Time passes, and then….


Apologies dear reader. Totally unacceptable of me to leave you here on your own with nothing to read. That said, I know you’ve been reading “other stuff”. Apparently there’s a whole Internetz full of (sh)it out there…..


Anyway. I’m still about. And I feel like I’m nearing a point where I can get my head above water just long enough to pen something banal and useless that you can ignore and move on from without any guilt. Let me see if I can summarise the last (almost) 6 months and then w can both get busy living again.


Where did we get to? December was full of Christmassy stuff and was supposed to be the end of the deal I was working. When I opened up my favourite writing tool to pen this entry, here is what I found unpublished:


“New Year, New Deal

(Rage On)

If only. Due to the fact that last years “fun” piece of work involved a complete bunch of numpties (I’m not mentioning any names) we’re still here and once again I find myself back on the train to London to give them all the further benefit of my wisdom having spent half of my birthday weekend slaving over a moderately warm laptop (which incidentally is a pile of crap as hardware goes)

(Rage Off)

With that out of the way, let’s recap on how we’ve arrived at the 14th of January and what’s happened since the middle of December…

It’s become apparent that my Blogging is being reduced to train journeys – something I’m not very happy about to be honest – but it’s a direct result of the deal I’ve been working on since September/October last year. Why on earth the Badman didn’t do the right thing and just kill it stone dead in the first place I’ll never know – and worse yet, he left it for me to pick up – the git. Still, I rest safe in the knowledge that he’s having a chuckle about it at least, The hours have been ridiculous, but the overtime has been a welcome addition – just not something I want to get used to. And so to Christmas…..

I worked the run up to the season from home which was a great pleasure and to be honest completely necessary – having had no time to do anything like preparation for it. However I used this time wisely and the appropriate gifts were acquired from various parts of the world and amassed in differing wrappings under the tree ready for the big day.

We had almost all the parents round for the day itself along with daughter and short boyfriend. A short word from Son, although his connectivity has been up and down a bit of late he did manage to hold a conversation via Skype from Oz and pleased, we were, to see him. His news is less pleasing but only because he’s decided he’s met a girl he wants to spend some time with in Cambodia and that means postponing the rest of s trip. A worry. That we hope doesn’t become a disappointment. After all, he’s saved hard and planned well to see the rest of the world (well America etc) and it would be a shame to miss it for the sake of a girl he’s known for five minutes. Still, I can’t really talk – and as we all know – all too often, the heart can rule the head – so let’s hope things work out the way he would like them to with no regrets.

He asked for his laptop to be shipped over to him – which I have done – and just for future reference be warned about the costs involved here. Admittedly it was insured for £1500 but I found myself shelling out £120 for the privilege. He was gracious enough to offer to chip in, so I suggested 50quid. We also arrange a kindle to arrive at a pre-agreed location for him, which he knew nothing about – so at least he had some sort of Christmas – all be it, not the norm.

Daughter on the other hand, is more settled and the short boyfriend has officially moved in. He’s trying to bloke-ify her princess palace, but it’s an uphill struggle for him. She has however, allowed a dartboard – which is a source of good entertainment as so far, she’s beaten him at his own game.

She was terribly ill back in October when we were on holiday with them (and the Scottish contingent) and Gawd bless him,he gave up most of his holiday to look after her. I was eternally grateful to him, and proud of her choice of bf to be honest. Clearly a good egg. To this end I got him (and daughter) a pair of tickets to go and see his football team play up in that Manchester place. She’s no fan of footy but by adding in a night in a hotel and a bit of dinner, she was able to spend Sunday dragging him round the shops, so they both got to enjoy themselves. All good stuff and well earned.

Far too much of everything was consumed and a good time was generally had by all. I was back at work over the period, but things were thankfully quiet and New Year was just around the corner. No plan for the eve, so Mrs G and I made the most of doing nothing for a change and had a nice spot of dinner with a couple of bottles of fizz, but not too much…And so the New Year had arrived and various parts of the world had been it touch to wish us a good one as it was ushered in.

This year we had tickets for the New Years Day races at Cheltenham so I was more than a little annoyed to wake up on New Years Day with a throat that felt like it had a broken bottle wedged in it (probably the fizz) and the sound of the relentless rain rattling at the windows. To be honest, I was hoping that the organisers were going to call it off and I could stay I bed and get my money back, but not a bit of it. They were determined, and so we had to be too.

Mrs G and I dragged ourselves to it, and caught the train for a change. Actually apart from the pishing rain (first time I can remember a New Years Day so wet) it was great and we thoroughly enjoyed it, not least because we had a string of winners which paid for the day out. We got away reasonably early and didn’t bother heading into town to celebrate – rather heading home for warm comforts instead.

