Thursday 31 May 2007

Where has all the news gone...

I didn't even bother to pick up a Metro (free newspaper) this morning. Reason: I know that Big Brother started on TV (again) last night - and therefore I held out very little hope of getting any real news at all. I caught my nearly-mother-in-law watching it on TV... when I asked her why she told me that she wanted to "see the people arriving". I asked why it mattered seeing as how they are just a bunch of nobodies after their 15 minutes of fame... As you might have guessed - I cannot stand that show. I find it drivel of the lowest order. I've probably mentioned before that I am utterly against all breeds of 'reality' TV and 'docusoaps'. I don't know why it's called 'reality' TV... the situations aren't very real - and I don't suppose that people would act the way that they do if there wasn't a TV camera trained on them. Bring back real TV. Bring back well written drama... comedy that makes you laugh... I'm still absolutlely certain that in the future social commentators will look back and wonder what an earth the people of the early 21st Century were on when they chose to watch TV!!!

I saw an interesting headline on the Evening Standard billboard - something about a Whitehall bid to block Beckham Knighthood. Would love to have read the whole story - but it appears to be an Evening Standard exclusive (no sign on the Internet) and I'm not buying the early edition of the Standard (or the late edition if it comes to that). I'm sure that I'll agree with the sentiment of whoever is trying to block this idea. Nonsense I think. I'm not sure that most people who receive honours really deserve them anymore - most were originally designed to recognize civilian valour after the 1914-18 war. I can't see that footballers, actors or musicians (save a few who have really done more than just entertain people) deserve that sort of recognition. This country have turned into fame junkies. The appetite for self-promotion and scandal is endless. All the free papers now have gossip sections (which I skip)... and even the news falls onto these stories.

This is a good thing about the ever customisable internet... you can fetch RSS feeds and so forth which cater to your appetite for news - and you can screen out the idle gossip!

OK. Rant over, climbing down off my soapbox now!

Monday 28 May 2007

Last night's movie

Given that it was a Bank Holiday we took the opportunity to fit in an extra movie last night. Blockbuster had sent us the Ant Bully ages ago... but the mood hadn't taken us to watch it. Quite a fun movie. Once we got over the 'penny bet' on whether Zok the Ant was being voiced by Nicholas Cage... Rich was sure it was, I was adamant it wasn't. He was right.... so, he keeps the penny. The 'penny bet' is how we settle dispute. We have a penny in a frame (which came out of a cracker) and when we dispute anything we 'bet the penny'. It spends a lot of time with Rich. Anyhow... back to Ant Bully. Absolutely top quality animation, and a few witty one-liners. An all round good family type movie.

More rain...

It has finally, for the moment, stopped raining. Having rained most of yesterday and this morning. It is still grey, and unseasonably cold. Almost as if the weather, looking back at the unusually warm April decided, oops, missed the cold damp April... I'll just switch it with May then.

I've been having an excellent time with my PS2 this weekend. The postman finally bought my Lego Star Wars II on Saturday morning. I'd been feeling disappointed as the post had been and it hadn't arrived... but unusually for Saturday (and only about two hours later) second post arrived. Game is EXCELLENT. Has the "3+" rating, which is the level of difficulty I get on best with. Totally sticks to the story of the movies, and is just HEAPS of fun to play. Really recommend. I took a whole heap of old games back to Game on Saturday for trade-in. Got another £16 (which isn't bad for four games). Actually had seven to take back, but they don't trade in Gamecube anymore... so I'm selling them on eBay. Shall be spending the proceeds of the exchange next week buying the Tomb Raider Anniversary. Who says I play too many video games?!

Sunday 27 May 2007

Raining again

They were not joking when they said it would rain this weekend. Boy, is it raining! Raining some more... and then a bit more rain!

Cold and damp - typical Bank Holiday weather. Glad to know there are some things that global warming can't change!

Friday 25 May 2007

Long weekend approaching

Delightfully when I go home tonight (which I'm hoping won't be too much of a crazy time) I won't have to come to work again until Wednesday. Hurrah! Bank Holiday Monday followed by day of leave to make up for having worked the last Bank Holiday. Busy times ahead though, with at least one meeting every week for about the next six weeks... and that is just the ones I know about!

