Thursday 1 July 2004
Shamelessly stolen links
Two links nicked from Uborka:
Broadband is best, kiddies.
News from the BBC
A few links to today’s news – presented for your own thoughts:
- No charges to be brought over "that" Robert Kilroy-Silk article. Not a great surprise, and in all possibility a victory for freedom of speech, even if his comments were utterly offensive and loathsome.
- Cassini probe sends back pictures of Saturn’s rings. Stunning. I hope people do not become jaundiced by all this – there is an absolute shedload of really exciting stuff coming from man’s exploration of space at the moment, and we must be careful not to under-rate it.
- Some people have said that the young Russian tennis player, Maria Sharapova, is the new Kournikova. There’s one major difference though. Sharapova can actually play.
- Richard May, RIP. If only there was a Richard May to deal with this trial.
- Irish Republic completes its presidency of the EU, described by many as possibly the most successful presidency in the Union’s history. Much credit must go to Bertie Ahern, who comes across as remarkably disarming. Many might be surprised to know that the Taoiseach offers frequent punditry on the main Irish Saturday-night football TV show, something that would seem alien to citizens of nations where the leader is remote from the people.
- The postal service watchdog has sent letters to MPs seeking their support for the campaign to cut the amount of lost and mis-delivered mail. Unfortunately, they got lost in the post. Coincidence or conspiracy?
- Why Sir Peter had to go. From a marketing standpoint, Sainsburys’ offering is not clear – are they trying to be a value leader, taking on Asda and Tesco, or are they trying to be a quality leader, taking on Waitrose and Marks and Spencer? It’s hard to do both at the same time without eroding margins.
- Teacher’s job shortage warning.
"But the mystery is how the primary teacher market became over-supplied at all. The government has had years to prepare for the fall in the number of primary school children. The government and the Teacher Training Agency (TTA) regulate the number of trainees. Yet with 60,000 fewer primary school children expected, last year they increased the target for primary trainees."
Do the words "astonishingly incompetent" spring to mind, hmm?
Better than Kenya
Friday 2 July 2004
More from the BBC
More news stories:
- Hubble finds around 100 new extra-solar planets, yet more evidence of the pressing need to try and find some way to keep Hubble working.
- Lord Ashdown takes action over failuire to arrest Karadzic – not before time, and it remains to be seen if it will be effective.
It’s the little things that keep me happy – like successfully setting up my laptop so that I check my email and surf the web via my mobile phone. Undoubtedly only likely to be used infrequently, and almost certain to be very expensive when I do – but it could be useful functionality one day.
Elephant, possibly the most mad game I’ve seen in months.
Saturday 3 July 2004
The Office of Anode and Cathode – took me a while but I got there in the end.
33 years ago today, Jim Morrison was found dead in his hotel. If he was alive today, he would be sixty years of age.
What do you think he would have been like as a sixty year old? And was his fame magnified purely because he died young?
(last night) Lord Percy, Lady Bren, Fi, Nicola, the other Helen W, Steve, Paul C, Paul F, Kearn, Steen, Al, Arron, Leah, Simon, Debbie, Simon, Ruth, Hamish and Terry. The first Friday night drinks I’ve had in Chichester for a long while – and it’ll probably be a long while again before the next time.
Lots of links
This site includes 17783 links, internal and external. That’s an awful lot of links. Of these, about 450 are broken, mostly links to sites that have now ceased to be.
How do I know this? I used Xenu’s Link Sleuth. Be warned though – to scan all the links on my site took the Sleuth a couple of hours.
Sunday 4 July 2004
Return of me(ish)
On the road again
Today, I shall be driving with (PFE-supporter and friend) Mike to Rotterdam, via Le Shuttle. We’re undertaking a week-long tour of the Netherlands and Belgium to visit a whole host of plant growers, propagators and breeders’ agents. It’ll be hard work and tiring, but hopefully we will get a little downtime in as well – Mike and I usually try to get to a few decent restaurants on these trips, as well as a sight or two if there is time (recent conquests include Essen cathedral treasury and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam).
So, expect quiet here this week. I’ll have my laptop with me, so infrequent updates should be possible – just don’t expect much rambling, nor any long-winded airport monologues. Monologuing is hard to do when driving.
Singapore authorities relax a few rules – a little.
Monday 5 July 2004
In the Netherlands
I will post a lengthy post about my travels here, but not now as connection is costly and slow. Wait until next week, ok?
Meanwhile – Greece – who’d have thought it?
Tuesday 6 July 2004
You know how it is – you’re sitting in a restaurant in Alphen an der Rijn and you spot someone wearing an "I’m blogging this" t-shirt. So you go an introduce yourself and exchange URIs. It’s the only polite thing to do!
In other news – I really miss Hels.
And this trip is really useful already, with only two of five working days completed.
Wednesday 7 July 2004
Horrible end to the day here with heavy rain, making driving awful. But clearly not as bad as back home. Hope you’re ok where you are.
And remind me to tell you about driving across the dijk.
