Thursday, 30 June 2011

Here we go again

Today I planned to settle down and tidy up some documentation that had been festering in a folder for perhaps too long. Much of the mad rush of the bid cycle is over and I thought I had enough time to make a start on the paperwork.

Tigger has been assigned a project of his own to lead so I have been offering some pointers based on my experiences on this "trial by fire". I am very conscious that Tigger is just as experienced as I am and hope I don't come across as some sort of "know it all" when we both know the truth is so very different.

So there we have it; I am sat on my favourite branch in the wood scratching away with a quill pen whilst Tigger is bouncing from Pillar to Post trying to find out about a project from Chief Shitting Bull and his merry band of Indians...

... and so the day progressed.

All was going well until my tummy started rumbling and lunch was overdue. I attended a couple of calls and they indicated that things were not going well with the client. I think it is fair to say that "Your price has gone up 7% and don't come back until you've fixed it" is a pretty concise definition of a stalled negotiation. From that point forward the mutterings started and needless to say I was sat at the laptop late in to the evening make preparations to see where further costs can be removed.

This is somewhat ironic as we have a new Manager who has just thrown his Teddies out of the Pram about people working overtime without prior approval. He really doesn't have a clue about the nature of the work and is busy setting rules and issuing dictates rather than spending time looking at what people are doing*. My first impression of him was that he looked like a Yes Man in a suit. So far I have seen nothing to suggest that my intuition was off target.

All of this activity was set against escorting 30% on a couple of trips to the local hospital for some tests. They came back "clear" and there is nothing to be worried about. Her injured foot is also on the mend so if she does decide to dress up as a horse she stands less chance of being shot.

To cap it all I managed to loose a crown today so now have a trip to the Dentist to arrange. 
* His people are trying to win new business to ensure that the Corporation grows and that our competitors do not. This pays his salary and he should start to earn it by supporting them rather than by bitching about having to check expenses.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Picture Post. No. 8

I was talking to one of my work colleagues earlier today and he asked if I had any trips out to the States planned in the near future. His meaning was in association with the current project. "Yes" I quipped and followed up with the fact that we are off on a road trip to Yellowstone at the beginning of August.

I am ready for a holiday. The last occasion I had any time off work was at Easter and that was spent preparing our bedroom for the painters. I can't wait to step out in to that Vegas Sunshine, walk in to Hertz, grab a set of car keys and head out in to the open spaces of the American West.

With that in mind here is another couple of views of the Grand Canyon. It's not on my itinerary this year. If you are interested in that you will just have to wait for a few more weeks.

Not a lot of other news. On the home front we have finally taken 30%'s Nursing Chair over to be restored and reupholstered. It will look lovely once it has been completed and will be positioned in the corner of the bedroom for Eddy to sleep on.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

What I have been missing

Today saw Tigger and me take a brief trip down to The Village where we had a few calls, met two new faces on the team and dealt with a couple of nagging irritations.

It was a short day and I was home by half past two for another call and some mails before I was out of the door with T&M for our daily traipse around the three miler. All day I had been keeping an eye on the weather. The forecasts have been somewhat wide of the mark recently and heavy rain had originally been expected. I was hoping they were wrong as I had planned to go out for a ride on my bike.

Work has kept me off my bike for the past month but that has finally eased and the Rain Gods were ignoring Worcestershire and the Costwolds this evening. We had an early supper and then TP and I got kitted up and rode over to Chippy Ian's house. After a brief chat Mick arrived, accompanied by his girlfriend Cheryl on her GSX R600. This evening Deb rode pillion with Ian as we set off towards Broadway before taking the back road towards Winchcombe. We then cut off towards Stanway to collect a new rider; Steve and his partner Emma.

We then headed up on to the top of the hills taking the lanes around Sudeley Castle and Guiting Power. Our ride then took us through Bourton on the Water and over to Burford where we stopped for a drink before returning home through Milton under Wychwood and Stow on the Wold.

It was a beautiful evening and the Cotswolds were a splendid sight of rolling fields of sheep or poppy studded, wheat and barley. The vistas as you reach the tops of the hills or come out of the woods are incredible. The whole of the Gloucestershire and Worcestershire countryside is just laid out in front of you and is an absolute delight..

