Tuesday, March 09, 2004

So we have had cloud, bright sunshine, rain (at near horizontal angles) and even a few flakes of snow so far today. And it is absolutely perishingly cold outside to add further insult to injury. Typical Suffolk spring really. I don't know why I still get surprised by things like that after all these years.

Joan having to put up with Marion today for the first time in ages, and it seems she is in a bad mood already. Great. I wish I could sort the situation out for her.

Things are fairly quiet in here today. I think the reality of the upcoming move has finally reached everybody and those who are not keen have at least now become resigned to the change, rather than complaining about it all the time. For my part I am still mostly looking forward to it, even if I have the same concerns as most over lack of space (personal and for storage) and just the general change situation. We had another big stack of information come round yesterday telling us all about various aspects of life in the new building and it will definitely be a culture change for most of us. I'm not sure how well the new rules will be enforced though, or indeed how long it will take for people to start demanding changes. I think the biggest change for us will be the mixing up of how we sit at the moment and the further integration around us of the education transport team. Who are currently in a different building. But it turns out they are moving in a few weeks after us so we will have time to ease in to the first change before the second. Of course there is still the possibility that I will be changing jobs at the same time anyway. If I ever get round to looking at the information properly and making my mind up about applying.

At the end of the day, so long as I still have a job I'm not too fussed right now over what it is. Over in the rest of the transportation part of the division/directorate/whatever we are called this week they are going through a re-organisation and some of them are (once again) having to re-apply for their own jobs. Another fun County Council hobby that one.

In more interesting news, I finished the inventions book last night. Fascinating stuff some of it. And because they were presented in strict chronological order I spent a fair amount of time thinking "oooh, did that only get invented then?" and "I thought they were older than that" and so forth. Plus despite never having thought of myself as being particularly patriotic, I did feel quite good at times realising which bits were British ideas writ large. Or indeed Suffolk ones, if you want to go to that level of detail.

Have now started The Science of Discworld II: The Globe by Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart & Jack Cohen. Like the first one it mixes a Discworld short story with explanations of how the real world works. Fun and informative all at once. Of course it will probably leave me wanting to read up more on the topics covered, but then that's no bad thing really.

While out this lunch time I managed to convince myself to buy the second Legends fantasy anothology as edited by Robert Silverberg for only a fiver in hardback. I was going to wait for the paperback as with the first one, although slightly concerned that they might not do it as well the second time around. Mainly because of the tales collected I only wanted to read some (which fit in with series I've read in the past or want to try) and not the whole lot. Last time they split the paperback edition over two books, and luckily all the bits I wanted ended up in the same one. Here there is more I want so decided not to take the risk. That's my excuseand I'm sticking with it. So, new bits from Otherland, Pern and stuff for me to enjoy sometime later in the year (might only be next week, might be several months. I have far too many books still sitting on the shelves begging to be read). Of course having just had hardbacks for the last few books I've read I'm enjoying the lightness of a paperback just now!

And finally, I have also finally got round to sticking the collected works of The Police in the car, having meant to since reading Sting's book. It has served to remind me just what a damn fine band they were. Also the first band I can remember actively wanting an album by. Not exactly sure when I first got my own music playing equipment in the bedroom. I remember an old valve radio which was fixed underneath the bench I had under the windows, and this was superseeded by some form of amplifier (can't recall what though) plus cassette deck and a Garrard turntable some time in the mid to late '70s (and let's face it, probably late as I was still only 8 come 1979). Although certainly I was well versed in the art of keeping records clean before moving up to secondary school in September 1982- we used to be played in to assembly at primary school by two "lucky" pupils drawn from the oldest class manning a creaky old record player with a very carefully chosen selection of vinyl. And sometimes younger kids were allowed to do the honours as a treat, which I was at least once in pre final year days so that will have been in 1980/81 time. During which shift I was so appalled by the state of the records available I obtained a spare "EMItex" cleaning cloth from home to sort the mess out.

Anyway, the kit was probably classed as a birthday present - I know the three albums that accompanied it were as I can recall unwrapping them. A K-Tel compilation called Music Explosion (two tracks on which I can recall were Seasons In The Sun from Terry Jacks and Kung Fu Fighting by Carl Douglas), David Essex - Rock On and a classical compilation Rock Gently With Beethoven, Bach & Brahms. Must have made a big impression given that I can stil recall them despite no longer having them (although I have a sneaky feeling they are all round at Ma & Pa's somewhere). So from that point on I started building up my music collection. Slowly. And mainly with unofficial soundtrack albums as re-worked by king of the disco remake Geoff Love. But "real" music intruded as well and I have a vivid recollection of first seeing the sleeve of third Police album Zenyatta Mondatta and knowing I wanted it on a trip to London. We were at a street market somewhere (possibly Camden, but I'm not sure) and it was hanging up on a record stall. The bright orange with blue triangle on screamed at me from across a couple of intervening stalls and the image has kept in my head ever since. I don't know if I had the other two albums by then or if they entered my life later. I knew the singles from them as we always listened to the charts on a Sunday afternoon and there were a couple of documentaries about them shown on the telly that I would kill to see again, but...

Suffice it to say that The Police were the first proper band I listened to properly and knew stuff about. And still in my top ten.

I think that's all for today.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Just when I thought Suffolk was a nice sleepy place to live where nothing ever happened, this occurred (from the BBC news):

Armed robbers hit late night bus

A bus driver has been robbed at gunpoint near Ipswich.

Two men wearing balaclavas stopped the First Eastern Counties bus at a bus stop in The Street, Martlesham, just before 2300 GMT on Sunday. They threatened the driver with a gun before stealing a quantity of cash and other items.

Suffolk Police are appealing for witnesses who may have seen the men escape in a dark-coloured estate vehicle which headed towards Ipswich. The male bus driver was uninjured, but shaken by the incident.

In a blinding twist of stupidity though, they managed to hold up the only bus route in Suffolk where all the vehicles are fitted with cctv cameras recording, assault screens for the drivers and other security measures. Plus they chose Sunday night when they are half-empty and have hardly any cash on board. Just can't help some people can you!

So, I hear thousands screaming, how was the weekend? The answer is - pretty quiet. Joan working both Saturday and Sunday so I was pretty much left to my own devices and the ironing. Did spend Saturday afternoon round at Richard's for a change, but mostly installing, trying, rejecting and uninstalling games on his new PC so not actually all that much in the way of fun.

Yesterday I thought I would give Formula One another try with the start of the new season. I really wanted to be gripped and enthralled by it all like I used to be, but sadly it was not to be. The latest set of rule changes has left some of the cars looking pretty wild compared to when I last looked at them, but I was still asleep by the end of the tenth lap. And I really do mean asleep, not just bored. Whatever happened to proper racing? All that seems to happen now is a fight for position at the start then trawling round the laps in order with the only real position changes coming from pit stops. Not what I want to see. Plus they are still not showing the action in widescreen yet. Dull, dull, dull and tedious.

Been to a meeting with Anglia Railways this morning concerning bus movements during the forthcoming Ipswich rail tunnel closure. Time sure has moved on quickly since I first got involved last year. I think we are now sorted on what will be running when from where and by whom. (Could I have got another W in that last sentence?) Nothing particularly exciting from that other than having been in another building in Ipswich for the first time. Thrills galore.

Called in at Argos on the way back to pick up some Stotties and pease pudding - Jacqui has been up home to the North East for the weekend and brought them back for us. Joan will be overjoyed. Mind you, she has Weight Watchers tonight so better not scoff the lot as soon as we get home...