Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Good, The Bad

Down in London again. Yes, that's right, I did have a day off today, but I have come down to London for a meeting tomorrow. Seemed better than fighting the rush hour. Anyway, to the point. The good news is that the hotel had a room for me tonight (different hotel, Radisson Berkshire). After last week I really didn't want a repeat saga. Further good news (or at least so it appeared) is that I have been upgraded. I do like being upgraded (although still waiting for it to happen on a plane). Silly though it is, I get a "I am special" rush when I hear the words "we are upgrading you". And yes, I do realise it just means they had a room spare but that isn't the point. Whoops, digressing. Anyway, good news turns into bad news. I appear to have the room next to the lift shaft (what do I mean appear to, I DO have the room next to the lift shaft). And it is a very noisy lift. I have a feeling it might be a very long night, and I can't drink myself into oblivion as I have a meeting in the morning.

Ship called Dignity

{Actually no ship at all but I wondered how many would get the reference}

Anyway, while at the spa I had a thought. If it is only me who this is true of then I am going to be embarrassed but if everyone gets it then I think this is a wonderful piece of psychology.

So there I was wandering around in my speedos (sorry for that mental image but it is a necessary part of the tale), and I realised that I didn't mind all these strangers seeing me, and I wouldn't mind if it was friends who were there, but if it was people I knew and saw regularly, for instance work colleagues (and before I upset anyone, obviously some work colleagues are friends as well), then I would be mortified.

And I have a theory about this, it all comes down to dignity. Friends should know you well enough that dignity is not an issue. With people who you will never see again you don't need any dignity. But acquaintances are different and dignity becomes very important, it is a vital piece in the chess of life and loosing it can quickly lead to check mate.

Phone off

A nice day off at the spa. Not sure about the dry floatation experience, nothing wrong with it but neither did it do anything for me so I think I will give that one a miss in the future. The body massage was good, just managed to avoid falling asleep. And I managed to not think about work most of the time, (although I did allow a bit of blue sky thinking to creep in, I think that is allowed, dreaming up new schemes is fun), what I wanted to avoid was worrying about things that are happening and considering the next few days this was really an achievement. One of my favourite rooms is the sanarium, not quite as hot as the sauna but it has sounds of birds and running water, it's like being in a rainforest without the leeches. And some people will be pleased to know that they were playing Snow Patrol in the restaurant at lunch time.

The Best Days ...

This morning I heard an interview on "Today" with Alison Wolf. I haven't quite worked out who Alison Wolf is (possibly a Professor of the Public Sector Management but that doesn't sound like a real job), but they were talking about education and leaving ages. In defence of NOT having leaving ages she said that she believed that "people know when they can get the most out of education".

Well she is a expert so I don't want to be controversial but WHAT RUBBISH! Some children are lucky and know what they will want to do, they have a vocation. But for many they have no idea. And if you don't have something to aim for then it is hard to see the value of school, after all it is simply stopping you getting out and experiencing the world. I don't agree with trying to make everyone go to university but we do have to make sure that our children are able to give their best and are educated to their potential. Sadly to reach our potential we do have to be forced to do things we don't want to.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Although let down by Dog Collar it is fair to say my other friends and I have had a few rants lately. Well, I feel a need to keep them coming.

So it is a little while since I posted that our conservatory was complete. In fact, you would notice in the same post that I mentioned that my daughter might have been a bit distracting. It would seem she was. We have a list of "snags", eg a scratch on the glass, a scratch on the window frame, a lack of skirting board (originally there was no plan to have skirting but, and this is really weird, although the floor is level and the window cills are level there is an ever widening gap between floor and damp course as you look around the wall of the conservatory), a lack of door fills etc.

I saw these at the time. I withheld £1000 of the final payment. I kind of thought that would be an incentive for them. Well, somewhat surprisingly, £1000 doesn't seem to be enough.

After weeks of phone calls we finally got them to come around last Saturday. But they only brought the window, nothing else. To be honest I just told them to go away again. Is it unreasonable to want it all done at once? I don't want to spend my life, or "J"s life, waiting for builders to come and fix things bit by bit.

We may have come to an impasse. They don't seem bothered about loosing £1k. Whereas I am quite happy to have £1k more in the bank than I expected. We have given up on the window frame being fixed, as apparently they have to take the entire roof off (and why did they fit it in the first place with a big scratch), and I could probably do the skirting myself. So I don't have the fight in me that I need to get this done.

One Day Match - Perth

Well, to accentuate the positive, we did score over 150 runs, I thought that was our current limit. In fact 260 isn't a bad score. Just a pity the kiwis scored 318! The fact that the kiwis are able to talk about being disappointed at not get a bonus point indicates how low we have sunk. And in a month we are off to the world cup. This really could get emarrassing. Pictured is a beautiful shot by Jacob Oram.
Worth mentioning is an after match quote from Andrew Flintoff - "We're still in it" he says. Sorry, did he get a blow to the head?

