Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Pass the Oxygen

Today has been long and hard ... Ooh, Matron!

In response,  "if only Mr Williams".

Most of the day has been spent on conference calls with the gaps filled with urgent emails. Have we made progress? I'm not so sure. Have we survived? Yes, definitely. The day is not over yet and I have a further call at nine o'clock this evening with a US colleague. I am not able to guarantee that I will be tea-total but sobriety will reign and I will limit myself to only a small glass of something with dinner. 

Away from work I took T&M for a wander around the Three Miler, or so I thought...

... Just outside the Village we came across two ladies walking their dogs in the same direction. After  general greetings and niceties we are now in the socially awkward position where they are trying to continue their chat and I am beside two people I don't know when I would much rather be on my own. One of them made a comment along the lines of "you can push on if you like, unless you want to listen to a chat about design" which suggested that they were going through similar thought processes. So I upped my pace and made a little headway on them. The thing is that they have they easy part of the bargain here. All they have to do is slow their pace for a while and we will soon have a comfortable distance between us. The problem was that they hadn't worked this out and seemed to now be using me as a pace maker. So there I was striding out like some exercise mad power walker to maintain a comfortable gap.

There was over a mile at this pace before I reached the top of the hill and made my escape via a footpath across the fields and could return to my normal pace. I was not surprised to find that I was home a full quarter of an hour earlier than I expected to be.

The evening was quiet but for the call with the US. I spent an hour on a very useful call but it is a shame that it didn't take place a full two weeks ago. I am wondering if, somewhere, my escalations have finally had a slight effect?

Monday, 30 May 2011

Bank Holiday Monday.

What a miserable day.

Here we are at the end of May and the weather was atrocious. It has poured down for most of the day but fortunately, or was it unfortunately, we had enough to keep us occupied inside.

I woke early and spent the first hour or so firing off a few work e-mails whilst 30% lay in. Many of my European colleagues are in work today so it paid to keep an eye on the in-box and I managed to get hold of a key Swiss resource and induct him in to the brotherhood. Periodically throughout the day I have been dragged back to the lap top to fire off other emails or deal with questions to keep the beast of a project moving. I should also add that my loathing of my Luxembourg colleagues increases further with each truly irrelevant e-mail that they send.

Away from work we finished scrubbing the bedroom floor, or at least the bits that show, and now need to decide on a suitable finish for the floor and a top class doctor for our knackered hands. Basically it was a hands and knees job involving hot soapy water and metal scouring pads. The floor has come up a treat but we both have very sore fingers and have lost several layers of skin.

We finally finished the floor in the early afternoon and collapsed on the settee. It took a concerted effort to drag ourselves away from some vintage James Bond* to take T&M for a walk.

It is now early evening and the dogs are dried and I am on the outside of a fine piece of brisket that 30% slow cooked during the course of the afternoon. I now have a few hours of peace before the volleys start again tomorrow.
* On Her Majesty's Secret Service - George Lazenby, Diana Rigg, Joanna Lumley & Catherine Schell to name but a few of the Stars

Alcoholics or Scrubbers

That pretty much describes us today.

The morning started with a couple of escalation e-mails to try to alert those in command that all is not well with the time-scales that have been set for our project. Once those were out of the way we breakfasted and then took a trip in to the Supermarket.

30% had found a 2009 Saint Emilion which has been reduced from £14 per bottle down to "2 for a tenner" on an earlier visit and having sampled it we decided to put a few bottles away in the cellar.  There were a few other decent wines with similar savings and when we arrived at the checkout our trolley had 26 bottles of wine and not a lot else. As it says in the title we must have looked like a couple of Grade A alcoholics a with 5 boxes containing wine, 2 packets of kettle chips, a French stick and some pate. That's one hell of an evening.

Back home, the "groceries" were put away, lunch was had and the dogs were walked. I did the walking whilst 30% dropped TP over at "Horrible Henry's" for a sleepover. We were alone at last and headed for the bedroom ...

... with buckets of hot soapy water and scouring pads. no, it's not some strange fetish, we had finally found the time to scrub away the years of grime, paint splashes and polish from the bedroom floorboards. We both spent a good few hours on our hands and knees and can report some progress. By 6.30 we were both tired and creaking and decided to call it a day and call on a very local Saint for succour. No surprises that my chosen patron was, of course, St Emilion.

Away from drink and hard labour my day is now punctuated by the need to turn the eggs. I am referring to the dozen Welsummer eggs that Village Idiot liberated from a pile of cake ingredients and passed my way. I have a very basic incubator. It is little more than a polystyrene box with heat provided by a light bulb and air circulation provided by a computer fan. Add a little circuitry and a temperature probe and basically you have robot chicken mark 1.

It is so basic that the eggs need to be turned three times a day to mimic the action of the broody hen as she rearranges them beneath her during the day. The turning ensures that the embryo develops correctly and remains in the centre of the egg. If not turned it can settle against the shell and developmental defects can occur.

The final picture is a shot of the inside. A pencil cross on one side of each egg shows me which have been turned and which need to be turned. Incubating a batch of eggs is great fun and watching them hatch is a truly amazing experience but I have another 20 days of waiting to go and there are no guarantees.  As the old adage goes "Don't count your chickens before they've hatched".

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Out with the old ...

... in with the new.

And so it came to pass that the lawn mower has expired. We have given it a fitting send off and yesterday evening saw us dressed in animal skins, dancing around a fire celebrating the demise of the evil bastard. As we whipped ourselves in to a frenzy of excitement we ripped the damned thing apart with our bare hands and trod its bones in to the dust as we celebrated its death. Once the blood lust was over I retired to the lap top to make a decision about its replacement.

30% and I had set our budget and we knew that we needed a mower with an 18" cut in view of the size of the garden. After a bit of research we had decided on a McCulloch and had found one at Homebase with a 15% discount provided we made the purchase today. I reserved one on line last night and this morning 30% and I climbed in to the Defender and popped in to collect it.

At this point I am almost ashamed to admit that I actually bought it in Evesham. This may seem a bit rich after my recent rant about what an arsehole of a place it has become but it was the only place that had the selected model in stock and this proves my point as it is the only place in the locality which cannot seem to maintain any effective retail operations. We are, after all, talking about the town where the high spots of the High Street are a Coral Bookmakers, a Newsagent you have never heard of and a range of shitty Insurance Brokers. Trust me take a look and you will see absolutely nothing to draw you in to part with your hard earned cash. In other words I went to Evesham as it can't actually sell anything and therefore had the selected mower.

30% and I did a quick trawl of the retail park and decided that neither B&Q nor Countrywide had anything to divert us from the McCulloch and so we wandered in to Homebase. A quick check of the high level signage and we were soon in the Garden Department checking out our selected model. And then it happened ...

