Category: People (page 1 of 3)

One down

Friday was the first Christmas do of the year, for me.

It was the first of three work functions that I’m attending in the run up to Christmas.

But I also have another do next week: the GB3AL User Group Christmas Dinner: half-a-dozen blokes who I have spoken to regularly on the radio over the past year. Never met them, but I’ve been invited to their annual Xmas get-together, so that should be fun. I’m really looking forward to it.

Then we have the second works’ do.

And then on Friday evening: a stag do.

It’s gonna be a boozy week.

But no boozier than the one I went to on Friday.  Because that one had that greatest thing that any Christmas party can have: a free bar. Woohoo!

I was off my tits.

I think.

But, I also had a bit of a boogie on the dance-floor and somehow, that always seems to negate the alcohol. Don’t know if I sweat it out, but for the amount that I drank, I should probably have been on my back (actually, I think I was, a couple of times). Don’t get me wrong, the dancing doesn’t sober me up completely – as was evident by my rubbish fleckerls – but it does seem to help.

So, one party down… four more to go.

Hic.

 

A perfect weekend

Yesterday morning found me back at Bletchley Park.

This time – having looked around the Cyber Security exhibit first and finding myself feeling pretty non-plussed about it all – I wandered over to Hut 12, which housed a James Bond exhibition.

Being a big Bond fan, I had high hopes for this, but they were ultimately dashed once I stepped inside. The exhibition was  – in the main – a load of paintings hung on the walls, each with a Bond connection. For some, that connection was vague, to say the least.

Far more interesting (to me, at least) was a couple of glass cases, that housed original letters typed and signed by Ian Fleming to the high-ups at Bletchley Park.

As Personal Assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence, Fleming had a high security clearance, giving him access to many high level reports in his role to find ways of intercepting enemy coding materials.

He even contrived a scheme to get hold of Enigma paperwork, by disguising a British aircrew as Germans and then crashing them into the Atlantic in a captured German bomber, to lure a German rescue ship. The crew would then overpower and kill their rescuers and capture the papers and/or an Enigma machine.

Operation Ruthless – as it came to be called – never happened, due to a lack of suitable targets, but with that sort of cunning and imagination, it’s easy to see where the James Bond stories came from.

After all that, I headed to Oxford, where I met up with some friends from work and we saw the sights did a pub crawl.

I got back to my hotel in the early hours and slept like a log – well, I probably would have, if I didn’t have the bladder of a small child and the need to get up several times in the night!   My head was thumping this morning, but a hearty breakfast and several mugs of tea later and I am as right as rain.

Which is exactly what it’s been doing all day, so that means I can’t cut the grass, as planned.

Shame. 🙂

Dah-di-dah

This morning, I visited the National Radio Centre in Bletchley Park.

It was this: most excellent!

By chance, I’d happened to pick a day when an event to celebrate the breaking of the Enigma code was taking place.

An Amateur Radio station in Italy, was broadcasting messages in Morse code, that had been encrypted with the Enigma cipher and various stations around the world were trying to pick up these signals and decrypt them.   I – along with many others – watched with interest as the amateur radio operators received and decoded the Morse code, writing the 5-character blocks onto a replica form to that which was used in Bletchley Park during WW2.

This was then handed to another chap, who was giving a superb presentation on the workings of a genuine Enigma machine that sat on a table before him. His audience was enthralled as he decoded the message letter by letter.

Afterwards, I took a quick walk around the mansion house. It had changed a lot since I last visited it back in the eighties, when I worked for BT. Back then, we used it mainly for recreation, as I remember, but it has now been restored to it’s former glory.  The picture above shows one of the downstairs rooms which – when we used to go there and if memory serves me correctly – housed a pool table. It now – as you can see – gives an accurate depiction of what it would have looked like in the 1940s.

All too soon, my time ran out and I had to leave.

But I’ll go back again soon.

 

PS – still got that damned tune in my head!

Monkeying about

Last week, I went ape.

We did a sort of team-build event at work, where about sixty of us descended on the Go Ape tree-top adventure park in Slough (other sites are available).

Wearing our safety harnesses, we spent an enjoyable couple of hours clambering about a 30ft-high obstacle course, up in the trees.

Many parts of the course had multiple routes that you could take: Easy, Difficult or Extreme, each ending with a long zip-wire finish.

Of course, I always opted for the Extreme routes.  However, I do sometimes forget that I’m not as fit and strong as once I was and several of the routes were quite… challenging.  Still, not to be outdone by my younger colleagues, I tackled each one with gusto.

One route in particular was really hard. Marked as “Extreme”, I suggested to staff afterwards that it should be re-classified as “Ridiculous”.
Metal rings – only just big enough for me to get my size 12 plates into – hung from ropes, and the idea was to “walk” across, using the rings as stepping stones. Of course, they swung about wildly as you tried to do so.

With a captive audience up in the trees with me – I played it for laughs: allowing the rings to swing apart causing me to do the splits; getting my feet stuck in the rings; spinning uncontrollably; whilst all the time shouting about it -“Ooohh; Help! Yikes!” etc.

I kept it restrained just enough from going into the full Norman Wisdom, but that extra monkeying around really takes it out of you!

The day was enormous fun and if you get a chance to have a go, I highly recommend that you do.

And if you are anything like me, you’ll sleep like a log afterwards.

Je suis revenu

Not that you’d know I’d been away.

But I have.

I’ve been down to the South of France to spend a week with the family. They are all still down there and won’t be home till the weekend.

