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Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Just a few points on the Asian disaster.

There have been a lot of calls by members of the public to get more co-ordination between the aid services to help with the dead and injured. I'm sure the aid agencies are moving as quickly as they can and are doing everything in their power to help those in need. What irritates me is that these same people who complain are the ones who, in the course of their own lives, probably aren't particularly organised. There seems to be a very British disease of "pot calling the kettle black". For some reason nowadays we all demand the highest service and skills from those with which we deal and are swift to criticise their shortcomings, yet when poeple demand high quality from ourselves it is not forthcoming. I can't decide whether it is just plain selfishness or some sort of frustration.

The older I get the more I believe in respecting the Earth, not so much in an environmental way as in a religious sense. It must be my Grandfathers Druidism seeping through. Sub-consciously I can feel myself apologising to Mother Earth and asking what we did wrong to upset her and to spare us further damage. If it isn't my Grandfathers influence it must be because I've read too many Native American Indian tracts. Strange.

Listening to the news a few minutes ago a reporter mentioned that there was a story coming out that the Sri Lankan government had refused the help of an Israeli field hospital because it would be manned by Israeli soldiers. I don't understand enough about the history of the two peoples to know whether this is anything more than anti-semitism or some other form of politics. Whichever, or whatever, it might be, I would say to the Sri Lankan government that you have lost too many of your poeple and have thousands more who need urgent medical treatment. Does it really matter if the hand that soothes the fevered brow is Jewish?

Once again Celebrity Fit Club is shortly to be amongst us. It is one of the few "reality" programmes that I like, but it stil annoys me that when celebrities are involved it is FIT club, but when members of the public were participating it was FAT club. Just because you're famous doesn't mean you aren't fat.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Well, Christmas Day passed pleasantly enough. Lunch was at the local Harvester and for once, a rare picture of me and my mum where we both look half human is here.

So far today I have visited B&Q as I have £30 of vouchers to spend and they're already burning a hole in my pocket! I have however resisted the temptation to buy the first thing I saw. Also called into Currys and saw loads of stuff I wanted. Left straight away as I'll only wind myself up.

I'm off to Norfolk next weekend to visit my Dad and step-mum although the main reason to visit is that Erica, my step-sister, is over from San Francisco and I haven't seen her for ages. So if you can all keep off the M25/M11/A11 and A47 next Saturday and Sunday it'll be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Just in case I don't get round to posting tomorrow, or more likely you have better things to do than visit this site I hope you all have the sort of Christmas you're looking forward to.

I've decided my Christmas Greeting this year should be;

May your wine, beer and holiday be chilled and your Christmas dinner and whoever you spend it with be hot and tasty.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

I thought it might have been 2004 that was a real bummer but it may just have been the age of 47. Since I left there and advanced another year there are just the first glimmers of things improving for the better.

My advice therefore is that if you are approaching 47 you should prepare to hibernate for an entire year.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The Bulls Head in Barnes is one of the famous London pubs for live music. They specialise in jazz and have been going donkeys years, 45 in fact, but it looks as if it might all be coming to an end.

Like in much of London, a while back a piece of land next to the pub about the size of a handkerchief became available and a block of flats were put up. During the planning application stage the owners of the pub, Youngs Brewery, asked for the passageway betwen the pub and the proposed development be left in position as without it's sound reducing effects the new residents would be affected by noise from live gigs. Yes, you can probably see what is happening. The passageway was built on and now the residents are complaining about the noise during the live performances. Result, the music is going to have to stop.

This is typical of what's happening in London. On this occasion it is more the fault of Richmond Council than the residents, although buying a flat next door to a pub which advertises live jazz 7 days a week could have been a bit of a giveaway. However, these are not as bad as the owners of properties in Kew who spend ridiculous amounts of money, around £1 mill, on a house situated on the Heathrow flight path and then immediately join HACAN to complain about the noise. I have sympathy with anyone who buys a property to find that in years to come something happens that increases the noise levels significantly but when you take a decision to move somewhere with an obvious problem then the phrase for those in Kew should be "Caveat Emptor - Buyer Beware". Either that or "More Money than Sense"

Well, I can be pretty certain I'm not on David Baddiels christmas card list.

Last night was the recording of Heresy and of the few audience members they spoke to I was one. The reason I was chosen to talk about the commercialisation of Christmas was because I share my surname with a well known hotel chain, although spelt differently. It gave David a chance to get a gag in because of the subject. What he wasn't expecting was my reply to the question. I'd come up with a short(ish) comedy answer just in case and I went into it. I was concentrating on what I was saying, the mates I was with said he wasn't happy.