... there was a break in the clouds, thunder rumbled and lightning flashed and our attention was drawn to the adjacent model. There it stood like a fine thoroughbred stallion; snorting and pawing the ground. It was green, it had all the features I desired, it was self propelled ...

... it was THE PORN MOWER.

My, aint she perdy
She is fantastic. She cuts, she mulches and has a 60l grass box. She has speed control and centrally adjusted deck height. Does she cut wet grass? She will cut grass under 15' of water she is that good. I noticed that she has a control that has a tortoise symbol at one end and a hare symbol at the other and that was the clincher. Anything powerful enough to mulch a rabbit let alone chop up a tortoise had to be the mower for me and so the deal was done and within minutes she was being loaded in to the truck.

We were soon home and without a moments hesitation or even the slightest feelings of remorse I chucked the piece of shit Sovereign out in to the cold where I hope it gets stolen or blown up or worse.

Die you bastard! You are nothing to me!
The Porn Mower was soon assembled and later given its initial outing on a damp and very long lawn. She is an absolute delight and cut 8" damp grass with no problem and didn't spill a single gobbet of clippings.

Away from the garden the pork loin I had been curing was removed from the fridge and was washed and soaked in water for an hour before being dried and massaged with black treacle. It was then returned to the fridge where it will sit for another week. The occasional massage with further treacle and we will have a nice piece of black, back bacon.

I have also put the Welsummer eggs that VI acquired in to the incubator this evening. It will now be a long 3 weeks of waiting before we hopefully hear the cheeping of chicks.

Friday, 27 May 2011

You want what, by when...

... You're having a laugh.

Today has been long and not particularly productive. It has been punctuated by a number of conference calls of the "lets get started" / "gee up" variety.  As we are still waiting for fundamental information from our US Masters - for all Golfers that have arrived by mistake, clear off now and go polish your Woods - these are necessary kick off calls but they have little value other than to say "we are about to start, watch this space".

So I have waffled on calls, and in between  I have done what I can and chatted to Golfy. By about 5 o'clock I considered my week finished except for a late call with Christopher Robin's Colonial Cousin. I therefore got up from the laptop and took T&M out for a decent walk. I arrived back at one minute to seven and dialled in to the call expecting something very similar to the earlier ones ...

... How wrong was I. Basically the call went like this; "We're gonna have this baby signed by the end of June". Several people, including myself, went "But we don't have key critical information that we need to develop pricing". To which we were told "We're gonna have this baby signed by the end of June"...

... Oh Fuck, I am screwed. In fact, at the risk of sounding slightly mid Atlantic "I am SO screwed". This is like trying to build a house without any bricks, or signed off plans, or knowing whether we are going with the Veranda and the triple car garage ... and you know what Builders are like for not turning up when they say they will!

One final observation on this turn of events. The final call was scheduled after close of business on a bank holiday weekend. There is very little that can be achieved over the next three days. I can write emails but with no expectation of a reply before Tuesday.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

He Scores!

Today has been a busy but frustrating day down in The Hundred Acre Wood. The flow of information from our US colleagues has been non-existent and there is only so much fun that can be had by reminding them of missed commitments on conference calls that they really would rather not host.

Away from the calls I have sent x e-mails to y recipients and received y-s read receipts. I therefore now know that "s" is "s for slacker" and they are the people to keep a close eye on over the next few weeks.

Away from the grind Golfy and I have been playing a variant of Bullshit Bingo over the past few days. This involved Golfy trying to insert the phrase "Wot Badman said" in to as many calls whilst I have the slightly more challenging "Golfy told me to say it".  Obviously the Blog aliases are replaced with our proper names on the calls but that does present an interesting additional challenge and perhaps the opportunity for bonus points.

For the past couple of days Golfy has had a 20 : 0 lead on me as the phrase "wot Badman said" is pretty easy to throw in when asked if he has anything to add. Basically he can use it in many of his utterings as a contextual reference to his invaluable contributions. an example would be "picking up on wot Badman said earlier .... " . I can't actually believe that I am giving him game tactics here. Hopefully he won't read this Journal entry.

I feel that my "Golfy told me to say that" is far harder to fit in to our natural discourse so am claiming 75 points for this mornings effort. I managed a reference to "gaining traction" and when this got a bemused laugh I threw in "Golfy told me to say that". Normally I would have only claimed 25 points but I did hear Golfy start to splutter and I later found out that he had to hit the mute button to conceal his laughter. I am therefore claiming a full 75 points in view of the fact that I drove him in to cover with my perfect delivery.

As we move in to week 2 it is 20 : 75 with all to play for.

Other News: Village Idiot has just turned up with a dozen fertile Welsummer eggs. VI's long suffering wife is a fine cake maker and a Local Breeder has just provided a few raw ingredients. Shame to put them in a cake as the last time this happened I managed a couple of place cards at the Stratford Poultry show with the offspring. Basically VI's Spouse will use bog standard eggs and the pure breed poultry eggs will go in to the incubator.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

I salute those lost in combat ...

Yesterday, actually the day before yesterday, I wrote that a person's identity is all down to perspective.

Potato, for example, is seen by the Dogs as an angel who's appearance announces the presence of cheese. The cheese, on the other hand, sees Potato as DEATH. Now, I hear you all saying "this chap must be short of material as he only wrote this in his last Journal entry", well let me reassure you that it does have some further relevance to today's scribblings.

As you may be aware, the past few weeks have seen me concentrating on getting the bedroom in a fit state for the Decorators and, as a result, the garden has been somewhat neglected ...

... yesterday I hauled the miserable git of a lawn mower from it's lair and tugged mercilessly on it's starter cord as the lawn was definitely up around my arse and needed hacking back. This is where perspective becomes relevant.

I see the lawn mower as an evil bastard who does a barely adequate job and in it's considerable "down time" does its best to persuade other domestic appliances to perform badly. It has caused me personal injury and has also caused damage to The Pile and I recount the incident of the broken double glazing unit and the resultant bill of £250 as evidence of it's malevolent and malicious practices. I have countless other charges of spilling oil and grass clippings and wrist injuries on file also.

Amnesty International, on the other hand, do not. They see it as a political prisoner who has been incarcerated without trial, had adequate nutrition and medical care withheld and has been forced to perform slave labour. Apparently I am an evil  Despot who's appearance in an international court is long overdue.

Well lets just say that yesterday evening saw a little more fodder for AI's propaganda machine. I got the miserable piece of crap up and running and was pushing it to the lawn when its blade stuck a paving slab. The resulting noise was not one for the mechanically sensitive and when I re-started the beast it didn't sound good. Anything that clunks like that AND has a blade spinning round at several hundred rpm is probably not pushed around the lawn without armoured greaves.

