Friday, 29 April 2005

Sunny Days

Well, it's Friday afternoon and Monday is a bank holiday in the UK, so everything is winding down. Plus, it is sunny, and the forecast for the weekend is also sunny.

Agenda for the weekend is mixed, however. Tomorrow the plan is to go to the Cuckoo Fair in nearby Downton, while I need to wait in on Sunday because I've got a Sky engineer coming round. One of these things where they won't give a time, so we may end up waiting all day for the guy. Still, at least it is on a Sunday. Monday, we're off to Jacqueline's flat to clean the carpets - after that the flat should be vaguely habitable so she can get some new tenants in.

Jacqueline was over there cleaning stuff up today, and came across a large stash of porn, so she says. Not just your regular porno mags, either, by the sound of things, but some contact magazines. She said she couldn't resist looking through one of them just to see whether the tenant was in them - he wasn't, but his wife was!!! The mind boggles...

It really is deflating to find out that other people have so much more eventful lives than we seem to. On that subject there was a story in the Times (and the Metro) yesterday about so called "daisy chain" parties among teenagers. Intrigued, I found out that this basically boiled down to adolescents and group sex. I mean, where was all this when I was eighteen???

Had to deal with an unpleasant mamber of the client's staff yesterday. This idiot asked me to do something - not even something that I am contracted to do - and I tried to help him out. I gave the necessary instructions to the necessary people which would have fulfilled his requirements to the letter. Only thing was, what the guy asked for was not in fact what he wanted, so what he got was not what he was expecting. So, he had a go at me. I tried to be professional, and manage to keep my cool and back away, but dealing with utter idiots is very annoying (as you can tell by me writing about it a day later!). As a consultant I try to act with professionalism, and find that the best approach is just be spongelike and soak these things up. Had I been an employee, I doubt he'd have asked me for help again... Irritating.

So, soon be the weekend.

Tuesday, 26 April 2005

Time flying

Again, being lax with the log. Still, you haven't exactly missed anything.

Last weekend went over to Jacqueline's flat in Bournemouth. Did I mention that her tenants did a runner leaving the place in a terrible mess? This guy appears to have been a bit of a con merchant, there was piles of mail there - red bills, disconnection notices, letters threatening legal action from people he'd ripped off. Left the flat in a complete mess, to boot, smells of cigarette smoke.

Still, we opened the windows and put down a load of Shake'n'Vac, although I suspect we'll need to shampoo the carpets properly. And, of course, all this while it is sitting there empty so is therefore costing money.
Sunday we met up with Simon and his younger boy, Christopher, and headed off to Paultons Park. Had a good day and were very lucky with the weather - despite forecasts of showers the rain held off until almost 5 o'clock, which was when the park closed anyway. Alice is now at the stage where she'll happily run off and go onto rides on her own, which has its good and bad points. At one point I was looking for her and saw her in the corner of my eye - on the second row of a rollercoaster! Good fun, although the more she gets, the more she wants. Despite filling up five hours there, she still moaned because there wasn't time to fit in a couple of the rides - rides which were designed for babies in any case. Still, I bit the bullet and forked out £60 for a season ticket for her, so hopefully she'll get the benefit of going there several times during the summer holidays, after school etc.

Work is.....work. Although I haven't been too hot on looking for new business lately, to my discredit.
Thought I had found a good voting site, howtovote.co.uk, which looked interesting at first glance. However everyone I know who has gone through it has been advised that the Liberals are the party that most closely resemble their views, so I'm not sure their "engine" is totally impartial. Still, good fun.

Also, have found another web site which is fascinating, Nation States. You set up a "nation", and gradually evolve the laws of the nation. They post one issue per day for you (for example, more police on the streets), and you (as the government) decide whether you agree, disagree, or don't care. And so your society gradually evolves. Very nicely done - my country is currently described as a "Liberal Paradise". Good fun!

Wednesday, 20 April 2005

Benedict

They elected the new Pope yesterday - Paxman said last night that he was a former member of the Hitler Youth. You've got to chuckle...

Wednesday, 13 April 2005

Laziness

Been an age since I wrote an entry, entirely useless of me. And, if fact, a lot has been going on in the world, even though my own life is just ticking along.

The pope died. Lots of fuss about that, I must say one of the downsides of the world of 24-hour news channels is the tendency to almost manufacture things to report. He had been frail for a long time and was eventually 84 when he died. There appeared to be mixed feelings about whether or not he'd done a good job, depending on whereabouts in the world you were. He is remembered fondly in Britain, but I gather in Brazil (the world's largest catholic country) he was seen as too conservative and out-of-touch.

Talking of conservative, or even Conservative, Blair has called an election for 5th May. It had been widely leaked, even to the point where campaigning appeared to have started before the actual announcement.
I feel in a bit of a quandry about how to vote. I don't believe a word Blair says, plus there's the Iraq factor - I can't vote Labour. Then you have the Tories - again, I wouldn't trust Howard, and again there's the Iraq factor. Let's not forget that the Tories wanted us to invade Iraq too - and they were purely opportunistic when Tony faced the heat. Nope, can't really vote for them either.

So that leaves a bunch of single-issue parties, and the Liberals. Well, I think my constituency is target number 30 or something for the Liberals, so it might even help their cause if I were to vote for them. (My constituency is probably considered a "safe" Tory seat, if there is such a thing these days.)

Plus, one of the top things for me is constitutional reform - Parliament has got to have sufficient power that it can buck the will of the executive if necessary - so again the Liberals may be a good bet.

The debate between the two main parties, however, is currently focussing on taxation. Tory scares that Labour will raise taxes straight after the election, Labour scares that the Tories will cut services after the election. Same old, same old... Doubt in practise there will be much difference between them.

Aside from this, we survived Grandma's visit. Alice said some horrible things to her while she was staying, but of course was sad once she'd gone. I hope this is just a phase, because she can say some really hurtful things to people, and doesn't seem to give a monkey's about it.

The day before Grandma went home, we went for an excellent 2-mile walk out in the forest at Bolderwood. Lovely. Obviously the weather was sunny and warm (in general its very changeable at the moment). i also noticed some cycle paths so have bought some OS maps of the area. It'd be nice to go out for a cycle picnic in the summer, perhaps.

Went to see Scooby Doo in Southampton last Saturday night. It was a bit crap, and the souvenirs were a complete rip-off (£4 for a program, £4 for a flag, £2 for a bag of sweets), but the kids liked it (we took Patrick also). I think we'll need to limit theatre visits to once-a-year for the panto.

Life at the client's much the same. No immediate prospect of anything changing.

Have rediscovered a game, Championship Manager, which is currently taking up lots of time travelling to and from the client's site. Engaging game, a pity it takes so long to load and save things.