Monday, 28 January 2008

On My Own

John is in London this weekend at a Dr Who Fan Olympiad, so I have the flat to myself. However, this hasn’t been the weekend of rest and relaxation that I thought it would be when the trip was first talked about a few months ago. Aside from the getting John to the station for 7am (not something I begrudge – he has ferried me about far more than I have returned the favour – but still quite a difficult get up on a Saturday morning!), yesterday I also had a hockey match and an orchestral concert, and this morning, I was up at 9am (not overly early, but still not great for a Sunday…) to get into Bristol City Centre to buy tickets for the Beer Festival. I’m not a beer drinker at all (I’ve tried on numerous occasions – I have once managed to finish a whole half pint, but felt so ill afterwards that I’ve not tried again), but I love ciders and perries, and I am sure that, with 40 on offer, even with drinking half pints, I’m still not going to get a chance to have them all before the last train leaves (we are going on the Friday evening after work – the train companies in their wisdom have decided that the last train from BTM to Parkway should be 10pm) – I think if I try, I might end up in hospital!

However, the rest of the day is mine to do with as I please (well, at least until 7.40, when I head out to Tae-Kwon Do) – however, I’ve already lined a lot up to do (and yes, writing a blog post or two was one of the items on the list – I’m aware that it’s been a while!), including attempting to get out to Sainsbury’s before they shut – the house is running dangerously low on food. Other items that will probably be procrastinated away include doing a bit of washing up (I got one load done yesterday, but there are still very few surfaces in the kitchen without some clutter on them!), clothes washing (well, I have actually done that – the clothes are sat in the washing machine waiting for me to get up and put them out on the racks), writing up minutes from the last Family Centre for Deaf Children meeting, which was at the beginning of January. To be fair on myself, I had intended to get these minutes done a lot earlier, but some very late nights at work, and working through lunchbreaks meant that the last thing I wanted to do when I got home was sit in front of a computer screen all evening as well!

I’m very aware that it’s been a while since I posted – since I last talked about playing hockey, I’ve had another two matches and a few more practices (one match in the rain, which, for the poor players on the pitch, turned into a wet t-shirt contest – whoever decided that white was a good colour for the away strip must have been a bit mad. I was lucky for that one – being goalie meant that I could wear my tracksuit underneath all the padding, and, though damp, was not as bad as everyone else!). We still haven’t won a game since I started playing, which I feel quite bad about (we are languishing near (or at) the bottom of the league). Playing Cleve last week, we expected to lose – the last time Bristol Ladies played them, Cleve won despite only having 8 (out of 11) players on the pitch and no goalkeeper. I only found out the final score a few days later, as I lost count of how many they put past me after the fifth! (it was 9-1…) However, yesterday’s match should have been won – it ended up being 3-0. One of those goals was a good one, which I couldn’t have stopped, but the other two were silly mistake ones (one was a through the legs shot – I need to work out how to move quickly *and* keep my feet together! The other was one of those kerfuffle shots – I stopped it once, thoughts I’d cleared it, and the next thing I knew it was in the back of the goal. Humph.) But I’m still really enjoying it – my back is aching a bit today (not sure why – all the work is coming from my hips and knees, but they don’t seem to mind. I think that my back is just trying to malinger...), but I’m sure that a good TKD session this evening will sort it all out!

Work has been manic for the last couple of weeks, and I can’t see it lifting for at least two more – every government body is wanting to go out to tender for something, and it seems at the moment that it’s all for software that we do. Unfortunately, as the deadlines are absolute (we have been thrown out of a tender when it was delivered 17 minutes late), and the answering of the main questions seems to get left to very late in the day, when it comes to collation and actually getting the thing out of the door (the bulk of my work), long hours have to go in to make sure that it arrives on time. When I started doing this, there were enough lulls between tenders to mean that we could put the time in to make sure that there weren’t too many late nights or missed lunchbreaks. They did occur on the odd occasion, but it was once in a while, rather than nearly every one, as seems to be happening at the moment. A good chunk of it, I feel, is down to organisation, which is my job, and the need to streamline the tender process. Unfortunately, I need a good couple of days with nothing else to do in order to focus on those processes and to make them work. But more tenders come in, meaning that I don’t have the time to devote to this, leading to more inefficiencies. Ho Hum. It looks like we might be getting someone in who could help out (working on the sales side of things, but being more technical, meaning that they could answer the questions that the sales team struggle with (we can cope with “What software does your solution integrate with?”, but “How does your solution connect with x, y and z” gives us more of a problem!), meaning that we don’t have to wait for a gap in the developer’s schedule, with the resultant knock on effect on the tender timings.), but with the pace of recruitment, I’m not going to hold my breath!

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