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On Friday, I had the unusual experience of having to go to a Beer Festival for work. Which was interesting, and quite entertaining. We had sponsored one of the barrels, so naturally we had to go along to say hello, and to make sure that they were treating our beer well.

They were, although (whisper it) I found two other beers which I liked better than the one we sponsored. Clearly I shall have to consider more carefully next year when the time comes to pick one to sponsor (assuming, of course,that we do it again)

And it was nice to relax and unwind a little with a colleague. Especially as he agreed to be the designated driver!

Then on Saturday night,  after a grey and drizzly day, during which I managed to do a little bit of housework, and cut the grass because it really, really needed it, despite being a bit too damp for proper lawn-mowing, and failed to go shopping for curtain rails because I couldn't face the thought of B&Q, I headed into Bath, to the Theatre Royal, to see 'Mrs Henderson Presents', a brand new musical version of the film, based on the true story of the Windmill Theatre.

It was fun - it could have used a larger cast, so they could make the big ensemble numbers bigger, with more chorus girls, and I was, I admit, disappointed to see that, unlike in the film, the gentlemen of the cast were only seen from the rear during the 'everyone gets naked' scene.

There's a strong cast, minimal plot, catchy songs, and lots of naked women.

Tracie Bennett plays Mrs Henderson, and is appropriately tart and posh.

Emma Williams  appeared as Maureen, tea-lady turned performer.

I particularly enjoyed Graham Hoadly's Lord Chancellor, perfectly stuffy, and with more than a nod to Gilbert and Sullivan. (and, of course, the freemasons...)

This show premiered in Bath, but I think is going to be seen in London later this year. Its a lot of fun. A very good evening out. And it was clear thatthe entire audie ce was enjoying itself!

marjorie73: (Default)

So, no exciting theatre trips or writers this week. In fact, the week started badly as I must have eaten something which disagreed with me, and since then it seems to have been nothing but rain and work, and work and rain.

And I'm working this Saturday, too.

I spent most of today on a course. I was pleasantly surprised with parts of it - if anyone had told me that Trusts could be made interesting (especially in the dead hour immediately after lunch) I would have mocked them mercilessly, but apparently it is possible. Of course, it may not be relevant unless I suddenly start to have lots of multi-millionaires wandering into my office, but still. If they do, I shall now feel more prepared.

Other parts were . . more what one expects of a CPD course..

This weekend I expect to be doing such thrilling things as raking up dead leaves, vacuuming the house and trying to organise my financial documents and shred the stuff which I don't need to keep.

So - not a lot in the way of excitement or bloggable activities.

Missed Me?

Aug. 2nd, 2013 09:50 pm
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This past week or so has been a little stressful - we've been replacing our elderly and very slow computer system, with new servers, hardware, and moving from having separate servers in every office, to having everything in one place.

And of course, things have not got entirely to plan, some stuff took longer than expected, and getting the various bits of software we use to play nice with each other has caused a few problems, so even through the main upgrade happened over the weekend, the IT guys have been in all week to get everything set up (and to try to work out why one (and only one) of the new computers is not playing nicely with the dictation system, and to make it behave itself)

My laptop has been to visit the IT guys to check out whether it was about to die (answer: probably not - it's running a bit hot but did well in its stress test, so for now I'm buying it nice cooling stand and am going to try not to spill any more drinks into it. I've heard they don't like that)

We're still having very hot weather, which I don't appreciate - I think we've had the hottest day in 7 years, and also one of the longest unbroken periods of sunshine.

On Monday, things changed a little - well, a lot.
We had torrential downpours, thunder, lightening, the lot. I popped out of the office at, lunch time for about 5 minutes, I got so wet that my shoes took 2 days to dry out, and I had to wring my hair out when I got back to the office..

It was still raining when I got home, and while I didn't dance naked in the rain (the neighbours are too close, and not understanding!) I did go out to enjoy the rain.
I wasn't the only one. There was a beautiful frog, and hundreds of lovely little snails. Mostly they were the stripey kind, but there were also dark brown ones, and yellow ones. They really are fascinating little creatures, and so beautifully shiny, in the rain.

(I admit I'm prejudiced. I can't feel quite so friendly towards the slugs. I'm sure they are just as fascinating, but they are rather less attractive)

Since Monday it has got hot again - I'm hoping it will be cool enough to do a little gardening tomorrow.

