Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Open house

So, we went to London for the Open House bonanza. Gal was skipping when I got into town, told me that the queue for the Gherkin was 5 hours long, told me that we had priority passes as she'd spent the day volunteering. Whooped. Joy.

We looked through the book on Saturday evening. Noticed that a lot of the sites were only open on Saturday. Decided that we'd aim for the big one and then see where our little legs carried us.

Sunday morning, up with the larks and onto a bussy bus bus. Bloody hell - that queue was massive, and yes, the notion of flashing a green badge and being just let in seemed a little unfair. But we did it anyhow.

SM's obvious observations No.1 - It's very high up.

Yes, I could show you a pic of the buildings below us, but lets face it, you've already seen it. It's a lovely building - it's newness seeming amplified by the fact that the bits we're allowed to see are pretty much empty. The top floor (the 40th) is little more than a viewing gallery. We subsequently get taken down to the 17th floor which will one day be inhabited by rows and rows of desks, but which is currently given over to models and specification charts. If it wasn't for the view, it could be an empty office anywhere in the country.

But it was a great view, and I'm glad we got the chance to see it.

We goofed around London after that. We went to say hello to the Queen, saw an old church, traipsed through a few London parks, shouted at security and spent far too long on a bus going nowhere.

We did pop up to the Wellington Arch, nr Hyde Park Corner. It's history was far more convoluted and involved than that of the new building, but after the heights of the tower, the view couldn't really hope to compare.

Progress update

Nearly a year after I moved in, and after 6 months of trying to get it sorted over the phone, my electricity company sent me an estimated bill for the last quarter of nearly nine hundred pounds, which, when added to the previous two quarters that they're still manifestly failing to fix, gives me a bill just under thirteen hundred quid. I've sent them a letter. It's quite a polite letter. I've given them a detailed chronology, told them they have fourteen days to fix it, and I've copied it to their MD for good measure.

Today, when I got home, I was greeted by a vaguely threatening letter addressed to the previous owner from a Scottish debt collecting agency. I've sent that back (without a stamp - natch) and I'm not especially worried about them taking legal action to recover their debt because, let's face it, my name has never been Samantha.

But I suppose that these ridiculous utility companies could combine to upset my previously pristine credit rating, and, if I'm going to be honest, I'm a little annoyed by that. Let's say 10% annoyed. Nothing to get worried about, but it's an itch, all the same.

Another day

Following a thrilling day majoring in the concepts of "Connected Data Protector/PC", my colleague and I motored through the driving rain to MK whereupon we both proceeded to get a little lost before locating the gigantic snow slope and reported for a mammoth three hour lesson.

They didn't have any size 10 boots. They gave me a shiny new pair of size 9s. Funnily enough, they didn't really fit, so they dug around and found me a knackered old pair of 10.5s. The laces missed out a vital part of their cover, and the boots had, to put it politely, seen better days, but the next step was an 11.5 and I think I'd have got lost in those.

This lesson was a combined Stage 3 / Stage 4 session. Stage 3 was basically to master the art of turning swapping your leading foot, and Stage 4 was to get turning always using the same leading foot. One of these tasks turned out to be much easier than the other one. Can you guess which one it was?

Multiple attempts at the second of these saw me forget what I was doing halfway through the turn, pull out of it, and fall face down into the snow. My knees took a heck of a battering, and there was one fall where, despite the pain in my knees, I was more worried about my shoulder.

My instructor told me that I was nearly there but that she thought I was thinking too much, and at the end of the lesson she told me that if I took another lesson within a month, I should go up to Stage 5 where we continue mastering the skills and get introduced on the proper slope. I think I'll go back and do Level 4 again.

My knackered boots didn't do me any favours either. By the end of the lesson my feet were freezing and wet, which I suppose meant they matched up with the rest of my legs.

Yes, I do ache today.

But yes, I'm loving it.


In honor of the Olympics, and because I hail originally from New Jersey, I did a little research on how (at least in the Middle Atlantic states) every diner is aparently owned by a Greek family.
but its one of those things like...who decided that they were going to corner the "delicious quickly prepared greasy food that your mom don't have time to cook" market? I found the answer.


apparently, the HQ of "the man". OPA!