Saturday, 29 October 2005

Read this guy - he's good

My wife - the project manager

Norma has appointed herself Project Manager for refurbishment of bathroom. Bath that had been resurfaced started to chip so search initiated for replacement of bath. Scheme One- remove bath altogether and have super-size walk about shower. Contractor initially selected turned out to be rip-off merchant.
Project shelved as too difficult.
Chips became larger.
Search for alternatives identified B & Q who have remodelling teams.
B & Q interested but only do total refits - i.e. everything including bath, loo and handbasin. Declined by Manager as outside scope.
Ch Exec Officer (guess who?) ruled that whole thing was better than chipped bath getting worse.
B & Q supplied brochures etc. Considerable confusion ensued at project site.
Consultant called to advise, reconcile and obtain order. Ordered but everything put on hold until fitter had visited.
Changes in design post-consultant but prior to fitter visit.
Fitter visits. Changes identified. Whole project re-costed - OK within budget. Fitter then advises that some of consultant's ideas were not possible. Further re-evaluation and changes.
B & Q Customer Satisfaction team introduce themselves. Want to deliver bath next day - 5 weeks ahead of start of site works commencing. Declined after much debate.
Satisfaction team announce delivery date - no time specified. Project Manager fairly relaxed.
Satisfaction team advise that delivery would be between 8 and 12 next day. Project Manager assumes 12 is time they will come.
8.10 this morning. Delivery. Project Manager in dressing gown, sans make up or brushed hair. Show delivery man where goods were to be stored in spare bedroom. Driver advises he does not deliver above first floor level. OMG. To be stacked in hallway.
Quite clear that B & Q are keen users of IT. Some items not delivered. Toilet pan that was delivered is cracked. Some wrong items included.
Consultation with Satisfaction team. Serious misnomer. Consultant might deliver/exchange items that were u/s. Might not. No one too sure. Team to initiate email to consultant and advise response. May have information ahead of fitting date.
Installation team due next Tuesday. Current state of play is that there is not enough of any one package for them to do anything other than rip-out what we have. Project Manager somewhat disconcerted. Our planning with crib board and matches surpasses entire efforts of B & Q so far.
This saga will continue.
We have not yet got to stage where fag-smoking, tea-drinking, loud radio-playing, arse-crack displaying workers appear. Lack of materials doubtless intentional to allow the fitters to move to another job and leave us loo-less, bath-less and handbasin-less.
Contingency plan to move with washing implements into B & Q warehouse/showrooms where we will avail ourselves of the display items.
Project manager was intending to move onto kitchen rejuvenation. I doubt that this will figure large in plans given this experience even so far.

Friday, 28 October 2005

Foot in mouth returns?

Whilst I do not run with the bird flu pandemic worries shown in some of our more sensational media, I reckon there is cause for a little dignified concern. The 1918 figures as to numbers of deaths and the rate at which the virus spread make it seem like some Weapon of Mass Destruction. Obviously, hygiene levels and spread controls were not then so sophisticated as we now have. People lived in closer proximity. The tamiflu protection did not exist. Even now we have it, it only works on ordinary flue. Even then, it needs to be injected within 48 hours of onset of flu.
But, it seems that the actual make-up of the drug that will be used to counter avian/human flu has to be tailored to suit the way the virus has changed so as to get from animal to human food chain. This means that production cannot start until we have cases up, running, declared and identified. Somewhere I saw that this process could take months with distribution and vaccination adding more time. All the while the dangerous-to-humans strain is amongst us.
OK - there will be delays involving the uncontrolled spread of the killer infection. Our Government seems sanguine about this. Remember how confident they were that foot and mouth was no big deal? So, put your faith in the politicians and 'experts'. Then I read that the testing which laid the blame at the door of some South American parrot may not have been all that wonderful. Could have been some Taiwanese chick that shared with the guacho. Just a minor error - one or the other was right and they are now all dead anyway. But, says Doubting Thomas, there had been a consignment of birds at the quarantine centre that overlapped the Taiwanese. Maybe some of them were sick but unnoticed. Where are they now? Sold to individuals.
I have not seen anything (yet) regarding application of ministerial boot to chemists' arse on the topic of getting things a little bit more on the ball.
The drug company that will - in the fullness of time - produce the avian flu antidote has said that to get things in gear, it will need additional factory space and feels it should be recompensed for this. Enter old moneybags Brown. Cue delays.
Doubtless there will be dispute as to who gets the counter-agent as the first supplies trickle down. Something I have every confidence our government will solve. Not.
I don't suppose they will have to burn dead humans as they did the cattle and other livestock; all I hope is that Brigadier who solved disposal last time, is still on hand.
So - I am not panicking. I can see the potential for an almighty cock-up. I wait - I would say with baited breath but puns are cheap and objectional in matters of life and death.
I have done my bit to help. Talking with an old codger the other day, he asked how we would know if we had bird flu. I explained we should be suspicious if we started to mount our ladies from the rear with much cackling and flapping of arms whilst stamping our feet. He said he'd try to avoid this but they did need the eggs.

