Friday 30 April 2010

It's all in the name

Sometimes timing is everything. Yesterday morning I went along to a 'breakfast briefing'. The speaker was Hugh Pym. You may not know that name. But you should. He is the Economics correspondent at the BBC. When I arrived, I asked for the event and was directed towards 'Patrick Keilty's event'...that was confusing, because as far as I was aware he is just a gameshow host and comedian. And if I remember rightly not very good at either. Fortunately it turned out that the reception was just confused...the event was being organised by Patrick Kelly...a man of no consequence, other than he was organising the event.

Hugh Pym was equally not who I expected him to be - in my mind he was short, roundish and heading towards retirement. So when the real Hugh stepped forwards and was a lanky 50 year old, I was slightly non-plussed.

Yesterday, of course, was the morning after the night before...the previous day Greece had been declared a load of Junk, and both Spain and Portugal had been downgraded (presumably to economy class). So we were lucky to have his time. And most enlightening it was too. Essentially he said, don't worry about which party has the best economics policy, because the only difference in terms of spending plans is £6 billion. That might seem a lot to the likes of you and me, but when we're sitting on a £trillion deficit, the odd £6 billion doesn't make any difference one way or t'other. So throw your vote at one party or the other..or indeed the other one, but do it because you like the colour of their tie rather than the slant of their economic policy. Whichever party is voted in, it is the boy and his generation that will be paying off our I say "Thanks" to the boy.

I wanted to ask a question, but I was in a room full of important people with MBAs and thought I might be asking a dumb one, so just held my fire...but now I wish I hadn't. I wanted to know why the ratings agencies - Standard & Poor, etc are so highly regarded...after all it was my understanding that it was they that fed the property boom and bust by giving AAA ratings to these rather strange 'Collateral Debt Obligations' which have brought the world economy to its knees. Effectively iot was their word that gave the bankers a head of steam to bring misery and despair on us all. Anyway, when I returned to the office, Robert Peston had written something about it here

So another lesson learned...'Just Do It'

I sat next to a man from Goldman Sachs...and surprisingly he didn't seem that avaricious...but who knows, appearances can be deceptive.

Anyway, Hugh Pym was very good indeed. And I'm glad I know who he is now. Here's a picture of him for good measure...I expect the copyright is owned by the Beeb

Wednesday 28 April 2010

Boy on a bench...for The Gallery

Another week...another challenge from Tara's Gallery

I've got two favourite pictures of the boy. Actually, I've got loads...but this one is nice because it was a particularly happy 2008 we drove from one end of the A5 (Marble Arch) to the other (Hollyhead), and then camped in the shadow of Snowden. We arrived as most people were packing up and leaving the campsite following overnight wind and rain that had blown more than one tent away...but we were not to be fact although it was damp for most of the week (and I gather that Snowden is generally damp), we managed to cook outside and watch the sun go down every evening. We walked up Snowden through the fog and clouds...which was probably a good thing as I get giddy at height. This was taken at Portmeiron which I'd wanted to go to ever since seeing The Prisoner. There were no bouncing spheres...but we did walk along the estuary until we returned and saw a sign saying 'Danger! Quicksand'. We trod more carefully after that. Aren't the colours beautiful?

Tuesday 27 April 2010

Happy Birthday

Remarkably, it's the boy's birthday again...he's 15 on Saturday. I'm not sure how it happens that this comes round every year. If only we'd had the foresight to have him delivered on 29th February, then I'd only have to worry about it once every four years. I wonder if I could shift it to February 29th and see if he minds...after all the first year he would get an early birthday. I'm sold on the idea.

As usual, it's a trial to think of things to get him. His brief is 'something to do with cycling or skiing'. Which is fine, except the skiing season has finished, and what he means by something to do with cycling, is the new bike he's got his eye on: £2500. There's just no chance. I could by myself something nice for that.

Last year I appealed here on the blog and got heaps of lovely that's a head start (if I can find them again that is). But I'm still struggling.

We're taking some friends go-karting in the morning. I had better win. And in the afternoon, its a bbq...come rain or shine.

And on Sunday we'll go and see a 15 certificate film...tough choice at the moment - Kick Ass, Ghost, Cemetry Junction, Centurion, Date Night, Extract are doing the rounds....but not a classic amongst them I suspect...

But we won't be singing Happy here to see why

Monday 26 April 2010

Culture vulture

There is endless entertainment to be had from watching the British worker at, erm, work. Here is a delivery being made on Friday afternoon. The tail lift had got stuck...and no end of bouncing up and down by the driver was going to make it work as it should. As you can see, the contents of the pallet are about to make their presence felt all over the man on the ground. This went on for about twenty minutes and was priceless.

By comparison, there was a cost to the rest of our weekend's was a weekend of unadulterated culture for us...and here I am Monday morning, completely exhausted. We spread ourselves across the full spectrum of culture, and the boy will go back to school this morning, 'cultured up', which is no bad thing as it's exam term. Hope he has fewer nightmares than me.

Friday night was Rhod Gilbert - we were taken by friends to the Hammersmith Apollo. It was like facing a German machine gun encampment...and we left feeling that funny as he can be when talking about broken luggage and tog ratings, three hours of being shouted at by an angry Welshman was probably not a good thing. Going home we lost one of our number...hopefully he'll materialise sooner or later.

Saturday we were celebrating Shakespeare's birthday with a trip to Stratford (the boy's face fell when he realised that meant Upon Avon, rather than Home of the 2012 Olympics). Romeo, oh Romeo was top notch - an Apocalypse Now first half kept us going through the second as it hurtled towards its tragic end. Our souvenir is a manga-style version of Othello, which the boy is studying for GCSE...

...and then last night was Star Wars on DVD. No4...the first one. It's not fared well with the passing of time...but perhaps that's because I'm not an aficionado, just a casual observer.