Saturday, 19 April 2014

Grumpy Riverworld

Had a pleasant walk along the Kennet and Avon canal yesterday between Bradford on Avon and Avoncliff. Happened upon a floating cafe which was being run my an old school friend:

This got Hay talking about boats (again). We were reading a Canal Pikey magazine while having our breakfast in the narrowboat and saw this:

More details of the concept here. Now I could get our builder, Colin, to so some fancy work with shuttering and concrete while Stuart, who made our stainless steel bits for the house, could fabricate a steel hull.

Also spotted this place in Bradford-on-Avon:

Those who know me also know that Hay's nickname for me is Badger...

Friday, 18 April 2014

What a Plonker!

Spotted this silly old fool who thought he was videoing the instructions on using his new ride on lawnmower. Turned out he was videoing himself.


What a plonker!

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Antediluvial Sartotial Elegance

Was watching Michael Portillo on Great Railway Journeys and was horrified at what he was wearing. He's obviously going through marriage difficulties, as no woman would allow him to wear a dayglo green shirt, sky blue jumper and shocking pink jacket.

Either that, or he's attending a clown convention.

Was picking stones from the ha-ha yesterday evening and came across this chappie - a 60m~400m year-old fossilised ammonite from the lodge foundation spoil. This area used to be a warm, tropical sea - a bit like Somerset a few weeks ago, hence the preponderance of limestone in the region.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Problem Solving

Finally solved the problem of getting No.1 Son to mow the lawn without being asked or demanding payment - got a 3rd hand ride-on-mower on eBay at the weekend.

I even spotted Hay's sister's partner, Perry, mowing my lawn. I'll have all the blokes in the neighbourhood queuing up at this rate.

I wonder if I can make it street-legal? He could then use it to get to his new school after the holidays.

Sunday, 13 April 2014


Overheard this morning:

Chairman (looking to change a £20 note): "Got two tenners?"

Hay: "You mean Placido Domingo and wossisface?"

Saturday, 12 April 2014

The Boys Were Busy

Looks like the boys were busy while I was away - the concrete pad for Barnfield Lodge is finished.

The base, however, is as far as we're going this year. Time to start saving again - Colin has given us a quote of around £27k, including the work already done on the base.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

9 Till 5

It's the Jewish Pesach, or Passover holiday from tomorrow, so they had a little toast at HQ yesterday:

Our CEO makes a speech.

Our man in France, Gerard.

Our Russian contingent.

Darren, our man in Singapore.

I hear Roman Abramovich has booked an entire hotel in some Israeli resort for Passover. A tad ostentatious, if you ask me.

I find it perverse that Israel does the majority of its business with the parts of the world that have a working week of Monday to Friday, but keeps a Sunday to Thursday working week itself - the same as most of the Arab countries around it, with which it does hardly any business at all.

The standard working week here is 43 hours, but most (at least in my company) work far in excess of that. It's common for me to be getting emails from Israeli colleagues still behind their desks beyond 6pm UK time, which is 8pm Israeli time.

They do, however, have a disproportionally large number of religious holidays when the whole country just shuts down for a week or so - and that's despite only some 25% of Israelis actually being religious in any way, shape or form.

If you don't hear from me tomorrow (I'll probably be in a steam pigeon on the way back to Blighty), Shalom Shabbat.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

It's Hell in the Garden

Two more days to go in this Hell:

Must start looking seriously for a 2nd hand ride-on mower when I get back. Just a spurious and somewhat tangential thought.

Talking of gardens, Hay bought some garden art last weekend. I was a somewhat taken aback at the price, but thinking about it, it's worth it. It's by a local artist Hay's sister knows and it does look rather nice on the patio wall.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Taking it Easy

At a sales conference at HQ in Israel till Friday.

Both annoyed:

  1. Debit card was refused last night at the hotel, followed by a call from Nat West Fraud Team this morning telling me my card had been compromised when I'd already logged the fact I'd be in Israel for the week on their website (meaning a new debit card and updating all my on-line purchasing websites),
  2. Internet connection in the hotel is abysmal,
  3. I've already burned £70 of roaming data (Israel roaming charges are extortionate),
  4. TV only has hideously uninteresting Israeli, Russian or French channels,
and pleased:

  1. Celebrating a $1.3m maintenance contract with the UK Navy,
  2. Highly likely to have another $900k systems contract before I leave here,
  3. Did my European region presentation slot yesterday.
Time to relax!

Friday, 4 April 2014

Regal Exchange of Gifts for Electricity

The Queen and the Pope met yesterday in Rome and exchanged gifts. 

The BBC newsreader announced that the Queen gave the Pope a haunch of venison, some biscuits and a bottle of scotch.

I was convinced the newsreader was going to say that the Pope presented the Queen with the magical finger bone of a saint, or some such grisly Catholic relic.

Just done a quick annual calculation of our electricity use and generation with the solar PV - our total cost for electricity (bearing in mind we are 100% electric and are considered high users) is £50. Very pleased with the solar generation.