November 2005 Archives

Junk Mail, Spam, and Junk Fax

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Never thought I'd get junkmail from family, but the last couple of emails from Ian have been labelled by my ISP as "SPAM" :-O

So, you can imagine the shock when I got this off the fax machine this afternoon....

Junk fax...

Naked Ambition For Money

Hmmmm, not sure if I'd go to these sort of lengths for cash...

So Where's The Bad Weather?

Well, ringing around, and looking outside the last few days, I've not seen the chaos that was predicted earlier last week. A small flurry yesterday morning, first thing, has been the only hint that snow was on the way. Even yesterday afternoon, forecast of snow and bad driving conditions didn't materialise.

Is it just me, or does anyone else think the MetOffice is really going overboard with their warnings these days?

"Wolf, wolf, no really, there's a BLOODY GREAT BIG WOLF COMING...."


Been struggling with the title of this post. And recent events over the weekend made it a little harder. Emotions flooding back. And strange too, the coincidence, on Saturday, of a fundraising letter from Cancer Care UK coming in the post. The letter bringing back more memories and thoughts.

It's really to say that we're now ready to sort out the headstone for Jules. I know, something that's been waiting for a long time. It took a while to sort the bench. And in practical terms I do know someone up on high would've been the first to point out you can't sit on a headstone and talk to me, now, can you.

So, on to sorting out the headstone. A number of you have already asked if you can contribute towards it, help out, or just listen, nod, and supply coffee as we go through the various options. And, no doubt, there's others who've not said anything, and would like to help. So, please let me know if there's something you'd like to do, either by posting a comment, calling, dropping by, or email.

Not Long To Curtain Up

The rehearsal performance of my Primavera presentation yesterday afternoon, in front of a select group of peers and bosses, went well. A few pointers on delivery, to be expected, and a couple of ammendments on content. But all in all, an impressive 35 minutes, apparently ;-)

So, now it's countdown to Thursday and standing up in front of the bigger audience. Will let you know how it went on Friday, I suspect I'll be down the pub Thursday night celebrating, or calming my nerves ;-)

[UPDATE] The snippet from the Primavera site:

Challenges and Successes in Implementing Primavera across Europe
Alan Bell, Primavera Training & Database Manager, MBDA (UK).

With an annual turnover exceeding €3 billion, a forward order book of over €13 billion and over 70 customers world wide, MBDA is a world leading, global missile systems company. In 2003 it took on the task of implementing a single project management tool across 3 nations (France, Italy, UK). This session will describe the process followed, challenges identified, and lessons learnt from implementing Primavera across the business.

Richard Burns 1971 - 2005

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Richard BurnsAfter the news back in April, that Richard Burns had undergone further surgery, I'd commented on how, after we'd found out about his illness, Jules and I had been keeping track, her interest in a fellow sufferer, as it were. Well, after yesterday's news on George Best, it came as a shock when my phone buzzed at 9am this morning, announcing that Richard Burns died, after slipping into a coma, having lost the fight :-(

Ian and I saw him at a Goodwood Festival of Speed, the guy being just an ordinary petrol head, happy to talk to whoever wanted a chat, and show off his driving skill. I remember in particular, the hill race competition, and how he put a lot of effort in making a good time, only to get to the top and handbrake turn the car into the carpark and promptly started doing doughnuts and burnouts :-D

He may never have had the flambouance of some of the other champs when he became WRC Champ in 2001, but he didn't come across as being bigger than his boots. Always willing to get in and work. More news can be found on the WRC site.

Personal memorials can be left for his surviving family on his website, and donations are being requested to Cancer Research UK, rather than tributes and flowers.

Yet another life cut short, (he was only 34 years old), by something that seems to affect more and more people as time progresses. As it quotes at the top of the page:

Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why it's called the present.

The End Of The Best

George BestThe news that George Best is on his last days this morning, and the annoucement later in the day that he'd passed away.

Many will question his life, and the abuse he put his body through. But watching a number of the programmes and news this evening, and reading his obituary on the BBC, there's a lot that the world at large did, and didn't do. Sure, you can choose between a pint and an orange juice. But it's that realisation that a lot of life rotates around the pub. When you want a chat outside of work, or socially, when do you say, "Fancy a latte down Starbucks...." And, it appears, the pub became the meeting ground and hostel for one of the world's footballing greats.

