Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Make My Day

Chris is in Rennes at an European Youth Parliament Meeting. He is incommunicado. We knew he would be and therefore have no reason to complain. Thomas is in Durham enjoying the Autumn term, James is in Warwick also enjoying the Autumn term. Unsurprisingly phoning home is not high on their agenda and there is no reason why it should be.

However, after having them at home for so many years, I miss them. I like to hear their voices periodically and learn what they've been up to and that they are OK - why do parents have this terrible need?

So, given that they read this sometimes, phone home chaps, and make the Old Man's day!

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Good News and Bad News

The Good News. We don't have a family "situation" to deal with and my mother is very clear about what she wants

The Bad News. Mum is very weak and struggles to feed herself now. Surely this deterioration cannot go on much longer?

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

We're off to the South West

My beloved and I are off to Cornwall this afternoon to see my mother. It also seems that we have a family "situation" we may have to deal with. I do hope my mother has not been saying different things to different people. We shall see.

Monday, 20 October 2008

System update

My computer runs the Ubuntu version of Linux. I've been very pleased with it, it is quick, reliable and suffers none of the idiosyncrasies of Windows. There is a new version coming soon (see below) I hope it is as good as the current version.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Decorating - part 3

We're decorating again. This time it is our bedroom and en-suite that are getting an update. Yesterday went well, we got the floor covered with hardboard (so it is now ready for the new tiles to be laid) in short order when I thought it would take quite a long time.

Today has been one of those days when one seems to work lots, but there is little to show for one's labours. I have removed towel rails, shelves, mirrors and filled the resulting holes. I have filled the gaps from the last time we decorated with grout and filler. I'm knackered, but there is little visible difference. At least there wasn't until my beloved wife wielded the paint roller to create the cool pastel grey walls. She has kept me supplied with tea and encouragement, and has cooked us a super meal today, so I haven't done half the work today, but I am whacked.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Not yet...

After a very relaxing week in the Gower Peninsula (many thanks to Rob and Jan whose house we stayed in), we're back.

The remaining cat is in the vet's hospital with suspected kidney failure, our bedroom and en-suite need decorating and I left my new coat in Wales. It hasn't been a particularly good first day back.

I am slightly ashamed that I had a serious and very childish paddy this afternoon. I had been unable to find a newish windcheater style jacket that I know came back from Wales in the car with us. I had looked everywhere (well, that's what I told myself...). My beloved swore that she had no memory of picking it up as we left the house in Wales. She also swore that everything that had been in the car had been brought into the house at home and hung up. I rang my daughter who is still in the house in Wales - she looked and could not find it. I muttered and grumbled and I regret to say that eventually stamped my feet, while blaming everyone but myself. After a trip down to the town and a cup of tea, I searched again and blow me there it was on the coat rack. A fair sized potion of humble pie has been eaten and I fear I shall not be allowed to forget the episode, ever. At the height of my paddy, my beloved wife laughed so much that she cried. I am very lucky - if I'd been in her place, I'm sure I would have hit me.

Perhaps tomorrow will be better.....

Monday, 6 October 2008

the End......?

No more blogging for a while....

Sunday, 5 October 2008

It must be the Mathematician in me....

One of my small contributions to the community is to act as auditor for a school fund. This fund collects and distributes money for all the fun, but strictly non-essential, things that junior school children do. So , for example, the money for coaches to take them interesting places and money for interesting visitors come from this fund.

The accounting year for the school fund is the same as the academic year and so the account for Sept 2007 - Aug 2008 has just been finalised and given to me for audit. The lady responsible for keeping the books is diligent and hardworking, but she was swamped by cash from the school fete in July 2008, and the accounts all started to go wrong. Unfortunately, this pressure contributed to a large number of very small mistakes in the books, and it has taken me hours to track them all down and get the books to balance properly. The sad fact is that I have enjoyed doing it. There is something about the fact that the numbers do not add up as they should that drives me on to try and find the cause. Having done a degree in Maths, I know they will if the amounts are recorded and input properly.

I had been at it for several hours when my beloved suggested we walk into the town yesterday afternoon. I didn't really want to go, but I knew I needed a break from the columns of numbers, so I went. A walk in the fresh air - and boy, was it fresh yesterday afternoon - and on my return to the puzzle, I solved it very quickly. So, I can take the accounts back tomorrow and confirm that they are in order. I can also offer up a number of hints to prevent as many errors creeping in next year, or at least providing a means of spotting them, so that they can be fixed earlier.

Perhaps this is what forensic accountants do... I might of liked that as a career, but it's too late now. Anyone want their accounts checking??

By the by, what did we do before we had spreadsheets....?

Trains don't like Fridays

Quite a busy week. Went to London on Thursday evening because we had a meeting in Worthing on Friday morning.

We (Rob and I) set off for Clapham Junction at 08:00 for an 08:53 train and just made it - the traffic was awful - and then wished we hadn't. The train got to East Croydon and the doors would not open. After three minutes waiting, the driver told passengers to open the doors manually using the emergency handles, and force them all the way open. They duly did so. The doors would then not close. In the end we got on a train to Brighton, and took the coastal line to Worthing.

The meeting with the Architect and Quantity Surveyor went OK. I shall probably be on the RIBA blacklist for some years, but hey, these professionals should remember who is footing the bill.

The train back to Rob and Sue's was fine and Clapham Common provided a nice walk for me and the dog before tea. Left Clapham at 7:30 after a super Sue supper and was distinctly alarmed to find the Victoria Line and the Bakerloo line both closed. A broken train on one and broken signals on the other. These two line form the only route I know between Clapham and Marylebone. A quick gawk at the map (sorry to the lady on whose feet I trod, but I was desparate), coupled with my sketchy knowledge of London geography, guided me to the Jubilee line to Baker Street and a walk from there to Marylebone. I caught my train home with 13 minutes to spare and was surprised when the scanner which reads the e-ticket that Chiltern Railways send to ones mobile phone was working again.