Thursday, 27 October 2005

Deja vue

These last couple of days have reinforced my determination that there is no way I could return to being a parent. I don't care what Norma may have rolled up in an old hanky a la Monica whatnot's blue dress. She will never get my consent to do some magic DNA thing or whatever.
Having two teen-agerish guests is OK until idea becomes reality. We are lucky that we have two very good ones here - we have the benefit that we can detect their Wood genes from their mother and know how to deal with those. It is just the constant pressure to be doing, responding, reacting yadda yadda that is slowly killing us. I was heaving for breath coming up steep sand dunes today and stopped before my eyes went like a fruit machine wheel. I explained that I was getting old and needed to stop more than I used to. Reply was "Yes, I know. Comes to us all one day" Such wisdom eh?
Still, they have to return as the sparrow breaks wind tomorrow morning. We will then sink back into sloth-impersonation mode. We will have plenty of "Yes, I know"-type moments to keep us amused for quite a while. But, for sure, contact with youth has not rubbed off on me and made me feel any younger.

Wednesday, 26 October 2005

Birds fly in

Drove over the tops to Hadington this morning en-route for the Air Museum at East Fortune. This is where they have one of the Concorde aircraft that was retired af few years ago. They have made it a nice feature - well presented with plenty of modern technology.
As we got quite high up, we saw two big skeins of geese fly over. There must have been more that 100 in all. A short while later we saw another big mass of birds going in the same direction as the earlier lot.

Tuesday, 25 October 2005

Those were the days

I've been reading the Battle of Britain reports for this day back then. Whilst we lived very close to Hornchurch fighter base, the overall situation was not generally divulged. We lost so many gallant guys may have been one reason but security will have been uppermost in the minds of media censors. It was a close run thing and the reports are well worth a read - or at least a quick scan.

Islamic flu

Mark Steyn does another of his Islamic studies in today’s Telegraph. What is clever is that he has based the article on avian flu and the doubts we may have had as to it’s inevitability and manner of diffusion. It is at the end – almost en passant – that he ties it in with the pan-Islam agenda. Neat writing following on good research.
All was solved this morning at the doctors. I had to see the Vampire Lady and get a blood check started. She did the blood pressure thing as well and seemed quite happy at the result. One would hope so too given the amount of medication I am taking.

Monday, 24 October 2005

Weird quiz.

You scored as Existentialist. Existentialism emphasizes human capability. There is no greater power interfering with life and thus it is up to us to make things happen. Sometimes considered a negative and depressing world view, your optimism towards human accomplishment is immense. Mankind is condemned to be free and must accept the responsibility.







Cultural Creative










What is Your World View? (updated)
created with

Do you have our address Mr. Noah?