I'm also trying to get the house a bit less cluttered - last weekend I managed to completely fill the wheelie bin, and have taken 2 big bags of books to charity shops, and to tidy up the cupboard under the stairs so that I shall be able to fit several boxes of  my less-favourite books into it. There's a way to go yet, but I shall get there.
So, that's what I have been doing for the last week or so. How about you?
marjorie73: (Default)

Today didn't start badly. I mean, I had to get out of bed when it was still dark outside, and to try to achieve the hand, eye, and sardine coordination to get a pill into the cat, but those are par for the course.

And it seemed to be going well, during the morning. I managed to remember that there were roadworks due to start by the castle on my way to work, so I left extra time for the commute, and then I got to the roadworks just as the lights turned green, so I wasn't delayed, and in fact, arrived early at work, which meant I got the feeling of slightly smug virtue, and the 30 minutes of uninterrupted time to work which are the rewards of early arrival.

The rest of the morning passed smoothly, with no more than the usual number of interruptions or foolish questions.

It was around lunchtime that the day started to go downhill.

Our bathroom has two cubicles, each of which has a small sink, with an individual hot water heater, as well as the WC. So, as I was .. minding my own business, when I noticed the sound of trickling water - not something which attracts much attention, under the circumstances. The next thing which happened was much harder to ignore. I was hit with a sudden and vigorous jet of icy cold water, as whatever widget it is which lives inside a tap and keeps it turned off when it's off, failed, suddenly and dramatically. This did nothing to add to my enjoyment of the day. Particularly as I was not, at that moment, in any position to retreat.. It is surprising how very wet you can get in a very short time.

There is a tap on the pipe leading into the water heater, and I thought turning that off would stop the flow. It might have done, had I been able to turn it, but I couldn't, and achieved only a wrenched shoulder from trying to hard and at an awkward angle. (It is a slight comfort to me that my bigger and stronger (male) colleague, when I was able to get him, couldn't, either)

We did manage to track down and turn off the stop-cock, (inconveniently located in the shop next door) and to catch most of the flood in the bin, and to track down an emergency plumber.. Eventually.

It's surprising just how wet you can get, in just a few moments. After helping to sort out the plumber, and dealing with a few other things which couldn't really wait, I decided to head home. Somehow spending the next 4 hours in trousers wet from the hip downwards and a shirt with one soaking sleeve didn't appeal. The drive home wasn't a lot of fun, either.

I suppose that on a positive note, tomorrow ought to be an improvement. I just wish I had had time to eat lunch before all this happened.

marjorie73: (Default)
It's been another long week. And I think I'm coming down with a cold.
I've been spending some time recently at work taking part in interviewing candidates for a job, which is a little odd - I mean, interviewers are supposed to be real Grown Ups, aren't they? It's oddly disturbing to be taken seriously in the role. It's even worse than applying for a mortgage.

Other than the unexpected being an adult, the week has mostly involved feeling tired.

However, on a more positive note, it has stopped being *quite* so damn cold, and I have been able to line up some treats for the future.

I have booked tickets for the 'National Theatre Live' production of 'She Stoops to Conquer' which is being broadcast on 29th March (may be different dates outside the UK), and have also booked tickets for Bath Theatre Royal to see live versions of 'The King's Speech' (at the end of this month) and, in April, 'Barefoot in the Park' (starring Maureen Lipman), all of which should be fun.

And much later in the year, I shall be going to the Globe Theatre, in London, to see 'Twelfth Night' featuring Mr Stephen Fry and Mr Mark Rylance - It should be interesting - it's what they describe as an 'Original Practices' production, which means that they aim to use practices (including an all-male cast) available in 1601, with the aim of having authentic music, clothing and so on, as well.

It's a few years since I've been to the Globe - last time was to see Othello, with Eammon Walker at The Moor, and Tim McInnerny as Othello, in, I think, 2007. That was very good indeed, and I hope this will be, too.

So, lots to look forward to. I also had a lovely e-mail today to say I have been picked to be a 'giver' on World Book Night this year, so I shall have 24 copies of 'Good Omens' to distribute, hopefully to people who don't normally read. I'm planning to see whether any of my clients would like one.

