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Wednesday, September 29, 2004

I'd like to say that we never made mistakes in ordering stuff for the companies clients, but mistakes do happen, some large, some small. I've managed to surpass myself by writing the height of a door I ordered as 2130 when it should have been 2190. Not an easy mistake to make. Normally it would be a pain in the arse, but you just get on with ordering another and apart from the customer griping a bit, which to be fair they are entitled to do, and the fact that it costs money, you just grin and bear it.

It doesn't help however when it's your next door neighbours door!


Kev was reading a pamphlet about bankruptcy which talked about the newly formed Bankruptcy Restriction Orders, or BROs for short. Please tell me that the person who came up with that acronym did it purposefully so that the recipient could sing "I Owe You Nothing"!

Monday, September 27, 2004

I've been invited to take part in some market research for a tv production company on history programming. I should have course of accepted because it was nice of them to ask, but the lure of £55 for an hour and a half time was more of a spur.

That takes place on Wednesday evening but part of it was that I had to watch Black Death, part of the "worst Century" series. I was looking forward to slagging it off but in fact it was well produced, not too much in the way of background music and only a couple of bits of annoying arty camera work to oversell a point.

I didn't know much about this era. I know a bit about 9th-13th century. I think the next one is on Thursday evening about The Peasants Revolt.

Good news! Another friend is going to join in the epic bike ride but isn't going to train for it. I now only have to be able to cycle further than him to stop me looking bloody useless. This is a major plus.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Took the bike out for it's first journey today along the banks of the Grand Union Canal.

Did 4 mile round trip, average speed 8.8mph, top speed 18.6mph (downhill with following wind), cycled halfway up the homecoming hill, threw up, walked up the other half, cycled home.

I may not be as fit as I'd hoped!

PS. Seat not as uncomfortable as I expected, thighs already firming up nicely.

If ever you needed proof that my generation refuses to grow up, or at least that I do, on Thursday my afternoon ended like this.

4pm - Go to Halfords. Pick up bike with which I aim to get fit and see the world.
5pm - Go to opticians and pick up set of reading glasses which have just been prescribed.

That's me, 47, going on 11, going on 106!

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Ive bought the bike and it will be ready to be picked up Thursday.

My thighs are complaining already at the thought of it.

Just checked the stats to find that the next person to visit is number 20,000!

Is it you, and if so who are you? And have you nothing better to do?

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Currie Motors at Southend have invited me to a special sales evening for their range of new and used Peugeots. I have, of course, been specially selected to attend this sparkling occasion as "a loyal customer".

I'm glad they remembered me. The last occasion I was there was in 1992.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

This weekend is Open House London with 500 houses of special architectural interest opened to the public for free. Saturday I think I want to do a few in my locale and my probables will be Boston Manor House, Brentford & Isleworth Friends Meeting House, Kew Bridge Steam Museum and perhaps break the visits up with one of the guided walks, perhaps Isleworth. On Sunday I am definitely heading for The Buddhapadipa Temple in Wimbledon.

A weekend of culture. Blimey! Whatever next?

I was watching a couple of young kids yesterday sizing each other up. They must have been around 6 years old. One was decked out as Harry Potter with the coat and even the glasses, the other was dressed as Robin Hood with a jaunty feather in his hat. They started watching each other as their mothers took then through the tills at the supermarket, each trying to stay aloof and detached but wathcing each other from the corners of their eyes.

Eventually they both passed through and were pretty much face to face. There was a rapid appraisal of each other, rather proud of their own costume and in the obvious glory of having one of their peer group admire it, but tinged with a little apprehension as to whether they might not have come off second best in the style stakes.

In another 10-15 years will they still be stood around preening themselves at parties but with an underlying lack of self-confidence that requires other peoples approval? From such encounters are neuroses formed.

Our loin girding was worth it and pphase one of the garage clearance has taken place. (Yes, it is so bad that it needs to be tackled in phases!).