I think it will be on this Thursday evening at 6:30 in the evening, but if not it will be one of the following Thursdays. My mates reckon I'll be cut but we'll see. I'd like to think I was the highlight of the programme, but then I'm an egotistical, sagittarian Yorkshire double glazing salesman, what the hell else am I going to think! (Joking! - about being the star, not the egotistical bit, we all know that's true). No, to be fair, I'm not the highlight. That honour belongs to a Christian who answered the same question. I bet the Beeb doesn't have the balls to put her answer out!

Once I've heard the programme broadcast I'll either run over my part or hers, or both if we're both scratched.

Overheard in Tescos car park this evening, a man in his early 20's shopping with his mother.

I can't believe we spent 30 minutes deciding which branch to go to, 30 minutes driving here, spending only 10 minutes shopping before spending 20 minutes stood there deciding if you'd forgotten anything!

There stands a man who isn't married!

Monday, December 20, 2004

Things are looking up for the New Year. It looks like we might have to fly over to Jersey for a couple of days on work and then in spring we'll do the installation for a week long excursion.

Much better than fitting stuff in the back end of stockwell!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

I really like The Millau Bridge, another one of Norman Fosters great designs. Hopefully though this one won't wobble.

If I have to go through France this coming year, which is a possibility, I'll detour especially to go over it.

Well, this is the funniest thing they've done in ages.

I greet you tonight from a new internet cafe, opened only this week and perhaps marginally nearer than my usual one. Wonderful new machines, clean environment, friendly staff, temperature up to about 150 degrees!!!

I'll stick to this one if I remember to just wear a t-shirt.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Oooooh! Handbags at 20 paces!

Good grief! I woke up yesterday morning to discover I was 48!!! How did that happen? I'm going to be 50 soon.

Does that mean I'll have to stop behaving like a 5 year old?

Well done to Len Gridley, a man who is taking real life to the politicians. He is presently buying three sites in Tony Blair, John Prescott and David Blunketts constituencies and is then going to sell them to Travellers as camp sites.

I'm not for or against the travellers in this matter, although on a general point many often don't do themselves any favours in the style in which they live, but the only way to bring the problems to the governments attention is to involve them personally. Historically it is the way that gets results. In the seventies/eighties, whilst the country was being told not to be intimidated by terrorist attacks by the IRA the government did little until the bomb at Westminster that killed Airey Neave. Within a matter of hours emergency legislation was being passed. We see the same within the walls of The Houses of Parliament with security screens to protect the chamber etc. I'm afraid the idea of the screens protecting the democratic government butter no parsnips with me. They are just politicians. In a crisis it is astonishing what can be achieved, and should anything happen there the world won't come to a halt. Their world might, and that is of course their primary incentive.

So good on you Len, although I feel sorry for those who will be affected as much as Messrs Blair, Prescott and Blunkett. And perhaps he feels as cynical as the rest of us because at present he won't say exactly where he is purchasing the land just in case a series of compulsory purchase orders are raised. Would our leaders stoop to such tactics. Too bloody right they would, and quicker than a visa application for a friends nanny!

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Good grief, life is boring at the moment. Well, that's not quite true but it is so workcentric, (this must surely be a word), that I lack posts rather than bore you all to death. Anyone who wants an in depth discussion on the business plan I am in the middle of compiling can contact me via the normal means.

Events coming up in the wonderful world of Kennamatic include:

Monday - a trip to Basildon to discuss Home Improvement Finance Schemes.
Thursday - erecting some tower scaffolding.
Following Monday - Off to the recording of Heresy.

Well, hopefully one will manage to be of interest.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

There was a radio discussion this morning, with a subject matter from the little I heard regarding being British, English and how that feels.

I turned off at the part where someone was saying that many people who lived in London didn't feel as though it was part of Britain anymore because there were so many foreigners. I think he meant other colours. I can't be doing with it.

It did make me wonder just where we are on the racist/political correctness balance at the moment. A few years back we had a religious group called The Dawoodi Bohra using the building behind our flats. They applied for Planning permission to use the building as a place of worship and I went to the public meeting. There were arguments both ways but I had a problem with the usage as well.

