Saturday, August 30, 2003

Woohoo, one week from now and we will be on our way. I am so looking forward to this holiday it is just not real. Must get up in the loft for the suitcases later today. And of course Helen and Bhupen and Alexander are back today from their Canadian/American trip so I expect we will be seeing them later for loads of catching up.

Yesterday went OK at work - I managed more of what Sonic wanted and unlike most of the rest of the team don't seem to have had an argument with him over anything yet, then a good meal out at the White Horse to round the day off. Tasty as ever. Good to see Grandma again too. Hopefully they are having a safe trip to take her home again as I write. One thing for sure, they probably won't meet too many caravans on the road (there are over 4,000 at the Showground it would seem).

Today I have done another mercy run with keys to Argos! Jacqui from Ipswich (ex Newmarket) is covering today but dippy Marion had managed to not leave her a key for the office. Luckily that was one of Joan's we've not passed on to someone else while she has been off so I was able to save the day again. Then had to disappoint the incoming staff who seeing me expected Joan to be back at work. So as I was out I got us a decadent McBreakfast and now we are off shopping befre visitations start.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Of course what I didn't mention in the waffle about American Beauty was how good the music was. Both the songs chosen for inclusion and the original score (which is being used either on radio or tv a lot at the moment but I can't think what for). Really good stuff and added a whole extra dimension to the experience.

So, yesterday we had an unexpected office bonus as Sonic was on a flexi day but hadn't told us. Always nice to not have him breathing down our necks - I know I got more stuff done than I would have done otherwise. Then in the evening we watched the third Austin Powers film Goldmember. Just as funny as the first two, although the series seems to be moving away from plots and more in to the realm of linked parody sketches of the Bond films. And there are some serious product placement issues that could use sorting out a bit if they decide to make a third.

Today I have been out and about delivering again. I think I have finally got to all the places that should have been delivered to for this edition (about a week before I start proper work on the next one...) and found a few more new ones too. Not as many today as before though. However, I was in the Haverhill area and I am hoping to get a load of pubs round there to take books through an arrangement I am working on with Greene King. I just wish the other two brewer/pub chain people I've written to would respond. I'll give them until we get the next edition then just start going to their pubs without help otherwise. All of which has left me pretty tired tonight. Joan is out getting aromatherapised so I am just going to relax with my book until she calls for her ride home.

Thoroughly enjoying the Brunel book as it is taking a different perspective on his life. Rather than being a straight biography it tackles different topics he worked on (rail, ships, bridges etc) and then does a bit of analysis and commentary on how they fitted in with the spirit of the age etc. Which is a period I have been interested in for a while, depsite having studied it at A level history. And unlike the rest of my class when we were asked to give a biographical presentation on a leading figure from the period we were covering I chose Thomas Telford, man behind many roads and canals, rather than a politician which gained me a few points for originality as well as being more interesting.

The roads today have been swarming with Caravans. The Caravan Club is holding a festival of lanterns (!) at the Suffolk Showground this weekend and people must be coming from all over - there are thousands of little cream sheds on wheels visible from the road. To my mind there are two types of caravaners - those who use it as a cheap way of sleeping somewhere they have control over on holiday, a base to visit new places. And those who are in it for the caravans themselves. I think it is mainly the latter camped on the edge of Ipswich at the moment. All busy queueing for the showers and swapping tales of chemical toilets and awnings. Not my cup of tea at all. The only caravans I've slept in were a static one in Wales on a geology field trip (static caravans, there's a mystery in itself. Why have a mobile home then never move it?) and the one belonging to Ernie's next door neighbours when we all went up for a funeral a couple of years ago and thus made too many to all fit in the house. Neiher of those experiences has made me want to repeat the situation.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Well, the new computer seems to be working pretty much OK. Now I've delved in to the settings, resurrected some bits I cunningly copied across to the network, re-installed all the extra fonts I need to actually do my job and so forth. OK, so I can still only print from Windows to one of the numerous printers I am supposed to be able to access (and yet they have got the DOS printing side of things right without being prompted) but otherwise all seems reasonable - they even managed to keep my Zip drive working. Plus the new keyboard is very nice to use, the mouse is optical and rather swish (and again they managed to provide one with a wheel rather than me having to dig out my old one) and the monitor is a very tasty large flatscreen one. Which I wouldn't mind at home quite frankly. All in all it has made coming back here after four days away almost tolerable. That and the choccy biccies Gary provided after his day trip to France on Saturday and the cream scone related to Danny's birthday a couple of weeks ago (luckily he bought the cakes today - they haven't been hanging around since the actual date...).

