Friday, June 25, 2004

So England are out of the reckoning for Euro 2004. Another tournament, another defeat from a penalty shoot-out. Not the best way to be knocked out of a championship (is there a good way?) and another cause of trouble and fighting on the streets. Times like this I really hate the way people react and behave. Idiots, the lot of them.

Staying on a down note, we had a letter from Supreme on Wednesday telling us they were cancelling the Austria trip through lack of demand (so even fewer people than we went to Switzerland with last year must have booked up). Naturally we were a bit upset by this as we were really looking forward to it - new country to visit and all that. Still, they offered us a bit of a discount on anything else that was running which meant we were able to plump for our original second choice previously rejected for being a bit more than we wanted to pay:

The Glacier Express - The Jura, Montreux, Swiss Alps, the Rhine Falls and much more

Day one - leave home and travel cross channel and through France to spend the night in Dijon. So probably mustard for tea!

Day two - in to Switzerland via Lake Geneva, Montreaux and the Rhone Valley. Arrive in Brig where we spend a couple of nights.

Day three - "a trip to beautiful, traffic-free Zermatt affords views of the Matterhorn and the possibility of a mountain train to the Gornergrat."

Day four - "Glacier Express journey is a day of amazing scenery from Brig to St Moritz. During the 71/2 hour panoramic journey, it has been calculated that you will cross 291 bridges and travel through 91 tunnels." We then spend the next two nights just down the road from St. Moritz at Bivio.

Day five - more spectacular views when we go to the Maloja Pass and Pontresina and also into St. Moritz.

Day six - Homeward route via Zurich, Shaffhausen falls on the Rhine and through part of the Black Forest and the last night in Saarbrucken.

Day seven - all the rest of the way home.

So we will get to sleep (in beds as well as on the coach - neither of us manage to get through a whole journey without dropping off at some point) in France, Switzerland and Germany. And depending upon the route they take from Saarbrucken to Calais may get to touch on Luxembourg and Belgium as well. As we had wanted to go back to Switzerland this will be a worthy replacement to the Austria choice I think. And Charles is really jealous as we will be doing bits of Swiss Railways he hasn't managed yet. Hee hee. Being largely in the south of Switzerland it should be a bit warmer than last year (and August rather than September should help too).

Fingers are crossed that it all goes to plan now (they did say this one was nearly full - and yet we still have seats near the front of the coach...).

Been very quiet in here today. Only a couple of people in per team - but just when I thought that might give me the chance to catch up on stuff there have still been loads of minor interuptions to the flow of work. Must disconnect the phone system!

Really enjoying A Short History... - very good accessible style and all the info is just going in nicely. OK, so I am familiar with a lot of it from just general reading and education but very good nonetheless. Although I have been surprised by just how much I have retained from Physics and Chemistry lessons 15-20 odd years ago. I have also been surprised by quite how much of what we know about the world and universe etc was only discovered very recently. You always assume the stuff you get taught at school has been known for years and endlessly debated at higher levels before it gets down to mere kids books, but actually it seems to have been amazingly fresh as I was learning in the 70s and 80s. Also staggered somewhat by just how few people have been involved in some of the major discoveries etc - the same names keep cropping up time and again. Not always good of course, it seems CFCs were invented by the same guy who had already invented putting lead in petrol.

Oh well, weekend beckons, Joan off to Rome and me wondering what to do with myself...

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Something I failed to mention last week was both David from the Community Transport Team and Tracy from the Admin/Data team leaving. So that's four people left the group since we moved across town here to Endeavour House. Admittedly neither of them left because of the move but it has got to start looking suspicious to those higher up than us if anyone else goes in the near future (David has gone to National Express and Tracy just fancied a break). Not that I think anyone else is planning it just now. OK, so there are always rumblings of change afoot (like, Gary keeps threatening to go off and drive trains but never seems to put it into action) and I would of course tell them exactly where they could stick their targets if we were to win big on the lottery; but the chances of that are so astronomically slim...

