Monday 17 March 2008

Reading the news...

As I can't go to the world, the world must come to me. The world and about two dozen ladybugs. The experiment of not evicting them from the premises continues... and the numbers continue to increase. I think there were about two dozen on and around the window today. My favourite moment was when one decided to climb up the string on which a crystal dangles. Round and round and up and round. Surely it would be simpler to fly?

I've been reading the BBC News site today, seeing what has been happening whilst I have been in bed.

Obviously there was the Chancellor Alastair Darling's first budget last week. I didn't find a great deal of interest in the budget (not that I ever do). The usual rises in duty on cigarettes (don't smoke) and alcohol (do drink)... my car not too badly affected (it is old but small). The BBC has a budget calculator where you can see how you will be affected. I'm actually going to be better off in the coming year by £140 (so that is just less than £12 a month, what will I do with those riches?) and that is only because the basic rate of income tax is falling by 2%.

Main stories today, well there is more fall out from the 'global credit crunch' and the 'sub-prime' fiasco (yes, those phrases will be in the dictionary a few years from now). A major Wall Street bank got into trouble over the weekend, and the stock exchanges have had a bad day because of it. Due to the fact that economics and I never got on I can't pretend to fully understand the intricacies of the whole sub-prime crisis, however - suffice to say that it undoubtedly has something to do with the 21st Century need to 'have it all' - for both individuals and corporations.

Also in the news the Mills - McCartney divorce settlement. I was hating myself for even reading the story. Who cares is some C list celebrity is going to get millions of pounds for being married to an A list celebrity for a few years? Is it really relevant how much (how much being fairly obscene I think). And please, somebody tell me, if the nanny and the school fees are being paid for, what on earth does a four year old child need £35,000 a year for. Most people don't earn that for going out to work! Hopefully the irritating Ms Mills will now vanish permanently from the press radar (yes, I know, some hope).

Nearer to home, Thames Water have obviously finished a particular stretch of 'replacing London's Victorian water mains' along the main Woolwich to Blackheath road as they have turned the corner and come down our street. We are waiting for Wednesday when the water will be off all day. Preparation has already begun, however. The security fencing has gone up and the trenches are being dug. The foundations of the house appeared to be shaking today, certainly the vibration could be felt (and unfortunately heard) in the bedroom! I am keeping faith that they will manage not to sever any important cables whilst they are working. Certainly the pavement was absolutely technicolour noting where LV and HV and CATV etc. etc. were running, and one little green line headed straight up our driveway, so fingers crossed we'll not experience any disruptions of service come Wednesday.

I was speaking to my boss earlier, and apparently I missed all the fun and excitement at work today. The building work on the floor above ours continues unabated (still with not restrictions on working hours, I could hear the banging and drilling down the phone) - but seemingly today (for whatever reason) one of the builders was on the fire escape at the back of the building. This fire escape isn't actually used as exit in fire drills is down the main stairs (who knows what happens if there is a fire on the main stairs). I would guess that the builder was probably having a crafty fag. It would seem however that the unmaintained and neglected fire escape wasn't up to the job, as the builder fell through the floor and landed on our landing. The problem arose when he tried to come back into the building at our level. The fire escape door wouldn't open (again, what happens if there is a fire in the main stairwell?!). Ah well, it is an improvement on last time there was refurbishment works in the building. A builder through the fire escape is nothing compared to the burst radiator pipe and Niagara Falls in coming through our Boardroom Ceiling!