Archive for October, 2004

Oh Dear

Tuesday, October 12th, 2004

Mongoose mongoose mongoose, with a side order of wombat thrown in. No, not the menu at the new Mongolian takeaway, but my feelings about the weather.

It’s lobstering down out there, and in ten minutes (or less, if I type this quickly), I’m leaving to drive to the far and frozen wastes of Nottingham. When I get there tonight, I’m going to be staying with a good pal, so that’s a positive, but tomorrow I have a meeting (at which I’m going to shout very loud at some people), which will take all day.

I’d looked up a couple of geocaches to do on the way there and back, but as stated it’s raining, plus I left my GPS at home this morning. I don’t mind geocaching in the rain, and I’ve done a couple of caches without a GPS, but in the rain and without a GPS I think may be a non-starter.

And I’ve just come from a meeting which didn’t go as well as I expected: Someone here is doing a college course, and had to interview me about what I’ve achieved in my 16 years with the company: The fact that it only took half an hour to tell her left me a bit dispirited.

See you later chums!

Rant # 2657

Monday, October 11th, 2004

I forgot to mention, in all the excitement, that I survived yesterday on no pain killers at all. Of course, today, both back and wrist are hurting like wombat, but the point is that I’ve had one almost-pain-free day, and if I’ve had one, I can have more!

Apparently the Great South Run was on telly…on Channel Five at twenty past midnight this morning. Now forgive me if I’m missing something obvious here, but when the Great North Run happened, we had damned near continuous coverage over the two days: Yesterday, the snooker (which isn’t even a proper sport) was on all evening, yet the GSR was relegated to insomniac’s hour on a TV station no-one watches. I reckon it’s to do with trendiness, the Northerners have to be kept happy so flood the networks with their events and blow the rest of us.

Although apparently two of my Raynet friends (one of them the County Controller no less) were seen on the telly so that makes up for it a little bit.

Oh, and I may have committed a temporary fix on the GPS in the car which operates the tracker box and the “Where am I?” function: I think it’ll hold until the weekend when I should be able to make what I’ve done, permanent. Of course, if you’re watching over the next couple of days it’ll be dead boring as from Tuesday morning till Thursday morning it’ll be in the work car park, while I take a company car to the conference in Nottingham.

Busy busy

Sunday, October 10th, 2004

Today, as you’ll know if you read yesterday’s offering, I had to be up Reeeely early to tootle down to Portsmouth, where I was due to be on the Raynet team for the Great South Run. Some not-very-good pictures are here. The weather stayed good, nowhere where I was working had any serious problems, and the Gruntmobile’s magic badge (see the pictures referenced) opened all sorts of doors…

After the run was over, there was no point trying to go home straight away: There are only two roads out of Portsmouth and they both clog solid on Great South Run day, so some geocaching was in order. My friends the Tates have a cache on Hayling Island, which is accessible by a pretty little ferry from the Eastern end of Portsmouth, so I ferried across and did The Kench. This is a nice little cache, hidden in a typical Team Tate fashion – although I wasn’t best pleased when I dropped the “cache camouflage??? on my foot!.

The pic up there is looking across towards Hayling Island from the ferry landing on the Portsmouth side, although once again my camera seems to have failed to do justice to the colours. Enjoy it anyway…

Whoooosh!

Saturday, October 9th, 2004

That noise up there in the title was the sound of a Saturday whizzing by.

I had so many good intentions for all the things I was going to do today. OK, I stayed in bed late this morning, to make up for the extra-early start tomorrow, but I still seem to have got less done than I should.

And now I’m vegging in front of the PC with a glass of wine, in the chatroom with a fierce Shropshire pirate, the captain of the Watery Queen, and a pizza-scoffing loon.

Oh well, exciting day tomorrow, even if I’m not going to be on the telly.

Last Blog of the Day

Friday, October 8th, 2004

Needless to say, after work I went geocaching: Last Friday night I was defeated by what I’d hoped would be the last cache of the evening, as it got dark and was lobstering down with rain. This week I went straight from work (stopping to bag a roadside trig point on the way) and did Dead Man’s Ransom, a lovely walk along part of the Hampshire coast, making about a 2½ mile round trip in all. On the way back I was rewarded with this super sunset.

I think that’s enough bloggage for today. Ooh, except to say, ignore the note below…the Great South Run isn’t being shown on telly :-( . I may well publish some pics here on Sunday

Hopefully the final “Missing Boss” update of the day

Friday, October 8th, 2004

Well, all being well I’m leaving in ten minutes and there’s no boss update. What a way to run a jelly factory*.

And I’ve spent all afternoon working on a report which potential-new-boss (see below) suggested that finally-appointed-new-boss would want, only to find that due to a server error, none of the printers on site are working.

Argh.

Watch the Great South Run on the telly on Sunday. If you see a short fat bald bloke on one of the checkpoints, wearing a hi-viz jacket, holding a radio and stuffing his face with bacon sandwiches, it’ll be me. Or possibly my mate who coincidentally is also called Paul.