Sunday 11 July 2004
The last episode of series one of Making Fiends is out, with a cliffhanger ending! Series two will begin in September, we are told.
Monday 12 July 2004
I am home. Well, actually, I’m in the office. I have more work than you could believe.
At some point, I will write on the following subjects:
- flat sales and house purchases
- driving in the Netherlands
- plant factories
- Charlie and Pete’s wedding
- other miscellaneous subjects
In the meantime, please amuse yourself in whatever manner you feel is appropriate.
Global House Connection
GHC is back after a five month hiatus. Woo, yay and, indeed, hoopla.
Grayblog is not the only blog
I’ve written a new piece over at Uborka. I can’t believe that they still let me do that.
Tuesday 13 July 2004
OK, let’s bring you up to date on the current property status.
Firstly, if all goes well, it seems that Hels has sold her flat. She changed agent about ten days or so ago, which resulted in a flurry of new viewings and two offers in the space of 24 hours. The second was much better than the first, and we’re working towards a completion date in mid September.
My flat, on the other hand, continues to sit in the market doldrums. I’m not convinced that there is anything wrong with the flat, nor with the price – £134,950 makes this one of the cheapest properties currently for sale in Chichester. I think part of the problem is that my agent is just too "nice" and simply not aggressive enough. There is probably a very good reason why most estate agents are irritating social outcasts – that reason being that irritating social outcasts are the best people for that particular job.
So, as of today, my flat will now be in a joint agency situation – I’ve managed to negotiate a good wheeze where both agents are charging the same commission rate as I would have paid under the old sole agency agreement. The manager of the new agent came across to me as a greasy and irritating individual, rather too sure of his own abilities, and bound to annoy anyone who has to spend more than a few minutes in his company. These, I feel, are the ideal qualities for an estate agent.
I’ve kept the price the same for now, and we shall see how the new agent progresses. If there are no developments within the next fortnight, then I’ll review things again.
Meanwhile, Hels and I went back to look at a house that I viewed some time ago. It’s a spacious three bedroom mid-terrace property, with quite a big garden, a garage and great views. We discussed it over the weekend, and I phoned the agent yesterday to register an interest and to sound out what sort of offer would be acceptable. Unfortunately, it seems that another offer is pending that is higher than the maximum that we can currently bid, although that purchaser has had their own sale fall through. Our sums were based on an ultra-realistic appraisal of the value that my flat might realise, although if we exceed that then we might be able to get in on this property again by making an offer closer to the asking price.
It’s a shame really, as it is a rather lovely house that is in good enough condition to live in it without unndertaking major works, yet still offers scope for improvements that would add to its value. It also has room for me to work in peace and even space for (whisper it!) a child or two. Hels and I have a mantra that we shouldn’t become "emotionally attached" to a new home until we have the keys in our hands, but that’s much easier said than done.
Because I can, here’s a picture of my beautiful fiancée, browsing the menu at Charlie and Pete’s wedding on Saturday.
And, yes, we really did have four wine glasses each.
Three new headers from photos taken in the Netherlands – hit F5 enough and you’ll see them.
Kearn, Lord Percy, Fi, Nichola and Kristian. Featuring silly memories of the night that Kristian and I hid behind the bar in W2 from Jeff.
You have to admire the dignity of this couple. I hope they find the justice that they seek.
Friday 16 July 2004
Apologies for the long and unplanned outage yesterday. Holly, the server that hosts grayblog (and grayblog mail) at 34sp went "pop", but has now been repaired. Things should be as close to normal here as they ever get.
Monday 19 July 2004
Apologies for the continuing quiet here. I haven’t forgotten that list of things that I said I’d write about, and can now add the following:
- the house martins (not capitalized)
- going to church
- Fahrenheit 9/11
- John Lewis at Bluewater
Tuesday 20 July 2004
Everybody loves Magical Trevor.
More things that I might get around to writing about
How meta is this?
- house hunting
- to do lists
- synchronised swimming
Note: I may not actually write about all of these things.
There’s another new header. Click refresh until you see it.
Hels lives in an attic apartment, under the eaves of a lovely Georgian red brick building. You can lounge in the bath and look out the window to glorious views to the west and south-west over the roofs of the oldest part of Tunbridge Wells. It’s a view that you can get very fond of, and something that we will both miss.
Recently, as we’ve been soaking in the bath and soaking up the view (separately – keep your dirty thoughts to yourself!), we’ve had the feeling of being attacked as a pair of house martins fly directly toward the window, only to veer up vertically at the very last second. An external inspection of the building revealed a nest under the eaves immediately above the bathroom window, and recently we’ve heard loud cheepings from chicks within the nest. Since the chicks have hatched, the parents have been constantly coming to and fro, delivering flies for the chicks to eat. We can watch them flying over the rooftops in search of their prey.
One of the things that always impresses me is how martins manage to build their nests. In the case of our resident family, the nest has no support underneath, and is built at the apex of the gable. How do the birds begin to construct the nest? And how do they learn to build such a robust structure? Maybe they get contractors in.
Lord Percy, Paul F and Aris.
