Saturday, June 30, 2007

Here We Go

I must be honest, today I should have been in Cheltenham for a meeting sorting out a festival in a month or so. I hope my friends can all forgive me for not going. I have been travelling so much recently that I really didn't have the energy. I hope they have all had a good time (although the BBQ this evening might be a bit wet).

Instead I went to the school fete. They don't just have a fete though. They crown the June queen. At first I wondered how such an americanism managed to make its way into a village school. But when the children started dancing around the Maypole I realised that this probably went back a long way as a tradition. At the end all the school do a dance before the fete opens properly. As "A" had to do the main dance but also another one beforehand, very traditional country dance (surprised not to see any Morris men), I was a very proud dad, she has learnt three dances to do in the last two weeks, at her age I think that is quite impressive (yes, yes, yes, biased I know).


I built these walls
To protect,
To defend
To harbour
Only now
Do I realise
How we stand
On different sides.

Friday, June 29, 2007

New Start

A tough start for Brown. A baptism of fire. Floods, bombs, deaths in Iraq, postal strike. Then, to top it all, the Spice Girls get back together.

Beep Beep, Beep Beep, Yeah

Sadly the majority of politicians fail to live up to what we can expect of them. All the more reason to talk of Marco Zambuto, the mayor of Agrigento. Sadly I can't give you a link so you are going to have to trust that I have this correct.

In June of this year Marco was elected to Mayor of Agrigento. With this prestigious role came a very nice car with a chauffeur. Marco got in the car and asked the chauffeur to drive to the local car dealer. The chauffeur was more than happy, thinking "goody, we will get a brand new car, excellent". He was in for a shock. Instead of getting a new car, Marco handed over the keys of his very nice car and asked to exchange them for the keys of a school bus. The school bus has then been given to the elementary school to help the pupils get to school.

I think the phrase is "RESPECT"

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Desert Time

Tony Blair as Mideast envoy. Interesting. It is what he wanted, sure enough, but is he the best person for the role?

On the positive side, his experience with Ireland should serve him well. That has been a constant struggle, trying to bring two sides together, while terrorists have done their best to block the way for good politicians. Many lessons can be learned and transferred, a roadmap lightly redrawn.

On the negative side, well, Iraq and close links with America shouldn't be too much of a surprise.

The real problem is that those who don't want to move forward have many excuses that they can make. It doesn't matter whether or not they are true, but the excuses can be used. He can be accused of acting for the wrong reasons, of being short sighted, of being unable to plan, of being the American puppet. All of those options, cards to be played by Hamas and others whenever they feel things aren't going their way.

Another World

Fingers touch,
Then away.
And you wait,
Lips touch
And again
Only fleetingly.
In your darkness
A soft stroke
Over you
But o
So short.
Pulling against bonds,
Suddenly stopped
By intimate ice
Then time
Your breathing
The next touch
Beginning the dream.

Out Of Void

A hollowness
More devoid
Than emptiness,
An absence of pain
Itself screaming
In its sheer lack,
A nowhere
Made deeper
By the enclosing.
Turned to delirium,

Taking the knife
Removing each finger
To know
A moment of reality.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Am I simply
A ghost in your bed
Fainter than a memory
A touch, faded
A scent, washed away
A concavity
Gradually filling in

A ghost
By the living

Up Up and Away

So, the reason we were delayed (and if you are now confused then you are reading from top to bottom and are therefore chronologically inverted) was that the plane was a new one and had only been delivered from Toulouse the night before. In the morning the engineers had taken three hours checking it over before releasing it, hence everything was out of synch. Now, the first thought was “oh good, a new plane”. But then you have to question that a bit further. I mean, if you are on an old plane then you know it has stood the test of time, the probably hadn’t forgotten to put a bolt in the wing or to put on some tyres. A new plane however, well, you just don’t know do you? We were its third flight. The more I thought about it the worse that seemed. Two flights would be just enough to loosen any bits not firmly attached. The third would be the one where they dropped off. Cheery flight.


Lunch was supposed to be a three course meal. Bit more than I want when I know I am going to be travelling in a couple of hours. And, anyway, I was expected to bring fish and chips home. So I had the pasta starter but turned away everything else. The person next to me said “don’t turn food away, you never know when your next meal is coming”. Oh I laughed. “Ha ha” I said. Not laughing so much now my plane has been delayed by 4 hours and I am not going to get back to Luton until after midnight.

