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Thursday, March 31, 2005

Quite a lot of things happening but not all brilliant. Then again, worse things happen at sea.

New office is great. It makes a great change to go and work in a dedicated office space with all my stuff to hand. I had to produce a binder of information today that took a couple of hours. Previously, with all the bits I needed dotted about, it would probably have taken me about 2 days.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Hurrah! Well done Oxford

You may recall my loyalty to Oxford stems from the fact that I once spent a night there with a mate who was in St Katherines College, and no nights with any mates who went to Cambridge.

My loyalty is very easily bought!

So I've entually got my sorry ass back onto the pushbike, and it is a sorry ass at the moment, feeling like Johnny Wilkinson's been using it for kicking practice. Only 8 and 1/4 miles but that's quite a distance for an unfit sod like me, first trip out. Anyway, it was the trip I intended to make and I hadn't any idea how long it actually was until I did it. Importantly, it was exactly 2/3 of the distance from home to the new office which I can reach by bike along the towpath from home along the Grand Union Canal. I have some sort of romantic/adventurous/stupid idea that I might occasionally cycle there and back on some days. Whether I do will remain to be seen. Anyway, time to go and sit down carefully and have some Sunday lunch.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Also on the business front, and I'm not sure I should mention it now for fear of hexing it last minute, but we finally move into our office on Tuesday. We swore we would get into offices by the end of the quarter and we've done it with a whole day to spare! Next plan is by the end of next quarter we have our first full time sales rep. Anyone want a job which will no doubt start June 29th?

Hurrah! D3sk B Solutions, Kevs and my company, was 3 years old yesterday. Sometimes it looks a bit of a sickly child, other times it screams and needs our full attention, but it is still our baby. And we love it. And it's growing. And if all goes well it will do what all children should do. Take care of us in our old age.

Rants about the victimisation of the average car driver by the police and government are no strangers to this blog. So you'll not be surprised that here comes another.

The intention is that "every street corner" should have a camera that detects the number plate of a car and quickly check it against logs for tax and insurance. In turn, a police car down the road is notified and they can stop the driver and beat him to death fine him or her appropriately.

Let's look at their justifications.

  1. All the uninsured drivers on the road are hiking legit drivers insurance premiums by £30 per year.

    Oh my God! I think I'm meant to get into a complete state about this and neglect the fact that recent fuel duty increases have put my fuel bill up by £90 per year.

  2. An estimated 17% of drivers caught will be burglars.

    O.K. So let's say I'm a burglar. Next job I nick some extra stuff that I normally wouldn't take, sell it, and make sure my car has got tax and insurance on it. Sorted. Not going to get caught that way, and bugger all chance of getting caught any other way.

  3. Many cars without tax or insurance often have no MOT, which in turn means the car is unroadworthy, the extention of which is they will cause accidents.

    If a car in unroadworthy, a road side check will only prove what the police can already see and have existing laws to deal with.

Other points to consider are that, lets say, all these cameras are a great success. The 2 million or so drivers that are presently illegal all rush out and get tax, insurance and MOTs, what are they going to use these cameras for then? The devil and The Government find work for idle cameras to do, I would submit. Exactly how much are the cameras going to cost and who is going to pay for them. I bet it's going to be a damn sight more than £30 per driver so the insurance saving claim falls to the ground.

Worst of all in my opinion though is the fact that this is just lazy policing. What's going to happen to the art of detecting. Already burglars are pretty much guaranteed to get away with things, providing of course they don't use a car. In years to come we will have no more Morse, or Frost, or Sherlock Holmes, but a 13 part series on Camera 467/2A, Pride of the Force. See it as it takes a picture of a man who is driving a car with a tax disc that ran out yesterday. Yes, lazy policing and easy revenue.

Gun crime is rising, burglaries rise, detection rates drop. But never mind, our roads are a safer place to be because Mrs Smith whose MOT ran out last month, which she hadn't realised because her husband had died in hospital the week before following an operation after which he contracted septecemia (probably spelt wrong) through MRSA, and she's been fined £100 and got 3 points. Thank you the bloody Government!

I'll finish now otherwise my head is going to explode!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

I had hoped that I'd manage to drop below 17 stone this last week with all the physical exercise. I got weighed and the machie tells me I am 17st 0.1lb.

It does it on purpose I tell you!

Sunday, March 20, 2005

At last, the marathon week is over. No more moving stuff about, no more driving above an average 75 miles a day, no more really early mornings. To celebrate I didn't get up until mid-day.

Kev and I have a business acquaintance, sort of a friend, who is presently languishing at Her Majestys Pleasure. He's just got a year for ABH. Technically he is guilty. Morally he is so not guilty I can't believe the judge jailed him. It's way too lengthy to go into here but the precis would be thus.

