Saturday, 11 June 2011

Counting sheep

There's not much to do, let alone take pictures off when you're laid low by a bug. And much as I would like to wallow in self-pity and sorrow, I doubt I'll get too much sympathy when the Cat's Mother is down somewhat worse than me. And let's face it, it's a damn sight better to be cooped up in your bedroom than be caught protesting in Syria. So much for the Arab spring.

None theless I have a challenge to take a picture a day, and here it is. This hangs in our room....and what more fitting picture could there be?

Friday, 10 June 2011

Hanging on the phone

In all honesty, it was never going to be a great idea...staying in bed all day with man flu and then going off to central London to see the ballet. Twenty minutes in and we were beginning to fade...and it didn't make for a great night's sleep either. Oh dear.

Anyway, you can never accuse the Royal Ballet of offering value for money. The programme went: 22 minutes performance, 25 minutes interval, 26 minutes performance, 25 minutes interval, 36 minutes performance. It was the third part that we'd come for...Stravinky's Rite of Spring. It's a corker...something that I regularly listen to on my iPod, just after the Foo Fighters. Although it was spectacular...I'm not a ballet expert..... it was easy to see where they haven't got it right...a few minutes at the beginning when the curtains stayed closed, yet the music was in full swing, a very 'delicate' dance when the music is heavy, malevolent even...still we did enjoy it.

And then we walked out at the end to see this:

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Flower power

Disaster. I've gone down with a cold...surely a sign that summer has arrived. Hopefully gallons of Lemsip, TLC and a good deal of moaning and groaning from me will put things right again. Although it's midday and I'm still in bed, I don't intend it to stop me going out for a civilised evening at the ballet tonight.

So to the daily photo...and it's been a tough choice. Yesterday I cycled to work which provides a wealth of photo opportunities over the 17 mile route. An obvious choice would be the Olympic site, but in truth the best views are out of reach at the moment; another obvious choice would be the street art which is a particular favourite of mine; or even the canal boats...there are so many along the ten miles of canals that I ride along and they are all delightful. But instead, I've chosen this one of the wild flowers...that may just have had a little help from human hands getting here...certainly I've never seen so many poppies along the canal side as this year. It amazes me that even in deepest, darkest central London there are these oasis of paradise...barely a noise, fabulous colours, fresh air, lovely surroundings...just beautiful and really, really uplifting.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Building BRICS

I arrived in the office this morning after a long cycle...eighteen miles is a good way to wake up before you start work. The trouble is that by 11, I'm generally ready to go back to sleep again. Anyway, I arrived and my bladder spread its contents all over the floor by my desk. Quite embarrassing really Mr Film Man was just introducing me to someone. Someone just happened to be a cyclist as well, so immediately realised what my problem valve wasn't sealing properly so capillary action meant that the liquid was just spilling out everywhere. Anyway, I guess a quick trip to the cycle shop to get a new valve should solve my problem and once more my Camelback (TM) will be water tight ready to refresh me for my next cycle. Enough about rucksacks and water bladders. It had been a slow cycle as I was trying to take a picture for tomorrow...I have plenty and it will just be tricky deciding which one to choose.

Today, however, I give you this to summarise my day yesterday.

Ha I'm not emigrating to Turkey. I've been there once. Twice if you count the day trip to Turkish Cyprus with Grandma in Cyprus. Lovely place. Fascinating place. I'd love to go back, but not to live. I was in the building beyond...the IPA. This is Belgravia of the poshest in London and full of embassies and wealthy people. It makes you realise there's a whole different world out there when you see nothing less than a top of the range Mercedes parked there and mostly it's Rolls Royces and Bentleys. I had my first London job, so not a bad start. My first day was a Friday and on my desk was a memo to every employee explaining that rumours that the company was about to be sold were without foundation. When I arrived on Monday, there was another memo welcoming everyone to their new employers. The company had been bought.

Back at the IPA, I was learning about how companies are doing business in the BRIC countries...that is Brazil, Russia, India, China. Mexico got an honourable mention. These are the countries whose economies will dominate our children's futures. I learnt many things. Inspite of the headlines about drug lords, Mexico is a great place to do business...especially as it's all done over lunch. India is not one country but many, with food, customs, business etiquette changing every few hundred kilometres; it's difficult to start doing business there so make sure you're in there for the long haul. They are adding 15 million phone subscribers every month. Can that really be the case? China is easy to start doing business in, but difficult to sustain a business there. Staff turnover is 200% per annum. And the bureaucracy is almost unbelievable. Anyway it was fascinating for me...I learnt a lot.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Down on the underground....