He'll be remembered as someone who lived their life to the full, without fear or worry of looking good or feeling bad about what others thought. George Best was, as they say, George Best.

A legend has gone. Long live the legend ;-)
The Black Country Villan's (aka Lee) tribute.

Actually, There Was Another Time...

Last week I mentioned about being asked to present at the upcoming Primavera UK User Conference. Well, I'd forgotten that there was a more recent time when I stood up in front of over 200 people to speak.... I'd actually had 3-4 shots of Jamesons, a good Irish whisky, before that particular one, doubt I'll be allowed the same next week. And Jonathan put a good point across on his blog over the weekend, about having a clue about what you're doing.

Got the final "dress rehearsal" on Monday before the big event a week today. Looking good, but then there's always the last minute doubts ;-)

Louis Quits X-Factor

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Or so the papers announced. Missed it myself. Yawn...

Interestingly, if you're bothered about it, searches on the 'net today brought up more stories about Chico or Sharon Osbourne quitting.


To Print Or Not To Print

Looking at different sites approaches to printing, and rules or guidelines at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) sites. What I've been trying to ascertain, is what is the agreed approach, i.e. what should a user expect when they go Ctrl-P or press Print?

Curious that some sites seem to implement what I thought was a standard, i.e. page content prints, and navigation doesn't. Others don't, and just print everything, worts and all. What's also irritating is the discovery that the style standards on the intranet I've been working with doesn't seem to adhere. Or, rather, that it seems to use some strange quirks of IE and it's interpretation of CSS. The DOM model isn't a figure of a semi-famous Saturday morning kids TV presenter, you know ;-)

In this search I've found some rather cool sites on standards, best practice, and how not to do it. And how it's noted that most people approach HTML, by hacking and making work, rather than sitting back and coding as if writing software. Hmmmm, familar. Lessons learnt in some cases, and changes already being implemented ;-)

Remember, You Are Not A Salmon

Whenever work gets too much, I have a break and grab something from the snack machine. And inveriably it's a kit-kat. Yes, Ian, I've been suckered by the ad's, I am a human, not a salmon after all ;-)

But the other day I noticed a new addition to the machine, in the shape of Nestlé's Double Cream chocolate bar. Quite yummy, and really much better than the ordinary Cadbury's Dairy Milk.

That's until you read the ingredients and fat content information on the wrapper. 30.9 grams of fat in a 150 gram bar :-O No wonder it tastes so good. Think I won't be having too many of them in the future ;-)

Call The Fire Brigade

It's embarrasing enough when your car breaks down in rush hour. Having to push it out the way, whilst everyone looks on and curses. Even more worrying if it catches fire.

So, the other morning on the way into work, I got stuck in traffic. Which was unusual even for rush hour in Stevenage. Until, off in the distance, a fire engine, police, and a smoking van appeared. Not something you can cope with, I guess. And Jules brother had the same problem a few years back, his van just bursting into flames at a petrol station.

Then I got alongside the van and noticed the company signs. It was a very well known fire alarm installation business. Whoops ;-)

Boeing? C'est Non

It's the week of the Dubai airshow, so work's announcing lots of news about various bits and bobs. And you'll remember my posting last week about Boeing's change of tack on the Big Jumbo front ;-)

Well, there's news on the BBC from our former boss, and now Airbus boss, Noel Forgeard, and his views on Boeing's about turn.

True, the 747 was originally designed as a freighter, and so an extended version would work well in that market. But don't mention anything about it's development and where the money came from for that. There's enough arguement about state aid for the A380 and A350 without pointing out the military background of the Jumbo.

Mechannibals Is Crap

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It seems more and more people are discovering the blog and reading. More readers, it must be into double figures now ;-)

One such comment posted to the recent posting on Mechannibals asked if I'd actually seen the show. I do agree that perhaps it is a bad idea basing a show on smashing up serviceable appliances. After all, we should be concentrating on becoming a recycling society, rather than a throw-away one. But I'd rather a show that develops and highlights people's technical ingenuity than one that just watches people live.

Sure, there were some pretty emotional issues in the first show of the series, and there's always mileage in making the first a shocker.

