Archive for March, 2006

Arlo Arlo Arlo

Friday, March 10th, 2006

Here are some really good Chris deBurgh songs:

  • Don’t Pay the Ferryman
  • In a Country Churchyard
  • Song For You
  • Spanish Train

Here are a couple of really rubbish Chris deBurgh songs:

  • Lady in Red
  • A Spaceman Came Travelling

I don’t have anything in particular against Chris deBurgh – as you might tell from my list of favourites of his, I’m a big fan of his earlier stuff – and my particular reasons for not liking Lady in Red will make another blog sometime1. I went to a Chris deBurgh gig at the Bournemouth Centre in 1988, not long after “Lady in Red” was a hit, and while he was working through a selection of his early stuff, the screaming girlies at the front kept yelling “Do ‘Lady in Red’, Chris!”, as if it was the only thing he’d ever done – and as far as they knew, it might well have been.

What put me in mind of this is Arlo Guthrie. I’m too young to have been listening to music when he was popular, so I’ve never really had much contact with his stuff, but I’ve recently discovered “Alice’s Restaurant”, and listened to it a few times2. The trouble is, I’m now frightened that if I listen to any of his normal mainstream stuff, I won’t like it. But if I don’t risk it, I’ll never know…

In other news, I have a new keyboard, and it only took two days! Woo!

1 Although I guess anyone who’s spent much time presenting Hospital Radio request shows will be able to guess.
2 Incidentally, I think it’s quite funny that we’ve got two versions of this on the Hospital Radio database, one labelled “Alice’s Restaurant (18 minutes)” and the other “Alice’s Restaurant (Long Version)”.


Thursday, March 9th, 2006

I know that some people (this means you, Jenny :-) ) think I have a pretty easy life as far as work’s concerned: It’s certainly true that I’m free to arrange my own work calendar, and if I work my socks off for the start of the week, I can generally coast a bit over the last couple of days down to the weekend. It doesn’t always work like that – days when I have to go to our other sites are usually an early start and late finish, and when I get back I have to still do all the work I’d normally have done that day anyway.

But it’s days like yesterday that I really earn my vastly under-inflated salary: Normally I don’t mind doing accident investigations – they’re an important step in preventing recurrence, so you come away feeling you’ve really achieved something, and there’s often an underlying element of comedy to tell folks about later. But yesterday, one of our delivery lorries rolled over to have its tummy tickled – some of my readers may have seen a picture in their local paper. Luckily only the driver was hurt, and him not seriously, but it still means a full investigation: Blood, mud and diesel all mixed together isn’t the nicest decoration for a working environment, and that was only in the cab: Tomorrow I’m going to be scrabbling in the back, and if I’m a really lucky boy, one of the mechanics will find something underneath he needs me to look at.

Still, it’s a job.

More Bizarre

Wednesday, March 8th, 2006

It felt like much of yesterday was spent sitting in a traffic jam on the A3.

Actually it was only about an hour, but it meant that I got back to work too late to bother with going to the gym – I had another appointment later on. So I thought, before leaving work I’d just log into the system and blog.

It wasn’t until I tried to log in to my blog site that I noticed the “N” key on my keyboard wasn’t working – all I’d done up to then was log into the network, and there isn’t an “N” in either my username or password for that. After a few seconds tapping like a demented woodpecker with an “N” fixation, I got around it by cutting and pasting an “N” from character map. Reflecting that it had at least given me something to blog about, I typed the title – “Missi*g Letter” – and started work.

When I noticed that the “B” key and the space bar weren’t working either, I gave up, and that’s why you got a pre-written standby blog last night. For the time being I’m managing with the keyboard from the spare PC: Sarah the Receptionist tells me it’ll take at least three days to get a new keyboard. Since my new mouse took a week, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.

How Bizarre

Tuesday, March 7th, 2006

I’ve had a rather bizarre invitation.

My chum Big Colin – not to be confused with my chum Even Bigger Colin – has spent the last three years training to be an ordained minister in the United Reform Church. Qualification was followed by a long period of not being able to find the right church, but he’s now found a job, as Chaplain to the Homeless in Poole, a post which is part of the ministry of Poole URC. He’ll be good at it – he was a good prison chaplain before he was ordained, and he has a real heart for serving the marginalised and underprivileged.

So. Col and his cat Oscar are moving to Poole. Colin is being ordained into the role in a few weeks time, and the ordination is taking place “under the flyover opposite the superstore”. Given what the nature of his ministry is going to be, it’s appropriate, but it seems a little odd. The last ordination I went to was in Winchester Cathedral, so I’m certainly seeing the opposite end of the spectrum.


Monday, March 6th, 2006

I had to see the foot lady this morning.

When you’re diabetic, your circulation can go a bit funny, which in turn can lead to foot problems: Therefore, diabetics in Southampton get an invitation to see a foot lady, with regular follow-ups depending on what level of risk they think you have. She asked me a load of questions – this being my first session with her – then gave my feet a good looking-at: She said there was nothing to worry about, and that I obviously keep my feet in good condition. I know that’s an odd thing to be proud of, but there y’go…

Next was the sensitivity test, where I had to shut my eyes and she prodded my feet all over with a sort of brush bristle: I had to tell her where she was touching, and I got ten out of ten on that one as well! Obviously this is to test for any loss of feeling.

