Wednesday, September 26, 2007


I've uploaded the last batch of photos for last year's Via course - covering the third term after the trip to Ukraine, through to the end of year retreat (when it just rained) and the final party.

Monday, September 24, 2007

You know work's going slow when you blog twice in a day...

As prompted by my wife's ultra-keen competitive edge, did you see that Wabbadabba was featured on Radio 2 recently as Steve Wright's web-site of the Day. (The actual article can be found here.)

The premise of Wabba is very simple: just search and win, then refer friends from your account and win what they do (a la pyramid scheme). With the recent surge in popularity, prizes are expected to increase in volume. Tips from the Wabba-blog are:

1) get into the habit of using Wabba as your normal search engine,
2) search in the morning (when less users are on the site), and
3) get referring; not only do you boost your chances of winning, but as more and more people use the site, the bigger and better the returns all round. Apparently, some users are reaping the benefits of having a hundred or more referrals...

So, here's Mrs Hope's referral link to get you started... (oh, she owes me now!)
What is wrong with a broom?

There is a guy outside my office with a leaf-blower. The ground is wet because it is a) England, and b) late September. Leaf-blowers do not work on wet leaves that are stuck to the ground. How do I know this, you may ask, as I do not own and have never used a leaf-blower. I know this because he has been going over the same patch of car-park outside my window for the last three-quarters of an hour. What's wrong with a regular broom?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Back-to-school blues

Have been feeling a bit down now that summer is over and there is a bit of an unbroken stretch of work until Christmas. It could be something to do with both Mrs Hope and me being poorly over the last week - sickness in the body does affect the spirit - and neither of us sleeping well (Mrs Hope due to her 'condition' and me, in turn, due to Mrs Hope's insomnia).

I do remember that BTSB always wore off once one got into the rhythm of term: school work, friends, sports and other activities. There was also the novelty of being one year older (after summer holidays that is), and working that out in the complex hierarchy of school. I'm not sure any of that now applies, but here's hoping that some sort of rhythm develops so I can fall in with it. A small step in that direction is the reinstatement of Sunday nights being devoted to ironing shirts - a ritual seemingly as old as time itself. There is comfort in the sight of smooth, crisp cotton shirts neatly arranged in the cupboard, the smell of steam, an hour devoted to the familiar routine of 'collar, cuffs and sleeves, right panel, back panel, left panel, yoke', a chance to catch up on a podcast or two. So away with you, BTSB, and pass the collarbones, I've finished the last one.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


We’ve now got broadband at home. Mrs Hope changed our landline carrier to TalkTalk, and they offer a package of free calls (including free international calls) and free broadband. So I am revelling in the novelty of surfing the web from my bed (though it's more tutting in frustration at the creaking pace of the iTunes store at present).

So will I see you on Skype soon then? Perhaps not. TalkTalk provide a ADSL broadband service over the copper wires installed by BT. Broadband speeds are "upto 8 Mbps", depending on local usage levels and proximity to the 'local BT exchange.' Perhaps we're miles away as it's crawling tonight. Roll on the promised crackdown on broadband suppliers being woefully inaccurate with their purported high speed access.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

'Mum' is no longer the word

My Apple addiction was not helped by the announcement today that the iPhone is coming to the UK in November.

Small comfort is found in that I switched to O2 this summer, so there is a minute chance that I could 'upgrade' my handset at the end of my contract. I doubt it though.

Also of note are Steve Job's comments at the end of the Macworld article announcing that they are already working on the 2nd and 3rd gen iPhones, and planning for the 4th gen already. So while November will be a fantastic opportunity, perhaps there is some benefit in (being forced) to wait a while.

Delayed gratification is just too hard.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

How low can you go?

The sweet chariot is swinging pretty low after England's weekend's loss to SA. Even my magnanimous gesture of support wasn't enough to ward off a pretty humiliating loss for the English. My tuppence is that what happened on Friday evening was the result of something that had been going on for a fairly long period of time and, no matter how earnest efforts might be in the present, they typically aren't enough when the weight of three years' worth of habits come to bear. Just like the rest of life then. I love sports metaphors.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Gotta love it, sports fans!

There's a whole weekend's worth of international rugby on this weekend, so I'm looking at one game tonight (Eng v SA), maybe all three tomorrow (NZ v Por, Wal v Aus; Ire v Geo), and then possibly just the one on Sunday (Fra v Nam).

I think I might support the underdog tonight - yep, I'll be rooting for the depleted English team to upset the confident South Africans. Only this once, mind.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


hand in hand down the street in the dark with your pregnant wife is a great way to cheer yourself up after a crappy day.

She is a wise and selfless woman (and just a trifle out of breath).

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Salcombe to Falmouth (Road) in two days

Mrs Hope and I have just returned from our week in Salcombe. It was week of fine weather, comfortable accommodation, and great friends. We preferred South Sands to North Sands, but loved Mill Bay most of all. The house we were in had all kinds of beach gear imaginable, the pick of the crop being (for me at least) a skim-board. The final day at the beach proved a good day skimming - I now sport a bruised knee and toe (a real first for me) as testaments to my efforts.

Returning to home in Falmouth Road (oh what a joy it is to sleep in one's own bed!) and we have just had our annual street party. Although the road was only cleared of cars by 10am, the kids were zipping up and down on scooters, bikes and trikes well before then, and have only just stopped now, at 10pm. It's been lovely to get to know people a little more, and I'm certain that there'll be a few more occasions to stop and chat now that the ice has been broken. It's funny how we're often wary of striking up conversation in the city, even with people we live in close proximity with. Having said that, I only knew half a dozen people by sight before today - maybe we really all just come home and close the door on the world outside.

Oh, and the Rugby World Cup has started too. Fantastic.