*Amateurish attempt to preserve the anonimity of my employers.

Lost

Friday, October 8th, 2004

Still no update on the boss situation.

I meant to mention earlier, for the benefit of those cyber-stalkers using the “Where Am I” function: It isn’t working. There’s some issue with the GPS in the car that means it isn’t seeing enough satellites to get a fix – I suspect the aerial connection.

If I’m lucky I’ll rig up one of the other GPSs over the weekend (“GPS…spare GPS…other GPS…”)*, but the forecast is for lobstering down with rain, and I’m not getting drenched just for the stalking pleasure of you lot.

One day it’ll all work.

*Private joke which only Mark the Buddhist will understand. Sorry.

Update

Friday, October 8th, 2004

There is no update.

Except that, yesterday I was discussing the whole missing-new-boss scenario with the person tipped for the role by all the best rumours, and he denied all knowledge. Then he said that if he WAS getting the job, he’d still deny all knowledge until the official announcement.

Then he suggested a job which he’d have liked me to get done by Monday, if he was going to be the new boss. So I’d better get on with it.

Interesting Times

Friday, October 8th, 2004

An unusual morning blog from me, to encourage you to keep reading…

I was telling someone in the chatroom the other day (I think it was Miss) about our change of bosses: When Boss-from-hell left, his replacement took over on condition that it would be a temporary post: He didn’t mind helping out but he didn’t want the job for ever. Since then, he’s been making no secret of the fact that after today he reverts back to his old job.

So, with 8½ hours of Graham’s reign left (assuming he finishes at 5 PM), we still don’t know who his replacement is going to be. Several of us need important decisions made, Graham is unwilling to make them (and who can blame him), and we don’t know who else to go to.

I’ll let you know if a decision is announced. Meanwhile, my post tray this morning contains a job ad from our Bradford factory to do the same job that I do here. Are they trying to tell me something? If so, the answer’s “Never in a million years”…although I have just discovered there are 77 geocaches within ten miles of the bakery…

Blog Rools OK

Thursday, October 7th, 2004

Yesterday I blogged about the stupid survey I had to complete.

One of the questions in it was “What method do your employees use to communicate Health and Safety Concerns to managers????. I put two or three serious answers, then for the fourth, “Graffiti on the toilet walls???. Well it’s true, they do. They also use graffiti for other things, probably best not mentioned here – which is a pity as some of it is quite imaginative, although the spelling leaves something to be desired.

I remember when I moved several years ago to a new house in a new area, on my first evening there I went for a walk to “learn the area???. There was a park behind the house, and walking through I was impressed to spot a racially-tolerant graffito written neatly on a post-it note and drawing-pinned to a fence post. Sadly that area isn’t like that any more. And where I live now the best graffiti we’re likely to see is in the nature of “Saints Footie Club are Poofs???, and even though I’m a supporter of their arch-rivals, even I don’t think that can be true of all of them.

Isn’t it odd, though: Graffiti done yesterday is offensive and to be scrubbed off as quickly as possible; yet near here there’s a castle with graffiti put there by French prisoners during the Napoleonic wars which is protected by the Listed Building rules.

Which raises the question: Is there a magic age at which graffiti suddenly becomes acceptable?

A Few Questions

Wednesday, October 6th, 2004

I got to work early this morning, because we had an Important Person coming to visit. I assume he arrived – I never saw him from start to finish. Lucky really, as another Important Person (the boss who has the final say on the course I mentioned the other day) asked me to do a little job for him…

He’d been sent this survey by some firm of consultants who are doing work for Head Office. It was due a month ago and he hadn’t done anything about it yet, so could I deal with it for him? He passed it to me…all 88 pages of it.

It starts off with a few simple questions, like “What is your name” and “What is your phone number”, before moving on to ask everything there is to know about Health and Safety at our factory. Such things as “How many expectant / nursing mothers do you have?” (I put “Variable”), and bizarrely, “Who deals with?” (I put “Deals with what?”). Anyway, I spent nearly all wombatting day on this damned thing, and at last it’s basically finished. My wrist hurts from all that hot mouse-clickin’ action, and I want to go home.

On the plus side, next week I have an all-day meeting at our factory in Nottingham, which means that the night before, I get to stay at my friend’s house at the company’s expense (she doesn’t charge me to stay there, you understand, the company pays for the petrol and the chinese takeaway). I’ve researched a couple of geocaches we can do in the evening…

Conkers? Bonkers!

Tuesday, October 5th, 2004

I asked my chums to suggest some controversial subjects I could blog about: As usual Simon came up trumps, so we present:

How to Make a Bomb Out of a Fairy Liquid Bottle

  • Buy a bottle of Fairy Liquid
  • Use it sparingly, having due regard for the Earth’s dwindling resources*
  • When the bottle is empty, rinse it carefully
  • Decorate the empty bottle with shapes cut out of sticky-backed plastic
  • Sell it on eBay for £275000

I’ve no idea what’s controversial about that, but you’d certainly be making a bomb.