We will recover from this set of exertions and then move on to phase two one day next week.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Heck, it's week since I last posted. My hand/eye/brain/blog co-ordination system has obviously been malfunctioning. Little has been missed in the last week but the main points of the news are;

  • New mortgage should be in place in the next fortnight.

  • I've got raging toothache.

  • My bike trip to the South Coast will happen, though god knows when.

  • Kev and I have girded our loins, done a site survey of my garage, and tomorrow is clearout day.

  • I've still got raging toothache.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

As well as Tunbridge Wells we visited East Grinstead, Eastbourne and Hastings on business. I looked in an estate agents window in Hastings and spotted a double fronted, 5 bedroom house, modern, which Linda and I prefer, with two garages, two en suite plus family bathroom, a laundry room and lord knows what else and it was £265.000!!!!!!! I'm seriously going to think about moving there. Similar houses to that in South West London, and there are some around Wimbledon would command prices of at least £750,000, and if they were on a gated estate might even break the £1m barrier. I wouldn't have thought it was a bad commute from Hastings to London by train, or at least no worse than commuting in from anywhere else, not that it makes a blind bit of difference to me as I wouldn't be commuting.

All that property plus the seaside. I think I might have lived in London too long. As Dr Johnson should have written, "when a man is tired of London he's finally woken up up and smelt the roses!".

I drove about 250 miles yesterday, 245 of which must have been trying to navigate round Tunbridge Wells!

In the old days you could drive straight up or down the main street which I think is Mount Pleasant Road. Now the top end is a series of one way and restricted access roads. I have always prided myself that even when I get lost I at least have an inate sense of whether I'm heading north, south, east or west. We spent 15 minutes trying to get from The Opera House, north, towards London. During this time god alone knows where we got to but I expected to be somewhere north or west of the town centre and finally ended up where I started coming in from the South East. Luckily, from the southern end I knew which road to take but I am now confused as to whether to vote for this or Milton Keynes as the most badly signposted town in Britain.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

A man was stabbed to death in Richmond Park last Thursday. According to the local papers, various people had seen a man running towards the centre of the park so the Police did the obvious thing, closed all the gates and started taking the details of anyone leaving the car, either by foot or by car. There was quite a queue of cars waiting to get out and the Police caught quite a bit of abuse from people who were late for appointments.

And that sums up London. A man is killed but people are much more bothered by their own inconvenience.

They caught the guy that did it anyway.

One of the reasons I quite fancy getting back on the bike, apart from helping to lose weight, is that one of my mates has worked out he can get from his house in Walton-on-Thames to Shoreham-by-Sea near Brighton without using roads, a distance of I would think 60-70 miles. This has me realising that since I can get to him without using roads other than to cross them, I can join him and do the same although it will end up being about 100 miles.

The rough route would be across the road where I live, through "The Gap" which is a green, down to the Grand Union Canal, along to Brentford, up to Kew Bridge on the Thames Path, over the bridge and then all the way to him at Walton along the Thames. We then proceed to Weybridge on the Thames, join the Wey Navigation to Bramley, south of Guildford and then pick up the Downslink which runs from Bramley to Shoreham.

I think I better start training!

It would be done over a couple of days with a number of stops to take refreshment at available hostelries. Assuming I dont fall into a river or canal before the end we would then catch the train home.

If we decide to do it, and I hope we do, I shall require a series of Bloggers across the South to line the route at various intervals brandishing intravenous drips containing either Smirnoff or Stella Artois depending whether I need anaesthetic (vodka) or resuscitation (lager).

Saturday, September 04, 2004

My Aunty Glenda died on Thursday evening. She wasn't really my aunty but my Mums cousin, which I think makes her my second cousin?, who knows, but as always to young kids she was an aunty.

