Friday, March 26, 2004

Well, all around is chaos and crates as the packing progresses. Everything I want to take with me is now safely stowed and it is only just after 11. All I have left to do is to disconnect the Zip Drive from my PC as I'm moving that myself. OK, so I have overflowed from my permitted three crates into one of Matt's but there you go, such is life. And he only needed one anyway. Nothing else to do now except sit and wait it out.

Finished Dragon Prince last night and was suprised by how much of what I can remember from the series as a whole actually
happened in the first book. But I have resisted temptation to dive straight in to book 2. Instead I have picked up British Modern -
Graphic Design Between The Wars
by Steven Heller and Louise Fili which won't take all that long to read as it is mostly
reproductions of posters and products but very interesting all the same. And if I ever get round to it likely to be liberally scanned for
wallpaper use...

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Yoiks, another week and a bit passed with no spare time to say a few words. So here are the edited highlihghts (complete with
slow-motion action replays and learned commentary from the pundits back in the studio).

Monday and Thursday last week I did a bit of surreptitious bus surveying. We have been getting rumours that one of the bus companies who works for us under contract is "on the fiddle" so to speak and I was dispatched in pursuit of evidence. Which meant getting the bus from Felixstowe as far as Martlesham then walking on to the Park & Ride site to finish the trip in to the office. Arriving a bit later than usual but being able to claim the travelling time as worked hours for a change. Two trips each way (plus another two on Monday when Joan and I took the same service to Woodbridge for lunch) and nothing suspicious noted. One slight potential for fraud with a "regular" customer having her ticket issued as soon as the driver saw her at the stop rather than when she boarded (and confusion when she wanted a single rather than return on one of the days and thus the pre-issued ticket had to be cancelled and a new one sold) but nothing I could book them for. Although I have booked one of the drivers for using a handheld mobile phone, which is illegal these days never mind against our contract conditions. On the whole, not much learned. If I get the job as applied for I may well end up doing a bit more surveying, but that would be on an announced basis rather than making furtive notes.

I did quite enjoy the extra bus trips (damn, I'm NOT going to get an anorak) and it was nice to try the option as another alternative for getting to work if everything else went pear-shaped one day, but I'm still glad we can afford a car.

Tuesday saw my induction tour of Endeavour House. Even less impressed with the personal space available now I've seen it in the flesh but we don't really have a choice. Also not impressed with the design of desk - they have separate side table/return things which are nicely shaped to be reversible and thus fit at either end of a desk. But that has left them with a nice notch you can trap fingers in.

Most of the rest of the building we looked at seemed OK, but there was a hell of a lot still to do considering people started to move in yesterday. I am prepared to be pleasantly surprised next week, but am not expecting to be. Yes, the place is nice and airy (at the moment with no people moving around) but the cabinets are all grey steel and look really drab and it all seems a bit "wrong" somehow. Plus none of the furniture in the breakout areas or meeting rooms was in place yet so we still don't know what that will be like (And they reckon the only source of cold water will be the taps, rather than water coolers which I am not best pleased with). And having sat at my desk all I can see if I look out of the window (without turning round and making it rather obvious) is the black corrugated steel of the Ipswich Town west stand. Absolutely marvellous. In theory if I get this job I might have to move desk, but neither of the two spots allocated to the vacancies are any better in terms of view. I shall just have to start memorising nice images and close my eyes for a rest from the screen instead. We also managed to have an argument with the project manager about putting in the bus stop for the shuttle bus and Park & Ride that started yesterday. I think they managed to get it sorted in time but he was dead set against it for a while.

Wednesday I was off for the day with Joan. Went to see Kirstie to get my teeth scraped then spent the afternoon sorting out the floor in the bathroom. The floorboards had been showing through and marking/ridging up the carpet so I stuck down hardboard on top (but under the carpet) to smooth it all out. Feels much better under foot now.

Friday started horribly early when Helen phoned at 2.15 ish to tell us Bhupen's Mum had died. Not sure why that couldn't wait for a more realistic time but there you go, that's Sisters for you. Neither of us really slept for the rest of the night which left me feeling a bit zombie-like when I arrived here. And that was not too helpful as we had a full day of project management training. Yes, more of it. With the same trainer who did the two (or was it three?) day course last year and the MS Project course I've been on as well. So at least she had a rough idea of what we already knew, or ought to know. Again it was more useful information on a highly complex topic that left us all feeling dazed. In fact when I got home the first thing Joan said was that I looked exhausted. But we still found the energy to go along to see Bhupen so I could offer my condolences (Joan had been down there with them most of the day). Not a good situation really, and further complicated by the dog who - frankly - is on his last legs.

So Saturday after they left for Northampton and Sunday until a friend came to take the dog for the rest of the week we basically spent at Helen's, dog sitting. Took him out for a few walks (between the rain showers) but otherwise just lazed around their house feeling vaguely uncomfortable about being there without them. I popped home at regular intervals to feed Tawny but otherwise we were pretty inactive. Having finished and thoroughly enjoyed The Piranha Club I decided I would watch the race again (especially as we had little else to do) and I also watched the qualifying on Saturday. They've tinkered with the rules again and I'm not sure if the latest qualifying system makes it any fairer. I will have to go look at some dedicated F1 websites to get a fuller understanding of the intricacies I think. Needless to say Schumacher started first and stayed there to the end other than during the pit stop business but I did at least stay awake the whole time.

All told it was quiet a relief when the friend did turn up at 4.30 (she'd been away for the weekend) and we could go home to collapse. Except of course we had to go out again to see Mum as it was Mother's Day.

So I was quiet glad to be off again on Monday to catch up on a bit more of the rest we hadn't had over the weekend. We had a nice ride up to Woodbridge and a very tasty lunch as well as doing a bit of shopping, getting very cold having been fooled by the sun in Felixstowe but avoiding the pretty heavy downpours that still keep coming.

And now back at work catching up, tidying up and almost ready to start packing up for the move. The new Park & Ride leaflets finally turned up today, three days after the route changed but pretty good considering the time they were given to turn them around. Looking at the building closely on the way in has not made me any keener to get down there next week - and also I notice they still have loads of work to do. So it looks like we will be working on a building site for a good couple of weeks at least. As soon as my phone rings I will be heading up to Martlesham P&R to have another go at sorting out the stop announcement timings. Fun galore.

Have followed the F1 book with a re-read of Melanie Rawn's Dragon Prince. First of a series of 6 which I initially encountered during my first year at College and have re-read once (I think) in the interim. During the revision phase for the end of
year one exams I got through a huge number of books as I was keeping my brain going by alternating between text books, lecture notes and fiction. It must have worked as I passed, but I seemed to be heading in to town every couple of days to buy something else to read. And this one was being pushed in one of the two independent bookshops I used to visit (one called Clulows, the other I can't recall the name of any more) so I thought I'd give it a go. More in-depth on the charachters than some Fantasy I've read in the past (I'm sure I've seen the series described as mixing fantasy with soap-opera) and I'm enjoying re-discovering it all. Books 2 and 3 followed at the right time to be used as revision aids for the second and third years at College, and number 4 was also published in annual sequence. Then something odd happened over here and 5 and 6 were delayed. And delayed. And I ended up buying them on American import from Red Lion books in Colchester after not being able to wait any longer. Similarly book 3 of her latest series has also been delayed for a few years now, but this is because she hasn't written it yet - according to her website she was in a car accident and doesn't feel like finishing the story yet. So I have books 1 & 2 sat on the shelf unread waiting for the final chapter to arrive before I make a start on them...