But I am now back at home… scratching my mosquito bites.

How was your holiday, I hear you ask?

Well, it was OK. A bit too hot, maybe, but I kept out of the sun as much as I could.

To be honest, I was getting a bit bored after a while.

I always do.

Fortunately, we had a hire car, so we went out a few times. The picture above was taken on my phone, as we walked back to the car, after a hard day’s Geocaching.

My flights on SleazyJet were uneventful, save for the delays. But I was pleased to see that we had a pilot with a sense of humour on the flight home last night:

“For those of you on the left-hand side of the plane: if you look out of your windows you will see a lovely cloudless view of London. You won’t get a better view than that. And for those of you on the right-hand side of the plane… if you look to your left, you’ll see the heads of the people on the left-hand side of the plane, enjoying a wonderful view of London. I’m afraid you won’t get a better view than that.”

I had a window seat on the left-hand side and it was indeed a fantastic view. Being nighttime though, I didn’t recognise any of it.

Upon landing, I was disappointed to find that the free shuttle-bus to the train station, now costs £2.30.

I was annoyed even further when, having purchased my train ticket, I found that the gates were open at either end and I could have ridden for free.

And the final twenty-minute walk home from the station stretched to nearly double that, because my carry-on bag weighed more than twice as much as it had when I originally packed it – carrying most of Mrs M’s clothes as well, due to her needing to make space in her suitcase for all the extra stuff she’d bought out there.

But anyway, I’m back now and the dog is pleased to see me and the temperature is more comfortable and the bed… well, there’s nothing like your own bed, is there?

Now, where did I put that bite cream…?

Jean Genie

As both of you know, I’ve long been a trendsetter when it comes to fashion.

Back in the eighties, my “Frankie’s Gone To Cricklewood” t-shirt was the talk of the canteen at work and my reputation for only wearing underwear from Bloomingdale’s has become the stuff of folklore.

And when plum-coloured, velvet frock-coats with four-inch lapels and 15-denier Harris tweed cuffs come back into fashion…

However, one fashion that I have never followed is that of denim jeans.

I wear denim jeans – of course – but I’m really not bothered about what make they are.

In fact, the pair of jeans that I normally grab out of the wardrobe, are Sainsbury’s own brand, that I bought in an emergency in Torquay, for six quid a few years ago.  I have worn them many times and not had one single person comment that they look cheap or crap.

Levi Jeans are the premium brand, of course, and lots of youngsters throw their hard-earned cash that way. At eighty-five quid a pair though, I’m sure they can’t afford to buy too many pairs.

The ones that astound me though, are the Levis with buttons on the fly rather than a zip. What’s that backward step all about? Because, from what I’ve seen, to have a wee, you have to undo your belt and waist button first, in order to undo the fly buttons. I’ve stood next to many a chap at the urinal, who has had to stand legs akimbo whilst taking a pee, in order to stop his trousers from falling to the floor. Indeed, only a couple of hours ago, whilst visiting the toilet at the cinema (took the kids to see Incredibles 2), I turned round to see a chap standing at the urinal, with his Levi jeans around his ankles. Then, as I washed my hands, I watched in fascination as he pulled his trousers up and went through all the rigmarole of doing up the fiddly buttons. Then – having got his trousers done up again – he wiggled them down, such that three to four-inches of his underpants were showing.

He walked out with a confident swagger… although, with his crotch around his knees, it looked more like a waddle and it left me thinking that fashion was so much more sensible back in the day, wasn’t it?

Now, where did I put that RELAX tee-shirt…

 

Public Service Announcement

Our local Fire & Rescue Service has put together a series of very short videos, all with a World Cup theme.

Whilst – I’m sure – they had a lot of fun putting these videos together, they all have a serious and sobering message.

They’ve made the effort, so the least I can do is be a good sport and PASS IT ON

Enjoy.

Milky milky

I mentioned at the top of the month that I drink quite a lot of tea, at work.

I’m not the only one (although I have to mention that other hot beverages are available).

Of course, no-one in their right mind takes their tea black.

As such we have a fridge at work, in which to keep the milk.

First World problem

I mentioned, last week, about how I do the weekly food shop on a Saturday.

Well, as personal recompense for doing this, first of all, I visit the in-store café, where I will spend 20 minutes relaxing with a cup of tea and a toasted teacake.

I know: very civilised.

It prepares me for facing the hoards of dozy, inconsiderate shoppers, as they slowly drag themselves round, getting in my way and leaving their trolley wherever it will cause me the most grief.

But, there is something that really annoys me about Sainsbury’s Café and their delicious toasted teacake.

It’s the butter.

Nothing wrong with. It’s a good quality butter.

But, when they give it to you, it has come straight from the fridge.

It’s very, very cold.

As such, it won’t spread on the teacake, without ripping it to shreds. I have to put ‘chunks’ of butter on and then wait for it to melt, by which time my toasted teacake isn’t so toasty.

It’s a terrible, terrible thing.

Who’d want to live my life, eh?

It’s good to talk

My journey to work – as I’ve oft mentioned – is a horrible one and takes far longer than it damn well should.

Generally, to while away the time, I listen to podcasts.

But, a few weeks ago, I fitted a VHF/UHF radio transmitter in the car (that’s it in the picture above). This allows me to converse with other like-minded idiots as I travel.

And it’s amazing how much quicker the time flies when in conversation with someone.

I wish I’d done it years ago.

 

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