Clean Clean

On the subject of hotels, I note bidets seem to be coming back into fashion. They are becoming more and more common. But I really have to wonder if they are ever actually used. Why do hotels think they are good things to have? I also suspect that the modern bidet somewhat misses the point. I don’t want to lower the tone, but didn’t bidets used to fill from the bottom up (if you see what I mean). I am sure the inlet was set in the base. Now they seem to have taps at the back which would, well, dig into your back. Maybe I’m worng. It isn’t a bidet, it’s a dog bowl!


The hotel we stayed at was nothing like what I would imagine for Budapest. I understand that some of our group were upgraded. I find it difficult to see what more an upgrade could have provided. I had a drench shower, and a walk in wardrobe (obviously not together, that would be silly). Two massive windows, air con (that worked, note to London hotels), the bathroom was bigger than my daughters bedroom and the bedroom was, well, massive would describe it. And everywhere dripping with opulence. All for the same price that would get you a pokey dishevelled room in London. Congratulations on those who decided we should go to Budapest.


I did manage a couple of hours walking around Budapest. Walked down to the Danube, crossed the bridge so I have been in both Buda and Pest. And while the UK was undergoing severe storms and weather warnings, the sun was shining down and it was approaching the unbearably hot (my apologies to Budapest at this point as I took my shirt off). It is a strange city. I am not sure why the roads were built so wide. Very handy for tanks I grant you but surely when the city plans were made they weren’t thinking of anything more than horses. Houses with shrapnel damage from the very difficult past of the place. But what was really strange were the eerie buildings. Big, imposing buildings, boarded up, and nothing to indicate what they had been, but from the size and dominance they must have been important. I suspect they were communist buildings, ones whose memories are screams not laughter.

One More

One of the problems of travelling with work is that the cities I visit don’t really get a fair chance as I don’t see them but feel I have been there. Budapest is a case in point. I have wanted to go to Budapest for years. Now that I have been there for 48 hours (plus a delay at the airport) I feel I have seen it. In fact, the reality is that I have seen more of the airport than I did of Budapest itself. But I have seen enough to know it has MacDonalds and Burger King like every other city in the world (and that people eat at them which is even worse). And now I don’t really feel like going back. I am sure I am not doing it justice (and it is definitely better than Hannover) but it has the “tick” of being “done”.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


Would you let me lie you down
Softly lie beside you
And talk of clouds, of trees, of dreams.
To hold you close, feel your heat
Your beating heart beneath my hand
As we think of a different time.
To allow our bodies to melt
Dissolve together
Merge into the forever.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Boss Day

Back at Christmas "J" was given a spa day as a present. It ahs taken her a while to be able to use it but today she went off. This meant I was left in charge of "A". I am pleased to say it ahs been a very pleasent day with no arguments. Busy. Ballet first (OK, that's routine, I always take "A" to ballet), then out for lunch, then the cinema, 15 minutes of me time while we popped in to PC World, then back home to play the Magic Tooth Fairy Game, followed by me having to stitch a foam purse for "A" to decorate. Amazed we fitted it all in.


Long time readers of this blog may remember me talking about having a new conservatory. At the time we decided to have a cat flap installed, which ended up more as a cat tunnel as it went through the wall. Well I am pleased to report that the cats love it. Mainly because they can lie in it, keeping their bottoms warm while they watch the passing of the world outside.

{And, for the observant amongst you, yes the cat flap is held open by string. I am hoping that they will finally go outside enough that they will stop using the litter tray but, when they have to push the flap open the effort just seems too much}

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Aftermath

That was really extremely predictable. I was at the receiving end of many jokes today, and those who weren't even there were able to comment on my colour. I made no excuses, all fully deserved. Self inflicted injuries after all, court martial offence I believe.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Please Sir

How strange is this? Gordon Brown has asked Paddy Ashdown to be his Northern Ireland secretary. Why? This is supposed to be a strong government. Does Gordon really believe that none of his own party are up to the job? Added to the fact that they couldn't find someone to stand against Gordon you really have to start wondering what the party is made up of.
It's not as if Paddy has ever given any indication of supporting Gordon. Certainly Paddy doesn't support Labour, otherwise he would be a member of the Labour party, not the Lib Dem. Maybe Browns next job offer will be to Cameron, after all, in an odd way, their views are probably more alike.