And the Bath Literature Festival is starting soon. I have tickets for Clare Tomalin (on Dickens) Jim Al-Khalili (on the Golden Age of Arabic Science) and Sandi Toksvig, among others. I fear that they may be a certain amount of book-buying coming up in my immediate future... and practically guilt-free, as Independent Booksellers Mr. B's are the festival bookshop this year, so indulging myself will also benefit an indie bookshop!

And last but by no means least, my friend Cheryl and I are going to see Mitch Benn in April!

It's good. It means I have something to look forward to, at least once a fortnight (closer together in some cases) for the next couple of months, and having things to look forward to does help, on the greyest and most miserable of days.

What are you looking forward to?
marjorie73: (Default)

Ten days with no posting. I'm slacking. Unfortunately it's because I haven't been doing much which is worth blogging about.

I've been very busy at work, spent a fair amount of time in court (and even more time hanging around in court waiting rooms, (because we all know that 'listed for 10.30' really means 'in at 1.14')

I've also been not enjoying the hot, muggy weather. Particularly as my tomatoes seem to have been stubbornly soaking up the sun (and demanding that I water them lots) but conspicuously failing to turn ripe and red. I'm sure that they are doing it on purpose...

I'm toying with the idea of going to the theatre this weekend - the Bath Theatre Royal has the Peter Hall company playing Henry IV parts 1 and 2 playing at present . .it's pretty tempting to go see one or both, either this weekend or next - they are both getting excellent reviews.I just have to work out whether I can afford it!
marjorie73: (Default)
Friday did not go well.

I had a full day at the office planned, but on Wednesday I learned of an unexpected hearing, for Friday, in DistantTown, which is about 2 hours from me. This meant having to apply to amend my client's legal aid. You wouldn't think that would be too difficult, as the criteria were clearly met, but due to cutbacks and backlogs most applicartions take weeks to process. Which is not good when you need a reply within 2 days.

So, the process is something like this:
  1. Phone Legal Aid. Spend 45 minutes on hold listening to cheesy elevator music, interrupted evey 30 seconds or so by mesages saying that your call will be answered shortly (even long after it has become obvious that this is, in fact, a LIE) and that it is important to them (which, frankly, is also a LIE, as they are a monopoly)
  2. Eventually reach an actual person, who confirms what you already know, namely that they can't actually grant the necessary amendment over the phone, only give you a code to allow you to fax it in to be dealt with urgently, which will "probably" be done within 48 hours.
  3. Fax application, making sure to get a delivery confirmation
  4. the following morning, telephone to follow up & see whether the application has been dealt with. Spend 70 minutes on hold waiting for your call to be answered "shortly".
  5. Just as you lose the will to live (or at least to live as a person who has to deal with the Legal services Commission) you get to a person, who claims that they have not recieved the fax. After some discussion, they admit that it would be possible to scan and e-mail a further copy of the form, which we duly do...
  6. Ring for a third time. (because they won't actually phone of fax to tell you. that would be too easy) Weep softly forthe 30 minutes spent on hold while listening to cheesy elevator music and insincere messages.
  7. get amendment.
And that was just what I had to do before I could get started.

The hearing on Friday was listed for one hour, at 11 a.m. So I was fairly tired and a little stressed when it finished at 3.35. And was not best pleased when I then discovered that due to an accident on the Motorway, traffic was backed up into town, so my journey back, which would normally take about 90 minutes (to the office) or 2 hours (to home) was considerably extended.

The back log from the motorway being closed probably only delayed me for about 20 minutes, but as it turned out, after that I was also destined to be further delayed by The Old Man in a Flat Cap, driving at 30 mph or 10 mph below the spped limit, whichever was slower, the Van Towing Trailer (apprently driven by someone who had never towed anything, and possibly never driven anything before, the Funeral Cortege (and who holds a funeral at 5 in the afternoon?) and, of course, the Extra-Long, Extra-Wide Articulated Lorry Carrying Portakabins sent to meet me just as the narrowest, sharpest corner in Glastonbury.

All of which meant it took me nearly 2 1/2 hours to get back, so I literally only had time to lock ny files into the house before rushing back to the station to catch a train to London at 6.15. and then that train was delayed so I had to sprint to change platforms at Bath, making the connection by the skin of my teeth.