My opinion is still that I'd sooner the BBC spent money experimenting on shows and ideas, rather than fall foul of commercial tv and it's continuous production of Pop-Cook-Wife-Swap-Jungle-Brother crap. I posted a while back about one such show, which appears to watch people having their hair cut. But then I guess it's no different to watching someone shouting and swearing at someone, or telling them they're too fat or ugly to be on TV. How can any of that justify space on the schedule :-(

Nimrod Is Go

You may remember postings about Airfix's forthcoming TSR.2 being delayed. And also about the big announcements over the weekend just gone at the IPMS (UK) Scale Modelworld Show in Telford. Being on my Dutch Dash I missed out on popping along and seeing what new kits were being planned for 2006 and the revival of Airfix's fortunes.

Big news is the release of a 1/72 scale Nimrod model, something I remember discussions with Trev back when I was fixing models and trying to do my A-levels ;-) It was always a case of convincing the bean counters it was a winner. And, with the huge demand for TSR2 (rumoured to be outsold 2 to 1 :-O), getting the go ahead for this was going to be easy. Also, a new 1/48th scale kit of the Canberra. A scale I've not made many kits in, but as age creeps up and the fingers get clumsy, it's starting to appeal ;-)

A raft of re-releases, including the Mk1 Ford Escort car kit, and Bristol Bloodhound. So I'll be able to make one up for the desk without paying through the nose on eBay ;-)

Also, news on changes to the website, club's, calendars, rugby shirts, and other services that Airfix used to be known for, but dropped many years ago.

All in all, exciting times for those down at Marfleet Lane :-D

Dutch Dash

Just back from a weekend, or rather, day trip to Amsterdam.

A group of us, manly friends from the Agoonoree, and my little bruv, Ian, of now famouse comment-posting here. All got to Hull's ferry port for 7pm, checked in, and at the bar for 8 :-D

The trip was basically overnight on the Friday, Saturday daytime around Amsterdam, then back overnight to Hull, arriving Sunday morning.

Ian had been may times before, so knew the best places to go for a coffee or beer. And Burger King still do the Big King over there, a monster burger which they stopped selling in the UK for some daft reason. Coupled with lots and lots of Dutch and Belgian beer, as well as generous measures of whisky, it was a great break from reality, in many ways :-D

Just sitting, still in Hull, working out plans for the return South. Shame the weekend has to come to a close. But, hey, it's only 5 days to the next one ;-)

Some pics of the trip in the extended bit...

There's No Market For Big Planes

Or, at least, that's what Boeing would have you believe a few years ago, after Airbus announced the A380.

So, in the company news summary for the week, an announcement that there is a market for these big planes after all:

18 Months This Time

Really lost track of time last month, you may remember my posting about it being 18 months. It was 17 months, not, as it is today, 18 months. And a couple of recent work related things adding to the further realisation that someone close did have a point keeping her diary up to date, as my timekeeping can easily go to pot. Although I never took as long as she did to get ready ;-)

Still doesn't change much, time, as they say, stands still for no-one. Live your life as if each day where the last, and enjoy it for what it is and not what you try and make it be. Worry not what other people think, but how it makes you feel. Jules' did ;-)

Building Up To It

Moan, moan, moan, when you going to build them all...

Well, after weeks of rearranging and chucking large amounts of crap and rubbish out, I've now got back my modelling bench. And after years of nothing, I've now got a rake of kits on the go once more :-D)

I'll get some pictures up, least to put off the comments about wasting time and buying stuff I'll never make. Proof that I'm getting going once more.

All I need now is a little sunshine and I can start on sorting out the cars ;-)

Would You Mind Talking?

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Forgot ot mention a few weeks back, Primavera had asked if I wouldn't mind presenting at their Annual UK User Meeting this year, having not been able to last year.

Well, the booking forms arrived last week, and the website was updated too. And looking through the Tracks and Sessions, half way down the list, there I am :-D

Thinking about it, the last time I stood up in front of a large audience was back in the heady days of Hull Pushbike, the occasional comedy and light entertainment combo of me, Jonathan and Richard. Wonder if I can work in an Ariane rocket somewhere into it ;-)

Better start rehearsing the script, eh Jonathan ;-)

Ever Wondered...

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What happened to the Longbridge plant? Well, thanks to a posting on the Club GTI Forum, a link to a site dedicated to UK Urban empty buildings. And on the site, the fate of Longbridge.

Fascinating, or as one poster put it, a LOT of eBay opporunity ;-)

Poor Diets Costing The Country

Another story on the news, that a study suggests that poor diets cost the NHS £6bn a year in ill-health - three times as much as smoking.

