Monthly Archives: July 2006

Weird Search

Someone found me via Google by searching for "Shops in Whales selling vans shoes". What are van shoes? Having worked in the transport industry for 20 years I’d have thought I’d have heard about them by now!!!

Today has been relaxing.

Magda is now back in service and handling well. Our 1.75 hour drive to work turned into a 2.5 hour drive. The motorway from Oldrum to the Midlands was closed. The first filling station I tried to use was closed following a break-in. They were only using the pay at pump service but I couldn’t use this as I had a 5p per litre off voucher.

I drove across Oldrum to find that the motorway to the Midlands was closed. No explanation, just a road closed sign. By the time I came back, after successfully filling up, checked the water and tyres, it was open. Then I seemed to hit roadworks and mysterious queues all the way to work. Even after getting the top down I had to close it 20 minutes later because it started to rain.

Now I’ve found that this week is likely to be very quiet and dull. I can’t even watch TV while working! What will I do?

Friends and Family

We had a visit from the Troublesome Trucks yesterday. We took them to see Chez Tired&Emotional. They both liked the house but Shouty Boy said, about the garden: "Urrrggghhh!! Its really freaky!"

This refers to the rather odd concrete gnomes in the front garden. The one does look rather odd and troubling, so you can understand it.

They enjoyed the rest of the afternoon, playing FW’s guitar, playing with the train set and having tea while watching Back To The Future.

Yesterday evening was spent with Best Man at our favourite pub. We had a good evening of conversation, good beer and occasional flashes brilliance.

Today we got to meet FW’s paternal Aunt and Uncle. They’re having a family holiday on the Gower and stopped off on their way through. It was my first opportunity to meet them properly, I’d only met them previously at our wedding. Now we have somewhere else to visit. We really need more days in our weeks!

We are also anticipating the visit of a new friend tonight. She’s stopping off on her way through Oldrum on her way home from Swansea. Need to go as I something to do now.

The Postman Always Knocks Twice

I’m doing well at upsetting our postpeople. Everyday I’m like Bart when he’s waiting for the spy camera.

"Where’s my spy camera, lady?" Now becomes:

"Where’s my WISE parcel, Mister?"

Maybe the mailman’s eaten it? Maybe its been taken by aliens? Maybe it coming from overseas? Could someone as far away as England my WISEmate?

We saw our financial advisor today. I think we managed to confuse FW with all the options available for a mortgage. Capped, fixed, collared, repayment, interest only or one payable in chocolate oranges. We now wait to find out who’ll give us the dosh we need. There must be some idiot financial institutions out there wanting to risk their money.

A car, a house, cats – what next?

No, kids are not an option…..

All Grown Up

How do I know this? Well we had our offer accepted on our new house. We are becoming full fledged members of the rat race.

To allay fears we have actually looked inside the property already. It’s just that Dad wasn’t able to as he was going on holiday and we couldn’t get an appointment but gave the go ahead after checking what he could. he’l look when he gets back.

So we have a new house and 2 new additions to the famiy to look forward too.

Here in my car

Yesterday was a busy day.

With Magda off the road I’ve learnt how much I rely on my car. I can’t just pop out for 5 minutes. Now I need to plan things down to the last detail. a 20 minute visit to town would now take a minimum of 60 minutes, whether I walk or use the bus.

Yesterday was a case in point. Dad was going to look at the new house with me. I couldn’t get an appointment at short notice with either of the estate agents and he was going on holiday today. So we decided to look at the outside only and see what we could from the windows.

As dad was a surveyor it would be important to get his feedback before considering such a major commitment. Who wants to waste X thousand on a house that needs work done?

So I then had to rely on dad giving me a lift to the house. Well, 12 miles is a long way to walk.

The upshot was that he’s given his qualified ok. Now we can get on with the next stage of things and get the financing in place.

Happy Day

First of all congratulations to our other first anniversary celebrants Tiffer & Amy. Hope you had a good day and had friends to celebrate with. Ours was very quiet and subdued.

Took the washing to the laundrette. Went to Chapel. Had lunch. Went to an evil supermarket sub-chain to do a mystery shop.

Then I took FW on a small reinactment of our first date in Capital City (that’s the Welsh one not the evil seat of Imperialistic oppression). We saw Over The Hedge (as we’d seen Bridget Jones II) and then onto the Italian where we had our first meal. Thankfully it was quiet so we got the same table as before.

Now who said that I’m not a romantic?

Merchant Banking is Fun on TV

Yesterday FW and I went to look at our first house. Its on the edge of an estate in Bridgepool, on a high hill with views down to the Bristol Channel 12 miles away. It’s a lovely little dorma bungalow that’s been recently done out. The only annoying part were the light fittings as they hang a little to low and look BLLLLUUURRRRR!!!

The upstairs bedroom was as hot as our flat at the moment. It was decided that it would make a good office, rather than a bedroom. Personally I’d put the guests in there – they’d never want to come again 😉

Today was spent celebrating the ageing process as Burnt Sienna became a proper adult. Finally passing 30 means that your youth is no beginning to get further away than your pending demise. Cheery eh? 🙂 However, fair play to her, she doesn’t look a day over 31.

We joined friends for an afternoon tea party, including crustless cucumber sandwiches – made to Ritz specifications. As usual with such events, the party split into various groups. Mine consisted of people raising things to a more adult level. Honestly, we had grown up conversations. Just ask Ramblin’ Folkie – she appeared shocked on several occasions!

At one point I was discussing Channel 4’s latest programming wheeze….. It is in line with their charter declaration to provide original and provoking TV.

