Thursday, 24 February 2005

Cheated

Got up this morning, took the later train so had the luxury of watching a litttle breakfast tv. Four inches of fresh snow overnight, in some places. Us? Not a peep!

Bloody cold though. Even the train is freezing - I've left my overcoat and scarf on!

Wednesday, 23 February 2005

Snow? What snow?

Well, there are pictures of snowfall all over the bbc's site, yet our little part of the world remains almost completely dry. Where has all the snow gone? There was a light dusting yesterday, and Alice was most disappointed to learn that even though there was a little snow, she had to go to school! With any luck we will remain dry up to Friday (I hate the snow if I have to drive in it), but get some over the weekend so we can build a snowman.

My company hasn't been paid by the clients. They're only a couple of days late but if they don't pay tomorrow, I'm going to be hit with an Inland Revenue penalty for late payment of my income tax. And they say consultants don't take any more risks than permanent employees...

Tuesday, 22 February 2005

Mr Angry

Heard something on the radio this morning that made me absolutely livid. It was on the "Yesterday In Parliament" section of Today. The government's legislation to lock people up without trial apparently expires on 14th March, and yesterday they introduced legislation to renew these powers.

First of all, it seems absolutely stupid to delay such legislation until three weeks before it must be in place. There surely cannot be enough time for this to be worked through properly. Some Tories made this exact point and were slapped down by Peter Hain (the Leader of the House) as having "synthetic anger".

These proposals contain the much-heralded proposals of Charles Clarke to introduce house arrest rather than custodial detention. Is this meant to be better? They are doing the same thing as if they locked people up in Belmarsh, except they want to get away with doing it "on the cheap".

Hain, of course, is famous for his campaigning against the South African regime in years gone by. How ironic, then, that he is part of the government that is introducing the type of measures of which apartheid would be proud.

However synthetic parliamentarians' anger may be, rest assured that my anger is totally genuine.

These people are utterly contemptible.

Monday, 21 February 2005

Sloth!

Gosh, it has been ages since I wrote anything. Not good at all...

Having said that, everything very "samey" at the moment. We've all been working hard lately. Alice was on half term last week, so she had a bit of a break, I suppose.

We've been swimming with Simon and Patrick these last two weekends, and we're all still trampolining away! All in the name of fitness!!

Decided to get stroppy this morning, chasing a couple of people who owe me things. Very infuriating - both cases I've paid for goods and not received them. In both cases I spoke to them about three weeks ago, in both cases I got what I considered to be quite a flippant reply, so now in both cases I've asked for a refund. Fortunately, both cases are covered by purchase protection schemes. What a wonderful idea!

Today is the fortieth anniversary of the death of Malcolm X, as I think I mentioned a couple of entries ago.
Also, last week was a year since Marco Pantani.

Elsewhere, nobody has said anything yet but it is obvious that an election is on the cards. Tories and Labour each outdoing the other, claiming they're going to do this and that. Totally, literally, incredible. Am seriously thinking of voting Liberal this time around. Have always shied away from them before because of their 50% top rate tax, but I really think it would be a good thing if they ended up holding the balance of power. The Tories are still stained with the slease of the Major years, and Tony's government is even more right wing than they are.

Big news for foxes, in that people aren't allowed to hunt them any more, as of last Friday. We watched Countryfile yesterday and it is all very ironic. Hunts are still allowed to meet etc., the only thing they can't do is to deliberately chase foxes. So, they chase scents instead. And what does the scent come from? A dead fox. Apparently, 91 foxes met their deaths (shot, presumably) so that their corpses could be used as scent for the hunts. Needless to say, everyone was claiming victory. Alun Michael, the poor old minister who had to push this through, said that it proved that hunts could meet just as before, except that they were now obliged to kill foxes in a humane way.

I just don't know about it. I can say for sure that why anyone would want to spend their day sitting on top of a horse hoping to chase a fox to its death is quite beyond me. As for entertainment value, forget it. So, from an animal welfare point of view I can buy the anti-hunt argument. However, the sheer arrogance of the Commons, in repeatedly refusing to compromise, says to me that the issue became far more than an aminal welfare issue. It did turn into one of town versus counrty, and of peoples' civil liberties. They scored a huge own goal by forcing this ban through. One final thing on this is that it is interesting to note the French perspective on this (hunting of course happens quite a lot in France), which is basically "what the hell are they getting so wound up about"? Seems there is no controversy, whatever.

btw, Jacqueline said over the weekend that she'd like to up-sticks and go to France. We must think seriously about this!!

