Archive for January, 2007

Pigs

Dramatis Personae: Myself, SO = significant other, DD = darling daughter, LLB = limpet-like boyfriend of DD 

 Extras: various people drinking tea  sitting around  working hard at the Caravan Park

SO is at home, packing ready for the holiday. I have popped into the office for a couple of hours, mainly just to make myself scarce and avoid the battle of hormones between SO and DD.

DD is currently attached more firmly to LLB than her mobile phone, so much that I think that I have discovered a new form of fixing to rival “Velcro”. It’s not even that she is being dragged away…. she gets to stay at home and can see LLB every day. Surprisingly, even though the alternative involves Caribbean sunshine, it’s her choice to stay.

I’ve been busy making sure that everyone knows what they should be doing while I am away… I don’t want to come back and find paths in the wrong places, walls where there should be doors, and caravans pointing the wrong way. Don’t laugh… it has happened.

The joiner knows where I want the timber decking laid.

The gardener knows where I want bushes.

The handyman knows where I want paths.

The lads with the Land-Rover know that they are starting work the day I get back.

The plumber knows where the gas pipes are going.

The builder knows what is happening with the new apartments.

The pigs are fed, happy, and ready to fly.

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Not late this time

Any self-employed person will know that we are approaching the deadline for submitting our Self-Assessment tax returns. You can hardly miss the adverts on the radio.

 Last year I was late, and got a £100 fine, but this year the return is done, 3 days early. However, there is a catch.

“I’ll give you a paying in slip” says the accountant “and I’ll ring you with the amount to pay on Monday”

“It’ll cost you long distance” says I, “because by then I’ll be in Miami”. Yes, it’s time for another dose of sunshine, sea, sand and salmonella – burgers.

“That’s ok, just pay when you get back” he says. “The interest won’t be much. Dont forget to knock off the £1000 you already paid, on account, last year”

“So lets get this straight” I say “If I’m a few days late, they charge me interest, but they have had this £1000 for ages (£500 12 months ago, £500 6 months ago) and they don’t pay me any interest?”

“Yes, that’s about it” says the Accountant.

Now, I don’t want to get all political and rant about Gordon Brown, Bliar and 3 Jags, but it isn’t exactly right, is it?

Many years ago, the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy spoke about “Bistromathics”….. the phenonemon that numbers, on a waiter’s bill pad, in a bistro, don’t follow the usual laws of mathematics. They even used this science to power space-ships.

So I present my solution to Global Warming. We can close all the power stations, take the engines out of cars and aircraft, and run the whole country on Governmathics.

And if that doesn’t work, there’s surely enough “hot air” in Parliament to run the odd steam turbine……………

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My head hurts……

A meal out with friends seemed a good idea at the time…. so we tried a local wine bar / bistro that has recently changed ownership. We used to go there regularly a few years ago, but then we stopped going when the standards started to slip. What a change it is now – warm, comfortable and welcoming, and the food has improved massively.

Even a “Happy Hour” with glasses of wine at £1. Several drinks were consumed, and the food (especially a 16 ounce “T Bone” steak) enjoyed by all. It was, I think, the “Staropramen” lager that was my undoing.

It’s a fairly strong, but very pleasant, Czech lager imported from Prague. And it was as cheap as Fosters. So several were consumed.

Then someone turned on the Karaoke machine. It always used to be a quiet bar, but things have changed. Now my wife loves karaoke, so she was straight up. Like a fool, I said I’d have a go as well…. only my 2nd ever go, usually I’m far too shy (or considerate of others ear-drums) but after the “Star” it seemed a good idea.

The rest of the evening was spent sending drunken photos of each other by text to other friends. What I forgot is that I recently changed my mobile and most of my friends didn’t recognise the new number. So this morning my phone has been ringing constantly with calls like “who are you?”

A strong black coffee is on my desk as I type….. and, oh no, that sun through the office window is too bright.

 Where’s my sunglasses?

(if you want to see the photo, click on “Blog Photos” on the blogroll)

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A Room with a View

I think that I finally understand why my wife calls me Victor Meldrew. It’s probably because I am never happy with things. Let me illustrate……….

 Six years ago, we converted a double garage into a workshop and office. One side is workshop, with the original garage door, the other side has a door and window, and is split into two rooms. Dad had the front office, and my office was the back room. The one without a window.

For six years, I have moaned about my “cupboard”, “rabbit hutch”, “padded cell” or whatever. Even after Dad retired, I stayed in my little darkened box.

Finally, this winter I took the bit between my teeth, and moved everything about. Not as easy as it sounds…. the back room had a dozen double sockets, the front room had two singles. I had all the IT gear, Dad just wanted to charge up his torches.

So we started with rewiring, moving telephone lines, moving the computers, and finally I have a nice new, large, comfortable desk with a view. The computers are against the opposite wall.

All was well and good throughout the last few (overcast) weeks. I could look out the window, and I had fresh air when I wanted it. Then the sun came out, and the skies were a beautiful winter blue.

Now, every morning, I am blinded by the sun when I sit at my desk. Even with the blinds closed, its still a bit dazzling. And when I turn to the computers, the screens are busy reflecting the same sunshine.

I just don’t belieeeeeve it.

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