Monday 1 September 2003
I don’t get it with
I don’t get it with these dodgy geezers than run off with teenage girls. (Actually, it would probably be more worrying if I did get it!). Why do they always head for Scotland? Granted, Scotland has large areas of sparsely inhabited countryside, and you’d think that would make a great place to hide, but the reality is that anyone that is out of the ordinary sticks out like a sore thumb. You’d probably be better off hiding in Birmingham or London or some other place where nobody talks to their neighbours, and where "unusual" relationships are more tolerated and more commonplace.
Charles Bronson, RIP.
Charles Bronson, RIP.
Not sure that this Grauniad
Not sure that this Grauniad article tells us anything much that we didn’t know already. I seem to recall the BBC’s Andrew Marr saying on television and radio, as well as in his newspaper articles, and on more than one occasion as early as the Labour conference last year, that he had the distinct impression (meaning, I suspect, that Campbell had told him so) that Alastair Campbell would step down at the end of 2003 at the latest, simply because he was fed up with the job. It may be just my memory playing tricks, but I’m sure that’s the case. The article lends yet another "my friend Alastair" angle, but overall I’m underwhelmed.
I’m dead chuffed. Sarah and
I’m dead chuffed. Sarah and Paul have asked me to be one of the two ushers at their wedding. That’s brilliant – made my day!
Beer with Nicky and Claire,
Beer with Nicky and Claire, with sightings of Gary and Jeff. Stood up by Paul F.
I’ve decided that frizzyLogic should
I’ve decided that frizzyLogic should be in my list of websites to visit regularly.
Tuesday 2 September 2003
I was told earlier this
I was told earlier this evening that I need to be careful that people might be intimidated by the new globe-trotting businessman that is Graybo. I’m not sure that this is fair or true – I think that the true me is still here for all to see and experience and share. But I have changed in the last six months, for sure. For the better, I think, too. Dunno.
Today’s objectives:Run errands at bank
- Run errands at bank and elsewhere.
- Submit planning application for new windows.
- Pack bags for trip to the Netherlands via Cheshire.
- Have lunch.
- Travel to Cheshire.
Expect reduced content provision for the rest of the week.
We’re all going to DIE!!
Wednesday 3 September 2003
Peter West, RIP.
Peter West, RIP.
Written yesterday: A less-than-busy Virgin
A less-than-busy Virgin train allows me to upgrade my seat from the non-table seat reserved for me to a tabled seat, complete with power point for powering my laptop without draining the battery. How handy! Now I can give you a running commentary on my journey! (Of course, I should really be working, although I have written a variety strategy report and we’ve not even reached Oxford yet).
The Oxfordshire scenery is looking rather beautiful, if also rather dry. The grass is closer to yellow than green on the hills as we pass by. I much prefer sitting on a train to driving, as there is so much more opportunity to look at things, like the absolutely fabulous range of barns we just passed near Closey, with tilehung sides and large old wooden doors – beautiful.
The journey up from Chichester to Reading was uneventful, with only a bloke who went to the door of the train at every station for two hurried puffs on a Marlboro Light, much to the amusement of his friend. At Reading, a pair of teenage American lacrosse players got on the train. One immediately realised that she had left her jacket on another platform. She asked me when the train left, and I suggested that she asked the guard to hold the train whilst she went and found it, but in the end she was back on board before the train moved off. Her travelmate bears an almost shocking resemblance to Penn, only younger. At first, I even thought that it was her, as Penn lives just outside of Reading and could feasibly be catching a train there. But unless she has suddenly started dyeing her hair auburn and taken to speaking with an American accent, then this girl is doing a fairly lousy impression.
Two rows behind me, i.e. the row behind the one I should have sat in, a child is playing with some toys whilst his father (or maybe grandfather or uncle – hard to tell) dozes next to him. It sounds like a lot of people are getting hurt and blown up in his imagination, and there seem to be plenty of car crashes. I guess it says a lot about me that, as a child, one of my favourite toys was a Britains combine harvester with which I would "harvest" the circular straw coloured rug that may parents had on the living room floor.
Two people have sat next to me and are conversing in rapid sign language and working on a series of forms and business documents. It’s hard to imagine how much of a hindrance profound deafness must be to everyday life, let alone holding down any sort of job that requires interaction with others. And I can’t even speak another spoken language, let alone sign language.
I could really use my bag of sweets right now, but their packed in my computer bag, and I can’t get to it without disturbing people. I’m usually better prepared than that when getting onto a train or plane. Bah. I may have to go for a contrived loo break to get to them, although the coffee I had at Reading is making the contrived nature of such a break less necessary by the minute.
OK, loo break achieved. Spiral notepad with important meeting notes that I need to convert into strategy reports – retrieved. And, mst importantly, bag of wine pastilles retrieved and disappearing fast.
The train has just left Banbury. As you leave the station, on the right are several industrial units. One of those is clearly the home of a manufacturer of golf buggies. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many golf buggies parked together in one place in my life!
Just passed a huge patch of yellow toadflax just a few hundred yards north of Leamington Spa station. It’s a plant that seems to grow well on railway embankments, clearly enjoying the free draining nature of the ballast tat forms the trackbed. It’s a plant that I often see growing along Centurion Way, the cycle route that follows the course of the old railway line from Chichester to West Dean. I’ll walk up there soon and see if I can get a photo for you.
Right – we’re heading into Birmingham, and I’m pooped. Time to switch this thing off and maybe have a short rest. Travel is tiring.
Well, Holmes Chapel is the back end of beyond. Not only that, but the back end of beyond in a power cut. But the Swan Inn is friendly, and I think I’ll stay there next time I come to the area, not least because it is right next door to the station. Instead, I’m in a TravelLodge. Top tips for TravelLodge guests – get the disabled room. It is at least 25% bigger. Secondly, don’t eat in the Little Chef. The food is lousy. But it is reasonably priced and is comfortable.
But there is no phone point in the rooms, so I can’t update from here. Gah! Or check my mail. Oh well, I’ll have to do that when I get to Holland.
And, apparently, Ian is back. Yay!
Written today: Hmm. Well, a
Hmm. Well, a very fruitful day at the trade show. I’m pretty tired after wandering around it all day, but I made some good new contacts and renewed a few existing ones. And a good bit of advice from a friend in America proved invaluable today too.
Anyway, I left the show with plenty of time to get to Liverpool John Lennon Airport. My very friendly taxi driver got me to Winsford railway station with plenty of time in hand (I can safely recommend Lawton’s Cars). However, my train was twenty minutes late. No worries, thinks I, as I have plenty of time in hand. Upon disembarking at Runcorn, now nearly 30 minutes late, I looked around the station for signs of the promised shuttle bus to the airport (it says so on the RailAir website or somewhere, I’m sure). No sign at all. Why? Because it doesn’t exist. But a very helpful chap at the station said "Don’t worry, go outside and get an 82A. That’ll take you there, and there is one in ten minutes." Sure enough, just a couple of minutes late, an 82A hoved into view.
I was then treated to the most tortuous journey through the less than salubrious areas of Widnes and Speke. I can safely say that Widnes is less than wonderful but not too bad. But Speke is unspeakable. I was worried at every bus stop that a bunch of kids would run out from the nearest boarded-up home and leave the bus propped up on a pile of bricks!
