Archives for the month of: May, 2011

A look out the window at 8am and it was immediately obvious that unless there was going to be some major change in the weather, we wouldn’t be trudging up Cooper’s Hill to witness the Cheee Rolling.

Some of you will be aware that it wasn’t actually supposed to be happening anyway. Officially it had been cancelled for various admistrative reasons most of which are clouded and confused by rumour and conjecture to such a point that no-one really knows what’s going on at all. In all honesty, that’s probably for the best. (I mean that no-one knows what’s going on, not that it’s cancelled – that’s a travesty)

It’s an example of an event that is a victim of it’s own success and it’s own geography. 8 or 9 years ago it might have attracted 2000 visitors to the hill and all was well with that. A local tradition for local people. The year before last there were an estimated 15,000 that invaded the place and it was utter chaos as well as downright dangerous. The space that is Cooper’s Hill just simply isn’t large enough to cope with those numbers.  Worse still are the numbers of people that show up in cars looking for a car park, which there simply is not.

All in all, given the weather conditions and the hoo-ha, we decided to give it a miss. It was that nasty out there that you’d have to be really hardcore to stick with it…  more of a Parmesan roll, than a Double Gloucester. No doubt, when we have a really warm year, it’ll be a Brie. However, in the mean time here’s a few photos from recent years of the chaos which might help you understand some of the problem.

And just to round things off nicely – a couple of video’s so you can see the pain inflicted on others that you’ve missed.

Cheese_Rolling_2008_02.AVI Watch on Posterous

Cheese_Rolling_2009.AVI Watch on Posterous

It saddens me greatly, not to have been there, as I am a real fan of the event and the traditionalism of it, but I guess this will make it all the more enjoyable next year.  There is a report and some decent photos of the 2011 version which you can read here: anorak.co.uk  Congratulations again to the living legend that is Chris Anderson. Incidentally, his sister works in the same office as Mrs G. Small world.


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Hello Sunday, nice to see you. Just to keep you in the picture, yesterday involved some work (although not the masses that I suspect we’ll be doing over the next couple of weeks) and some exercise on the trusty chain driven steeds.

Mrs G and I pottered about in town and then I went map hunting while she caught up with L who was up visiting from that London. I’m taken with the idea of an antique map of the city to hang on a wall in the warren somewhere. Not sure exactly where yet. Will cross that bridge in the fullness of time (to mix idioms), but the bigger problem with the idea is finding the right map to begin with. Gloucester has a couple or three decent antique warehouses which are stuffed full of all manner of ..erm.. antiques? However, having spent a goodly few hours rummaging around them all, I’ve positively failed to find, not only a decent antique map, but in fact any map of the city whatsoever. Complete waste of time, although I did find Winnie that someone had thoughtlessly trussed up. Don’t they know he’s got things to do!? (mowing any stray grass to within a 16th of an inch of it’s life for a start)

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I’ve had a poke about on the Interweb for one and while I’ve seen the odd example I quite admire, I’m not feeling like setting my heart on one of them until I’ve seen them in the flesh (so to speak). Next on my list then is an antiques map shop and/or a car boot sale. One of which will most definitely have what I’m looking for (at a price) while the other is just “eBay Live” but without the bidding, or search facility… or customer satisfaction system – but you know what I mean. I haven’t had a chance to do either though as today’s plan has been all about lunch with Mother-in-Law or Granny, for the benefit of daughter and son.

Lunch with J and W is always a fun affair and holds several benefits for myself and Mrs G, namely that we don’t have to cook it and there’s the luxury of W’s carrots and J’s fruity crumbles. They’re both retired now and are keen Allotmenteer’s (I’m sure that’s the correct nomenclature, unless you know otherwise) and the results of their hardwork are always more flavoursome than anything a supermarket can turn out. Their current batch of strawberries are to die for and the rhubarb crumble was second to none. There is only one downside to the whole event but it’s not one to really grumble about. They’re of a generation that doesn’t posses or has any interest in possessing a dishwasher. All this means is that we go home with hands as soft as our faces thanks to the “wild green hairy lipped squid”…. Oh hang about, I mean “mild green fairy liquid” there’s a shaggy dog story of a joke in there somewhere, but don’t ask where. Which reminds me. On the subject of jokes, I’ve learned that there are actually two types of people in the world. Those who like cliffhangers…


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Around 4am I was awoken by a soft bleeping noise and a small flashing blue light. As the world came into focus in the eerie half light of pre-dawn, I realised that it was coming from my new pen. It’s a pen I’d been given by a random salesperson at Starfleet who was trying to get me interested in mobile phones at the time…  Badman will tell you all about it, he was there at the time. 