As I rode I realised that this was probably the first time I had really switched off for the past month. This was a strange thing, it was not that the ride was fast and I had not time to think. In fact it was a very leisurely ride and I had plenty of time to mull things over. It was just that the combination of the bike, the roads and the views occupied my thoughts and the project was put on a shelf and forgotten for a few hours ...

... and that, as they say, is a good thing.

Monday, 27 June 2011

It's quiet ....

... too damned quiet.

Monday has arrived and there is very little in my in-box to progress. I cancelled the only call I had scheduled leaving me a day without appointments which is the first time for a month or more. Although it has been quiet there have been the odd irritations and these have mostly involved doing someone else's job for them or telling them something they should have known because a) they didn't bother attending the call or b) didn't bother reading the communication.

Tigger and I did spend an hour involved in some creative accountancy which was amusing as we both knew where we needed to be but, and forgive the vernacular,  buggered if we could see how to get there.

Away from work I managed a good walk with T&M and was prepared to come back and clip Marauder when I heard a call from the garden ...

... I told you it was too damned quiet. 30% had stumbled on a stone and was quite unable to walk. I assisted her back to the house where she now sits refusing a trip to A&E. I therefore got promoted from idiot that gets shouted at in the kitchen to  deputy cook and rustled up supper before racing over to my Dad's to pick up a pair of crutches* that will assist 30% until she recovers or realises that perhaps Professional attention should be sought!
* isn't it amazing what people have lying around

Sunday, 26 June 2011

A swarm of Bees in June

Not a lot to report for the past two days. I probably spent too much of the weekend thinking "I really should fire off a couple of e-mails" rapidly followed by "Actually, I can't be bothered". The past few weeks have been very intense and I have been forced to work late and over the weekends to keep on top of things and meet crazy deadlines. I have therefore been very firm with myself this weekend and stayed away from my in-box. Our price is now with the client and I am guessing that almost everyone on the team is taking a well earned break. I have done so too.

So what have I achieved? The dogs have been walked properly and I have also found the time to clip their faces and paws. The weather is scorching today and they have really felt the heat. I think that I need to summon up the courage and attempt to give them a lamb clip as that will remove much of the hair from their bodies leaving only their legs and heads with any length of coat. I'm guessing that Marauder will be my "guinea pig" as she is much more compliant than Tyson.

I have also managed to complete a few domestic duties that have been overlooked. A blind has been fitted in the bedroom, the "Porn Mower" has been unleashed on the lawn and twenty minutes with coaxial connectors mean that TP now has satellite television piped in to his bedroom.

The title for today's entry was prompted by an interruption to lunch on Sunday. We were eating in the garden when I heard  a loud buzzing and saw several bees in flight above the lawn. We looked up and then saw the bulk of the swarm as it passed overhead looking for somewhere suitable to settle. The title comes from an old rhyme that describes the fact that a swarm needs time to establish itself as a new colony and the later in the year it occurs the less chance there is of it creating a viable new colony.

A swarm of bees in May is worth a load of hay
A swarm of bees in June is worth a silver spoon
A swarm of bees in July isn't worth a fly

The swarm reminded me of one of my first jobs after leaving college, I worked for the Ministry of Agriculture's National Beekeeping Unit for a little less than a year. It was fascinating to see the annual cycle of these insects from building up the colonies in the Spring, moving them out to the crops to aid pollination, queen rearing and, of course, honey harvesting in the Autumn. What is more amazing is that much of the knowledge of the management of these insects dates back many hundreds of years when their honey was a prized harvest in lands where there was little as naturally sweet as honey. 

It was one of the most poorly paid jobs I ever had but the opportunity to see, and memories of, the annual apiarists cycle more than made up for the lack of monies. I am often tempted to set up a hive or two but realistically this will have to wait until both house and garden are tidied up and I have time to potter.

This evening will see us take a tip over to Malvern to see Lee Evans. He is doing some warm up shows, in advance of his next Stadium tour and it should be a great night.

Friday, 24 June 2011

They want to do what?

This morning started with an "urgent" message from Christopher Robin. Tigger and and I pondered long and hard over it and then had a good few minutes of repeating the words "what the fuck is he on about" until we felt mildly better.