That wasn't clever. Sales meeting yesterday and today so we all had a dinner together last night. And the alcohol flowed. Flowed rather more tahn it should. And I didn't take any notice of the fact that the first glass of wine hit me more than I would normally expect. And kept drinking. I suspect it is something to do with the fact that every aspect of my life seems quite intense at the moment, in one way or nother, and that I haven't had a decent nights sleep for a couple of weeks. Anyway I was rough this morning. Really rough. Probably the roughest I have been for 20 odd years. And absolutely no use to man or beast. Not something I could hide in meetings so everyone knows as well. B....y stupid really.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Almost Goodbye

One episode away from completing the last season of "The West Wing". I really don't want it to end. They have managed to keep the tension throughout and the desire is always to watch the next episode. The loss of Rob Lowe was a bit of a blow but they coped (unlike ER which went downhill once they started losing the main actors) and the death of John Spencer was moving. One advantage of being away from home with work and of having a daughter is that I haven't been able to completely overdose on it. It wouldn't have taken much for me to sit down of a weekend, order in pizza and beer and simply watch from start to finish. If you haven't watched this series then I urge you to do so.

Clunk Click, No Trip

The reporting of the u-turn by the government on early release of prisoners has certainly been confusing, if not misleading. The government can only blame themselves as they tried to spin the story from the off and no-one really understood what they were announcing. It seems that prison overcrowding has now reached an unmanageable level (even allowing for those prisoners they are loosing) so they are going to release up to 25000 prisoners in the next year in order to free up 1800 places.

But this is been a problem that has been waiting to happen. The government have been repeatedly warned and, just a month ago, were still saying that early release was not an option. Now, days before Gordon takes over, they have had to change tack. Probably not the start he wanted.

The idea of the prisoners being released early seems shocking at first. They have been given a sentence, they should serve it. On closer inspection it appears that they will only be released 18 days early (and, according to the Lord Chancellor they are still "under licence" although it is difficult to see how that will be effective). 18 days doesn't seem bad, after all, if you have served 4 years what is two weeks between friends. However, for those on shorter sentences it becomes more important, 18 days might not sound much but if you have been sentenced to 4 weeks then it is half your sentence. More worryingly is the precedent it sets, if 18 days why not 3 weeks, then why not a month etc.

Now, you see, if I was a judge I would simply start tacking an extra 18 days onto every sentence I set.

Monday, June 18, 2007

A Long Way Away

My uncle was in the Falklands. He was a senior captain in the Royal Fleet Auxillary. So I admit to being biased. He was on the RFA Resource which picked up survivors from the HMS Sheffield. I also have a picture of a bomb exploding just a hundred yards or so from his ship. I was at school and I had a poster with all the navy and RFA ships on my wall (and, if you want to know something spooky, it fell off the wall each time something happened to one of our ships).

I remember trips on this, and other, RFA ships. I remember seeing the stores. Seeing them packed with bombs. Being told if they were ever hit then they would need parachutes not lifejackets. I remember parties, and the fact that the favourite film on board was "The Jungle Book". The stories of war games and hunting for Russian subs.

So I have watched the memorial services etc with interest. And I saw how Maggie was greeted by those who had been in the war. I'm not going to glorify the war, lives were lost, but I bet you don't see Tony being greeted like that in 25 years time by those who were in Iraq.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Bigger Isn't Better

The oompa-loompas came out last night. Finally the day of the show arrived. Ballet/dance school was putting on Charlie and the Golden Ticket. It was an "interesting" night (I now have an increased amount of sympathy for my parents who used to watch my shows). As well as children the school does adult tap and adult jazz. Men were remarkable by their absence, obviously it is a real girls night out. Anyway, I digress. "A" was an oompa-loompa, and dressed up appropriately.

