Sunday, 21 September 2008

Hot hot hot

We're having an Indian summer here at the moment, beautiful weather the last week or so.
The last couple of Saturdays have involved gardening, including a three-hour stint yesterday cutting back the laurel tree. Its hard work and there's still stuff to do but the garden is looking the best it has in years. I got a new, tall step-ladder just before we went on holiday (getting it was hassle indeed!) but it was absolutely brilliant for reaching into the tree.

Last Sunday we had a lovely day out, somewhere we've never been before, a place called Dancing Ledge on Purbeck. We had to walk for a mile or so to get there, but well worth it. Dancing Ledge is a former quarry, right on the edge of the sea (they used to barge the stone away), whose distinguishing feature is a swimming pool having been cut out of the rock. For once, I've got a photograph ready to show:




Today, we're going to head over to Brownsea Island for the first time, and in fact I'm going to have to stop writing in a minute to get showered so we can get out in time. The weather is, if anything, brighter than last week, so I'm hoping for some good photographs.

Life at the client's has been unusually quiet - some software I built for them got released and it has gone incredibly well. On the plus side, they have offered to extend the contract for another twelve months, and given the current market conditions it will probably make sense to accept.

Talking of market conditions, HBOS has gone belly-up this week. It just about sums up the farce that is the market, when speculators can condemn what is probably a perfectly healthy company. It has been bought up by Lloyds TSB, something that the competition commission would never have allowed in "normal" times. The resulting colossus will become the third largest UK bank overnight. Great news for Lloyds shareholders, I'm sure. Probably not so good news for the customers.

Anyway, as I say, a farce, though you could say I am somewhat bitter and twisted at all of this, having lost a heap of money in the markets after 9/11. Fortunately I learned my lesson and have very little invested in stocks any more.

Time for a shower and to wash yesterdays toil down the plug-hole!

Monday, 8 September 2008

The Usual Stuff

Been back a week now, and last week was quite tough. Back to the client's on Tuesday, and three of the four days I didn't get home until 9 o'clock in the evening. It would have been four, except that I just dropped everything on Friday and headed off.

To make matters worse, I must have spend a couple of hours each evening going through the holiday photographs, tagging them and correcting them etc. This doesn't take long per-photo, but over the two thousand or so photographs I took, you can imagine it takes a little time. Plus, of course, even though very few of these photos ever get published in the album, they all need to get stored away someplace... (This break alone generated 20GB of images.)

Anyway, suffice it to say that after a marathon session Saturday, all the fiddling was done, and after an overnight batch job so too was all the sorting and storing. The published photos hit the site at 7 o'clock on Sunday morning.

Sad, eh?

Anyway, apart from messing around with photographs on Saturday, the weekend was pretty quiet. We headed over to Bournemouth yesterday, where Alice and I enjoyed fish and chips for lunch. Jacqueline abstained, she started a new diet yesterday which seems to involve drinking nothing but cup-a-soup! I jest, but it is costing her quite serious money and is all actually quite high-tech. She's pushing me to go on it too, although I think I'll wait and see the outcome first.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Twenty Six Thousand Words

Okay, after several days effort I finally got the holiday photographs onto the web site this morning. Very relieved. Of course, it also allows me to put a couple of pictures onto the blog. So, here's our holiday in pictures...
We stayed for a week in a chalet...


...in the Val d'Abondance.


This is in the Haute Savoie region of France, in an area of lakes...


[Lac de Montriond] 


[Lac LĂ©man] 

...of ski lifts...

[Le Morclan]

...and, of course, of beautiful mountains

[Dent d'Oche] 

[Pointe de Dreveneuse] 

[Dents du Midi] 

[Dents Blanches] 

[(distant centre) Roc d'Enfer] 

[Mont Blanc, viewed through les Dents Blanches]

As well as visiting some wonderful mountain villages such as Les Lindarets...


...we also visited Switzerland a couple of times, including Geneva...


...and a day trip to Zermatt...


...and of course, up to the Schwarzsee to admire the Matterhorn...



...where we realised that there are people far more daring than us!



At the end of our week, we headed north through Alsace, for an overnight stop in the beautiful village of Riquewihr...







...on our way to a short stop at Disneyland Paris...








...one of the highlights of the visit being the end-of-day firework display.







Before returning home, we had a couple of days at the seaside in Le Touquet. Unfortunately the weather deserted us, but Alice didn't mind