Basically our current project has been assembled using internal and external resources. The external resources are Vendors with whom we have an established relationship. They are able to deliver services at reasonable rates and can be relied upon to meet Service Levels. After the aforementioned head scratching we think that our prospective client has asked a US Executive to remove one of our preferred vendors as a Supplier in three countries and replace them  with one of their own third party vendors.

Now this is where it gets tricky as all we have is a sentence cut and pasted from an Instant Message that was typed by a very tired American Executive at godawful o'clock in the morning. We haven't a clue who the client's preferred vendor is or what range of services they want us to use them for. Neither do we know whether this is a "by the way" type of question or a DO IT NOW instruction.

All we could do was go back to Christopher Robin and politely point out that we could do absolutely nothing until fundamental questions were answered like who is the vendor?, what is their address?, what is the requirement from them? I outlined a sereis of activites that would be necessary to engage with them and indicated that this was not a 5 minute job in the most positive way I could. We are, after all, delivering an updated price to the client today!

After a brief session of idiom mashing the following phrase is felt to describe this situation; A Blind Man on a Galloping Horse chasing down a blind alley after a gaggle of wild geese.
Away from work my eye is much improved. I can now tolerate reasonable levels of light and have been able to take T&M out for a walk provided I wear a hat and sunglasses. This probably makes me look a little eccentric as the weather requires neither at the moment being quite overcast.

I also had a rare chat with my younger brother. He was celebrating after being told that he has got his BA in Illustration from Cardiff University. He is obviously very pleased, as are we for him, and I may persuade him to apply his talents to update the avatar I use in The Journal.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

A poke in the eye with a bent stick ...

... or at least, that is what it feels like!

Let me explain, the observant will have noticed that I have not written a Journal entry for the past three days. "Ah" I hear you say "he has been up to his neck in it, getting his price release to the client" and you would be correct, or at least half right.

On Monday morning I was playing with Marauder and at one point, when we were head to head, I felt a sharp scratch across the surface of my eye. It was one of her whiskers and it had scratched my cornea. The past three days have involved a trip to Casualty for a diagnosis followed by me sitting in a darkened room with my eyes shut. To say it was painful is a bit of an understatement.

This morning is the first time this week that I have been able to look at a laptop screen without my eye streaming with tears and feeling like I have taken a right hook from a champion boxer. It is still sore but at least I can sit in a room with the curtains open.

On the work front there has been no rest and we have been running around like mad things tying up loose ends. A huge thank you goes out to Golfy who has been a godsend, holding things together, while I have been literally flying blind.

Someone else who deserves a special mention is Noddy. Noddy is the man who produces the minutes of our EMEA wide Delivery Review. He ensures these are accurate and issues them promptly so that we can comply with or satisfy any conditions in order that we can issue our price to the client. Our Delivery Review was on the 10th June and he finally issued the minutes ten days later on 20th June. When I read them they were absolute crap. There was no complete set of conditions and, instead of collating missing approvals, he simply issued the minutes with the comment " please forward you approval to the Bad Man".

I am not joking when I say that he did little better than note down the attendees on the call and then issue the minutes with the comment "please write down what you said". We have therefore spent the last few days nudging senior, and in some cases very senior, people in order to get our price out. Thanks Noddy - you are a complete COCK....

... Oh, and we issued our price late yesterday. I have a feeling that there may be at least one more iteration to go. As Fred Astaire put it "There may be trouble ahead ..."

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Word of the Day

For some reason I woke on Sunday lacking my normal vigour, it may have been the Rhubarb Vodka.

So. I did what any sane person would do; made coffee and settled down to knock up a couple of PowerPoint slides for Christopher Robin. This isn't as bad as it sounds as both slides were simply tables that needed updating. At one point I thought I was going to have to make further contact with Luxembourg but then realised that the slide was "Death by PowerPoint" already and that I could have put absolutely anything in the empty cells, no-one would read it. So I found some relevant numbers in a spreadsheet I had to hand, applied a similar growth algorithm that had been applied in other cells in the table and there we had it. The table was completed and I had avoided dealing with what I am discovering to be the most uncooperative Nation in Europe.

