Archive for November, 2010

Snow joke


The Eastern Daily Press captured the national mood today as SNOWMAGEDDON swept the country. Their headline? Snow on Dereham shop roof could fall on shoppers.  

A warm, dark cinema on a snowy Sunday morning was probably not the best place to get over 24 hours of travelling and a 10 hour time difference. But Harry Potter’s new adventure justified a family trip to the big screen. I thought that some popcorn and a drink would help keep me awake. So […]

Aloho ho ho


The Christmas party had a Hawaiian theme. I had a flower garland placed around my neck before joining the other 700 revellers, at 4 o’clock in the afternoon on the sun-drenched terrace overlooking the river. The weather, the sunlight, the heat and the view were not what I am used to at an office party. […]

The first test match starts today here in Brisbane. I was offered a ticket, but I explained that I would not be able to feign an interest in cricket for a whole day (and I only get paid if I am working), so I declined. English cricket fans have appeared in the city. They are […]



Back to showery Brisbane this evening, weather which must give hope to the cricket fans. After a long day working and travelling it’s good to get back to my hotel room to put my feet up in front of the TV. Australian TV only seems to show sport (did I tell you I’m not a […]



This time it isn’t raining in Sydney. I have managed to avoid any conversations about cricket so far. But I’ve had several conversations about Irish debt, mainly with taxi drivers for some reason. They seem quite pleased about European financial problems.

Doors to manual


At Heathrow I stood in a queue waiting to board a plane. Right next to the boarding gate was a large TV showing 24 hour rolling news. As we waited, the live BREAKING NEWS story was about a plane crash at Birmingham airport. It was hard to ignore the breathless live report from the scene. […]

What? Already?


The festive season approaches. Mrs R and I compare diaries and decide who will attend which school carol concert. We book places at a dinner dance, where we will display our persistent lack of ballroom dancing prowess in public. As someone who works from home and who does not have an affiliation with any conventional […]



The Cambridge-based software company Autonomy yesterday announced that they have developed their anti-fraud software for use in medical diagnosis. Their technology is widely used in several industries to search digital records, including unstructured data in emails and voicemails, to identify patterns and connections. The system will be able to search medical records and notes to […]



“Tyres deserve more respect”, I thought as I drove to the tyre-place. The rear tyres on my car have reached their limit, after 51,000 miles. In all those miles I had never worried about them. They just worked.  On hot dry roads, on wet roads and on cold icy roads they always allowed me to […]

Silent pause


I was on my way to a meeting, to discuss Agile systems development and the difficulty of continuous integration testing. The train, of course,  was running 20 minutes late. My leisurely walk through the city needed to be brisker than I planned. At 11am precisely I stopped on a high walkway at the Barbican, just […]

Not present


With the newspaper came 32 glossy pages titled Christmas Gift Collection 2010 from The Original Gift Company. I love these catalogues. So many things that I never thought I would need. I flicked through, hoping to find a page to leave open for Mrs R to find. The “Smart Leather Magic Wallet” was momentarily exciting, […]

Mouse tale


The mice are back. I think. Sometimes when I sit at my (new) desk I can hear scritch scratching and gnawing noises above my head. It’s been a couple of years since I last declared war on the furry germ-carriers. The body count was high on that occasion. I disposed of 11 of them with […]



Today I inadvertently memorised the first 11 digits of Pi. 3.1415926535 – see? Now that I know this I can’t un-learn it. But I can’t think of anything to do with the fact. The knowledge occupies a small part of my brain which could have been used for other things. Like ‘why I came upstairs’ […]

Let them eat…


The allocation of domestic duties means that Mrs R usually does the grocery shopping. I am restricted to shopping for maintenance items and unnecessary motor vehicles. But yesterday Mrs R was busy and I was entrusted with the list. “I bought a Battenburg cake,” I explained, “in case of emergencies.” “Dog food is for emergencies,” […]



It’s a struggle to type this. My laptop is balanced precariously on my knee, because I have a new desk. The desk arrived yesterday. It was delivered in three depressing flat cardboard boxes, not as a single integrated desk-shaped whole. I dislike flat-pack furniture. The pleasure of purchase quickly degenerates into frustration and bafflement. Happily […]

I can’t move out of earshot of the front door this morning. I’m waiting for a package to be delivered. I don’t know when it will arrive. I don’t even know if it will arrive today, but I’ll be the only person in the house and if I miss the delivery I will be plunged […]