His landlord wants him out of his business premises. His landlord starts to harass him. Friend complains to police who do nothing. Friend discovers landlord has a mate on police force. Landlords mate warns friend off. Landlord starts a campaign, along with wife, of hanging around the business premises making trading difficult and taking loads of photos whenever friend leaves the premises. Think paparazzi. Eventually friend loses it. Friend carries hammer out and says he will smash the camera. Before he can do that, wife throws herself at the hammer and claims injury. Landlords mate arrests friend. Friend in court pleads guilty to the technical offence but pleads provocation. Gets sent down for a year. Landlord sells photos of the "crime" and arrest, which they were still taking throughout, to the local papers.

Questions that occur to me are, 1) why did the police man not stop the photography as they surely would under normal circumstances if he was not involved. 2) Surely the fact the photos were in existence proved my friends claims of provocation.

Sometimes I wonder if there is anything right in our legal system, and even more disturbing, whether there are any decent people left. Of course, there are, you lot for a start obviously. I don't know, why can't everyone just get on and play nicely.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

I'm pleading too few hours in the day again.

Yesterday saw me spend the day driving around in a big lorry being very manly and eating Yorkies between London, Gloucester and Stratford upon Avon. Tomorrow it's a smaller Luton. Probably still have the Yorkie though! Friday we're back to Newmarket. Total mileage, probably the best part of 1000 miles plus all the interim travelling. And that's not counting our trip last Sunday to Glassex at The N.E.C.

Today is really about recovering from the last two days and preparing myself for tomorrow. Lucky I keep myself at the peak of physical perfection! (cough!)

Saturday, March 12, 2005

I noticed a traffic warden booking a car for parking illegally in a disabled parking bay. Good thing too, I'm no friend of the parking laws and the zealots who patrol them, but disabled access is important. What amazed me though was that, having written out the ticket and putting it on the windscreen, the warden whipped out a camera and started taking photos of the front, back and side of the car in relation to the disabled bay markings. I suppose it's used in evidence if the receiver of the ticket decides to appeal on the grounds that they weren't parked there. Good to know that our money, given so willingly as motoring fines, is being used to deck out wardens with digital cameras. However, that's not the main point of this.

I think they are missing a trick. Why not supply all wardens with an "artist in residence". You could then be issued with a ticket and also the opportunity to buy a pastiche of a famous painting personalised with your details. Options could include;

  • Franz Hals - The Laughing Traffic Warden.

  • W F Yeames - When Did You Last See Your Tax Disc

  • Eduard Munch - The Screen

  • Van Gogh - Self Portrait aka "I don't care if you have cut your ear off, you're still not parking in that disabled bay!"

Feel free to add more.

One of Kevs locals, The Minnow, has just been revamped. It was part of a chain before but looks as though it's become an independent gastropub. The sign outside mention a few food groups they deal with, such as pasta and fish but it ends with crustaceons! Crustaceons, I ask you! And shouldn't that be crustacea? Shellfish obviously not good enough for the good burghers of Weybridge. I wonder if they are going to include wood lice, water-fleas and barnacles or be a bit selective.

Of course, I may be totally wrong and they don't think they're a gastropub, they may be under the impression that they're gastropods. At least they could then also serve whelks and snails.

I can't help feeling that whatever classification they choose themselves they should be looking for a description that describes those that disappear up their own backsides.

Can there be anything funnier than a fashion victim becoming a victim of their own vanity. Coming out of Marks & Sparks today was a young man wearing unfeasibly large flares. With leg cuffs greater in circumference than his waist and a leg length which must have been a good 3-4 inches past his feet, he approached the automatic doors. They opened, but slightly slower than he expected. Leg forward, slow moving bottom door corner, flare gets trapped underneath the frame and his leg sweeps sideways and backwards.

Collapse of Kennamatic in stitches and a few seconds tussle wih the door for the young man concerned followed by a rather embarrased exit.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

I've been enjoying Diamond Geezers trawl through his family history and have decided that, having talked about it for ages, I should get on and do some investigating into my own families background. Unless I too find a murderer lurking amongst their midst, I probably won't share too much with you. (Hearty cheers offstage).

I should however make this one confession. It is an event which brings shame upon the family and has been a secret burden I have carried for many years and to which I rarely refer. Both my grandmothers were Lancastrian! I know, there's just nothing you can say that will console me. I like to think that they came to realise the error of their ways and were only too happy to marry good Yorkshiremen as a way of improving their lives. Now, I'm off to find out when I was born......