Back in the real world we took a trip over to see Bad Man Senior and then went on to collect Tyson & Marauder from chokey.  On the way back I saw plenty of road kill and as we trundled along started to knock up portmanteau words to describe them...

... the first I came up with was unphleasant which is an adjective describing the general smell of putrefaction that accompanies anything that has lay in the gutter for more than a week.

That was rapidly followed by blodger which is a noun and is the bloated corpse of a badger after a some unexpected and unwanted Ford Focus.

The came a Splox. This is also a noun and is obviously a splatted fox.

Finally and my personal favourite is a word that is used to describe those bloody streaks of grey fur that regularly populate the rural roads at this time of year. From here on in they will be know as Flabbits!.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

A normal Saturday for once

Saturday was initially quite quiet. A thirty minute call about pricing intruded on domestic activities but other than that it was a pretty normal Saturday. The house got tidied, my hair got cut and unfortunately the eggs in the incubator didn't hatch. I'll leave them a few days longer but I have a feeling that we won't be having any chicks.

Today saw T&M taken over to the Kennels for an overnight stay. This was a case of killing two birds with one stone. We will have a house full this evening as James Bond and Moneypenny and Children's TV Rag Doll favourites Rosie and Jim will be coming over with their progeny for supper and drinks. 30% also wants T&M to spend a night in kennels before we go away for our Summer holiday so she has a degree of reassurance that the dogs are reasonably happy away from home. So the dogs will be away from the socialising experiencing prison life for the first time in their short lives.

As I jot this down I see a table loaded with food and a vast array of drink set out. I am guessing that tomorrow may need to be a quiet day too.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Why I don't work in the telecoms industry anymore

Today Golfy and I were working at home. We have had one hell of a week and have managed to squeeze 10% out of our costs and completely revise our method of delivery in one country to achieve a portion of this. The rest was down to harrying and harassing our colleagues on a daily basis until they complied. This evening saw the final cost case passed to pricing and a final few e-mails issued to try to satisfy approval conditions.

Working at home involves frequent calls and Golfy and I have noticed that if I make a call to him it takes significantly longer to connect than if he makes a call to me...

... I pointed out that this was entirely natural advising that ****cester is much larger than the branch in the Hundred Acre Wood. Therefore it was entirely natural that a call from the Wood would take longer to reach ****cester than vice versa. Golfy replied that this was bollocks.

My reposte was as follows; it takes eight minutes for the light from the sun to reach the earth. If you shine a torch at the sun you can hardly expect the light to reach the sun in the same amount of time. After all, the torch is significantly weaker than the sun and it has to flow against the huge amount of light coming from the sun. For some reason Golfy didnt quite agree with this logic....

.... I tried another tack. It is a bit like trying to paddle a canoe up a waterfall. So, from the perspective of an Amazon Indian who is wearing nothing but red ochre, a piece of vine round his waist and a gourd over the end of his penis he will entirely understand why it take longer for a call to reach ****cester than it does for a call from ****cester to reach me. the reason it takes longer is because canoes aren't any good at going up waterfalls*.

Therefore my argument was much better as it was truly international in nature and could be understood by even the most non technological of cultures. To disagree would definitely be, at the very least, insulting to the noble inhabitants of the Amazon Basin. 

There is probably a moral to this story. Then again I have a deep suspicion that if there is it is probably best left unexamined because  I am developing a strong feeling that it is not what you say, it is more the way that you say it.

* well canoes are, but only if they have  a 40 HP Evinrude strapped to the transom. These are very rare in the deepest Amazon

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Quote of the Day

OK, so apart from the Lager, the chocolate, the fine Medieval Architecture and Le Mannequin Pis what have the Belgians ever done for us?

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Day 18

"What", I hear you say, "are you rattling on about?"

Today is day 18. Eighteen days ago I set a dozen eggs in an very basic incubator and every day they have been manually turned to give the embryos the best chance of development. Today the turning stops and, if all is well, in three days time we will hear cheeping and see the first signs of hatching. The old adage Don't count your chickems 'til they've hatched really applies here. I have carefully tended the clutch but there are so many things that can go wrong and Saturday could be anywhere on the scale of complete failure to success.

