Tuesday, 17 September 2013

No feet on the seats please

So here is a question.

Would you consider it appropriate to get on a tube, dump your bags on one seat, sit on the next, then take your shoes off (exposing an enormous hole in the toe of your tights) and then sit in the lotus position. All this in a (very) short skirt. Let's park the fact that it is the rush hour so the train is filling up. And 'yes' this is an adult.

I don't get it. I now I am not as young as I was, but I don't see this as an age issue, surely this is to do with appropriate behaviour in public.

I am facinated to watch as this unfolds. As more people get on the train, someone must surely challenge the occupation of two seats if nothing else. At each station I am waiting for enough people to het on so someone will issue a challenge. So far everyone has been too British to challenge and has quietly ignored the situation, as indeed have I.

At last, Earl's Court resolves part of the issue. Someone has decided to sit in the spare seat, so the bags have now moved, but with more than a little grimace from their owner.

My concern now is only about the interesting view and whether the shoes, abandoned in front of the seat, will manage to stay put. This could be interesting still.

It gives me something to do on the tube journey home.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Sunny South Sands

A few weeks ago some friends of ours suggested that the four of us should go away for a few days around the August Bank Holiday weekend. After looking at a number of possible locations that would be good for cycling and kayaking we decided on the Salcombe area. But would we be able to find anywhere to stay at such short notice? Answer, yes.

So we find ourselves in a flat in South Sands, less than half a mile from the hotel my parents stayed in when they visited recently; pure coincidence. The Man and I decided to make a week of it, although our friends can only manage a few nights, having the flat is just so much more convenient than staying in an hotel.

We arrived yesterday afternoon and got settled in before heading for the beach and, for the slightly insane amongst us, a swim in the rain!

But today is a whole different place, still a little cooler than I would like courtesy of the high wind, but mostly sunny and really lovely out of the wind.

The slight problem with this area however, is the frequency and incline of the hills. They are everywhere and, because they are so narrow and twisting,  even going down hill is hard work, making sure you avoid pedestrians (who seem oblivious to bikes even when you ring your bell) and the cars going in either direction. But the views make it almost worthwhile, and at least they provide ample opportunity to stop and admire them when pusjing the bike uphill gets just a bit too much.

And the really unkind thought that I have is that it is pouring with rain at home, so what perfect timing we have had. The forecast for the next few day is very good, so with luck we are going to have a fabulous time.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Does Life Get Better Than This?

Having been back at work for three months, it was time for a break and some recuperation. I had booked a fortnight's holiday from work soon after I returned to work and as part of that break, I booked myself in to Grayshott Spa for three nights of pampering and relaxation.

So here I am on a Monday afternoon lying on a sun lounger, listening to Chris Rea through my headset and watching bunnies keeping the grass in trim. There is a small lake with a fountain in the background; this has to be about as close to a perfect way to spend a day as you can get. And the track I am listening to is 'Heaven', which it is.

I arrived yesterday and had a most amazing facial to start my stay off on a good footing. Dinner was lovely and followed by a fairly early night. I slept really well, almost not waking at all until 7.00 am, which is late for me. I had a really good breakfast, following the 'Breakfast like a King, lunch like a Prince, dine like a Pauper' principle that they have here. Coffee, toast, fruit salad, scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and grilled button mushrooms. This was followed by a walk of about a mile and then half an hour in the outdoor pool doing lengths. Swimming in a pool is not as pleasant as the lake we have been using, but better the outdoor one than the indoor.

After lunch I had a quieter afternoon with a couple of treatments to look forward to. I have just had my Emotional Freedom Technique session, which teaches you how to get ridnof negative emotions through Chakra tapping. And do you know, it seems to work, now I just have to keep it going and make it part of my life.

And so we come back to where we started, with me lying in the sun waiting for my next treatment, Rose Indulgence,  which sounds really relaxing. Then Dinner and bed. Does life get better than this?