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Flashing your breasts at a Royal seems to be a particularly strange form of protest. For some reason I can't get the idea behind it. I guess it will get reported, but I can't particularly see any bloke turning round and saying, "Put em away, I give in, I'll concede to your demands". Indeed, if it was tried on anyone but the heir to the throne, the perpetrator might well find out how the victim rated her mammaries.

In the meantime, if any females wish to try out future similar protests, I would be willing to give free coaching lessons.

Monday, March 07, 2005

I may have read too many editions of The Dalesman. In the last 24 hours I've caught myself calling my mum "our mother" and saying "mi'ssen" instead of myself.

Whilst reading, someone was telling an anecdote when they used the exclamation "hummers!". Prior to this the only person I ever heard use this was my cousin Christine, who as a kid, used the term "blummin' hummers" when shocked. Any etymologists out there want to take a tilt at what "hummers" is. My guess is that it's possibly a corruption of "humours" as in the old medical term, "bad humours".

Advices please.

Later today I'm off to a funeral. I don't know why, because I'm not a funeral type person. Well, I do know why, because it's for a mates mother and I know he'll appreciate me being there.

I'm not sure why I have such a problem with funerals. It's not that I'm scared of death and thus it reminds me of my own mortality, more likely that it reminds me of my mums mortality which admittedly I try not to think about. Maybe it's guilt that I didn't go to my maternal grandmothers funeral. I was only 15 at the time and I know my mum didn't want me to go, and to be honest, I didn't want to go either.

In the end I think it might be because I don't like the idea of everyone making a fuss of someone once they've passed on. And that sounds selfish doesn't it. When I go I'd be quite content just to be disposed of as quietly as possible, in a physical sense. As for a wake, yes, that seems to be a great idea. Let's celebrate a life, not be mournful.

Well, if anyone knows, then answers on a postcard to the usual address.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Good news on the car front. The dead car, not the future car. It wasn't the gear box but something called the CV joint. That's apparently somewhere in the car where all the parts go to write up their careers to date, probably. It's now fixed and back on the road.

No movement on getting in to the office yet which is winding me up big time. There's going to be harsh words on Monday. I have a big project which I can't undertake until we're ensconced in somewhere stable.

And I'm suffering from some sort of rash on my thighs which is burning like mad, but then you probably didn't really want to know that, did you.

Oh, I've just remembered I haven't sent my mums Mothers Day Card. Whoops.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Well, I'm half a stone lighter than I was this time last month. And with a little bit of luck I'll drop under the 17st mark next week or the one after. It's a goodly time since I was last down there. If I eventually get a stone below that, there'll be dancing in the streets!

We may be taking on our first rep. He's an ex schoolfriend who was made redundant a few months back. He's never been in our industry before and he's never been in sales. Good. If he fancies it then we can train him how to "sell" the way we want without any pre-conceived ideas of how it ought to be done. He doesn't want to work in an office again and he fancies some flexibility in his life. We can offer him both of those things, so on thursday morning I'll be buying him the best coffee that very little money can buy and convincing him that this is where, at least for a time, his future lies. Depending whether he goes for it or not will at least tell me whether my art of persuasion has diminished or not.

We've had the leasing figures back for our potential new company car. I had a figure I hoped it would be and it's ended up only £39 a month more than that. The rest of this evening is going to be spent doing a detailed report into how it would be complete irresponsibility not to get it.

Whilst visiting my mother yesterday, I noticed she had a pile of "Dalesman" magazines. The Dalesman is a magazine featuring stories and articles related to the people, towns, and villages of the Yorkshire Dales. For an ex-pat like me they are wonderful to read. Not particularly because I'm interested in all things countryside. Indeed, I'm well known for panicking if I'm out of sight of tarmac, but just reading the place names, not just the well known areas of Wensleydale and Swaledale, but Arkengarthdale and Colsterdale, wonderfully named towns and villages like Kirkby Malzeard, Langthwaite, Grinton. It makes a lad homesick. Not of course that I ever lived in that part of Yorkshire. City boy born and bred, but reading about sheep rearing and cheese making and dry stone walling, makes me at least believe some of old Yorshire is still about and not swallowed up by the new commercialisation of cities such as Leeds, which has now just about changed beyond recognition as far as I can make out.

I dare say some of the inhabitants of the Dales hate the harking on about rural life by townies like me and wish people would recognise that they do have such wonderful items as electricity and telephones, and even the internet! They probably hate it as much as I can't stand bloody Southerners making programmes about "the gritty Northerners". So if your one of those, sorry. But for us poor Yorkshire missionaries down here in the soft South, it helps us focus on the hope that one day we will go back and occupy our own little piece of heaven. Once, of course, that they've finished the roadworks every five miles between here and Wetherby.