This week: Stand 7/7; Exercise 6/7 and Move 5/7. (86%, this is OK).
After a lovely weekend away it was back to work with an afternoon in the, deserted, office. And some drinks with my bosses. Really nice chat and a lovely note from them the following morning.
Tuesday was the evening dubbed by Louise as ‘Social Chit-chatting, innit?’ – a lovely evening in Bill’s Restaurant Soho, followed by an over-priced bottle of Cote du Rhône outside the Ham Yard Hotel. Mainly amusing for the waiter trying to serve our red in a wine cooler bag which was leaking all over the table.
Another night out on Thursday. This one included the revelation that is the Pizza Pilgrims: Eight Cheese Pizza with ricotta, fior di latte mozzarella, Grana Padano, gorgonzola, provola, Parmesan and buffalo mozzarella, all baked and topped with a burratina and sweet chilli jam. 1091 kcal calories. Wow. I only ate half.
I actually managed to get some events and visits booked for this year’s Open House Festival which I think is a first. Including a tour of a department store.
We completed Spy City, a series about Cold War spies in Berlin just before the wall was erected. Dominic Cooper, as Fielding Scott, seems to be the perfect British spy. Enjoyable way to pass a few hours but I can’t work out where it will go if there is ever a second series.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was better than expected. The trouble with a lot of these movies now is the requirement to know the related films. Or at least the sense that, if you don’t know them, you’re missing out. I think this one navigated that quite well. Also, I’d see WandaVision.
Finished reading Hungry by Grace Dent. She has a wonderful way of making an almost throwaway comment really funny. The ending was not what I thought. If nothing else, recommended for the advice on dealing with a sommelier.
To save the links getting lost in the future I checked the Internet Archive to see what they had saved for the posts linked here. If the original source above no longer works, these should.
This week: Stand 6/7; Exercise 5/7 and Move 5/7. (76%, better).
I returned the rental car first thing on Monday morning. The Enterprise car hire place is very busy but the staff always seem very friendly. I’m still not sure why a bigger car was cheaper than the last time I rented but I have no complaints. Except petrol is very expensive.
We became a car-free household about 11 years ago. In the last year we have rented a car 3 times which is the highest number of rentals in any single year since we gave up our own car, with the exception of the year we moved house when we had a few daily rentals. While I quite enjoy driving and find having a car very handy, especially around Christmas, two days on the motorways last weekend reminded me how much better life without the car is. Except for rail strikes.
On Monday night we went to Soho to meet Phil. A lovely evening with an excellent dinner. Initially, we sat outside the restaurant but the rains came. It was a heavy downpour so we moved inside. By the time we left you could be forgiven for not realising it had rained. The whole of South East England was grateful of 30 minutes of rain.
Thursday for drinks with the product team. A kind-of leaving do because my boss, Sharon, in on holiday when I actually leave. I think it was both lovely and also, slightly, sad that we hadn’t had these conversations during lockdown. Nice to spend a night with them.
On Friday, we took a bus, because a lot of trains were recovering from yesterday’s strike, to Streatham where we met friends and drove to an Airbnb in Norwich. Some of the roads are remarkably straight.
Norwich is great. The cathedral is an amazing combination an old church and a new bit added on. But it’s been added on very sympathetically. I sat in the nave and contemplated life for longer than my friends were comfortable with.
I also lit a candle. I often do this in churches. I thought, primarily, of my grandparents. It was lovely. And sad. I am not sure what was in my eye.
We visited Great Yarmouth (underrated), Cromer (excellent crab lunch) and Cambridge (obviously foreign tourists). I loved them all. It was such a nice way to see East Anglia. And also the Anglia TV building. Can’t quite tell if it’s in use.
This week: Stand 6/7; Exercise 3/7 and Move 4/7. (62%, going backwards).
Saturday was hot and we spent it at a family party. The Wham-inspired ‘Choose Life’ outfits seemed to work. There was a performance with (almost) two of ABBA.
The drive north took longer than expected. Is getting middle-Lane range a thing?
Monday night was another night of music. Saw Luke Bayer perform at a Piano bar near the Barbican. More good music but he had a, self-admitted, tendency for sadder songs.
Related: Monday nights are probably not for Nespresso Martinis.
Inspired by reading the Agile Comms Handbook a few weeks ago, I finally got round to reading a book recommended by our Chief Product Officer. The book, Shape Up: Stop Running in Circles and Ship Work that Matters from the makers of Basecamp, is an insight into how the Basecamp team builds products. It would be quite nice to work in six week cycles, shipping useful things and without the relentless burden of backlogs, sprint meetings (I really can’t bring myself to say ceremonies) and QA shenanigans.
As a lover of train travel and regular user of the network I did not have the best week with Britain’s railways. To be fair, my interactions with the UK’s coach network was not any better. Before I get into the frustrations I should say that my first trip on the Elizabeth Line, albeit just one stop, was really good. Everything does feel really big compared the The Tube.
Avanti West Coast’s Delay Repay service required me to create another account with them but I had to use the same email address that I use for the account required to book tickets with them in the first place we. It’s not customer friendly at all and a recipe for problems next time I come to book a ticket.
But, the delay repay form did allow me to take a picture of the tickets (that need the refund) with my phone and upload that.
Next, the required ‘confirmation code’ (without which the form can’t be submitted) is not the code that appears on my booking receipt labelled, “Confirmation” followed by some numbers. You need the ‘collection reference’. Go figure.
Then, Avanti West Coast’s entirely separate complaint form won’t allow the picture of the tickets that need the refund that I just took with my phone, and successfully attached to the delay repay request, to be uploaded via the complaint form. They require a different file format. And a smaller size.
Monday morning I needed a step-free train route to Victoria. I’m lucky that I have a choice of routes. According to various websites and route planners, lifts were out of action at Wimbledon, Clapham Junction and Vauxhall. But no indication of which lift and if I would need them. Took a gamble and went via Clapham. One of the lifts I needed was, indeed, out of service.
Disappointingly, my blood donation appointment was cancelled again. This means I have still never given blood in spite of trying for a year. Undeterred, I rebooked.
Agreed to upgrade the motor on an electric awning in Spain. That’ll cost but, maybe, we’ll see the benefit at some point.
On Tuesday, I spoke to the volunteer team. I have been unable attend any of the uniform hand-out days so it will be left at the pod when I get to the location on Saturday.
On Friday, an email said the pod wouldn’t be there as it’s not ready. Ooops.
On Saturday, the pod was there but the uniform wasn’t. Still, a lovely day in the sunshine helping people around Westminster. There was a protest in the middle of Parliament Square but that didn’t disturb. Was asked a question about services at Westminster Abbey, the answer to which is that to attend a service you should go via the Great West Door.
Mum and Dad arrived Sunday evening, late, after a cancelled train. They’d bought Avanti First Class to celebrate Dad’s birthday but, although they got a seat they go no service. Mum was very disappointed.
It turns out, Miso aubergines are delicious.
My Amazon Prime Try Before You Buy items came through. I’m glad a did it. I ordered two pairs of shorts but the pair I was less likely to order fitted if I couldn’t try first, better. A little win.