Ooh that’s clever!

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iplayer Alexander Graham Bell could have never imagined that his invention of the telephone would evolve into such a useful gadget. In fact, it’s not so long ago – around 1990 if memory serves – that mobile phones were only good for  err… making mobile phone calls!

My latest, the HTC HD2, now allows me to watch catch-up TV via the BBC iPlayer – how clever is that?

Final Shopping Expedition of 2009..?

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The Xmas Tree in Leicester, 2009 Ouch! I’ve woken up with a really stiff neck this morning – not sure how I’ve got that.

We’re off shopping to Leicester to get any last minute bits-and-pieces. There isn’t much left to do and I’ve also got 50 quids worth of M and S vouchers from Lee and Bertie to squander – lovely!!!

We parked in Highcross and it was already getting busy when we arrived at 11am. We started off looking around various jewellers primarily to find something for Ann as a celebration of 25 years together – Ann had sorted me out with a new watch a few weeks back. Initially, we didn’t see very much that we liked, and we disappointed that having walked all the way over to where Ann’s office is and more jewellers – they were all closed!

So, we headed back, stopped off at the Muffin Place for a coffee, a slice of cake and to experience possibly the happiest person in the UK currently – the proprietor – wishing everyone a happy Christmas and an enjoyable day!!!

We popped into M and S where I spent the vouchers on a couple of shirts and a stripy tie. Ann also picked up some shoes for work and some fluffy slippers.

I tried John Lewis to see if they stocked these headphones that have an FM aerial built-in them (so I can listen to the radio  on my new phone), but the guy reckoned the item was a ‘bit specialist’ and suggested I tried Google for stockists.

Last stop, and we ended up back at Goldsmith’s where Ann spotted some very nice jewellery – the helpful assistant, Laura, was very knowledgeable and agreed to order some additional stone variations in for us to go back and have a look at next Saturday.

We were home by 2.15. Time for feet up and a read of the today’s papers.

Learning Network Group Meeting

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We all met at the excellent Royal Festival Hall today for our final meeting of 2009. Rick took us through his experiences of measuring leadership performance through the use of a comprehensive questionnaire – the whole thing was fascinating and useful in equal measures.

The small turnout of Lydia, Antoinette, Sharon, Angela and Jan, plus Rick and me was more than made up for by the interest shown by us all. The venue was good too as we were able to tuck ourselves away upstairs in one of the public areas – perfect! 

We finished around lunchtime and decided to eat at the nearby Pizza Express. Coincidentally, we ended up being seated in exactly the same spot as the time when Ann and I went there, back in September, 2007 – what an coincidence! As last time, the service and food was excellent.

After lunch, we went our separate ways and Rick dropped me off at St Pancras. I missed the 3 o’clock by a whisper, and settled for the 3.30. It’s been a great day and good to catch-up with many of my closest training colleagues and friends.

Home by 4.45 – feet-up and do b*****-all for the rest of the evening!

Meal with David and Val

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restaurant_han We returned to our fave Chinese restaurant – Han – in Market Harborough tonight. It was quite busy when we got there, but an hour later, it seemed that everyone (apart from us) was leaving at the same time! Still, it was a great experience and
the food, as always was excellent!

We skipped dessert and headed back to D and V’s for tea. I passed on the tea and tucked into some of Val’s cherry ice-cream instead!

A late night for us – tucked-up in bed by 11pm!!!

OCA Committee Meeting

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schoolIt’s that time again. I travelled down to the BRIT School today for our ‘Old Croydonians’ Committee meeting.

As always, I left really early – around 4am, to ensure I had a smooth journey there. One of the benefits of leaving that early is that by the time I got to the Dartford Bridge, it was only 5.45 and so it was free! It’s always the last few miles that are frustrating and I’d quite for gotten how south London is just one big traffic-jam. Just one-and-a-half hours to cover the first 90 miles and then an hour and a quarter to cover the final 8!!!!

The meeting went well, and it’s clear that barring any last minute surprises, I’ll become the chairman of the group when Derek steps down next year. With the membership declining and members getting older, the OCA won’t go on forever, but I’m looking forward to working with the rest of committee to ensure we’re remembered for all the right things. And, with the centenary celebrations coming up in 2011, it give us all something to focus our energies on.

The meeting finished just after 12 which led to believe I was going to get a good journey home – famous last words!! The M25 was slow and the M11 was worse. I found myself caught in a 10 mile jam which added and hour-and-a-quarter on top of the journey. I finally fell-in through the front door at 4.15. Four hours to cover fewer than 100 miles – ridiculous!!!

Blood from a Stone?

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bloodA few weeks back, I had some new tyres fitted to the front of my car. At the same time, Kwik-Fit managed to scrape both the front alloys in doing so. They suggested I got the wheels refurbed and then they’d re-imburse me. Well, after numerous fob-offs by Kwik-Fit, I rang yesterday to explain that I thought they’d spent long enough giving me the run-around, with their excuse that ‘we haven’t taken enough money here to re-imburse you’.

I suggested therefore they credited my card instead – they agreed that was the best way forward (but why they didn’t suggest it in the first place, I don’t know!!)

So, imagine my delight to arrive there this morning to be told they COULDN’T do the credit because it’s a leased car (rubbish!). However my request to ask them to call their area manager and then pass the phone over to me so I could explain the problem seem to encourage a change of attitude..and possibly a change of underpants at roughly the same time!

Richard was most helpful, he agreed that the whole thing had been handled badly and promised to get me the cash by the ends of the day. At 4.45 the phone rang, and he confirmed that the cash was ready at Kettering. Amazing how the meer hint of top-down pressure gets things moving!!!


TV: Paradox

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tamzin_outhwaite Just caught episode 1 of ‘Paradox’ a new series on BBC1 starring Tamzin Outhwaite as cop Rebecca Flint. It’s only a short series – five episodes I think, but it looks promising (providing the plots don’t get too unbelievable).

The premise is that images are being downloaded from space to some sort of research laboratory in the UK. When they’re examined, they seem to indicate a disaster/crime that is yet to happen. Or do they? The episode then slowly pieces together the images and a race-against-time plot emerges.

Episode 1 was very watchable – good acting, UK locations and impressive special effects (but luckily, not too many!). Lucy Mangan, from the Guardian thinks otherwise (see the link to her review below)