Calls are being made on the Government to introduce further food labelling. Which, I reckon, has to be a good thing. It'll improve on choice at the supermarket. What's facinating is the claim that these changes in lifestyle might actually cost more than just letting people fall ill. Targetting advertising too. Don't know if anyone's noticed the change in McDonalds latest TV advert for happy meals, in which it's now telling kids to make sure they have at least an hour's active exercise a day.

The other story on food issues, is news that from next September, school vending machines will not be able to sell chocolate, fizzy drinks, or crisps. Thankfully, a doctor has spoken out, saying that what needs to happen is a change in teaching and childcare, not vending machines. Teaching kids the importance of a good balanced diet, rather than hiding away the "bad foods". After all, as I remember as a kid, Mum would hide the biscuit barrel, but always find it empty ;-)

Spread A Little Happiness

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At last, it's official, there are 10 steps to happiness :-D

Experts have tested out a series of measures in Slough, of all places, and discovered the 10 steps. Interestingly, gardening, talking, doing a good turn, and treating oneself are things, I must admit, make me feel good about myself, in a good way :-D The full list is on the BBC site. It follows an earlier story about how a happy marriage helps combat flu. Which, I know some readers will tell me is true, even if my illnesses are a record of that fact ;-)

The documentary, Making Slough Happy, starts on BBC Two tonight at 9pm. Should be interesting viewing ;-)

No Extended Hours?

News on the BBC that the Conservatives will attempt to call time on controversial government plans for extended pub opening hours by forcing a Commons vote on the issue.

After last weeks "collapse of the Government and Tony Blair", well, that's how it read in the Daily Mail, it seems more political gameplay is being pushed. Taking advantage of the situation and creating a last minute push to stop it all. I still don't really grasp the issue myself, I'm all for extended hours. After all, it's one of the great things about going abroad with work, being able to sit out and enjoy the evening without some hairy lout shouting, "Time gentlemen..." It seems farcical that a vote at 7pm tonight can stop the legistation coming into force next week. What have they all been doing the last 2 years?

Sure, there's the issue of binge drinking. But it's always been the case, not just recently. And half the reason is the fact you're limited to how long you've got in the bar. I'm still a strong believer that it'll reduce the mass-exodus problems police face now. What really needs targetting is people's habits to drinking, and why it seems part of the culture to go and drink until you physically can't move. Target the plonkers and leave those of us adult enough to know when we've had enough, to go out and "have enough" ;-) As one commenter says on the BBC site, where do you go for a quiet drink after 11pm these days?

Of course, it doesn't really matter in the scheme of things, does it now ;-)

Wallace and Gromit Hit The Streets

Airfix: Wallace And Gromit Anti-pesto VanLast month I'd mentioned about strange sightings coming out of Hull. Well, it's official, the new kit for the film, The Curse of The Were-Rabbit, have hit the streets, just in time for Christmas :-D

Guess as there's not going to be a TSR.2 in time, this'll be on the Christmas list instead ;-)

10 Minutes Before I Go Home

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Compaq Evo n610c Notebook PCReading Jonathan's blog over the weekend, and stories of wandering around Tottenham Court Road looking for a new laptop, reminded me I've not posted anything about my current work plaything. Which, given the abject frustration it's causing, actually surprised me.

It's a Compaq Evo n610c Notebook PC, a lightweight, P4-based laptop with a nice sized screen (14"), plenty of memory, and plenty powerful enough for all the data crunching and web design. And, up until a few weeks ago, it was reliable too. Well, apart from 3 months last year where it needed rebuild 4 times, having died rather spectacularly :-(

So, what's wrong with it now, I here you ask. It takes for ever to shut down. The company outsourced IT, CSC, have looked at it. And nothing appears to be wrong. And yet it takes, on average, 10 minutes to shutdown. Logging off and on, no problem. But the act of switching the thing off is getting beyond a joke. True, I can set it off to standby, but then, I'm told, no-one will guarantee the data safety :-(

Good thing is, as the IT buyer for our area, I've got to sit down next week and sort out the budgets for next year. There's already one upgrade in front of me (and that's the boss, so I can't exactly step over that one ;-)), but hopefully I can get something sorted out ;-) And get back that 10 minutes of time each day I sit and wait for it to close down.

Still Waiting


 BAC TSR.2 With the IPMS (UK) Scale Modelworld Show at Telford this weekend, it was to be the place that Airfix would reveal their new TSR.2 model, which you may remember mention of on here not so long ago.