If the little buggers hatch we then have to wait and watch them develop until we can work out which are hens and which are cockerels. This will take about six or seven weeks. Welsummers are a laying strain that means that the cockerels are not going to give much of a carcass. So even if I have a successful hatch I could still end up with a high proportion of cockerels that have minimal value as meat birds.

On the work front, I was back in the war room with Tigger and Christopher Robin. Once again we sliced and diced the numbers and interrogated the bunnies and weasels in our attempts to get things back in shape. We appear to have had a successful day but there is still much to do. At the same time it has become apparent that this is a very different beast from that we started hunting and, if are lucky enough to have a head to hang on the wall, this one is not going to be one that will take pride of place over the fireplace.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

12 hours in a war room.

Tuesday was another day down in the Village.

Tigger and I are creatures of The Hundred Acre Wood and do not adapt well to the confines of an Office but that is where we have been put. "Tigger and Pooh, you will stay there and shout at the Weasels and Bunnies until you have managed to reduce your costs to a level they were a month ago". So in the office we have been, call after call, constantly updating a spreadsheet as we locate and remove unnecessary cost.

It is a hard job but we are buoyed by each success and dive deeper in to our costs striking out eye watering sums, ensuring that agreement is obtained for each chunk of money we remove. It is amazing how dividing by a million and rounding can allow us to throw around these immense and scary numbers and hammer and mould them in to a shape we like better.

It is fascinating to see how a large International Deal is assembled and progressed and today the Accountants, Tax Experts and Financial Wizards have turned up. Their work is great for the Corporation and great for the client too but it is becoming apparent that tax in Europe is not a palatable thing and if it can be avoided it will.

It now seems that the nelifunt Tigger and I were hunting may actually be a woozle. "Fuck me Tigger, we've had the telescope the wrong way round. It's no bigger than a rat". "I see that Pooh,but please don't swear about the size of the fu......"

Monday, 13 June 2011

Grinding away at it ...

War room waffle with a hint of progress summarises today at work.

Tigger and I took a trip down to the Village to meet up with Christopher Robin and work out just how bad our numbers had become. We now have a figure and possible plan to deal with about a quarter of it. At the moment things do not bode well for the future of the deal. Previously I would have had something in my back pocket that I could use to assist but that was taken away from me in a previous iteration of costing and pricing.

I am currently taking a stoical viewpoint and am progressing what I can. Where changes can be made I will attempt to make them, where they cannot I will attempt to explain why.  Perhaps the idiot that thought we could do this in a little over three weeks is starting to realise that they really need to brush up their project planning and estimation skills.

Away from work I managed a walk around the Three Miler with T&M before supper and back to the lap top to attempt to put things in a better shape. To be honest there is little I can do and need more information and a stroke of good fortune in the shape of a Techie that can deliver amazing server infrastructure at incredibly low cost....

... and this is never going to happen

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Here we go ...

... the weekend arrived and, after a manic couple of weeks, I had a morning that was not going to be disturbed by the project. Realistically I knew that there was still a lot to do and a weekend off was never going to happen but I was not going to spend all weekend working my tits off. I was going to wind down and spend some time with 30%, TP and the dogs.

We started the day with a walk around the Three Miler. The day was beautiful and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. I planned to take TP over to a local air show later and it looked like a perfect day for the event. Once home TP and I started to get our shit together to go out and then the phone rang...

... it was my Sales Exec. He was concerned about the approval status and the costs and needed to set up a call to discuss. I knew this was coming and accepted an invitation for five o'clock. This gave me a good chunk of the day to spend with TP and 30%. The air show was fine until the rain came in and we then decided that an air field was not a great place to be in a storm. We returned home giving me the opportunity to accompany 30% on a search for curtain and upholstery fabric. We took a trip in to Worcester and we rewarded with a find that will be absolutely perfect for an antique Nursing Chair that 30% has arranged to have restored and re upholstered.

The five o'clock call was pretty much as expected; 90 minutes of trying to sort out uncooperative Europeans and a list of actions that I needed to progress. I spend a further hour issuing the urgent mails leaving the less urgent ones until Sunday.

The evening was a combination of supper, TV and beer; low brow but about all I can manage at the moment.