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As it is, I’d thought no more of the pen, which at first sight is a non-descript disposable biro until this interruption to my sleep pattern. I staggered out of bed and over to the dresser where the pen was sat merrily chirping and flashing. On closer inspection, it appears there is a tiny LED inset next to the nib. As I put my finger over it, the pen clicks and a tiny aerial emerges from the other end, this time with a red flashing light on it. The light flashes red then green a few times and then becomes fixed green. It’s connected to something……

Suddenly my phone starts buzzing to alert me to an incoming call, and the caller ID ?  “Mission Headquarters at Starfleet (via your cheap pen)”. Uh oh!… Something’s going down.

Tentativly I answer the phone and hear the following message in a voice I don’t recognise: 

“Good morning Mr Ball. Sorry to disturb your sleep, but we have mission details for you and the Badman.  Your Mission, should you choose to accept it, is to turn 6 weeks worth of work into 2 starting immediately. As always, should you or any of your Starfleet force be caught or killed, the Christopher Robin will disavow any knowledge of your actions. Good luck, Badman and Golfy. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds…..”

Oh for the love of wisdom!!! (see what I did there? – if not, read more greek). Instantly I recognise that we have a fundamental problem in need of studying and that dear reader is why, it’s all about philosophy in the end.   Well, that and this Wikipedia article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Get_to_Philosophy

I’m off to town with Mrs G our faithful chain driven steeds. It’s a bank holiday weekend, I’ve spoken with the Badman, we’ve exchanged emails and are making our position clear.

If we had the option I wouldn’t accept the mission, but then this is Mission Impossible and we are the best bear and tiger for the job…. erm, actually, the ONLY bear and tiger, but as I always say in times of trouble….. whatever.

Mi

Todays post was brought to you by the letters “F”, “E”, “C” and “K” and by the website: http://www.bicyclephilosophy.com/

 


This post originally appeared here: Posterous
Care of http://www.pixable.com

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This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Team Work!…  Yes – that’s what I really meant in my last post I think.  As in: Team, get a move on and do some Work. The trouble is that Badman and I are some what hampered by the fact that our friends from the new world colonies aren’t focused on answering the questions we’re asking. Not having the answers to these smaller questions means that answering the bigger question becomes impossible. One feeds the other.

But still we battle on.  Today has been peppered with conference calls – lots of which were of the “Keep Calm and Carry On” variety. Those of you that read the Badman’s blog as well will know that we’re playing our own silly game of BS Bingo in the run up to the rush. I was able to get two “What Badman said”s which means I’ve gained an extra 20 points. Badman still only has his “lucky” 75. So the scores are running at 40:75 and no more mute or giggling to allow the Badman any additional points. Tough times….  but wait… It gets tougher…

Last call of the day is 7pm UK time, so long days are becoming the norm, but then on the plus side we have a bank holiday weekend.  WooHoo!  What’s really depressing about this situation outlined on the call though, is the timeline involved. We were given an idea of dates at the end of last week, and suddenly that’s been retracted and compressed dramatically. As a result I can’t currently see how we can achieve our goals. The detail just isn’t there and the pressure to deliver is through the roof. We have some big work to do – and no time to do it. I think we might have to pack some huny sandwiches and go on a visit, but we might not even have enough time to do that! Mental times.

Back in the real world for a Friday evening and I’m simmering a Chilli-con-carne for dinner for Mrs G and I.  Son is off out to a posh do with his girlfriend, while daughter is still at work, although in her case she’s getting paid for her overtime – I am just stupid enough to still be here because I care. Some sort of fool I am!