Monday, January 29, 2007


There are times when you have to think that the church doesn't want to be popular. I can't understand the position against adoption by gay couples. All they want to do is adopt a child, a child who needs a home. Gays are not deviants. They do not want the children in order to perform dark rites. Ah, I've got it, maybe it is a subversive method to increase their numbers, give them children and they will make them gay. Did you know there are gay animals? Some bulls can only be used for semen collection if you show them another bull. This is not unnatural, it is just the way some people are, and they have the same rights as anyone and everyone else.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Washing Clean

Water cascading,
Filling ears,
All sound.
Water blending
To hide
The tears.
A cocoon
Running down my sides.
Sluicing blood,
Pain spiralling
To open sewars.

In Memoriam - David Rattray

I have just learned of the murder of David Rattray. I am shocked. My parents were lucky enough to be able to count him as a friend, I have just met him the once. This man was someone who was special. He had an immense respect for his fellow man, and an ability to recognise the best in each one. He worked hard for South Africa and for its people. He was active in fighting apartheid.

To hear him talk on the Zulu wars was to experience a life changing event. I saw him at the Royal Geographical Society last year, and at 1900hrs at night in a packed lecture hall he could make you believe that you were at Rorkes Drift. David knew the Zulu wars. He knew them as no-one else did. He knew them because he grew up being told the stories by some of the warriors who were there. He knew them because he cared for all those who lost their lives, no matter the colour of their skin. He knew more than just the big events, he could tell you who was more interested in finding a rare beetle than firing his gun, how a boy led his injured pony back to camp, how a trading post became the scene of a story where more VCs were won in one day than any other battle. It was in his bones and his life-blood. Get hold of "The Day of the Dead Moon", his guide to the Zulu war. Listen to it. As you hear of how brave men on both sides lost their lives I defy you not to have tears in your eyes.

I am proud to have shaken this mans hand. A man who had time for everyone. I am saddened that others will never have the chance because of a mindless act of violence. Whether it was assassination or botched robbery probably matters little. I only met him the once, but I have tears in my eyes as I write this.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

One Day Match - Adelaide

You may be thinking I have failed to report on a match. Well, as far as I am concerned, there was no match. Some guys went out and knocked a cricket ball about a bit, but nothing that could have been described as a match occurred.

Masonic Myths

1) Masons want to take over the world - actually we are too busy getting on with our lives. Being a megalomaniac is a tiring business, and if we took over the world then someone would expect us to run it.

2) We harbour murderers - actually we take an oath to uphold the law of the country above all else.

3) We are taught how to pass our driving licence to policemen so as to be let off the offence - will someone please tell me how to do this one, I would love to know (not that I speed obviously).

4) We give preferential treatment to masons - to be honest there probably are some masons who would do this, but then the same thing happens in golf clubs, between gym buddies etc. Humans empathise with others who like the same things as we do. However, this is not compulsory, just a fact of life, and I have never treated a mason differently to a non-mason.

5) A mason must never contradict a brother - I can't even begin to imagine a world where I have to agree with what other people think.

6) Tony Blair is a freemason - not sure if this is a myth but I hope it is (see 5).

7) We have a goat in the lodge - a frequent wind up of initiates who do not know what to expect during their first ceremony. But nothing more than a joke.


What Your Dreams Mean...

Your dreams seem to show that you're a bit disturbed... but nothing serious.

You may have a problem you're trying to work out in your sleep.

Overall, you are very content in your life.

Your dreams tend to reflect your insecurities.

You have a very vivid imagination and a rich creative mind.


The health service strugggles. It will always take more money because medicine is advancing. Does this mean a line should be drawn?

A free health service is essential. But can everything be free?

Should the operating principle be the greater good. Is it right to spend a phenomenal amount on one person when the same money could treat hundreds?

There will always be one more treatment, there will always be one more operation, one more life that can be saved. That is the nature of the beast.

The only person who can make the decision is the one with nothing to gain. Politicians should not be allowed to choose because they are after more votes. The people who are ill, and their families, cannot choose because they will (rightly) always want the most expensive and best option. Find the man (or woman) with no motives and let them decide.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Oh Bother

A number of my friends have seen which level of Dantes hell they would be sent to (liz, Squeak, Sally, C). I have taken a detour in order to see how I do with the deadly sins. I think I am not a good person. {I actually did not publish my place in Dantes Hell but suffice to say there is a lot of wind and I share the level with Helen of Troy and Cleopatra (which may make it worth while considering why we are there)}.