I have therefore decided that this is the final straw and the lawn mower will now be pensioned off to Elysian Fields* and I will finally have a new yellow shiny one like my Dad.

On the work front things are starting to crawl forward and Golfy and I took a trip down to The Village and had a productive brain storming session with Christopher Robin, Judge Dread and a couple of other interested parties. We now have a list of things to do and it is time to start to crack the whip. We have a very busy time ahead of us and already certain Bunnies are being examined to see whether they are up to the job.
* I'm taking it to the tip where it will be recycled which will involve it being tipped in to a furnace and melted down in to ingots - the hell it deserves. AI can go swivel if they think I'm going to spend one penny on "medical care" for the useless bugger.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Picture Post. No. 7

Today I performed the electronic equivalent of shuffling papers as I sat in an information vacuum. This basically translates to "did very little as we haven't a clue what we are doing". The US Team have not yet provided guidance so I sit and wait, doing what I can.

This is not interesting so it is time for another Picture Post. I did have an internal debate about whether Potato was Death of Cheese or a Harbinger of Cheese and I decided that it was all down to a matter of perspective.

If you are the cheese then Potato is definitely the DEATH OF CHEESE as he appears in his furry black cloak with his huge cheese knife slung over his shoulder. One sweep of the blade and the cheese departs, hopefully to a far better place but most probably Potato's tummy. If, however, you are Tyson & Marauder then Potato could well be the Harbinger of Cheese ...

... a furry angel that appears on high* and lo, morsels of mature cheddar shall rain down from on high and good dogs that supplicate shall receive generous portions.

Right, where was I? Oh Yes, I didn't have anything interesting to say so I was going to present a picture post. This one is a shot of The Grand Canyon taken in August 2006.

Post Script: If you are new to The Journal I suppose I should point out that Potato is one of the cats and Tyson & Marauder are the dogs.

* He's not supposed to be on the worktops in the kitchen

Sunday, 22 May 2011

The "Sty" and the Pig

Sunday was pure domesticity.

TP was away having "slept over" at friend's house so 30% and I went in to tidying mode. This is always interesting as, being the patient and restrained type of person I am, you can imagine what happens when I unearth something that falls in to my broad and generally all encompassing definition of crap.

Tidying missions are usually accompanied by a loud narrative of classics including "What the Fuck is this?", "Why the hell am I  the only person who can throw anything away?" and my personal favourite "How bloody hard can it be to put something back where it came from?"

There are also the frequent and very satisfying trips out to the wheely bin. They were especially good today as it had been emptied on Friday which meant that the first few discarded items could be hurled in with great force.

I was actually reasonably restrained today and kept the dark humours at bay and by lunchtime the house looked a lot less chaotic.

The afternoon saw us visited by the Oranges & Lemons Tribe. I say "visited" it was more a "sophisticated robbery"...

... let me explain. Mr O&L has a colleague who rears a few pigs and Mr O&L intimated that he might like a half carcass and then went back to doing what he does best, or at least what he gets paid for. This is, incidentally a quite similar job to the one I do down in the Hundred Acre Wood but that's not important here...

... Where was I? Yes, the half pig. Mr O&L was advised at the back end of the week that the half pig would be ready for collection this evening literally hours before Mr O&L flies out to Germany. The net result of this is that  Dr O&L will be left to run the household and deal with about 35 kg of fresh meat with absolutely no time to prepare. Dr O&L was keen to try a bit of curing and sausage making and popped over for a bit of a chat and to sample a few bits and pieces I have done over the past few months. We had a great time and she departed with my mincer, sausage skins and the box I used for salting an air dried ham. I'm hoping my experiences were useful to her and I did offer to pop over and help out if needed.

The evening saw a gentle ramble around the Three Miler with T, M and 30% and then home for Supper and a quiet evening in.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Quiet Day really

Saturday morning saw me chuck a drill and a toolbox in to the back of the Defender and pop over to Bad Man Senior's house to complete a "little DIY job".

Dad had asked me to come over as he had bought a window awning that needed installing. At the tender age of 78, with one bionic knee and one that he refuses to have replaced, nipping up and down step ladders is really not for him. I arrived and viewed the awning. It was huge. Well it was a lot bigger than I expected being around 8' in length and, as I later discovered, it extends a full 7' out from the wall.

The job went pretty well and it was all done and dusted after a couple of hours plus time for coffee, lunch, fooling around with the dog and general chat. Dad and Step Mum Sue seemed pleased with the results and have booked me in to hang a new door on the conservatory when they get back from their holiday. I advised that the fee for door hanging is a full blown Sunday lunch as Bad Man Senior does a wonderful roast.

Back home it was time for a quick coffee and then it was out in search of curtain fabric. 30% had a sample she liked and, since it also had my approval, we took a trip in to Worcester to see if we could find a stockist. We failed so, 30% will make a purchase next week from the original supplier.

Back home AGAIN and I started a dry cure of a pork loin joint that 30% had picked up in Tesco. This will make a fine piece of back bacon and I may give it a Black Treacle rub to produce another batch of Black Bacon. More on that later in the week.

It was then time for a traipse round the Three Miler with T&M and a few odd jobs before an early Supper as 30% is off out to see her Mum sing in a local Choral Society concert. Apparently I was invited but the invitation got lost after I asked if I was allowed to join in.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Sat on the grid with no fuel

Today Tigger and I have clambered down from the branch after having a very long hard think. Tigger said his head was hurting but couldn't be sure whether it was a change in his brand of coffee, all of the thinking or jumping around in a room with inadequate head clearance...

... anyway, the theme for today seemed to be to hold conference calls and say "very well done, but there is lots of hard work yet to do". When Tiger and I asked questions like "How are we going to do things?" and "when are things needed to be done?" we got a stock answer very much along the lines of "we don't know yet but are sure we will soon".

Now you may think that this is disheartening but we had a hunny sandwich and then held a conference call with the Bunnies and Weasels and said exactly the same things as we had been told. Funnily enough the Bunnies and Weasels asked questions like  "How are we going to do things?" and "when are things needed to be done?" but we have learnt from our Elders and told them "we don't know yet but are sure we will soon".

After mobilising the troops it is frustrating not to have anything further to tell them and so it is very difficult to develop our project any further. This is unnerving as contract signature dates are already being bandied around and it is a simple matter of the longer we mess around waiting for the details, the less time we have to do anything with them.

On the home front the curtain rail and brackets got put up on the Landing and 30% and I took a trip in to Evesham to confirm the handles for the replacement windows.

I did manage a minor rant as Evesham appears to be the only town in the UK that has managed to build a Bypass that is no quicker than driving through the town centre. I kid you not, the centre is a crawl through set after set of traffic lights through a traffic system designed by a cretinous monkey and the bypass is a single lane highway with roundabout after roundabout. This should allow free flowing traffic but you have to realise that you need to take in to account the intelligence of your average Evesham driver. They do, after all have a collective IQ that barely gets in to the hundreds. There is only one word to describe it and that word is "shit".

