Monday, July 30, 2007

A(-), you're Adorable

I never even saw the vicious, beastly, bloodsucking insects that on Saturday decided that a hefty serving of blood group A Neg was exactly what they needed to get themselves through the day. And why they chose the backs of my knees (delightful though they are, as I'm sure you'll agree) for their feast I don't know, but I now have swellings about the size of my fist at the back of both legs, which makes walking or sitting down very uncomfortable. They both itch and hurt, which is a curious sensation.

Oh, and one had a chomp at my foot as well.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Stay away from my back door too

I don't know if you've heard about the Ashtead Nimbys. These are the residents of an area close by the Headley Court rehabilitation centre where, for decades, injured servicemen have been sent after Selly Oak has stitched them back together to continue their recovery. They include amputees, burns sufferers, brain injuries, loss of sight or hearing, and psychological damage. Some stay for mere months, while others have to stay for years. This is the only specialist centre in the country, and because servicemen come from all over the country their families often have to travel long distances to visit them - and the visits play an important role in the healing process.

Because of the importance of family visits and the difficulties the families face, the charity SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) have bought a house nearby to the facility (which incidentally recently opened a new 30-bed annexe to cope with the increasing numbers of patients), with the intention of converting it into a home-from-home for the visiting families. It's in a good state of repair; a wheelchair ramp at the front door will be needed but not much else structurally. It's anticipated that about eight people would stay there, with an upper limit of 12. So SSAFA applied to the local council for planning permission for a wheelchair ramp, and change of use.

Guess what. The local council received 83 letters of objection from the local residents, claiming that the "increased traffic noise" and "additional pollution" from a 'short-term, multiple-occupancy hostel' would lower the value of their houses, and make them a "soft touch" for "those awful terrorists". If it were a halfway house for sex offenders or junkies or similar they might have more of a point (not in respect of noise or pollution, obviously, but regarding the desirability of possibly unsafe neighbours), but here we're talking not about criminals, whether or not they've served their time, but about ordinary families whose lives have been torn apart and will never be the same again. They could be you or me - anyone who has a husband or son old enough to be called up.

Shame on them. It seems nothing's changed since Kipling wrote 'Tommy' all those years ago, condemning the hypocrisy of so many civilians regarding those who're prepared to risk their lives. I don't know anyone who agrees with the wars our troops are fighting, but the people to take it out on are the politicians, not the troops themselves.

"For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country," when the guns begin to shoot;"

No Heroes In Our Backyard, eh?

However someone's got up a petition to protest at this disgusting behaviour, and it's doing quite well. Please feel free to sign it.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Time keeps on ticking, ticking, ticking

You just know you're not going to get away on time when, with only a quarter of an hour of surgery time left, the boss suggests that a client should 'pop back' and get their other animal for examination, and the client lives twenty minutes away ...

If only overtime was paid at a higher rate.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Water music

With only two and a half weeks to go till Cropredy we thought we'd take a look to see if they've started the preparations yet. The short answer is 'no'. The residents of the festival field itself are still there, doing their best to get the grass short enough.
As far as the camping fields go, the good news is that there won't be a lot of effort needed to push in tent pegs. Sewn-in groundsheets will probably be a good idea, and wellies are definitely recommended.
More good news is that the waterlevel's fallen a lot and is still draining. Nobody had told a fish that we saw trying to make its way into the field!

It looks as though the emergency camping fields will be used again, as they were in 04 when the conditions were similar. They're higher and drier, but not as peaceful; they adjoin the railway line. At least at midnight on Saturday the trains go onto Sunday service.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Like a bridge over troubled water

It took Ned nearly four hours to get home from Stow last night - a journey which normally takes about half an hour. He had to go via the back lanes of several counties but eventually won through. Lots of people didn't, judging by the number of cars littering the verges. Boy's car still won't start though.

Apparently we had three times July's usual rainfall just yesterday, so having made sure the roads were mainly passable again (with care) we went to have a look at the result. On a normal summer's day you could expect to see the weir on the river Leam in the middle of Leamington looking like this:

We went to stand on the far side of the bridge in the top picture to record the spectacle:

I think the caches we'd placed nearby might need replacing ...

We didn't even attempt to get to Stratford to see how they're faring. Rumour has it Wellesbourne (next village on the Stratford road) is cut off, and TV reports show that the Avon has burst its banks and the centre of Stratford is under about seven feet of water. Of course all this water is heading downriver, so the towns downstream, already inundated, have got more to come.

Ain't climate change great?

Friday, July 20, 2007

In July the sun is hot. Is it shining? No it's not

It's been a tad on the damp side today, giving rise to memories of Easter a few years ago.
Luckily this isn't our driveway; that's meant to be a stream going under a bridge, not a stream going over a bridge.
You can get a hint of the speed of the flow from the fields and ditch to the left on the drainage on the right of the road.
In fact it was so damp that instead of the really busy afternoon I'd been expecting it was deathly quiet, because the vet couldn't get to the village for aftrnoon surgery and I had to ring and cancel all the appointments - the ones that hadn't already rung me and cancelled because they couldn't get to the village either ...