I got home last night to find that my nearly-mother-in-law had been out shopping and had one of those "I saw this and thought of you" moments. She got me a rubber duck. A pink rubber duck, wearing a tiara, which apparently light up in the bath! We have a duck theme in our bathroom. We got some postcards ages ago with a variety of rubber ducks in various styles and colours. We had these blown up, laminated and fixed them to the back of the bathroom door (which was in a sorry state after a mirror fell down). We also have quite a lot of rubber ducks.. probably about 10 now! It's a whole 'theme' thing. I want to get these gel stickers I saw for windows, which, guess what, come in 'duck' style!

So... exciting things happening this weekend? Great amounts of sitting around and taking it easy are expected. Hopefully the weather forecasts will all be wrong and I can spend some time in the garden. Taking a trip to B&Q I think... and lunch at Nandos is also planned.

I was discussing the merits of Sat-Nav with my brother last night. He's had it in his car for a few year now... I'm thinking of getting it, due to recent getting lost on the M5 experiences and future planned trips all over and possible jobs up and down the country. My brother recommends it... unless you are driving in London. He says that he finds it very reliable.

Noticed an odd story... Trafalgar Square goes green. For reason or reasons not explained by the headline they turfed all over Trafalgar Square (temporarily). It did look exceedingly strange, that is all I can say!

Thursday 24 May 2007

Train trouble again

Another bad transport day yesterday. Yet another line side fire, so but the stations were closed (again) and all the trains were cancelled (again). The whole of south east London decided to come home via North Greenwich. Literally hundreds of people waiting for busses. Police controlling the hordes. Three busses, mostly taking me in the wrong direction and some walking I did get home. 2 hour after I left work. Apparently the lines are re-opened now, so things should be better this morning.

Wednesday 23 May 2007

A day of radio

Yesterday I had to drive to Worcester again. Despite the huge amount of getting lost this had engendered the last time I did it... despite having vowed never again until my car got Sat Nav... I did anyway. Actually, not so bad this time. No getting lost (although missed my junction a couple of times). I spent the several hour journeys each way listening to the radio. As far as the reception would reach I tuned into BBC Radio London (sadly lose reception for that around Milton Keynes, wish the car had digital radio) and the rest of the time listening to BBC Radio 5. Yep, I love the BBC and total lack of commercials!

It gave me a lot to think about, especially as several shows I heard were phone in type shows.

Number One: MP Margaret Hodge and her comments about housing. We all know that there is a housing shortage... especially in London where the average house prices are about £400k now. Mrs Hodge expressed her opinion that migrant workers were possibly being housed in preference to families who had lived in her borough for generations... actually, I'm not even sure that was her point... her point was more to do with the entitlement that these families might feel (having paid council tax, income tax, etc. etc.) It was a bit unfortunate that at one point she did refer to "my white families" which I think made most of us stop taking her seriously! Of course Mayor Ken came straight back saying what nonsense she was talking, how such things would never happen (blah blah usual Red Ken la-la land). A variety of callers called the show, one from a housing association saying that housing is allocated strictly on need criteria, but he though it should be done on how long you have waited... one lady who is 50 and has been waiting for council housing since she was 16... some from people who have 'seen it happen' (and they have seen all sorts happen)... personally, knowing London the way I do... I'm sure the housing system isn't the way that it should be, or that most of us would like it to be, and that there is probably a huge variety of how it works (or doesn't work) from one borough to the next. One caller said that when she called the housing deptartment she was asked which country she'd come from and when she said the UK she'd been told "no chance"! At the end of the day I do believe that having paid taxes and taxes for years and generations should entitle you to something from the Government (not just housing here and not just talking with regards to how long you have lived in the UK)... the problem here is that the Government just don't seem to have a clue... they are more interested in fighting wars and so forth than worrying about the gradual decline/decay of the fabric of this country.