Apparently, and I hadn't realised this, oompa-loompas spend a lot of time playing the maraccas. At least so it seemed last night. The amazing thing was how much "A" enjoyed it. She got a real buzz out of being on stage and didn't seem phased by it at all (usual parent thing coming up) and knew her stuff better than anyone else in her class. Her part was finished in the first half but she insisted on staying for the second half. She loved watching every moment. After the finale there were a lot of thank yous and flowers given out. Then we were given the option of seeing the finale again. "A"s face lit up, she just didn't want it to end.


Last Wednesday was a great evening. My first ceremony "in the chair". I think it went very well and everyone seemed to enjoy it. I am taking the fact that we finished almost an hour earlier than normal as indicating I ran a tight and efficient ship (there may be other possibilities but I refuse to consider them).

It was an initiation ceremony and I had quite a lot to learn for it. I can't claim to have been word perfect, I may have embellished a few times and a few of the sentences may have been in a slightly different order than in the book, but we managed to cover all the important bits. The candidate did well, after some initial trepidation (which he can't be blamed for) he soon settled into it and proceeded with firm but humble confidence. And my officers, who have to cope with learning the ceremonies without me, were all extremely good.

The Festive Board afterwards went well. I had asked for the intiate to sit on the top table, which I think is nice as he won't get there again until he is "in the chair". We had just rediscovered our banner (which had been mislaid) so I decided to talk about how banners can be inspirations and rallying points when I had to give a reply to the Toast to the Master. That might sound serious but I have come to learn I am better giving that sort of toast/reply than trying to make it funny. The Toast to the Master itself was given by the Brother who had seconded me into freemasonry and he said some very nice things about me.

Yes, an excellent night.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Getting There

All credit to Power Internet, my service providers. I contacted them to let them know I had a problem with connecting to the internet onmy new computer. They talked through the problem. Decided that my modem was simply to old and not Vista compliant. Did they then say that it was my problem. No. They had a new modem configured and ready for me to pick up this morning. Hard to beat that service.

Still sorting out a few other things but normal service expected to be resumed tomorrow.

Friday, June 15, 2007

No Ma'am

I hear that Cherie Blair thought herself above curtsying to the Queen. At the Falklands Memorial service Cherie effectively snubbed the Queen. Perhaps she thinks that being married to old Tone makes her more important. I think it shows her as rude and arrogant.

Out With The Old (Almost)

I had a new computer delivered yesterday. My old one was in the process of dying so it seemed time to upgrade. I suspect the new one is great but I am having a few problems. Namely some of the hardware and software I had before doesn't particularly like vista. This includes my modem, so I am actually typing this on my old computer. Hopefully will get the correct modem tomorrow. It just takes so long transferring files across. It really isn't my favourite occupation.

On Wednesday night I conducted my first ceremony, an initiation, as Master of the Lodge. It was a wonderful night and I plan on giving you more details once I have a fully functioning computer.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


It isn't often that someone is going to ask you to scratch their car. But this is exactly what happened yesterday. While most of us try to park somewhere where they won't see their car damaged, Chevrolet parkled a car in the middle of Covent Garden and gave people a chance to scratch off the paint. The lucky person who found the correct part won the car.

There were 18995 scratch panels, to indicate the price of the Captiva in the UK, and the car was positioned on a bed of 16995 pennies. Chevrolet had coated the car in the latex used for scratch cards, a job that took 2 months.

It would have all gone horribly wrong if the first person to take part had uncovered the winning symbol. In fact it took 14 hours before someone won.

I hope they will give the car a new paint job before they give it to him.

A Short History Of Tractors In Ukrainian - Marina Lewycka

Although still learning my lines, or at least revising them, for tonights initiation, I made the mistake of picking up this book last week when I was at my parents for the rehearsal. Mistake because, as ever, once I start reading then I don't like to stop. So I may have promised myself a book after the ceremony but ended up reading one before.