The last – and best – bit was a sort of ultrasound scan of each foot: They use a sepcial meter to listen to the blood flowing through the arteries in the feet, and from that they can tell how good your circulation is. A single “thump thump thump” noise – a bit like the bass bin in a chav’s car as it passes – is worrying: A “lub-dub, lub-dub” sound is normal for a forty-year old, and a sort of “Lub-dub-whoosh” is very good. Although I couldn’t hear the “whoosh”, foot lady said she could, so that was something to be happy about. Apparently I’ve got the arteries of a twenty-year-old.

I’d better keep that quiet, if he finds out he’ll be furious.

Odd Jobs

Sunday, March 5th, 2006

Many of you will remember that last November, I found my 400th geocache.

As well as the general fabness of the day, one of the things that sticks in my mind about that event, is that all day I was moaning at my passengers, Rockin’ Rob and The Lovely Miche, that I REALLY needed a new back windscreen wiper. It wasn’t really doing its job, and rural geocaching in winter is a bit of a mucky pastime, so the back window was taking on a certain opaqueness.

I fairly quickly organised myself to get a new wiper blade, and vowed that I’d fit it soon. When the Gruntmobile was serviced a couple of weeks ago, the service man commented that the rear wiper blade rubber was split: They didn’t have a spare in stock (and it wasn’t urgent because it isn’t an MOT point), but if I’d like to pop back sometime,they’d sort it out for me. Well needless to say, having one in stock myself, I wasn’t about to pay National Autocentres to do it for me.

So, this afternoon, before settling down to an afternoon’s thrilling revision (The European Convention on Human Rights, hurrah!), I changed my rear wiper a mere three and a half months after noticing that it needed doing, thereby saving myself at least a crisp fiver. Mind you, I bet if National Autocentres had done it, the job wouldn’t have involved a power drill, a big hammer, and superglue…


Saturday, March 4th, 2006

Aston Villa 1, Portsmouth 0

OK…now I believe we’re going down. Championship, here we come.

Today I went to a training session, then a committee meeting. Then I went to the gym and did 1500 calories. And now I’m tired, and the revision has yet to begin. Oh, and the Chinese takeaway gave me fried rice instead of boiled, so I feel all bloated and horrible as well.



Friday, March 3rd, 2006

In a comment to my blog of yesterday, His Omalliness the King of Sweden commented:

“Tchoh. You’re slacking, Gottle. 433 caches indeed. Pathetic. :-p”

He omitted to mention that he’s only 11 ahead of me, and he’s been caching much longer than I have. Things have been conspiring a bit lately, as regular readers will know, and I’m not being helped by the fact that I’ve done virtually all the caches within an easy trip of home.

Still, the next few weeks should see some improvement: Next weekend sees a Raynet event in an area very close to four caches I haven’t done – indeed, I’ll be driving past three of them on my way home, so I should pick up at least a couple. Then before the end of the month I’ve got a whole day in London, at the company’s expense :-) . Granted I’ve got to attend some sort of seminar with the Health and Safety Executive (“Building Professional Relationships with the Regulatory Body”, I think it’s called), but with a bit of luck I’ll be able to sneak away after, say, morning coffee, and Central London is riddled with caches – there are twenty within a mile of where the seminar is happening! And then just two days later there’s a Hospital Radio conference in Blackpool – my normal Sunday morning caching is out, because there’s a seminar I’ve got to attend, on account of I’m presenting it, but that still leaves a fair chunk of the weekend.

Anyway, tonight I skived off work early and did a couple of caches, just like wot I promised last night: First was Porchester Castle, a nice little multi around the upper end of Portsmouth Harbour. I enjoyed the walk, then on the way home stopped off to try a cache I’d attempted last October and failed on: This time, I had to scrabble a bit, but I found Padworth’s Cash Cache 2 in the end.

I’ve just had a thought about that London seminar – I hope they’re not looking for the sort of Professional Relationship my former colleague Dangerous Dickie had with the lady from the Trading Standards Office. As my chum Smithy is wont to say, “Nooooooo, scary!”


Thursday, March 2nd, 2006

I’d sort-of promised myself that tonight, I’d blog about something that wasn’t course, exam revision, or assignment based. But then I couldn’t think what else to write about.

I think that’s probably a sign that I need to think about something else: With a bit of luck I’ll leave work tomorrow night in time to do a bit of geocaching before it gets dark. If I don’t, then I won’t get any done this weekend, because I have a training session and a committee meeting on Saturday, and church and revising on Sunday.

Yawn. Sorry it’s a dull one – I’ll try and do better tomorrow.

More Work

Wednesday, March 1st, 2006

You’ll be pleased to know that progress on those assignments – well, on one of them anyway – is proceeding well. It may have looked as if I was mongoosing about in the chatroom last night, but I managed to get nearly half of the “main body” section of the first draft (worth 60% of the marks) completed.

Lest anyone think this all seems a bit easy, I should explain: I’m rubbish at making notes. So where most people would spend time making notes about how they’re going to write the assignment, assembling a framework and so on, I dive straight in with “Draft A”. There will probably be drafts B and C before I produce the final version that I’m happy to submit, although of course in these wonderful days of compluters, each version is normally just an edited version of the one before, rather than a complete re-write.

Those of you who were interested enough to look, will know that Assignment C – the one I haven’t started yet – requires among other things, an assessment of the flammability of the structure of a workplace. I was discussing with my chum Graham this morning, the idea of using the Portacabin that our office is in. But as he so wisely pointed out, “Once you’ve written, ‘it would go up like a bloody tinderbox’, where are you going to find the other 3492 words?”