Number Two: yellow ribbon campaign (etc.) for missing Madeline. Unfortunately I lost my reception before the phone in got around to talking about this... or maybe they were having to much fun Margaret Hodge bashing?! The question was, are you wearing a yellow ribbon? Personally, no. I never wear badges, ribbons or what-have-you unless I have a personal reason to. There are just too many now. Ostentatious grief the radio presenter called it. It is, isn't it. People seem to be saying, I care more than you. I'm sure everyone hopes the little girl gets found safe and well. But even so... really, you can't give to every charity, can't wear every ribbon. So I drew a line. I donate money regularly to my chosen charities... I'll sponsor friends and colleagues who ask me, but that is that. I might, however, give some money to help restore the Cutty Sark - that is after all just down the road from me and as Prince Philip said yesterday it's a "bloody shame".

Number three - dates on food in supermarkets. The BBC are horrified as some undercover 'sting' of theirs showed that supermarkets occaisonally have questionable pracitices with regards to sell by dates on food. Really? They just found this out? Don't they go shopping. I have to throw away stuff all the time as it hasn't lasted to it's best before date. I did like the lady who phoned in to reiterate the difference between 'best before' and 'use by'. As my Dad always said to us when we were kids 'best before, not poisonous after'. Use by apparently though does mean just that, as it is to do with bacteria etc. which could be inside the food. There you go.

There was a great deal more of interest I heard especially radio presenters mangling russian names in the Polonium 210 story... however, if I don't get a shift on now I'll be late for work!!!

Monday 21 May 2007

Another weekend been and gone

So. Before we know where we are the weekend has been and gone. Good weekend this one, though.

Started promptly as I had to get tothe Doctor to pick up a prescription, so I left work at half past four on Friday (yes, we really are supposed to finish work at half past four on Fridays!). This meant that I got home by about 6 o'clock. I was at a complete loss what to do so early in the evening. In the end I opted for doing three month's worth of ironing whilst watching a videotape of the Last Detective. So that was good news for my wardrobe. All the clothes I own (except the ones I wore on Friday) are ironed again. Hurrah!

Saturday I didn't do so much. For some reason taking my Meds earlier in the evening meant that instead of sleeping through until morning I woke up around 3am feeling the side effects. So... I got up. Fed the cat, who was loitering with intent... and decided to try to write a CSS page for my website. I thought that it was supposed to be easy... two hours later I was still trying. And trying. I got there in the end though!

Next on my list was 'popping' out for a wee bit of shopping. This was quite pleasant as it seemed that the world and his dog were off watching the FA Cup final and not clogging up the streets of the Greenwich Peninsula. Got some superb pink plastic clogs in Asda... £5 a pair, so I got two pairs!

I decided to do some weeding... the recent rain had turned our garden path into a real haven for weeds. I don't generally go a bundle on weeding... but it is very satisfying when you can really see the difference you have made!

Saturday night is movie night. First up was Headspace... which proved, in my opinion, to be a) rather dull and b) reasonably inexplicable. It lasted about 20 minutes. Next up was Borat. I didn't have high hopes, despite the reviews which all rated it as hilarious. I find Ali G funny, but not usually the Borat sections. To give kudos - there were some very funny bits... and overall the movie pretty much provided what you expected. Gave up movies after this and watched DVDs of TV shows.

Sunday saw me back with the webpage and doing more weeding. Didn't get up until really late (around quarter to 12) so didn't get too much done really. Thought about doing some work I'd brought home, but decided that I'd get into work early instead.

Which brings us to today! Did get into work early... managed to avoid any traffic chaos incurred by the Cutty Sark being on fire.

I got an excellent email at the weekend. It came from a chap claiming to be a Nigerian football player and wanting a recommendation for a try-out here in the UK. Why?! Why would anyone think that a random email address picked out from goodness only knows where could be of any help?! And if it was not genuine, what on earth do they hope to gain from such a spam?! The internet is a strange and alarming place these days... I look with nostalgia to when there was so much less, for want of a better word, nonsense out in Cyberspace!

Friday 18 May 2007

Busy Days

It's been a bit busy this last week. 12 hour days (and the rest) have been the norm. However the project that was consuming my time appears to be done now - and hopefully I can get back to all the other projects I have been so neglecting!

