Tuesday, 31 May 2016

The start of a short working week.

I'm not sure what to recount for today, as the most exiting thing that happened was that the Postman* visited us on four occasions before the clock had struck midday.

I also managed to arrive fashionably late for a conference call that I was hosting and finally got, shall we say, "assertive' with the escalated project ...

...   Having explained, for the umpteenth time, why we were unlikely to be able to be able to deliver earlier,  I was asked "why are we so late with this?" After considering my options I decided to go with blunt and to the point. My reply was thus: "Basically because my team was not engaged to develop a solution until after the actual deadline for delivery to the customer had passed."

I followed this up with a few pieces of cast iron evidence to back up my statement and, funnily enough, I didn't hear anything after that.

In view of the fact that it was a quiet day I have decided to go with a photograph from last year's trip to America. Here are the Pier 39 Sea lions basking in the afternoon sun. These bathing beauties draw a huge crowd of onlookers as they bask within a few meters of the shops and restaurants of Fisherman's Wharf. Apparently their numbers can exceed one thousand on occasions but there was probably only sixty or seventy when we were there.
A Masterclass in the Afternoon Siesta
* Now that I am in my sixth decade "Postman" is a generic term used for absolutely any individual, of either sex, involved in the delivery of mail or packages to our front door. I cannot be arsed to distinguish between The Royal Mail,  Parcelforce, DPD, Hermes or any of the other Companies that make the dogs bark when I am on a conference call.

Monday, 30 May 2016

Problem Areas in the Garden

If yesterday was relaxing today was most definitely not ...

...  First let me set the scene; at the end of the garage there is an open area that is the perfect size and shape for parking one of the cars. At the moment this area is piled high with enormous stone blocks that were excavated when we had the wall at the front of the house rebuilt last year. At the back of this hardstanding is a raised area of about eight square meters that is covered with brambles and ivy.

The ultimate plan is to use the stone blocks to create a stone wall to border two sides of the hardstanding and then to have the area paved.  The plan for today was to make a start on clearing the brambles and ivy so that the site is sufficiently clear for Tradespersons to be able come in and quote for the wall and paving. We also want to clear the hidden strip of adjoining land that runs behind the garage.*

First thing this morning** 30% and I went out and hitched the trailer to the Land Rover. We then started by loading my "Tip Pile"*** in to the trailer. This barely filled the trailer half full, so secateurs and tree loppers were brought out and we made a start on the brambles and ivy.

I was on cutting duties and 30% was loading the ivy in to the trailer and the brambles in to the garden waste bins. After about an hour 30% went off to make coffee whilst I continued to hack a path towards the back of the garage. I kid you not, it was like an Explorer clearing a path through darkest African forest.

30% returned  with coffee and I eventually emerged from the the undergrowth. After taking a break 30% suggested that we headed over to the Tip.  I went to inspect the trailer and was amazed to see it piled high. I was under the impression that we hadn't made much of a dent and was, instead, presented with a large heap of green debris. The load was securely tied and we headed off to dispose of the debris.

Upon our return, we lunched and then headed off for a walk with the dogs.

It was then a case of back to the grindstone and we assaulted the jungle once more. We eventually gave up at around six o'clock and could actually see that progress had been made ...

... But there are going to be a few more back breaking days and trips to the tip before we are in a position to bring in hired hands to start walling and paving.
* It should be noted that, at no point in this narrative, have I mentioned the "Kindling Pile" ... [WARNING: Rant Mode Engaged]

... A few years ago a "friend" advised that they had collected some pallet wood from their place of work and wondered if we wanted it for kindling. Feeling somewhat obligated, we accepted the offer and ended up collecting an ENORMOUS pile of wood.

My view was that we didn't really need it because I can always find a few sticks to light a fire and, worst case, I can always track down a pallet and attach it with a chainsaw. I most definitely did not need about six pallets worth of kindling.

To make matters worse, 30% and TP attempted to stack the aforementioned pile of wood behind the garage and their "stack" looked more like an exploded windmill. As a consequence I had to deconstruct their fucking mess, re-stack it and get a tarpaulin to cover it.

As previously stated " I can always find a few sticks to light a fire' so this bloody stack has sat there, untouched, for God Knows how fucking long.

So, now I have to dismantle it once more and take it to the bloody tip. [Rant mode disengaged]

** Well, as close to "first thing" as you get on a Bank Holiday and probably closer to ten o'clock

*** General Garden detritus that is too large for disposal by other means. Consequently it is collected and stored until such time that I can be arsed to go to the tip.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

A sunny Sunday in the garden

Sunday morning was taken at a leisurely pace and involved an extended  period of coffee drinking and pottering.

As ten o'clock approached 30% headed on to town for a few essentials and TP* surfaced from his lair and started assemble a rather sophisticated breakfast of coffee, croissant and scrambled eggs.  Once sufficient caffeine had hit his blood stream I engaged him in basic conversation. I informed him that I planned to do an inspection of the hive and asked if he wanted to join me. He agreed with an amazing level of enthusiasm for a nineteen year old who had only been awake for twenty five minutes.**

Once breakfasted TP was quickly dressed and we were soon wafting puffs of smoke at the entrance of the hive...

... I must have been distracted when I reassembled the hive last week as I had put the crown board on upside down and the frames in the Super were perpendicular to those in the Brood Box rather than parallel.

This hadn't seemed to have affected the colony at all and the frames looked marvellous. Last week I had noticed that I had young larvae up in the Super and was working on the assumption that the Queen had made her way up there, before I had installed the Queen Excluder, and laid in the freshly drawn foundation.  The larvae cells were now all capped and there was no sign of fresh eggs or larvae. This suggests that my assumption was correct. All being well the larvae will hatch in a week or so leave the cells available for honey production.

The brood box below the queen excluder was also looking very healthy with masses of capped brood and stores of pollen and honey. We saw the Queen working her way across an empty frame, obviously busy laying. Reassured that all was well, the hive was reassembled ... with the Super and Crown Board on the right way this time.

In the afternoon BMS and SMS*** joined us for afternoon team and we spent several hours sat in the garden catching up on each others' news.

Today had been far less busy than yesterday and it was great to simply relax in front of the television once our guests had left. It may have been a more relaxing day, but I was still shattered and was snoring on the sofa a little after ten o'clock.