Lust:Very High

Discover Your Sins - Click Here

Not Waving

You made me believe
I could walk
On water
So I went to the sea
To drown

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Back to London

I have just realised that I didn't tell you why I went to London yesterday. I had a meeting at the EMEA offices. They are based at Canary Wharf (which seems strange for a European group, kind of expect them to be in Brussels). We had a pharmacovigilance meeting to attend. Fascinating. I am always amazed by people who can not only remember rules but also quote the relevant article without any references in front of them. I couldn't do history at school because I couldn't remember dates, I didn't pass psychology because I couldn't remember who wrote what (I could remember the important bits about what it meant but not who first thought of it, in itself there is probably some psychology in that). So for someone to say "according to article 45 ..." stuns me. And the set up of the meeting room. You have seen pictures of meetings in the EU. It was just like that. Little signs saying "United Kingdom", "Espana, Spain", "Polska, Poland", "Deutschland, Germany" etc with the representatives sitting behind. I loved it, great day.

In Dubious Taste

I am in the mood to admit something embarrassing tonight. After due consideration I feel it should be musical. So, although I like to think of myself as musically educated and with good taste, I am now going to admit that I like McFly and the the latest Take That album. Oh dear.

Let us consider Take That first. I bought their latest album for "J" for Christmas. I didn't think I would ever listen to it. However it has made its way on to itunes so the wonderful shuffle will sometimes play it. And I have discovered that they have gone all folkey, traditional, ballads. I have yet to hear it all but there are really some nice tracks on it.

And McFly. Well, it is simply that they are fun. They have loads of energy about them. They remind me of "The Monkeys" (I would like to point out that I am not old enough to know the Monkeys from their first time around but I used to watch the repeats on TV).


I was absolutely shatterred last night. I think the previous 24 hours caught up with me. Normally I don't go to bed until midnight or later. Last night I gave up at 2200hrs. Head hit the pillow and I was asleep. Now usually if I go to sleep at that time, no matter how tired I am, I will wake in the middle of the night and then end up having to get up. Now, I can't say I slept right through but although I woke a couple of times I was asleep again within 5 minutes.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


There is an adjunct to the last story. Due to Outlook not understanding time zones, the meeting booked by an international colleague was actually at 1000hrs, not 0900 hrs, leaving me sitting in Starbucks for an hour looking like a lemon in an apple orchard. I am not sure there is anything more I can say on the matter!

Journey Time

One of the great things about blogging is that I can name and shame. So I name the Britannia International Hotel and I shame them. For further details, verging on a McVicar of a journey, read on (rant warning, breaking all my attempts at keeping blogs short).

Background: I had a meeting at 0900hrs at Canary Wharf this morning. I decided it would be better to travel down the night before. For someone who spends half his life travelling I am a tad retentive about the whole thing, I just hate being late. So I found a hotel 2 minutes walk from where I needed to be.

The journey: Owing to the fact some friends came around, Zippie and "D", I wasn't going to leave home until quite late. I thought it would be easier to order pizza than cook so that is what I did. The pizza arrived an hour late (and was not a good pizza) so this wasn't a great start. Had to eat it fairly quickly. Then "J" ran me in to the station (obviously I mean drove, I don't do running). At this point, giving myself a pat on the back as I had bought tickets earlier. It is now 2130hrs. The train journey is uneventful, listened to "Under Milk Wood", did some work, all fine. Getting late by the time I get to London so I get a taxi to the hotel. Taxi driver has a sense of humour, I put my headphones in my ears and he speaks, I take them out and answer then wait in case he has anything else to say, finally decide he doesn't, put headphones back on, he speaks. This happens too often for it to be a coincidence. I check the booking form, yes, guaranteed for late arrival, fine (I guess you might be ahead of me at this point). Arrive at the hotel at about 2330hrs. Long queue at check in. Long queue, at half eleven! One or two warning bells going off, but I have a guarantee don't I. Now, you know how it is impossible not to try and overhear an argument. Well I start tuning myself in to what is going on at the desk. Interesting, they don't have a room for that gentleman. Unlucky, he should have got a guarantee shouldn't he. But they don't seem to have a room for that person either. Slightly less "interesting" now. Next person up, no room. OK, tension mounting. Up I go. Say who I am. She looks me up on the computer, there I am, she goes and gets my paperwork, there it is. "Sorry sir". O b....r. (actually I saw this farce happen for 6 people, check name, get paperwork then say no room at the inn, adding minutes on to something that was always going to end in tears). Hotel overbooked. So what does guarantee mean - apparently, if you are the International, nothing. Finally they say they can book me in to another hotel, they will sort everything out as a gesture of goodwill because of the trouble and pay for the hotel, and order me a taxi. I get them to commit to a taxi back in the morning as well.

Breakout: {At this point some sympathy is due for the girl attempting to check in after me, she didn't have a room either but a friend had managed to book in earlier, friend has a spare bed, all sounding good, well now consider that the "friend" is actually an ex-boyfriend, so a real dilemma for her, share a room with him or being 30-45 minutes away with an 0800hrs meeting, a lot of soul searching there I can tell you. Initially a lot of "eww" noises and pulling faces, we all say things like "not good" (obviously the ex wasn't with us at the time), arranged to go to new hotel, but folded at the last moment, an extra half hour in bed (!) didn't outweigh the principle of the thing}.