Well, reading on the Airfix forums, Gary Bent, the new Sales and all round company informant, has said that things are delayed now until the beginning of 2006. Our Trev is busy running back and forth checking quality, ensuring that the final product is fit for purpose. Ah well, look's like a birthday pressie idea instead of Christmas ;-)

Cold Winter Ahead?

Met Office: Weather warnings issuedThe first frosty morning of the year, ice scraping noise replacing the morning chorus in the close this morning.

And reading on the Met Office's website this lunchtime, it appears they too think it'll be a bad one this year :-O And, on the BBC, news of councils making provision for it too.

Can't wait, I love the snow and crisp cold winter mornings. Of course, it also means getting out of bed becomes more and more difficult. After all, a toasty, warm, snug bed is much more appealing than a cold, frosty car ;-)

Just Be More Vigilant

Reading on the BBC about Government plans to improve rail security. It's not surprising, but the conclusions are that it's not really possible to implement an Airport style security system on the trains. Sure, some of the bigger stations, and maybe important points on the Underground. But there's so much open track, unmanned stations, that it'll be easy for someone with the determination to get into the system if they so wished.

So, why not just sell the idea of us all being just a little more vigilant. Maybe take the time to notice your surrondings when you get on. That bag that no-one seems to be interested in. Or the suitcase that someone appears to have left in a hurry. All innocent things, but it scares me even now how everyone seems to look the other way, "Not my problem..."

Of course, they could reintroduce guards, manned stations, and the like. But we're not willing to pay that little bit extra on the ticket price for those added securities.

Better off in the car, at least it's safe...

The Dining Table Has Landed

Sorting the kitchen today, and I've now a fully functioning, and room-enough-for, dining table :-D I can now entertain without everyone having to sit with dinner in their lap ;-)

Spent most of the day sorting through Jules clothes and stuff, bagging things ready for taking to the Hospice shop. And straightening the place up ready for the landlord's quarterly annual inspection by the letting agents. Should be interesting reading their latest view on the state of the place, last times complaint being dusty skirting boards.... :-O

And before you ask, yes, there's still room to swing Spitfire around the kitchen ;-)

A Day Of Football

Started with several cracking pints of various ales, a game of surprising quality (even if the referee was a little too card happy ;-)), and then more beer, an England victory, then a film about the prefab four which, at last, is now on DVD. And only £4.99 too Interestingly, there's a second film out now too. Hmmmm, it'll soon be Christmas, hint, hint ;-)

Only snag, after the brandy and whisky, is the reluctance for my body to get out of bed. Owh, think I'll have another couple of hours... ;-)

Friday Night Out Wif Da Lads

Unplanned night out last night, and curry. Well, I've been back to the gym this week just gone, so I reckon I'm allowed ;-)

Andy, the new guy from Dave's old work, and his new housemate, Arvin, wanted to see what Stevenage has to offer. So it was a whistle stop tour of the Old Town, before heading to the Taj for a substantial quantity of curry and Cobra :-D

Started off in the Proverbial, beer wasn't too good, so it was then off to the far end and the Marquis for an IPA. As it was surprisingly busy we then went off to the White Hart, a pub that's changed a lot since I was last in there a couple of years ago with Ian and Jules' bruv Chris. After that, it only seemed natural that we popped into Bottles, a pub with many memories. Saw the landlady, Julie, who asked how things were, before sorting out a few pints of Budweiser. Something caught our attention, so we stayed in there 'til just before closing, falling out and over the road to the curry house.

A good night out, after a looooong week at work sorting various things on Primavera and the company's new web-based reporting tool. And the party doesn't stop there, as it's off to watch the footy in about an hour. Oh, and of course, sample a few real ales before the match too ;-)

Nothing Like Stats On A Friday Night

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Title really for Ian's benefit. But sorting through all the other odd's and ends with the sites, one point being to look at the stats once more. As you'll rememeber before, things were on the up. Well, today it's looking even better :-D

This place has rocketed to 49th from 95th. Unfortunately Jules Weblog and my own homepage have dropped to 402nd and 560th respectively. However, on the Google front (how does it work?), I'm glad to say, things look better ;-)

Making Things Accessible

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Just started looking into the latest W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) and how my sites both inside, and outside of work, fit in.