Back at work the following day and the grindstone doesn’t seem to give up. This year, a lot of people I know seem to be trying to do the “give up something for January” thing as part of their New Years resolutions. Personally I hold little truck with that stuff, because it’s not really resolutions, it’s more a todo list fort he first two weeks of the month that generally gets ignored by the second two weeks of January. Not only that, but January is a tough month for me to give anything up, due to the fact I have a birthday in the beginning of it too. I blame the parents.

All the same, it’s just long enough after Christmas for people to be interested in having a night out, so it generally works out quite well and this year was no exception. “


….and that’s the last thing I wrote.


Clearly the pain of that deal was getting to me, and on reflection it was nothing to do with the deal itself – just the way it was running…. Regardless, we got it over line safely and in the bag for the sake of everyone involved. In the end, a good one – I won’t be helping on there again though, thanks very much for offering……


Now normally, there would be an interim rest and relaxation before getting involved with anything quite that painful and I was looking forward to a couple of weeks “Working at home” catching up with all the administrative stuff and proverbially catching my breath but this time – not a bit of it. It’s my own faultI never should have put my hand up, but I was looking for a sharp exit from the previous piece and so I found myself dropped into something big and complex. Big doesn’t really do it any justice – I’ll leave it at that for now.


And here we are in the back end of April, fast approaching May, still well and truly in the running and generally moving at a pace. I’ve worked far too many long hours and even a couple of weekends (unheard of usually) but needs must and I’m enjoying working with the people involved. Where it will end up, I have no idea – but it “feels” good so far – apart from the tiredness of course.


Away from work, we’ve been equally busy. Mrs G and I managed a “mini break” to Bristol – which even though it’s on our doorstep, is still a beautiful city if you know where to look. Particularly spectacular breakfast within a few hundred yards of Clifton suspension bridge.


There’s been floods, golf, exercise and dieting (I’ve lost a stone and half since my birthday), a an Avegant Glyph demo (google it), delayed trains, The Selecter (in concert, complete with “Missing Words”), the anniversary of Aud, and we even managed to crowbar a week away in the middle of it all. Mrs G and I sat in the sun (well, I slept) in the Canary Islands for a few days. I’ve also ripped out the carpets and fitted a new wooden floor – some thing that’s been on the cards for a while, and I’m about to re-tile the kitchen floor as well (so that’s all good) – We’ve had daughters birthday – which involved a day trip to France, more golf, some Black Rat, a pebble watch, an appearance in the credits of a motion picture and a walk in memory of the recently departed.


To be honest, if you asked me when I found the time to do all this, I’m not sure I could tell you. Of course, now – I’m on a train for a change, and heading back down that Laandan for three days of “having a good guess”. Chaos will ensue as per, as there a tube strike and complete dearth of hotels – but I love a challenge.


I’m going to try really really hard to write something on Friday as well – or even in between if I get the time but based on recent experiences, that’s all a bit unlikely.


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Poor blog…  Unloved.

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Um…..   No Admiral. 

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Thursday night and a mad dash for the train…. all proceeded by:
Monday – which was more focusing of minds on mathematical problems. Having shaken off the “sit around and talk” brigade, there’s much doing get done in the form of adding up and taking away and such. Of course there is a place for those that sit and talk and change the way things are written, and it is an important part of the entire process, but they always seem to me to not really have their goals figured out, be incapable of reusing any previous written capitol in any meaningful way, and spend so much time talking that they ru. Out of time to writ, and end up writing rubbish. I know, given a deadline that everything gets compressed and squished until the very last 5 minutes of available time – seems to be a natural human way of doing anything big and complex – but I always think of it as a dumb way to behave. If you know it’s going to happen, why not plan for it appropriately so that it doesn’t. I’m quite sure that all those involved would be far less stressed and enjoy much longer, productive and thus fruitful lives – instead of worrying themselves into an early grave. (Probably me included)….
The RC and I ventured out into the cold shopping center of Sheppards Bush that is Westfield to a “Jaime Oliver’s Italian” restaurant. Not really anything to write home about, but perfectly edible all the same. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy cooking some of Mr O’s dishes from his myriad of books designed to keep him in scooters and holidays for the rest of his adult life, but I could just have easily been in any number of “Italian” restaurants that aren’t really Italian. It was…. fine….. and bloody freezing on the walk back to the Hotel. Stupidly at 6am stood on the platform back home – I realised that I’d left my coat behind…. Brace Yourself… Winter is coming….
Tuesday – yet more Maths, interspersed with assisting managers who should know better in the ways of complex approvals which should be easier. Obviously given the complexity of some of this work, the right thing to do is to make it as difficult as possible to achieve the goals you’ve set.