Thank Heavens tomorrow is a Bank Holiday.
* TP: The Progeny
** He has actually been surprisingly interested in the arrival of the bees and loves to come out and work with his Dad and the colony. Apparently he was even discussing it with one of the regulars when pulling pints at work a few nights ago.
*** BMS & SMS: Bad Man Senior and Step Mum Sue.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

A Busy Saturday

Over the past few days we had noticed that Marauder hadn't been her usual self and had developed an unhealthy interest in her rear end.

I consulted Google and came to the conclusion that her ...  [WARNING: look away now if you are at all squeamish] ... anal glands might be blocked. The first activity of the day was therefore another trip to the Vets.

After questioning the observable symptoms the Vet put on a pair of gloves and applied lubricant. Marauder was not at all impressed and could be heard to clearly state that she was being violated. My diagnosis was confirmed and the Vet gently* released the foul smelling blockage. Unfortunately this was all over the dog, the examination table, the floor and me.

The Vet apologised for spraying me with Marauder's noxious gloop. Quick as a flash I replied "shit happens" and watched this witty response wither and die ... this particular Vet is not known for her sense of humour.

With Marauder hopefully sorted we headed home and I then wheeled The Shitter from the garage. I rode her over to the nearest Motorcycle workshop to arrange her MOT test.** Normally I would do this over the 'phone, but The Shitter's number plate is definitely illegal.  I therefore wanted to discuss whether I need to simply present, or actually fit, a road legal registration plate for the test.

The response from the Workshop owner was encouraging.  He smiled and advised that they didn't worry about things like that, adding that, if ever asked, they advised that the machine "wasn't like that when presented for the test".  I was relieved that my pseudo vintage trials machine did not need to be encumbered with a 7" x 9" reflective, yellow, acrylic monstrosity.

By the time I returned home 30% had headed off for a hair appointment, so it was just TP and I at home for lunch.  TP was actually cleaning his motorbike and in the early afternoon I was required to assist with the adjustment of it's chain.  Having done that I decided to a little maintenance on The Shitter.

When I rebuilt the bike I had replaced the traditional Royal Enfield snail cam chain adjusters with a more modern type. Having used these for the past year it is fair to say that I wasn't overly impressed.   I found them fiddly and not particularly precise. So, this afternoon I spent what turned out to be an hour and a half taking out the rear wheel and reverting back to snail cam adjusters.

I finished and was washing off the grease, grime and oil just as 30% returned from her hair appointment. We then headed out in to the garden and I got grubby once again as I planted up the lavender in the border I created yesterday.

As the afternoon waned it was time to get cleaned up and dressed for an evening out. 30%'s Mum and Dad had recently celebrated their birthdays** so 30% had made a booking at 33, The Scullery in Stratford.

This is a tiny little restaurant situated amongst chip shops and dry cleaners and, initially, appears to be a little cafe. Once inside it was clearly a nice little restaurant and we were soon seated and surveying the menu. Three and a half hours and three courses later I can report that they served the best food that I had eaten for a very long time.

I had chicken livers pan fried with brandy and cream to start, a rib-eye steak as my main and finished it off with a beautiful creme brulee.  30% and The Tweedy's also reported most excellent fare and I don't think it will be  long before we make another visit.
* "Gently! ... my arse!" said Marauder
** Mr Tweedy was 74. I think Mrs Tweedy was about 1,458 and still looking remarkably well preserved, despite her inability to check herself out in mirrors!

A spot of Bird Watching news

30% loves to see birds in the garden and has a variety of feeders dotted around. She regularly fills then with fresh seed and fat balls and loves to see the Robins and Blue Tits eagerly pecking away.

I am sure that you can imagine the scene; with a variety of finches, thrushes and tits busily feeding. The very image of a rural British Garden. This morning I woke early and came down to witness a garden that looked more like a scene from A Game of Thrones than the avian paradise 30% is aiming for.

I saw three of the most enormous enormous rooks pecking at a bird feeder like it was a still warm corpse. I swear one of them looked like it had a third eye on it's forehead.  These were accompanied by a pair of grey hooded Jackdaws and a malevolent Magpie.*

It was the complete antithesis of what she has in mind. There was not a single 'garden" bird in sight just these dark and brooding members of the Corvidae that wouldn't have looked out of place on a battle field.
* I should also mention "Fat Pigeon" who is a regular in the garden. FP is an incredibly obese Wood Pigeon . The bird is so tubby that I swear the bugger drags it's breast along the sward as it waddles across the garden.  I am amazed that the chubby sod can manage to fly up in to the fir tree and I am sure that I can hear it wheezing asthmatically rather than cooing as it should.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Odd Jobs

Despite the fact that one of my projects is the subject of a Customer escalation, I had a relatively quiet day.

I suppose I should explain my relaxed view of the client escalation. Basically the project had missed its committed delivery date on 31st March. This was eight days before I was engaged to develop a solution and pricing. Once I had been engaged,  I ensured that the Project Lead understood that we would need several weeks, if not months, to develop the pricing.  I also had the sense to minute that conversation and distribute to all concerned.  Since my engagement I have prioritised and pushed the work forward and have a set of audible records to prove it.

Basically; short of inventing a fucking time machine there was nothing I could have ever done to get the project back on track.

So, apart from pushing out a communication to attempt to get an American Security Team to work faster I had a quiet day.

It was glorious outside and by four o'clock I had wandered outside and was enjoying the weather.

Feeling that I ought to achieve something , I looked around for something to do and my eye fell on the garage guttering. This had developed a leaking joint so the steps were deployed and I soon had the sections clipped back together. I was obviously keen as I then went on to clear the crud from the gutter to avoid blocking the drains.

With the thought of blocked drains rattling around in my skull I remembered that one of the drains was not clearing quickly and spent the next twenty minuted trying to work out how to remove the drain cover. I eventually fathomed it and managed to clear a substantial amount of stagnant detritus from the drain ... it now flows beautifully.

I was now on a roll and tools were gathered from the shed and I attacked the new border up by the bee hive. 30% and I had purchased some lavender plants to create a low hedge but the border need to be weeded first. It was an hour of digging, including stump removal before this couple of linear meters was free of nettles, ivy and brambles.

I now just need to check the shade level over the course of the day to ensure it will be sunny enough for lavender.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

I'm not sure anything happened

Today was one of those days when I seemed to be busy for most of the day but can't really recall anything significant happening.

