Monday, February 24, 2003

Aaaargh, have I been off? Got in today to find a new desk (left hand bend rather than right hand bend) and all sorts of junk to sort out. Done that, and read the 250+ emails so now am taking five minutes breather before looking at the in-tray proper. So, let us rewind the last couple of days and finish off from where I was in the holiday reportage.


Thursday - Joan perked up not long after I posted the previous load of waffle so we ended up going in to Ipswich after all. A nice lunch followed by some wandering round the shops. Still no joy on the coffee table front, but we did manage to get Joan a jacket for work (which hopefully she will one day find other clothes that match so she can actually wear it) and a few other bits and bobs. She then went out for the evening with Lesley and Tracey again leaving me to mellow out in anticipation of a busy day to come.

And busy it was. But in the nice form of busy that you like on a birthday and day out rather than the busy that can happen at work when the phone never stops ringing, the emails fly thick and fast and so forth. After presents from Joan over Breakfast, we managed to get the 0902 train from Ipswich by the skin of our teeth (partly my fault for leaving the lights on and having to run back to the car, partly because the receipt printer machine wotsit at the station was misbehaving when I was trying to pay for the tickets). After the de-railment a couple of weeks ago there is still no central line running while they check every bolt on every train or something so we took the long way round to Tottenham Court Road.

The intention there was to check the lie of the land and possibly hook up with a Llamasoftie or two. Why? Because noted Japanese game designer Shigeru Myamoto was making his first ever European Public Appearance at the Virgin Megastore and that had to be worth a look at. So we bowled in there just before eleven to find the queue for the event (due to start at 1) already extending out from the designated area and all round the basement CD racks. Not a good omen for a casual visit! I did manage to find a few people and put faces to the names (good old mobile phones) while Joan had a coffee but wasn't about to spend the rest of the day standing around there. So it became a fleeting hello and then we buggered off up the road to the Bristish Museum.

Main aim there was to see what they'd done in the central courtyard as we haven't been along since it was re-vamped for the millennium. Where do the years go? Anyway, impresive would probably be the best way of describing it. Re-clad the old reading room and roofed over the rest of the space with a vast expanse of glass panels. The sun was streaming in creating wonderful shadows everywhere and in all I was rather taken by the results. We also had a look at a couple more galleries we hadn't fitted in on previous visits and some general wandering about going "Oooh" at stuff. We also decided not to purchase anything in any of the various shops on site (£35 for a tie, I don't think so no matter how nice the designs) then went for a late lunch.

Garfunkels (of course) where for the first time I tried their all day breakfast. It has become a bit of a standing joke that I quite often have an all day breakfast when we go out, but as Joan doesn't eat bacon or sausages I don't see why she should cook them for me (or put up with me cooking them) at home hence the choice when out. I was also trying to be original in a Garfunkels sense by not having the chicken and bbq bacon I normally go for and had a burger the day before so... As it was, I probably won't have another one there! Wasn't much impressed with the sausage situation although the rest was OK. Joan had a spanish omelette which was very nice though. Might try that next time myself.

Anyway, we popped back in to Virgin after that to see what the score was - and couldn't even get to the downstairs area. Managed to get one glance at Miyamoto-san over the railings before being moved on by security! And it seems we were about 5 minutes ahead of the LLamasoftie group getting their stuff signed and coming out into the air again. If we had just hung on... But we didn't and went in search of more culture instead.

Got the tube back down to the Thames then walked east along the bank in the sunshine. It was extremely nice and we even stopped for a sit in the rays for a while. The aim of the walk was reached at the Millennium footbridge by St. Pauls. Crossed over to the Tate Modern gallery and commenced to get both enthralled and confused in equal measure by the works on display there. I'm sure I'll get the hang of modern art one day, but not just yet! Some truly wonderful things in there, but others that just leave me wondering. Now, I know that the definition of what art actually consists of is pretty vague at the best of times, but I still don't see how some of the stuff on display can count as such other than by virtue of being in a gallery. Perhaps I just wish I'd thought of sticking a pile of bricks together or putting a neon tube at 45 degrees then charging £10,000 or so for it.

Arrived back at Liverpool Street nicely for the train home and rounded the evening off by watching Top Gun from the dvd I'd unwrapped that morning. Haven't seen the film for years and it was just as good as the brain recalled. OK, so the plot has dated a little (but substitute Iraq for the un-named but obviously Russian bad guys and it comes bang up to date again) but the flying sequences and photography are just superb. My only gripe is the lack of any extras on the disc. A commentary and a few documentaries looking back on the impact and how it fits on to the world today would be great.

Saturday we spent blitzing the house in readiness for Ma, Pa & Richard coming along to shower me with gifts and have tea. Joan excelled herself in the kitchen with seriously belt-straining results, I was thoroughly spoilt and a good time was had by one and all.

Yesterday was a typical end of holiday relax and get ready affair. Did some ironing, played some games and also felt a bit unwell. I hoping it was something I ate or picked up or something (or even just being tired) rather than the only other possibility - motion sickness caused by playing Timesplitters 2 on the cube. I've never really suffered from it before with any other first person shooter and while I guess there is a first time for everything I don't really want this to be the case here. As I still feel a bit rough today I'm betting against it, but will also be keeping clear for a couple of days until I am certain I feel better.

The rest of today has been catch up stuff (this has been written in spurts over the last 6 hours or so, but I thought I'd just post all as one.) Richard was here for an interview for a post in IT just before lunch so I saw him when I took my fresh air break. Fingers crossed as it is about time he got off his backside again. And now it seems to be time to head off to pick Joan up and relax for the night.

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