Anyway, in spite of all these delays, I got to the airport with time in hand. Thank goodness I didn’t go for plan B, which I had seriously considered, which was to cut it fine and spend an extra hour at the show. Thankfully, my instincts for not cutting it fine where travel plans are concerned kicked in, and I made it ok.
Liverpool John Lennon Airport has that half-built feel to it. Not quite as bad as some of the worst excesses of Spanish and Canaries airports (I remember the airport on the south side of the Canaries [what was it called?] that was more plasterboard and duct tape than concrete and brick), but still half built. And do any airlines other than EasyJet operate from here? I’ve not seen any evidence of them yet. There can’t be more than two hundred people in this big modern terminal, and a third of them are staff.
Most amusing was the guy who just ambled through security as I was repacking my pockets, wearing a yellow jacket with a hand-wirtten note on the back – "If found, my name is XXXX and my address is XXXX". Amazing. As the guy on the security desk said, somewhat reminiscent of Paddington Bear!
Right, time to finish this pint and get ready for boarding. Let’s just hope that Mike has booked us into a hotel with a phone point in the room, or else you poor souls are going to be deluged with a huge amount of reading on saturday night (or Sunday morning if I decide to go straight to the pub)!
"Slagroom" is the Dutch for
"Slagroom" is the Dutch for "whipped cream". That may say a lot about the Dutch. Or my mind.
Thursday 4 September 2003
Very busy today with meetings,
Very busy today with meetings, travel and amusing phone calls, followed by dinner and drinks at the hotel. Time for rest before a repeat performance tomorrow.
Friday 5 September 2003
For the second night in
For the second night in a row, I’ve hard a bizarre dream in which Sarah has featured prominently. In the first, she was expecting twins (that’ll terrify her!), and I had to help Paul get her to the hospital in a hurry. After various strange adventures, mainly involving stairwells, we got there and she became the mother of a boy and a girl. In the second dream, she and Paul (sans offspring this time) were seeking to buy a cottage in a small village in East Sussex, and I happened to live in the area. I was helping the villagers redesign the layout of the village car park, and also had a (slightly madcap) project to convert the village postbox into a shrine or tribute to Mick Jagger.
No, I don’t know either. It may be all the rich food, long hours and glasses of red wine.
Sunday 7 September 2003
Typed at the airport… Back
Typed at the airport…
Back at Schiphol once again. Yesterday was a very long day again, with some meetings that were far more useful than I imagined they would be. I’d imagined that, on this trip, I’d be seeing potential propagator and marketer licensees, which I did, but I also seem to have found a new product source (yay!) and a route to the Japanese market (double yay!).
Hmm. There is an aircraft outside with "DutchBird" written down the side in large letters. Makes me think of Marcia.
Today, we travelled miles and miles to see a nursery, although it was well worth the trip and very good fun. Particularly entertaining was taking a detour due to a road closure, and assisting our Dutch host, Simon, with navigation on roads that none of us had ever travelled before, ignoring his rather vocal onboard satellite navigation system ("turn back now!", but in Dutch) and working against a very tight time limit (although our flight is delayed by 45 minutes).
Last night we went for dinner with our host for the day, Henny, in Noordwijk. Before doing so, we went for a long a leisurely stroll along the beach. There were many other people enjoying a stroll and the view of the setting sun. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a beach with so many striped shells. I took some photos, and I’ll post them here as soon as I can.
One thing is for sure – I’ve put on weight during this trip, and I think I’ll have to force myself to get back into the walking regime again. We’ve lived well here, and, coupled with my greasy diet whilst in Cheshire, I reckon I’ve added a fair few pounds that I could do well without.
Once again, my telephone has decided not to work correctly. I need to figure out why it isn’t working. I think it may be to do with having the "active diverts", whatever they are, switched on. This means that it works fine on O2 at home, O2 NL here, but not NL KPN. I need to find out why, and if I can fix it, as I don’t want the same problem on my upcoming trips to Germany and France.
Update: I’ve just forced my phone to use O2 NL instead of of KPN, so it now works. However, in the course of doing so, I seem to have switched off my answerphone service and can’t switch it on unless I know what number the incoming answering service calls should go to. Oh well, I can check the O2 website tomorrow and fix that.
Flight update: now delayed by an hour. This is traumatic, as it is eating into my beer time, which will probably be with Ian tonight now that he is back in the UK. I wonder how he is readjusting to life that doesn’t involve travelling. And, for that matter, getting used to life with his old friends. Times have changed, and things have moved on – it’s not the same place or same group of people as he left a year ago. But he’s a resourceful and adaptable person, so I’m sure that it will not be too much of a challenge.
Oh well, delay here means more Dutch beer. Although I’ve yet to find a Dutch beer that I really like.
What else have I seen over the last few days that was of note? Not a huge amount that would be interest of you, apart from the huge wooden eagle with spread wings in the hotel (all very reminiscent of Nazi Germany more than the Netherlands). There was the fleeting glimpse of Amsterdam from the train window (didn’t reveal much). There’s been Mike’s crash course in Dutch (I just plead ignorance and speak English – yeh, yeh, yeh, I know. So much for supporting less-widely spoken languages).
Last time I was in this airport, they played some Groove Armada and other bits and pieces that I recognised from my CD collection. I’ve just heard another song from my collection – took me a moment to figure it out over the ambient noise – Beverly Craven. Best not to say much more about that, I guess.
And indoor sparrows in the airport? I suppose that is the Dutch equivalent of Tube pigeons?
Right, not much more to say here, so I’m going to sit and read until the plane gets here (don’t think I said that I’d finished Haruki Murakami’s South of the Border, West of the Sun and have now started on alain de Botton’s The Art of Travel – must update that sidebar!) and listen to some mp3s on the laptop.
Beer tonight with Ian, Sacha,
Beer tonight with Ian, Sacha, Paul F, Fi, Jools, Kearn, Matt, Hamish, DA, Sarah, Tam, Jeremy and countless others. Pooped.
Film. Window Media. Big download.
Film. Window Media. Big download. Worth it.
Cyborg Heifers From Outer Space.In
Remember this post? I copied
Remember this post? I copied it as an email to the Chichester Observer, who have printed it on their letters page. You can call me Angry of Chichester.
I am trying to deal
I am trying to deal with some negative emotions at the moment. I think they may be being exacerbated by tiredness. But I don’t know how to put them into words that effectively convey what I’m feeling, so I can’t share those feelings with friends or readers of this site. I could use a little help.
As usual, though, I’ll be ok.
Tom on weblogs and the
Tom on weblogs and the mass amateurisation of nearly everything. Interesting.
The article set me thinking about the development of plant breeders’ rights, and whether that is also being amateurised. Ten years ago, European-wide plant breeders’ rights did not exist. Then the Community Plant Varieties Office was set up by the EU to offer a single European-wide rights system to supplement and, at times, replace, the individual national schemes that existed at the time (and largely still exist), and to support the international aims of the UPOV organisation to offer financial reward to those people that work hard to improve the quality and variety of plants available to us. Initially, all these schemes were intended to improve agricultural crops, and were supported by the breeders, from huge multinationals down to research labs in universities and private individuals.