Wednesday was the worst... I got to work at about a quarter to seven in the morning and left about 8 in the evening... and then only got three hours sleep going into Thursday! Needless to say, last night I went to bed at half eight and got a good eight hours!

Spring/Summer has returned to London again today. The miserable rain that has blighted us since last week seems to have given us a temporary reprieve. Back to rather a lot of fashion nightmares then!

There is an amazing fashion right now for tailored shorts. Usually cut just above the knee. there are very few body types that suit this garment, and certainly not most of those that wear them! Ladies, don't do it... especially not with tights!!!

Last night the Jubilee Line was suffering from a 'good service'. Whatever! The train that I got on was stopped several times down the line to "regulate the service". The driver told us that he was running a couple of minutes fast. At Canada Water we stopped again because apparently we were still running a minute ahead of schedule... there was a pause and then the driver added "they're determined I'll be late by the time I get to Stratford"!

The exciting event of the week was getting tickets to go and see the Giants play the Dolphins. Tickets finally went on sale for the NFL match at Wembley in October. After the announcement of the game you visited a website to register your interest in purchasing tickets. The opportunity to purchase tickets was then allocated by ballot. Apparently within 72 hours of the original announcement over half a million people had registered! The first 40,000 tickets went on sale on Wednesday and sold out in 90 minutes!!! Let's hope that the Giants are going to beat the Dolphins then!!!

My arm is almost recovered from being butchered by the phlebotomist on Monday. The bruise is now an interesting yellow/green colour... still quite sore though! I forgot to mention earlier one of the conversations I had with the Nurse on Monday. We have a variety of topics which are regularly discussed... including the "are you planning to have children" conversation. The reason for this is because if you get pregnant you have to stop taking the DMDs (disease modifying drugs). I told her, as I always do, not now... not anytime soon... quite possibly not ever. To which she replied if I was going to then I probably would want to hurry up as I was getting a bit old... and only realistically had five years left to have kids. Way to make a girl feel young and lovely!

Tuesday 15 May 2007

Working from home...

Yesterday I was working from home. I had an appointment with the MS Nurse in the middle of the morning (which usually involves a lot of waiting around) and also had to take my mother-in-law to hospital for her operation and pick her up again later - all in all working at home seemed the way to go.

However, nobody told my computer to co-operate. I have a wee office (well it's a desk) in the bedroom... with a printer, scanner, etc. etc. Currently they are attached to the old desktop. Some days the old PC works... other days it doesn't. Yesterday it didn't. I gave up in the end and got out the laptop... which is highly irritating as the touch-pad won't disable and I keep accidentally moving the cursor whilst I am typing. Sometime soon the desktop is getting rebuilt and hopefully his neurosis will be cured.

Vile weather yesterday - but I decided to walk to the hospital anyway as it is only half a mile and makes me feel quite virtuous! Got there five minutes before my appointment... unfortunately the entire neurology department appeared to be running with huge delays... and I was seen over half an hour late. Next it was off to the testing to get my blood tests done. Very dispirited to see number 450-something being called when I was number 496! Spent another half an hour sitting there. As usual the phlebotomist couldn't find the vein and butchered my arm which is now a) bruised and b) sore.

To add to the sore arm I managed to drop the external hard drive on my toe in the afternoon, which has severely damaged my poor little pinkie!!!

As usual the office had some kind of computer crisis whilst I wasn't there... this involved several panicked phone-calls and emails back and forward. Found a work-around in the end, but really do need to get the rest of my colleagues trained up. Didn't matter yesterday as I was working, but they would have rung me at home for that if I had been sick or on leave! I cannot be the only one who can work the advanced functions of the software packages.

Good news is that the new firewall is being installed next week. Time will tell - but hopefully that will sort out some of the server's neuroses. How many neurotic computers do I know?!

Friday 11 May 2007

The mysterious case of the missing key...

Something very strange happened in our office. Between one of the trainees getting files from the basement store last night and the Partner going down to get files this morning the key was lost. The trainee maintained that he had returned the key to the key cabinet. The Partner questioned that if this was the case, where was the *bleep* key? The floor was searched... the fire extinguishers were moved... the box of files from last night was emptied. No key. Trainee is singularly unapologetic and maintains a defensive posture of "I put the key back". The Partner is annoyed because a) the key is gone and b) the spare key which was requested was never cut.

