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Listed Building Consent

I had a really interesting chat with our neighbours over our New Year’s Day  lunch about the major renovation work they are doing on their cottage. It was originally an early 19th Century toll house on what would have been the old turnpike road, and is Grade II listed. That means that, although it requires […]

New Year’s Day lunch

For the last few years, I have hosted my immediate neighbours for lunch on New Years Day. We all seem to enjoy ourselves, and it’s fast becoming a tradition.  I’ve got the biggest dining room and the most chairs, so it makes sense for me to be the host. Each household brings a course, so […]

A Room with a View

I had an interesting couple of days in London last week, taking a small team of our software engineers to a “hackathon”. For those who haven’t come across the term before, Wikipedia defines a hackathon as “a design sprint-like event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development, including graphic designers, interface designers, […]

More Mouse Problems

The mice came back in November, as they have done every year for well over a decade. It’s no coincidence that my annual rolling contract with the pest control company has a renewal date in November. The change in weather drives them to take shelter indoors, and then they hold tap-dancing parties directly above my […]

Rail Replacement Bus

I’ve had a load of off site meetings this week – Woking on Monday, Chelmsford on Tuesday, then Oxford on Wednesday. Chelmsford in particular is much further than I’m prepared to drive, so trains it was. What could possibly go wrong? A colleague gave me a lift to the meeting at Woking on Monday. But […]

The Weeping Window

I went to a dinner recently at the Imperial War Museum. I don’t think I’ve been there before, but it looked to be very interesting and I think I’ll have to go back there when the galleries are open to the public and have a proper look around. One exhibit though I couldn’t miss, even […]

A rainy day in Glasgow

I was invited to give a talk last Friday at a conference held at Glasgow University. I’ve been working quite closely with the university for a few years now, and have previously tried to go there-and-back in a day. It’s doable, flying from Birmingham, but it makes for a very long day and I find […]

First snow of winter

I was so glad that HMS managed to fix my boiler last week, as it’s turned cold. Really cold. It would have been utterly miserable without central heating! It even snowed heavily on Saturday for several hours. Big, fat, “proper” snowflakes. Fortunately it didn’t stick, but it was still heavy enough for me to cancel […]

Condemned Boiler

It’s that time of year again when I get a series of emails from Christopher’s gmail calendar, reminding me to do a load of admin chores. “Get septic tank emptied” (done), “renew house insurance” (done), and most recently “Get boiler serviced”. I had to wait a few weeks for the boiler servicing company I use, […]

Banana Cake

I had some very elderly bananas left from my packed lunches, that were far too brown to eat but not yet so far gone to be binned. So I thought I’d be brave and try cooking a banana cake to use them up. It’s not a recipe I’ve done before, as baking is really not […]