Sunday was pretty similar; an early morning walk in the pouring rain and then a couple of hours sat in front of the laptop explaining why costs increase when a "guess" is validated and found to be inaccurate.

The afternoon saw us take a trip out and a road block made us take a diversion down a lane I had never driven before. The result was an absolute delight; empty lanes and a stunning three story brick and timber farm house in the middle of nowhere. It was an amazing sight; it had obviously escaped significant restoration and was there in the same role as it had been for the past four centuries as a home for the farmer rather than becoming an insensitively restored country home for a Commuting Senior Manager.

A conference call marked the transition from afternoon to evening and dinner followed. I type this entry looking "forward" to a week of screwing people in to agreements that they would really rather not make.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Through the Gate

It is now Friday evening and I am on the outside of a couple of glasses of Rioja.

Tigger and me have had one hell of a week hence the reason for straying from the hunny and pouring fine wine down my throat. Our final and most significant review of the week took place this afternoon. It was attended by representatives from all over EMEA and from all parts of the delivery organisation. I had set up my easel at the foot of one of the oaks and for the next 90 minutes showed them pictures of Tigger and me on the nelfunt hunt and told them tall tales of our exploits.

At some points in the story some of the more cynical members of the team, who would probably run a mile at them mere thought of a nelifunt let alone the sight and smell of one, asked difficult questions which taxed a bear that is more used to "what would you like for tea Pooh?" or "stick fighting or sitting on a branch, what do you think?". Fortunately the week had involved several briefings with Judge Dread and a Wise Owl and I was mostly well prepared.

The long and the short is that we got through the call and got a "conditional approval". This is the best we could have hoped for and means that we need to run around like mad things shouting to get the conditions met so we can deliver a firm price to the client at the back end of next week.

This week has been totally mentally and physically exhausting and by midday yesterday I had reached the point of information overload. Colleagues were saying stuff on calls and not a syllable was making any sense. I was trying to deal with instant messages and e-mails and attend conference calls at the same time. It is actually the equivalent of sitting in an office working away and having a conversation going on behind you. You hear your name mentioned and have to say "I'm sorry but can you repeat the question my attention was diverted elsewhere".

An hour before the call I actually just stopped work, stepped away from it and watched the TV news. In hindsight I am sure this was a sensible thing to do. I avoided any last minute distractions, false emergencies or  "flapping" by the uninformed and went in to the call giving my overview uncorrupted by any last minute additions.

So now I have an evening to spend with 30% and TP doing nothing. I have had a brief walk with T&M and discovered that the Outside is still there.

I realise that there is still much to do but it also dawned on me that I am moving in to an area where I do have previous experience, very limited experience but at least some. The first solo task I was given in this new role was to support contractual negotiations and final signings and that is where we are about to go. I have therefore trod lightly along a path similar to this.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

'ard day

Not a lot that can be said about a day where people are starting to flap about the lack of time and they way they flap is to hold more calls to ensure that there is even less time to do stuff in.

Spare a thought for Tigger who has an awful job of attempting to aggregate a dozen separate cost models in to a single entity with a piece of tooling that is not up to the job. It is incredibly frustrating as the tool takes forever to do anything. This leaves you a lot of time to ponder on how little time you have left and how you can see it being frittered away with no apparent progress.

Today was spent at the Underground Volcano and was call after call after call, interspersed with e-mails, and a good amount of swearing as commitments were broken.

Quote of the day was probably "you need to follow the French process" ...

... "ah, allow yourself to be invaded, collaborate with the Germans, eat invertebrates and go on strike at the slightest provocation".

Away from work I slept and had a rather stern letter from the Cat's Brief. He has read yesterday's Journal entry and his clients find it potentially libellous and demand an immediate retraction and apology. So, sorry Potato and Eddy. There is nothing wrong with your presentation skills and your still-life of  mouse and entrails was a delight.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

It's not what you know...

Tuesday saw Tigger and me take a long trip to Nottingham.

They have still not managed to take the dead fox out of the Village well so we needed to take a run up North for our first review of the week. It was a long day but things went very well and there is a chance that the rest of the week will be slightly and I repeat slightly less complicated than we had previously thought.

