Thursday, 25 October 2007

Life post-cheese

No, not literally. By god, that would be unthinkable. A life without cheese is a life half lived, to misquote Strictly Ballroom...

Anyway, my holding post of a few days ago was really just to get back into the blogging habit again, as it's been a while since I posted anything of note; but my recent discovery that I was listed on the Mostly Books blog and the subsequent nice comments from friends has got me enthused for posting again, as I had let work and other stuff get in the way a fair bit. I know that even when I'm really busy, I will always make time to run through my Bloglines feeds and whenever a new post from a friend's blog appears it cheers me up no end - much more exciting than all those industry techie feeds I read and even (dare I say it) more interesting than the newsy feeds on books, music, eco stuff and the like that I subscribe to. So, good intentions poised and at the ready, I resolve To Do Better. (Capitals are great, aren't they? I feel amost Edward Gorey-ish using them, She Said Archly).

So, what's been going on in our world since the fromagery of late September?

A couple of quite alarming and intense work weeks, where I was planning a big project for January. I'm 99.8% sure none of our direct competitors read this, but even so I won't expand further. Anyway, it's something way outside my comfort zone and I was mightily relieved when the proposal I submitted on 12th October to the US got well received. Phew.

In between this, was a drink-sodden weekend where we went to London to meet up with Ali's folks and some friends they were visiting in Caterham. We met up in a pub just off St James' Square, and basically lurched around Soho all afternoon from hostelry to hostelry. This was the weekend of the England victory over the Aussies in the Rugby World Cup and I was the only English person in the party. Luckily despite all the Scots contingent being desperate to find an Aussie pub to watch it in, we ended up in the Glasshouse just off Piccadilly where I had a fine old time yelling encouragement and generally getting very overexcited. Wa hey!

By 12th I was more than ready for a break, my first day off since starting the job back in early June. After a few days of pre-holiday panic, that was it - done. On the first day of our week off, the Saturday, we were back in London to watch Maximo Park play at the Brixton Academy as part of an XFM night. Or not. I was FUMING at the time and could have written reams but step by step:

- Kathryn and Ali arrive at the venue after a day of mooching in town
- Go in, get patted down, buy 1 pint of cider and a bottle of water for SIX POUNDS BLEEDING TEN!!!!!!!
- Look at the set list and realise MP are not on til 10.30pm. Last train from Paddington is 11.30pm. Fuck.
- Have panicked discussion, look at Ali's Crackberry and realise that all trains are cancelled post 9pm anyway due to engineering works.
- Discuss merits of getting the bus home and then give up in disgust, leave the venue (much to the bemusement of security) and watch the second half of England v France (wa hey again!) in a pub in Brixton, then head off to Paddington to chance our luck.
- Wait at Paddington for an hour and half for a replacement bus service to Reading. Lots of swearing.
- Eventually get to Reading at 12.30am for the last train to Didcot.
- Grrrrrr.....

Sunday was a bit more chilled, culminating in a birthday celebration for our mate Chris in the Yummy Thai restaurant in Wantage. It certainly lived up to its name, yum yum.

Our week off was lovely. 3 days in north Dorset staying in the village of Buckhorn Weston at the phenomenal Stapleton Arms. Beautiful room, comfy bed, LCD TV, walk in shower which was the most powerful I've ever experienced in a hotel, organic breakfast grub, great menu, 2 real ciders on tap :-) and log fires every night. Wonderful, and really good value. We did Shaftesbury, Sherborne, Stonehenge, the Cerne Abbas giant with his big willy (and the faint outline of Homer Simpson remaining on the field next to him, hee hee), and a great walk on the coast and Chesil Beach. Then back on Thursday for some R&R at home, a nice meal at the Crooked Billet on Friday night and Rod, Wendy and their 3 kids over on Saturday for a fab get together. Sunday was spent nursing hangovers (Ali and Rod got stuck into the whisky in the wee small hours of Sunday morning...) and as mentioned before, by the time it got to mid afternoon, I was ready for hair of the dog and some pure SCD indulgence.

