Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Well today is the last time for a while that I will be getting up early to commute to work.

This morning it was still pitch black outside and the sky filled with millions of stars as I set off for work. But the move back to London at the weekend means a lie-in from now on.

I have worked out that over the last few months I have probably commuted to London about 60 days, of which 10 days was spent travelling. Maybe I need to think about this for the future and have some sort of aim for this time such as learning Mandarin. At present it is a mixture of sleeping, work, blogging, surfing, and crossword and Sudoko. And a lot of standing between London and Cambride where I memorise the crossword answers and then appear brilliant as I complete it in about 5 minutes.

I will miss scenes such as this morning as the sun rises and the train whisks me through the fenlands, shrouded in frost and layers of mist, creating the perfect English country scene. And on the way home I can look forward to a glorious golden orange sun set with wild geese silhouted against it as they fly to the coast for winter.

Soon it will be the sites of Peckham and Brixton to look forward to once more as I find my way home.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Despite the British failures of the last week at least there was one silver lining

And this recent discovery of a video taken at Greenbelt has made me very happy. This is Michael McDermott at his best - filmed at the end of his solo set in Centaur. Thanks go to Mark Heybo for posting.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Well this morning on the train I saw 2 Cranes sitting in fields just north of Cambridge. I had recently read they had been spotted nesting here during winter so a nice surprise to actually see them. I also saw a bizarre sight at a level crossing - a very fit looking bunch of men busy doing press-ups as they waited for the train to pass whilst their instructor stood over them with the kind of look that you clearly never disobey.

After the recent dry sunny spell the rain returned with vengence on Tuesday evening and I had a very slow journey home from Kings Lynn. Even in 4WD it was hard to avoid the risk of aquaplaining. But yesterday was a return to sunshine, albeit a lot colder. With our return to the land of smog imminent we made one final visit to Pensthorpe and said farewell to the staff who Helen has got to know really well over the last few months.

Today will be yet another half day as I need to see how the builders are progressing, and hopefully there will be several packages at the office for me to collect and take there. We have one week in which to complete everything. I will spend a day next week at the house trying to create a semblance of order. In the meantime all the smaller jobs on the list for the builder need to be done. The electrician needs to be booked to fit our new remote heating gizmo, the new alarm system needs to be installed, 2 tonnes of gravel have to be laid at the front of the house, a stairlift for the upper part of the stairs needs to be installed, the attic has to be insulated, boarded and a loft ladder installed, new fittings for all the doors to be fixed, the new cloakroom tiled and rubber floor tiles fixed (hopefully), and the minor issue of a major cleaning operation. There is dust everywhere and I reckon it will take the cleaners a couple of days to get the place sorted. The one thing that will not be happening is the fitting of new carpets. We have failed to find anything in time so it will be bare floorboards for a while. If we can find a carpet then I will see if they can fit it in stages so that it can be done when we are out. It would be nice to have for Christmas.

For my birthday (which was deliberately a low key affair as life too busy right now) I got a couple of books on blogging from Helen so I guess no excuses now for not revamping this site at some point. Most cards yet to arrive because of the postal strike impact. Monetary gifts all go towards my Led Zeppelin ticket which is certainly the most expensive I have ever had to buy - I think the previous record was U2 at £90. It amazes me though just how much people are prepared to pay to see an event. Led Zeppelin tickets don't exist and the only way to go is as the partner of a passcode holder - and even then they seem to sell for well over £1000. The rugby final (which will probably be a damp squib compared to last weekend's rugby league final where Leeds thrashed St Helens) is ideal for the corporate leisure market. Return private jet £12000, seats for 12 £25000. I know my neighbours get offered the chance to do this every weekend at the moment but they prefer to spend the weekend in North Norfolk!

I think my first Greenbelt ticket was £5 for the weekend in 1978. I have no idea what a weekend ticket costs these days but I suspect that when allowing for inflation it is probably still good value for money. But as Radiohead and others look to change the way we buy CDs, maybe it's time for a re-think re concert tickets. Greenbelt could lead the way giving people the opportunity to decide for themselves how much they should pay. Of course this approach would be virtually impossible as it would make budgeting virtually impossible and could the Greenbelt audience be trusted to dig deep and pay the going rate? After all, I haven't bought a ticket for years!

It is not only Radiohead though that are giving away CDs. Hey Gravity! embarks on a short tour in December and the first 100 through the door get a copy of the last album. I'll try and post details of gigs over the next week. If you live in Nottingham you can also see Hey Gravity in November as they are supporting Dodgy on one of their dates. Before Hey Gravity was M.A.S.S. and before this was Dodgy. Andy from Dodgy is the lead guitarist in Hey Gravity and both bands have the same manager - whose business partner was the drummer in Dodgy (and now in Electric Soft Parade).