Oddly, however, there was a lot more traffic than usual in the village, and I got my entertainment watching juggernauts and buses causing gridlock in the narrow main street. Apparently there were landslips onto the M40, so that was closed, and all the long-distance traffic was having to use the lanes again. Boy tried to get to a friend's house about eight miles away and only managed to get four miles away before his car died and a pal towed him home. Then they went out again in a 4x4, no doubt hoping to make a few quid by towing people out of puddles. At least they're together and shouldn't come to too much harm, surely?

Now, as soon as Ned gets back from Cheltenham (he set off at about 1.30 and it's now ... ooh let me see ... 7 o'clock) I'll be able to relax.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tell me something I don't know

Frankly, I'd complain if they didn't.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

On the road again

We drove and we drove and we drove.We drove to Coventry to collect a dalmatian for rehoming (not as emotional as I'd feared) and we drove down the M40 to hand her over to her adopters. She came away with us in the car quite confidently, although as time went by I could see she was starting to get a bit bewildered and missing her 'mum'. But as we waited for her adopters to arrive she tucked her head under my arm for a cuddle, and then kissed Ned's ear for some attention from him. She was a sweetie who, although by no means ill-treated previously, I think will have a better life in future, with more time and attention being given to her.

Once all the paperwork was completed and she was handed over we drove across country to MMM's place, via several very interestingly narrow obscure winding lanes thanks to Henrietta, to help rid her of surplus possessions in preparation for her international flit. (Omally, we have stuff for you too.)

Then home. By this time the combined effects of an early rise, emotional stress of the dog-move and the unexpected heat of the day (anyone would think it was summer) caused me to lapse into a semi-coma and it took the application of several restorative cups of tea at home before I felt almost human again. I think an early night is called for.

*looks at time*


Friday, July 13, 2007

Auf Wiedersehen, adieu

Phew! The locum quickly proved to be totally unsuitable and was given the order of the boot before being due to come to the village surgery for 'my' shift (and after I'd been brushing up my Greek - Ouzo, retsina, "exo skilio" - too). So normal chaos is resumed.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Ocean of motion

Things seem to be lurching from bad to worse at the vets' since the practice changed hands. in the Old Days there were three vets; the practice owner and two others who shared the workload and all knew what they were doing. Now pissups and breweries spring to mind. First the new owners (both vets) were unaware that they needed to renew certain licences so no Pet Passports or farm work can be done, thus hacking off all the farm clients. Then they said that because they live miles away and don't want to disrupt their children's schooling they can't do all the hours that the boss used to do, so the others must cover. (Very popular as you can imagine.) I hear that one employee burst into the local where a chillingly polite meeting was going on (public place for safety) shrieking that she couldn't cope any more! Now they've employed a locum who not only doesn't speak English but also can't work the computer, so we untrained receptionists are going to have input everything that this vet does so that invoices are correct. This will have to be done in the consulting room at the same time as we're in the reception dealing with the clients out there. As there's only one of us on duty at a time this could be interesting.

*Goes to study the Sits Vac.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

What a difference a day makes


How to shed weight and years in a single day.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

A strange glow in the sky

What's this I see in the sky this morning? Is it a UFO? Are we being invaded by aliens? No, hang on, it's coming back to me ...

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Wait a minute, Mr Postman

My significant birthday's nearly over and the Parcelforce van still hasn't delivered either Mark Harmon
or Sharpe.

*starts getting anxious*

Monday, July 02, 2007

Floating in limbo

A thorough (well, as thorough as I dare) search of the external hard drive tells me that we did no backups between September 05 and April 07 - which isn't beyond the realms of possibility. But the latest backup doesn't show files and documents that I know were saved between those dates; that old diary, my CV, my list of the hours I work so I know how much to invoice my employer (eek!), squillions of photos etc.

But I think I've worked out a possible explanation. Between the last two backups, when all that work was done, we had an explodification and a tame geek managed to extract all that useful stuff and replace it when he'd scrubbed the hard drive. But when he loaded it all again he put on an earlier version of Windows (let's call it version A) from what we'd had previously but everything was hunky dory. Not so good in general but had features that we didn't have before so was okay. It was this version that was running when we did the April backup.

Then came the last explodification. This time we've reinstalled the later version (version B) which works much better but won't recognise the data that had been added when we did the backup with the earlier version.

I reckon if we were to find a computer that was running version A we could recover the data, put it onto a disk and then copy it onto this computer we could then do a backup (I'd also print it out onto hard copy so it's real!) and I wouldn't be fainting at the thought of redoing all those months of work.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Bang bang, that awful sound

Did I tell you we’ve had another computer explodification? No, I didn’t think so. It manifested itself by playing Ring-a-ring-roses when it was meant to turn on – it’d get partway there then restart. So I called our local computer-mender who kindly came out in the hour between packing and leaving for Heathrow for 3 weeks in Oz and Fiji. He fitted a shiny new hard drive, plugged our external drive into it and hastily copied saved stuff over. Except that it doesn’t seem to have copied everything over. Lots of documents are floating in limbo, including several months’ work of transcribing a diary from 1862 and the contents being inserted chronologically into previously-copied letters and other documents for future publication. Buggerbuggerbuggerbugger. I know we did a backup recently so where the sodding hell’s it all gone?