Judging by some of the stuff I’ve seen this week, I probably should have got a job in advertising.  Not sure if they get paid overtime either, but they do seem to have a good laugh and share some awesome creativity.  You’ll see what I mean here:

Interbest

Always leave them wanting more, as my gran is occasionally heard to say… so here’s something more…

;

So that’s it for now – but I think it’s gonna get nasty.


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Most of the time I really can’t agree with Scott’s sentiment in today’s Dilbert. Occasionally he’s bang on.

Dilbert.com

Yesterday, involved a trip to the local-ish Starfleet base for Badman and myself to sharpen up our sticks and make a plan for the next couple of months worth of playtime. When I put it like that, it seems like an age. “A couple of months” is forever… except we both know that in this case it’s about 30 seconds. Simply far too short an amount of time given the amount of work to be done. Still, we have a good team and many hands make like work. Christopher Robin’s direction is helpful and ultimately we all have the same goal in mind so I’m sure “it’ll be alright” – as I keep telling myself. As the song goes, “there may be trouble ahead”… so now it’s time to face the music and dance.

Aside from the worky bits, Badman’s chickens are providing an outstanding crop of eggs at the rock bottom price of a few cups of coffee. Awesome.

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Mrs G has the whole week off. This all started because we’d half planned to have a week in Spain with A,B & B. As it turned out, it wasn’t to be and so instead we found ourselves at a funeral in Wiltshire on Monday.

Sadly, L’s father passed on and naturally we wanted to be there to support her. It was a fine military send off, which was both dignified and respectful and even included the theme tune from the Dambusters in a very RAF way. L’s brother M read the ever popular (can something be popular as part of a funeral? – seem like the wrong choice of words) “All is well” by Henry Scott Holland . It’s a very moving piece and I’ve included it here for those of you that haven’t heard it, or don’t recall it.

Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Nothing has happened.
Everything remains exactly as it was.
I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by the old familiar name.
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was.
There is absolute and unbroken continuity.
What is this death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner.
All is well.
Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

They also included John Gillespie Magee Jr’s “High Flight”, also known as the Pilot’s Poem, written during WWII. All very fitting words and sentiments.

After the sadness of the day came the celebration of life and it did involve rather a lot of imbibing. By Tuesday lunchtime, everything was back to normal, and our work there was done. Mrs G and I trundled back up country and I shuffled back to work only to find that not very much had changed at all.

Everything remains exactly as it was…. All is well.

And here we are at Thursday morning. Thursday!?!? Already!!?? Hell’s teeth, we’re running out of time fast and worse still, Monday is a bank holiday. It’s actually a very special bank holiday as it’s the one that usually contains the Cheese Rolling. Officially, once again it’s not to be. Of course, to a local (and while I’ve only been here for 10 years – I do feel like a local) it’s abhorrent to think that such a long standing tradition is ever likely to disappear.  You can read about the fight here: http://www.cheese-rolling.co.uk/2011.htm A very sad state of affairs.

Perhaps we’ll take a walk around the Cooper’s Hill Nature reserve anyway…..  just for the walk 🙂


This post originally appeared here: Posterous
I couldn’t let this one go unmentioned for two reasons.

1. I really like this particular Sting track and
2. That is some awesome close up magic…. But judge for yourself:


This post originally appeared here: Posterous
The end of the week went a little something like this….

A smattering of conference calls which included a few of our team wondering nervously what should be next and how the flippty jibbet heck would we ever get the elephant in the room carved up and served on time? Good questions and ones that we’re working on answers for. Some introspective naval gazing regarding the correct method for getting things done, overcoming the shock of the enormity of the task at hand and the correct way to travel within Starfleet. A few emails one of which included a schoolboy error regard the incorrect spelling of a European colleagues name (am tempted to say “bloody foreigners!” but we’re all in the EU now)

A spaghetti bolognese of which I was particularly proud and was thoroughly enjoyed by myself and Mrs G (daughter being off at work on a late shift and then back home and into uniform to patrol the streets in her capacity as volunteer superhero.) Poor girl didn’t get home until 3am. A tough gig after a full days work. Oh for the energy of youth. A smidgen of coronation street (gonna miss Becky when she’s gone) and a chunk of “Don’t Tell” by Karen Rose, followed by the blessed release of sleep. And that was the week gone. Done and dusted. Best to let sleeping cats lie…

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And here is Saturday morning and no sign of the apocalypse just yet. Must be due at any minute. In the mean time, I find myself on my bike pedalling like a madman off to Brockworth to teach some friends of mine the vagaries of Windows XP and 7 and the correct way to get iPhones and iTunes working with them. I know how to live. Perhaps I’ll share the details later. I believe this evening holds a visit from Mother-in-law and a visit to Auntie S’s but all those things are subject to change as always. Have fun.