The channel that brought us Wife Swap, Big Brother and Live Autopsy is bringing us……

a Merchant Bankathon!!!!

What’s shocking about this? Well, I’ve used Copckney rhyming slang for the first 2/3rds of the title. Get it now?

Yes, this is what is now challenging and provoking. A group of guys merchant banking on TV. Is this really what the public wants to see on unencrypted TV? I pity the poor individuals who want to watch this.

I don’t usually rant against TV, film or music. I don’t believe that we need to much censorship of what we watch but do think that there really should be limits on public access channels. If you want to watch this then get cable or satellite and pay for the privilege.

As Tiffer and I said during our recent meet, as you get older you notice that taboos are slowly stretched and removed as time goes on. We’ve gone from Page 3 of The Sun to The Sport. What was unacceptable in porn mags 20-30 years ago is now considered routine. Why? Because we are becoming more tolerant as a society? No, because we do nothing to stop.

If you don’t read the mags then you don’t know what is happening. Casual sex was always described in a way that was accepted by the majority of the public – a knee trembler in an alley, office or hotel. Now it seems that that isn’t good enough, you now have to be doing things that are biblically unsound and, so I was told by a barrister I know, legally unlawful to each other.

Yet people object to the naked images rather than other things that are described and encouraged. Somehow a picture of a naked woman is worse than encouraging people to "swing" or "make your own films".

Magazines, and certain newspapers, advertise chatlines and other material where you can see "barely legal teens". The implication is that looking at young kids is ok if they’ve just turned 16. There is no condemnation of looking at "barely illegal teens". Why? Is that the next taboo to fall?

I’m not a prude. Yes, I did look at porn mags at one time in my past. I am, and was, a BLOKE. I did BLOKE things. Yet I realised that this was wrong. That the messages put out were ungodly and wrong. So I stopped.

If others want to read them then that’s is their concern. I won’t stop them, as I believe that we have the right to exercise free choice but only when its legal.

This week I have been….

Mainly annoyed that Magda has been off the road. She has developed a fault with her thrust bearing. You, yes you! Stop sniggering at the back there. It is a major component of the clutch. I’ve not used her since Friday, except to take her to the garage.

That is the next annoying thing. Can I get hold of anyone at the garage? No. The one person who I need to speak to is never there. He arrives late, doesn’t call and always seems to be out when you ring back.

It seems that good customer service is becoming a rarity. Even my own company finds it difficult to communicate. I’m still waiting for my American and French colleagues to provide urgent information that I need. That’s now 10 days for the French and 3 for the Yanks.

If its me. then I get descended on by people all over the world. I get calls, e-mails and faxes. Yet when I try to get the same assistance from managers I get nothing. Its not like this is a new event.

Last year I was put onto a second contract to offer part time assistance to another customer. The idea was that I’d look over their working methods and offer help, advice and new processes. When I got there they actually wanted me to do all their day to day work. They were told that I could help for 2 days per week but that I’d be working solely for my other customer the rest of the time.

What it turned into was me doing all their running around. Chasing people across all 24 time zones and being "told" by them that I was exclusively their’s. When things started to go seriously wrong with our Taiwanese and South African operations, I was called 24 hours a day.

I escalated and called the 2 UK managers running the account. Nothing. No return calls. No help in chasing other offices. Nothing.

I called the Sales Director. Nothing.

In the end I had to go to the UK MD. He finally agreed that I was to get out of there and let the managers sort things out.

The upshot? Six months later the UK Sales Director accused me of screwingup our company’s relationship with the customer. Until he found out that I had kept every e-mail I’d sent to everyone in the company, including him. Then he went very, vey quiet. I’ve never heard from him again.

Don’tr Shout So Loud. My Head Hurts.

The weekend has been resftful and fun.

Yesterday saw an easy morning of doing very little and then visiting Oldrum for coffee and lunch. WE tried an Italian coffee shop that I haven’t visited for ages. FW claims that the Latte is almost up to Verdi standards. For anyone who has tried a Latte from Verdi’s in Swansea will know that this is high praise.

The afternoon was spent entertaining Shouty Boy. He had a great time at the park pretending to be Peter Crouch or Steven Gerrard. He even became West Ham to cheer his uncle up. We rested with ice cream in the shade from the local van before going on the playground.

Here he discovered the Titanic which was, predictably enough, sinking and then it turned into a Pirate ship (last week he saw Pirates 2). There was one worrying moment though. I’d lifted him up to hang from the bars, keeping my arms loosely around him. The first time he held on and dropped. The second time he let go farearlier and only my catlike reactions saved him.

We then retired to the flat to recover and cook tea. He may eat slowly but, apart from a few chips, ate the lot. Then demolished a small Raspberry Cheesecake.

The evening was spent in the company of Best Man and his sister at our favourite pub. FW distinguished herself by showing her inability to cope with alcohol. 2.5 pints and her head had moved somewhere around Jupiter.

Almost 12 Months

A week Sunday sees the arrival of our first anniversary. Hopefully, with 10 days to go, I’ll have survived the first 12 months of marriage in one piece. It hasn’t been without its ups and downs – all of which will stay private.

Would I recommend it to anyone else? Certainly. Would I say that life will be cosy and that no problems will emerge? Definitely not.

Marriage is a continuation of life. Life does not become easier because there are two of you. Lord knows, on occasions I wish it would have done.

Are there misunderstandings that seem like insurmountable obstacles? Oh yes. Do we get through them? A liitle bruised sometimes but yes.

Do I have any regrets? None. I’d do it again tomorrow, in the same way, to the same person. I wouldn’t change a thing, not even those difficult and annoying bits we’ve gone through.

Here’s looking forward to the second anniversary!!