Tuesday, September 27, 2005

On The Road

I had to drive up to Reddich near Birmingham yesterday where myself and my frolleague John Hudson were meeting with a Lotus Domino customer to discus their imminent upgrade to the latest release, that being the awesome version 7. Reddich is about 120 miles away up the M40 and the trip should take between 2.5 and 3 hours. However, there is always a frisson of excitement when setting out for these longish trips because you can never be quite sure what the road conditions are going to be like and things like heavy traffic, accidents, bad weather and navigational errors can radically effect the time it will take.

So, I was quite relieved when I pulled in to Cherwell Valley Service Area to grab a coffee an hour before our meeting was due to start and with the customers only 20 minutes away. I was also shocked to find that the car that I had parked next to was John's. He was just leaving having had a coffee. Quite a coincidence. So we both end up at the customers bang on time to find out that that the person we have a meeting with has been called away due to an emergency. So nearly 6 hours driving for nothing. The coffee was nice though.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Ali Runs London

Ali is taking part in a 10k run in Hyde Park next month. It is some Nike promotion, you can find out more about it here. Being the generous type she has decided to use this heroic feat of stamina as a way to raise money for Mind (The National Association for Mental Health). It is a really worthy charity and does fantastic work is one of the most important but least fashionable fields.

So if you fancy supporting Ali and this excellent charity then pop along to the donations page here and chuck a couple of quid in their direction. It will be hugely appreciated.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Another sporting triumph!

So quite a few folks have been focused on England's recent test cricket series with the former prison colony known as the Antipodes and how Sir Freddie Flintoff and his chums kicked the bejesus out of their sorry Australian asses. Not only does this restore British pride to the levels of Empire, but it also gives us bragging rights over bar staff in that majority of South West London pubs.

However, despite the triumph that this clearly represents, it pales beside the sporting achievement that occurred tonight. Every Tuesday, Me, Ali and our mates Brendan and Paul take part in a pub quiz at the Ship Inn in Mortlake (it's claim to fame is that it is opposite the end of the University Boat Race). You will notice that our team contains 4 member which is the internationally recognised number of members a pub quiz team should have. Whilst I won't say they are breaking the spirit of the quiz, it has been noted that some teams have up to 12 (TWELVE!) members. And they are students from Roehampton College. Cheating Bast*rds. They still only have 3 pints of lime and soda between them all for the entire evening. The pub probably loses money on straws.

Aside from the despicable student scum, there were another 17 teams tonight. And when the scores were tallied at the end of the quiz our team, named "Twist Ma Head", came out on top. Yes we were the winners. Obviously we wafted our prize of 8 free beer tokens in front of the students until the were crying into their student loans.

Just to be clear, we really did answer more questions correctly than anyone else. For example, what Greek letter represents a little bit (Iota) and what is the new BMW mini (Mini Traveller). We also triumphed in the music round when we were the only team to recognise Pure Shores by the All Saints.

But do we get an open topped bus trip round Trafalgar Square? Where is the justice in that!

Saturday, September 17, 2005


Ali and I have decided that we are going to get a couple of kittens. Whist we miss our old cat Ben, we certainly aren't trying to replace him. The old giffer was one of a kind and I will always remember the 18 years he spent moaning and purring in approximately equal measure. But it is weird opening the front door and not having a furry face welcoming you back home (and then demanding food).

When I adopted Ben and his brother Oliver 18 odd years ago it was from a friend of the family who were having a litter (or more specifically their cat was). Since we don't have any friends with impending litters we are looking to adopt from an animal shelter or similar. We have had a couple of tips but this weekend plan to start ringing round. Have any of you any advice or experience of adopting cats you could pass on? Needs to be London or South West based ideally.

Saturday, September 10, 2005


Ali and I have just returned from a holiday in the Algarve with our mates Mellon. I had never been to Portugal and didn't even bother to look at the tourist guides until we arrived at our villa. I was more than a little concerned to discover that the overwhelming view of the Algarve was that it is tacky, over developed and spoilt. Well that may well be true for some of the larger resorts but we were fortunate to have a villa in a small village called Santa Barbara de Nexe and it was charming. The local Portuguese folks were lovely and very friendly. It felt like we were a million miles away from civilisation. We just spent loads of time chilling by the pool, reading, listening to music, playing guitars, drinking too much and eating fab food.

However, as the more perceptive reader might well have concluded, we weren't a million away from civilisation. Specifically the town of Faro was 8km away whilst the beach at Villamora was only 16km. So when we were feeling a bit more adventurous it was only a few minutes down the road. So we went Go Kart racing (Marcus lapped Me, Ali and Ellen), went to a Casino (Marcus and I lost) and even went on a 2 hour speed boat cruise spotting dolphins (we didn't see any, the little bastards). All this and 31 degrees in September.

Sadly this morning we had to get up at 5am in order to catch our painfully early 7:30 am flight back to Blighty. Naturally the plane didn't take of until 9am. Grrr. Having grabbed a train from Gatwick Airport, we eventually get back to Barnes train station. As we got of the train the heavens opened and for the 10 minute walk from the station to our house we were subjected to monsoon like rain so by the time we had got in to shelter we were soaked to the skin. Welcome home.