At present I am going through a stage where I have handed off a lot of my work products to the Sales and Commercial Teams and they are just not up to having difficult discussions with the client. They don't want me to get involved in those discussions but they do want me to develop their arguments for them. At every stage in the process they revert back to me to resend an email that I provided months ago or justify a set of costs that were developed last year and reviewed on multiple occasions since then.

It is not hard work, but it is bloody frustrating to support a Sales team with the collective IQ of a sea squirt.  This is a good analogy since the sea squirt has neither prominent testes nor a back bone.

As five o'clock approach I gave up and wandered out in to the garden. Refreshed, I pulled the lawn mower from the shed and ran it around the lawn. I must have been keen as I then fired up the strimmer and tidied up the edges of the lawn too.

I then wandered over to the hive, perched on a tree stump and watched the bees coming and going. Their dedicated collection of nectar and pollen is amazingly calming to watch.  It gives me a warm pleasure to see them working and I hope building up a robust colony that will endure the Winter to come.

I don't think I was ever interested in bee keeping to produce honey. After all, several pounds of honey is not the best garden produce for a a diabetic. I just wanted to have a thriving hive  ...

... the funny thing is; they may only be insects but, as you care for them, you start to develop an affection for them and want each and every one of them to prosper. There are tens of thousands of them and in the Summer a worker only lives about six weeks, but we find ourselves going out of our way to avoid squashing a single one of them.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Some mid-week colour

Today's weather was cool and grey.

As the day progressed the sun refused to make an appearance and I eventually succumbed and turned on the heating.

On the work front;  things were generally quiet with brief interludes when idiots asked me stupid questions. I refused to answer these and, instead, advised them on the questions they should be asking and gave them the information they really needed. I think I may be somewhat demotivated at present.

The way this Journal entry is going it has the potential to get very bleak in the next few paragraphs ...

... Never Fear! I'm not going to fill this page with rants about work because it is just that ... "work". At it's most fundamental level it it the paid activity I participate in, to ensure that my Physiological and Safety* needs are met.

So, with a dreary grey day outside the window and hassle from idiots on the screen in front of me it is time for something far more cheerful instead.
Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco
This photograph was taken last August when we toured California and Nevada. This sunny yellow tram was on the lines that run down to Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco.

We flew in to San Francisco and spent a few days there before heading out towards Sacramento. The city is well known for its Cable Cars, but it also has an extensive tram system. We were amazed to learn that they actually had an open topped tram that was originally from Blackpool.**

We spent a few hours down at the Wharf taking in the Sea lions down at Pier 39 and also took a boat trip around Alcatraz and out under the Golden Gate Bridge.

Hopefully photos make better subject matter than me moaning about work or the weather.
* As Abraham Maslow would have put it. I tend to go along with "it pays the mortgage".
** A fact gleaned from the marvellous little museum down by the Seafront. 

Tuesday, 24 May 2016


Yesterday evening TP returned from a short trip in 30%'s Audi TT* to report that all was not well with the vehicle. His limited mechanical knowledge meant that he was not able to describe the problem but I managed to ascertain that it was "hunting" when idling and the power delivery was erratic causing a very rough drive.

The consequence of this was that today's first activity was to leave the car at the local workshop. With that task accomplished, 30% and I returned to find Penny** waiting on our doorstep to start her first session here at the Pile.

Within minutes she was a Whirling Dervish of household hygiene, having decided to concentrate on the Kitchen for her first session.  30% and I retired to our respective laptops and left her to it.  She finished at noon leaving a sparkling Kitchen in her wake. The only problem is that she has decided on a bit of a re-organisation and it took me a full ten minutes to find a pair of scissors.

In the afternoon Rob turned up to finish off the retaining wall in the garden. He finished just as the workshop called to let us know that the Audi was ready for collection.*** We urgently needed to be at the Vets, as Tyson & Marauder needed their Booster shots, so the little Audi was collected on our return from the surgery.

By the time we eventually got home it was definitely time for a drink!
* 30% has finally decided that it is time to sell the TT and a rather nice little mini is already sat on the drive. Unfortunately we are witnessing a classic case of procrastination as we wait for 30% to swap personal registration plates and get the TT listed on the Auto Trader website. I am sure we have had the mini since the middle of March so we are at two months and counting.
** Our recently recruited Cleaner
*** A loose turbo pipe had been reconnected and a few fault codes had been reset ... "forty quid if it's cash"

Monday, 23 May 2016

The first produce from the hive

Over the past couple of weeks I have removed a reasonable quantity of brace comb* and drone brood* from the hive during the weekly inspections.

This was a mixture of bees wax, uncapped honey stores and drone larvae and over the past couple of weeks it had started to smell slightly yeasty. Rather than let it go to waste I found a spare hour in my day and set up a hot water bath to melt the waxy mess.

Once the mixture had melted it was paused through a piece of muslin to strain out the crud, leaving behind clean, golden yellow bees wax. It soon cooled and I was able to inspect the first produce from the hive.  The block of wax weighs barely sixty grammes** and would be just about enough to make a small candle.

Realistically I need a lot more wax before I consider manufacturing any bee based produce but, for the moment, I am simply in awe of this useful raw material that has been made from nectar, gathered from thousands and thousands of flowers.
* Brace comb is a term used to describe the clusters of wax cells that bees construct in large spaces; often between the frames and the floor and sides of the hive. Drone brood are the large wax cells that the bees construct around the base of the frames where drones (male bees) are raised.
** a little over two ounces in old money

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Getting on with things.

Sunday morning was taken at a very leisurely pace. My main objective was to do an inspection of the hive and 30% had asked her Mum and Dad* if they would like to join us for coffee and a peek inside the colony.

They arrived shortly after ten o'clock and we spent a pleasant half an hour catching up on each others' news and inspecting the garden following the recent work to finish off the lawn.

Mrs Tweedy and I then suited up, lit the smoker and wandered over to the hive. A few puffs of smoke were wafted in to the entrance and we paused for a minute or two while the bees calmed. Then we removed the roof, lifted the crown board and started to look through the Super.

The Super had been installed a fortnight ago and left without a Queen Excluder to ensure that the workers were not inhibited from moving up and drawing out the foundation in the new frames. The Queen Excluder was put in place last week, when I saw that seven or eight of the frames had had their cells drawn out.