Mercifully there was a bar on the train
marjorie73: (Default)
I haven't blogged because I've been doing little other than getting grouchy at work, and sleeping badly at home, which is a bit of a vicious circle.

Most of the time I enjoy my job or at the very least feel that it is useful, but there are times when it is like banging my head against a brick wall. There is nothing so frustrsting as watching someone dig themselves deeper into a hole, while all the time refusing all the help  you are offering to get them out of the hole. Except maybe the part where they then turn around and blame you for throwing them into the hole. *le sigh*. (and yes, I see the mixed metaphor. This is a special brick-lined hole, 'Kay?). Sooner or later, it'll swing back the other way, I'll get a client who is appreciative, or an outcome I can be happy about.

On the plus side, I do have lots of good, supportive friends, for whom I am very grateful.

I also have quite a few things to look forward to -my sisters both have their birthdays in March, and we are planning to meet up (K has a landmark birthday this year, although she isn't planning a massive party) and I shall also get to see K&C's new flat, which should be fun. Then I'm going to see Lenny Henry at the start of April, and a week later my friend J will be coming down for the weekend, when we have tickets to see Derek Jacobi in King Lear. (And later in the summer, I shall be seeing David Tennant & Catherine Tate in Much Ado About Nothing ) And today I went into Bath in order to collect tickets to hear China Mieville speak, at Mr B's Emporium, one of our local Independent bookshops. I gather that they have aready sold out the event, and have a waiting list, so I'm glad I booked as soon as I heard about it!

So I'm planning to focus on the good things which are coming, not the bits of now which make me grumble.

well, that and chocolate!
marjorie73: (Default)
That's my excuse for the lack of blogging recently, anyway.

I did get up very early on Tuesday to talk (extremely briefly) on local radio about the cuts to Legal Aid, and why they are a bad idea. (Not least because of the fact that, in the long term, they almost certainly mean higher costs)

I got pretty nervous beforehand, but I think it went alright, although probably not terribly interesting unless either you're me, or you're about to get divorced and expect to need legal aid.

This weekend I think I am going to be having a visitor, and helping to move a floor.
marjorie73: (Default)
it's been a funny old week, so far.

I had a rather depressing day in court, with an opposing lawyer (who does not really seem to be fulfilling her obligation to actually advise her client, as opposed to simply parroting what they say) decided that a personal attack on me was the way to go. It's not the first time this particular individual has behaved like this and I'm seriously considering speaking to the senior partner at her firm about it, as it's very unprofessional, quite apart from the personal unpleasantness. It's also in direct contravention of the code of practice for Family lawyers. *Sigh*

Yesterday I called my best friend, J - I was mostly calling to commiserate with her, as I knew she was planning to go to Istanbul for a long weekend (to meet up with her partner, who has been there for the past 10 days, working) and I guessed that with the ash from the volcano she would be unable to go. I was right, but I also learned that she had heard earlier in the day thet her grandmother has died. And of course, with her partner in Istanbul and no clear idea of how soon he'll be able to get back. I wish I lived close enough to be able to do more than just telephone. Death is never easy, even when you know (as in this case) that someone is dying, I think it is always something of a shock.

In happier news;

My Papa achieved another birthday (although he wasn't in when I called him to wish him happy birthday, so it's just as well I was, for once, organised enough to pop a card in the post!)

One of my colleagues, who keeps chickens, gave me some eggs, as they have a surplus, so this evening I was able to have an absolutely delicious omelette, made wioth eggs that really taste of eggs

And this weekend I shall be going to London, to see the EvelynEvelyn show, but in addition, thanks to Eyjafjallajokull, will get a chance to meet up in person with Adri, who so far I only know online, and who is stuck in the UK at present...

(Originally posted at )


Mar. 27th, 2010 06:10 pm
marjorie73: (Default)
It's been another long week - we had our annual meeting (of partners) at work,which went as well as can be expected, and I also spent a day updating my training - 1/2 a day on Child Law, 1/2 on pensions, which turned out more interesting snd useful than I'd expected, although I did end up with a stiff neck from sitting awkwardly to watch powerpoint presentations, and somewhat weary afer my train home was delayed for 20 minutes, which meant I spent almost 40 minutes sitting on a rather chilly platform...