The Evesham website will tell you there are lots of great things to see in the town. If you want my advice, I'd suggest you read the website, look at the pictures then piss off to Worcester, Cheltenham, Stratford or Pershore rather than visit the god forsaken shit hole that is Evesham. Just in case any  inhabitants of Evesham read this and take umbrage perhaps I should point out that it is my home town and it used to be a lovely place but now it seems to be naff verging on on tatty.

The one ray of light in the gloom of my trip to town was they guy at Magnet. He knew exactly who we were and what we were there for and within minutes we had seen the various options and made our selections. He gave great customer service and we were both impressed ...

... I'm guessing he wasn't a local.

Quote of the day ...

..... "That's all as result of champagne and foie gras. Not an ounce of that is due to Monster Munch and KFC"

Possibly not the most politically correct utterance to have passed my lips today.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Woo Hoo ! ...

... or more likely; "Oh Fuck"!

Golfy and I have had another quiet day. I have sat on my favourite branch in the Hundred Acre Wood and I believe that Golfy has been sat in his Lair polishing his Warhead. All day we have waited for our 6 o'clock conference call.

Time drags if you are not careful so I put mine to best use by having an extended lunch with Bad Man Senior who turned up with tomato plants for 30%, his faithful hound; Tilly and a pack of home made tomato soup for our lunch. We had a great natter and made plans to sort out a few jobs over at his domicile as he is now a little past the age where climbing up ladders to drill holes is one of his better ideas.

On the same theme, I too drilled holes after Pater had left and another pair of curtain rail brackets have now been affixed. This time in the "Purple Bedroom" ...

... Before you ask I will explain. When we bought The Pile one of the smaller bedrooms was painted in the most horrendous deep purple. It was truly dreadful and is forever engraved on our collective consciousness. So even though the room has been literally rebuilt and is now painted in a pleasant ivory colour it will forever be known as "the purple bedroom". During the extension build back in 2007/2008 the purple bedroom had it's roof and a couple of its walls removed and consequently was on display to anyone who passed. The Builders used it as a handy landmark and would inform Delivery Drivers who were unfamiliar with the village to simply "look out for the purple wall"!

A dog walk also happened at some point this afternoon and I made a start on supper before I dialled in to the six o'clock call. Christopher Robin lead the call and, after a little huffing and puffing, advised that our client has finally made a decision and we have been selected as their Supplier of Choice. This is great news and Golfy and I are pausing for a brief pat on the back but the real work starts here as we now need to get them to agree to a price and sign up to a contract before we crack open the champagne*.

Supper is now inside me, as are a couple of glasses of Rioja, so I will now sign off and enjoy my last evening of leisure for a good few weeks.

* actually I have a rather fine Heather Hunny, '98 vintage that would be a delight on a scone if we get the damned deal signed.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

It's arrived

Another day away from The Hundred Acre Wood ...

... this time I needed to pop down to the village for a mid year performance assessment. Unfortunately my current manager is retiring and he was completing the reviews for all of his reportees before we are handed over to his replacement. I say "unfortunately" as Mr B seems to be one of the better managers at Dante's Nine Circles of Hell and I will miss his dry sense of humour and pragmatic approach to the job.

Golfy was in the village too for the same reasons so we met up and had yet another last minute request from the HR people in advance of their lunchtime call. We did what all responsible employees did and went for a half hour coffee break with the Boer before we sat down and knocked up the emergency slide for the HR presentation. After running our efforts past the relevant Execs we patted ourselves on the back for a job well done and then killed time until our scheduled appointments with Mr B.

Both of us came away with good feedback so it seems we are suited to our current Nelifunt Hunting roles. Apparently the Boss seems to think that we make a good team and suggests that we should continue to pair up in future escapades. Golfy did point out that we were a couple of Village Idiots from The Shires but it seems that they may have seen through that and want to take advantage of our rural cunning.

The HR call with the client came and went and basically seemed to be a bit of a damp squib. I felt that our input was necessary but was annoyed that the Leads were piss poor at actually communicating what they wanted and everything was very last minute. I find it incredibly hard to believe that no-one in  Dante's had a sample slide set that they could have passed across to Golfy and I so that we could have used a bit of intellectual capital rather than having to "reinvent the wheel"  with only hours available to do so.

Back in the real world, I can report that the Bad Man's Journal is now available in hard back. The anniversary of The Journal was the 20th April 2011 and I have used an internet "make your own book" company to develop a hard copy of the first year's posts. It was a bit of a faff to get it formatted but the single volume arrived today and I am really pleased with the results. I contemplated printing a picture of the volume in this post but was concerned that incorporating all of The Journal within a single entry would cause the creation of some form of "literary"* gravitational singularity and the entire universe would end up being sucked in to my laptop screen ....

.... sod it, lets risk it.
Probably should have dusted first

* in the loosest possible sense of the word literary

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Another unusual day

Tuesday saw me leave my favourite branch in The Hundred Acre Wood and visit pastures new.

The Vespa was due for a service and it's MOT and I had booked her in to an non-franchised but Specialist Workshop over in Cheltenham to get the work done. As this is very near Golfy's centre of operations we had planned to meet up to drink coffee and shoot the breeze until the bike was ready for collection. Unfortunately our HR colleagues and one of our Bosses had different ideas and so it was with trepidation that I entered the secret underground lair from which Golfy runs his diverse and nefarious operations.

I cannot say too much about the location other than it is in Gloucestershire and is a 50,000 square feet underground bunker constructed in one of County's many extinct volcanoes*. Actually I can't say much about the location as one of Golfy's stunning, athletic but lethal Henchwomen covered my eyes for the last 10 miles of the journey to the HQ. This lair is cunningly disguised as a roundabout and, this is a very nice touch, has perfect robot rabbits that maintain perimeter patrols and feed information back to the centralised Security console. I did manage to have a look at one of these on the workbench and they pack a surprising amount of armaments for such small and mobile devices.

Once inside, and after I had been given the tour of the laboratories, weapon silos and data centre, we sat down to develop a "last minute" spreadsheet for our Boss and a Presentation for the lazy sods in HR. Once we had finished Golfy gave me a brief guided tour of the Gloucester Docks developments and a stop was made for a panini and coffee.

It was then time to pick up the Vespa and head back to my favourite branch. All had gone well with the Service and MOT and the Workshop Owner commented on her good condition and the fact that she was now starting to appreciate in value. The Vespa is an absolute biking icon and mine is very low mileage example in an unusual colour. She is now reaching the point, at 11 years of age, where I need to think carefully about what I do with her. She is in far too good condition to just let her slowly deteriorate and end up scrapped so it looks like I will now need to spend a few quid on her to ensure that her loveliness is preserved.