I have to say I was disappointed with this book. It has had so many good reviews ("outstanding" from the Mail, "Extremely Funny" from the Telegraph). I did not find it funny and I didn't find it well written. It wasn't funny because the only way that you can find it funny is by laughing at others misfortune. The characters have very sad lives and it takes more shadenfraude than I have within me in order to laugh. The main feeling I get is how wars still have an effect on families 60 years down the line. How the actions of ruthless men can impact on so much that they never even knew would exist. The old father in the book, who is the centre of the plot, acts as he does because of years of oppression by both Russians and Germans. And because that is the reason behind his actions it makes them anything but funny.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


ooo ooo ooo. I have a bit of a cold at the moment. Took a big sniff just as a little mozzy thing came at me. It came a bit too close to my nose. Now I don't know where the mosquito has gone. ooo

(I always wonder at these people who are brave enough to let mozzies feed on them while they take photos)

Here, There

And the thing about travelling to foreign climates is that everyone thinks it sounds fun and glamorous. The reality is that you don't get to see much more than airports and hotels and it can be incredibly frustrating to go to what are, reportedly, nice places but never get to see them. For the last two months "J" has been telling everyone how lucky I am to be going to where I have just been. Having not seen anything other than the hotel rooms (oh, and one restaurant outside the grounds) I now want her to go telling her friends how it wasn't a jolly. It was a good trip, good meetings, learnt a lot, but most definitely not a jolly.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


Sunday meant travelling again, and another flight. The thing is, although I enjoy flying, I really am not a good traveller. I normally want to be at the airport hours before I need to be. However, for once I was running late. I got a text from a colleague telling me there were massive queues. Not what I wanted to hear. So I got to Luton Airport, got to arrivals and, sure enough, massive queues at check in. But I was so late that they had opened a desk for late check in for my flight. Short queue, excellent. As I was checking in my colleague walked past, he had been in the long queue all the time and had only just checked in himself. The mad thing about that is that it almost encourages you to arrive late. I made it to the airport an hour or so after he had and our check in was within minutes of each other. Crazy.


As pointed out by 1iz, Paris Hilton isn't having a great time. But it has got worse, as she has been sent back to prison. Having a nervous breakdown was not enough to keep her out. It is tempting to feel sorry for her. Well, not really. But initially you think of her having to rub shoulders with the commoners. You can understand how the shock would have unhinged her. Experiencing a world she didn't know existed, must have been unsettling.

But, and what a big but (please refrain from all innuendos at this point), then you have to realise where she was sent. She was at the Century Regional Detention Centre. The CRDC is no ordinary prison. Oh no. It has a special unit for celebrities, public officials, police officers and other high-profile inmates. Basically these are the people she speds her time with when she is out of prison anyway. I suspect she would have found some friends in there. It must be the height of fame to have a prison built for you. Somehow doubt there is a prison for plumbers, one for accountants (too may to fit in one place anyway), one for middle managers. Maybe instead of sewing mail bags they have to sew ball gowns. Instead of walking around the compound they go around in a golf buggy.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Don't Let The Bed Bugs Bite

I have spent the day building a bed. Well, it feels like I have spent a month doing it. Great idea to have a bunk bed! Overuse of an allan key has left me with a very sore thumb. And I have sworn I will now only buy furniture from Ikea. This wasn't from them and I deeply regret it. Ignoring holes that don't line up etc, I almost cried when I opened another box to find different instructions showing some fairly major parts in different places than the first set of instructions I had been following for the previous 4 hours. And before anyone says, yes we only ahve the one child but the bottom of the bed is a desk and a sitting area.
Thankfully not quite as complicated as this one.



Unable to prevent
The aching dissolve
Failing to hold
The stones together

My fingers no longer
My lips no longer
The scent, the sound

Friday, June 08, 2007


Is it just me? Or does anyone else think we are entering another cold war? Obviously Russia is not happy. But can they be blamed? For the last 5-10 years they have seen the west flexing its muscles. Over oil, over land, over democracy. But ultimately repeatedly flexing muscles. And trying to dominate the world. Russia woould have reason to be afraid, to be worried. And the problem is when you make a nation like Russia feel afraid then they are simply going to retaliate. No wonder Blair got a cold reception. There is only one person that Putin would be less likely to talk to, and that is Blairs owner.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Tag, You're It

This is an interesting piece of legislation. It starts off fine, fathers who haven't paid maintenance can be named and shamed. No problem with that. Then they can be blacklisted for credit. Bit more dubious, that blacklist already contains a number of mistakes which make peoples lives a misery. But then you read further and learn that people could be tagged or curfewed. This starts to get really challenging. It is starting to feel wrong. I am stuggling to say why, after all they are technically breaking the law and therefore criminals, but it seems draconian in the least. Yes, they should be held responsible but a working and decent legal system has to be based on a measured response to the problem.