I haven't seen her much since I grew up, the last time probably being at my stepfathers funeral some 10 years back but my mum spoke to her every week and kept me informed. She was ill back then, just diagnosed with leukeamia. During that 10 year period she has been having blood transfusions and chemotherapy as often as she was strong enough to take it, usually twice a year. In addition she has sufered repeated bouts of pneumonia. The staff at her hospital were beginning to think she was invincible. They were surprised she survived the first lot of pneumonia, amazed she made it through the second, and every time she caught it subsequently they marvelled at how she recovered, as have we all.

Last time my mum spoke to her, some three weeks back, she was due to go into the hospital the next day as the pneumonia was back. For the first time she told mum how tired she felt and she wasn't certain she'd shake it off this time. It hit her hard and she couldn't.

I might go up for the funeral, the only time like most families that we all get to see each other. This one in paticular will have people there I haven't see for over 30 years. These include her two daughters, Lynne and "Baby Catherine", except Baby Catherine is probably about 40.

Baby C got the nickname because of my brother. When she was born my bro was about 3, and was fascinated by this tiny child. I don't know what time of year it was but Christmas presents weren't on the cards, he spent all his time asking Mum for a "Baby Catherine". Mum wasn't wanting to supply such a thing naturally but she had been wondering how to wean Graham off his dummy which he still took a shine to. So she hit upon the idea that she would buy him a Baby Catherine but explained that he had to be a big boy to look after her and perhaps being that big he wouldn't need a dummy any more. He went for it, and one evening Mum said that he should hang his dummy outside the front door and see what happened. When he woke up in the morning he came down to find a doll in a crib on the doorstep. Baby Catherine went with him everywhere for quite a time, much to my Grandads embarrasment, and the real Catherine also got know as Baby Catherine.

My mum and Glenda are about the same age and my mum who never had a sister was always close to Glenda. Mum rang me today to tell me the news and she's obviously upset but she knew it was coming this time and will be pleased Glenda won't have to suffer with the pain and the effects of the treatment any more.

Those who've been around a time may remember me talking about my cousins son who was severely injured in an attack nearly two years back and that my cousin had lost his mum when he was very young. His mum, Sheila, who died of cancer aged about 30, was Glendas sister, so now they will be back together again wherever Auntys go when they've finished down here.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

At the library where I visit locally there is a car park. It is for the use of library visitors, playschool parents, and the transport for "The Log Cabin" which is a play group for disabled children. It can get pretty busy at the best of times. The other week the staff were discussing a car which was parked in the car park, a Merc, whcih belongs to a woman who parks there two or three times a week. This library is next door to a tube station which doesn't have readily accessible parking for commuters. A number of times the library staff have left notes on her windscreen not to park there as a) she isn't meant to do, and b) her car is likely to get damaged with the constant run of minibuses in and out of The Log Cabin.

The last time or so I was in there they were then discussing that one of the staff had caught up with her one day on her return and pointed out the parking restrictions. Apart from being abusive, which won't come as a surprise to those of us who have continual run-ins with people who own big cars and think they are allowed to park anywhere they bloody well like, she mentioned that she was a member of the library and it doesn't say you have to be using the library at that moment and that her kids had gone to the playschool previously, although at first she tried it on that they were still there.

I called in earlier today and noticed her car, there yet again, had a dent in it. Accident or otherwise, I leave you, the members of the jury to decide.

There aren't enough hours in the day or days in the week at the moment. Alternatively, I might just have the worlds worst time management procedures. That's not true, Kev is worse than me.

Over the weekend I helped Adam out with installations and as far as I know they are all still in place, a minor miracle when I've been involved. I can't even remember what I did Monday and Tuesday it was that exciting, and yesterday we were down in Bromley installing some of our own stuff.

We have had another meeting about the new company and we have decided we are going to work with them for a 12 week period to see how things go. Busily no doubt but hey, sleep's very overrated anyway.

If anything interesting happens in my life or my brain actually comes up with a thought I shall come and tell you about it otherwise expect quiet and be thankful for not having to read about the everyday travails of yours truly.