Back home it was a quick and early dinner and then back out on the other bike for a run out with Chippy Ian, Mick and another chap who's name I didn't catch. God knows where we went but the roads were fantastic; smooth and flowing and we had a fast run over to Bibury where we settled in to a posh but very welcoming hotel sat alongside the river that runs along the main street of the village. After coffee it was a run back towards the Vale taking in Cirencester and Tewkesbury along the way. I got back at half past ten only to find that my HR colleagues require us to develop a further fucking slide for their sodding presentation. Talk about half arsed and last minute!

* Surprising in view of the fact that all of Gloucestershire is oolitic limestone. There is not an igneous or metamorphic rock in site.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Is this what I am here to do?

Monday was a bit of a weird day...

... Things are still quiet as we wait for a client decision but negotiations continue and the HR people are trying to pull me in to some of their discussions. This is somewhat unnerving as I am definitely not an HR person and should only be involved to provide specialist input on the Project Scope. However they seem to want to position me as the lead for their work stream which is definitely not what I should be doing. The HR people seem to be very nice but totally unable to do anything for themselves and Golfy and I seem to keep getting shafted and asked to knock up and then tweak spreadsheets and Presentations for them. What is more they are incredibly vague about what it is that they want in these spreadsheets and slide decks. I am getting a strong sense that they don't really know what they want. This is concerning as they are supposed to be the bloody experts.

It is a bit like popping down to the Butchers and asking him to knock up an array of cakes and pastries for a party - basically giving vague instructions to the wrong guy!

Away from work I managed to find some time to put up the brackets for TP's curtain poles and also took T&M for an early evening walk.

We were out again this evening. This time it was to see Dom Joly over at the Artrix in Bromsgrove. It was a great evening. Basically Dom narrated the highs and lows of his career history and showed clips along the way. It doesn't sound too exciting when you put it like that but it was very funny and the BIG PHONE made a brief cameo appearance.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Team Meeting

Sunday saw yet another trip to the Rugby Club for yet another team meeting. Last week it was presentation day, this week it is the team barbecue. For the love of God, it is the middle of May and the 2011/12 season will be starting in September! This means that I am devoting nine months worth of Sunday mornings to  TP and his antics in every 12...

... as we left we hear the cheery shout "See You on the 5th". "Ah!" I hear you  say "The 5th of September, start of the new season", Well no, they mean the 5th of June - start of Summer Bloody Training. They are turning the bloody game in to a 12 month sentence of screwed up weekends. Don't get me wrong, I actually enjoy taking TP to rugby but just get a little miffed that the Squad seem to think that I want to spend my Summer out on the sidelines too.

Back to the Team Barbecue, it was reasonably entertaining and I did something that I hadn't done for 33 years. I played a game of rounders. Apparently I did not make a complete fool of myself and TP's unsolicited critique was that I was "one of the better Dads"...

... Look out for my next game which, based on the interval between matches, will be a few months after my 80th Birthday.

The afternoon was taken up by a good walk with T&M and then it was out of the doors again for a trip over to Warwick Arts Centre to see Richard Herring's Christ on a Bike tour.

It was very, very funny and beautifully performed. It included Richard reciting the genealogy of Jesus from Abraham through to Joseph from the gospel of Matthew both forwards and backwards and then he went through the acronyms he used to remember it all.  The list is interrupted by a stream of gags and was a brilliant concept, as was his disection of the ten commandments and how badly they had been constructed. The running joke for that section of the set was that they looked like God hadn't prepared for the handover of the stone tablets to Moses and thrown the Commandments together at the last minute.

The tour is about Richard's atheism and disdain of Christianity and was very intelligent and beautifully witty.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Putting it all back together

I woke early today, so I grabbed a coffee and nipped out to the garage to finish off the mirror frame project that has occupied my spare hours this week.

Andy & Steve have finished painting the bedroom and Chippy Ian was coming back in today to fit the espagniolettes to the wardrobe doors. Basically almost everything is done and it is time to put the room back together. I therefore wanted to have the mirror finished and hung on the wall from day one. It didn't take long to apply a coat of polish to the frame, insert the mirror glass, fix on the backing, screw on the "D Rings" and tie on the length of cord. By the time Ian had started I was ready to fix it to the wall.

I'm pretty chuffed with the results and Ian's comment was that it looked "original" and fitted in well with the room. A couple of days back I said I'd post some before and after pictures so here is the "before" ...

 This is what I started with; a few lengths of elm floor boards. These are Victorian. The ones I used for the frame are around 100 years older and even more beaten up than these. After a bit of effort these were wrapped around a piece of bevelled mirror glass recycled from a rather dated 80s mirror. The next few pictures show the frame detail and the completed mirror hung on the wall.

These two pictures show the frame detail. As can be seen it is a simple frame with a bead routed around the inside edge. I really like the appearance of the worm holes and tunnels and they help to give the mirror an illusion of age which fits in well with the room setting. In the first detail picture a plugged nail hole can be seen on the bottom frame rail close to the mitre joint.

Here is the finished mirror. It is about 36 inches high by about 27 inches wide. The frame rails are approximately 4 inches wide.

 The final couple of pictures show the mirror on the bedroom wall. It sits between the two cupboards that I have lovingly stripped and waxed as part of the mammoth preparation ordeal over the Easter / May Bank Holiday break.

The rest of the day involved a trip over to Blackminster to check out some Kennels as T&M will need to be incarcerated while we are in America in August. The Kennel owners are Poodle breeders so are familiar with the breed and have a nice little set up. We were amazed at how big their Standard Poodles are. T&M stand at 22" and 23" at the shoulder but their dogs towered over them and were nearer 28". They were HUGE!. Mind you they like big dogs as they also have Great Danes and we spent a fun half an hour playing with their latest litter of 16 Dane pups.

Once we extricated ourselves from the mayhem of the Kennels it was time to get back home and continue putting the room back together. The bed was moved from the landing back in to the room and a few other necessary items were put back too. We still need to clean the floor boards and wax them but that can wait for another day. Fresh curtains are needed too but 30% has done an admirable job with a spare pair and we have had quotes for new ones ...

... I see a trip to the fabric shop coming very soon.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Another quiet day

Having spent a spare hour developing a spreadsheet yesterday evening, Golfy and I had very little to do this morning and then there was even less when the first call of the day got cancelled too.

We did have a call later in the morning where the aforementioned spreadsheet was reviewed and generally commended with a couple of minor amendments suggested. That took all of 15 minutes and Golfy and I had the improvements sorted within twenty minutes of the call ending. Basically, at that point, I had the rest of the day to myself.