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

The old and the new

Over the past few days I have had a sense that Autumn is slowly creeping towards us. The mornings have been much fresher and cooler and the evenings are getting dark earlier every day. The slightly depressing part of this being that I have not yet had my Summer holiday, and it is still the middle of August.

But the good news is that I only have to get through this week and it will then be time for my holiday. So not too long now.

I have been really enjoying the work I am doing at the moment, but I am in need of a break; I have spent too long looking at spreadsheets over the past few weeks.

So what is the 'old and new' reference? Look at the photo for the new, the old and the not yet finished.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Three Iconic Buildings, One Photo

There are some days when you just know it is going to be a good day, not necessarily a productive day, but a good, positive day, with things falling into place with, seemingly, the minimum of effort. Today is one of those days.

The weather this morning was bright and fresh and made me feel awake from the start. I got to the office with the minimum of delay; most of the traffic lights were in my favour, I caught an earlier train than I thought. All good.

As I walked from the station towards the office I was met with a beautiful view of The Tower of London, Tower Bridge and City Hall, all basking in the sun. How could this not be a good day?

The rest of the day continued in the same vein. I was extremely busy and did not stop from 8:00 until 4:30, but everything just went so well. Colleagues confirmed that they would help me achieve my project goals, even though they are extremely busy, proving that there are some really good people in this world and if you ask nicely and are helpful to others, you will reap the benefits one day. 

Even as I left the office to go home things fell into place. A train arrived at Tower Hill just as I arrived at the platform and I even got to sit in my favourite seat.

Some days are just great.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

No Pansies are kept in this vehicle overnight

There are some days when everything just goes according to plan, and some when the plan is exceeded to such a degree that you almost can't get your head around how that could happen. I accept that there are also days when getting even close to the plan would be good. The key would seem to be to find a way for every day to go so well that the plan is always exceeded.

I wish I had the magic formula!

But, today was certainly one of those special days. I was writing macros to run in some Excel spreadsheets I am working on. I have been trying to get my head around how to get them to run properly for a couple of days, and today it all clicked and I ended up with the coding I need in order to run about 250 separate filters and actions, all by running two master codes. I am so pleased, and to think I didn't even know 'master codes' existed at the start of the week.

We also had a great Team lunch, something we have not done in about 18 months. It was a good venue, not too noisy or busy and we had a really good time.

Days like today are very special, I just wish I could have more of them.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

There are worse places for a flat!

After my, rather too, interesting year, I am now having to get everything back to normal. Work is there, with a few minor adjustments, but I now need to put in some hard graft to get my fitness back to scratch.

To that end, we have been trying to be as active as possible while the weather is good. We kayak regularly so I can build up the strength in my arms, swim at a local open water swimming lake and cycle. Today was a cycle day.

The route had been planned by some friends, who, aware of my limitations, chose a 'flat' route, although at 30 miles, it was always going to be a challenge for me.

Whilst I accept we did not have to cycle over the Pennines, this was not a flat route. We did not change altitude much but were constantly going up and down short hills. I was definitely struggling after the first couple of climbs. I kept going and just reminded myself that all the medics are amazed by how much I am doing and keep reminding me not to berate myself for not being as fit as I was.
The Man clearly noticed that I was struggling, so suggested that we keep going until lunch and then head back. I was touched that he had noticed and delighted by the suggestion.

We had a really enjoyable lunch, well prepared and beautifully presented, Cromer crab with salad and new potatoes. Washed down with some cider, a perfect lunch.

After lunch we said our goodbyes and headed in opposite directions. The lovely long runs down hill, of course, became hard slogs up going back and I admit to getting off and pushing a few times.

About a mile from the car, by which time I was wondering if I would make it back to the car, I noticed that his bike had a flat rear tyre. We tried pumping it up, but it was not going to hold all the way back. So he took my bike back to the car and came back to get me, while I admired the view. And what a view.