I embark on a quest for a locksmith. The first call quotes me £145. No thanks! The next call is down to £90. I take a reference, it might just have to be. The final call is £65 (plus VAT) and any parking fees and congestion charge. They will come before 1 o'clock. All is saved.

The locksmith duly arrives. He makes a wasted trip to our floor, I meet him and take him to the basement. We then return to the ground floor so he can go to his van to fetch tools. Is it right, he asks me, that he can park on a yellow line for 20 minutes 'loading'. I am forced to admit I have no idea as I rarely drive in Central London. I tell him that it is best not to risk it as the parking wardens in Westminster are very enthusiastic and dedicated in their work, and indeed, there is one just coming now. Locksmith sensibly asks the warden and the warden concurs that he will not get a ticket.

We return to the basement, angle-grinder in tow. Sparks fly, quite literally. The lock is cut from the door. All this takes about 30 seconds. Crisis averted.

The story behind the traffic chaos on Wednesday night turned out to be a shead load in the Tunnel. Some asbestos fell of the back of a lorry (quite literally) and the tunnel was closed until the next morning for decontamination. Oh dear.

Thursday 10 May 2007

Very bad travel day

There were a lot of things wrong with yesterday. Not least the bit where it was nearly 8 o'clock by the time I was leaving the office.

The worst bit of all was the decision by transport in the south east of London to TOTALLY mess with me on my way home.

Exhibit 1 - Jubilee Line. When I arrived at Green Park the Jubilee Line was admitting to 'minor delays'. I was sceptical to whether or not they even knew what had caused the delays as there were different stories on the boards at platform and ticket hall and yet another story from the PA man. I had to wait 7 minutes until a train, which I squeezed onto as the next advertised train was another 7 minutes after that! We stopped and started and generally bumbled down the line to North Greenwich.

Exhibit 2 - Blackwall Tunnel. When I arrived at North Greenwich the PA man was advising of delays to ALL bus routes to and from North Greenwich station. He added to this the recommendation that customers seek alternative routes. There is a problem with that statement. If ALL the bus routes are delayed then the only alternative route is to hop back on the tube. The problem with that is that North Greenwich is in the middle of two stations which are on the OTHER SIDE OF THE RIVER! Canning Town (and indeed West Ham and Stratford), on the north side of the Thames. Canary Wharf, also on the north side. If you want to go all the way back to Canada Water that is on the south side... but then you still have to get all the way back to Greenwich and then to Charlton!!!

So. I decided that I had better get on the 472 which had just drawn up as I couldn't see any other buses at all waiting at the stand. The 472 takes me as far as the 'low' road (Woolwich Road) and from thence I have to walk. I got off the bus (a stop early as it turned out) and walked home... which means going up the hill by the park and then all along my road (which is VERY long).

I couldn't even go shopping as planned as the tunnel problems had gridlocked the entire Greenwich peninsula and there was no way I was going to sit in traffic for half an hour just to get to the supermarket!

Crawled out of bed this morning exhausted after the exertions of yesterday. Got to work reasonably early to find that I wasn't the only one stressed out by their current workload as the Geordie and the South African were both already there!

Can't wait for the weekend really... although have a rather unbelievable (and some might say impossible) amount to accomplish before then!!!

Wednesday 9 May 2007

Conference Calling

So, this morning we had a conference call. Not a few people sitting around a table with another distant person on speaker phone, but a real live conference call where you dialled in from different places. Managed to gather 3 lawyers (my boss was rubbing his finger and thumb together making the internationally recognized gesture for money when they all introduced themselves!), 3 clients, an architect and the two of us from this office. Gosh, what fun that was... just like a meeting but accomplishing even less (who thought that was possible)!

My other boss was making porridge for his breakfast this morning. He's got these little sachets where you just add water and stick it in the microwave... so I referenced him at one point as "Goldilocks over there". Ah, we did all chuckle!