Final thing I'll mention happened to Jacqueline this morning. I got a call not long after arriving at the client's to say that she'd had a call from the wonam who owns the downstairs flat beneath Jacqueline's upsatirs flat in Bournemouth. Apparently, a sewer had collapsed and it looked like it was something to do with their property. £2500 to fix!!! I told Jacqueline she should go over there and check out the situation, and it was lucky that she did. Looks like a sewer has collapsed, but that it affects several other properties too. Also, the collapse is in the middle of the road, so I don't reckon they can be liable - it must be the water company's responsibility. To push this even further, I reckon Jacqueline's neighbour at least has a good case for compensation. I mean, if you can't even have a poo in your own flat, you must be due some form of compensation!!

On the downside, because of the emergency Jacqueline had to enter her flat, and it looks like the tenants have done a runner. Bastards. I think she should see if she can get a debt collector to take things on.

Tuesday, 8 February 2005

Weekend Adventures

Well, had quite a good weekend. Saturday I went to get some new tyres for the car. The last time I went to the garage, they told me they were illegal, so I had to do something about it. Whilst I could have got them done by the garage, I saved £80 on the pair by going to this specialist tyre place.

In the afternoon, we went over to Patrick's party, and Alice had a good time playing on a bouncy castle. It looks like they also played party games (we didn't hang around, we went to the supermarket instead), and had a good nosh, so was pretty happy.

Sunday I got a lie in until 11am (I went out early on Saturday), although was awoken shortly after 8am by loud music coming from the lounge - did I mention we'd bought Alice a trampoline, which she loves to bounce on to her "Barbie Girls" CD? No? Well, maybe I was just trying to put the image out of my mind! Anyway,I had no intention of getting up that early, so lay there dozing. I felt a little sorry for Jacqueline, who'd booked herself onto an early shift. She got home in time for a light lunch, and then we went for a drive into the forest, stopping finally at Burley for some afternoon tea.

Fascinating programme on Radio 4 last night, about Malcolm X. I loved his autobiography years ago. All about how his personal papers turned up on eBay! Well, they do say that you can get anything on there... The timing of the programme was significant, since we're just coming up to the fortieth anniversary of his death. Although obviously the likes of Martin Luther King were important to the Civil Rights movement, it was Malcolm X's words that really hit the mark for me. It is a shame he's not around today to talk about what Bush is doing to Islam.

Friday, 4 February 2005

Tube Woes

Nightmare journey across London this morning. My train into Waterloo was ten minutes late in any case, but then the tube was just at a standstill. After queuing for 15 minutes just to get down to the train platform, I then ended up sitting on a train for a further 10 minutes, going nowhere. In the end I gave up and walked. Still, the weather wasn't bad, so it was quite nice. I eventually arrived at the client's almost an hour after I'd expected.

There was an old Spitfire in Trafalgar Square. Wonder why its there?

Thursday, 3 February 2005

Buddy Holly

I've just seen on the BBC's site that today is the anniversary of the plane crash in which Buddy Holly, Richie Vallens and the Big Bopper were killed, in 1959.

Buddy Holly's "True Love Ways" is one of my favourites.

Update

Haven't written anything for a while, but not a lot going on in any case.

Alice went to a party on Sunday - it was the second birthday of the daughter of an old friend of mine, Radha. We used to be good mates, although I haven't seen her for ages - so much so that Sunday we met her daughter for the first time. And, we got her name wrong on the card and present! Oops...

As it happened Alice was one of the oldest there, and although it would have been good to have a natter with Radha, (a) she was the hostess so was quite busy, and (b) she had totally lost her voice! Apparently both Radha and daughter had been ill quite recently, and they are only just recovering.

Being kept very busy at the client's, which is quite draining, so much so that it is difficult to find the time and motivation to hunt for new business. So, essentially, a Catch 22.

In the news.... well, nothing really. The pope isn't well, they had their election in Iraq, so of course Bush is claiming a massive victory for democracy etc. etc. This is US Democracy, of course. All very predictable. He had his State of the Union last night, which I haven't seen read much about, although I do know that he was threatening Iran and Syria. This man is truly the biggest threat to world peace by far.

Also as regards peace, the IRA has withdrawn its committment to decommission, and to be honest you can't blame them. The unionists appear so intransigent that they must have been banging their heads against a brick wall. Of course the links between IRA and the politicians are very foggy, but one would assume that Sinn Fein will be weakened by this move, given that they have gone out on a limb to adopt a peaceful approach. Plus, of course, it is ammunition for Paisley and his crew. But what do you do?