Then, horticulturalists realised, in considerable numbers, that they could make mponey from their own breeding efforts. They weren’t the first, of course. Companies like Blooms of Bressingham had been using the plant variety rights system in the UK since the early 80s. Rose growers had been using it for even longer. But now there was a simple, enforcable and European-wide system that addressed the problem of needing to take out PVR protection in every country individually. Now, by taking EU PVRs, US Plant Patent and possibly Japanese PVRs, you could effectively wrap up the major markets.
Thankfuly, the system is still sufficiently complicated and expensive that nearly all breeders prefer to work through an agent to tackle the system. But agents need to provide add-on services in order to ensure that a new variety is promoted effectively and in a coordinated fashion throughout the world. Their market knowledge allows them to provide a management service that should be better than any individual (and most organisations) could hope to achieve. There has been a recent example with an organisation based in the US that has introduced a large range of Heuchera varieties. Certainly they have made a large amount of money from them, but they have also wrecked the future market for them by not managing their introduction, licensing and distribution correctly. If the entire introduction process had been managed by a dispassionate agent, I think the overall result would be more pleasing. interestingly, the breeder has asked me to represent his material informally, but not on an exclusive basis. Without the control that comes with exclusive management, I don’t really want to know.
Unfortunately, at the moment, most breeders’ agents are not offering as good a service as they could or should. Invariably, they are tied into a small system of relationships that have arisen through either formal or informal means. Consequently, the breeder does not always obtain the best deal for their plant, and royalty returns are not what they should be. This does nothing to encourage breeders to work with an agent, and ultimately, it is only lack of time and resources that drives some organisational breeders to work with agents rather than do it themselves.
This is where PFE’s independence comes into its own, as it allows me to act with whoever I feel will give the best deal for an individual variety. A marked contrast to the Blooms system. But it is up to me to convey that advantage to potential breeder clients, and persuade them that to work through PFE will be more effective than to try and work on their own. That’s the hard part.
Coupled to that is an increasing awareness of the PVR systems. There have been articles by several authors recently in magazines, journals and even on television. Small-scale breeders are becoming less frightened of the system and are beginning to feel that they may be able to tackle it on their own account. But a little knowledge is a dangerous thing! Our American friend with his Heucheras has demonstrated that – his lack of intimate knowledge of the European market is, ultimately, leading to disaster.
So what has this got to do with Tom’s piece about the amateurisation of weblogs? Well, I think that to counter the spread of weblogs, the traditional media and publishing systems must both provide additional expertise and services that the individual and small organisation can not possibly provide, and offer economies of time and scale that larger organisations would wish to buy in to. Not only for providers of content, but also for customers. Publishers must provide effective channels for distributing the output of authors to the best audience. Readers will need an effective information gathering service that is authoritative and independent, and sources of entertainment that fit well with increasingly time-poor lifestyles.
Of course, as this process continues, more companies and organisations will see an opportunity to provide these services, perhaps as an add-on to their existing business. The Sun has launched a blog. The Grauniad has done it for a while. AOL offers blogging systems to members. In the PVR industry, ten years ago there were two or three companies offering agency services. Now, I estimate that there are around 25 or 30, with several that have started in the last two years. I’m certain that there are others in early stages of development of which I am yet to become aware.
Is mass amateurisation a good thing? Well, I’m not sure that there is "good" or "bad" about it. It’s more just a process of change, something that has been going on for years. Personally, I suspect that time pressures will mean that whilst "amateurised" systems will become more widely available, both in terms of the number of people that can access them, and the number of services, products and skills that are covered by such systems, most people will not adopt them. The day simply isn’t long enough.
Blimey. There have been some
Blimey. There have been some big wordy posts here lately. You’d almost think that this was becoming a serious site!
Monday 8 September 2003
New(ish) Weebl. Fabulous.
New(ish) Weebl. Fabulous.
Sussex beat Middlesex by seven
Sussex beat Middlesex by seven wickets and edge towards winning the County Championship for the first time – not a great record for what is the oldest first-class club in the country.
From my email inbox, an
From my email inbox, an important message from the eternally lovely Lizzie:
After apPhenomenally successful run at this years Edinburgh Fringe Festival I’m taking my show "Lizzie Roper Through My Keyhole" for one night only to The Soho Theatre, 21 Dean Street, London W1
Come and see what all the fuss was about!
Friday 26th September at 8pm £8/£6
020 7478 0100 (24 hrs)
020 7478 0151
If you’ve already seen it, come and see it again!
or tell your friends… go on forward this email now
but what ever you do book now, tickets are limited and selling fast!
Lizzie Roper works wonders in her solo show. Here’s a comic who can turn in excellent character work – her old woman with a zimmer frame is possibly the best of a remarkably varied bunch. In stark contrast there’s Roper’s feistiness when she’s in stand up mode, a cheery sexual predator with a lustful, life affirming message for us all.
Malcolm Hay Time Out
LIZZIE ROPER is very funny. She’s also very talented. On top of that she’s a bag of energy… Throughout this often hysterical, sophisticated, too-short show, Roper introduces the audience to her take on the Bermuda triangle, Marty Feldman and – a big crowd-pleaser, this – Sindy doll clothes… Lizzie Roper, has the knack of bringing out the naughtiness in people…You’ll never forgive yourself if you don’t see her here, because a lot of this show won’t make it to the telly, which is where she’ll be next if there’s any justice.
MARTIN LENON Edinburgh Evening News 5th August [four stars]
Lizzie Roper is a filthy, mouthy, extravagant flirt; and if she doesn’t land a saucy sexpot role in the new Carry On revival, it’ll be a travesty…Unabashedly frank, often dirty, and always entertaining, it’s a rollercoaster ride, powered by Roper’s inexhaustible energy… Who is she? An unexpected hidden highlight of the festival, that’s who.
Steve Bennett Chortle.co.uk 9th August [four stars]
A woman with a fetish for being loud and distracting will take you on a journey exploring all areas of female sexuality from puberty to post-menopause, with great character acting in between. 35 and still an over grown teenager, Lizzie Roper is desperate and, will throw herself at almost any man in the audience. Embarrassing but funny, in a cute kind of way. Her show was filthy, her humour crude, and her over-the-top portrayal of a sex mad minx was witty, octane fuelled and close to genius.
SK Three Weeks [four stars]
Lizzie Roper bursts on the stage like a crazy woman, screwing up her face and making a lunge for a 20-year-old man in the front row. Her mad girl persona – if it is indeed just a persona – is as frightening as it is compelling. You could imagine her doing almost anything, whether or not it was likely to get a laugh. She is tremendously emotive, contorting her facial features into the ugliest conceivable shapes. The members of audience – once they had got used to being bellowed at – loved it…Roper has found something really good here. She is a comedienne who is not afraid to reveal the negative side of her gender, portraying women in a manner few would find flattering.
Horticultural humour from b3ta:
Horticultural humour from b3ta:
So, the Government plans to
So, the Government plans to improve child welfare by giving each and every child a number. Well, for the civil libertarians amongst you, I reckon this is a back door route to universal ID cards – start ‘em young, and they won’t worry when they still have the same number after 18.