Yesterday I mentioned that one of the Free Men of the Village was most unhelpful, in fact fucking obstructive, when we asked about arranging and combining reviews. Today we were in a meeting with his Manager and she was most attentive to our tale of woe and within a few minutes two reviews became one and was delayed by 24 hours to give us more time...

... Note to self: Speak to the Organ Grinder not the Monkey.

Later in the day we had a call with an Exec who had a blue fit when asked to review our project previously. The aim of the call was to calm him down and reassure him that we had a reasonable idea what we were doing and that the risks were mitigated. After more than a month of nagging the relevant Specialist Bunny had arranged a call and had the worst slide deck on the planet ready to present. He opened the call and started ...

... it was going to be a car crash. He had the presentations skills of my cat*, missed out key changes and was delivering at totally the wrong level for the audience members. I quickly stepped in to get some seriously key points across and with able support from Judge Dread we soon had the Exec coming around ...

... Note to self: Let the Organ Grinder speak, not the Monkey. Then take the Monkey out side, put it in a sack, give it a good kicking and throw it in the river weighted down with bricks.

Tigger and me returned to the Hundred Acre Wood basking in the glow of a successful day and, for once, I left the laptop closed this evening.
* Probably including stopping half way through to lick his own arse

Monday, 6 June 2011

Thanks for your help ...

The review cycle is a critical stage in the life cycle of my project and Tigger and I have less than a week to get through a whole series of them. This will be challenging to say the least.

Last week, thinking ahead, we followed the documented process and contacted one of the Free Men of the Village to arrange one of the reviews. Today we noted that we had still heard nothing and thought we had better chase him up...

"That's not my job" was the courteous reply we received. "You need to sort it all out with the Lady who drives the Tractor". OK we thought. Lets think about this and remember I am a bear of little brain. It is not the Free Man's job but he received our request and knew that Tigger and I were in the full throws of a nelifunt hunt. But he couldn't be arsed to assist. Tigger dutifully contacted the Lady with the Tractor, as he likes farm machinery, and she said "Oh, the Free Man of the Village sorts this out" ...

Tiger and I then spent a few minutes inventing some new words. I should hasten to point out that the Lady with the Tractor was very nice and agreed to put everything right for us.

We had further contact with the Free Man later in the day as we need to show some pictures and some words during the review. We already have them drawn and written and Owl has checked the spelling but apparently they are on the wrong sort of paper. We advised that we were very busy and did we need to draw them all again. He did what could now be expected of him and just said "No, re-draw them". He made no attempt to check or argue the case of two nelifunt hunters he just stuck to the party line except where it involves him doing anything and then he changes the process to suit himself.

As I said a couple of days ago "If you are not helping you are an arse hole"....

.... and as Tigger has said "Don't swear dear, it really isn't polite and it makes you sound like a complete wa......"

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Work 'n Play

Sunday was similar to Saturday except that it was 24 hours later.

I worked on and off throughout the day and at one point in the morning actually had a formal three way conference call with one of our HR colleagues. It rapidly became apparent that we were all speaking different languages - LITERALLY - and a further call will be needed tomorrow in an attempt to clarify the mud.

Away from the laptop the dogs were walked and the PORN mower was given it's second outing. Its deck was lowered a notch and away we went. TP has suddenly shown a keen interest in lawn mowing since the evil bastard Sovereign has been deposed and took over the task, allowing me to drink coffee and mow the lawn simultaneously.

Back on the subject of work, there was a ray of light in the afternoon. Wise Owl has been away for a week and both Tigger and I really could do with some of his guidance. In a desperate attempt at contact I sent him a text asking if he was back in work tomorrow and whether I could grab some of his time. I got a positive response and will finally get an expert view on how deep in the mire we really are.

I suppose I had better get an early night as this week is going to be far harder that last.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

A Novelty

On reflection Saturday was very ordinary and that was a good thing.

After a leisuirely breakfast it was a quick trip to the feed supplier to pick up some Layers Pellets and then in to Stratford for a few chores. Once back home it was time for lunch and a walk with T&M under skies that threatened a downpour. Fortunately the rain held off, apart from a few drops as I walked up the hill.