Hague not vague
I recommend readers to make a point of listening to Today in Parliament. On today’s debate on the Butler Report, I particularly recommend listening to William Hague’s words. Hague is a surprisingly under-rated parliamentarian.
Wednesday 21 July 2004
A message for UKIP voters
I hope you are proud of yourselves.
Dave on the Railway Hotel.
Pokia – retro phones of the future.
Cactus and Son. Warning: very sweary and guaranteed to offend.
Thursday 22 July 2004
Flying over foreign territory
I’ve been at it again. Posting at Uborka. Sorry.
I’ve just spoken with a lady at the parish office of my local church in order to arrange the reading of the Banns (the Banns must be read not only in the church where the wedding is taking place, but also in the parish church of the spouse). She’s going to send me a form, and tells me that there will be a fee of £27 – that’s £9 for each reading! Considering that all they do is read out the names of the bride and groom and state the parishes in which they live, I reckon that is pretty steep!
Friday 23 July 2004
Hels’s flat sale has fallen through. Again. F**king bastards.
We are at wits end.
EDIT: Before events conspired such that I wrote this entry, I was working on a piece about how Hels’s sale seemed to be going well, and that I had had a second viewing of my flat, had another second viewing imminent and had a third viewer on first viewing. The house we want(ed) to buy had still not been sold and things were, generally, looking pretty good and promising.
Now we are wondering what we are going to do. Without going in to detail, it seems that the sale of Hels’s flat is going to be problematic for the timebeing, for reasons entirely out of our control and through no fault of ours. We still need to raise some money fairly quickly, with the expense of the wedding looming very large indeed. So hopefully a purchaser for my flat will materialise very soon (and we can persuade them to buy windows from Dave).
Now we are looking at the possibility of me moving into Hels’s flat and working from there. It’s not very large, and to try and sell it whilst I’m working in it will be difficult to say the least. But there are several options available to us – we need a few days to review them all and think things over.
Meanwhile, I’ve just been and collected H from work. She wasn’t feeling very well before and, needless to say, this has drained her a lot. It’s drained me a lot too. So this afternoon will be spent trying to collect ourselves, and drinking several cups of tea.
Monday 26 July 2004
Apologies for the general lack of content at the moment. As I am sure you can understand, I’m a bit submerged at the moment, not only with sorting out property sales, but also with regular work and social events. I’m off to Ireland later this week for a flying visit, and we also have an appointment with the vicar.
But added to the list of things that I need to write about are
- Neil and Emma’s wedding
- Charlie and Pete’s barbeque
- property sale update
Hels is not very well, a combination of virus, stress and overdoing it. Like me, she has a busy week ahead – somehow we have to fight through it.
Tuesday 27 July 2004
You want content?
It comes to something when the log-in page for updating this site has nearly fallen off my "recently visited" list. Sigh.
Still, the good news is that the sale of Hels’s flat may not be completely scuppered after all. Completely scuppered with this particular purchaser, yes, but not scuppered entirely. What does seem to be scuppered, though, is any realistic hope of living together in our own home when we are married. It looks like I’ll have to cram as much of my stuff as is reasonably possible into Hels’s flat whilst still making it appear like a home that someone would want to buy, thereby allowing us to at least live together even if things are not ideal.
In other news, I’m psyching myself up for a 4am start on Thursday for my trip to Ireland. Looks like there’ll be an opportunity for some airport blogging, which I know that you all love for its increased level of rambling.
And finally, I really need a pint. Thankfully, it’s Tuesday – cue a "beer with…" post later.
Prescott = idiot
Brighton stadium blow.
I’m not quite sure why Prescott has referred this back to the inquiry. The evidence in support of the Falmer site when compared with the other possible sites is fairly clear.
Either way, this is a massive financial blow to Brighton. I’m not really sure how the club will survive for long whilst having to pay for the planning process for the new ground with the continuing limitation on income that is the Withdean’s restricted capacity. At least the team were promoted, so TV revenue will be higher this year, but I think it will be a major struggle to stay up as there is hardly any cash for new players. Sigh.
Does it come in pink?
Caption competition submission at Uborka.
Aris, Julie, their daughter Alex, Hamish, Ruth, Kearn and Greg, with sightings of long lost friend Guy, as well as Fi and Nicola.
Wednesday 28 July 2004
I’m struggling to get it together this morning. So far I’ve forgotten my mobile phone and had to drive back two miles to get it. I’ve now remembered that I’ve forgotten something else, but I can live without it. I’ve just been to a meeting – an hour early. Thankfully it was only two minutes down the road, but it caused a bit of a laugh at my expense.
I really need to get my head together.
Thursday 29 July 2004
Whose idea was it to get up at 4am to fly to Ireland?
Either way, a worthwhile trip and I’m glad I’ve got a decent hotel to get some sleep in.
Hong Kong Phooey
Rosemary’s legs! Who knew?
Boomerang – what great hotel TV! A double bill of Whacky Races followed by a double bill of Hong Kong Phooey – it could be time to relent and get a TV.