Thursday, August 14, 2003

Well, I'm glad I went withmy instincts and picked the book up yesterday morning as no sooner had I reached the A14 than my phone rang - Dawn not feeling well enough to come with me. She did manage to make it to work though. Grrrr. Still, her loss as I had a pretty good day all told.

Trains there ran perfectly to time - not been out of Victoria before either so that was a nice trip for me. And it turned out the girl who had sat opposite me for the whole hour and a bit of the trip was heading to the same meeting (but she didn't say anything until after we got there when the best she could manage was "I thought you would probably be coming here because of your bookmark" - I have a picture of a bus. How sad am I?). Some serious money been spent by the Bus Company and council down in Brighton & Hove with a pretty modern fleet running all over (inclusing some brand new Scanias that I was very impressed with) and loads of Real Time information on the streets plus a swishy control centre. Plus it was good to meet up with the colleagues from other counties I've not seen for about a year now due to being ill or at the bloody dentist during the last couple of meetings. Brighton itself, however, seemed pretty run down in places and a lot drabber than I remembered from my only previous visit about 10 years ago. Now all I have to do si write the minutes up and circulate them.

Journey back was also pretty punctual, if very hot for the London - Ipswich part. And here's a co-incidence or two for you: Finished the Ransome book somewhere between Chelmsford and Colchester on the way back. (Very enjoyable, and almost has me wanting to get back on a boat again soon). Thought about it for a while whilst looking out of the window then ruminated over the unread books sitting on the shelves at home waiting for me. Decided that the next book would be Park And Ride - Adventures in Suburbia by Miranda Sawyer. Not actually about P&R at all but a good look at what makes those places the way they are (and also fitting neatly in to the right age-frame for me at the moment). Then we left Colchester, I picked up the Evening Standard left behind by a fellow passenger and opened it to... a guest column by Miranda Sawyer talking about Suburbia. Now, the book was published in 1999 so it is not as if she was trying to promote it all of a sudden. Needless to say the article will be cut out and popped in the back of the book for next time I read it! Bizarre twist of fate there. Especially with a feature on Brighton a few pages later.

Finally got back to Ipswich at 7 (after catching the 0711 out in the morning) in time to meet hordes of football fans around the station heading for Portman Road. Glad to avoid them it must be said (Ipswich won 1-0 in the end apparantly).

Today I have been out of the office again - delivevring books (again) this time in the West of the county. Got to everywhere I wanted to that was already on the list and also found some more new outlets. Hurrah.

Joan has been signed off for another month. She turned up for her appointment to be told she had missed it through some cock-up with them writing the wrong time on the card. When she did finally get to see him she said she now had a splitting headache from the confusion, which was enough for him to say "well, you aren't going back to work then". So now she will be off until at least a week after we get back from Switzerland. Hope the weather holds for her!

Right, must go home now or I will get in trouble for building up too many flexi-hours.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Teeth and Travel

Oh how embarrassing - the inner gunge fell out of my mouth this morning just while I was in conversation with Dawn and Ian and Ray about our New Routes stuff. To make matters worse there is a really tight bit of thread exposed now - stretching across the gum which my tongue keeps wandering on to. And the whole jaw is still aching in a most unpleasant fashion. Still, only a few more days until they come out so I guess I will be OK.

Off to Brighton (& Hove) tomorrow for an ATCO publicity meeting. First one I've managed to get to since last year so hopefully all will go smoothly with the trains and so forth. Mind you it has been a scorcher again today so the chances are high for melting rails and sagging power cables to put a damper on things. Dawn is coming too though so at least we will be able to suffer together through any problems (and I will put up with the extra weight to take my book I think!).

Forgot to mention yesterday - after arriving at Gatwick at 1.30 pm for a 4.30 flight on Sunday Helen and co were told their tickets had been printed wrong and they weren't flying until 5.30 - and then other delays kept them on the ground until 8. Not the best way to start a holiday so I hope it doesn't prove to be an omen for us. Certainly there are no rumours of the French going on strike at the moment. Fingers are crossed.

Monday, August 11, 2003

Now that weekend was what we in the trade call a scorcher (I did study Climate during my degree thus allowing me to call myself "the trade"!). OK, so Friady I was at work and not too sweltering. Which was good as the mouth was still quite painful meaning I did the bare minimum needed to get through the day before heading home.

Saturday was carnival day in Felixstowe. We popped in to town for a spot of shopping first thing then walked up again in the afternoon to see the parade. Joan's first as she's always been working in previous years. Once again there were some pretty good floats mixed in with the regular "good effort" ones and the obligatory majorettes. A phenomenon I still can't get to grips with. I can't recall any of the girls I went to school with having been involved with them (unless they managed to keep it very quiet). I still find them slightly sinister though. And it was exceedingly hot where we were stood - but then it was hot everywhere.

In the evening Helen, Bhupen and Alexander came along for a farewell and happy holidays tea. All good fun had by all, and Joan once more proved herself a whizz at rustling things up out of nothing.

Yesterday was hotter still. After a lazy start we went down to the sea front for some chips for lunch. Timed nicely to co-incide with a demonstration by the air-sea rescue team (what a big chopper!) and then a display by a Jaguar Fighter from RAF Coltishall up the road in Norfolk. Very good, and I do like my noisy jet fighters I have to confess. There was also some mild disturbance behind us at one point - it seems that there were a couple of men enjoying each other's company a bit too much in the bushes in the gardens and some daytrippers stumbled in to them. Glad it wasn't us. After an hour or so we had to head home due to being just too hot - there was a major haze on but the sun was still baking.

After cooling off we spent the evening watching Three Kings which was a good film. I won't say I enjoyed it, as the subject matter was a bit close to the knuckle - especially now George Junior has repeated his Daddy's work in Iraq. But it was enjoyable, if you catch the difference. Very well made and yet another film I look forward to the commentary on.

Now finished the Julian May expedition with the last page of Magnificat again this morning. Very enjoyable all over even if the end did seem a little rushed - OK so the gist of it is told as history in the Exile books, but it would have been nice to have a little more detail in the "contemporary" tale. There is also the 6 million year gap between the two series that I'd love to see filled in at some point. I now really must get her Rampart World's series under my belt. I have now finally gone back to non-fiction with Nancy Blackett - Under Sail with Arthur Ransome by Roger Wardale which, as the title suggests, is all about Ransome's real life boats. Again, I have read it before but after the last Ransome book felt the urge to re-read this one before anything new went under the eyes.

Woken up by a cracking thunder storm today which was nice - at least it made the drive in to work coole (and the rain and thunder started again just as I got there which made the walk up from the car park interesting). Of course the heat was back by lunchtime and the car was stifling on the way home again. Plus Gary & Charles back from Switzerland today full of life so I am looking forward to our trip there even more.