In the afternoon I returned to the laptop and spent a few hours trying to keep the project on track. As referenced in today's title, The Novelty was that I did not have a telephone stuck to the side of my head or someone trying to catch my attention using Instant Messenger software as I tried to work. I did spend some time catching up with Golfy but that is always fun and a light heated chat which keeps us on track is always welcome.

The late afternoon saw TP return from a trip to see his Grandma and the evening saw us dine with one of TP's mates and his family. 

Next week is likely to be even more intense that the one just passed and I am approaching it with the view of "do what you can in the time that you have" ...

... Oh, and "anybody who doesn't help is a complete arse hole"

Friday, 3 June 2011

As if I didn't have more than enough to do

The working day has been chaotic. The Legionnaire in the Village Well refuses to come out and no-one can visit the Village until the Authorities say so. They say it is an "elf and safety" issues but I have heard nothing of Elves and I think it is just a cover up of a legitimate political protest. If I have the time I will see if I can google why there is a Legionnaire in the well, what he is protesting about and why we can't listen to his valid political objections.

He is causing me problems and I have had to re-arrange a vital meeting to a completely different location as well as juggle and field the numerous questions and demands that are coming my way.

So there you have it; calls and e-mails and as we near the "drop dead" date more and more work streams suddenly need my urgent and vital attention on matters that really need more time and detail to address. We really are trying to "cram a quart in to a pint pot". At the moment it feels more like a good sized lake.

"Ah" I hear you say "but you have Tigger at your side, pointed stick at the ready to take on the nelifunt". That is correct. I am not alone, but I was today as Tigger had planned to meet up with some pals in a field where they would all play with their sticks and their balls. This is not a game for me. Apparently Tigger is not one of the best at this game and tends to spend a lot of time with his face down in the long grass. The more he talks about this game the less appealing it seems.

I finally paused for breath around half past five and stepped out to take T&M for their walk. It was a beautiful June day and the walk allowed me to clear my head. Back home I had time for a quick chat with 30% before she disappeared out on a "Girls Night". I then spent another hour or so clearing my "must do's" before nuking a portion of Pork 'n Beans and throwing it down my neck along with a large bottle of Leffe Blonde. Funnily enough I don't remember much after that and woke a couple of hours later just before 30% walked back through the door.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Another 12 hour day

If I look at my calendar it is no joke when I say that, as an absolute minimum. half of every working day is taken up by scheduled meetings. If I then add in the spontaneous calls that are needed to keep the nelifunt hunt on track then I am spending well over seven or eight hours a day on the phone.

One can imagine, therefore, how absolutely delighted I am to hear Christopher Robin and other senior Villagers decide to arrange further calls to monitor progress. They are well aware that there is much to do and little time and their response is to steal and interrupt what little I have left.

I have a document that absolutely must have the first draft finished by tomorrow morning. I also had to pop down to the Village for a couple of meetings and to say farewell to my old Boss. So there you have it meetings and calls and documentation is the order of the day. I climbed down off my favourite branch and drove in to the village where I found that it was shut due to problems with the local well. Apparently they had found a dead fox in it, or a Legionnaire, or something. A polite gentleman turned me away and so with much huffing and puffing I climbed back in the Defender and drove back home.

I had just wasted over an hour driving to an office that was shut and would now not be able to say goodbye and more importantly thank a departing colleague for whom I had developed a great respect.

Before I climbed back on my favourite branch I put a big sign at the bottom of the tree. It said

The sign seems to have worked and I have just about finished the draft. I will now wreak havoc in The Hundred Acre Wood by telling the bunnies and weasels that they now need to read it and revise their relevant sections. I have my doubts whether some of them can actually read after some of their input over the past few days.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Quote of the Day ...

... "I'm fed up of dealing with fucking idiots".

"As the completion date nears it is getting very hard to find the time to do what needs to be done and some of our colleagues are not as strong as they could be"

You can take your pick of which one I prefer but both of these, or very similar, have left my lips over the last few days.

Let's just say it is sometimes very surprising how hard it is to get the right people down in The Hundred Acre Wood especially considering the size of the nelifunt we are hunting...

... "Look Tigger, I can see it from a mile away. It's fucking ginormous"...

... "So can I Pooh but please don't swear. It's not polite and makes you look like a cu......."