Thursday, June 12, 2003

Grrrrrr. Cross with lady luck today. Joan and Helen went to the Bingo with a load of Helen's colleagues last night. Won nothing. Lady two tables away scooped up £96,000 on the national link up game. Not fair at all.

Otherwise today going as normal for me - finally got the covers signed off (again). Hopefully there will be nothing else that can go wrong between now and delivery. Fingers, toes and legs crossed. Given that one of my targets for next year is to be getting an outlet for books in every parish (all 496 of them across Suffolk!) it would be nice to actually have something to deliver.

Not normal for Joan - she woke up with a bit of a headache and has apparently been ill twice this morning but feelign a bit better now. Which is good as she is planning to pop up to the cemetary with some flowers later (in advance of Father's Day on Sunday).

That's something I can't get my head around. Not Joan putting some flowers near her Dad's memorial plaque but the number that turn up at the sites of accidents. There were a couple of school kids killed in a car accident last week just down the road from the office here. Going past last night on the way home I had a look, and would estimate that around £2,000 worth of flowers, soft toys etc have been piled up along the wall where it happened. I can't believe they are all from people who knew the kids in question. And if they didn't know them, why do people do it? It just doesn't make sense to me. You could say it is a tribute or a way of sharing feelings or something but I just don't get it. Personally I'd rather stick a few quid in a fund that would buy something tangible for their school or something. Then there would be some sort of lasting memorial rather than a pile of slowly wilting blooms that will cost the council a tidy sum to clear up in the next few days (and of course they have to judge when to clear up very carefully - too soon and they would no doubt be branded as unfeeling).

Anyhow, still thoroughly enjoying the Ransome book. Had a vivid recollection of buying it this morning as I was driving in. I knew of the book's existence from a review in a magazine I'd been passed (as a known Ransome fan) by my Grandparents way back in about 1987 or 8 but never seen it in the shops. Fast forward to 1992 and a college field trip to the Lake District (Setting for 5 of the 12 Swallows And Amazons tales). On the last morning we called in at some visitor centre or other and there it was sitting in the gift shop's book section. So, while everyone else was stocking up on Kendal mint cake I knew what I had to have. Didn't care about any damage to my image caused by buying a book about a children's author either (well, by then it was our final year so I guess people had made their minds up about me by then). I didn't even manage to resist starting it there and then on the minibus home - certainly made the journey better for me. Must get back up there sometime. And of course I have since added a biography, Ransome's autobiography and a book about his boats to the collection. Must get more of the other stuff available (in fact have procured about 100 pages worth of articles and comments off the web already this morning, with some more to come when I've processed this lot).

Alexander's 17th Birthday tomorrow - if all goes well we will be going up there for dinner. Hope I can manage to eat some of it (htis one-sided chewing is begining to drive me insane).

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Wooo. Now I'm feeling happy. Mainly cos a bit earlier I booked our holiday. Yes, after much debate and should we, shouldn't we stuff we are going to Switzerland. OK, so it is coach not flying so we spend a long time travelling but we do actually enjoy all that stuff - looking out the wondows, seeing the world go by etc. Plus we have a couple of Harry Potter books on Mini Disc so that will help!

Anyway, we are going with local firm Supreme, who we have been to the West Country and also Paris with before so we know it should be OK. The brochure says:

Your Holiday Centre

: Situated on a mountain plateau some 2,500 feet above sea level, a stay in Seelisberg gives one a feeling of perfect peace. Below lies Lake Lucerne glimmering in the sun whilst all about you are snow-capped mountains, bracing air and the sound of cowbells ringing to welcome the morning of a new day. Just opposite Seelisberg across the lake lies the bustling town of Brunnen. Easily reached by steamer from Treib, which lies at the bottom of a rack railway running from near your hotel, this makes a superb excursion during the summer months.

Your Hotel

Hotel Bellevue
: Set in a magnificent position overlooking the whole of Lake Lucerne and the snow-capped Swiss Alps, the Hotel Bellevue offers modern and luxurious facilities in traditional Swiss style. There is a panoramic restaurant and bar and a party night with Swiss Folklore every week. All rooms are beautifully furnished and have private bathroom, wc, TV and telephone. Lift to most floors.

Your Itinerary

Day 1 - Sat - Depart UK: Step aboard our luxury coach for the morning run to Dover and the lunchtime ferry to Calais. From here, we drive across northern France to spend our first night with bed & breakfast in the Cathedral city of Reims or nearby.

Day 2 - Sun - Arrive Seelisberg: Continuing our journey south, we travel through the picturesque Vosges mountains to enter Switzerland at Basle. Arriving in Seelisberg early this evening, we spend the next five nights at the beautiful Hotel Bellevue.
Day 7 - Fri - Depart Seelisberg: The following Friday, we bid farewell to Switzerland and make our way back to Paris to enjoy a leisurely last night at our selected three star hotel.

Day 8 - Sat - Arrive UK: Departing from Paris we return to Calais for our ferry to Dover with arrival home later this evening.

Included Excursions:

Lucerne: A full day excursion to the ancient City of Lucerne. Explore the maze of quaysides and alleyways in the Old Town and take a stroll across the Chapel Bridge. This afternoon, we continue our drive along the north side of the lake and return on the lake steamer from Gersau to Beckenried (steamer tickets at own expense).