As we looked through these frames it was apparent that I should have put the Queen Excluder on earlier as several of the frames had large areas of cells each containing a small bee larva curled up at the bottom. The Queen had obviously wandered up in to the Super during the first week and took a liking to the freshly constructed cells.

Obviously no-one wants bee larvae in their honey, but they will be hatched in a couple of weeks,** leaving the Super frames clear for honey storage.

The Super was lifted off the hive and we delved in to the brood box. The frames looked fantastic with large patches of capped and uncapped brood bordered by arcs of pollen and honey stores. We soon found the Queen wandering across the cells and I was reassured that all was well. The hive was reassembled and it was time for more coffee and cakes.

Mr & Mrs Tweedy left shortly before lunch time so we had the rest of the day to ourselves.

In the early afternoon I finished patching the lawn where Whiffler had worn away the sward. I then headed indoors and TP and I shifted some furniture around. Bookcases were swapped from one bedroom to another and there was finally space to relocate the hoard*** from the study and put it on display.

I finished the day with an extended period of contemplation. A gin and tonic was held in one hand and a hose pipe in the other. I relaxed and thought about as little as possible as I watered the new turf.
* aka Mr & Mrs Tweedy (Aardman Animation's Chicken Run)
** unless I have a laying worker or the Queen is the Harriet Houdini of the bee world.
*** 30%'s rather derogatory term for my collection of Hornby Dublo

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Not exactly what I would have chosen to do

The weekend: a time to escape the constraints of the working week, a time to relax and pursue individual pastimes, a time to just do exactly what you want to do ...

... or "not" judging by my Saturday.

Yesterday 30% informed me that it was Alcester Food Festival today and that she thought it would be really nice for us to go and take a look. Now, before I go any further I must report that the aforementioned festival is a well organised event with lots to see, taste and buy. On previous occasions I have really enjoyed it.

The key words in that sentence are "on previous occasions". There is the problem. I am of the opinion that once you have visited one food festival you have visited them all.  Each and every one of the is exactly the same.  They all have purveyors of small scale, local, artisan produce with small taster samples accompanied by the ubiquitous bowls of cocktail sticks and warnings about "double dipping".

The stalls will be selling local cheeses, sausages made from exotic animals,* chilli based conserves and cottage loaves; all of varying quality. As I have said, they are great little events, but once you have been to one of them you most definitely do not need to go to another. Many of the "artisans" make a significant part of their annual income by going from one event to another which basically proves my point.

It is fair to say that I didn't really want to go this morning.

We arrived home shortly before lunch and I wandered out in to the garden and made a start on patching a couple of worn areas of lawn** with leftover rolls of turf donated by Rob. After lunch 30% and I went back out in to the garden and continued to tidy, weed and water. We had a pleasant  and productive time and, despite the activities of three large dogs the garden is actually looking really good.

Late in the afternoon Jules arrived and we headed out to a colleagues retirement party. I really did not want to do this at all. I am not a party person. I have only been with the company thirty three months and have never worked for the chap who is retiring. He is nice enough based on the two occasions I have ever spoken to him, but based on our non-existen professional relationship I really didn't want to spend my Saturday afternoon making office small talk with colleagues.

Unfortunately 30% has been with the company for twenty seven years. She has worked with the retiree and she knows each and every person in the company. Even more; she knows their spouses, their kids and their bloody shoe sizes.  She loves a get-together. As a result I was "persuaded" to attend.

Using my honed negotiation skills I managed to get agreement that we would not be there all bloody night, but I knew it was going to be a good few hours of polite, work based conversation.

It was pretty much as I expected. There were a few people I knew and liked, so some of the chatter was pleasant enough., but after a couple of hours I had socialised sufficiently and was amazed that 30% and Jules had too.

We were back home at a very civilised time and spent an pleasant  hour or two nattering and drinking before it was time to hit the sack.
* Zebra, camel and python at today's event.
** Whiffer has a peculiar tendency to do a victory lap of the garden after taking a crap on the lawn. His lap includes a section though a bed of shrubs and his entry point is clearly identifiable as he has worn away the grass.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Mostly Work Stuff

Friday was busier and also much more productive than expected.

On the work front I completed a peer review of a costing exercise with my Boss. He was in agreement with the approach I had taken, so that one was fired off to the Commercial Team. They will now be able to  start a negotiation that is likely to end up with the Sales and Commercial Leads giving away a few hundred thousand dollars.

It is a depressing thought because the exercise was to quantify unrecovered cost. The money they are highly likely to give away is not profit, but money already spent by the Corporation on infrastructure. I am fairly certain that they really don't get it.

After lunch I managed to get out and mow the lawn, finishing just as Rob arrived. I was then involved in a period of manual labour when I helped transport four 9' railway sleepers from his trailer across the garden. By the end of the day he had got these in to position where they now create a retaining wall for one edge of the lawn.* Top soil was added to level out the ground and turf was laid. He needs to come back next week to concrete in some posts but the garden is already transformed by his efforts.

My final activity of the day was to sort out a messy project where I had been engaged far too late in the process. A few weeks back I was brought on board and asked to provide some pricing within eight days. After getting up off the floor and drying the tears of laughter I carefully explained that we would need to engage a team that was a) very busy and b) notorious for taking weeks, if not months, to respond.

I also had the foresight to minute this meeting and distribute to all concerned.

The result of me being brought in to the project team late is that the project has missed it delivery dates and Critical Service Levels have been failed. As a result I have been harried and cajoled to deliver pricing in a ludicrous timescale.

This afternoon I managed to get a 'phone call with a colleague** who needs to deliver the main solution component. I was able to get a commitment from him to deliver the solution and costs at some point in the next week. I was therefore able to end the week with a success and an e-mail was sent out to the Requestor and Programme Manager informing them that we now have a committed delivery date.

None of this is exciting so it was with some relief that I was able to wander away from my laptop and spend a happy hour in the garden giving the turf a good soaking and contemplating how much had been achieved in the space of a few days.
* The house is on a gently sloping site and way back in the past the lawn was levelled using a dry stone wall on the low side to retain the soil. Over time the wall has deteriorated.  A few years back I restored a couple of sections using railway sleepers to create new retaining walls. Rob has been employed to complete the final section that will give us a lawn to be proud of.
** I had already been through a formal engagement process with his team and had provided both verbal and written presentations of our requirements.  This was most definitely a "chaser" call.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

The Conversation

As part of submitting an application for a new Piano Moving role I need to confirm that I have had a discussion with my current Manager and that he is able to release me within a reasonable timeframe.