The frame project filled a couple of hours and I now have the rebate cut, it has been sanded and a coat of Danish Oil is now soaking in to the surface. I have cleaned up the mirror glass and will give the frame a coat of wax polish and assemble it tomorrow. I’m really pleased with the result which is a simple frame constructed from some ancient wormy timber. It has loads of character and I will post a couple of “before and after” pictures once I have it finished and hanging on the wall.

On my walk with T&M I learnt a couple of things. The first was always take a camera. As I passed a tree on the way home I heard a cheeping sound and looked up to see a hole in the main trunk. Within a couple of minutes I had a splendid view of a Greater Spotted Woodpecker entering the nest. The second thing I learnt is to always take a coat as the heavens opened and it absolutely poured down and I returned home looking like a drowned rat.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Oops, I Dropped My Guard

Most of today has been very quiet so I have been sat on my favourite branch watching the world go by.

Away from the Hundred Acre Wood, Andy & Steve finished decorating our bedroom and it is a truism that preparation is the key to decoration and also that Bloody Decorators get all the sodding glory. I have spent long filthy days in that room skimming plaster, stripping wood, sanding and so on and then these two gits turn up and carelessly slosh a bit of paint around and here I am extolling their questionable virtues.

It looks great and I am planning to move the furniture back in over the weekend. The floorboards still need a clean up and polish but I am sure I can fit that in at some point ….

….. or maybe I will just do the ones that show once the bed is back in place.

I also found a few minutes to assemble the mirror frame I have been making. I used a biscuit jointer to strengthen the mitres as the mirror is quite large and heavy. The frame now sits on the work bench in a strap clamp. Tomorrow will see me release it from its bonds and flip it over so I can mark and cut the rebate for the mirror glass. To be honest I should finish it since all it then needs is a quick sand, a coat of Danish Oil and 24 hours later it will be ready for glass fitting and hanging on the wall.

Back at The Hundred Acre Wood the sun was creeping towards the horizon and I was watching from my favourite Oak as the sky turned to pink. It was time for Christopher Robin’s twice weekly story. Don’t get excited, they have been very poor recently. The sort of story where you know the ending and it is absolute rubbish and there is very little mention of Hunny Sandwiches ….

…. Basically very poor literature!

I sat down to half listen and suddenly Christopher Robin jabbed me in my ample tummy with a sharp stick – Little Fucker! – I now have to drag a load of data from my files and present information that either we don’t have or doesn’t exist for a call tomorrow with a couple of key members of the European Champion Nelifunt hunting squad.

I muttered bollocks and opened up a spreadsheet.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

A Day Out.

Today I climbed off the branch I usually sit on in the Hundred Acre Wood and wandered down to the Village to see what is going on.

Tigger was going too, as one of the Bunnies was going to be in the area and we had all agreed to meet up and see how well he was getting on with the planning for the Grand Banquet should Christopher Robin get past "first base". To be honest it was not the most fruitful of days. We bumped in to quite a few Nelifunt Hunters and had lots of nice chats, morning coffee, elevenses, lunch and afternoon tea but we came away only marginally wiser than we were when we arrived.

Once home it was a quick squiz at what Andy & Steve had done in the bedroom - they arrived a day early - a coffee and out of the door for a wander around the Three Miler with T&M.

Back home from my walk I had an hour to kill before dinner so I continued with the mirror frame that I started yesterday. When I say "mirror frame" I actually mean the four lengths of elm floor boards that I hope to ultimately transform in to a mirror frame. The nail holes had all been plugged and trimmed so now it was time to clean the boards up. They are covered with more than a Century's worth of polish and grime so the belt sander was brought out. It is an aggressive little bugger but there is little else short of a planer that will remove the top layer from this timber. The problem with using a planer is there is a high risk of knackering the blades due to nails in the wood. No matter how hard you look there is always a tack somewhere that escaped one's scrutiny.

Half an hour later I was filthy and the boards were "not". I wandered in for dinner thinking "that was it" only to find that 30% and TP had an EastEnders Double Bill planned for their evening's TV entertainment. I found myself back in the garage where I cracked on. An hour or so later I had planed all of the boards to the right width, routed the bead detail on the board edges and had cut the mitres. It now looks like a frame when laid out on the bench and tomorrow will see me glue it up.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Making Hay ...

Tuesday was another quiet day and I found time for a little woodwork …

… let me explain; as we are  about to have the bedroom decorated it is time to think about d├ęcor and it was most definitely a case of “that mirror has to go”. It is a rather 80’s number with a white frame and doesn’t really go with the look of the room now that the wardrobes have been built and the cupboards and doors have been sanded, oiled and polished.

The mirror itself was a rather fine bevelled piece of glass so all it needed was a new frame to regain it’s place in the room, time for a bit of recycling I think. I have a large amount of very old elm floor boards that were lifted from the landing during the extension build and with a bit of care these will make a most excellent mirror frame. I knocked one up about 18 months ago for the downstairs loo and was really pleased with the result so it is time for another.

As you can image a 250 year old floor board is somewhat beaten up and the first stage is to identify a few lengths that are robust enough for the job. Then it is a case of dealing with the nail holes where they have been previously fixed to the joists. That is what I managed to do this morning. The method was to drill each nail hole with a 10mm drill and then use corresponding sized plugs that had been bored from a scrap of elm board. These are simply glued in to the holes and will be trimmed once dry,  more on this later in the week.

The evening saw another ride out with Chippy Ian and Mick. This time it was out through Evesham towards Cheltenham, out through Shurdington and up Birdlip Hill on to the escarpment. From there it was a fast run along the A417 to the outskirts of Cirencester and a stop for a coffee before taking the A429 towards Stow on the Wold. Before we reached Bourton on the Water we cut off the main road and took the lanes toward Snowshill where we dropped down off the hill and joined the A44 at Broadway for a run back in to the Vale.

I remember when I first started driving that we used to try to freewheel from the top of Snowshill all the way in to Broadway. We never quite made it but it was amazing just how far we could get using the limited power of a VW Beetle and the steep gradient to best effect.

It was a good run but it was unnerving to see a Fallow Deer leap out in to the road in front of Ian in the fading light. The last thing I wanted to do was to hit one of those as they are most definitely not traffic savvy and my bike TP and me are most definitely not designed for skidding down the road.

Monday, 9 May 2011

and relax ...

As indicated yesterday, I am back in work for a rest.

Over the past week Golfy and I have pulled together a revised set of numbers and these will be presented to our client on Friday, yep, Friday 13th. So in the meantime, and I'm guessing for a good few days next week, there will be very little of major import to do. This is the nature of the new role it is very much "all or nothing" and we are currently in a "nothing" phase whilst colleagues crunch our numbers and the client makes a decision.

