Wednesday 30 May 2012

Google Doodle

Today Google's Doodle is celebrating the anniversary of the birth of renowned maker of jewelled eggs Peter Carl Fabergé.

Tuesday 29 May 2012


(Nearly) every Thursday I have to go to site for meetings which take up the entire day. It's not a good site to get to being over in the City which is a long way from Mayfair; although travelling from one place to the other can be very scenic.

The shell of what used to be offices is now a great open space like a warehouse, freezing cold in winter (most people took to wearing thermals) but quite temperate now the weather has got warmer.

The amount of people required at the meetings (regularly over a dozen) and the size of the site outwith the small meeting room leads to interesting problems trying to assemble the various parties.

This is a timetable of how my last Thursday went down:

08:00I optimistically arrive at site hoping to catch people before the meeting. Meeting room empty. The site manager offers me coffee, which I happily accept. I am trying to work out columns of numbers with my very tiny pocket calculator.
08:30Chap wanders into the meeting room (empty apart from me) and asks "Is this where the meeting happens" to which I reply "Eventually, in about an hour and a half - yes".
08:45I give up sitting in the meeting room (and trying to make the numbers add up) in favour of a wander around the site. End up chatting with a couple of the M&E guys about nothing relevant to the job.
09:20M&E guys leave in search of colleagues they need to 'catch up with'. I go back to sit in the meeting room.
09:30Several people arrive, leave their jackets and bags and wander off. It is like herding cats.
09:50Even less people ready for the meeting start (in 10 minutes) than usual, just me.
10:15Meeting leader arrives, wishes me 'Good Morning' and wanders off again.
10:25New low. Meeting still not started. The one person who had been persuaded not to leave has now left to 'measure something'. Just me again.
10:35Meeting finally begins over half an hour late.
11:15Meeting descends in (relative) chaos as coffee, tea and biscuits arrive
11:40During a (fairly heated) discussion the observation "talk is cheap" is heard. There are less people than usual present which seems to be leading to more distraction.
12:40Have passed the two hour mark at which point the meeting usually loses its thread and breaks into smaller meetings. Still going.
13:25Meeting finally ends.
13:30Everyone who I was hoping to catch for five minutes has vanished, presumably because I need to speak to them.
13:502nd meeting due to start in 10 minutes. The room is empty apart from me (again).
14:051st new attendee arrives and apologises for late arrival. I point out (not for the last time) that the meeting will start late as its predecessor started late and everybody has wandered off.
14:152nd new attendee arrives and apologises for late arrival. I re-state opinion that meeting will be late starting (now evidenced by the fact it should have been in progress for 15 minutes).
14:203rd new attendee arrives and apologises for late arrival. This one I meet on my way to the Ladies as I have given up waiting.
14:40All parties (escaped from morning meeting around the site) are eventually rounded up and herded into meeting room for 2nd meeting.
16:452nd meeting finally finishes.  I've still a couple of people to catch up with before I can finally leave. It's been a long day.

Sunday 27 May 2012

Outing to the Park

Maryon Wilson Park

A set by nat_mach

Peking Duck (2) Peking Duck (3) Peking Duck (4)
Conversations with terrapins Terrapin (down)
Terrapin (up) Peking Duck (1)
Little grey rabbit Peking Duck (5)

Time for our local animal park to have it's annual open day. Blessed again with glorious sunshine it was a great day for mixing with the birds and animals.

Not only can you get up personal with Peking the Duck (seen above) and some of his furry friends (rabbits, guinea pigs, and even a rat) but you can wander amongst the pigs (Bangers and Mash), ducks and hens; walk up to the fence and pet the ponies (Honey, Minstrel and Teddy); watch the sheep being shorn and see a tent with an eclectic collection of owls.

The park was under threat of closure from by the local council; but has now formed a limited company with hopes of gaining charitable trust status.

I was lucky to grown up in a country village surrounded by wildlife, but for children growing up in the city this is probably one of the best opportunities they get to see these animals.