Back to the story: a taxi arrives and takes me to the new hotel. On the way taxi drives says this is a common occurence for the International and quite often by the time he gets people to the next hotel those rooms have gone as well. Isn't he a bearer of good tidings! I go in, up to the check in (no queues), say who I am and that I have been sent from the International (that sounds more Bond-like than it was at 0015hrs). Oh dear sir. NOOOOooooooo. Actually, not a really serious oh dear, just the International haven't informed them. Do they have rooms? Yes. Will they keep one for me? Yes. Just need to get confirmation from the International. So I wait another 25 minutes. Finally, after a lot of phone calls, a fax arrives. It does confirm that I have come from the International (helpful that) but doesn't confirm that the International will cover my bill. Now I have to admit, had it been 1500hrs I would have stamped my feet, instead I gave up, gave my own card and checked in (which I could have done half an hour earlier if I hadn't trusted the word of the International).

Obviously this is my revenge.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

One day Match - Adelaide

Another match in the dire history of England, another loss, another rout. Flintoff the hero has turned to Flintoff the cursed. New Zealand set a low total to chase but England couldn't even step up to this bar and lost by 90 runs. The second highest score by an England player was 10. It would shame them too much to say who scored what. This gives New Zealand a bonus point and moves them above England in the triangular series.

Daniel Vettori had another good day for New Zealand, with 4 wickets but only giving away 24 runs. I remember when he first came over to the UK and thinking how good he was going to be. He has lived up to his promise and is a great stabilising influence for the blackcaps. Still relatively young he is none-the-less a senior for the team and they should all look up to him.

Piggy Piggy Piggy

I have just spent the morning on a pig farm. I like pigs. I'm not talking pot bellied things, or things called "Babe", but the real pig. They are intelligent, they are fun. They generally have a contented air about them. Watch them playing together and you can't help but smile. They are great animals. But, oh such a big but, the smell just clings to you. I got back in the car and could just smell the aroma coming off me. And I didn't even touch one. Oh I'm going to be good company tonight.

Monday, January 22, 2007

No Fly Zone

BA cabin crew are threatening to go on strike. Apparently they resent the more aggressive management style now being enforced. Yes, if I was no longer allowed to average 22 days sick a year I am sure I would resent it as well. The union official refuses to say if he thinks 22 days might be a tad excessive! Cabin crew doesn't strike me as the most stressful of jobs (unless you are scared of flying I suppose). I do realise that it probably isn't as glamorous as it seems but generally most of the flights I have been on have passed without incident. Apart from one where someone was taken sick and the captain really did ask over the tannoy if there was a doctor on board (and lucky for them there must have been a medical convention, we ended up with a couple of doctors looking at the woman and about 6 others hovering around wanting a turn, stethoscopes in hand - it's actually quite worrying watching doctors pacing around desperate to treat something, you feel you should jump up and do some star jumps to demonstrate just how healthy you are). I can understand it might be stressful for EasyJet crew as well, I would hate to wear that orange.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


It will come
There will be a day
I'll know
That your beauty
Was worth more
Than all I chased

West Wing (Again)

I know there is a risk of sounding repetitive, but if you haven't watched West Wing then do so.

Little grabs me the way this does but, more than that, the series challenges so many ways of thinking. I have just watched the first episode of series three. Now series three went out just after 9/11. A time of heightened emotion in what was and is (I am sorry) already an emotional country. The easy thing to do would be to dodge the issue. Instead they wrote a one-off episode (in what was an amazing turn-around time of just 2 weeks), "Isaac and Ishmael", which completely focusses on the issues of terrorism. And it does not pull any punches. It discusses why terrorism exists and it addresses the blinkered approach that we can all take.

When some students are asking why Muslims hate America, Josh tells them that Islamic extremists are to Islam what the KKK are to Christianity". When Sam is asked "...what do you call a society that has to just live every day with the idea that the pizza place you are eating in could just blow up without any warning?" , he answers "Israel". Leo, normally a good guy, is seen to get so blinkered in an interrogation that all he can see in front of him is the colour of a mans skin. Once again Bartlet has the line of the episode, "we need heroes. A hero would die for his country but he would much rather live for it"

This episode attracted a lot of criticism in America, even being said to "wimp out". Actually I see that criticism as being the highest accolade it could get.

From Balls....

The bouncing ball ad was good, but the new advert goes a step further. 70,000 litres of paint used for what has to be described as a riot of colour. In a day and age when the first choice is to turn to computer animation, Sony are returning to the real thing. And the real thing is nothing short of impressive. The effort that had to go in to this advert is beyond imagination, and the vision of those behind it to even think of the possibilities has to be admired. I mention this because today the block of flats in Glasgow where this was filmed was finally demolished. Jim Kerr of Simple Minds grew up here but this marks another step forward for the development of Glasgow. It seems a fitting end for an area of Glasgow that developed many colourful characters that it should finally find colour of its own.