I’m also not convinced that giving kids a number will help. That just strikes me as a spot of window-dressing. Getting agencies to work together is more likely to help, but with the huge differences in culture, the little ivory towers and private empires and the sheer behemothic nature of the state that has mushroomed in the last few years, I have little optimism that we will not see more stories in the news of poor children like Victoria Climbié.
Tuesday 9 September 2003
Duck everyone – we’ve been
Duck everyone – we’ve been spotted.
The Telegraph yesterday had a
The Telegraph yesterday had a tiny piece suggesting that if West Ham are unable to persuade Alan Pardew to join them, then Steve Coppell would be next on the list. This would be very bad for Brighton if it were to happen. The official Seagulls website has nothing to say on the matter.
Hmm. Judging by the records
Hmm. Judging by the records from the internal site search function of this site, either one of the people from my class at school came here looking for himself recently, or someone else was looking for him. I wonder what he thought?
The Blogger server clock is
The Blogger server clock is running at least six minutes fast. Take it into consideration when looking at post publication times (like you all sit worrying about these details!).
Interesting BBC article on disposable
Interesting BBC article on disposable digital cameras. Actually, I think that these cameras do have a future. I seem to recall the same arguments being made about disposable film cameras when they were launched, competing against cheap but fun non-disposable cameras like the Konica Pop. The key is that they are disposable, not that they are less than fully featured. If you are in an environment where a camera might get damaged or go missing (club, pub, party, amusement park, etc), then it is the disposability that is the key. If it gets nicked or a pint is spilled all over it, who cares?
I think these things have a strong future ahead. Just you wait and see.
Leni Riefenstahl, RIP.
Leni Riefenstahl, RIP.
Being the good boy that
Being the good boy that I am, I’ve just spent half and hour managing my finances. Which revealed the following:
- I’m not as broke as I thought I was. Not much better off than I thought, admittedly, but not likely to see the bailiffs yet. And my credit card borrowings are way below the national average.
- RBS Advanta are offering the best deal on interest-free credit cards at the moment, better even than Egg, with an interest-free period on purchases and balance transfers until June 1st 2004. The application is in the post.
- RBS Advanta are also offering a MasterCard with the corner cut off. Bizarre. I wanted a MasterCard as it seems useful for making some purchases on the continent (particularly automated purchases for fuel and railway tickets, where machines often do not accept Visa), so I’ve applied for the funny shaped one. I’ll report back when it arrives (assuming my application is successful).
- Egg are offering a prize draw. The prize is a £25,000 loan. Ummm. So they are offering the winner the chance to repay a loan?! What sort of prize is that?
Incidentally, my finances would be
Incidentally, my finances would be in much better shape if ever I put in an expenses claim to my own business. Then I could use more of the money that I’ve borrowed from Barclays to pay off the mortgage that I used to raise that money. Sometimes I wonder if it wouldn’t just be simpler to give my organs directly to Barclays and let them sell them themselves.
Don’t forget! International Talk Like
Don’t forget! International Talk Like A Pirate Day is only ten days away! You have until September 19th to practice your "Avast ye!" and "Yarr!" until you have it perfected!
Wednesday 10 September 2003
Service continues to be intermittent
Service continues to be intermittent here. Apologies for that. New hosting solution coming soon, I promise (and thanks for the several generous offers that have been forthcoming – I’ll stick a pin in the list one day soon to choose someone).
Grayblog seems to be online at the moment, which adds to a day where everything seems to be falling into place, which is nice.
BloggerPro is going to become
BloggerPro is going to become free of charge. Annoying for anyone that has recently paid for it, but not so bad for those of us who are near the end of our subscription period. And speaks volumes about the perceived quality of the product compared to competing offerings at the moment.
Hmm. I seem to be
Hmm. I seem to be talking to myself. Clearly, something at EasySpace is borked. This is annoying in the extreme.
They used to have other
They used to have other blogs. Now they have this one. Will someone nail them down?
Thursday 11 September 2003
Anna Lindh, RIP. I wonder
Anna Lindh, RIP.
I wonder if the referendum on joining the euro will go ahead on Sunday in light of this tragic news. My feeling was that entry into the euro by the Swedish would have a positive impact on the pro-euro campaigns in Denmark, and, subsequently, in the UK. But all that seems a little inconsequential now.
If you’re able to read
If you’re able to read this page, read it quick, as this site is up and down more often than a whore’s knickers. Once again, apologies for the quality of service (and the quality of analogy).
Oh dear. I see that
Oh dear. I see that my letter to the Observer has earned a flaming reply from someone that actually knew one of the soldiers that died. Unfortunately, they missed my point, which was that for the Mayor to say that the deaths were like losing members of family was overstating things. For someone that actually knew the persons concerned well, then it is clearly a different matter entirely.
Of course, I’m now portrayed as a heartless soul who doesn’t care. And there isn’t really much point in me taking the correspondence any further.
Busy busy today. I had
Busy busy today. I had considered going to Norfolk today for a small regional trade show, but I’m glad I didn’t. I’ve achieved a lot more here in the office.
As pointed out elsewhere (ScaryDuck,
As pointed out elsewhere (ScaryDuck, for example), you could do worse than read this today.
I don’t know. Two years on and those who were foolish enough to think that things would get better must slowly be coming round to my way of thinking.
I’ve just listened to the
I’ve just listened to the news on Radio 4. The news items were as follows:
- The ongoing political turmoil surrounding the war in Iraq
- The memorial services to mark the second anniversary of the September 11th attacks
- The murder of the Swedish foreign secretary
- The agreed compensation deal between France and Libya for the victims of the bomb attack that brought down a French airliner over Niger
- The decision by the Israeli cabinet to expel Yasser Arafat, and the likely consequences of that decision
It is incredibly hard to be optimistic about the world’s future.
Friday 12 September 2003
Meg is worrying about turning
Meg is worrying about turning thirty. Well, she may not be worrying as such, but it is certainly on her mind. Personally, I think life just continues to get better, but then I’m having a good time of things at the moment on most levels. I’m sure not all people feel that way, but I see no reason to be negative about the prospect of turning thirty. I don’t think I’ll feel too negative about turning forty when that milestone approaches, either.
This weekend, I must:go for
This weekend, I must:
- go for dinner with some friends this evening, which will include being with someone that a couple of my friends are trying to match me up with, but in whom I have no interest whatsoever
- do some laundry, tidy the flat and various other mundane chores
- try to finish building and launching PFE’s website
- get some films processed
- try to organise lunch with Sarah if she is around
- go on a date on Sunday evening with someone that interests me sufficiently that I want to go on the date, but has a couple of attributes that make me think that it might be better if I didn’t (watch out for me either saying on Monday that I should have known better, or floating on cloud 9 in that way I have)
- get some beers in with the usual suspects
- extend the weekend by going to London on Monday to spend the day with my cousin, Gemma, and do a couple of art-related activities before filling ourselves with good food and red wine
- book my flights to the US for early October and send replies to the invitations.
A pretty full weekend, it seems.
The Man In Black, RIP.
The Man In Black, RIP.
Belatedly, Edward Teller, RIP. Whatever
Belatedly, Edward Teller, RIP. Whatever you think of his work, it undoubtedly was a major influence on 20th century politics and the Cold War.
John Ritter, RIP.