It is fair to say that I was somewhat apprehensive about this chat.

I really like my current Boss. He took a huge risk in taking on an external hire to do what I do and he has given me high praise and awards in the time I have been there. Recently he has put me in the frame for an very high profile role* on the Account and I felt that I would be letting him down by deciding to seek a new opportunity.

First task of the day was to get a short call arranged with my Boss and the best time for both of us was four o'clock in the afternoon.

I wasn't at my most focussed for much of the day, but I did get a reasonable amount done including putting the finishing touches to a messy piece of work that involved numerous fruitless enquiries. The final result was a spreadsheet littered with assumed values and packed with arse covering assumptions and risk statements.

Rob; the gardener turned up after lunch and has made a great start on sorting out a couple of areas in the garden. He has rotorvated and turfed the area I had cleared up by the bee hive** and has made a start on building a low, sleeper wall . This will replace a crumbling, dry stone wall that purports to supports the edge of the  lawn.

Four o'clock came around and the call kicked off with a few social niceties before I brought up the subject of my decision to seek a new position. My Boss took it very well and, whilst sorry to see me go, confirmed that he was willing to support my application ... That removed a weight from shoulders and my last action of the day was to submit my application for the new role.

I then spent a happy hour stood out in the drizzle soaking the turf that Rob had laid.  It seemed somewhat superfluous to be watering turf in the rain, but I was well aware that a short shower was nowhere near the soaking that was necessary to give this new grass a good start.

I wandered back in to the house to encounter 30% interviewing "Penny"... It appears that we may now have a Cleaner.
* I have looked carefully at that chalice and am sure that I see a skull and cross bones icon engraved discretely upon it.
** He too was "somewhat apprehensive" as the bees were on to a major flow of nectar and there was a lot of coming and going around the hive entrance.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Be very careful when name dropping

First thing this morning I had a conversation with the Hiring Manager for a potential new role.

The call went well and I have the skills and experience that they are looking for ... probably more than they expected.

The new role is supplying solutions to Dante's Nine Circles of Hell and the fact that I had lead Solution Teams at Dante's amazed them.  I am also one pay grade above the experience level requested in the job advertisement.*  The Hiring Manager advised that he would need to discuss recruiting at a higher pay grade with his Boss and HR, but that should not dissuade me from applying.

During the call I dropped a couple of names  and later in the day I was pinged by one of those "names". We had a conversation which started with "I've been racking my brains trying to recall where we have met?" I was ready for this one and recounted our first encounter in 2013 while I was still employed by Dante's followed up by more recent press the flesh type encounters and topped this with" and we both have an interest in Land Rovers".

The set the mood for the rest of the conversation and after he commended my memory we had a nice chat about Defenders before talking about my professional experience. If I have interpreted the discussion correctly it appears that I have initiated a flurry of conversations and that the Hiring Manager is already talking to his Boss about looking at higher grade applicants. It also appears that Mr Oranges & Lemons has been putting in a good word for me too.

This could all go horribly wrong.

The rest of the day rumbled on and eventually I drafted an email to my Boss advising that I had decided to seek new opportunities within the Organisation. It was the usual "grateful for the opportunities you have given me" type of stuff accompanied by an entirely plausible reason for the decision. I hit [SEND] and scurried away as quickly as possible

Before any one asks, I have not only been there five minutes. I have actually been in this role thirty three months. Yep, three months short of my third anniversary!
* The majority, if not all of the people, in this job are the same pay grade as me and it appears that they may be trying to control cost.**
** You will also limit quality of output with that approach.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Time for a change?

The contract that underpins the Account, on which I work, expires in about 18 months time.

The renegotiation discussions have already started and the RFP documents are expected in the next few weeks. I spent all of February and March this year glued to a laptop managing a team with the aim of delivering a proactive proposal* to the client and am now being put in the frame to spend twelve months or more managing the RFP responses.

As Joe Strummer would put it "Should I stay or should I go?"

I quite like what I am doing and have developed a reputation for delivering quality output, but the Account I work on is not a well oiled machine. In fact the  appropriate visual metaphor would be the wreckage of a locomotive and carriages, complete with passengers, fragmented and strewn across an embankment.

It is not well run** and I am wondering if it is time to be one of the onlookers in the foreground of that picture?

There are not a huge amount of Piano Moving jobs available here in the UK but there is one advertised that might be suitable for me. As a result I have arranged a call with the hiring manager and updated my CV. The call is scheduled for tomorrow morning, so it is a case of wait 'n see.

I am hoping that the new role is closer to what I originally thought I was being employed to do. It would also be working in partnership with my old employer; Dante's Nine Circles of Hell ... Now that could be interesting!
* This wasn't a fun time and did not turn out as expected.
** This is an understatement.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Back on the Merry-go-round

The working week is now officially underway and it is fair to say that my Monday was somewhat less than frenetic.

Don't get me wrong, a quiet Monday is a beautiful thing and I took great pleasure from my skinny in-box, the few incoming e-mails that simply needed to be passed on to the correct people and the many opportunities I had to wander out in to the garden and simply enjoy the sun.

I did have to get suited and booted and drive in to the nearest depot for a meeting early in the afternoon.

On the way in to the Office I glanced at the fuel gauge on The Defender and nagging thoughts returned. When I picked her up last week she appeared to have been returned with a full fuel tank. I didn't get to talk to the mechanic who had worked on her, so I didn't get the details on what had been done, but I would not have expected them to put more fuel back in to her than they had removed. I wasn't sure if they had buggered up* the fuel level mechanism when replacing the tank breather.

The meeting was somewhat "extracurricular"  as it was about a programme of activities at work where the Company get involved with local Schools and work with Students, preparing them for the world of work. I have done a couple of similar sessions at the University of Worcester for Moneypenny and quite enjoyed them, so am looking forward to getting involved in this programme.

Back at home I finished early and took the opportunity to catch a quick sleep on the sofa. I am still getting hay fever symptoms and it may be that the antihistamines are making me sleepy ... or I am just a lazy git.

This evening we bundled Whiffer in to the Defender and headed over to Dog Training. He still hasn't grasped the basics of the lidded box exercise and, after a return journey of twenty miles, the Defender fuel gauge is still showing a full tank.