Completely overslept this morning... but amazingly still managed to make it into work within 70 minutes of having got out of bed! Wish that could happen more often - all the buses and tubes arrived when they ought to, and there was no waiting around.

Tuesday 8 May 2007

Now it's nearly Wednesday!

Good grief... where has the week gone already. Today just went **whoosh**. Good thing is that my estimate went out a day early. Bad thing is that the Contract Documents STILL aren't done. Ah well. When there is so much to do, something has to give!

I have to share my bizarre travel story from Friday night. I was on the tube heading towards home - quite late as it goes, about 8pm. The driver came on to make an announcement just as we were getting towards Canary Wharf... "If there are the parents of a little lost six year old boy on this train, and they have finally remembered to come back and get him, he is being cared for by station staff". Finally... my very own strange tube announcement! Bizarre though. How can anybody lose a child at an underground station and then not go straight back on the next train?!

I managed to delightfully managed my objective of not leaving the house all weekend. Not exactly sure what I DID do, but anyhow! After going to work yesterday I'm looking forward to an extra day on the next Bank Holiday!!!

There has been nothing but talk of football in this office today. It's the first time we've all been here since the weekend. The Man U fan has been smug about Man U winning the Premiership (so annoying)... and there has been a lot of attempts to tease me about Charlton and their relegation. Stunningly missing the point that I have been telling them all since last August that Charlton were getting relegated. Bizarre conversation at the moment... I missed the beginning, but our boss just said "Same as Gary Neville, he'll never be compared to Pele either". Would love to know how the conversation started! Conversation has now fallen to whether the Man U fan would choose Roy Keane or George Best if he could only have one or the other. He is trying to get out of answering the question. South African girl just contributed with "I thought he died". Scottish boss complained "You are just trying to ruin it for us".

Other Scottish boss has just re-appeared from making a conference call. We were a bit worried about him earlier as there was a large crash from the conference room... we thought that maybe he had fallen off his chair!

The conversation about "the best football player who ever lived" is still continuing. We haven't come to a conclusion. The Man U fan is still trying to insist that it is a contemporary english player (preferably someone who does now or once did play for Man U). Apparently we are leaning towards Pele (Geordie and Scottish Bosses). Man U fan is after Beckham.

I just pointed out that the whole conversation is completely ridiculous. The comparision in any sport over time negates direct comparison as the game evolves and develops. Pele didn't play the same game that is being played now.

Have to stop typing now. Somebody left the window open and my fingers have gone blue!

Monday 7 May 2007

Well who knew!

My phone will talk to my blog! Not that it will be easy now that I don't have a slide out keyboard. Sorry in advance for any oddness with the predictive text!

Had to go to work today, even though it is a bank holiday! Had rashly promised lots me stuff for Wednesday forgetting it was a holiday. It is amazing how much you get done when the phone doesn't keep ringing!

Jubilee line reached a new low this morning when the trains seemed to be going backwards! First it was 4 minutes to wait, then 7!

This has taken half my bus journey to write, so maybe more later.

Note to self: purchase bluetooth keyboard!

Friday 4 May 2007

This is not a bendy bus...

Yesterday morning the bus was very full. I was later than normal, and it was obviously a while since there had been a bus. I found a nice little spot by the doors, which is a good place on modern busses as not too many people can fit in there and the doors slide instead of opening inwards. Anyway, off we went - and due to the crowded nature of the bus (which included people standing on the stairs) the driver decided not to take on any passengers. Of course, sometimes he had to stop to let some off. Solution of the crowds at the bus stops. Pile in the back doors! For amusement value (if not for getting where you are going value) it is always more fun if the driver throws a strop at this point and refuses to go any further until the illegal entrants get off again. Unfortunately yesterday's driver seemed quite happy to let all these people (who didn't pay any fare) get on. It's not a bendy bus! There are no card validators. Travel for free? Result.