Well it was a bit of a struggle yesterday to find a picture to take...and I guess that's why I'm doing this. If at the end of the month I look back and see that it's been very dull, I'll have to change things. That's quite an incentive!

Yesterday I came in on the tube. If you commute on the tube, it's hard to know just how awful it is....crush, crush; sweaty, sweaty; odour, odour; hot, hot; knock, knock; airless, airless; squash, squash; ache, ache; rattle, rattle; unbalance, unbalance; stop, stop; start, start; stutter, stutter; smell, smell....and so on.

I prefer the motorbike or the cycle...but when it's pouring with rain, needs must....

Monday, 6 June 2011

An examination

Here we have a picture of a hare. Just in case you can't see it from the picture, this is one big motherf*kka. He can look me in the eyes when I'm standing on my tippy toes. He' the biggest one here, but there are about a dozen others dotted around the garden. Never let it be said that there is a lack of hare in the Nota Bene household. It's a good job there are a fair few hares for us to enjoy, because we're not getting out much at the moment. The garden is our great outdoors.

We're going through the same as many thousands of parents around the country. GCSEs. They are stressful...and go on for ever. When I were a lad, we knocked off our 'O' levels in a couple of weeks. That was in the days when anything less than 99% was failure, not like the 8% to get a grade A now. Anyway I think end to end it's about eight weeks, with a half term in the middle.

The Boy seems to hop skip and jump through them, whilst The Cat grinds along with more and more worry lines engraving themselves on her forehead. But underneath, it's just as stressful for the pair of it is for teens across the country. For The Cat's Mother and me, we worry that they worry, we stress that they are stressed, we feel helpless as we can do no more than tell them to buckle down and do more revision and prepare for the next exam.

For the last few weekends our social life have been near doesn't seem fair to be whirling away at the local dance hall whilst the offspring are cooped up in their rooms sweating away. Brighton has been abandoned...our absence doesn't encourage focus or productivity.

I can't wait for the exams to finish so I can go and get legless.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

First Friday Photos

Yes, I know it's Sunday, but Friday was busy, so I suppose this is Sunday Show. Whatever. I've been snapping.

This poor pheasant didn't make it through the month

The Cat's Mother took this picture of me at Alice in Wonderland

ai weiwei at Somerset House...we met the prodigal godfather for lunch

Pretty rose

The muffin and friends climbing some sculpture

Deckchairs...guess where

Same place

Still on the beach

My brother and his partner came to visit

I loved the atmosphere at Secret Cinema

Another death...fortunately only at secret cinema

....Saturday morning

Breakfast out side is a rare and wonderful thing.

So here we are on Saturday with toast and jam and marmalade and Marmite, tea and juice in the back garden. The plants are looking great at the moment and the lawn is just perfect...although a few more weeks without any rain and I don't doubt it will be brown. Don't mention the broken concrete ballustrade...unless you know someone who can fix it.

We're very lucky to have so many birds come and visit us...the cuckoo is a regular musical accompaniment, we have jays, a woodpecker, wood pigeon, blackbirds, crows, a friendly little robin and sparrows (how rare they seem these days)...there's also some birds we don't recognise...the dark brown one with a little crown for example.

At the moment we're a tiny bit pre-occupied withe the absurdity of the Olympic tickets situation. Not so much the allocation system, but rather the mind set of many people who've applied. I was at a party where someone had applied for £12,000 worth of tickets and was fervently praying that they didn't get them all because they couldn't afford them...and everywhere I read similar tales. The end result appears to be that everyone will get tickets for the Olympics, but not the ones they want...because everyone has just applied for enormous quantities in any old sport. It's an absurd reflection on the state of people's thinking that this is how it is. The system seems fair enough, but greed, insecurity and panic have made people act in a ridiculous way. We don't know yet what we've got...other than I'm pretty confident that it will include the mountain biking...and we did only apply for events we really wanted to see. Looking forward to that ticket exchange getting up and running.