John Ritter, RIP.
Someone, somewhere, has been born
Someone, somewhere, has been born today who will be famous, a great scientist, politician or thinker, or in some way touch the lives of others in a positive way. Yes, let’s think positively, ok?
Saturday 13 September 2003
Dinner tonight at the Royal
Dinner tonight at the Royal Oak at Lavant with Jo, Andy, Julie, Andrew and Sasha. A slight sour taste from the fact that forty quid that I put into the kitty for the bill seemed to go missing. I’m not accusing Hayley and the staff of anything improper, but we felt uncomfortable about the whole thing, and it is likely to deter us from eating there again. I hope it’ll be resolved.
Otherwise, a great night with good food and good company. But being seventy quid out of pocket after drinks, cab and missing money doesn’t make me feel good.
Saturday morning therapy: garage door
Saturday morning therapy: garage door tennis. My highscore is 15, not bad when using a laptop touchpad rather than a proper mouse. And worth playing for the soundtrack, which suggests that the game is set in a neighbourhood that is home to a sychronised lawnmower display team.
Lunch today in the Slug
Lunch today in the Slug with Sarah and Paul, with a sighting of Gill, who I’ve not seen for ages, and, later, of Paul and Alison F.
No mention of sport today, thank you. Not a good day on that front.
Do you know who might
Do you know who might be the next Democrat candidate for the US presidency? Didn’t think so….
- Justin Webb’s From Our Own Correspondent article is worth reading.
- The BBC also, helpfully, profiles each of the contenders, and links to their own websites, thereby saving me the bother.
- New York Times: worried Democrats see daunting hurdles.
- As you might expect, the Washington Post has a whole section devoted to the 2004 election, including background, candidate profiles, a timetable and just about everything a complete novice or expert could need to understand what is going on. Recommended.
- And don’t forget that, in the meantime, we still have the Californian gubernatorial recall vote. The Sacramento Bee continues to have the best coverage that I’ve seen. Worth reading too is Daniel Weintraub’s California Insider weblog, which is currently concentrating on the recall vote.
Sticking with media news, this
Sticking with media news, this report is worrying. When will the global community act against Mugabe?
Sunday 14 September 2003
Beer tonight with Lord Percy,
Beer tonight with Lord Percy, Lady Bren, Arron and Terry, with sightings of several of the usual suspects. Much food for thought for all, I think it is fair to say.
Slang – Dirtwater Telegraph. Worth
Slang – Dirtwater Telegraph. Worth watching.
OK kiddies. A few people
OK kiddies. A few people have been muttering about a lack of interactivity here lately. Furthermore, the current header graphic has been almost universally unpopular. There’s no pleasing some people. Or is there?…
Yes, folks, it’s time for a poll! Woo! Yay! To celebrate this site’s third birthday on Tuesday, I’m going to let you vote on a choice of candidate header graphics that I’ve spent the morning designing when I should have been doing work. In true Scaryduck style, I expect that I’ll ignore your vote and choose the one I like best. But that’s not the point.
Here are the candidates:
Capitol Balustrade. Looking through the balustrade around the State Capitol in Sacramento, as a couple of people look back at me.
Capitol Ceiling. Looking up at the ceiling of the dome of the same building in Sacramento.
City Café. In Sacramento again.
Palm House Door. The southern end of the Palm House at Kew.
Railings. On top of the city walls, very near my flat.
Warning. A sign on a wall near my flat.
So, six choices. And you decide. Or something.
Votes in by 5pm Friday 19th September. The new graphic will be in place next weekend.
Go on! Vote…!
I went for a stroll
I went for a stroll around the city this afternoon, and stumbled upon the annual opening of Ede’s House. Ede’s House is an imposing building in West Street. Until 1936, it was the seat of West Sussex County Council. It was then used as the public library until 1967, when it became the County Record Office. When the Record Office moved to a purpose built building at the far end of my street in the early nineties, Ede’s House was restored so that it could be used as committee rooms for the council, and also by local organisations for meetings. It was the first time I’ve ever been inside. It’s an impressive building, but it seems somehow to have the air of an office, and not quite the impressive town house that the exterior promises. Also, I note that only one of the rooms is really large enough for any sort of meeting to take place, and even then I only think it could seat 50 or 60 people.
One of the most notable features of the building is a pair of large stone pineapples that flank the West Street facade. And, luckily for you, I took a picture of one earlier this year.
Sweden rejects euro. I think
Sweden rejects euro. I think I may bring forward my plans for moving to Portugal, as I see no prospect of the UK joining the euro any time before 2015.
R Kelly’s career compared to
Monday 15 September 2003
Today, I shall be in
Today, I shall be in London with Gemma, my cousin, viewing art, spending money and getting drunk and fat. Which is a good plan.
And I’ve just booked my flights for David’s wedding – at reduced price too. Bargain! Plus I get a gazillion AAdvantage points for flying via St Louis on the outward journey and via Dallas/Ft Worth on the return, and save another £65. Yay!
A long but very good
A long but very good day in the company of my cousin, Gemma. Food was eaten, alcohol imbibed, shops toured and art appraised. Pooped now, but I made my train ok. Full report tomorrow.
Tuesday 16 September 2003
Three years ago today, I
Three years ago today, I wrote:
dunno really. I used to keep a diary long ago, but it got to be a bit of a pain, all that writing and pens and stuff. So this is kinda going to be a diary, plus a forum for me to vent my spleen every now and then and ramble on aimlessly about whatever might be troubling me.
or something like that…..
I think it is still something like that. Near enough.
Happy third birthday, Grayblog.
Hmm. So much for the
Hmm. So much for the masked superhero:
Domain Name: anglegrinderman.co.uk Registrant: Alan Jeffery Registrant's Address: 57 Heron Way Walderslade Chatham ME5 7RL GB
Votes have been coming in
Votes have been coming in thick and fast on the grayblog header poll. "Railings" is ahead by some margin, although I suspect some ballot stuffing by Lord Percy, with "Warning" leading the peloton. "Palm House Door" is currently in line for the wooden spoon, which is a sorry state of affairs.
Voting open until Friday, 5pm. Get voting!
This game is bug hard.
This game is bug hard.
United States politics update:Californian gubernatorial
United States politics update:
- Californian gubernatorial recall vote delayed. BBC coverage. Sacramento Bee: Analysis – postponement could benefit Davis most. California Insider considers the short term implications.
- Wesley Clark to run for President. BBC News profile. Washington Post coverage.
A successful talk in Rustington
A successful talk in Rustington tonight, followed by beer, in a blogging birthday kinda way, with Paul F, Ian, Sacha, Lord Percy and Lady Bren, spectating on the karaoke in Chicago Rocks.
Now home, listening to tonight’s excellent Peel show on Radio 1.
Wednesday 17 September 2003
Busy busy busy, but enjoying
Busy busy busy, but enjoying the luxury of being able to hold business meetings outside in the glorious warm sunshine. Indian summer – don’t you love it?
I’ve also just realised how far it is from Birmingham to Caernarfon.
If you’re wondering what I’m
If you’re wondering what I’m looking at on the web today, you can find it here. Just six points needed and we already have two of them.
Meanwhile, Brighton won last night, though not convincingly.
