24 Jun 2009
This weekend just gone was another juggly event. Every year there’s a gathering of northern folk (in the main) at Ambleside in the Lake District.
Beautiful place and the gateway to an awful lot of other utterly gorgeous places. And if you’re a fan of hill walking there are few better places.
Me, P and C headed up late after work on Thursday arriving at around 11pm. No-one at the site at first so we set off putting our tents up in the dark with no help.
Now I’m no practical person so I’m right chuffed that I got that tent up perfectly first time. I even checked it in the morning, planning to tweak it a bit so it would stand up to the weather better, but it needed no adjustments.
And a damn good job because it rained all bleedin’ night.
On the Friday there weren’t very many folk around and not a lot got done. I was itching for a walk so headed off up the nearest hill above the site (Loughrigg it’s called). An easy walk with ace views and proper Lakes weather.
Food at Ambles again (we went last year). The highlight this year was Mini’s response to the price of a drink in a proper restaurant. Top food as expected.
There were a few more folk around when we got back to the site (after a pub visit naturally) so hellos and chatting ensued.
Saturday was more energetic. Me and ^Tom both fancied a decent walk. No-one else did so we headed off up Wans Fell. We were away for a couple of hours with great stressy climbs and amazing views and being above the cloud line. Loved it. I really do need to do more of this sort of thing.
Once back the mood was mellow and the company wonderful. Many of us headed into town for chinese food and discussions about English language pedantry. After that there was a jazz club on but most didn’t really want to come along. Ah well, it ended up with just me and Dr Helen watching a pretty decent singer singing annoyingly down-beat jazz and ballads. Grrr. I’d have much preferred some decent up-tempo stuff. We left before the last song and headed to the site to sit around with what was by now a large group of folk around a roaring fire.
Beer and chat later and off to bed.
Sunday was bye to all and a long drive home.
Sad to be leaving. It does give me pause to reflect on quite why I’m in Leicester. A dull city with no visual flair and no great walking (no proper hills) nearby, when there are lovely places to live. I do wonder if they could do with another private physio there.
I’ll look into it.
Oh and you may have noticed the lack of anything whatsoever to do any juggling in this review. There’s a reason for this.
Anyway photos here.
I have been remiss in my reviewage of recent events so here’s a catch-up for you.
A week and a bit ago was L2! The second Lestival.
It’s still a great venue with oodles of space, even more so this year as the weather was pretty good (compared to last year’s wash out).
Sadly then the biggest downer for the day was the turnout. Just not very full. A shame considering that there have been so few events this year. I’d expected more folk gagging for a good event. Ah well.
The day was pretty full with doing trips to shops and putting signs up and running a workshop.
The workshop was excellent. I did my gym ball exercises thing again which I think might have to be a returner for future years. Fun was had by all. At least that’s what came across on the day.
After chips came the show.
Highlights were the Germans. Two acts one was Felix doing clubs and a book. A strange little wotsit but with plenty of ideas and skill. Die Fussballartisten were the headliners and they ran loads of lovely little football tricks incorporating handbalancing and the like. Sadly the lady of the piece (Miriam) didn’t do a foot to foot ball roll when handstanding in a splits position (mind you if it worked it’d count as a major cool trick).
But the star of the show was Jon Peat. Stunning series of utterly ludicrous 3 ball tricks. Zippy music, some drops (but nowhere near as many as on previous occasions) and some level of personality. Top notch.
So a great little convention. A shame it wasn’t a great medium convention.
Maybe next year.
23 Jun 2009
I had a 28 Days Later moment this afternoon.
I was on my bike coming home from work. I got to a crossroad (good choice of name there). And I was trying to get across the main road from a side road. Imagine a busy main road at rush hour. So loads of zoomy cars not letting a bike through cos bikes aren’t worth letting out (unlike cars).
I was at the junction with a car sat behind me.
I heard a BEEP! from the car. Looked round to see a young woman driving and a HUGE scary looking man in the passenger seat.
I ignored them. I was in the right place and just waiting for a gap.
HUGE bloke decides to yell at me as if I’m the idiot.
What does he expect to gain here? He’ll get to the junction a tiny bit earlier but then they’re stuck again. I could get onto the road as soon as they could.
But apparently a bike in front of them is anathema.
I pointed at the zoomy cars as to say “What? Where are you going to go?”
He got out the car yelling randomly (apparently) and making extremely threatening overtures at me.
