Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Here comes summer...

Yesterday it rained... today it is sunny... here comes summer!

Monday, 30 May 2011

Extra work

Working the Bank Holiday to try and get the office we have inhabited for 6 years tidied up. More of a task than anticipated... but look, and empty shelf!!!

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Lunch in London

Wishful thinking
Today I met up for lunch with some friends Stacy and  Jodi (Jodi who I met via our blogs) - you can visit Jodi's blog here. Unfortunately the weather wasn't on our side - it was rather grey and cold! We managed to find a pub to have lunch in though... amongst all the football fans over for the Champions League final!

It's strange to meet someone whose blog you read as you feel like you know them really well.... even though you've never met before!
Some of the many Barcelona fans

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Is that the week?!

Because I was late in on Monday after the MRI and out of the office all day yesterday there doesn't seem to have been much of the week left - and amazingly, suddenly it is the end of Thursday and my working week is over!

There was a terrific thunderstorm and downpour in London this afternoon. I was worried for the server as a thunderstorm near our office often seems to cause a power surge which causes the power to blink off, the server to go to back up power, back up power to overload, and everything to crash. Didn't happen today happily.

I was pleased when I got home to find that the rain had extended to SE7 and given the garden a much needed water!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Another day out....

There's no pleasing some people. I complain when I never get out the office and then I complain when I have to go to site. The problem, for a not very mobile person, is that my sites are never in London.

Off to Oxfordshire again today to the town with no railway station and a very ugly shopping precinct.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Presidential visit

In case anyone hadn't noticed the President of the USA is making a state visit to the UK. London is suffering from associated traffic chaos (well my bit Westminster/St James's) anyway. What with tourists and protesters and police and road closures.

Monday, 23 May 2011

MRI and things

I had to go off to the hospital for an MRI. I hate MRIs. I'm claustrophobic so I hate the machine. I hate the isolation and I hate the noise. Luckily my GP prescribes me Valium so I take on before and it isn't too bad. Also this time they were playing Frank Sinatra which was also quite pleasant. The required dye wasn't - although the technician who did it was amazing and found a vein really fast (unusual for me) - but it took a while to do so was a bit painful and left a really bad taste in my mouth.

Off to work after that - not ideal, still feeling the effects of the Valium!


Odd thing I noticed - we had mushrooms growing at the end of our drive!

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Maryon Wilson Animal Park

The Maryon Wilson Park (not to be confused with Maryon Park further towards the river) has a rich history - and once was known as the Hanging Woods as the highwaymen from Blackheath were hanged there.
The parkland was donated to the London County Council in 1924 by Sir Spencer Maryon Wilson a few years later he donated a small heard of deer which was the beginning of the animal park that is there today. And now Greenwich Council wants to withdraw its funding and close it down.
If you are a Facebook type you can join the cause here. If you're not a Facebook type you can still sign the petition. Even if you don't live in SE7 or the surrounding area, consider lending your voice to this cause. The animal centre is an amazing resource to teach local children about nature and wildlife. For £30,000 (which I believe is what it costs to run) it is money well spent.
Today there is an open day at the park. I went and spent a happy hour amongst the animals and birds.

Below are some pictures of some of the birds and beasts; these include two pigs (Bangers and Mash), three ponies (Ted, Honey and Minstrel), six goats, a herd of sheep and a herd of deer in addition to assorted fowl (including peacocks, geese, ducks, hens and turkeys).

Ducklings almost grown up!

Sheep (about to be shorn)

Sleeping in the sun (Bangers or Mash!)

Some of the hens and cockerels (whose crows can be heard from our house!)

The duck contingent

One of the ponies waiting for lunch

Peacock showing off for the ladies

Beautiful deer

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Long week

It's been a hard day's night... or something like that. It sure has been a long week... which could have done without the trip to Peterborough this afternoon!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Rain...?

When I left the office this evening I was quite hopeful. It was tipping with rain. Just what the garden needs, I thought to myself.