Voting in the header graphic
Voting in the header graphic poll continues, with "Railings" still in the lead, with a comfortable cushion before second placed "Warning". "Palm House Door" doubled its tally today – it now has two votes.
Thursday 18 September 2003
Lots to do today, so
Lots to do today, so expect quiet. But in other news:
- There is still time to vote in the header graphic poll. "Palm House Door" continues its charge, now with four votes and clear of "City Café", but surely too late to gain the prize?
- Sussex need just 167 runs today to seal victory in the cricket County Championship for the first time in the team’s long long history
- Happy birthday to Hamish
- Hurricane Isabel is passing directly over the area that I will be visiting in two weeks time
And how are you?
Murray Goodwin has just struck
Murray Goodwin has just struck the winning runs to ensure that Sussex have won the Frizzell County Cricket Championship for the first time in the team’s 164 year history. Brilliant!
BBC Sport coverage.
Sussex County Cricket Club official site.
The Chichester Observer has a
The Chichester Observer has a headline this week on a story about the memorial service held recently at Westminster Abbey for Dame Thora Hird, who "had a home near Chichester":
Yet more evidence that the editor of the paper is a prat (other than when he prints my letters, obviously).
Chichester District Council have asked
Chichester District Council have asked for yet more drawings to go with my planning application, in spite of no specific requirement being specified in the application pack and guidance notes. This on top of last week’s request for more money. This process is getting on my nerves.
Don’t forget to vote. Less
Don’t forget to vote. Less than 24 hours to go.
Beer with Hamish (happy birthday!),
Beer with Hamish (happy birthday!), Ruth, Nicki, Jonathan, Greg, Arron and Matt. And tonight I learned that Bora is in France. I expect him to turn up on my doorstep any time soon.
Friday 19 September 2003
More on Sussex winning the
More on Sussex winning the county championship:
- Angus Fraser in the Independent
- CMJ in The Times
- The Guardian carries interviews with some of the major people involved at Sussex. Peter Moores, the coach, is quoted as saying "we won because we were better than anyone else". Wise words indeed.
Am I the only one
Am I the only one who thinks that the world is going mad? A man in a perspex box, hanging a little bit above the ground by Tower Bridge for 44 days. An incredibly wealthy former member of a popular beat combo. And a newspaper photographer. Add them together, and what do you get? The most ridiculous waste of energy and police time you could possibly imagine.
We’ve just found a dead
We’ve just found a dead stoat outside. It had a little blood on its neck, so I guess it had been caught and abandoned by a cat. It was only small, clearly one of this year’s young, and its fur was as soft as you could imagine.
We could tell easily that it wasn’t a weasel. After all, they are stoatally different and weasely distinguished. (I know, awful, but I thought I’d save someone the bother).
<rolf>The poor fella didn’t make it</rolf>.
Radical Aces – a great
Radical Aces – a great game.
The votes have been counted.
The votes have been counted. The readers have spoken. In spite of a couple of known instances of ballot box stuffing, I think I can safely say that the result is the one that gained the most votes.
And I really liked Palm House Door.
I’ve just remembered that I
I’ve just remembered that I haven’t given a full report of Monday’s trip to London. But now it is time to go to the pub, and Arron has promised to buy me a beer, so I don’t want to be late.
Tomorrow kiddies. Just enjoy your lovely new header and dream of textual treats to come.
Beer tonight with Paul F,
Beer tonight with Paul F, Arron, Kearn, Terry, Hamish and other miscreants.
Saturday 20 September 2003
Galileo, RIP (rest in pieces).
Galileo, RIP (rest in pieces).
Ah yes! Monday’s day out.
Ah yes! Monday’s day out. I’d almost forgotten…
After doing a few chores involving the bank, Boots and the district council, I caught a train to London Bridge where I met up with Gem. We don’t see each other anything like often enough. She’s been feeling a bit low lately after a messy break-up, and I get the impression that things have been a bit stressful for her at work, with layoffs and people jumping ship. She seems to be approaching one of those crossroads in life, so I hope it was good for her to take a day out, relax, talk things over with an impartial observer, and generally have a good day.
Anyway, we mooched from London Bridge along the South Bank, pausing for a baguette-based lunch along the way. Not the best baguette I’ve ever eaten, filled with particularly dry grated cheese, but very nice to sit by the river and people watch whilst we caught up on each other’s news.
Then we sauntered along further until we got to the London Eye, where there was an icecream vendor. I really fancied a 99 with two flakes, but he only had chocolate icecream. It was good, but not really what I had in mind.
After this, we went in for the feature attraction of the day, which was a tour of the Saatchi Gallery. Modern art is not really Gem’s bag, and this visit was my idea. She has promised that next time we shall spend an afternoon looking at Impressionist paintings to make up. I say "make up" because even I was not entirely satisfied by the gallery experience. There doesn’t seem to be a logic to the way that the gallery is laid out and the pieces displayed. There is currently a Damien Hirst retrospective, but it was hard to actually gain any sort of overall view of the development of his work and style. Instead, his pieces were scattered through the rooms of the gallery, juxtaposed with works by other artists. The overall feeling of the gallery is that each artist is simply trying to out-shock or out-clever the next, and the endless references to death, sex and shit do become a little tiresome after a while.
Favourite works? Ron Mueck’s Mask, which is truly terrifying in it’s proportions. Hirst’s The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (known as The Shark In The Tank to you and me), which gives a terrifying impact when viewed from a distance, but seems weaker and more frail when viewed close to. Richard Wilson’s 20:50, which is innovative and produces an awful vertiginous sense in the viewer who also becomes part of the artwork by entering it. In fact, seeing 20:50 alone is worth paying the entrance fee for.
After the Saatchi, we retired to a waterside bar to enjoy some beers in the late summer sunshine, before heading up through Covent Garden to Oxford Street, where we braved the hordes, looked in a few clothes shops and ended up in Waterstone’s at Simpsons to use their loos and buy some paperbacks. Then we headed back to Soho, had some cocktails, met Gem’s friend Lisa, and finished the day with the three of us enjoying a Chinese meal before I had to dash and catch the last train home.
A good day all round, I’d say.
RSS turned on
I’ve no idea what use it might be to anyone, but grayblog now has an RSS feed. It can be found at http://www.grayblog.co.uk/rss/index.rdf. All posts from now on will have a title, but that title will not appear on the standard grayblog pages, simply because I don’t want to have to think of a witty title for each post. Titles will be more functional than entertaining.
Well, I say that there is an RSS feed, but I can’t get it to work at the moment. Check back later.
UPDATE: it’s working now.
I’ve been having problems with my laptop. The mouse pointer moves, all by itself, to either the top right or bottom left of the screen. I’ve just disabled the pointer stick, and that seems to have cured the problem – I’ll have to rely on the touchpad instead, which suits me fine as I prefer using it anyway. But it is a little annoying. And I don’t think I want to return the whole machine under warranty to get it repaired, as I don’t really want to be without it for something so minor.
The Plants For Europe website now has a few more pages added. This should hopefully begin to make a little clearer what exactly it is that I am doing – or, at least, it will do when I finish the site. The "What are Plant Variety Rights" and "I have a new plant…" pages will make things even clearer, when I get around to making them.