I should remind you that the road was extremely busy. Loads of people were watching this including from cars behind them and on the main road. Did he really think he was going to randomly beat up someone who’d done nothing beyond cycle safely and correctly?
Luckily at that point someone let me out so I set off bravely managing a “wanker” hand signal at him before pulling into the local Tesco garage – IE somewhere with CCTV in case of severe beatage up and somewhere with loads of people hanging around including security guard.
I love some people. And what was the woman thinking? Poor thing having to live with that.
12 Jun 2009
I am off work today. Whenever I’m off on a weekday and at home I try to get stuff organised for the house. You know, meter readers to come, that sort of thing.
I had a letter a while back saying my gas boiler was due for its yearly service so please go online to book an appointment.
I did and found that they could come today. Hurrah. So it was duly booked.
I booked an “8am-1pm” slot so been up from far too early. And I have other stuff to do. So I phoned them to ask when they would get here.
“Oh sorry we’re busier than expected and we can’t come today”
Then they had the temerity to offer me next Tuesday at some point.
I’ve said it before but why can’t people just do what they said they would? Now I need to find time some other week for this to get done.
Frankly I thinking of agreeing to the Tuesday appointment but then being, oh I don’t know, at work maybe. Waste their sodding time as much as mine has been wasted.
11 Jun 2009
There are large changes happening in the scenes behind the work I do.
I work for a Primary Care Trust. They organise local health care and they also provide it.
Now this is the source of the problem.
The thought from up high is that there’s a conflict of interest here. How can the people who spend the money also provide the services? Isn’t this unfair on alternative service providers?
The plan is to allow any group to tender for NHS work – IE private companies too.
So they’ve decided already that the commissioning arm of the PCT will have to separate from the provider arm. This will happen before next April.
So my employer will change in the next year.
The most favoured option is for us to become a “Social Enterprise”. NB this means us physios specifically, not the PCT providers as a whole.
In other words a kind of private company. In other other words, not NHS.
If this happens then the people who do the actual work will NOT be NHS staff. However the bureaucrats who organise what services get commissioned WILL be NHS staff.
I wonder how well that will sit with the general public. The cry already is that the NHS has too many managers. What about when the entirety of the local NHS trust is management and admin but no actual healthcare workers?
Ah well what do I know?
The issue for most staff is the terms and conditions of employment. About the only material benefits of NHS work are steady work and a decent pension. If I saw the number of patients privately that I see now then my salary would probably be about 3 times what I get now, but not as good a pension. If I get made to go private and thus lose the pension then I want the benefits of going private.
Can you imagine the hassle trying to hire good, experienced staff? There’s no way unless we can match existing salary and benefits.
So in conclusion: another round of changes done purely for the hell of it, wasting huge amounts of money on an unnecessary scheme which paves the way for privatisation, staff loss, staff morale declining, and which may well change some time next year when the tories get in (not that they’re going to be too fussed about the breakup of the NHS – last I saw they weren’t hostile to the idea of giving their old school mates lots of money – err “privatisation” sorry).
I do wonder why this hasn’t been in the news yet.
07 Jun 2009
Went to see the new Star Trek fillum this evening.
Overall it was a nice fun ride with big bangs and swooshy noises. But there are buts.
The main one was the central plot device. Talk about ludicrous. I shan’t give out many spoilers here but come on! “Red matter”? Pfft.
Then there are 2 major omissions of action. Parts of the action take place on Earth and on Vulcan. Apparently these major advanced civilizations with all their warp drive, weapons and technology can’t deal with the attacks (the drilling rig thing) but 2 blokes with parachutes and basic blasters can.
Some of the others are a bit more minor (eg when they arrive at Saturn’s moon Titan they have a wonderful vista of Saturn’s rings – oops big howler here – Titan is on the plane of the rings so they wouldn’t have seen owt but the thin edge – not a great visual tho – and thanks to the SGU for pointing that one out).
And on one further odd note. Star Trek has always been a bit American-ethics-conquer-the-galaxy-y. So what? The start of the film has Kirk’s dad in charge of a star ship. He’s outgunned and clearly in a weaker situation than his attacker. So what does he decide to do? That’s right – “ram them”. Yup Kirk’s dad was a suicide bomber. Nice.
It does look like the reinvention of the Star Trek universe though so future fillums should be coming out regularly. I hope they can be as fun and not so contrived as this one.