

Expect much swearing in West London this coming weekend!

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Sorry there haven't been any posts for the last couple of days but I can't even begin to explain how busy we are. The good thing is at least we are busy with incoming orders.

Am hoping to have time to breathe in the next couple of days. Can someone remind me of what sleep is please.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

We needed to find a builder for the project down in Midhurst. We've had quotes off a couple but thought they were a bit expensive. We've just helped a builder out with a problem so we thought we'd get him to quote.

There's good news and there's bad news.

The good news is his pricing is good and we could use him without any trouble. The bad news is that he doesn't have three days spare before next April!

Actually there is one more bit of good news. As we helped him out he is going to use us as his supplier. With the next 9 months booked through we can look forward to quite a few orders from him.

Sunday, July 06, 2003

For those in the Chertsey area of Surrey next weekend they are holding their historic Black Cherry Fair. I've been a couple of times before with Ian, Jacqui and the kids but this year is a must as I&Js daughter Amy is one of the princesses. She's playing it down big time and complaining at her mother telling everyone about it but she's enough of a "showoff" that I suspect on the day she'll rather like being the centre of attention.

People can't believe she is representing her primary school which she is just leaving as she is starting to look older than her 11 years.

What's that about kids growing up so fast?

Amongst the many spam mails offering to increase the size of my manhood at least one this morning had a title that amused. Paraphrasing the famous Field of Dreams line, it read, "If you build it, she will come".

Was Saturday St Williams Day?

I just wondered as Williams could either be winner or runner up at Wimbledon or on the front row at The French Grand Prix.

If tomorrows number one record in the charts turns out to be a duet between Andy and Robbie Williams then I'll start to think something strange is going on.

Saturday, July 05, 2003

I've been thinking about taking part in The International Photographic Scavenger Hunt. I've often wanted to get into photography but like most things artistic I dont really have the eye for it. Now I'm stuck with the dilemma as to whether to preplan what the photos will be, or just get out there and snap what comes up.

Friday, July 04, 2003

Linda tells me that following Tiger Tims defeat there are rumours he might be retiring. Who'd be a British sports star?!

I don't follow tennis closely but I would think he is the most consistent player we have had during my lifetime for reaching quarter and semi-finals at Wimbledon. And let's make no bones about it, if he had won, it would only have been because Hewitt and Agassi had been knocked out, like it was his fault they weren't playing well enough.

In Britain, being a sports star means being criticised for not winning everything, and then if you do, the press go after your private life.

You really can't expect to have a healthy society when negativity and a desire to cause trouble are your over-riding motives.

1. What were your favorite childhood stories?

It's so long ago I can hardly remember! I know I had a story book of the Disney film, Sleeping Beauty, which had pictures drawn directly from the film. It was released in 1959 when I would have been coming up to three. I was also a bit of a Noddy afficianado. My brother who is 4 years younger than me, was heavily into The Famous Five and Secret Seven, and somewhat worryingly, The Naughtiest Girl in School, and I know I read all those as he got them.

2. What books from your childhood would you like to share with [your] children?

I suppose it would have been The Famous Five books. I know they are very un p.c. nowadays with their white middle-class mores, but for children who lived in cities, they were escapist. They were often set at "The Seaside", usually Cornwall, Devon and Dorset, there would be an "adventure", and at the end, no matter what happened in the interim "the baddie" was always caught and all ended well with the world. I'd rather children read that than books set in inner cities with drug taking and real life crime. Kids learn about the real world soon enough without rushing the onset.

3. Have you re-read any of those childhood stories and been surprised by anything?

No. (That must be the shortest answer I've ever given to a Friday 5 Q.).

4. How old were you when you first learned to read?

I could read when I went to school at 4 and a quarter years old. That being one of the advantages of having a mum who was at home all day. She tells me I was constantly asking for stories to be read to me. We are talking about a time with only one hour a day of childrens television programmes, (eeeh, but wi wer' 'appy. Wi med us own entertainment then). I suspect that just to keep me quiet she would read the ingredients off the sides of food boxes.

5. Do you remember the first 'grown-up' book you read? How old were you?

I remember all my mates at school reading Lord of The Rings. I got to page 4 before I realised that was enough. I've never got past page 4. I remember the first grown up books my brother read. It was Chambers 20th Century Dictionary and Encycopaedia Brittanica. He was 5.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Ouch!!!!! My feet hurt!

We covered quite some distance today around Central London. Probably a good 4 mile or more, all on lovely hard concrete paving.

But it was still worth it. Hopefully a good time was had by all. I enjoyed pointing out the lesser known sights of London. The markets, the Inns of Court and trying to explain our legal system to them. Temple Bar and London Wall.

I should have spent this evening with my feet soaking in a bowl of water. Do people still do that? Or are my northern roots just showing through?

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Tomorrow, or should I say later today, is a geocaching day. A couple of American cachers have flown in from the San Francisco area and I am meeting up to give them a bit of a tour of London whilst finding a cache or two.

I'm looking forward to it but hopefully the weather will hold up.