It looks like I'll be having a chat with Mark at the workshop tomorrow. On a more positive note; I did get a call from Rob and he will be here to make a start on the garden on Thursday.
* Technical Term

Sunday, 15 May 2016

A fairly lazy Sunday

Sunday started at a very leisurely pace with a breakfast of coffee and croissants.

There then appeared to be some confusion over how the morning was to be filled.  I thought that we were headed in to town whilst 30% was adamant that ironing and The Archers Omnibus edition were most definitely at the top of her priority list.

I didn't want to stand in the way of crease free clothing so I left 30%  to her mission, dragged The Shitter from the garage,* and headed in to town. Antihistamines were the only one item that I absolutely needed so I used this as an excuse to ride out on my little green Royal Enfield.**

 I was back in time for an early lunch and then 30% said that she would like to come and inspect the bees with me. We donned bee suits, veils and gloves, gathered equipment and lit the smoker.

Once again the colony was incredibly calm as we opened up the hive. The crown board and feeder were removed and we got a first look at the Super that was installed last weekend. They had drawn out the foundation on seven or eight of the ten Super frames and were already starting to store nectar in the cells.

The was no sign of the Queen in the Super so it was removed and we made a start on the Brood Box. The development of the colony continues to amaze me. There was huge amounts of brood and stores. They had also been very busy building a lot of drone brood.*** This was scraped away and even that caused surprisingly little reaction in the colony.

We eventually caught sight of the Queen wandering across one of the new frames and I was reassured that all was going quite well. I was particularly impressed that one of the frames of foundation that was inserted three weeks ago is now a frame of capped stored of honey. In under three weeks**** they have drawn out the foundation in to cells, filled it with honey and maintained the environment to get the moisture content to a point where they have capped off the cells to store it for hard times. The other new frames have also developed really well and are now holding capped brood, pollen and honey stores ... remarkable!

The inspection was completed. A Queen Excluder was installed between the Brood box and the Super and the hive was closed up for another week. I decided to remove the feeder as the bees haven't taken much of the syrup and it was starting to attract ants. We tidied up and rewarded ourselves with a coffee and a slice of cake.

It was then time for a walk with the dogs in afternoon sunshine.  I had then planned to move a couple of bookcases in the house, but, instead, I hit the sofa and snoozed for an hour or so.

So that just about sums up my Sunday. If all goes to plan the garden will take another step forward next week when when Rob arrives to build the retaining wall and lay some turf.
* I really must rearrange the bikes in the garage so that the others also get ridden.
** She has been back on the road for about a year now and I have to admit that I have become very fond of her. She is basic and not very fast, but her small dimensions make her easy to ride.  I have become accustomed to kick starting her and regularly enjoy trundling around the local lanes and bends.
*** Drones are the male bees and they do not work to develop or support the colony. Their only purpose is to go on mating flights and fertilise virgin queens. Removal of the drone brood creates more space for worker brood, and is also seen as a way of reducing the number of varroa mites, which are a major pest.
**** The colony did very little in the first week

Saturday, 14 May 2016


At some point mid-week 30% asked if she had told me that the Oranges & Lemons clan were here for lunch on Saturday  ...

Now this may come as a bit of a surprise, as I am something of a planner, but, in my world, calendars are something that happen to other people. For most of the time I barely know what day of the week it is and, as for the date, thank heavens for that little pop up in the lower. right hand corner of my laptop's screen.

... I confirmed my ignorance and carried on with the remainder of my working week.

This morning I was tasked with tidying the house and garden in preparation for the arrival of our visitors. I had had sufficient foresight that I had got the lawn mowed a couple of days ago, so the morning was spent picking up family detritus and putting it away.

When TP wandered downstairs and wandered in to the kitchen I fixed him with a baleful stare and threatened dreadful ills if he messed up either of the two rooms I had just tidied.

30% arrive back from her shopping trip and we were soon prepared for our visitors. We even had time for a quick chat with Moneypenny, who is hoping to move house in a couple of week's time.

We had a lovely lunch with the O & L clan and we had so much to chat about that it was getting close to seven o'clock before children were dragged away from TP's Playstation and bundled in to the car.

The evening was spent relaxing in front of the television, where one of the discussions was whether a Brexit vote would guarantee that I, and the rest of the country, would never have to participate in, or watch, the Eurovision Song Contest.

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT get me fucking started on what a complete pile of televisual shite that is! Fortunately there was an X-Men film on instead.

Friday, 13 May 2016

The end of the working week

Today I wheeled The Shitter from the garage, Slipped my laptop in to my backpack* and headed in to the nearest depot of The Neat & Tidy Piano Movers.

I had expenses to submit and prefer to head in to the office on Fridays for a couple of reasons.

Firstly;  Friday has a "casual" dress code which is generally interpreted as "come to work dressed like a tramp" by my colleagues. This means that my sweatshirt, jeans and Dr Martens combo was going to look positively upmarket.** Secondly; Very few of my colleagues actually head in to the office on Fridays*** so I can spread myself out and don't get dragged in to fascinating conversations about router configs or football.

The morning went well and I had completed almost everything I needed to by eleven o'clock. I wandered out of the office and five minutes later found my self sat in the Barber's chair getting a much needed haircut. That took about quarter of an hour and I then headed over the road to the sandwich shop before heading back in to the office.

I lunched and then worked for another couple of hours, but eventually reached the point where I actually had nothing else that really needed doing. I had achieved the goals that I had set for myself so I headed home.

I would like to say that I spent the rest of the afternoon on a domestic project, but I actually hit the sofa and had a kip. I am not sure if it is the hay fever or the antihistamines but I felt absolutely zonked.
* This was much to the annoyance of Eddy the cat. I tend to leave my laptop bag on the floor in the home office, beside the desk. For some strange reason Eddy has taken a liking to the bag and it is near the top of the list of his most preferred sleeping places. He is curled up, asleep there as I sit and type this.
** I swear I have seen sandals, shorts and a football shirt presented as the height of sartorial elegance by certain members of staff.
*** This should be read as "actually do any work on a Friday"

Thursday, 12 May 2016

A Confession?

