Monday, 17 July 2006

Top of the Morning

Beautiful morning this morning. Bright and sunny, on the way to the station I passed newly-harvested fields full of bales of hay. Our part of the world really is beautiful during the summer.

Not so in the world at large. Over the weekend all we heard on the news was about Israel waging war on Gaza and the Lebanon. Awful news, the middle east seems well and truly to be returning to its restless self. Whatever happened to the days at the end of the Clinton presidency when we thought some kind of concord would be possible?

Of course it is a complex situation, but even so it is possible to make some observations. First, Bush and Blair (together for a G8 meeting in St Petersberg) will not say a word against Israel. Also, the media spent yesterday telling us about how eight Israeli railway workers were killed by a Hamas rocket. Only in the small print did we hear mention of the 180 Palestinians killed in the fighting so far. Now, don't get me wrong, one person being killed is equally as bad as another being killed, but we as a(n English-speaking) society seem to have a definite leaning toward Israel. Certainly their lobby is very strong in the USA.

Bottom line, does this make the world a safer place?

On a similar note, read in the Sunday Telegraph all about Bush's motorcade in Russia. Thirty-six vehicles!!! All to carry one man around. On his limo, the armour-plated glass is 2 1/2 inches thick, and lets so little light in that the car needs flourescent lighting even during the day. With protection like this, who says democracy isn't flourishing?

More personally, had a chilled weekend in 30 degree heat. Fortunately the lion cub is very happy out of doors, so all possible doors and windows were open. Saw quite a bit of Maisie also, who was happy enough to come in and have some food and a kip.

Did get to watch Le Tour on both days on Eurosport. They're in the deep south (my favourite part) and riding in the mid-thirties, so I feel for them. Saturday (Beziers to Montelimar) was excellent and a four-man breakaway got clear from the peloton and came in almost thirty minutes in front, resulting in the yellow jersey changing hands. They came still farther east yesterday - I think today is a rest day but tomorrow they climb the Alpe d'Huez. Two weeks into the tour it is surely in the Alps that the tour will be won and lost.
We had Alice's end-of-year school report back. Despite being a mediocre report (basically "exactly what is expected of a child her age", straight down the line), I felt it was surprisingly positive and said so in my comment. Her teachers, and/or the school environment, obviously bring out her brightness far better than we do at home.

At the clients', the system I was asked to build is nearing completion, and their project manager, obviously expecting some heat on his side, started raising questions about exactly how long it had all taken. In terms of elapsed time things weren't overly impressive, but I was able to show that of the time I'd billed them, only 60% was spent on this new system, with the other 40% being spent supporting other systems I've built for them (often unnecessarily). So all told, in terms of actual time the system is only being delivered a few weeks, and a few thousand, over budget. And even though I do say so myself it is quite a polished piece of work.
Ah well, the start of another week...

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