I'm still very tired - haven't been sleeping well - and keep waking in the early hours of the morning and finding myself unable to get back to sleep, which is annoying.

This morning, however, turned out to be a beautiful sunny one, and when I went out into the garden to hang up some washing, I found that the first primrose is out! What with this, and the clocks going forward tonight, it must really be the end of winter!
marjorie73: (Default)
This week has, so far, not thrown up much blogging material - I have not been sleeping well for the past couple of weeks, as a result of which I'm not really doing anything outside of work as I haven't the energy.

However, BOTH of my sisters hav birthdays in the next few days, and have suggested tht we meet up, and go for saunas and swimming and lunch, which sound like a plan, even if I do ave to drive to Birmingham to do it... So that should take care of Saturday, and I shall probably stay over on Saturday night)

Next week we have our AGM / business meeting at work, which is always fun, involving as it does long discussions about the accounts, and I seem to have booked mysef on a course about tax, which I am sure will also be utterly fascinating and delightful.

And I am sure theere will be the usual quota of shouty clients, and similar pleasures..

So, nothing to see here, but maybe more after the weekend.

Is it Me?

Mar. 7th, 2010 01:25 pm
marjorie73: (Default)
I admit, I am not a webdesigner, but that doesn't mean I can't spot incompetence when I see it (although in fairness to the poor codemonkys, I suspect that a lot of this is due to being designed / approved by committee, and a government funded committee at that, rather than the individual involved in sticking it together and sending the poor, maimed thing out into the world)

We have (at work) to apply for a new contract to continue to provide publicly funded services. This has to be done via an e-portal. Which, as I say, appears to have been put together by a large group of people none of whom are on speaking terms with each other. We spent most of Thursday morning doing this. Time I could have spent doing something more interesting and enjoyable, like watching paint dry or repeatedly stabbing myself in the eye with a blunt stick.
  • Some parts of the application can be filled in directly on-line
  • Despite the fact that most of the information required for this part of the form is information which we have already submitted (mainly in electronic form) and that we have unique reference numbers identifying ourselves to this organisation, they have no auto-complete functions (even for non-sensitive information such as our address)
  • at random intervals in the forms which can be filled in on-line, there are further forms which have to be downloaded, saved, filled in offline then up-loaded as attachments to the existing on-line forms
  • about half the random forms requiring downloading and reuploading are in the form of microsoft excel spreadsheets and the other half as Word documents. There is no discernible reason for this given the type of information required. The notes for guidance are in Adobe. Because nothing is more fun than having 3 different formts open at once.
  • where the forms can be filled in online, each question requires clicking through 3 different screens, plus one more to get back to the list of questions (and for the record, these questions are mostly only one sentence long. Two at the most) But it is:Screen showing list of questions (not actual questions, it literally says "Question 1, Question 2, etc.) Click on the number of a question. See a screen telling you what the question is going to be. Click to next screen. See the actual question (which is slightly differently worded and therefore has a significantly different meaning to the one on the previous screen). Select multiple choice answer. Click to return to list in order to be able to move on to the next question. Repeat until you reach the end of the list, or lose the will to live, whchever happens sooner.
  • My personal favourite? The question offering accessibility otions for viewing the site is the FINAL question in the registration process, which is designed so that you can only answer the questions in chronological order . Just as well I didn't actually need the accessibility options.

And the purpose of all this? To see whether they will gie us a new contract in order to continue to do the work we have been doing for years (and have been assessed by them as doing extremely well) but at lower rates of pay....

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. Their main website is possibly the worst-designed website in the history of websites, and has a search facility which frequently failes to find things even if you know the exact title (and reference number) of the document you re looking for...

Still. It's not their fault. They only have a £200million annual budget. It's clearly unreasonable to expect them to spend any of it on making dealing with them rational. So much better to use the admin budget for really important stuff, like re-re-redesigning forms to ask the same question in three slightly different ways instead of two..

it does make you wonder though, whether somone once tried to implement the thought experiement with the monkeeys and the typewriters to see if you get Shakespeare's works, and found that ctually what you get is government websites... It would explain an aweful lot, don't you think?

(Originally posted at comment there or here)


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