Today's big news was that the Lawn Mower was give it's first outing after last weekend's refurbishment. The freshly sharpened blades cut beautifully and this was a good job as the sward had put on quite a growth spurt over the last week.*

I have made a rather sad, lawn mower related resolution and now actually upturn the beast and clean the deck after each cut. The mower design results in a lot of grassy crud adhering to the underside of the deck but the bulk of this was soon scraped away. I am hoping that this will be sufficient to hold back the corrosion ... Christ! my life is getting very sad if I am noting down my lawn mower maintenance regimen.

It can only get worse from here on in ...

... and now to the title of today's Journal entry.

When I was a child I had a large quantity of Hornby and Triang Hornby locomotives, rolling stock and accessories. This was eventually assembled in to a large, permanent layout that dominated my bedroom.

As my seventeenth birthday drew near the layout was taken apart and most of it was sold. The cash went towards the purchase of a blue Suzuki TS 185 ER. However, even though my desire for a shiny new motorcycle was immense I couldn't bear to part with all of my model railway. I packed away the original 2-rail Hornby Dublo items that Dated from the very early 1960's.

The items were few in number, but all still had their original boxes and the star was a metal bodied A4 Pacific locomotive that was in beautiful condition and still running sixty years on from manufacture.

Over time and house moves the majority of my childhood accumulations have been discarded but this tiny collection of wagons, 2 coaches and a couple of locomotives always went with me.
The proper " Made in England by Meccano Ltd. Liverpool" stuff
About a year ago 30% and I were wandering around an auction viewing and I noticed some Hornby items. I placed a commission bid on a whim ... I failed to win the lot but the childhood addition had returned. A few days later I entered the search term "Hornby Dublo" in to eBay  and was truly astounded at the quantity of items out there.

One of the things I have been up to over the past year is to greatly expand my collection,** much to the chagrin of 30%.***

So, there you have my confession; I love model railways. I always have and always will.
* I am starting to regret following a Turfing Contractor's advice to fertilise it.
** Today a 4610 Bogie Bolster Wagon arrived in the post. It was in incredible condition considering it is over 50 years old. An inspection of the wheels suggests that it has had little, if any, track time and the box is immaculate. It even has the original packing inserts ... and the price for this fifty year old toy in near mint condition ... £9.00 plus p&p.
*** This may be due, in part, to the fact that I regularly point out that I have spent less on "trains" than she has on handbags

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Hay fever?

I woke a few times during Monday night with a scratchy feeling at the back of my throat. The sort of symptom that is associated with the onset of a cold. Since then dry, itchy eyes, sneezing and a running nose have been added to the list.

It doesn't appear to be a cold so my layman's diagnosis is hay fever. The weird thing is that I have almost, never suffered from Hay fever in the preceding fifty odd years of my life. I say "almost" as I do recall a one-off occurrence back in the late '90s when I suffered eyes so itchy I wanted to scratch them out of my head. That was on a hot day in a city and may well have been as a result of pollen and pollution on a very hot day, but I don't recall ever having the full set of traditional hay fever symptoms before.

At the moment the weather is showery, which is supposed to reduce pollen counts and my symptoms aren't anything to complain about. I just hope that this is another rare episode and not something that I will be stuck with for the season.

Moving on from seasonal afflictions I'll avoid the subject of work today and, instead, make this a "Picture Post".

This locomotive was one of a pair sat in a siding a mile or so down the line from the Sacramento Railway Museum. We visited Sacramento last Summer and spent a couple of days taking in the sights, including the aforementioned and excellent museum. Apparently they had been brought in for restoration but time or money is not yet available for the work to commence. As a result they sit out in the sun occasionally getting tagged by the local youths.

Even in this rusty, unloved state they are still incredibly powerful beasts and quite awesome when you are up close and personal.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Work frustrations

There is not a lot to report today.

It was very much a case of "head down and get on with it". The day was spent chasing up on actions that had failed to be completed. It never ceases to amaze me how hard it is to get a simple answer to a simple question.

I appreciate that people are busy and that a question asked in an IM message or quick 'phone call can easily be forgotten. As a consequence I tend to use email to ensure that my "ask" is clearly documented, structured and accompanied by a justification and background information.

So, why do these get either deleted or simply left to fester in the recipient's inbox? Most people who know and work with me appreciate that I am somewhat thorough. If I ask a question I have a reason for asking. I don't just hassle people on a whim and then wander off to do something else instead.

If I ask a question I need the answer. I maintain a log of the information I am seeking out. I check it regularly and I will bloody well chase up the unanswered emails.

I swear I could complete my work in half the time and therefore double my output if my colleagues had a slightly more professional approach to work e-mails.

As four o'clock approach I had lost the will to live, so I phoned the workshop and determined that the Defender was ready for collection. 30% gave me a lift over to pick her up.

On leaving MP Trading I glanced at the fuel guage.  When I dropped the car off there yesterday she had just over half a tank of diesel. I noticed this because the original plan of work involved draining and removing the fuel tank.  When I collected her today she had a full tank of fuel. I am guessing that the tank did get drained and someone has kindly replaced more than was originally there.

That will take the sting out of the bill when it eventually arrives.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Back to work

The first job of the day was to drop the Defender off at the workshop.

Last Thursday I filled her up with diesel to fuel our return trip from The Gower. As I was about to leave the Service Station I noticed drops of fuel falling from the vicinity of the fuel tank. I took a quick look and it appeared to be from the top of the tank in the vicinity of the fuel pump and tank level mechanism. I booked her in for repairs as soon as we were back home and this morning 30% and I took  her over to Finstall to get it sorted.

By nine o'clock I was back at my desk and reviewing the surprisingly manageable quantity of email that had arrived during my week away. Within a couple of hours I had completed my first run through the inbox, had deleted the junk and was starting to update my records and document my current batch of solutions.

The home phone rang mid-morning. It was Mark from the workshop calling to advise that the fuel leak was actually due to a poorly routed breather pipe and could be rectified without the need to drain and remove the fuel tank. This was great news and meant that I felt slightly less guilty splashing out on a Mantec Swing Away Wheel Carrier for the rear door.*

I returned to my desk and had what evolved in to a productive day.

My only niggle was that I had asked one of my colleagues to locate a contact who might be able to provide historic hardware costs. I even provided the name of a guy who might be able to point us in the right direction ...

... It was apparent that the lazy sod hadn't bothered to pick up a phone in the past week and call the chap I had suggested. I had a lovely chat with him this afternoon and he was amazingly helpful. I now have a lead and can start reaching out for the missing numbers.