Sunday 21 September 2003
Bren, Greg and I were going to go to Reading today to poke about the shops, as I need to find one or two items, and I’d travel on from there to Birmingham where I’m attending a trade show tomorrow. But Bren is under the weather, so they’re not up to it. Which is good in one respect, as I’ve done nothing about packing yet, although I have managed to organise myself sufficiently to go and pick up the hire car.
Funny that the EU referendum vote in Latvia, and most of the other referenda votes too, have seen much less coverage in the media than the "No" vote in the euro referendum in Sweden the other day. Clearly a pro-European news story doesn’t sit so comfortably with the agendas of the newspaper editors.
Some of you will have noticed that Dave Kennamatic seems to have gone missing. Alarmingly, he’s not even answering email.
"What can I do about this?", I thought to myself. Why – a poll, of course!
The poll will remain open until Dave posts something.
Oxford services on the M40.
Oxford services on the M40. Not likely to be highly recommended by me any time soon.
OK, I admit it. I’ve surpassed myself for booking into a bizarre hotel. The Stoneleigh Park Lodge Hotel is situated in the middle of the Stoneleigh National Agricultural Centre showground, a most unusual setting. For those that have never been to a major agricultural showground, it’s a wide open space with a grid of roads and seemingly randomly placed buildings which are left unused for much of the time. One of those buildings, in this case, happens to be a hotel. I reckon there are no more than ten guests here. The restaurant is in another of the randomly placed buildings, about two hundred yards distant across a "green". I can’t decide if I want to be the only guest in the restaurant but be able to have a glass or three of vin rouge with my meal, or if I want to drive into Warwick and see if there is any more life to be had, but be limited to just the one beverage. Hmm.
I think Warwick will most likely win.
On the plus side, the hotel is quiet, comfy and has a phone point. All pluses. And it’s reasonably priced, though not the cheapest. £50 for a double room, including breakfast. But then PFE is paying, so it doesn’t matter, does it?
Oh yeh. I’m PFE. Arses.
Incidentally, isn’t there a blogger in Warwick. Where does that Dead Kenny bloke hang out?
Well, I went into Warwick. When I left the hotel, nobody was in the restaurant. When I got back, there were two.
Warwick is a nice town. The Warwick Arms is not a good place to eat though. The food was unexciting. The service worse. And their machine wouldn’t take my credit card, even though I know it’s valid. But the people-watching was fun, so I’m glad I went.
Monday 22 September 2003
Off to GLEE, an exhibition for the garden and leisure industry, and not a place where everyone sits around being cheerful.
Well, the trade show was excellent, if not very GLEEful, and I made some good new contacts, as well as refreshing some old ones. I also had coffee and a sandwich with Kearn and Paul C, who were both in evidence in professional capacities.
I have a meeting tomorrow in Caernarfon. I didn’t fancy driving all the way in one go, so I have booked a hotel near Oswestry, roughly half way. I missed the turning off the A5, and realised when I reached Llangollen. Consulting the road atlas, I saw an unclassified road that offered a shortcut. Well, the road is roughly as wide as the hire car and includes a few vertical inclines, but also furnished me with some of the finest views of my travels to date. A couple of photos were taken, so you’ll see those later.
This will be a very brief update, as telephone calls cost £0.20 per minute here, which seems incredibly expensive to me. Additionally, I want to go downstairs and investigate the bar and get some food in. And no mobile signal here either. But then I am in a lovely country pub hotel in a small village in the Cambrian Mountains, so I should really expect much else!
Wednesday 24 September 2003
The following was written last night as I sat in the Old Mill in Elmley Castle, Worcestershire:
What a long day. I’m not sure how many miles I’ve covered today – about 350 or so, I think. I began at the Golden Pheasant hotel in LLanglldoflllwrynlllll, or whatever the village was called near Oswestry, with a pleasant breakfast and a fantastic view down the valley. This was followed by one of the most fantastically beautiful drives you could possibly take in this country, heading across country to pick up the A5, and then on past Snowdon to Caernarfon. A very successful meeting took place there, followed by hours of slog up the A55, M56 and M6 to rural Lancashire, not far from Blackpool. There I had an insightful visit to a grower, before slogging back down the M6 and M5 to Worcestershire. I’m now ensconced in The Old Mill, a pub, restaurant and hotel in Elmley Castle, not far from Evesham, who were able to put me up at short notice.
Tomorrow I have a meeting in the afternoon, but the guy I was planning to meet in the morning has yet to return my calls, so my plans for tomorrow might be slightly disrupted. Not to worry, I also had a phone call from Dave Kennamatic, so we should be able to make some progress on my windows. Hurrah!
All of this has taken place to the soundtrack of an old mixtape (remember them?) given to me by Robyn eons ago.
I’m pooped and hungry. Thankfully, the restaurant is still open.
The following was written this morning, in the same place as the post below:
Isn’t children’s TV awful? Still, it’s more interesting than the breakfast news this morning. Although watching teen actors is pretty painful. And must they all wear baseball caps at stupid angles?
Hmm. I think my policy of not having TV at home is vindicated.
Time for breakfast.
Birmingham to Caernarfon
Birmingham to Caernarfon is 140 miles (almost exactly), if you start at the NEC and pass through Oswestry, Llangollen, Capel Curig and Llanberis.
Brian wanted to know.
Proto-rants (i.e. ideas that are half formed in my head that I’m too busy to expand on, but present for discussion):
- Microsoft killing chat rooms to prevent paedophiles gaining access to kids. Well, this is clearly a move by MS to prevent their arse being sued in a big way by some litigious, aggrieved and (most likely) grieving parent. But the logic is akin to saying "kids get killed on roads, so let’s rip all the roads up and destroy all the vehicles! yay!"
- Report will show that Iraq was working on developing the beginnings of perhaps moving towards a programme to investigate the possibility of making some WMDs (I’d link to the news reports about the actual US-led task group that has come up with this gem, but I’ve got a date this evening and don’t want to be late, ok?). Perhaps. Maybe. The evidence? They had bunsen burners! Scary. Mind you, any secondary school class equipped with bunsen burners could, within minutes, wipe out your average small town. My response – WTF?
- Coats on dogs. To quote Dogbert: "It is equally impolite for animals to wear pants as it is for people to be nude". So Brian, please make sure it only happens in the privacy of your own home, or on that beach behind the shingle bank at Brighton, ok?
And remind me to tell you about the couple in last night’s hotel.
Thursday 25 September 2003
I’ve been busy all day making travel plans for my visit to North Carolina next week. The hotel that had been block booked for the wedding guests is fully booked, but I’ve got myself into the Marriott that is right across the street from the venue for the rehearsal dinner (whatever that is). It’s a little more expensive, but I should make up for it in saved cab fees, both getting to and from the rehearsal dinner, and also getting to and from the airport (yay for shuttle buses!). I’ve also booked the other hotels that I need, as well as a hire car, and have looked for ideas for ways to enjoy the Friday morning when en route from Rockingham to Charlotte. A trip to the Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge looks interesting – I’ll pack my boots and plan for a walk for a couple of hours, if the weather is fair.
I’ve just had a lovely email from Laura, an aspiring weathergirl (I bet she hates that term!). She has a site here, which I’m linking because she said nice things about grayblog. I’m soft like that.