Wednesday 23 May 2012

Google Doodle (interactive!)

Today's Google celebrates the birth date of Robert Moog (inventor of the Moog Synthesiser) whose 78th birthday it would have been today (he died in 2005).

Turn on you speakers - you can play with this one. It is pretty limited but quite addictive fun.

Please note the aggressive marketing by Chrome (who have done what Firefox never did and over-taken IE). In times past it was only if you were using IE you'd see that little 'use chrome advert'!


The showers of April are at last behind (halfway through May) and the sun has broken through with some clear skies and warm weather. The Queen seemed to be having a garden party as lots of ladies and gentlemen in finery were around Buckingham Palace yesterday evening; there were plenty of other Londoners shedding the layers and opting for summer outfits.

Sunshine on the Thames

Flag at Southwark

Pigeon roost

Probably coming back not going

Is it a cloud... is it a wave

Working in the sun

Cutty Sark still dressed in finery

If you look closely you can see the cable car in the distance

Sunday 13 May 2012

TV Time

It's that time of year. The American TV channels are deciding which programmes make it and which ones don't. It's time to clear house in front of the up-fronts; when the channels show their new offerings to advertisers - and journalists can finally coherently summarise the new shows so we can decide whether we want to watch them or not.

A few freshmen shows (as ever) get canned after their first seasons, a few old favourites (or once favourites) are winding up after their years and years. 

Every channel wants that magic gift, a hit with the audiences; maybe something that will give five seasons, get that magic 100 episodes and float off into syndication.

Networks and viewers are less tolerant than they once were - shows have less and less time to impress and make an impact before the axe might fall. Even a proven creator, writer or actor is no longer the advantage it once was (golden boy JJ Abrams 'Alcatraz' was cancelled after the first season).

The saddest of all - there is so little quality in British TV these days that what happens to American shows really does matter; at least in this house.

Wednesday 9 May 2012

Today's Google celebrates Howard Carter discover of Tutankhamun's tomb.

Friday 4 May 2012

Passage of time

This week I've had two occasions to pause and think about the passage of time.

The first occasion was when a friend posted our class photo on Facebook and I realised that it was taken nearly twenty years ago. I scanned the faces and realised that a lot of them I'd lost touch with... the good thing was that the photo helped re-connect some connections.

You leave school, you go to University, you move around a lot. Addresses over those few years change regularly, and things get lost and left behind (remember this was the days before the prevalence of internet and keeping everything on computers!). Classmates got married and changed their names - no wonder I couldn't find them!

It was strange looking at all those fresh faces in the early 90s... with no idea where the path of life was going to take them... the me in that photograph certainly had a very different career path planned from the one I ended up on!

It is great to catch up with so many old friends again though, and now the possibility of a 20 year school reunion is being mentioned (good grief!).

The second occasion was when I realised that this week marked 10 years since my diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis. This surprised me slightly as it didn't seem like a decade had passed. That certainly is not a path anyone would choose - but I feel that I'm at last getting to manage my work and life in a satisfactory manner and live up to that old maxim "I have MS, but MS doesn't have me."

Looking back 20 years makes one wonder what the next 20 years will bring... 

Out and about in London (2)

Here are some more shots from my wanderings in London... some days it rains, some days the sun shines! 

As always, click on the photos for a larger view.

The Shard - dominating
Discarded umbrella
City bollards
Cathedral reflections
Abandoned station
Surveillance post
Free papers
New Routemaster
Old Routemaster
Channel 4
Groovy van
Calm after the storms

Out and about in London (1)

I've had to do a regrettable amount of travelling around our fair capital these last two weeks as I the project I'm working on has weekly meetings in the City. 

As the underground is too much torture for me and the crutches I usually get a cab there (as being there for the start of the meeting is critical) and then a bus back (as time is less critical).

As I go I snap photos of little bit of London that catch my eye... (click on photos for a larger view)

Benetton shop window
Oxford Street - patriotic
Outside an Art Gallery
Centre Point windows
Peacock style!