Tuesday evening however, involved organising a few of the troops into a bit of proper food/entertainment, and pleasingly I even managed to persuade The RC – a man who would rather not expand his eating horizons too far… Yet. He’s a good man though, and is remarkably good company given that he’s in a bit of a tight spot with this particular job. I’m trying to help him out and keep his spirits up. As a result the Stoke chef and I dragged a few of the more willing members of our troupe over to Farringdon and up Jerusalem passage to a cracking little Belgian place called “The Dove Tail”. The beer menu is much bigger than the food menu, and both of them are excellent. Highly recommended and a very reasonable price too.

Wednesday – Fewer mathematical problems, and an influx of issues driven by muddle managers and the like. Oh yes, the sit around and talk brigade have been sitting around and talking. Seems like some doing is needed, and why on earth would they want to do that when thes plenty more talking to be done. No doubt they feel the answer is to divert the people who are tring to get the Maths and approvals done… After all, they seem to be able to produce “stuff” from all this hot air….maybe they can write some stuff too instead of doing maths.
Thursday – We were supposed to be almost finished with the maths but instead we have whole ton of political types of problems that just seem to be pretty much a repetition of what’s already been said. For my part I find this both frustrating, boring and pointless. Posturing for the sake of it. I understand why it happens, I just don’t think of it as a very worthwhile enterprise. Either something’s worth doing or it isn’t – why make it any more complicated than that?
The result is that I found myself literally running up the platform at Paddington for the almost last train home, which was instantly delayed and left me standing around the platform much like at the beginning of the week – bleeding freezing….

The RC is off tomorrow and already trouble is brewing. We are about to crash headlong into a brick wall of stoppage brought about deliberately it would seem, by those who like to sit and talk and not really do. I’ve learned a couple of very useful things as a result.

A) “Factores sunt non project actoribus”
Thus… “Nil illegitimi carborundum” or possibly “descendite ne illegitimi”
And as Galileo once said….
B) “et adhuc movetur”… Although I suspect what he actually said was “eppure si muove” having agreed under pain of death and just to shut the talkers up, that the world is flat. He knew full well otherwise of course.
My only excuse for sharing this shizzle… I’m tired. Leave me alone and let me sleep.

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The 29th of September was a very long time ago – given that we’re now on the sixth day of November. It’s almost as if October didn’t exist!?  and for a large part of it, I kind of wish it didn’t.

However – this particular job only has about 4 weeks worth of life left in it, and honestly – thank heavens for that for I fear if I continue in this vein my marbles won’t just be lost, but rolled away down a fissure in the very crust of the earth never to be seen or heard of ever again.

To say that times have been tough would be to understate somewhat. I have lost a couple of close frolleagues to other (almost certainly less interesting) work, or better yet to retirement, where I have no doubt that even now, the devil will be making work for such idle hands. That in itself was traumatic enough – but the pile of sh..tuff that I’ve had to deal with since then has been some of the worst I’ve known.

One blinding light of good luck was a slipage in the timeline (on the clients side) which meant that my week in the sun (planned for the week after delivering our proposal) actually happened during the week when we were at our most insane – and I was fortunate enough to miss it.  This didn’t stop me feeling the pain of those I left behind – and it was clearly painful. It seems no matter how much effort went in, “things” conspired against us. Still, at least they all got plenty of sleep…. afterwards.

So with 4 or 5 weeks left, that light at the end of the tunnel is what’s keeping me interested. Along with the cash – which is afterall what jobs like this particular one are only about.  And that, is very sad.

In the meantime – lets see about shutting down Skype – that’s easy enough….

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Must write something down….. Soon… Soon….


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That’s what’s bothersome about this stuff….

Blessedly it’s the weekend. A game of golf is on the cards which has been terribly badly organised by Shep – so will make for a most entertaining time, I have no doubt. 
The work is hard still – too much time spent away from home and this weeks only highlight being a new laptop. Still I trudge on with a dim light in the far distance as my guide through the tunnel that is “a job” in the conventional sense of the word. 
One tiny point of note. This weeks hotel room included a Samsung device to manage your stay, order services and generally have a bit of a play on. Ordering room service worked flawlessly with the only human interaction being the poor bloke delivering the tray. Very antisocial. The robots are coming!! Won’t be long now. 

Four!!  Must Dash.

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I don’t know – sometimes the world is a odd place, and it twists and turns when you least expect it.