Happy Feet

I sometimes get frustrated when I feel life is becoming humdrum. A 4 year old is a useful antidote for that. Today "A" decided she wanted to do some foot painting, I will let the photos tell the story from here:

Suspect Lyrics

I am happily transferring my CDs over to the computer at the moment. "A" was instantly attracted to the "Beautiful South" album "blue is the colour" because of the little boy on the front. She wanted to hear the songs and I had no reason to say no, so I put the album on and turned the volume up. Well I say no reason to say no. I don't know if you know this album, more especially the first track "Don't Marry Her". You may remember it from being in the charts a few years ago. When played on the radio the chorus ran with the line "Don't marry her, have me". To be honest, and I remembered this approximately 1 second too late, the CD is worded slightly differently. I don't want to shock anyone so I am not going to use the word that replaces "have" but suffice it to say that it begins with "f" and ends with "k". So witness me singing "have" as loud as I can to cover over a word that I am not yet quite prepared to hear my 4 year old saying.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Trial of Tony Blair

I just watched this tonight. Brilliant satire. Robert Lindsay does a fantastic job as Tony, very credible - the hand wringing, the eye movement, the well spaced............ sentences ........with tactically.......... placed....... spaces. We have a prime minister whose main concern is his legacy, what will he be remembered for. As this drama predicts, it won't be for rejuvenating the NHS, for improving education, or for reforming our legal system. No, he will be remembered for one thing, an illegal war for which many on both sides die every day. As for Bush, well more americans have died in Iraq than died in the twin towers, that should make all pause and consider.


It is the voice of many to cry "bring me mediocrity, don't let me stand out." It is a voice that has been taught how to behave, not to make a scene, to accept what is given. It is a voice scared to be noticed. A voice scared to be hurt. A voice scared to be scared. But to live, to fully experience our potential, to find the buried treasure within our soul, we need to relinquish the control. Stand up in front of the crowd and say "here I am". Dance when those around you are sitting. Sing when others have lost their tongues. Let your dreams guide your waking day. Simply, spread your wings and fly to clearer skies.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Smoke, Mirrors

Dealing with the media can be quite fun. Tonight we were watching West Wing (I know, great surprise there) and CJ didn't answer a question from the press. When they point this out she says something along the lines of "really, go figure". And it puts me in mind of today. Now, let's be honest, the media may not distort but they certainly can cherry pick. This means that there always has to be a degree of care when talking to the media. Well today I need to know an answer to an dilemma. I sent my question to our PR company and they replied within an hour. I read the reply. A bit later they phoned about something else, but I turned the conversation around to my query. I think my comment was "if you hadn't trained me in the first place I would never have noticed that you didn't answer my question".

One day Match - Brisbane

A stutter but probably nothing more than that. For a moment Oz didn't look quite so invincible. Yes England were bowled out for a pathetic total, but the bowlers came back with a fight. Had Hussey done the honourable thing then it might have been a different story, but he himself admits that he is not a "walker". It would be nice to think that the players would remove themselves from the crease if they knew they had been caught but, in reality, there is too much at stake. Jon Lewis is the one to come out of this with credit to his name, 4 wickets for 36 runs.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Great Sex Divide

If ever anything could fully demonstrate the divide between men and women it would be watching TV. We (maybe that should be I) have now bought all seven series of the West Wing (this is justified by the fact that we were using Amazon DVD rental service but getting problems so I have unsubscribed, however while you subscribe you get 10% off all DVD purchases so I had a limited window during which I could save money, you have to admire my logic). So most nights we end up watching it because there really is nothing else on. West Wing is gripping, even when you can't fully understand the USA politics. So we are watching one of the final episodes in series two (only another 5 series to go) when Charlie realises something important. We are not privy to it. That is the point. We are supposed to wonder. We have to wait. Why can't women wait! "J" starts going "what, what's wrong, what was important about the form" and I just want to watch and wait for it to unfold. It is supposed to be a moment of tension. I may have glared!

Water, Water

Hang on. Think about the weather. I suppose we have had worse winters but my garden is wet enough to indicate that is has rained a few times. In fact the state of my daughters shoes last weekend after a walk suggested rather more than a few times (grandads fault not mine, check my shoes, relatively clean, check grandads and the nephew, terrible mess, it was them who walked into the quagmire, I stayed on the path, I was good honest). And now, yes now, they finally lift the hosepipe ban. How can we have had a hosepipe ban for 8 months? Where has it all gone? I don't believe Coca-Cola are bottling it anymore. I definitely don't have it (wait, let me check I haven't left a tap running). Nope, a mystery.