Sadly South London didn't get such a downpour.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

When the going gets tough...

This is an ancient Persian saying (sometimes attributed to Charles Austin Beard or Ralph Waldo Emerson).

I love it because it reminds me that difficulties and challenges (of which I have plenty at the moment) bring opportunity.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Why I hate computers (part 834)

I was in an out of the office last week and busy when I was in. The assorted hardware of the office took this as a sign that it should all break down - simultaenously.

There was the computer that switched on and started a check disk that it never finished. A hard restart and lightning reflexes to skip the check disk put a temporary fix to that.
Then there was the computer that had caught a virus. Oh dear. That required a complete rebuild and reinstall of all software.

Lucky that most of this can be done by IT support remotely - but some of it (putting discs in, installing software from discs) can only be done by me.

This nonsense had been going on since last week, but finally today they were all fixed and given a clean bill of health (until the next time).


Sunday, 15 May 2011

Eurovision 2011

It's that time of year again when countries from across Europe gather together and try and out perform each other musically. The prize (which many countries wouldn't want for reason of sheer expense at the moment) is the honour of hosting the following year's competition.

Good Eurovision songs should be catchy - pop or rock; there should be something memorable in the staging (the group, the costumes or the dancing); and usually they should be partly (or completely) in English. 

My two favourites this year were Estonia with 'Rockefeller Street' (finished 24th) and Estonia with 'So Lucky' (finished 12th). I didn't like the song that won; Azerbaijan 'Running Scared' much at all. I'd rather the UK with Blue (a bit of a bland song) or Ireland with Jedward (enough said) had won.

Over the last half dozen years the popularity of the show has become such that they now have to have semi-finals to weed out the field to make a show of watch-able length. All the countries who entered still get to vote though - whether or not they make it to the final. This means some of the fun of the points giving has been taken away as the lowest points are immediately populated and only the highest points read out by 'London calling' (or whoever).

The widened field and the plethora of countries from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union led to allegations of 'block voting' and unfair advantages (let's face it - the 'big 4' (UK, France, Spain and Germany) are just jealous because they don't have any friends to vote for them!). The voting system was changed so that half the votes came from a public vote and half from a panel. It still doesn't seem to have completely fixed the problem.

It's still a fun evening though. Graham Norton has turned out to be an able replacement for Terry Wogan (who thought anyone could ever replace him!). What amused me was that during the telephone voting part there were repeated warnings that you couldn't vote for the UK - and your vote wouldn't count but you would still be charged. In this case. Why have the number available. Why not just miss that number out of the list. Why not make it so that you get an unobtainable signal if you dial it? I wanted to dial it to see what would happen but I didn't want to waste 15p.

Apparently the good thing is that Azerbaijan (oil rich) were possibly the best placed country to spend the money to host it next - so it was a good thing from that point of view that they won.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

A cafe in the kitchen

Some time ago our kettle started leaking. Every time it was taken from the base the base was covered in water - and it dripped (excessively) every time water was poured.

Time for a new one. The old kettle had a built in water filter, but as nobody ever changed the filter we didn't see the need to get another that did the same. My top priority was an eco-friendly kettle. One that used less power.

Then we found this amazing appliance. This is the Breville Hot Cup with Variable Dispenser. I'm not quite sure how the mechanics work - but it what it does, in essence, it boil (very quickly) just enough water for your cup (large mug) of tea/coffee. You place the cup on the drip tray and - hey presto - boiling water.

And it looks pretty good in the kitchen too!

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Why I hate computers (part 768)

Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining. (Jef Raskin, interviewed in Doctor Dobb's Journal).

Damn machines. The office computers have taken against me. All at once. One has a virus and must be rebuilt (on going); one wants to do a disk check everytime it is switched on and then gets stuck halfway through and has to get a hard boot (investigations being undertaken); two have had a blue screen of death (don't care unless they do it again).