If you want a job doing ...

I managed to finish work at a reasonable time and got a Super installed on the hive. I haven't used a Queen Excluder** as they can inhibit the workers moving up in to the Supper and drawing out the foundation. I can always put one on at next week's inspection.

We had an early dinner and then headed over to Dog Training with Whiffler. The session went quite well but there is still one exercise he hasn't grasped.

A treat is placed in a lidded box at the far end of the village hall. Whiffler and I walk to the other end of the hall and I give him an "Away" command. He is supposed to go to the box and sit. I then return to him, open the box and give him his reward.

He is quite happy to head of towards the box, but as soon as I say "sit" he comes back towards me. This one definitely needs some work!
* The door mounted spare wheel on a Defender tends to strain the door hinges over time due to it's weight. The new wheel carrier attaches and therefore transfers the wheel weight to the chassis and body rather than the door.
** A metal grid that has spaces large enough to allow access for worker bees but too small to allow the Queen in to the Super. It stops the Queen laying in the Supers so that the frames only hold honey.

Sunday, 8 May 2016


I spent much of yesterday afternoon on some long overdue maintenance on the Porn Mower. The beast was upturned, it's blade was removed and sharpened and several years accumulation of green crud was removed from the underside of the deck. I then followed up with an electric drill / wire brush combo and eventually the rust was removed.

Today's objective was to get the mower deck painted, so the first task of the morning was to drag The Shitter from the garage and head over to B&Q in Redditch. Twenty minutes later I was heading home with a brush and a can of Hammerite in a fetching shade of yellow.

After a quick coffee, the mower was again upturned and a first coat of yellow paint was daubed around the underside of the deck.* By the time I was finished and cleaned up it was time for an early lunch taken in the cool of the house.

After lunch I headed back out in to the garden to remove a stump from the edge of the lawn. It is the last remnant of a scruffy line of shrubs that we removed last year. The plan is to level out the bed and turf it. Of course; nothing is ever that simple and a low retaining wall will need to be constructed from railway sleepers and a couple of tons of top soil will also be needed ...

... we have a man coming over to attend to this in a fortnight's time.

With the stump now added to my "tip pile" I grabbed a spade and spent the next couple of hours edging the lawn. It was sweltering and this was far more energetic than I had expected. I finished and took on fluids before applying the second coat of paint to the mower. It took about half an hour to apply the second coat and I have to report that the finish is hopefully "functional' rather than "attractive".

With the mower finished I retired to the sofa and attempted to get my blood sugar levels back to normal.

About an hour later TP and I donned veils and gloves and headed out to inspect the hive.

I last checked it on 29th April, just before we left for The Gower. At that point I was somewhat concerned. The nucleus colony was introduced to the hive a week prior to that, but in that time they had done very little. They hadn't touched the syrup in the feeder and had barely started to draw out the foundation on the new frames.

The weather had not been particularly pleasant for their first week at The Pile and I was concerned by the lack of development and whether they had sufficient stores to last another week of poor weather.

I was somewhat reassured by the fine weather last week and was hopeful as we approached the hive. The bees still hadn't touched the sugar syrup but had obviously been very busy out in the fields and gardens. The main cluster had expanded over further frames and had drawn out the foundation in to neat hexagonal cells on most of the frames in the brood box.** They had even started to fill these cells will nectar and pollen from their foraging.

It is fair to say that the colony was in much better shape than a week previously. As I pondered their progress I realised that there was a risk that their stores were taking up cells where the queen should be laying. I think I may need to give them a Super*** to move in to tomorrow.
* I would like to say this had a factory fresh, professionally applied appearance, but dribbly and patchy are closer to the truth. I am working on the principal that a) no-one will see it and b) it is there to prevent rust, not look gorgeous.
** A brood box hold eleven frames. Five of these were provided as part of the nucleus colony and were filled with stores, pollen and brood. I then added six frames of foundation. This is a thin beeswax sheet imprinted with a honeycomb pattern. The bees produce beeswax and build new cells using the foundation as a template.
*** A Super is a removable hive section that holds shallow frames. These frames are used by the bees for honey production rather than brood. At the end of the season the Supers can be removed and the honey harvested.

Where the hell have you been?

The somewhat facetious answer to that question is that I have just returned from a week away on The Gower Peninsula, but the absence of Journal entires for the best part of a year probably requires either justification or remediation.

The reason for stopping the production for this drivel is quite simple and has actually already been explained. I found it very creepy to have a family member checking their iPad five or six times each day waiting for another post to appear. It was a peculiar and unwelcome form of prying that didn't help an already strained relationship and led to me abandoning The Journal. I wasn't best pleased about this as I actually missed jotting down this nonsense far more that I thought I would.

Now to the missing year ... don't panic ... I don't intend to attempt a summary of two hundred missing entries. My memory isn't that good.

The past year has been good. Work is going really well, although it is fair to say that there are massive challenges working with a team that lack a basic knowledge of profit and loss and cost and revenue.* My Boss holds me in high regard and basically just gives me challenges** and lets me go off and "do my own thing". If it is complicated, messy or "Political" bad man gets assigned to it. Apparently he likes my approach which can be very much like the boy in The Emperor's new Clothes.

Away from work, we have continued to nibble away at the restoration of The Pile and I now just need to sand and fit the cupboard doors in the hall before we can officially declare it "Finished".*** We have now turned our attention to the garden and are moving forward with a few projects aimed at making it tidy and manageable. Think along the lines of retaining walls, scrub clearance and turfing  rather than water features and planting plans.

A couple of holidays have been taken and, when I am short of time or enthusiasm, I will present a few photo's from last August's trip to California and Nevada. We also revisited the cottage on The Gower peninsula in November and again at the New Year. It is fair to say that those two breaks in Wales offered a range of weather rarely seen in California and certainly not in the space of 24 hours!

So there you have it. I can't think of anything particularly momentous to report, but, with my memory, there is a strong chance that a future post will reveal some serious shit that has escaped my barely functioning brain at eight o'clock on a Sunday morning.

I have to go now ... I need to wind the clock.
* Frightening, but true!
** That is one word for them. Cans of worms and Piles of crap are equally suitable synonyms.
*** Apart from the fact that the exterior needs a repaint, some cracked render needs repairing and the garden is most definitely still "a work in progress". Realistically it will never actually be finished but it definitely now falls in to the category of "Presentable".