I suspect most of us might agree that the weather today has been a little bit breezy. Possibly, and I don't want to go overboard on this, even a bit of a gust. So there I am, watching the news, and they decide to do a live interview from a pub. To be honest everyones OK in there, candlelit (very cosy, are you sure this is all REAL men or are we moving into lumberjack territory), all have pints because the pumps are gas powered. Interviewer approaches interviewee. "Do you think this is acceptable in this day and age to be without power?". Well there's a give-me I think, act of god so not the utilities fault, possibly a bit of an opening for a dig at global warming. But no, interviewee comes back with a firm "no, not acceptable, the amount they charge me for electricity....." - to be honest I tuned out. How pig-headed can someone get. Like paying a utility bill will ensure trees remain upright, rooves don't get torn away.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


I didn't mention my flight back last night. Well, it can only be described as a result. Yes I had the aisle seat but, wonder of wonders, no-one else had the seats next to me. So, after a slightly shakey start, I was able to stretch out and close my eyes. It would be too taking it too far to say I slept but at least I rested.

The rather shakey start was that I couldn't turn off my ipod when the plane began to taxi. I was pressing buttons and generally thinking up a few new swear words when the steward walked passed. He obviously thought I was a law breaker, tapped me on the shoulder, and told me to turn it off. Now I would like to think that when I said "I am trying" I was sweetness personified. However a combination of frustration and the fact I still had the headphones on might, only might, mean I spoke a bit louder than I planned. He looked quite startled and apologised! Rather glad I didn't want coffee later, he might have accidentally spilt it on me.

Silent Call

She calls
Water dripping
Down long dark hair

Lifts the phone



A breath?

Cold drops down back
Cold unnoticed
Skin glistening
Perfect body
Perfect body
Water rare caress


He enters
Hi love
She stands
Returns to bath
Wet shape
On bed
Her presence

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Bad Bed

It is always a bad idea to go to bed on an argument. It is an even bigger bad idea to go to bed on an argument on New Years Eve.

Under Milk Wood

The problem with poetry is that there have already been centuries for people to use the best lines. "I wandered lonely as a cloud", "Captain, my captain" and others all used. Unless you go for the surreal then it is difficult to be new. Then I listen to "Under Milk Wood" read by Richard Burton and I know I don't have a chance. Pure poetry


Would you be there
When the sun rose
On my day?

Would you be there
When the rainbow
Ended at my feet?

Would you be there
When the sun set
In fiery splendour?

Would you be there
When shooting stars
Lit my sky?

And would I let you?


In what may be considered, for me, a slightly unusual moment, I obviously worried about the costs of flights to and from Brussels. I must have gone for a cheaper flight because there is no other way to explain the fact that I am stuck at Brussels airport for over 4 hours waiting for my flight to depart. No, it is not delayed, I just seem to have chosen a late flight. It is always difficult getting the timing right, I have had to leave the IFAH meeting early before now to get to my flight (I will leave you to find out what IFAH stands for), and I prefer to leave plenty of time spare, but this is ridiculous.
On top of it all, I didn't sleep at all well last night and I am really not looking forward to the drive home. One option would be be stoke up on coffee now, but then I would need to repeatedly go to the loo on the plane and that just doesn't seem a good idea. I will have to go for a power nap on the plane instead in the hope that will help (and I have just realised that I chose an aisle seat rather than window so sleeping will be harder).
Huh. When did the terms "jet setter" and "glamour" get put together?

Monday, January 15, 2007


How do we manage
This fighting without speaking.

No words
Meaning more
Than a hundred.
Meaning more
Than discussion.
Meaning more
Than touch.


The other reason I like "Dimension Jump" is that I like the idea of multiple dimensions. When something isn't going right I like to think that somewhere there is a me for whom it is fine.


Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast.

Normally I am a "shower" person. But in hotels I tend to go for baths as they take longer and I have time to kill. And I have got into the habit of watching DVDs while I am in the bath (for those worried about my safety, I do realise about the general rule that electricity and water do not mix, the laptop is on a chair away from the bath).

I just watched "Dimension Jump" from Red Dwarf series 4, the introduction of Ace Rimmer. It is a classic episode, and has me laughing out loud. Cat with a broken leg more worried about the fact he is bleeding and red doesn't go with his apricot suit than the fact he is dying. Told he might get gangrene he is happy because he thinks he can "pull off" green and apricot. Holly going ga-ga when she meets Ace for the first time. So many moments.

So, smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast.

Flying High

Sitting at Heathrow waiting for a flight to Brussels. It is going to be a quick trip, 24 hour job. It always sounds good going to Brussels and other places but I hardly get to see them. I am so glad I bought a lounge pass though. Able to sit in (reasonable) comfort, have a glass of wine, some nibbles and half decent coffee. Means I can get here nice and early knowing that I will be able to do some work, instead of leaving it to a last minute rush.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

England and the Cricket World Cup

It is hard to know where the England one day match is going. No, I tell a lie, it is easy, downhill. The squad for the World Cup does not make positive reading.

It is hard to believe that at least 6 of the other teams in the world cup will have one player who has scored more one day centruies than the whole of the england squad together. We have so few big hitters that the other teams know there are just a couple of players who need to be targetted in order to completely unravel our plans.