This morning's bus journey was even worse. I thought that as it was about 5 to 6 the 422 might be a safe route as there would be no frustrated tunnel traffic. Unfortunately the lights by the old hospital seemed to have gone on the blink. The three way junction only allows traffic from one way at a time at the moment (actually, if the road by the hospital isn't closed its a four way junction!). We sat and waited through two phases... but the lights never turned green. In the end a frustrated motorist jumped the queue, which meant that all the traffic decides to jump the lights... until it gets to someone so far by that they don't realise the lights are stuck. Thirty minutes on the Woowich Road this morning.

I have a theory about the Blackwall Tunnel and the cancellation of the tidal flow. A while ago Greenwich Council were petitioning for the congestion charge to be extended South Eastwards. There was going to be referrendums or something. They wanted to include the Tunnel in this extension of the zone. Funny how this desire should coincide with the cancellation of the tidal flow (which we all know causes jams) should happen just now, and thus demonstrate how bad the congestion in that area is!!!

After two months of inactivity work has finally started in the car park at North Greenwich. Presumably because the Dome (sorry, of course I mean the O2) is opening soon. This is not the only work going on at North Greenwich. Very irritatingly the up escalator at the rear of the train on the Eastbound platform has been taken out of service for refurbishment. This means that unless the train terminates at North Greenwich and comes in on the middle platform... getting on at the back of the train (which is always less crowded) now necessitates a long walk to the escalator at the front of the train and then a long walk back to the ticket barriers at the ticket hall level! Fortunately the refurbishment works can't be that extensive as the escalator is supposed to be back in service by the end of May.

A mystery is sweeping London at the moment. Strange graffiti has been appearing all over the city which says simply "Brooke Shields Alphabet". Nobody knows who is doing it, why the are doing it or what (if anything) it is for! It has even got its own website! Alphabet of Brooke Shields. Rather unexcited by the whole thing as a) I think graffiti is pointless (and hard to spell!) and b) either it is some rubbish marketing campaign or it means totally nothing... but I had to mention it as it is the talk of the town at the moment!

I read in the gossip page of the Metro yesterday morning that Mel B is distressed that the wrangling with ex- Eddie Murphy and the paternity issues have been aired "so publicly". If that is the case then she would be best to stop going on TV and giving interviews or hanging around celebrity night spots and stay at home where the public can't see her!

Last night our office went out on the town. Welcoming our newest member of staff from South Africa amongst other things. After a weeks worth of debate on pricey Mayfair restaurants we ended up in Pizza Express. And there we stayed. Long after the pizza had been eaten. The wine kept on coming... until we finished their stock of a particular white wine and had to find an alternative. Eventually they called time and so we had to leave. We were walking back through Bruton Place when we noticed a plaque on the wall which said "press here" so we did... and it opened a cunningly disguised door!!! Some night club or something no doubt... we were rather surprised, to say the least. We all scattered off in various directions for the tube, and made our ways home. There were a few sore heads this morning!

I got up at 5am. Not because I had any particular desire to get to the office... but because our cat, who had been sleeping behind the bedroom door (why?) decided to jump onto my feet. I thought about going back to sleep, but I could feel her staring at me, so I got up!

Looking forward to the weekend. Not a long one for me as I've to work on Monday... but I'll have a nice Saturday/Sunday. It is my aim to not leave the house for the entire weekend if it can be helped.

Wednesday 2 May 2007

All work and no play... levels of busy-ness have been reached. Now I know why it is called business (ha ha!). I'm busy than a busy thing, as my friend Kim would say. In fact, so busy, I forgot to get lunch today until about 4pm. I thought that I was hungry!!!

More indecipherable cyrillic writing (really must at least learn the alphabet)... contract documents... estimates, estimates, and even more estimates. Oh, all good fun!

On a sad note, our goldfish Toby died, after a short illness. Poor Toby. Not really a goldfish, rather a shubunkin.

Here si the story of our fish tank. Once upon a time, we decided to get a fish tank. We went of to the pet shop and bought a 'starter' tank and two goldfish - CJ and Danny.

The catalyst for the purchase of the fish tank was watching the West Wing. In the West Wing, journalist Danny trying to impress White House Press Officer CJ (that's Claudia Jean) asks one of her colleagues what she likes. "Goldfish" is the reply. So, Danny buys CJ and goldfish. However, it wasn't the fish that was meant but the Goldfish Crackers!!! However, the fish stays with CJ until the end of West Wing at the seventh season. So, obviously CJ and Danny were named for those two characters. Well. CJ and Danny grew (alarmingly) and soon we decided that they needed a bigger tank.

