Sunday, February 12, 2012
Friday, February 10, 2012
Two days after starting, I will be heading for China. Having never been there then this is an interesting experience. I have to think about things I haven't done before. One of those is getting a visa. A bit of planning but I am relatively intelligent, I should be able to cope. And being a proverbial Sherlock when it comes to investigating on the internet I am soon in the right place. I find the online form and fill it in. Where I don't have the right information then I know who to ask for it. Soon I have it completed. I am fascinated when I preview it and find things have been changed into Chinese. This is cool. I make my appointment at the application centre and I am set.
Today down to London to my appointment. I spent last night making sure I had the right forms, the official invitation, the photos, my passport. All there to pick up this morning. Set off early, which is a good idea as the snow has meant a problem with the train. Even so I get to London with plenty of time and am standing in front of the centre with enough leaway that I can get a coffee at Costa AND find a geocache.
Returning to the centre, I enter. I get my ticket. I while away the minutes by listening to a man shouting down te phone at someone in china because the rules for the visa have changed and he needs a letter. I feel smug, confident that I have everything. My r is called, I walk to my window, hand over my documents with a smile and "hope it's all there". The nice friendly woman starts going through it. Ahe marks off the boxes ad she checks them Tick, tick, tick .... Oh I'm doing well. Last document. Tick, tick, tick. Hesitation. Check passport. Check application. Recheck invitation. Red circle. No no no, that's supposed to be a tick. Red circle can't be good can it.
Turns out that the invitation has a slight error on it. I didn't notice one digit missing from my birth date. It's clear to see what's happened, where there should be two digits there is only one. A transcription error. Possibly not a disaster. It might be accepted. But I now have to wait over the weekend to find out. In the meantime I'm going to get a corrected invite just in case and print off all the other documents again.
Wednesday, February 08, 2012
Imagine my surprise then when I unpacked last night. And there at the bottom of my case was a small plastic bag just perfect for taking fluids through security. How do I know it was perfect? Because I had obviously used it before. Obviously because a bottle of aftershave was still in it. I'm still trying to work out how they didn't pick it up in the scanner as the bag went through. Just glad I didn't get strip searched.
Tuesday, February 07, 2012
A sales meeting up in Edinburgh meant an early flight out of Luton. This shouldn't be too much of a problem in itself, although I prefer Birmingham. Alarm clock set I went to bed. Next morning the alarm went off and I woke, got up and did the things you have to do firs thing in the morning. At some point during this process, probably around the time I was brushing my teeth, it dawned on me that I had set the alarm for the time I needed to depart rather than the time I should get up.
No need to panic. Still time. Skip coffee with the plan of getting it at the airport. In the car and set off down the M1. After all, it's still early so shouldn't be too much traffic. But this is the M1 we are talking about. It is busier than I expect. Then I hit the road works. About then I also realise that I forgot my jacket and that I have hand luggage so the deodorant and after shave are too big in volume to go through security. This is really not going to plan. Regarding the jacket, I will just stay in the hotel for three days. As to the after shave I will take it out and leave it in the boot when I park at the airport.
Except the roadworks mean big delays. I watch the minutes counting down on the dashboard. And get more and more worried. I'm someone who is usually at the airport 3 hours before a flight. This is not good.
By the time I get to the airport there is twenty minutes before the gate opens. One positive is that I have already printed off my boarding pass. But as I go to get my liquids out of my luggage the airport bus pulls up. No time. I have to rush to the bus. I will just have to discard the offending times.
Into the terminal. To the departure gate. Realise I don't have a plastic bag for the liquids of 100ml or less. And one of those is the after shave that was a present from Junior. I don't mind throwing the deodorant (although over the next few days others at the conference may not agree) but I don't want to throw the after shave. I don't have change to buy a bag from the dispenser. OK. What to do? Ha. There is a rather attractive blond just putting some money into the machine. And they dispense 4 bags at a time, not one. Charm offensive time. I put on my best puppy dog face and move into field of vision. She's struggling to open the dispensing egg. And offers me a bag if I can help. Which of course I do!
Sorted I rush to security. Who seem to be on a go slow. But I am through, don't pause to look at duty free and into the departure lounge. 5 minutes to spare. And the rest of my colleagues laughing at me, so obviously harrassed by turning up so close to take off.
And as I sit on the plane I realise I still haven't had my coffee.
Sunday, February 05, 2012
Not having a good time with this at the moment. The middle of last year we noticed that the floor was a good inch below where it should be in our conservatory and that there were gaps to the outside world around the door. This didn't look good. The conservatory was still under guarantee so we called Anglian. Who sent someone. Who said, "oh yes, that's not right, I'll have to get someone else to look". Who finally came out after a couple of weeks and said, "oh yes, that's not right, I'll have to get someone else to look!". After trying to blame nearby trees and the flower beds they finally got someone to drill an inspection hole. Hey presto, the foundations weren't dug properly. Months of haranguing finally lead to me telling them in no uncertain terms that if my daughter got injured by falling glass then I would unleash the wrath of hell on them. They agreed they had better rebuild! I sent them a nice email pointing out that our cats would have to go into a cattery so we needed warning of dates and that I expected them to pay. No reply to the email, but instead a phone call saying that they were coming the next day! Luckily a friendly local cattery helped and the cats were dispatched.
Builders turned up and made a comment about this happening a lot around here, clearly a dodgy set of builders a number of years ago. They proceeded to demolish the conservatory and did a good job. The foundations are now twice as deep as they were previously. Problem is that the weather has turned for the bad so work has halted. And the cats are still at the cattery. Oh great!