That being the case I started the day with a stiff drink. A few weeks back I decided to make my own Rhubarb Vodka Liqueur. I finally got my act together and decanted the mixture and filtered it in to bottles. It is a lovely pink colour but is still a little cloudy but I am sure it will clear if left for a few more weeks and decanted one further time. As for the taste, I did leave the tasting until the evening and can report that it is sweet and very "Rhubarby". I really like it but 30% reports it a little too sweet for her tastes. We agreed that mixed with a tonic water or lemonade it would make a great spirit/mixer combination.

I also managed to get the Ducati booked in for a service and MOT at the workshop that resurrected her last year. Other than walking T&M and an evening trip to the dog training class that pretty much sums up my day.

Work? What do you mean, work? Oh, I see, well I fired off a couple of e-mails, did a weekly report and sat on a branch in the wood with Tigger for an hour or so. Does that count?

Sunday, 8 May 2011

The Weekend

Andy & Steve turn up on Thursday and Friday next week to paint the bedroom. I therefore needed to complete a couple of final preparation tasks before they turn up and start flinging emulsion around the place.

Saturday's plan was a haircut first thing, to take T&M to the local dog show at lunch time and then spend the afternoon sanding the oak wardrobes that Chippy Ian has built.

The long dry spell finally broke on Friday Night and it was chucking down when I got up. Normally I would walk down to the salon for a trim as it is only 10 minutes down the road but at 8.15 with "stair rods" coming down 30%'s car looked a far more attractive proposition. Shorn and back home it was still chucking it down so the dog show idea got ditched and I gave the wardrobe a tickle with 240 grit.

30% and I then started the massive clean up in the room. You know the sort of thing, vacuuming, washing down of walls, tools back to garage etc when TP decided to inform us that he had a shopping list of absolute necessities for his Tech and Textiles Project and these needed to be ready for Monday. Let us just say that this was a little "last minute" and he was not the most definite about a) what he exactly was making and b) what he actually needed. Let's just also say that we had "words" before I finally managed to work out that he is building a clock and needed certain materials for the face design.

After a minor "domestic" it was agreed that TP would assist with the clean up and I would then take him in to town to collect his stuff and pick up the paint for the bedroom. I should have learnt by now that you need to get all parties engaged early when forming a plan and I foolishly didn't involve B&Q. I couldn't believe it when I turned up and they didn't have any 5 litre cans of Matt Emulsion Base and therefore couldn't mix up the colour I wanted. This is the most "vanilla" of paint since it is used to mix any colour they sell and the useless gits wouldn't have any in stock until Tuesday. Cursing under my breath I left and picked up the rest of TP's list.

It was then a quick walk round the Three Miler with T&M before getting ready to pop over to James Bond and Moneypenny's for Dinner and chat. We had a great evening. It was a late one, as usual, and quite boozy too, at least on my part.

Everyone was a little sluggish on Sunday as a result of the late night and possibly the gin in my case. We trundled over to the Rugby Club for the final session of the Season which was a fun game of Touch Rugby between mixed age group teams. TP found his form and scored 4 Trys and fortunately, save for a brief shower, the weather stayed fine. The end of season presentations followed and after the Barbecue it was back home and the final job in the bedroom.

They say "leave the best 'til last" and my afternoon job was quite pleasurable. I had to apply a coat of oil to the oak wardrobes and it was a delight to see the wood come alive as the oil penetrated the grain and brought out details and features barely seen until the coating was applied. A couple of hours later I was done and finally cleared the last of the tools from the room.

None of us seemed to have any energy so it was a light supper and making like couch potatoes until bedtime.

As I said last Monday "back in to work for a rest" 

Friday, 6 May 2011

Christopher Robin, over to you.

For the past 4 days Golfy and I, aka Tigger and Pooh, have been revising the cost projections for our latest project based on some new data from our client.

We were given some new numbers on Tuesday morning and told to sort it out and have it back to our US colleagues by next Monday.  This is not as simple as it sounds. First we had to make sure that we had the right people available to develop the new projections and, once they had done that, the new costs all had to be compiled and then we had the potential dread that is Dante's review cycle. In the last iteration of the project we completed the review cycle in 5 days and that was seen by experienced colleagues as challenging. This time we only had 5 working days to complete the updates, get them reviewed and dispatched.

Needless to say, on Tuesday this week, I was thinking that we were in for a very shitty few days....

.... all I can say is that I must have done something very good in a previous life as the Gods positively beamed on me and Golfy and it has been plain sailing all the way.  All of the colleagues we needed were available and ready to roll after the extended Easter/May Bank Holiday lay off, a more experienced colleague gave us some advice that meant that the review cycle could be avoided provided our numbers remained within certain parameters and none of our immediate and more remote management baulked at our proposal to not complete the aforementioned review cycle.

The net result is that we have been able to provide our numbers to the US Team a full three days before they requested them giving them much needed time for aggregation and pricing. I have spent the latter part of the day receiving plaudits from a number of people for a well managed week. I'm not quite sure how to take this. Maybe I have done a great job or maybe I have just been very lucky. Maybe being able to devise a rough plan and ask the right people the right questions deserves the congratulations. Maybe not. Maybe knowing which are good Bunnies and which need to be watched closely is what I am here to do.

The one thing I do know is that I would not have achieved anything without the support of my friends and colleagues. Even the Bunny that couldn't get the fairy cake out of the tin was a  necessary cog in the wheel. I feel uneasy accepting votes of thanks when I know that this was a team effort and I am nought without my team.

Cheers Chaps - you have done a fantastic job and you all deserve a great weekend.

As for my weekend, a long sit on the fallen log in the Beech Glade and perhaps a not too strenuous game of Pooh Sticks .... oh, and loads of hunny sandwiches.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Getting There

Down in the Hundred Acre Wood Tigger and Me have had quite a busy day. The woodland creatures have been preparing Christopher Robin's picnic and us two brave fellows have been doing our important things.

Today it has been mostly story writing and hard sums. To make sure we had time later on for elevenses and afternoon tea we shared out the work.  A day in the Hundred Acre Wood needs careful planning to make sure that the important things like meals and snacks and stick fights and sitting in the sun take place and that Nelifunt Hunts and Picnics do not get in the way.  Tigger decided to do the hard sums as I am a Bear of Little Brain and I was left with the story writing.

I went and got my best pencil* and sharpened it ready to write my story. I need to let Eeyore know that Tigger, Me and the woodland creatures have made Christopher Robin's picnic properly and that we have neither made too many hunny sandwiches nor too few.