So we got a bigger tank. Then we decided that they were probably lonely. So Toby, Sam and Nemo arrived. They were shubunkin. Toby and Sam flourished. Nemo, not so much. Nemo had a dodgy fin (hence the name, originally he was called Leo - Toby, Sam and Leo are further West Wing characters). Nemo died at a young age, and was buried in the garden. So for a while, they were four again.

Then we decided that some further companions were called for (aparently goldfish live in shoals and thus should be kept in odd numbers). Cue the arrival of Donna, Gail and Inky. (I decided that there should be more 'girl' fish - not that we have learned to accurately determine the gender of our goldfish). Donna is another West Wing character, Gail was the name of the goldfish in West Wing that started it all and Inky was named as he had black marking rather like inkspots all over his body. Sadly, one by one these fish also all died. Leaving the four alone again.

I declined for some time to purchase further fish on the basis that they kept dying. However, Rich maintained that the tank needed more fish - so eventually we went back to the pet shop and brought home Charlie, Abby and Jed. Charlie and Abby are tiny goldfish (they're a bit bigger now, but put them next to CJ and they are still very small). Jed was a shubunkin. That's right. Was. He died less than a week after we took him home. This time we took our deceased fish back to the store to get a replacement (yes, fish come with a guarantee). Welcome T'ealc. I decided no more West Wing characters (Jed is the President in the West Wing, Abby his wife and Charlie another character). I decided we should name our fish after a different TV show... why not Stargate SG-1!

So - for a month or so, all was fine. Then Toby began acting odd - his tail looked ragged, he looked thin, obviously he was not well. We'd seen it too often before. Fortunately his illness didn't last too long, and he died in the castle where the fish hide out sometimes. For a couple of days we thought that Sam was sick too - but it seems that he was mourning his friend, as reports from the fish tank today say he is back to his old self!

So that is the story of our fish!

Tuesday 1 May 2007

Expanding horizons...

The wonderful world of the internet! There are so many sites out there... I feel quite like I'm in space - space is very large (according to the late great Douglas Adams: 'Space,' it says 'is big. Really big. You wouldn't believe how vastly hugely mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean you may think it a long way down the road to the chemists but that just peanuts to space. Listen...' and so on.) Well - that is how I feel about the internet! I just keep on finding new sites! (It is my evening tea break in the office, when I stop work for 15 minutes or so and randomly roam the Web!)

Dreary Day

Today was never going to go well. I woke up unrealistically early (2am) with a headache. So, I went downstairs to get paracetemol. Unfotunately in the dark I picked up ibuprofen instead. Unfortunately because I am allergic to ibuprofen. Fortunately I noticed after taking one (the tablet was smoother and rounder the paracetemol). A very unpleasant few hours followed, my allergic reaction is similar to asthma... I did try and go back to bed, but gave up around 5am. So - eventually I decided to go to work. I forgot (again) that the 422 is still 'out of bounds'. The abandonment of the Blackwall Tunnel tidal-flow has had an extremely negative impact on the 422 route. Less so than previously as they have built some kind of bus lane... but still a good extra 20 minutes on the journey. Note to self: no 422 in the mornings!!!

Got to work to face what turned out to be a day of recalcitrant computers. My computer is the best in the office. Dual core processor, etc. etc. But the amount of things that I tried to have it do at once crashed it several times. I spent a very tedious morning attempting to translate drawings which were variously in Ukrainian, Russian and Polish... none of which, needless to say, I speak.

Summer has definitely come to London. I went for a little work along Albemarle Street at lunchtime. Not really sunny enough as the road is too narrow and the buildings too tall to let much sun down!

The new bed is continuing to prove value for money. The extra space means that I no longer nearly fall out of bed several times a night... however my Lumie seems to be having some sort of electrical problems, it randomly keeps switching itself off... which is no good for an alarm clock!!!