Back to work now and it's getting intense, preparing for January. It's bizarre not gearing up for the Christmas rush - reminds me of working in the travel industry in a way, but better, obviously.
So that's me up to date, we've got a rare free weekend coming up so I'll be repainting the front door. I'm actually looking forward to it, in a bizarre way.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Ooh the pressure

The lovely Mark and Nicki of Mostly Books have listed me as one of their 'Abingdon blogs' on the blogroll of their own, re-vamped blog. Though flattering to be in the company of domesticali et al, it is slightly worrying for 2 reasons: one, I know a lot of the book trade, various literati, the famous Scott Pack etc etc read the Mostly Books blog, and hence may, in a moment of whimsy, click through to this one. Part of me wonders what they may think and panics slightly; whereas the other part knows deep down that these are all busy important people and have better things to do with their day than read random blogs (or do they...?). Two, I don't really blog about Abingdon per se, though obviously I do live here and a lot of the things we do in our leisure time are done around and about the town. The Abingdon Blogger himself does take loads of photos though, and posts some occasional nuggets of interest that enlighten me about what The People Who Run Things are doing with our town, so I don't feel as much pressure here to blog about what it's like to live in Abingdon.

Also, I'm not sure how many people actually look at the webspace of blogs nowadays (if that's the right terminology) but instead subscribe to a feed. I mean, I've had over 100 visitors to this one since I stuck a site counter up a while ago, and that's lovely to see. I think I know who a few of them are, and to those of you who come along just for the hell of it and don't know me from Adam, I'm really pleased and I hope you don't think it was a waste of your time. However, all the blogs I read regularly are consumed via Bloglines feeds within that interface, and not by me visiting the site itself (and becoming a unique visitor). It means I can get all my reading over and done with blog by blog and also - crucially for an organisation freak - sort the feeds into friends, work-related, books, music etc. themilkman has recently posted about information overload and the difficulty of keeping up with blogs - I don't find this so much of a problem, except with those who regularly post huge long essays which I only have time to read at weekends (sorry dovegreyreader and Stephen Fry). Only 2 people (including me, ha) have subscribed to my blog on Bloglines though, so I'm guessing not many people are reading me as a feed. In which case to those 179 people who have come and visited so far, thank you very much indeed.

Monday, 22 October 2007

A holding post

... until I get some time to write a proper one. October has not been a particularly prolific month for me so far for blogging, for a variety of reasons, but there is quite a lot to talk about when I do get round to it. Hence the appositeness of the cartoon below.

Also, Strictly Come Bitching is blogging about SCD with far more eloquence and wit than I could manage, so I won't be posting too often about autumn's finest show. Suffice to say that with a roaring fire, hair of the dog in the shape of Westons Organic Cider, and the remains of a family bag of lightly salted Kettle Chips, I was in SCD heaven yesterday with Saturday's show on video followed by the results show. Alesha and Matthew to win!!

cartoon from

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Oh. My. God!!

There's just too much excitement out there for me at the moment. I must calm down. Having just read the following sites in quick succession all I can say is how did I miss the preview programme last Saturday (okay okay cheese might have had something to do with it) and HOW, HOW did I come to agree to a day out in London this coming Saturday when the first programme of the series is on??

Monday, 1 October 2007

Mumbling joyful shudders

There are some occasions when, for whatever reason, words just don't flow as well as they ought. My last cheesey post was one of these, I think primarily because I wrote it on Friday night on the train home from work, and it was in full anticipatory mode. Then of course I never got round to actually posting it up until yesterday, by which time I had to go back in and edit it so that the verbs were all in the past tense and I was writing about things which had happened rather than those I was looking forward to. Hence my dissatisfaction with how it comes across - I wish I'd just written something spontaneously after the event which captured the enjoyment of seeing our friends and eating and drinking all too well.

So. Mumbling over, onto the joy. Yes - Radiohead are releasing their new album, ripe and ready for download in only 10 short days, oh wonderfulness :) Plenty of other bloggers, mostly from the Guardian, are talking about the fact they are inviting folk to pay what they think it's worth for the album rather than setting a fixed price; so I won't also comment, other than to say that any true Radiohead fan should stump up at least a tenner. We have pre-ordered the full double CD with vinyl and book, plus access to the download, for £40. Well, you've got to really. We saw them in Blackpool last May where they played some tracks that are now on the album and so we know they're bloody good. Woo hoo!

Finally, the shuddering. Well, Nigella Lawson is ladling out mayonnaise on the telly. Nuff said.