Tigger was left to do the hard sums. He has been quite the hero counting all the sandwiches as they are delivered by the woodland creatures and making sure that we have enough for Christopher Robin and Kanga; not too many and not too few. We did have a problem at one point with one of the Bunnies. This one is a simple lad and he had managed to make a reasonable fairy cake but he had put it in a tin and couldn't seem to be able to get the lid off.  Golfy encouraged him to try harder but the Bunny disappeared in to his burrow and we couldn't get him to talk to us no matter how loud we shouted. We considered going in after him but with a tummy like mine going down a Bunny Burrow is not a thing to be undertaken lightly. Tigger and Me had a long hard think and finally realised that the Bunny was too busy thinking about lying in the sun and not about the picnic. Ten minutes later the cake was out of the tin and Tigger was back to the hard sums.

I will point out that I did notice that Tigger was using his "special pen" to do the hard sums. This is the one with the Spanish Lady that drops her drawers when you turn the pen upside down!

We need to have the picnic ready for Monday but Christopher Robin is already muttering that he wants to see the spread tomorrow.


* HB of course; H for Hunny and B for Bear

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

The Hundred Acre Bake Off

The woodland creatures have all started making scones and hunny sandwiches and cakes and more hunny sandwiches today.

Me and Golfy have the most important job and have been walking around most importantly .. "did I mention that we needed to make hunny sandwiches? I did ? OK, excellent, moving on" .. Me and Golfy have a most important job and have been walking around making sure that the weasels, rabbits, foxes and badgers have all washed their paws before they start baking and don't get confused with the ingredients.

I am sure that at one point today one of the Rabbits was trying to add some more of MY HUNNY to one of Christopher Robin's sandwiches. This simply will not do. I may be a Bear of Little Brain but I can spot a Bunny shoving extra portions of my Hunny in to Christopher Robin's packed lunch from the other side of the Beech Glade down by the Pooh Sticks Bridge.

Golfy and me need to make sure that the picnic is just the right size; not too big and not too small. If it is too big we will have all sorts of problems packing it in to the picnic basket and carrying it down to the field. The last thing I want to do is get Eeyore involved any more than I possibly have to. We all know that Eeyore is all "doom and gloom" and will spend forever rambling on about how we are likely to give Christopher Robin and Kanga tummy aches or worse.

Tummy aches are obviously very serious as they prevent one from eating hunny sandwiches but Golfy and Me are certain that tummy aches are not going to be a problem with this picnic.

Other Stuff

I'm still not absolutely certain I know what I am going on about and 30% has managed to get tickets in the front block for lazy eyed, Bristolian comedian Russell Howard when he plays the NEC in December.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

A invertashun

Today I had a great adventure planned for me and Golfy down in the Hundred Acre Wood. A complete lack of anything unimportant to do meant that we could get on with some really great stuff. First I thought we could have a chat about really important things like how many Easter Eggs we got and then move on to making a den down by the brook. I then thought we could have a competition to see who could make the best model of Judge Dread out of clay* before wandering back to Pooh Corner for elevenses. A hectic afternoon of fishing and stick fighting and then home later on for tea and a bath.

I was therefore quite miffed to find that Christopher Robin had been invited out for a picnic by Kanga and that he needed Tigger and me to make him up a packed lunch. Christopher Robin has apparently been on the internut and had found out that single mum's like Kanga are "easy" and he is very keen to get in to bed with her. Now Tigger and me are absolutely brilliant at making samwiches but we thought we better have a practice. Tigger had a go and decided that a slice of bread between two dollops of hunny was a vast improvement on the usual recipe. I have to admit that I do agree but they were an absolute bugger to wrap up and we got in to a dreadful pickle with the greaseproof paper. We therefore may need to approach the preparation of the lunch with a little more care than I would have liked.

As a result the Easter Egg discussion and stick fighting has had to be put on hold and instead we had to do a complete circuit of the wood rounding up a variety of motley woodland creatures to assist us in our 100 Acre Catering venture. I have to admit that one of the weasels and a badger cub seem to be a couple of lightweights and would be better suited to spreading butter than knocking up a damned good quiche so that Christopher Robin stands a chance of a shag**.

We managed to get enuff creatures together and most of them seem prepared to put aside den making and stick sharpening to help me and Tigger with the picnic. All I need to do now is see how much quality control he wants to apply before we shove carefully pack it in to a basket for his little assignation with Kanga on Friday week. I have therefore sent a note over to Owl to see what he suggests. I hope he reads it overnight.

* Piglet said it was clay. If he is bullshitting me again I will turn that little pink git in to streaky
** I may be a bear of little brain but I have pointed out to him that a) she is a stuffed toy*** and b) he has to get rid of Roo for a couple of hours too but will he listen  ...
*** I have heard that kapok is a nasty irritant 

By the way, this is so bloody obscure I'm not even sure I know what I am talking about.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Have you ever heard ...

... the saying "I'll be glad to get back to work as I need a rest" ?

Well, after 10 days of preparation in the bedroom that is pretty much how I feel. Today I finished off the plastering and 30% and I had a good tidy up as Chippy Ian is back in tomorrow to fit the wardrobe doors.

The option of sitting in front of a laptop for eight hours a day looks quite attractive after being covered in dust and crap on a daily basis for the past week and a half. Although it has been hard and dirty work 30% and I are pleased with the transformation and when the Painters have finished it will look fantastic.  All that is left to do is to sand and wax the wardrobe once CI has finished and have a good clean and polish of the floor boards.
To be fair I have found time during the Easter/May Bank Holiday break for a few other activities and today I took TP over to the Kit Car show at Stoneleigh for a few hours. The weather was splendid and we had a great time wandering round checking out the definitely "non-mainstream" motoring options. I must admit an AC Cobra replica would be a rather fine thing to drive around in especially as most of them seem to have colossal American V8 power-plants under the hood.

It is work tomorrow and, having kept an eye on my email over the holiday, I am wondering what I will be up to as there has been no news from the client since we delivered our latest Proposal on 22nd March.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Plastered ...

.... but not as a result of excessive alcohol.

This morning TP and I spent a couple of hours patching the plaster in the bedroom. At some point in it's history a picture rail had been nailed to the wall and this had been removed as part of the refurbishment. This left gaping holes where the cut nail fixings had been pulled out and it also became apparent that the walls above the rail were in a pretty poor state. It therefore needed a quick skim to tidy it up.

The preceding paragraph may make it sound like I know what I am doing. Lets put that misconception to rest straight away. The best way to put this is that I am a rough plasterer that can apply a finish appropriate to a Georgian/Victorian cottage. You  most definitely would not get a mirror smooth finish on your walls if I was the man with the float.

I'll need to apply a further skim in a couple of areas tomorrow but most of the job has been finished.

The sofa beckoned for a good chunk of the afternoon and after a lengthy doze TP and I took T&M out for a quick run before my Dad, Sue and Tilly came over for Dinner.