Curiously, one of my biggest failings is with links. Now, I've always hated sites that have links that don't create a new browser window if it's an external link. I guess I've been used to using a PC that's so slow I can't be bothered using the browser back function to navigate around. However, reading the various guidelines, and using some of the checking tools, it appears I've unknowningly broken the browsers back, to coin a phrase. And, it appears, in some states in the good old US of A, it can be considered a breach of someone's human rights :-O

Hmmm, better have a good dig around and fix these things, least then I can browse the site on my mobile, and maybe expand my readership to more than half a dozen ;-)

Least We Forget

THE ROYAL BRITISH LEGIONEvery year, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, time stops for a moment, to remember the sacrifice of those who lost their life's defending the freedom's we seem to accept without a second thought. Most years it drifts by, and unless I've been around a TV or radio, watching/listening to the Remembrance services, 11am just ticks by.

Today, our company made an effort to ensure we did remember. And, at 11am, silence descended on the open plan office.

Strange what just a few minutes of peace and quiet makes you think.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Blast From The Past

Almost forgot, but on Monday I had a surprise visit from a friend I've not spoken to in over 15 years, Craig Cooper :-O I'd briefly bumped into him the other weekend up in Hull, but never got the chance to grab five minutes and chat.

He was down this way with work, and looking at breaking the journey back to Hull. And it seemed logical that Stevenage was the place to drop in :-D

Great evening catching up on the affairs, loves, deaths, imprisioning, scandal, and stories of everyone from Scouts. Plus filling him in on everything that's happened to me since 1988, or thereabouts. It's even harder to believe how much time's past since last year, never mind since leaving Hull and moving away.

Plans are afoot to sort out a night back in Hull. Catch up with his new girlfriend (can I say, "Wife" ;-)), and all the other adult-type things (houses, mortgages...). Oh, and, of course, have a few beers ;-)

Back To The Gym

Owh, I ache today :-(

Having made the commitment to go 2-3 times a week to the gym back in January, things have caused me to miss out recently. 2 or 3 months I reckon. And it's depressing how quickly I feel like I've fallen out of shape. So, determined to get back into the routine, I went last night.

Not as bad as I thought, then. But this morning I woke like a stiff board. Not sure if I'll make the effort again tonight, that hot bath already looking inviting now. And it's not even the end of lunchtime ;-)

Reds Are Go!

BBC NEWS | UK | Reserves hope for red squirrels
News that the red squirrel is at last being recognised as in need of support. The grey's have all but banished them to few corners of the British Isles. I can just about remember seeing them at Beverley's Westwood as a kid, but these days there's none that I know of round there now. Hopefully, if these plans work out, we'll start to see them retake parts of the countryside once more.

Of course, down this way we've black squirrels. One being a very common visitor at the Garden House Hospice in Letchworth when we were up there. Well, it would be different here, now, wouldn't it ;-)

The Trip's North Are Agreed!

Had our post-trip meeting yesterday, and it looks like a few more trips upt' North are needed to get things moving. We're now looking at rolling out Primavera into the production side of things. So it's now a case of working out what Primavera can offer and how best to integrate it into the rest of the production system.

Also, means I'll be able to catch up with everyone a bit more. Maybe even get a long weekend too? Excellent :-D

Will have to try the church curry house next time, assuming it's still there, of course ;-)

Something fishy?

Uruguayan-flagged ocean trawler, Viarsa, carrying what is believed to be a valuable cargo of Patagonian Toothfish
So when are you not guilty?

Reading this story, it's a case of not being caught in the act. So they had the fish in the boat, and ran away for 21 days. But, because the nets weren't in the water when they were eventually caught, they've got off. Even though the boat was packed to the rafters with Patagonian toothfish.

Hmmm, I'll remember that the next time I'm in a sticky situation...;-)

Time To Retire Then?

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Recent mailing's over the company pension, and the fact there doesn't appear to be much hope in retiring before 80, I found amusement in one of Mark's postings on his blog. Suffice to say, I followed it up, and rather surprisingly, got this answer:

What's It Worth?
My blog is worth $3,387.24.
How much is your blog worth?


And Jules' comes out at $1,129.24 Hmmmm, maybe these ramblings are actually worthwhile after all ;-)

Claim To Fame

I remember at school, the pride you'd have telling others, "I've met so-and-so", or the importance placed in autograph books. In fact, I've still the one from Gilshill which I'd passed round all my school mates on the last day before we went to big school.