I spent so much time on the phone with IT Support that the guy asked me if I had any other job or whether looking after the computers was all I did! All computers are now in disgrace.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Site visit

Due to my various infirmities I don't often get to go on site visits any more.

My journey started at Paddington, one of my favourite stations. I was off to Oxfordshire to a charming little town. A project that finally has a green light - so this was the first Design Team meeting. We spent most of the day walking around outside (which seems to have got me an unexpected dose of sunburn); finally got round to a late lunch and the meeting part of the meeting. Long (long) day as I didn't get back to London until gone 6pm.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Hospital appointments

Today I had to go to the hospital for a heap of blood tests. First was the test for the JC Virus which was to be done in Infusions in Outpatients. So, I started the morning by getting lost. Outpatients is divided into several 'areas' and I was aiming for 'A' - but that one didn't have a reception only a sign telling you to go to 'B'. When I got there they had no idea how to direct me and sent me back to 'A'. Lucky for me at this point I bumped into my MS Nurse who delivered me where I was supposed to be.

My veins decided to have a uncooperative day so it took ages to accomplish the required test. Then I had to go to phlebotomy (who were happily having a good day and only had a 30 minute wait). Then we had to go through the whole uncooperative vein thing again, only now we were on the other arm which wanted to play even less. I finally left the hospital with cotton-wool patches on each side... and not even a cup of coffee as I'd managed to leave my wallet back at the house!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Baby sunflowers!

Last year I planted a crop of sunflowers, but only one of the seeds escaped the attentions of the squirrels and made it to grow into a sunflower. This year I've got a bumper crop!

A dozen small plants - I was going to plant them out today but I figured I'd give them a few more days to get established.






Even better we managed to salvage some seeds from Stan the Sunflower last year - and one of them has sprouted too. Next generation!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Blu-ray

Finally we have joined the 21st Century and got a Blu-ray player. Of course, we don't actually have any discs to play on it yet! We will however, henceforth, be having our movie rental people send us Blu-ray instead of DVDs... and hopefully will get less scratched and not working ones!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Kittens and other things

Tinker
Both Tinker and Casper have decided that the sofa is no longer a strange new monolith in the sitting room but rather a fairly comfortable place for a cat to take a nap. Lucky it is a three seater really... although I wish that they'd prefer the middle seat rather than my corner!









Another delightful spring morning today - always enjoy driving through Westminster and St James's - especially whilst the Mall is still decked out in its Royal Wedding finery.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Inundation!

Oops! Sent the glass flying. It was nearly full. There was a flood on my desk, threatening neighbouring desks too. The guy opposite me threatened to build flood defences - this is not the first time this has happened!

There goes another glass. Perhaps I should only be allowed plastic glasses?

Monday, 2 May 2011

Visiting with family

Today I got to spend time with my cousin and her baby, who is technically my 2nd cousin but I'm just Aunty to her to make things simple. My Mum, Gran and Uncle were also there so it was quite the family gathering.

I got to spend lots of time playing with the baby - which was fun for both of us!

My cousin had a real Royal Wedding day - and even bought a playset for the baby. I think my cousin was more interested in it than the baby; who spent quite a lot of time throwing the little people around.

We also got to go and enjoy the amazing view of London that you get from the top of the house.

Click for a larger view.



Sunday, 1 May 2011

Cooking

In honour of the four day bank holiday weekend I decided it was time to get back to some cooking. Soup for lunch. Well, my soup is more of a pottage really.

Ingredients:
1 large carrot
1 large parnsip
1/2 red onion
1 small potato
2 cloves garlic
1 small green chilli
1 pint vegetable stock
1 tsp butter

Chop all the vegetables into 1 inch cubes. Heat the butter in the pan until melted. Soften the vegetables for five minutes in the melted butter. Add the vegetable stock. Simmer for half an hour (or until half the stock has evaporated). Blend the vegetables until puréed. Serve.

Unfortunately there is a lot of preparation!