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

And so it is that the Badman and myself have now had enough time sitting in the tree waiting for our bear trap to be sprung, especially when it turns out that our trap has actually been sprung and we have snared a beast within.

The trouble for us now, is what to do with it? It appears to be a bit of a monster and that will be our first problem to try and overcome. The second problem is all about how much of it we can see from our vantage point. We’re not able to readily observe quite how sharp it’s teeth are from this distance or example . It may well be that we need to get up close and personal with the beast, just so that we can plan it’s demise in a safe and humane way.

Giant_animals_06

To recap: It’s Enormous and Fuzzy. Our work is cut out. According to an evangelical group in the good old U.S. of A, the apocalypse is due to start on Saturday the 21st May… tomorrow. The badman and I tend to think it might have started yesterday.

In other news….

Auntie S has moved on from M and bought a dog. Don’t worry. If this sentence makes no sense to you, it’s probably not supposed to.

Mrs G took her friend S to the hospital for her bone marrow scan yesterday. It’s not an intrusive procedure, but it’s not any fun either. As she says, you just have to get on with it and fight the good fight. Very stoic. The next phase is the chemotherapy and of course that will be much harder. Our thoughts are with her along with all the practical support we can lend her and her family.

The weekend is almost upon us. Saturday should be reasonably restful, although mother-in-law is car-booting on Sunday and I believe we have a table that she’ll be wanting for that little job. She also has a lawn mower that she wishes to pass on to us, so it’s a straight swap at Checkpoint Charlie. The rabbits won’t let her in by default. I have to press a special override switch. Daughter has been angling for one of “Grannie’s Sunday roasts” as well, so looks like we may be trying to organise that for Sunday dinner as opposed to lunch.

This pre-supposes that we make it to Sunday, what with the apocalypse looming and all that. The best bet is to stay in on Saturday and monitor global events from the relative safety of the volcano I think.


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Those of you that have spent time here will be aware that my office / secret lair / labratory / place of work, lies deep beneath a roundabout on the outskirts of Gloucester.

This roundabout is actually a very cleverly disguised hollowed out volcano which has a number of hidden entrances and exits. The entrances are beautifully concealled and guarded by an army of killer robot rabbits, which from a distance look exactly like normal rabbits. The exits are a whole other story and are places that only those minions that have greatly displeased me end up visiting. Let us hope you never get to see them yourself.

Those very few that have been inside will mostly have arrived by helicopter. Local drivers would be completely unaware of any comings and goings though, due to the location and nature of operation of the helipad. Let me explain…

The traffic lights on each of the junctions turn to red, and special projectors hidden in the tops of the lamp posts display three dimensional video images of traffic running around the roundabout. While this happens the center of the roundabout slides out across the road and at precisely the correct moment, the road and roundabout top are both temporarily obscured by the projections of several very large lorries (mostly Wincanton distribution, but a couple of Eddie Stobbart’s just for luck). The helicopter swiftly passes down into the roundabout (mouth of the volcano) and the top slides back into place. The traffic in the videos disperses and then finally the lights change back to green, as if nothing had happened.

Genius.

This morning, being such a beautiful morning, I took a stroll “up top” and thought I’d share some of the survellance pictures of the robot rabbits with you.  Just for fun.

Be warned, while they may look cute and cuddly, they’re in fact very heavily armed, with varying varieties of weaponary which you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong end of. I’m particularly impressed with the micro-heavy-artillery, which you might be able to glimpse in this photo.  Just near the lamp-post, letting loose a shell in the direction of that incoming truck which I believe may have set off one of the rabbit’s sensor’s.

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You’re welcome to visit, but don’t say I didn’t warn you of the dangers.


This post originally appeared here: Posterous