Thursday, 21 April 2011

Better late than never

We got our invite through yesterday for Kate and William's wedding.  Luckily enough I have Friday off work next week and I have not yet schedulded anything in.

We only have seats in the Gods actually top right, but the view from the top should be amazing albeit quite impersonal but it will be better for the kids to be away from the commotion.  It will be good to catch up with some old friends from the past.

HM Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kin...

I can certainly imagine the National Anthem will be almost like the Queen's swansong with Kate quickly coming up the ranks.  Actually I have to say Happy Birthday Ma'am.  I hope you have a lovely day.

The evening reception will be interesting and fun, getting through the crowds of press will not be enjoyable, but you have to lap it up I guess.  The theme for the wedding reception is surprisingly The Circus.  And guests will be in fancy dress.  I have only done fancy dress for one other wedding reception and it did surprisingly work quite well.  I guess the costumes will become a discussion point and will distract the press from other finer mishaps that might occur on the day.  My costume is going to be a Circus Strongman, unfortunately I didn't have enough notice to grow the mustache which I would have loved to have done and I might do that this year for Movember.  But I will slick back my hair, don my vest and leopard print shorts and high socks and away I go.  I have worked out that my son will be a monkey.  He will look quite fitting on my shoulder.  Mrs Stretch is not too sure on her outfit, her bigger priority is the outfit for the wedding rather than the reception - women have their priorities skewed.  I did suggest the bearded lady, but she wasn't too interested in that idea!

So anyway now you know what my dream was about last night, it was quite detailed and vivid.

On the other side of my brain was the thoughts from my discussion with last nights taxi driver.  He is going to be a Sports Journalist once he finishes University.  And we discussed how they are viewed as Gods in the US, but vermin in the UK.
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Wednesday, 20 April 2011

If only people were colour blind

Actually I only hope my customer was colour blind.  It seems my report was wrong which I kept on telling the people who gave it to me and eventually they have agreed with me.  Now what was mostly green has turned red!  Also the first iteration of the report was sent back by the customer because there was something quite key missing – a piece of work that I assume he wants to “discuss rigorously”.  Yesterday ended up being a day of excuses and apologies.  And all were coming my way which meant some of them I just had to tie with a pretty ribbon and pass to the customer.  Some of the excuses did make me laugh (I was bitten by a fly), some were sadder (a friend died) whereas some were just boring and some poor.  Now I will have a nice call to India this morning to kick some shins.  I don’t know if I am doing a good job in my day 3 of stepping up, but I am starting to enjoy it.  However my meeting today with the customer will remind me why I did a negotiation course.

I am starting think that Southern commuters are dull, and that comes from someone who is one.  I have heard that other commuters have discussions on the trains, whereas I am sat in silence.  Actually the train seems quite empty today, now I am sure I got the right train today (I think), so maybe people have started their leave.  And with the talk of a heat wave coming this weekend that is good.

I wish I had a camera always with me – there is a lovely view out of the window of a hot air balloon a few hundred feet off the ground with the sun emanating through a cloud behind it and the mist still lifting off the ground which has a dew shimmer.

Well hopefully the weekend will give me an opportunity to take some more pictures.  The only challenge I now have is carrying a big DSLR (Nikon D5000) round my neck whilst trying to juggle children.  However much I love my children do they not realise how much I love my camera?  Luckily I also have a decent point and shoot - Lumix FS100 (I think that is the right code, although it is kind of irrelevant unless you are looking to duplicate my life).  I would be tempted to carry a P&S round with me whilst I do my day job, but my bag is laden enough as it is, and Mrs Stretch occasionally (never enough) gets pictures of the ankle biters.  Talking of weekends, (are you struggling to follow my brain – maybe you can get a mind map blog app?) we are off to Norfolk to see the in-laws.  This should be nice they have a nice house with a lovely garden and it becomes a great base for going out on adventures from there.  I am not sure if it will be warm enough for the kids to go swimming in the sea but a beach trip might be on the cards.  And we have started getting in the habit of hiring a boat on the broads each time we go up.  There is of course Dinosaur World, which isn’t quite Jurassic Park as in the film, but for 2 year olds it is probably very close from their perception.

So it turns out that I used to work with my taxi driver who picked me up this morning.  This is starting to get quite worrying that maybe my destiny is unveiling in front of me!  I am luckily just thinking that if is the case then the potential photo opportunities that I am seeing along this train journey this morning are outweighing the thoughts of being a taxi driver.  Unfortunately the chances of making money out of photography are beyond my current comprehension.  Even the photographer I worked with at the last wedding had gone back from being a professional photographer to working in Comet selling cameras and he wasn’t a young “whipper-snapper” and just doing photography as a past-time.  That is a sad way to go.  Whereas me going from IT to taxi driving would not be a huge shakeup (except for the disappointment to myself) – who am I kidding this is not happening.  I am going to be a Vicar next! ;-)

P.S. To better improve my day I received an easter egg upon arrival to work.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Day in the City