Panesar is there, but then so is Giles. There are 4 uncapped players. Gough is unfit. We can just cross our fingers for Pietersen. For the current tri-nations tournament, after a big defeat, Vaughan says we have no new game plan.

I tell you what, I ain't making any bets about wearing cricket shirts in March.

The provisional squad for the world cup in the West Indies:

James Anderson, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Stuart Broad, Glen Chapple, Rikki Clarke, Paul Collingwood, Alastair Cook, Jamie Dalrymple, Andrew Flintoff, Ashley Giles, Matthew Hoggard, Ed Joyce, Amjad Khan, Jon Lewis, Mal Loye, Sajid Mahmood, Paul Nixon, Graham Onions, Monty Panesar, Kevin Pietersen, Liam Plunkett, Matt Prior, Chris Read, Owais Shah, Vikram Solanki, Andrew Strauss, Chris Tremlett, Michael Vaughan, Michael Yardy.


Yesterday we went down to Bristol to a family party held by my sister "J". She has five children already so one or two more can't have much impact on the noise and sheer level of activity. All a bit of a shock when you are used to just one child though.

After the lunch we had a quiz game. Not usually the sort of thing that we all do, and an interesting insight into how competitive we can all be. Considering the rules were rather basic (each write out ten famous people, these names are then put in a pot, a selected team member pulls out a name and describes who it is so the rest of the team can guess, get as many names as possible in two minutes) it was surprising how much confusion followed. There was also a fair amount of cheating (I am shocked by my family), eg "she was the queen in the victorian age", my father putting the name of his doctor in the pot (apparently famous in the village), saying "yes" when the name hadn't been guessed correctly, someone cutting their names into special shapes so they knew them even before any describing had occurred, and a number of people throwing the name back in if they didn't like it. I have to admit I may have been a bit stupid on this as every time it came to my teams go everyone said that they would play properly and not throw the names back in so we didn't and battled through the difficult names (like a certain village doctor), then the other teams threw back names they didn't like. maybe by the third round we should have twigged. Anyway, the team that say they won should have been disqualified for cheating (you know who you are).

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Yesterday I posted the lyrics of both a Runrig and a Juliet Turner song. I wish I could write like these guys. I have a fairly wide range of taste, from Mahler and Wagner through Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention passing through The Stranglers and the Damned onward to Deacon Blue, Sting, Chris de Burgh, The Beautiful South......... I love having music around me. But a few can do more than simply cocoon me, some penetrate to my core. Runrig and Juliet Turner both do this.

I have seen both live. Juliet Turner has twice provided me with incredibly important and special moments. The last two years at Greenbelt she has been kind enough to come and play to the ops team during one of our meetings. Amongst the rush that Greenbelt is, the planning and organising, the things to do and people to see, there was sudden calm. Both times she brought tears to my eyes and more than anything in the last ten years reminded me what Greenbelt was about.

Runrig I used to go and see whenever I could. Live they are fantastic. On a number of occassions I have organised loads of friends to go along, many of whom had never heard of Runrig and were willing to take my word for how good they are. Not one person has ever regretted going. They have also played at Greenbelt, on the mainstage, and they had the whole crowd dancing. Unfortunately they now seem to mainly tour abroad and are rarely in the UK. Hopefully I will get to see them again.

Friday, January 12, 2007

One Day match - Melbourne

I have been desperately trying to think of an excuse not to post this, but in reality I can't. It was another bad day for the England team. Not only were they squarely beaten but also one of the few decent players we have ended up with a broken rib. Hell of a ball. Fairly sure I wouldn't have got up again afterwards. Pietersen was playing his usual brilliant way, sixes and fours peppered around the ground, but after a serious bodyblow from McGrath he was never going to stay out there, despite his efforts, and an attempt at a six which he would have got another time instead saw him caught. After that the team petered out in the way we have come to expect.

My aussie colleague made me watch the last few overs (break in the sales conference) and it was not pleasant to watch. I am actually not sure how you manage to keep out on the field playing when there are 39 balls left, 8 wickets in hand, and only needing 2 runs.

I Hope That I Don't Fall in Love with You - Juliet Turner

Well I hope that I don't fall in love with you Cause falling in love just makes me blue,
Well the music plays and you display your heart for me to see,
I had a beer and now I hear you calling out for me
And I hope that I don't fall in love with you.

Well the room is crowded, people everywhere And I wonder, should I offer you a chair?
Well if you sit down with this old clown, take that frown and break it,
Before the evening's gone away, I think that we could make it,
And I hope that I don't fall in love with you.
Well the night does funny things inside a man
These old tom-cat feelings you don't understand,
Well I turn around to look at you, you light a cigarette,
I wish I had the guts to bum one, but we've never met,
And I hope that I don't fall in love with you.

I can see that you are lonesome just like me, and it being late,
You'd like some some company,
Well I turn around to look at you, and you look back at me,
The guy you're with has up and splits, the chair next to you's free,
And I hope that you don't fall in love with me.