Interlaken & Brienz: Our first stop today is the woodcarving centre of Brienz followed by an afternoon visit to the bustling resort of Interlaken in the Bernese Oberland. Don't miss the exceptional views towards the Eiger and Jungfrau.

° Air-conditioned Supreme Supercoach or similar
° Cross Channel Ferries
° bed & breakfast in Reims area
° 5 nights dinner, bed & breakfast in Seelisberg
° Bed & breakfast in Paris
° All rooms with private bath or shower & wc
° 2 included excursions
° Courier escorted
° Full ABTA Bonding

Roll on September because I just can't wait. Not to mention the fact that my teeth will be all done by then so I can really pig out on swiss chocolate!
Well, for the first time ever as far as I can remember I actually had to get up in the night to knock back a hayfever tablet. Woke up at about 1.15 with nose absolutely streaming, sneezing like it was going out of fashion etc. Still feel a bit groggy this morning from it so have taken another one. Not the best way to start the day. And then after we were delayed leaving due to having to put the rubbish out (and there was an awful lot of garden stuff after last week's exploits!) I ended up sitting in traffic for ages on the way in. My own fault really - there are two routes for part of the journey I make and I thought I'd try the one I normally avoid for a change as it should bring me a fraction closer to the car park when they converge again. Wrong choice and it reminded me why I tend to avoid it. Just serious amounts of slow moving cars. Still, I am here in the end, only really a couple of minutes after normal but it feels like hours.

Mouth feeling a bit more normal again though, which is some consolation. Only another week now before the string can come out.

Sonic brought his pictures from Bob's retirement do in today which served mainly to convince me I was right not to invest in an APS camera when I was considering it a couple of years ago. I guess it could just be that he has one from the cheaper end of the range or the developer was not particularly good, but to me the prints looked really blocky. Like they came from a very low resolution digital. No smooth curves and patchyness in the areas of solid colour. I think I will stick with the digital for everyday snapping and dig out the old Olympus compact (that I was more than happy with) if I want a print of something.

Going off to a presentation about how to market public services now. Might be interesting but I'm not holding my breath.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Bored, bored, ever so bored today. There were only two of us up this end of the office this morning and now Chris has gone off to a meeting in Haverhill I'm sat here on my own. There are only a couple of other people in down the corridor end too, which makes the whole place very calm. Once again waiting for stuff to come through from Pindar for me to look at (the latest set of changes holding up the books). Even the phone is hardly ringing to provide a distraction from time to time. To make matters even worse they have turned on the air "circulation" system (I don't think I could go as far as to call it air conditioning) and the racket is really getting on my wick. Add that lot to a lack of anything pressing needing my attention and we have quite a recipe for dullness.

Mouth is a bit uncomfortable today - no pain or anything from the stitches being uncovered, just a sort of tightness and pulling sensation from where the flesh is obviously welding itself back together. I can't believe I've got three more goes at this to endure. I do hope it all turns out to be worthwhile in the end.

Nothing else to add really. So I won't try.

Monday, June 09, 2003

I did make contact with the dentist and it seems it only needed to stay on for 24 hours so I guess I will be OK. Just need to be a bit more careful not to rip the threads out. Does feel a bit strange though - being able to actually feel the teeth and gum again. And it has only been 4 and a bit days! Definitely a cause for going home early today though I think.

Though even that is trickier at the moment as we have been booted off our normal car park (owned by the College) while they do some building work, and instead now have to park down at the waterfront. Only a few more metres to walk and an extra (but very busy) road to cross, but it feels like a lot more and is not as convenient. It should only be for three months, so that will be during the summer and hopefully dry most days at least. Will try harder to remember to bring the brolly in though.
Oh yuck, the inner coating of gungey stuff to stop me eating the stitches just fell out while I was having my lunch. No pain or anything (and no sudden rush of blood or gums falling apart), just a bit strange at the moment. And of course the dentist is not answerng the phone over their lunch so I don't know if this is OK or I ought to whizz straight down to Colchester to get it sorted. All I do know is that I feel a bit sick right now at the thought of either option! Really ought to go stick my head out the door for some fresh air I think.

Anyway, the final few days of our week off went nicely. We did get to the cinema and both thoroughly enjoyed The Matrix Reloaded - the fight scenes were fantastic and we had no problems with the plot. Can't wait for the last part when that comes out - presumably around Christmas time. Especially having sat through the full end credits to catch the preview of part three.

Joan finished the fence painting as my mouth was too painful when it came to bending down for the first couple of days - that seems to have passed now at least even if I have got the other issues still to deal with. The garden now looks wonderful and I am very happy with it all.

Finished reading Salmon... and it proved to be the exact bittersweet experience I had anticipated. Really enjoyable stuff but ineveitably cut short and clouded by the knowledge that there won't be any more. Have now started a re-read of Arthur Ransome And Capt. Flint's Trunk by Christina Hardyment which is a very good romp around the real life locations Ransome used verbatim and disguised in the Swallows and Amazons books, which were my absolute favourites as a child and still have a prime spot on the bookshelves today. They inspired me to try sailing in primary school which I loved (although a few years later we went sailing as a family and I was absolutely scared out of my wits - to the point that I made them go back to the dock and drop me off where I then sat in the car on my own for a couple of hours while the rest of them went off again - could have just been a one-off but I've not plucked up the nerve to try it again since).

Now for a meeting to decide who gets to run Martlesham Park & Ride.