Anyway, conker season is upon us, resulting in the usual round of loony safety measures: Many schools have banned the playing of conkers altogether, one local council even going so far as to chop all the fruit-bearing branches off of their conker trees. One school is permitting the game to be played but has provided safety glasses for pupils to wear.

For those who don’t know, I do Health and Safety for a living, and I find these measures hilarious – or at least, I would if they weren’t so counterproductive. It does children no good at all to grow up in a world where someone else is always responsible for their safety; nor would it harm them to learn that fun sometimes comes at the expense of bruised knuckles. We’re raising a generation of children to whom safety is their right and someone else’s responsibility – and one day, they’re going to be the responsible ones and have no idea how to sensibly assess a risk. They’ll have never ridden their bikes on the road, yet will be turned loose in charge of a ton of turbocharged tin. Some of them will work in known hazardous professions, like building, or docks work, and will sail into the workplace blithely assuming that someone else will have made it safe for them. And then they’ll have children of their own, God help them.

I can’t help remembering the following ode, which I learned as a little ‘un, although sadly I can’t remember who wrote it and Google hasn’t helped:

No game was ever yet worth a rap
For a rational man to play
Into which no danger or mishap
Could possibly find its way

*I’ve no idea what they make Fairy Liquid out of, but it sounded good.

Dreamy!

Monday, October 4th, 2004

Anyone know anything about dream analysis?

Last night I dreamt I was at Glastonbury Festival with a bunch of my church chums, who weren’t enjoying it very much. Rainbow were performing, and my friends were very disapproving when I started air drumming to “Difficult to Cure”. Then I woke up and I’ve been humming “Difficult to Cure” all morning. Am I going mad?

In other news, long-standing readers will remember that when boss-from-hell left us, his last act of nastiness was to block the expenditure on my next course. Well, I’ve found another course leading to the same qualification, held in a much nicer place (Stratford on Avon, as opposed to Solihull), and the Training Department seem to have fallen for it!

*Heads off to check out geocaches near Stratford on Avon*

Birdy Blog

Sunday, October 3rd, 2004

I overslept this morning – not really surprising after yesterday’s adventures. I just made it to church on time, and was telling our (new) vicar about what I’d been up to. I’m not sure what he thinks now…

After lunch I had a new geocache to try out, Go Out West. I forgot to charge the GPS batteries, so halfway round I had to steal the batteries out of the camera to complete the cache. This was a shame, as it meant that when I saw a roe deer near the cache location, I couldn’t take a picture to prove it. Instead I offer you this picture, which I took in the car park on Weston Shore, only about half a mile from the cache, while I was recovering with a cup of coffee.

Once I got home, I MSN’d with some chums, finished a RiddleMule puzzle which had been stumping me for a while, and slept in front of the telly. G’night all.

Messin’ About in Boats

Saturday, October 2nd, 2004

Regular members of the blogring should be able to guess who the pizza-scoffing lunatic in this picture is…

Anyway, today I had a meeting near Guildford in the morning: When that was over I rang the crew of the Watery Queen to see where they were: Needless to say they were in a pub, of which Omally quickly provided me with the Lat and Long. I got over there in double quick time, and while they had their lunch I snuck off and did the nearby geocache Weyside Wander. I was then invited to join the vessel for a trip up the canal to the winding hole at the entrance to the Basingstoke Canal, and back to the pub, which I quickly accepted. The Wey Navigation can never have seen a more black-hearted and scarey crew of pirates, as can be guessed from the picture!

I wasn’t driving when we rammed the bridge – Simon was.

Then they dropped me back at my car, and I headed off to do the cache Weyside Wander part 3, thence home via the chinese takeaway. Oh boy, I think I ate too much, Know what I mean?

A really nice day, and it was great to meet Omally, SimonG, MCL, Pharisee and Merman again, and to meet Henry the Thirst, Trouty, and Lord and Lady Hutton for the first time.

Mixed

Friday, October 1st, 2004

Chums, I have to confess I had a bit of a tantrum this evening. Rain – and the fact that it started getting dark at half past six – stopped me getting to the last of four geocaches I’d hoped to do this evening. Then I had a forty-five minute drive home in the lobstering rain, my wrist was hurting more and more, and I was gradually losing sensation in the fingers on that hand. When I got home I couldn’t even undo the laces on my walking boots, and the whole thing ended with me ripping off my wrist brace and hurling it across the hallway screaming about how I couldn’t take another eight months of this when the Grinning Idiot (aka The Patronising Prat) got same-day treatment when it suited him.

On the plus side, I did enjoy the three caches that I did mangage:
Brockhills Box
Beyond the Lily Pond
One for the Sewing Box

Since all that happened I’ve calmed down with a couple of glasses of wine…