Let's ignore the fact that the tagging system itself has failed to work. That there isn't the manpower to run it properly as it is. Even ignoring that, is this an appropriate response? The child support agency isn't exactly perfect. It seems quite possible that people will be wrongly tagged. That maybe they are trying to appeal but the choice is taken out of their hands. Tagging has a role, but it has to be for reintroducing people into society, people for whom setting curfew has a sense, a reason, or those whose actions mean they need to be monitored. Setting a curfew on someone who has not paid for their child is not setting a punishment to fit the crime. It can almost be seen as churlish. A case of sulking and being heavy handed because someone isn't playing ball nicely. It almost strikes me that a previous failure to be successful in dealing with this problem has lead to a response of throwing heavier weights at it rather than addressing the issue itself.

Where does it stop, tagging for speeding tickets or parking fines? Curfew for dropping a chewing gum wrapper in the street?


I was only away for one night. Arrived back this evening, parked in the drive, got out and walked around to the boot, only to be hit in the solar plexus by a blue whirlwind. Which may not sound very good. But when I explain that the blue whirlwind was my daughter, rushing out to me because she was so pleased to see me (blue because she was still in school uniform), then you will understand how that just made my day. It's nice to be welcomed home.

Practice Makes Perfect

Last night was the final rehearsal before the initiation ceremony next week. Well, the final rehearsal for me, the others have one on Monday. In fact it was only my second rehearsal. Living so far from Cardiff really makes this difficult. It never ceases to amaze me that I can be word perfect in the car but then I start to stumble when other people are there. It is because of the extra bits, adding the actions on to the words, when to stand, when to knock, when to step down to the candidate. Learning a play without ever going on the stage. Not ideal. I am really looking forward to my first ceremony "in the chair" but it is nerve wracking as well. I haven't read a book for ages, just concentrating on my lines. I am promising myself a book immediately afterwards.

Watching You

Is it right that Emily Parr should have been kicked out of the Big Brother house? Most seem to think so. I am not so sure. Right from the outset I want to be clear I am not defending her words. I agree they are racist and I do not believe that they should be used.

But Big Brother is a "reality" show. And, if there is one thing it should be able to do it is to challenge us and the way people act together. By kicking her out we are simply trying to brush what we find offensive under the carpet. It isn't tackling the issue, it isn't admiting that racism is a way of life for a lot of people. And it isn't being honest about the society we live in.

They could have done so much more. They could have made this into a debate as a task for the contestants. They could have made them think about what lay behind the words. They couldhave brought an important topic into the forefront of peoples minds. Instead it is hidden away, a skeleton in the closet not to be opened.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Silence In Court

I might be cheating slightly by categorising this as "news" because I can't relate it to a particular story, but I think it relevant to the topic.

It seems that adverts for "ambulance chasers" are on the increase. You know what I mean, the "if you think you might have a claim then come to us because it won't cost you anything". yet another great export from America. These really annoy me. They annoy me because they encourage people to take a punt on whether or not they might be able (note I say "able" not "entitled") to get some money off someone else.

People don't want to accept responsibility for their own actions these days. People want there to be someone to blame. By taking away consequences we make it easier for people to blame someone else, and not to think about their own involvement. We are becoming more and more a litigation culture. If something happens that we don't like then there must be someone we can sue. If we hurt ourselves then there must be someone we can serve a court order on.

No. Stop and think. If you tripped on a kerbstone maybe you should have been watching where you were going. If you burnt your mouth on a cup of coffee maybe it was your fault for not waiting for it to cool down.

We need to have a due legal system which means that people can claim and set the wheels in motion when they are entitled. But the way things are going people don't have to worry about any repercussions for themselves. And this is wrong. It might not cost them anything but the same cannot be said for the person, or company, getting sued or the tax payers.

This is not right. It isn't healthy for society. If clever lawyers are given more opportunities to twist gestures of goodwill into admissions of liability then more companies will stop helping their customers when things go wrong. More and more the line will be drawn that once it has left the door then it is the purchasers problem. One clever individual may get a nice payout by pushing a court action but society as a whole will be worse off.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

No Lumberjack

What Monty Python Character are you?

