2007 — 14 December: cold, dull, misty Friday

Saint-Saens' Danse Macabre is quite a jaunty piece to type and hum along to, isn't it? Just been wished a good Driving Test by the family globetrotter — he's currently in Singapore, but off to Brunei before heading back to NZ and the family hearth (if they have such things) for Christmas.

Time now 07:37 or so. Today's cheery news all seems to have a druggy theme. Four times more soldiers are "kicked out" of the army because of drugs than are removed, as it were, by the hazards of combat. All thirty major baseball(?) teams seem to have drugs-related issues (steroids, I assume). Sport is thus relegated to a BigPharma rivalry.

Worry about the Highway Code, Mounce! And load some brekkie to give it a chance to digest...

Wheels grinding slowly... department

Congress has just passed a law that will give US car manufacturers 13 years to ensure their vehicles can manage 35 miles per gallon fuel consumption. I would ask whether this was Imperial or US gallons but, somehow, I don't think it would make much difference! At least I heard a few bits of vox pop earlier today suggesting that some US citizens are now aware of the growing scientific consensus on global warming. Mind you, the number of giant gas-guzzlers which make driving here so "interesting" on our narrow roads (specially at school chucking out time) tells me UK citizens are just as blinkered. How tyresome!

Finger of A/V suspicion

With the Panasonic DVD recorder my finger is now pointing at the (Sony) blank DVD-R. I managed to start the dubbing process but it very soon reverted to the brain-dead cycle. Had it got a nervous system I'd say "nervous breakdown" (I can only assume from the stress of not having been used much in the last six months, of course). <Sigh> Or maybe it's just moved out of the warranty period, he added cynically.

By the way, don't go rushing out to buy new Freeview kit just now until the small matter of HD-over-Freeview has been clarified. (Public Value Test conclusions are here.)

Now, what's next?

Somewhere nice for lunch, with a bit more driving practice thrown in, I'm hoping. So, 57.1 miles later, and with an "anytime breakfast #1" under my belt from the Alton railway station (and, on Wednesdays, biker) café, it's back home in time, just, for the afternoon co-pilot, young Gill. Unload the washing machine and hang things up to dry a soupçon just before we set off. And now (16:59) I find there's another 47 miles on the "clock" and a small gap before Bill co-pilots me after tea for a final bit of practice.1 Good job I filled up the tank with go-juice, isn't it? And, my, don't they drive fast on the A34? I actually had to slow down to ease past a police car!

And then?

Well, in no particular order: Nip down past the Post Office, post the customer survey and notification of Christa's death to one of her medical suppliers — not very Christmassy, I grant you, but needful. Then on to the paper shop to pick up Sight & Sound — the tactful manageress wasn't sure whether this was one of Christa's magazines, or one of mine, so it had been put back on the shelves. Call in at Tall Thomas and Sofie to apologise for being a party pooper for the second year running given the clash I face tomorrow evening in Winchester. Check out the other store on the way back (unsuccessfully, as ever) for a copy of What Video magazine. Reply to Yvette's cheery greeting as she swings past. Confirm with Bill our proposed time of departure. Throw a can of soup on the barbie, add some slices of ham, zap a spud in the microwave and a slice of bread in the toaster. Make a vital cup of tea. Consume the "consommé" with zest, mop up the inevitable spillage, and add this paragraph, before allowing myself even to look at this morning's crossword2 while awaiting Bill's tap at the door. Time enough after that for a burst of the divine Nancy:

Somewhere in the world of quantum physics there may be a sub-atomic particle miniscule enough to describe my interest in football. The two things which raise man above the beasts are the brains in our heads and our opposable thumbs. So a game which uses the head as a battering ram and forbids the use of the hands is more bestial than beautiful.

Nancy Banks-Smith in today's Guardian reviewing last night's TV

Did I say it was a "dull" Friday? I tell you — it's all go some days.



1  My goodness, reversing round corners is tricky at night isn't it?
2  Five minutes to complete — hah!