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Although I have been writing a blog the last couple of weeks I never get round to loading it up. So here is the last 2 weeks' entries.

1 Week ago
Things that have annoyed me of late:
My Rail Gold Card magnetic strip ceasing to work, forcing me to use the manned barrier to get in out of underground stations. These staff really know how to make you feel like a criminal - just because they really don't want to open that gate for you.

The people on the train who insist on opening the window next to them. Are they totally stupid? Don't they realise that the only people who this will affect are those who sit further down the carriage. So they just sit there looking hot and flustered, whilst we end up freezing our ......

The way my boss always seems to manage to give me a piece of work to do just before I submit planned holiday for that date.

The last week flew by. I had to prepare a first draft of a document to be sent to MPs. It's amazing the ideas you can come up with on how best to get their attention although I still think blackmail seems a lot easier!

The previous weekend my parents had been staying close by for a few days so I took them to see the Cranes on the Saturday. If ever in North Norfolk go to Pensthorpe and visit the Cranes - totally crazy birds who would probably try and eat you for breakfast given the chance.

On Thursday I nipped over to the new house to see how the builders were doing. First surprise was to find the locks had been changed. I found out later why. They have been doing some major decorating work involving a lot of plastering and sanding so all the furniture has been put into the main bedroom and rooms sealed off. Trouble was, the keys also got moved and could no longer be found, so they had no option other than to put on a new lock to secure the place. The house is moving forward although still lots to do over next couple of weeks.

Friday night I went down the pub for a quiet drink only to discover that the female partners of my drinking colleagues had decided that we should have a picnic so as we sat outside the Bull with the patio heaters keeping us warm, suddenly bags of food appeared. The pub even provided plates, knives and forks. It was all very pleasant but I think the men felt their Friday haven was under threat - normally we tend to be the equivalent of the gathering of "grumpy old men", able to talk about football, music, politics without interruption.

Saturday was a quiet day catching upon jobs and yet more time spent by Helen and I on ideas for the new house. Deciding what the window coverings should be is proving difficult. We know what we want but it is not possible so we spend hours going round in circles!

Sunday was the parish harvest supper.This time it was the turn of Little Walsingham to play host and so we had a fairly formal sit down meal in the parish hall. I much prefer my church in Great Walsingham's turn to organise things. Ours is in the barn with the combine harvesters and is a much more relaxed occassion with plenty of wine and crazy raffles and auctions as the farmers wield out their most obscure fruit and veg produce. Sunday afternoon Helen and I drove along the coast road to Sheringham for a short trip to the seaside. We don't do this trip very often so it made a nice change. I caught the end of the football commentary to hear Torres equalise but I guess like many Liverpool fans at the moment, I wonder when the team is going to start playing again.

This week will be spent starting my latest new project for work which my boss sprung on me last week. Hopefully will only take a couple of weeks to do as I need to also be taking some holiday over the next few weeks to get house sorted for when we finally get back to London. The postal strike means it is more difficult relying on mail order in case stuff we need arrives too late.

Last Week
Another week that has flown by. The hardcore is down on the new front driveway but we still have failed to find the bricks we want for the footpath, and just over a week left in which to finish so beginning to get a bit nervous,

Carpet plans also now on hold as we have been unable to find what we want so it will probably be bare floor boards for the next few months. Most other items have been ordered so will hopefully arrive during the week.

At least the week ended on a high with the glorious weather over the weekend. We are normally back in London by now so the chance to spend the weekend sitting outside was a big bonus. On Saturday we went for one last time this year to sit in the Abbey grounds and then on Sunday afternoon we made it to Blickling Hall for the first time. Earlier in the day I spent an hour or so at Ron, Carol and Adams, who live about 15 minutes drive away. Ron and I worked together at Eurotunnel and by chance we both ended up living in the same area of Norfolk. We always try to catch up when I'm in Norfolk although it gets harder these days as they tend to be away most of the summer and other school holidays staying at their apartment in Turkey.

A new job assignment arrived on my desk last week - again buses. You know when you are being set up when the discussion round the table about resources coincides with everyone else turning to look at you. For the next couple of weeks though I will need to take some holiday to ensure work on house is done correctly and that it is ready to move into.

And today it's my birthday - so Happy Birthday to me!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Don't know how long this link will last but here is Michael McDermott performing Broken on TV in the States this morning. I particularly liked the Dead Sea joke.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

So I'm off to see Led Zeppelin! My name came out of the bag and having worked out they are selling the tickets in reverse order (i.e. worst seats first) I waited until what I deemed acceptable seats became available. No doubt you could risk waiting another 24 hours or so to see if the near the stage seats appear but it's a lot of hastle and no guarantee of success. A decent front side view will do me fine.

As for who goes with me, well the invite has gone out to my brother as he probably introduced me to them and has seen them play several times in his youth.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?