First things first – I am now making a concerted effort to write again.  Sincere apologies to those that have been hanging on my every word, but I’m back, and scribbling furiously.

I’ve spent most of the last 12 months to-ing and fro-ing to London on a deal for the people I work for, which in the end amounted to nothing.  This situation is disheartening at best and generally depressing at worst, but it’s also the nature of the job and so I shouldn’t really be too surprised.

The things that have surprised me though have been more related to the wider levels of morale and the consequences of commitments made long ago and far beyond my control.  These decisions have trickled down and are now impacting more than a few of my friends and colleagues, some of whom have taken action to move on via one route or another. Sad days in relation to those that I’ve enjoyed working with.  In particular I have to mention the badman, who has been inspirational in his ability to push on through and “not letting the buggers get you down” – as I believe it says on the back of Asil Nadir’s watch.  I will miss him (although efficient targeting will mean, I’m sure I’ll get him next time round) 😉

The result of this exodus seems to be an increase in workload for those that remain, and in the first instance I have no objection – just because I’ve been “filling” time somewhat since the loss of the last project I was working on.  My more considered response has been more along the lines of “Holy crud!!” given that I’ve had to do a couple of +50 hour weeks which are no fun for anyone.

That said, I have had the privilege of two holidays so far this year, so I shouldn’t complain – and I do have a third on the horizon. I’m also making the most of the forthcoming bank holiday and turning it into the best part of 5 days combined with the opportunity to celebrate Mrs G’s birthday.

Looks like a mountain goat to me – Rhodes.

A few other items of note that I should mention…

Son’s trip to Ghana is proceeding well. He’s having a whale of a time by all accounts and seems to have take to teaching with a certain amount of gusto. Perhaps it will be the slot he’s been looking for, or perhaps he’ll find something completely different again once he returns from his more global travels which are scheduled to start in about a month.  I’m only a little jealous.

Mrs G has successfully given up smoking (no pressure there), Daughter is loved up and Sister is getting married.

In tech news, I’ve procured a couple of new Kindle’s on the basis that I’ve been hankering after one for a while and Mrs G’s original one has finally given up the ghost. We’re both avid readers, and as I’m sure you’re aware, it’s perfect for reading in the sunshine – which most every other device/tablet etc. isn’t.  Just waiting for a nice shiny case to arrive to keep it in now.

I’ve upgraded to iOS7 on my phone and tablet – the early beta’s were somewhat flaky, but at the 6th iteration it now appears to be mostly solid – and what little pain I do feel seems to be related existing iOS6 based apps that will require a little tweaking to run smoothly. Battery life WAS greatly improved in beta 5, although that also seems to be taking something of a hit again in beta 6.  Still – only a month to go, and I’m sure the next version will have it back on track.

I’m also in line for a new device at work – which will be interesting for about 5 minutes and then will become my day-to-day work horse, largely forgotten when not in use.

Right, well – that’ll do for now.  Much to do to get the first half of this week out of the way, so I’d best get on and do it.


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So I’m looking for motivation.

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Forgive me while I perform the equivalent of emergency surgery on my blog here.

As you can see from the history of it, the damn thing has nearly healed over completely, but like any real wound – it’ll never get better if you pick it. Hence my reason for leaving it alone.  Of course that adage should also go on to say, it’ll never get better if you don’t actually write something either. So here it is – not getting any better – but at least it’s here.

On my last visit I told you how I’d just returned from a week in the sunshine playing golf in Portugal – and jolly splendid it was too. In fact, the Sun and I got on so well, that it seems to have followed me home and hung around in the skies over England like a lost puppy, or a forgotten football in the park. Summer has most definitely arrived this year so there’s little or no chance of hearing the naysayers in the winter uttering the immortal phrase “We didn’t have a summer to speak of” or something similar.

Those of you keeping track of my relentless attempt to “vacation” or to “holiday” as we correctly put it, will be thrilled to know that my next adventure (this time with Mrs G) is a mere couple of weeks away and I’ll be jetting off Easterly for some Mediterranean plate smashing type action.

Let’s recap then and try and fill in a few gaps.

While I’m sat on the train travelling up that Laandan (more on that in a bit), daughter is sunning herself on one of the Canary Islands with a couple of her mates, while her cat is having a holiday of its own, staying with granny and Son is off painting schools (among other things) in Ghana, West Africa. She’ll be suntanned and gorgeous when she returns (daughter, not the cat) because the warm weather really suits her – much like her mother in that respect – and son will be a bit more than suntanned I suspect. In fact Son is likely to become a grown up and that is something we can all be thankful for.