Lordy - hasn't it rained today! I looked out of my bedroom window about 4 this morning and it was coming down stair rods. I - almost - swam to Haddington to top up on food and things and even now in the late evening we are still seeing the rain come down. I've gone through two raincoats (I hate putting a cold and wet raincoat back on) and have been in and out of wellies all day it seems. I'm amazed the roads are dealing so well with the water; there were only a couple of places where it had flooded.
The livestock all looked so forlorn. Sheep had huddled together like a big ball of knitting wool and just stood and let the rain wash them down. The cattle were all under the shelter of trees where they had them or just in the wet in open fields. Obviously none of them had time to go into what is supposed to be bad weather mode where they lie down My poor old dog went down for her early morning walk, put head and shoulders outside the door and then pushed back at me. Total refusal to venture further. She came shopping with me and we stopped at the picnic place to give her a run. Still heavy rain but the attraction of a possible bird or rabbit lured her out. Once she was wet, she quite enjoyed herself in the grass and in the river.
Grandchildren Libby and Sam arrive tomorrow for a couple of days. I think we are ready - I've oiled our skates so we can keep up with them.
What with the rotten weather, I've avoided all newscasts on radio or TV and the home page here is Google news so that has been cleared as it loads. The daily survival is all I can cope with - the troubles of Kashmir, Iraq and Cherie B Liar would be just too much more baggage. Thankfully, the banter on the Army Rumour site has kept me amused in the time I had left after swimming about outside and showering – I was about as wet as after a shower and the water is hotter.
I checked the counter today to see what effect, if any, my planting of attractive words might have had. Not much is the short answer. I had a couple of guys from the Arabian Gulf looking for Farouk and one ‘person’ interested in my lambskin rug. The woman with muscles had a small following. I think I’m well capable of devising a blog entry about a playboy Arab King who enjoyed muscular women on a lambskin rug. He was a keen roulette player so perhaps he could lose the girl to a Zionist when 00 came up?
Doctor's appointment tomorrow morning. I know it is nothing to do with my heart caper but otherwise I have not a clue as to what they want to do. I've been racking the walnut that is my brain but cannot work it out. I shall have to do, as StarTrek says with a sad lack of English Grammer and 'boldly go'

Sunday, 23 October 2005

Chinese enterprise

'Babies for sale' on Chinese eBay
There is a thriving black market in babies in ChinaChinese police are investigating a report of attempted baby trafficking on an internet auction site, according to a state-owned newspaper. The advertisement was reportedly placed on eBay's Chinese website, Eachnet. Boys were advertised for 28,000 yuan ($3,450) while girls were offered for 13,000 yuan ($1,603), Eachnet manager Tang Lei told the China Daily.
The offer could have been a hoax, but it comes as baby trafficking is seen as an increasing problem in China. China's strict "one child" birth control policy, coupled with the traditional bias for male children, has led to widespread reports of child abductions, and several people have been sentenced to death for their part in smuggling rings.
According to Eachnet, the advertisement was registered in Shanghai on 16 October.
The seller, under the user name "Chuangxinzhe Yongyuan" or "innovator forever", said the babies would be available within 100 days of their birth. The seller said the service was being provided for the benefit of China's millions of infertile couples. All the children were described as coming from Henan province in central China. Although no deals were struck, more than 50 people browsed the listing before it was removed, including one who left an enquiry.
According to Tang Lei, the website automatically screens all the postings it receives. But the word "baby" is not seen as a forbidden term because so many baby products are advertised on the site.
Mr Tang admitted the posting may have been a hoax - but he added that, if not, the person responsible for the attempted sale could face many years in prison or even the death penalty.

Answers please.

Do cemetery workers prefer the graveyard shift?
Do crematoriums give discounts to burn victims?
Do files get embarrassed when they get unzipped?
Do fish get thirsty?
Do hummingbirds hum because they don't know the words?
Do infants enjoy infancy as much as adults enjoy adultery?
What makes cheese so confidential that we need cheese shredders?
What was the best thing before sliced bread?


No dogs were harmed in the making of this image.