Still, there have been a few enquiries already about our still-vacant post (the third one doing the same as Me and Charles) so hopefully we will get someone in there before the end of the summer.

Joan is now getting nicely excited for the Rome trip at the weekend. I'm still wishing I could go with her but hoping she has a good time in equal measure. She thinks she will get on with everyone OK (and they are only there for two nights after all) and the weather looks like it will have picked up again by then so fingers are crossed.

Today I have had the thrill of a lunch-meeting with East Babergh councillors. Only a couple of them turned up (I think there are only four anyway) and they were late. I think we answered a few questions OK but most of it was irrelevent. Also inedible - but I'd planned for that and had proper lunch before going!

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Late start for me today (like, 12 noon arrival in the office) as I was at the dentist this morning. Saw both Kirstie for a scrape and poke about and Mr Norfolk for the usual everything looks fine but we'll take some X-rays to be certain about the bone loss. So I was fine but he is leaving. The swine. He's been there the longest of any dentist we have seen in Felixstowe and will be sorely missed. OK, so he has inflicted a reasonable amount of pain and suffering on us all but generally we have pretty healthy mouths as a result. The big problem now is that there is a real shortage of dentists doing NHS work at the moment and thus no guarantee that they will get anyone decent to replace him. Or indeed anyone at all. At least we will still be registered with the practice as no-one seems to be taking on patients anywhere at the moment and we can't afford to start going private for everything. But it would all appear to be down to many of the same reasons that Joan didn't go for the job there she could have walked in to with her eyes shut. That is the practice boss being a pain in the backside to work for. Oh well, we shall just have to see how things turn out.

Not much else to say today (I am working on thrilling procedures for how to do my job). We did watch a bit of the football last night (the European Championships are on right now and England are through to the quarter finals) but haven't looked at Wimbledon as yet this year. Maybe later in the week I will throw in a round up of recent films we have watched...

Monday, June 21, 2004

And another weekend has been and gone in a good way leaving us gloomy on Monday. I had hoped we might go out one day with Joan being off but it was not to be. Saturday we had to wait in for the Sky bloke as we weren't getting all the channels we were paying for. Turned out we needed a new LNB (whatever that is - the knobbly bit on the pole sticking out of the dish) so that was £65 as we didn't take out the extended guarantee. Grrrr. Spent the afternoon moving pictures and furniture around, drilling holes to do so where appropriate then running in to Argos for some new shelves which ended up in the dining room. Going to run out of wallspace soon!

Still, the room looks a bit better with the DVDs moved off the book shelves and the books rearranged slightly (and now I have room for expansion of the collection again, which is nice. Especially having just re-joined a book club). Then the Dyson died while we were tidying up so that had to be replaced on Sunday morning. And that ended up being two trips to Argos as the first one we got had a split hose. I don't know, Joan gets a weekend off and I spend more time in her shop than I would if she was working.

Yesterday being Father's Day we had Dad along for lunch (and Mum and Richard, but you know what I mean). Very tasty and convivial and all that. And Joan got through the day OK without too much thought of her Dad bringing her down, which was good. OK, so things will focus more on what would have been his birthday at the end of the month, but then she is off to Rome around then so that should help too.

Today I have just been getting on with stuff when the computer has been co-operative!

Finished the Dragon saga over the weekend. Had forgotten the ending so that was nice to come back to (even if a shocking number of the people I'd got to like over the 6 books ended up dead). Not sure how they would do it as the span of years is quite a lot for an actor to convey, but I'd love to see a series of films (or perhaps a TV miniseries) based on them. If they were done as well as Lord Of The Rings of course. Have now started A Short History Of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson which appears to do exactly what it says on the cover. He's someone people have recommended to me over the years but I've not got round to reading as yet. So I thought this would be a good place to start rather than the travel books to see if I like his style (plus it was only a pound when I re-joined the club!). Interesting and good stuff so far. More expense to follow when I catch up with the rest of his stuff then!