Monday, 1 December 2003

Wet Weekend

Fairly busy weekend. Saturday morning there was a Christmas Fayre at Alice's nursery, despite atrocious weather. Father Christmas arrived late - he'd had to walk the last couple of miles because his "sleigh" got caught in traffic! We took our cameras to get a photo of her with FC, but as it was Alice snook in, and the first we knew about it was when she emerged with a packet of sweets!

On the way home we noticed that the village Christmas Fayre was on, so we stopped off there too. This time we had to queue to see Santa (yes, we went twice - ask the missus!) but Alice was well behaved because she'd met up with a friend of hers, Caitlin, and they kept each other occupied.Then, since we were all a bit peckish, we went over to the White Horse, Downton, for a spot of lunch. Excellent, and a lovely open fire to help us forget the foul weather outside. Then, home to a nice kip.

Sunday we went over to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, to see the Festival of Christmas. I wasn't impressed. It was very popular - to the extent that it was near impossible to park. And then it cost £20 just to get in. Oh, and the weather was terrible still - but this time we were well and truly outside and in the thick of it. The entrance fee did include admission to all of the ships, so we did the tour of the Victory. Very claustrophobic in there. It was OK for us, since we wandered around for an hour - including some time on deck - then got off again, but one assumes that when the ship was in service the crew had no such accessibility to daylight! Also, the difference between the luxury of Nelson's quarters and the rest of the ship was stark. Of course, it's impossible to tell whether the layout we see today is authentic, but I'm sure it can't be too far off. Lunch - a somewhat soggy Fish and Chips (me) and Sausage and Chips (Alice) came to another tenner - these people really do seize opportunities to grab your money. I definitely think we'll be giving it a miss next year, although it might be good to go back to the Dockyard another day to see the ships properly. But I think we'll wait for a nice, quiet, sunny day - and take a picnic!

Sunday evening, having put things off for a month, I got around to doing the company's accounts - or at least doing the preparation so that the accountant can do the accounts. I dread this each year, but in truth it's not all that complicated once I get going. The worst thing this year was that most of the company's purchases throughout the year had somehow been saved without a category (e.g. Computer Software, Computer Hardware etc.). So I needed to backtrack and work out what each purchase was for. Fortunately, the company hasn't bought much this year. It's the VAT return next.

Northern Ireland remains interesting. The DUP are now the largest Unionist party, and of course they're far more hard-line when it comes to working with the nationalists. So I think there's going to be a period of stagnation, nobody dealing with anyone else. It doesn't bode well for the peace process, but there again it does highlight the obviously strong feelings in the population about Trimble's approach. A shame, because I think Trimble represented the best opportunity for progress - but then it looks like his people consider him to have overstepped the mark.

Also in the news - the woman who made a complaint to the Police when she found out about a late-term abortion because of a cleft palate. News this morning is that this is going to judicial review. Interesting thing is that it's the police who are in the the firing line because they took medical advice and on the basis of the advice decided not to pursue the matter. Quite where the practitioner or the "mother" fit in, I'm not sure. And it all hinges on an ambiguity in the law - as to whether a cleft palate is a serious handicap or not. Be interesting to see which way this one falls. But it makes you wonder how many acts of parliament are sufficiently "woolly" (in this case, by not defining what is a "serious handicap") so as to allow this kind of ambiguity. Most of them, probably.... Then there's the new ban on using mobile phones whilst driving. Fair enough, but nobody seems to know what "driving" is. If you're sitting at a red light, are you driving? What about in a traffic jam? What if you're stationary by the side of the road?

Still, it'll keep the courts in business.

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