Friday, November 30, 2007

Je suis off to France

I'm off to France for the weekend for a bit of Christmas shopping both of the presents and the booze variety.

Ta Ta.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Calling Graybo!..... Calling Graybo!

Monsieur Graybo, should you find yourself in Kingston, Surrey, at any time, there is a new branch of Montezuma.

I should hate you to go hungry and miss it. :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Where is my muse?

Following on from last years storming success as the boss of the shepherds in last years carol service at M's church I am attempting to write a small section for the three kings, although only two appear and it's bit of a Waiting for God(ot) scenario. At the moment we have gold, frankinsence and a shortage of decent script ideas.

Do you have any good Three Kings jokes?

I have no problem with gold, Frankinsence and plagiarism!

I know my rights!

Not sure who the guy was on the radio yesterday, but whilst discussing education came up with a very relevant quote.

The problem these days is that school kids all know their rights but don't understand that to have those rights they also have responsibilities.

[Sound of teenagers fainting all over Britain]

Sitting Tenants

At friends on Sunday we were chatting and they mentioned that their neighbours were having trouble moving as their 20-odd year old layabout son refused to give them permission to sell.

What? We thought. Was he on the deeds? No. Had he been left a share of the property via inheritance? No.

It was explained that now, if you have children still at home with you who have attained the age of majority that in the eyes of the law they are sitting tennts and thus have rights to remain in the property if you sell.

Very interesting, we thought, but rare it should come up.

Until yesterday evening that is. M had a financial adviser around to re-negotiate the mortgage and when he found out her 20 year-old daughter still lives with her mentioned that she will have to sign a disclaimer to say that she will not attempt to stay in the property should it be sold by her mother.

Bloody Hell. How on earth have we got to this situation?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

1984 - Big Brother IS watching you.

This morning I received a parking ticket.

Actually, that's not correct.

This morning I had a letter telling me that 13 days ago my car was parked in a place where loading and parking were subject to restrictions during certain hours.

I couldn't have been given a ticket, not because I wasn't there, but because there was no warden there. I was spotted by a remote CCTV camera.

A camera which is obviously trained on monitoring the public during the day. Watching you walk down the road. Watching your kids go to school. Noting you drop that piece of litter. Monitoring you chat innocently enough to the girl from the office opposite. Watching your wife answer the door in her nightie.

There are also three boards on this section of road asking for witnesses to various road accidents and assaults. Of course, they failed to notice them.

Was that a clock I just heard striking thirteen?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

All Aboard.

Spent today testing the new Eurotunnel terminus at St Pancras.

As you would expect it is very modern, glass everywhere, and other than the roof doesn't blend in with the architecture of the hotel to the front on Euston Road. The new bit incorporates many old iron pillars which don't seem out of place until you look at them and then it lust looks a bit strange though not unpleasant. Nice wooden floor arrangement in departure and arrival halls.

I would say it is better than the terminal at Waterloo, more open, more space but that might change when there are more people about. They handled two full trains of passengers at the same time without more than a few seconds delay.

The "journey" involved going to Stratford concrete works International, just 7 minutes away. Not an overly inspiring station at platform level. Maybe it looks better above ground.

Anyway, that's a free return ticket for my troubles so I'll get to visit again for real some time in the next 12 months.

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Special One

No, not Jose.

At Marjs school there is a young child, male, who has started nursery. His parents waited a long time to have him. Indeed, so special is he to them that his name, translated into English from his home tongue means "special one". A fact they remind him of continually. He is 3 years old.

On Tuesday he slapped a teacher round the face. Not an accidental slap due to flailing arms during a temper tantrum but a deliberate strike beacuase he didn't want to do what he had been asked to do.

At the end of the day the headmistress caught his mother and explained what had happened and that they needed to do something about it. Apart from re-iterating that he is "special", the mantra she uses at the beginning of every conversation, as she explained;

"When he does that to us, (his parents), we ask him not to."

Oh well, thats okay then. Hardly going to have a discipline problem with him then in years to come.

But then of course, he is special.

Ed Ed Ed

Time for todays education rant.

Dear Labout Government,

You, along with your predecessors from the 60s/70s have tinkered with the education system and it isn't working. Stop It!

No sooner do teachers learn this weeks major policy change than you decide to change it and bring in this years initiative. What with literacy hour, guided reading, catch up reading, Phonics, and a new system of learning which is being introduced as "the answer" there is no consistency and certainly no improvement.

All we hear about is how much better the education system is and you point to how many people come out of school with A grade A Levels. You can dumb the exams down and massage the figures all you like but when Universities, (the real ones that is, not the Fred Bloggs University of Little Clogmorton), have to spend the first term running literacy courses to get the standard of reading up to that required to study degrees, then there's been a major f*ck up somewhere along the way.

Right, I'm off to lie down in a darkened room before my head explodes.

Looking down on you.

One thing I was able to do yesterday whilst flying back from Edinburgh, apart from travelling Business Class for the first time, was fly the best part of the length of England. From around Newcastle down there was very little cloud so I was able to see Britain from the air.

At cruising height of 35000ft towns were just like islands of light. Enough detail to make out areas but not individual roads, other than major ones.

By the time we were down to 24000ft towns became luminous cobwebs. Filigree roads of light surrounding a central hub of more condensced glow.

Below 12000ft and you are looking at a luminous AtoZ of roads.

I saw a number of football and other sports stadia but couldn't tell you what they were for love nor money. It would actually have been useful to have a map of Britain to see if I could work our what towns/cities I was looking down at.

As always, I managed to sit on the "wrong" side of the plane. As we passed over Manchester I was looking to the East but wondered if those across the aisle could see Blackpool and if that would look obvious.

On the way up I did the "Boys with Toys" thing asnd took 5 minute reading from my GPS with location, height, speed and bearing. If you're lucky I will plot it out and share it with you later for your general boredom edification.

I will be flying back up there again in the next few weeks so I'll try to take my camera and hope for a clear night.