I think that this is utterly brilliant, both architecturally and conceptually.
Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Mark Rothko. Overview of his career here.
Friday 26 September 2003
Today I shall not be in the office. Instead, I’ll be going to the tax office to try and sort out the Inland Revenue’s incompetence and general failings and get myself a pair of new tax codes so that the debt that I’m steadily building in unpaid tax does not become overwhelming (I estimate that it currently stands at around £700). After that, I shall be relying on Jo to help me relax with a 45 minute session in the hair salon. That’ll be followed by an afternoon back at home, waiting for the gas engineer to come round and give my central heating its annual service, which, in view of the cool nights we have had recently, is timely. After that, I have to head over to the office, pick up various bits of equipment and then head across the road to the mill to give a presentation on the history of the nursery – and break the news to assorted local busybodies that the place will cease regular trading at the end of the year. That’ll start them talking.
If I get back to Chichester early enough, I might amble into the bar to end the day.
My new RBS Advanta credit card has arrived, with a scarily large credit limit on it. It really does have the corner missing. Not only that, but it is transparent. Novelty value, or what?! But the main thing is my application was successful, and I can now exploit the 0% balance transfers to reduce my monthly outgoings.
Robert Palmer, RIP.
Tom Coates on why the British don’t like Blaine. Because, basically, he’s a twat.
And I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone in West Wittering use the word "wanker". Too much blue rinse down there for that.
Late beer with Al, Arron, Bren, Greg, Kearn and Paul "Open University" F.
Saturday 27 September 2003
Weebl and Bob fans should check out this Chris the Ninja Pirate game without delay.
So far this morning, I’ve spent getting on for half a month’s wages. Oops. To show for it, I have:
- a pale charcoal grey pure wool suit, which is to be altered and will be ready on Wednesday morning. Bargain at £209 from Stephen Lawrence – reduced from £309.
- a shirt, also from Stephen Lawrence. £59.
- a new pair of smart black shoes, almost boots really, from Russell and Bromley. £125.
- a pair of brown nubuck boots, totally lovely and adorable, also from Russell and Bromley. £140, including the insoles needed to make them fit more comfortably.
- a gift for the wedding. Value not disclosed!
- a new suitcase by Linea at Army and Navy. £80. My old soft case was getting a bit battered and the zips were beginning to fail. It doesn’t really fit the modern smart business image. So I’ve got myself a smart black job, the sort that has a handle and wheels, that is slightly rigid and should prevent the contents being crushed. I’ll need to do something to distinguish it in readiness for baggage reclaim, as the world and it’s wife has black bags that look just like it. I was tempted by the silver, but I could see from the display examples that it marked very easily.
Down to earth now, with a trip to Waitrose. I need to give them some money too.
And I can see why RBS Advanta have made the card with a corner cut off and transparent plastic – everywhere I went, as soon as I pulled it out of my wallet, everyone went "oooh! look at that! that’s funky! I want one!"
Beer tonight with Hamish, Ruth, Paul C, Natalie C, Kearn, Matt, Stein, Jeremy, Simon, Tanya, Terry, Kristian and other picture postcards.
Sunday 28 September 2003
Handy advice from dictionary.com this morning, which I shall pass on to you – take care not to confuse the words "titivate" and "titillate". Hmm. Yes.
Last night, when I got home from the pub, I logged on to the BBC website and watched the launch of the Ariane 5 rocket carrying the SMART 1 moon probe. I was watching events unfurl in real time, completely live, on a small portable device that sits on my lap. Sometimes it pays to stop and think about things like that.
What’s more, in a few weeks time, we will (hopefully) be watching live pictures from Mars. How cool is that?
Dave is coming round this morning to talk windows. I suppose I’d better tidy the place up a bit.
Here’s one for all you broadband-equipped kiddies – Audiogame. I’m not quite sure where the game element comes in, but it is rather beautiful and very cleverly executed. via flabber.nl
Monday 29 September 2003
Busy busy busy today, trying to sort out all the jobs I need to do before scooting off to the States on Wednesday.
One thing I must do is to back up the data on the laptop – we don’t want any disasters, do we?
Bognor Regis is second worst place in the UK for young people, apparently.
The problem has so many causes, I could rant on about it for ages. Part of the problem is actually surveys like this – they not only enhance a town’s "tea dance and bingo" reputation by banging on about it, but they also seem to suggest that the solution lies in activities that are centred on alcohol (in this case, the survey is sponsored by the vomit and driving ban inducing After Shock). This latter point has two problems associated with it – firstly it suggests that young people can only feel entertained when they are inebriated, which I think severely underestimates the majority of young people (it’s only once you get past 30 that this holds true!). Secondly, by encouraging a drinking culture in younger people, the divide between young and old only widens.
To put it right, decision makers (often older people) have to understand the needs of the younger citizens of their towns. Younger people have to get involved in the decision making process too – not just moan amongst themselves, but try to be heard. Chichester has no nightclub in the city, yet it has a university and a college, with a big student population. Bognor only has a small cinema and no bowling alley. Neither Bognor nor Chichester have much to offer to the 15 to 18 year old group, which is why they end up hanging around the Cross and convenience stores, swigging off bottles of booze that they’ve purchased illegally.
Both the young and old communities have to realise that they live in a shared space, and accept that each group has its own needs. Each has to accept and tolerate the other – the old community must get over its nimbyism whilst the young must respect the space and peace that the rest of the community might prefer.
I’m too tired to write anything here. Go entertain yourself by reading other people’s sites. Come back tomorrow. I may be more inspired then.
Alternatively, if you are feeling creative, come up with some content for me and post it in the comments. Thanks.
CutePDF Printer has all the attributes of a great gizmo – it’s easy to install, easy to use, has simple functionality and is free. It also has the grayblog seal of approval.
Welsh Botanic Gardens
Tuesday 30 September 2003
Yesterday, I got lazy and invited you to create content for me. A great work of literature is currently being created in the comments section – you can read it so far, and add you own contribution, by clicking here.
I’ll have to keep an eye on it, as BlogBack has a limit of 50 comments per post.
I mentioned that the nursery was ceasing regular opening, and I promised to explain what was happening. It’s pretty simple really – I’m leaving the nursery to focus on running PFE, and my parents are both of an age when they should be retired more than they are. So, they are going to stop running the nursery in the way that it has been (i.e. growing shedloads of plants and dealing with the public), and focus on developing a garden – in other words, spend more time doing what they want to do rather than do what the darned customers expect them to do. Dad will carry on with his plant breeding work, which I will be representing within the PFE portfolio. And in the future, the nursery will reopen under my brother’s command – well, that’s the theory at least. He has to build a new home at the nursery first.
I think it should lead to a much better quality of life for just about everyone. New challenges for me and Tim, who like that sort of thing, and a more relaxed lifestyle for Mum and Dad. Let’s just hope that the actuality lives up to the expectation.
Is this National Blog About Pregnancy Week?
- wondering if it has begun
- relieved that it hasn’t
- observing it in others
- experiencing it first hand (well, second hand really, but as close as any man can get)
- showing off the results
I think I’ll keep clear of this for the time being. Mind you, based on the lack of much action lately, I don’t think I have much choice in the matter.