Well, u-- um, can we come up and have a look?
Take this quiz!


After work I went to the school maths evening. The idea was for parents to learn about how their children are being taught maths (you could tell the american parent, he called it "math"). It was open for the whole school so, even allowing for the fact this is a small village school, I was disappointed to see less than 20 parents bothered to turn up.

Then, as the teachers began to explain, I realised that we had all made the same mistake. We had all sent the person from the household that could do maths. So there was loads of muttering about the new methods, a lot of "what was wrong with the way we did it, it worked for us". No remembering of how some kids struggled, how some couldn't get the numbers to work together. And so we were entirely the wrong group of people to be judging the school systems.

Now, I have to admit I found it hard to understand how some of the techniques actually help because some of them do seem long winded, but I also recognise that a lot of people eminently more qualified than me have looked into this. And I thought it was good to see the different ways that "A" might learn to approach maths. I felt it would help me help her.

As it went on I got more and more irritated by the sceptics. We wasted time with them not being open minded. One father who thought his child should instantly know 7x8 was 56 (this was the same father who complained that his child was only being taught half her times tables, half as in up to 5 times not 10 times, hands up those of you who think his child was having him on in order not to do some maths "oo daddy they haven't told us 7x8 yet", I am sorry but he gets the gullible of the year award).

At the end I couldn't help myself (and suspect some parents now don't like me) as I thanked the teachers and then pointed out to the parents that we were all the ones who understood maths and weren't trying to think of those who struggled with it. I said that if someone was showing me that they had found a way to make languages more simple I would be thanking them and biting their hand off to get at it. That we had to put ourselves in the position of something we struggled with, not something we found obvious. Basically I accused them of being narrow minded and not being able to cope with change.

I am incredibly grateful to the school for giving us the insight. I hope they don't get put off by the nay-sayers.

Monday, June 04, 2007

When, What?

Someone needs to talk to the Olympic committee. I don't think that they have quite grasped the concept of "brand". A brand needs to be something that people can relate to. The logo needs to be instantly recognisable and inspiring. The olympic brand is anything but. The logo is able to come in different colours and doesn't look like anything more than a shattered mirror. At a push, and once it has been pointed out, you can see that the shapes are supposed to be the numbers 2012, although I am yet to work out what the central square is (trafalgar maybe). It cost £400, 000. Part of me thinks that is a ridiculous amount of money for a jagged sketch. Another part thinks no wonder it isn't better, £400k on something that should be so iconic is actually very cheap.
Looks like we don't even get a gold medal for our brand.

Sunday, June 03, 2007


Pity me. Today is "A"s 5th birthday. Woken up early by one excited girl. Later we have the party with 33 other children. A disco party! It is going to be a long day.


Side by side
Hands gripping
Bound down
Speed up

Thrill making
Thrill taking
Never stopping


Saturday, June 02, 2007


In this bar
I haven't moved
Only raised a drink
To my lips,
Two hours
The barman
Knows me more
Than anyone.
I watched you
Enter, laughing
Friends surround,
Centre of their attention
And mine.
Wanting to speak
Too shy,
Too quiet,
Only watching.

I'll Take A Vowel Carol

Spelling Bee. Oh dear. And where do you come from Bob?

Smash and Grab

3M are very confident in their security glass.

Ooo Yes (Or No)

Well, I am disappointed in Apple. Someone, somewhere is a bit more of a prude than I would have expected for an innovative and modern company. Ann Summers have come up with a new use for the iPod, the iGasm. Basically it does what it says on the tin! Turn up the volume to turn up the good vibrations (and it doesn't come with Beach Boys included). Now I like my music, I get pleasure from my music, but sure not like this.
Follow the link above for an interesting advert, from the people who brought you the rabbit and the cone (I still haven't got over the cone ad, grandmothers, powercuts, all too much to think about). Anyway it would appear that Apple are getting hot under the collar when they could be getting hot elsewhere.

Friday, June 01, 2007


seems to have consisted of work, dinner and decorating. And nothing to say. Not often that happens. Make the most of it.