Now it's closing time, the music's fading out
Last call for drinks, I'll have another stout.
Well I turn around to look at you, you're nowhere to be found,
I search the place for your lost face, guess I'll have another round
And I think that I just fell in love with you.

Every River - Runrig

You ask me to believe in magic
Expect me to commit suicide of the heart
And you ask me to play this game without question
Raising the stakes on this shotgun roulette

Every river I try to cross
Every hill I try to climb
Every ocean I try to swim
Every road I try to find
All the ways of my life
I'd rather be with you
There's no way
Without you

But you came to me like the ways of children
Simple as breathing, easy as air
Now the years hold no fears, like the wind they pass over
Loved, forgiven, washed, saved

Every river I try to cross
Every hill I try to climb
Every ocean I try to swim
Every road I try to find
All the ways of my life
I'd rather be with you
There's no way
Without you

The One

A face amongst a hundred,
The face amongst a hundred,
Only face amongst a hundred.

And I watch.

Beer in my hand,
Loud all around,
She is all,
All I see.

She drinks,
I raise my bottle to my lips.
She laughs,
I smile.
Every move

But not approaching,
Watching is all,
Than speaking,
Than risking,

From a distance.

Observation Skills

The more observant among you may have noticed that "Para Handy Tales" has moved from my "reading" list to my "travelling" list. This should not be taken as any kind of indication of the enjoyability of the book. It is simply that, as it is a collection of short stories, it makes a very good book for travelling with. The Cornish Trilogy on the other hand is a big book. I have read the first two stories but have now started the third and it will do better sitting on my bedside table.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


I wonder
If you ever
Miss me
As I

Dorian Who?

This is strange. The most common search term for finding my blog is “Dorian Amos”. I really don’t know how that is happening. Well, obviously I know I am found because I critiqued his book. What I mean is I don’t understand why so many are searching for him. So I looked at his book on Amazon. Almost everyone gives it 5 stars. Weird I think, the book isn’t well written. So obviously it is what he has done, not what he writes that everyone is so excited about.

So is this people living in cities, growing up never seeing the world or seeing nature. Is it vicarious living?

I have grown up in the country. I have “roughed” it, not like Dorian, nothing that extreme. But I have packed my bag and trekked across Canada. I have disappeared by myself to Orkney. I have opened my tent in the morning and then laid there watching otters playing in water. I have killed for my meal. I have climbed mountains by myself when I shouldn’t. I have wondered if I will make it back. But through none of it would I have ever knowingly put a loved one in danger.

If you really admire him so much then go and do it. He did it, so can you. He will even help you mine for gold. Don't romanticise this. It is not an easy life, it is not a pleasant life. But be true to yourself. Only a dead salmon flows with the current.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


A US nuclear sub became just a bit too friendly with a Japanese oil tanker last night. Even allowing for the fact that subs don't have headlights, it is still hard to see exactly how you miss one of the biggest ships on the seas. It couldn't exactly have sneaked up on them. Maybe they were all eating beans on toast and when they heard a loud clanging at first thought it was some campanologists a bit late for Christmas before they realised that they had forgotten to put anyone on watch {the way my posts have gone recently I suspect I will now have a submarine commander complaining}. Yes it was a fast-attack sub, but fast is relative when you are talking about anything in or on the sea. The fact that the US have been asked to investigate would imply that it was the navy that are at fault.

This may be the ultimate happy slap!

And Also

On a roll, I have also won the school tote. This was good because it funded a chinese take-away (I recommend Chopsticks restaurant if you are passing Northampton). I am a little vague on the rules (of the tote, not the chinese take-away, the rules for the chinese take-away are that you pay when they knock at your door), I think we put in a small donation each week, some of the money goes to the school, and some goes to the winner. I was quite pleased with my haul of £30.

However, to demonstrate that gambling is a bad thing, the tote, much like the raffle, is leading to disagreement and dissent in the household. In this case with "J". I firmly believe that I won the tote as I believe that I completed the form (this is based on the well established rule that I do anything that requires an element of luck). "J" is trying to claim that it was, in fact, herself who filled it in. This is plainly impossible owing to the simple fact that we could not have won if she had touched the form, but I am having trouble making her understand my logic.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Nearly Forgot

During the School Fete "A" didn't win anything. Well she wouldn't, "J" was helping to buy the tickets and "J" is not the luckiest person around. Anyway, while they were in the queue for Santa I sneaked off and bought some raffle tickets. I let them both see the tickets but not touch them. On the Monday "A" came home carrying a wonderful pussy cat pyjama case. After checking this was not purloined goods, it turned out that I had won it at the raffle. "A" and I do have a slight disagreement now owing to the fact that "A" reckons she won it because, and I quote, "it's my school". I have put forward a counter-argument (and if you have read my other blogs you know I do like those) that it was my money. Currently I am losing.