So, it's heartwarming to here that our landlord, and very good friend, Jonathan, is back doing something he did many years ago as a student - The Christmas Lectures. And, on returning to the labs, one of his artistic creations is still hanging, delicately, from the ceiling :-D

Strange, even now, seeing Jon's name flash across the screen. Or talking about these things and saying, "Oh, yeah, my mate's producing that..."

Can't wait to see the production this year, and hopefully, Jonathan, , you'll get some semblance of a Christmas this time round ;-)

Now That's Weird

Last night I had some rather strange dreams. Probably making up for the blank space in my memory of Saturday.

Suffice to say, I had to actually check outside the house because of the clarity of some of the dreams. The council apparently built me a new drive in one :-O And another had me believing it was Christmas, and panicing that I'd managed to sleep for 48 days :-O

Hmmmm, don't think it'll be a late one at work today. Reckon I'll be off home for another early night. Owh, and definately no cheese on toast for tea either ;-)

The Day After The Night Before...

So, Mum, Geoff, Nige and Ian have gone. Janet and Laura disappeared shortly before that. And I'm here, still very dazed ;-)

Yesterday was a fantastic day. The weather held, except for a short shower as Lisa and Stuart left the church. But then, everyone cries at the end of a wedding, don't they ;-)

All went without a hitch. Lisa's niece, Georgia, threw rather more petals than I expected (my job was collecting them all back up), and the cd player didn't play up. And the vicar was stereotypically English, stumbling his way through the service, and giving some amusing views on life and marriage.

And so to the receiption. A short walk through the cemetry, the church being the one next to where Jules and her Nan and Grandad, and Toby, are buried. Popped up to Jules grave to say a quick hello. Not been up there for a while, it's too dark come the end of the day now, and weekend's have been absorbed with various pre-wedding celebrations, and work.

Dinner, speeches, and wine flowed down at the Cromwell. Lots of people I've not seen for ages. A good chance to catch up with friends, as weddings always are. Then the floors were cleared, rooms checked in, and back down for the disco.

The rest of the day and evening is blurred. I just about remember Ian buying me the first vodka and coke. The beer had run out (yes, the bar had been drunk dry), so there was little else left. And there's pictures of me asleep in the fireplace. And being ill at some point too. Not quite sure how I got back to my room, but it was 4:30 when Ian and Laura retired back to their rooms, leaving me and Nige to wait for the inevitable hangover to smash into our heads.

I think I'm sober now. But, like I said at the start, it's all a bit hazy at the mo. Maybe a good nights sleep will cure that ;-)

The Big Day

So it's finally arrived. Stuart and Lisa's big day is here :-D

Was up bright and early this morning. Managed to wash the car, clean the house, 2 wash loads. And, which will impress, the kitchen is tidy too :-O

Just waiting for Janet to come and pick me up. Then it's off round Stuart's with the hip flask. A bit of Dutch courage and we'll be off to the church. Then a big party to celebrate ;-)

It's forecast rain, but it ain't going to be round here. Someone's looking in on things, and she ain't going to let some rain spoil her big brother's big day ;-)

What A Week

Started off Monday with preparing for the testing and proving of the first iteration of the company's new web-based reporting tool. And finished with final preparations for Stuart and Lisa's wedding. Off round there tonight to keep Stu company, and make sure he doesn't change his mind ;-)

Could do with a day off to catch up with sleep and be in the house for five minutes. Hopefully will on Sunday, if not it'll definately be next weekend for a bit of R&R and peace and quiet. Must be a sign of old age, eh ;-)

Back South

So, home at last. It's nice being away, staying in nice hotels, but there's always something about being at home, in your own bed. And someone's happy I'm back, plonking himself right in front of me while I try and type this :-D

Been a hectic 2 days, both in work and catching up with friends. One having had another baby, and another with piccies of her bundle of joy. And my voice has all but gone, from the continuous talking during the Primavera refresher training yesterday, and the hands-on planning today.

It's ended up with a huge pile of things to do sorting out Primavera and how we can use it in production environments for work, and a need to sort my social diary out so I can actually get up there for a weekend too. Might see if I can wangle the two in one go. Well, it's gotta be worth trying ;-)

About Alan Bell

Lapsed: electronic engineer, scout leader, project controller.
Now: Oracle Primavera training consultant, business support manager, occasional website designer.

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