So here it is Day 2 on the “Step it up” week.
It seems things actually can get worse!  I always underestimate how much harder things get as you move upwards in the organisational chart.  Not that I actually appear as a name on the chart but my number is there.  So whilst I have aspirations I forget about that extra effort required.  I guess the initial exertion takes more toll and effort and then it is just the maintaining of that new tempo, as I am sure Usain Bolt would tell you!  And as Mr Bolt would say “Where are my nuggets?”
So anyway my aspiration is to move up the monkey puzzle tree aka Organisation Chart, and my mentor (whom is my wise squirrel character to my Kung Fu Panda) has been helping me to shake the tree to see what falls out.  I would like to feel that I have actually been working towards this goal with certainly my training at work and personal life and I have been making the right noises.  But sometimes they say you won’t move up if you are good at what you do (they don’t say that to me lol).  Now I have just been multi-tasking and completing the next module in my Leading education and I have just read that as part of the new working environment that everyone is considered to be a leader and engage in acts of leadership, so it seems I can move up the responsibility tree but maybe not the organisation tree.  All the responsibility, but with no reward!?  There does seem to be a new shift whereby we fill spaces created above us but continue with our day jobs.  So does that mean that they have finally worked out that some management posts were irrelevant?  I found out this morning that my taxi driver earns the same amount as me!  So that is my redundancy path lined up if I get caught out!

So I am currently sat on the train writing my blog…not that I can publish it at the moment as I don’t have any of those mod-cons, but I can write in advance for publishing at my first opportunity.  It does appear that I am sat in the subdued carriage.  It seems that half-term is having an impact on the travellers.  There is probably a correlation between the sunshine and contentedness of workers.  Which explains why most people like sitting by a window, or if there is no advantage to the window seat, due to lack of view light then they would chose the seat with the most space.  For regular flyers (you will have tired arms) but you will also notice this.
And then someone farted!!  Seriously you have a captive audience and you subject us all to your uncontrollable bowel movements!
There is also likely to be a link between the 4 day week and happiness and also the Royal Wedding.  So will the Happiness brigade be looking at these impacts and observations and updating their spreadsheet?  Now seriously that is a job I would like.  I actually got an invite to a “Clowning Masterclass”, now the film “In Pursuit of Happiness” was a great film, and I always forget to add it to my top film list, but I don’t pursue happiness - I just am!  Although Mrs Stretch would joke about how I am not and in fact she would say that I am generally the opposite and should be in the Christmas grumpy old men show.  But I don’t need Mr Cameroon, and what would probably be a yellow T-shirt wearing troop (it has to be yellow to psychologically be linked to happiness), to tell me what I need to do to be happy.

And finally I can breathe again!

I managed to see The Expendables at the end of last week with an all star cast  of Sly Stallone, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzy (for all of 5 minutes), Jason Stratham, Mickey Rourke and the girl from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I have to say this is actually a very good film.  It is not the best acting but actually for a action movie the effects and pyrotechnics are good and filming in Brazil is stunning which makes you want to go there.

I am interested to see if Golfy continues in what appears to be his attempt at 750words again.

Has anyone noticed how there seems to be more “Two and a half men” programmes on TV now that Charlie Sheen has received more publicity?

How many people catch a train at Hinchley Wood?  And I wonder if I have actually caught the correct train today as I can’t remember that stop before and we are now on a single train track, but hey-ho - It can’t get any worse – can it?!?

It’s okay I’ve just seen a familiar landmark.

So I now most go and complete my training module and populate my reporting spreadsheet which luckily seems to have more Greens than Reds which means my meeting tomorrow might not be so bad.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Step it up

So this weeks sees me covering my new boss.  The handover was a bit light due to the fact it was a new boss so they didn't actually know what they were doing - there admission, not my accusation.  It seems my new boss is actually going to be a good'un!  So now I am trying to kick people's shins and complete tedious reports and all of that fandangled stuff that managers do with no praise.  All of this I have to do on top of my job (of course).  I am certainly not looking forward to the extra travelling and the definitely not one particular meeting.

On the outside of the glass-walled building, I have been DIYing in the garden!  And my back is feeling it today!  I have scrubbing and jet washing the decking and I still have LOTS more to do to get it clean and then I can stain it - oh joy!  And yesterday I painted the garden walls, boy that was tedious but at points therapeutic!  The result is apparent already.  Now with the paint drying tonight I have the joy of putting the garden back straight.  I did manage to get the BBQ out... looked at it, admired it, imagined cooking on it, cleaned it a bit... and then put it away!  All rather dull really!  Hopefully I can use it soon.

Sunday saw my return to the band after taking 3 months off to help with raising the ickle one.  It was good to be back however much the sound team struggled and the in-ears were tetchy to understate it!  Talking of ickle ones, the baby dedication is booked in and the BBQ and picnic has been booked at Manor Farm Country Park.  Now I need to book the nice weather.

This week however busy and however much I need to waterboard a certain person at Starfleet to get more information out of them!  I need more information and they need 21 designs completed in 2 weeks... mmmm!  Oh, and this is a 4 day week and I am on leave next week!!... mmmm!

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Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Another Wedding

Its always nice to go to a wedding.  Especially with the sun shining.
I had to work for this wedding - it was another photographer day for me.  Which I loved...

The venue was great in Porchester Castle...
Which made it great for backdops.  However the weather and venue caused it's own problems with Joe public coming out to play, so the odd child playing ball in the background was tricky for some shots and odd tourist visiting the castle.  And of course the sunshine had to be managed properly.  But it all seemed to go quite well.  With my trip up to London today I was able to do some editing on the train journey which is useful and I hope the couple will like the results anyway!

Congratulations to the newly weds anyway!
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