Of course it turns out that we have also lost access to one or two programs (including our main public transport database) as they aren't Windows 2000 compatible. Reckon someone screwed up there, but not my problem.

Finished off the weekend last night by watching American Beauty. A very good film. Not 100% sure if I grasped all of it but I did enjoy the majority which I understood. I can certainly see how it ended up winning shedloads of Oscars and BAFTAs and other awards. The I had one of those nights of fragmented dreams (installing a stair lift at Ma & Pa's house, going to a party dressed as one of the girls from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, shopping and other bits) that just leaves you feeling totally flummoxed in the morning.

Monday, August 25, 2003

And another bank holiday weekend flows quickly by. Still not managed to find the time to see what's going on in llamasoft land but have washed the car, watched the end of a crime drama we started on Saturday and read a book. Simpsons Comics Royale - top classy stuff! Have now moved on to another Brunel biography, this time by Angus Buchanan in advance of a programme on tv in a couple of weeks about his Great Eastern. Oh well, Mum and Grandma coming along now so best stop.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Hmm, so after posting that lot Mitchell came round on one of his regular "you've written some good letters taking the initiativem well done" visits, which was nice. But there is no extra money to be had for writing a good letter so I was still looking in the jobs pages Wednesday night! And indeed phoning up for another one with the police - assistant facilities co-ordinator. The form has now arrived and I'm not sure if I will stand a chance of getting an interview, but it might be worth a shot. Currently have the one application in process at Ipswich Borough Council so hoping to hear from them about an interview this week. I know I have pretty much everything they were looking for on that one...

Thursday was one of those days where you think you've acheived nothing despite working your socks off all day. I'm sure when I go back on Tuesday and take a look there will be lots of things I can list as having doen, just can't recall them now. I did get another well done - this time off Sonic for a report I'd written which he liked but Ian and Mitchell want radically changed before it goes to members. Oh well. Then just as I was leaving my new PC turned up. Hopefully it will work by the time I get to it on Tuesday.

Friday I had a course on Microsoft Project. It was taught by the same woman who did our project management course earlier in the year so at least she knew what we knew about projects to start with. Quite interesting and I think I will make use of the software once we get it installed. It was held at one of our more interesting buildings - Belstead House on the edge of Ipswich. An old rambling property, with lots of different rooms tucked away in corners, nice grounds and a resident cat. Pity the food was a bit naff though - just a boring buffet. Last time I was there it was proper cooked meals. But, it was better than being in the office with people wanting stuff done and the phone and stuff. Made a nice introduction to the long weekend.

So, yesterday Joan and I went out for another lunch in the country. This time up the coast to Dunwich where we had a nice picnic in the shadow of the old priory and then got rained on. Not quite sure why the priory ended up in ruins as none of the info boards said, but most of the town is actually under the waves now having been swallowed up gradually since the 13th century. Would probably make a very interesting Dive in some parts I imagine. We then wound our way back through the rather pretty villages and towns down the coast (Aldeburgh, Leiston, Snape, Eyke etc) before both feeling zonked and having a couple of hours sleep to finish off the afternoon.

Today I have shopped while Joan takes it easy, and later we are off to Ma & Pa's for tea as Grandma is up for the week. We have also watched The Patriot with Mel Gibson which was rather good and entertaining (although no doubt historically dubious).

Finished the Engineering book and was once again staggered by thescope of some of the projects covered. Amazing vision thos people had. Now reading London Trolleybus Chronology 1931 to 1962 by Mick Webber which isn't as sad and anorak-y as it sounds! Well, maybe a bit. But despite them stopping in London 9 years before I was born I've always liked Trolleybuses and some of the pics are fascinating for their recording other aspects of the times as well as just the vehicles - the shop fronts, adverts, clothes, cars and things are all interesting to me.