Ian (ringbark) wrote,

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Not dead yet

Yes, it's been a long time, been a long time. But I have not
disappeared from the blogosphere, or even from the real world.
A long time web presence, JennyG, tells me that she doesn't have a
blog because she is too busy living life to write about it. There is a
lot of truth in that, and it's why this blog is patchy: the exciting
parts aren't well covered but I'll see what I can do.
As someone working in the city, I can tell you that this has been one
of the most exciting times we have had in a long time.
Let's pick it up some time around 15/9. That's the day Lehman Brothers
fell over, if I remember correctly.
It was about then we found that people started using the word
"unprecedented" and weren't shouted down for doing so. The mood of
panic wasn't helped by a fire drill evacuation of our building the
following afternoon. I didn't go back into the building after: I was
taking a flying visit back to Wirral for another Deanery Synod
meeting, though I'm not sure it was the best thing to do in the
The following morning it was of course another stupidly early morning
start, before the return to the office around ten o'clock. The day was
another busy one. It concluded with a trip to Chancery Lane for a
seminar about fraud. After this, a few of us went off to a local
tavern for further discussion and refreshment. So it was a late night!
Thursday was little better: another astoundingly busy day as we
continued to deal with the usual monthly cycle of reporting alongside
new queries. Not surprisingly there are lots of new and interesting
questions to ask people who are involved in or committed to credit
risk reporting.
Long time readers will know I was active in the professional body for
bankers in Australia and New Zealand, so I certainly didn't want to
miss their first ever event in London. It seems that FINSIA will be
launching a modest programme of events shortly. If this comes to pass,
it will mean that my membership fee will be money well spent.
After that, I went back to Liverpool Street, to the King's Stores, to
say goodbye to Simon, who is off to HK for six months. He's a Spurs
fan, so he's probably glad to be off the scene here for a while.
And Friday was a day for celebration: twenty-one years for Viv and me.
We celebrated this as you might reasonably expect.
Viv had celebrated the first part of the anniversary with a trip to
Alder Hey for blood tests for Christopher. In the afternoon, she got a
phone call apologising profusely for it, but despite being questioned,
they had only taken one sample even though they needed two. So Jon
gave us a lift over to AH on Saturday, so that they could take a
second sample. (This proved to be a waste of time. They lost it. They
also mislaid Christopher's notes, but I'm getting ahead of myself.)
Saturday afternoon, David was off to Hoylake to help with Catalyst. We
went over there with him, but we walked along the beach from WK back
to Hoylake. It's not often we get time to do that. I think it might be
the first time I have been to Red Rocks in the daylight.
On Sunday morning, Julienne had very generously offered to take C to
AH for his next chemo, so that both Viv and I could both go to
Sheffield with David. This is it: the first son off to University. It
wasn't as dramatic as it could have been. The trip to Sheffield was
straightforward. Once we got there, it was a last meal together.
Unfortunately, this was a meat feast from BK, but D seemed to enjoy it
anyway. Then off to Tapton Hall, where Viv felt the need to unpack for
Back home via Holy Trinity, Rusholme, though Christopher went home via
Handforth. He hadn't had the best day, as they had needed to take
another blood sample and analyse it before they could start the
chemotherapy. But it seemed to be OK in the end.
The service in Rusholme was an uplifting experience to be sure and Viv
and I were both glad we had gone.

There. That's one week sorted, just about. Now for week 2...

An early start again. But the local train to Chester was cancelled, so
I had to buy a full fare ticket via Liverpool to London. Over a
hundred quid... $200 to the Americans... $300 to the Kiwis... Not
But I could sleep uninterrupted for two hours.
Monday: another busy day at work. They all are, these days.
Once I got back to Wembley, it was straight to sleep, just about. The
spectre of a VAT return still hung over me.
Tuesday, just escaped in time to give my speech at Broadgate Speakers.
This was an opportunity to try it again before I speak at the Area
contest. Once again, I won both the best speech and best table topics
vote, which is good for the ego, of course.
Wednesday and Thursday were more busy days. I don't remember doing
much either night. I know I had said to some of you that I would
probably find time to post to LJ on Wednesday but I was too tired. I
think it was Thursday night that I ended up watching Channel 4's
Virgin Daughters, yet another opportunity to beat Christians with a
stick. It used to be that the media treated all Muslims as being the
same: they are all nutter extremists. I'm not sure that it's much of a
step forward when they now also treat all Christians as the same.
Apparently we're all nutter extremists too. On the other hand, there
are many aspects of the promise movement that make me very
uncomfortable, though part of their thinking is reasonable. That's the
problem, of course: it's the things that are nearly the truth that are
most dangerous.
(South of Rugby already? Goodness me!)
Friday was a day so full of things to do that it seemed I'd never
escape. But I did, about half past six, after having the opportunity
for lunch with Nick.
Saturday started quietly as Christopher and I went out to buy some
bacon. He's very keen on the Saturday fry-up. Matthew went off to
watch the Everton-Liverpool derby (0-2 to the Reds - take that you
Catholics) but didn't return till much later,
somewhat tired and emotional, having also seen Hull win a famous
victory over Arsenal.
We had a flying visit from Murph on Saturday evening too. Great to
catch up with him, even though it was so brief. He and Abbi seem to be
doing well, which is good for everyone!
Off to church with Christopher in the morning and then off to the
Merebrook with the boys at about half past twelve. Then after lunch I
finally faced the looming VAT return deadline. I don't like them, and
I don't like the cheque I have to send to HM Revenue and Customs with
it. We should all pay our taxes with a smile, but HMRC seem to prefer
(We're freewheeling and that's no way to get to London quickly, is it?)
So, I'm on my way to London for another week, which hopefully won't be
"unprecedented". As a B&B shareholder, I'm interested to see what
happens next, though the fact that the Benelux governments have put
12bn into Fortis suggests that it isn't over yet.
Forthcoming attractions:
Tonight probably: evening meal with Lis
Some time this week: a new sermon or two online, possibly some
obsolete financial reflections too.
Thursday: St Helen's Bishopsgate City Partners event
Next Tuesday: Area Humorous and Table topics Contests. 7pm sharp at
Islington Hilton. £3

It seems that I've just about typed my way from Crewe to Watford. By
now, Christopher will be at Alder Hey having another blood sample (or
two!) taken in advance of Wednesday's treatment. He has been very
bright and cheerful recently, which is good news for all. And some of
his hair is growing back, though he's still wearing a cap in public
most of the time.
It's a glorious morning. The sun is shining, and there are just a few
clouds in the sky. The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is upon

I think that's all for now. Will that do? We'll be at Watford Junction
in a few minutes. This is Tring. I'm just quietly listening to Guilty
Pleasures on the train's audio. Is the term "power ballad" ever used
in a positive way? I've been listening to this channel for ages now
and I'm looking forward to the new programme which should be along
shortly. Airlines change their programmes every month, but Virgin
Trains only change theirs quarterly.
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