Granny with Will – the cat sitters – being a mahoosive tennis fan, spent the day with us on Sunday to watch the Wimbledon men’s final, reclaimed by a Brit (well a Scot) in glorious 3D thanks to the BBC and Freesat. Will and I are not such fans, but the novelty of the 3D combined with the novelty of a Brit in the final and the overpowering heat outside meant that we joined granny in donning the 3D glasses. Mrs G on the other hand, sat in the garden and soaked up the sun – as Wimbledon week induces all sorts of memories of childhood cruelty and neglect from her youth.

The Beeb are missing a trick by suspending their 3D output entirely (after the Doctor Who anniversary special apparently) because honestly, to watch tennis in 3D is actually the only way to watch tennis at all. After the 3D experience, normal televised tennis is just ….  Well…  Flat, and you actually need “hawk eye” to watch it.

MTA and SEA have been busy too. Aud’s will is all dealt with and probate completed. With the house now on the market, they can both sit back and relax a little. SEA in particular because she’s had to have a bit of an “Op” on the back of her knee, nothing too serious, but she has also said that she will retire at the end of the year – which will result in her place of employ collapsing in her absence – at least that’s what MTA and I would agree with. Mrs G has just been explaining to them how they can get their hands on some cricket tickets “for the school”. One can only imagine who will have to go along with the kids to “watch the cricket” “look after them”. Other than that, they’re all good.

Sister Ball has a wedding coming up. Oddly for her, we still have no detail on that though – we’ll have to wait and see.

Oh yes. On the subject of cricket… I’m off to watch some on Friday. My good friend Jugz is begrudgingly 50 years of age this year, and by way of a celebration (and believe me, there are plenty of celebrations for this one – any excuse, and this is a good excuse) he and another good friend of his (also 50 this year) have laid on some special “corporate entertainment” at the Cheltenham Cricket Festival.  Guaranteed to be a proper good day out – especially as the weather looks like it’s going to hold out for it too.

As you know, Cheltenham loves a good festival – in fact, if you can think of anything even remotely culturally interesting, bung the world Festival on the end of it, and Cheltenham in front of it, and they’ll sell tickets like its going out of fashion.  A few of us will be catching the bus to the event, as featured in the recent “Cheltenham Bus Festival” – £20 a ticket in advance.

Sadly the company that Jugz and a couple of the other lads work for have, in their infinite wisdom, decided to close down the part of the business that they work in. They’ve joined the company through acquisition and the Americans that have acquired it – as is so often the case nowadays – don’t really understand what it is that they’ve acquired. The result is that instead of taking the time to understand it, they’ve gone to the bottom line numbers and made a decision to arbitrarily delete the business from their portfolio altogether. It’s a shame, because the original company was a gem. I hope that all those that are now looking for work, do something great with their now available time and the Americans involved should all be thoroughly ashamed.

It maybe that they should diversify into something completely un-related like retail…. or better yet, fine dining and drinking.  That would be a true disaster. But brings me neatly to the opening of a couple of new venues in the Gloucester docks area that Mrs G and I recently visited.  There’s Ed’s Diner – which is an American style diner and looks great for those quality burger snack type things. And then there’s the “Portivo” lounge bar, which was packed and served a very nice pint of Estrella and some half decent nosh as well.  Both recommended.

On the subject of work then.  Obviously I’m on the train back up to the city – otherwise how would this entry get written. It’s just a quick day trip relating to the new job I’ve been allocated to.  And this isn’t just any job.

Unfortunately, the last lot – which was the best part of a year of my life – decided that we weren’t the people to provide the service they were looking for and have asked someone else to make up some numbers for them. In point of fact, I think this might have been a very close call for us because there have been other recent public announcements that make the achievement of the services they actually need – not far off of impossible. But mine is to reason why… And all that.

Work in general is all a bit up in the air at the moment.  Seems to be plenty of uncertainty, and plenty of people I’ve worked with for a while, walking out the door.  This is not a nice situation and not one that I’m enjoying a great deal.  Dumb decisions are being made by dumb people.  But then, that’s just like, my opinion man….

One last very quick observation. I’m at opposite a Helen Mirren lookalike on the train this morning – so that’s interestingish, but more importantly I’m sat next to a Nexus user. He’s trying to compose an email – and it would appear that typing on a Nexus is hard work. I’ve written this on my iPad and to be honest it was as easy (if not easier) than writing it on a grown up keyboard.  Seems to me that the tablet space still belongs to Apple – and let’s face it – the blade runners retired all of the Nexuses anyway.

Until next time.

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