I had no problem over it's use regarding religion but the kitchen extractor fans extracted straight to where our flats communal clothes lines were for drying clothes. This meant that if it was used and people had their clothes hung out they would get steeped in the pervading smell of whatever was for lunch/dinner/tea. Much of the time it wasn't too bad, but, if they were cooking curry, the spices and herbs were so strong in the air that the clothes picked up the smell. I also pointed out that I would object if they were frying food such as fish and chips and the smell of oil or fat was being absorbed. I brought this up to make the point that the kitchen needed to be moved or a different system of extraction needed to be brought in. This would be an allowable point under the part of planning law that deals with the enjoyment of ones property.

The reaction I got was the same as if I'd suggested making the BNP the next government. Not I might add from the Muslim community who were in support of it's use but from the local white community who are so right on with regard to political correctness that they can't deal with anything in an appropriate way. They were however objecting themselves for other reasons. They are also the same people who complain if someone lights a bonfire or has a barbecue and affects their enjoyment.

These people do as much harm to the cause of integration as those who are racist. The best way for the community to be fully inclusive and integrated is to allow people to get on with their lives and deal with any potential problems in an even handed way without the interference of those with an axe to grind from any direction. I've never had any problem with the hundreds of non-British people I've met either as friends, customers or other contacts, regardless of their colour or creed. I do have a problem with bigots however they disguise themselves.

Met up with my brother Graham today. He's off to Aus for a month on Thursday so we grabbed an early Christmas drink down near his office in Leatherhead.

It also meant I could pick up last years Xmas presents from the family!

He also presented me with an early birthday present of Banco De Gaia's, You Are Here. Never heard any of their stuff before and have listened to about 2/3 so far. Expect a review, and probably a good one if it continues in the same vein.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Hurrah. The doors were successfully installed today, and in only 6 hours. However long that might seem, believe me it isn't. The missing ingredient last week was Matt who went through the installation as if he'd fitted hundreds of them. I think we might be offering him a great deal of work if he wants it.

On Wednesday there is an anniversary that I shall be celebrating wholeheartedly. Wetherspoons are 25 years old! All guest ales are 99p on the day.

We'll be making sure that not too many work things get in the way.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Well it seemed like a good idea at the time!

On Friday last week, one of our trade contacts rang to say could we install a couple of sets of bi-fold doors for him. "Fine", we said, "when do you need it done". By Sunday latest came the reply.

We rang everyone who's ever wielded a nylon hammer but drew blanks, so Kev and I decided that we'd do it ourselves. Hmmmmm.

The company had sent us fixing instructions and we'd read them. We'd actually seen bi-fold doors in-situ which puts us way ahead of many installers in the industry, so we were confident.

The first step is pretty much to construct the main frame, a rectangle, by fitting all four pieces together using some corner lugs.

"They just slide on", they said, "sometimes you can push them on just with your fingers" we were told but if they're a bit stiff just gove them a tap with a rubber hammer. We pushed. We tapped. We hit. We thumped. We hit the bastard as hard as we could. Yes all four did eventually locate, then all four proceeded to sheer off at the slightest movement. Ah! This frame has to be perfectly perpendicular, level, parallel and each joint at 90 degrees. We now have 4 bits of metal and we're not even certain which bit is which.

To cut a long story a little shorter, Monday saw us drive to Norwich taking the four bits of frame to have new lugs put in. They then proceeded to show us how easy it was. It wasn't. But they did give us a useful tip.

When hitting the frames together strike the aluminium not the plastic lug. This is the only product in our industry where that would probably be the case and they forgot to put that in the instructions. Maybe a proper fitter would have known.

All is now well, sort of. We have the bits, the knowledge, (they took us through a complete installation just so we knew what to expect), and the confidence. All we need now is the customer to let us back in to do it this Sunday. Except this time, by luck, we've discovered an installer we know has actually fitted one before. He's our secret weapon.

Just a bit of a change on the old design front. Actually it is an old design which I've temporarily re-hashed and made use of pending a major design change in January. Probably. Unless I run out of time. Or don't have the skill. Or the motivation.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

We've completely completed the completion of the new mortgage and things move onto a new phase. A new phase which seems to be me working my backside off and having no time to be online. In th last week we've been to Newmarket one day and then had to virtually retrace out steps two days later and go to Norwich.

Now that things are more settled I'm hoping to get my internet connection back on at home and then you'll be able to suffer the interminable drivel once more that I use to post here.

Things I need most at the moment. Beer and about 72 hours continuous sleep. The first I'll manage but no hope of the second.