Thursday, September 12, 2002

Oh my goodness, could this be the longest gap between posts since I started this? Many humble apologies if anyone as actually been tuning in in hope of news from Felixstowe.

Feeling kind of dazed and confused today now I'm back at work again. I thought things must be running smoothly here as (a) when we used Park & Ride on Saturday (see below!) someone had managed to do some posters for them and (b) for the first time in 4 years I hadn't had a single phone call from the office while I was off asking how to do things or where certain files were. Coming in today it seems that all the hard work I put in to the area books has been sort of thrown out as the production has been cancelled (at a cost to us of something in the region of £25,000) and we are now doing them at the end of October. Loads of changes came in and Gary and Charles have been working their socks off to get it all covered. Glad I was out of it all really, and if I can get away with it I plan to stay away from this revised schedule. What would probably have been best was to have stayed at home until next week totally, but I can't afford the holiday days!

Where was I then? Oh yes, Thursday last week......

The big posh Chinese meal was indeed very tasty. Lots of things on the menu unlike any offerings from the takeaway places we usually eat food from, so there was a lot of hard choosing to be done. In the end though it all went very well with several new flavours discovered and a commitment to re-visit the Golden Panda with Joan alone sometime.

What else have we been up to since?

Friday we pretty much hung about the house doing ironing and tidying up and stuff like that. I think Joan overdid it a bit though as since then her recurring dodgy neck pain thing has been excrutiatingly painful requiring visits back to the osteopath and also the doctor and some serious pain killers. This naturally put the brakes on many of the plans we had and left others flapping idly in the breeze.

On Saturday we went in to Ipswich and got a great Chagall print to hang on the stairs instead of the signed (by Radio Suffolk) t-shirt we had there. It took ages to find somewhere selling stuff big enough to do the frame justice, and then when we did had loads to choose from. Isn't that always the way?! We also had a wander about, some food and stuff and managed not to buy any DVDs from the assorted offers available. On Sunday however...

...we popped in to the re-opened Blockbusters and bought 2. Armageddon and Gone In 60 Seconds. We also hired Gosford Park - which was the reason we went in in the first place. Quite a good little film, with about a zillion people we recognised popping up left right and centre. I think I worked out the majority of the surprises and clues before the answers were revealed, but it's always easy to say that with hindsight.

Monday we were supposed to go to London. Had tickets booked for the eye and a river cruise and were going to travel most of the way with Mum as she was visiting Grandma. Unfortunately Joan's agony put a stop to that so we settled for staying at home instead. The weather was foul anyway, and we managed to get a postponment on the tickets so that wasn't bad. To keep ourselves amused we watched Armageddon and despite the America rules gung-ho ness of it all we still had stirred up emotions. In fact for me more than the first time I saw it a couple of years ago. Also started playing Tomb Raider two. Gorgeous graphic enhancements over the first one (and yes, I know there are much prettier games available now but my OC ain't butch enough to handle them) and a good sense of being there.

Tuesday was the trip to France. Dad came instead of Joan and in the end we had a good time. There were one or two hiccups along the way (such as the gearbox on the coach failing when we hit the M25 forcing an unexpected break to wait for a spare) but we got through the Tunnel OK and in to Cite Europe. There we had a nice lunch (at a place called Flunch - recommended) and hit the shops. Neither of us bought very much (but then that was never my intention) - just some little treats and suchlike you can't get over here plus a few bottles of cheap wine. Good stuff, but cheap!

Wednesday was another lazy one before I returned to work today. We took a stroll out in the morning and sat on the beach for a while in the sun - it was lovely. Then when we came home the sun went in so timing was perfect again.

Yesterday was of course the anniversary of last year's terrorist attacks in America. Feels a bit odd still to think about it and am also still a bit guilty about feeling glad it wasn't here and that it was about time America took some crap like that. I still can't comprehend how anyone could want to do such a thing but I guess that just makes me a normal person. I heard today that something like 46% of NYC residents knew someone who was killed or injured which is kind of staggering in itself. Given the numbers in the towers that must mean the theory that people in cities are increasingly isolated and have no social contact with each other is kind of wrong.

There was of course loads about it on the tv (as indeed there has been for a week or so now) and it all got a bit overloadish. The reading of the names was a nice touch, but some of the documentaries were just so much spectacle and speculation that we gave up and watched Gone In 60 Seconds instead. OK, so that's mainly spectacle too but at least it wasn't all too real. Not quite sure if I approve of blonde hair on Angelina Jolie but otherwise a fun diversion. Even if technically its about the bad guys getting away with it (although not as bad as the really bad guys...).

All the time away from here also left me able to get some pages turned. As well as getting totally up to date with all the magazines I have also been through:

Stephen Poole - Trigger Happy. An exploration of what makes a good computer/video game and why we play them. Very interesting in many ways (and glad to find myself agreeing with him too, or should that be him agreeing with me as I had the opinions before reading the book?) and better than a straight history of the games - although I'd like a decent one of those too.

Terry Pratchett - The Last Hero. Cohen the Barbarian attempts to take fire back to the Gods and Rincewind gets sent to stop him. Another good Discworld read in my opinion and nicely illustrated by Paul Kidby too. I still prefer the pics as done by the late Josh Kirby but I'm getting used to Mr K the second's style now. Annoyingly this is one of those books I picked up on special offer in Hardback and now wish I hadn't as the paperback has been enhanced with another 16 pages of pics. This is now the third TP book I have where expanded versions are now on offer. I refuse to buy them twice though. Been down that route with CDs more than once.

Donald S. Johnson - Phantom Islands Of The Atlantic. This one was an impulse buy after I saw it in the window of a Charity Bookshop a couple of months back. Basically details a whole bunch of Islands that appeared on early maps but never actually existed such as Frisland, Buss Island and the Isle of Demons. Johnson makes a pretty good case about explaining how so many people were misled by the poor navigation techniques available at the time into thinking they were in places other than the reality. There is also quite a lot in there about how Islands from legend such as Hy-Brasil and those visited by St. Brendan came to be mapped even though there were no records of people reaching them. Absolutely fascinating for someone like me who likes nothing better than to look at old maps.

And now I have progressed to Arthur C. Clarke & Stephen Baxter's - The Light Of Other Days which is also proving to be a gripping read. The idea (science enabling virtual cameras that can see any place or time) has been done more than once before, but they have managed to add a new twist to it. Well, I say they, it reads a lot more like Baxter solo than as a collaborative effort (other than some of the explanatory speeches made by the characters).

So that's pretty much everything since last time covered. I am now going to do a bit more work whilst listening to the new Levellers single (Come On) that I got whilst out at lunchtime. See ya.

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