Wednesday, 26 September 2001

Old News - Newsletter September 2001

Mountain Man is off in Peru doing the Inca trail at the moment, back in a week. Unfortunately the trip fell right between 2 of my deadlines, so I couldn’t go. Rather upset about that, really, as my deadlines have just been moved yet again so that I would have been able to go!

The events in America are not really affecting us yet, although there is a lot of sabre rattling in Parliament. I knew about the first plane within minutes of it happening, and was watching from that point onward. We got no work done that afternoon, just watching online or listening to the radio. They let us go home early, mainly because no work was being done I think, but it was nice to get away from the centre of London! We were all flinching at every plane overhead!

Things were a bit tense and jumpy for a couple of days, but seem to have settled back to normal now. I don't believe anywhere except America is a target. If we do end up in the 'war' things might change, but I'm not losing sleep over it. I should be at ground zero if anything happens anyway, so with any luck won’t know about it!

The only real effect it has had is on flights! Mountain Man was due to fly BA to Dallas on last week Sat morning on his way to Peru, and they were only allowing American Airlines in to the US. He and his mates were at Gatwick by 6am on Sat for a 10am flight, and ended up flying to Cuba on Sat evening instead! He finally got to Peru yesterday! I just hope his flight home is OK.

Hmm, what else? The only interesting thing I’ve been up to lately is taking Mom to Paris for a long weekend about a month ago. Mountain Man was meant to go with me, but there was a huge hassle with his UK and French visas all expiring at the same time, and he couldn’t come. Luckily my Mom was in England, and I phoned her frantically on the Thursday morning to tell her she was flying to France with me on Friday morning!

She got back late that night, and the on Friday morning we flew off to Paris, arriving midday. We had a very interesting navigation from the airport into the center of town, and then walked from the station to the hotel to get a sense of our map’s scale. It turns out it was pretty big, and we were very hot and bothered by the time we found it! However, after a shower and change we ambled back out and took a stroll to the river. By this stage my feet were killing me, so we sat down and had an ice cream looking over the river. It was now evening, and we hobbled back to the hotel via open-air wine cafes, and a glorious dinner outside too. The whole weekend was hot and sunny – the days in the 30s, and the nights around 25.

Over the Saturday and Sunday we went all over Paris on the open-topped bus, hopping off here and there for a closer look. In the afternoons we would find a tree and/or café to while away the hottest hours before exploring the backstreets looking for a congenial café for dinner. It was such lovely weather, and the crowds were so crazy that we decided to go into only a couple of places, and rather to walk around the streets and parks. We are determined to go back in winter to see all the museums and galleries though.

We got back to London on Monday, after a very long and stressful journey. Charles de Gaulle airport is one of the most grungy and uncomfortable I have been in - surpassed only by Kathmandu. I'll be taking the train next time.

Not much else going on here. I had dinner with Tara on Friday, and by 3am we'd got through 3 bottles of wine. Saturday was rough, as I went to Stonehenge and Salisbury with Mom and A (who had a bad cold). Luckily they were driving and I could doze in the back seat! Mountain Man and I are going to have to go back and do it again properly, as the place is stunning.

Sunday I slept late and woke up feeling great. I've downloaded the audio books of the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings (I want to refresh the story before the film comes out) so I did loads of domestic stuff while listening to it. Mom left A languishing in bed and came to visit me in the afternoon, and after she left I dug out my sketching stuff and did my first decent drawing in several years. I'm getting back into it I think, and it's going to be a joy to do it again this winter. They're not very good yet, as I am very rusty, but there is hope. It is satisfying in spite of the result anyway.

Work is crap. I really can't give a damn at the moment, after the latest deadline shift. My live date is now the middle of October. I still can't believe I met their insane 3rd Sept deadline only to have the work left mouldering for the past month. Bastards. We are now held up by hardware problems. There are the odd things still to do, which I am eking out. None of my managers can program, so they know nothing about how long it should take anyway. I've downloaded some French lessons, which I listen to in the background as a distraction... sod this recession, I want to go back to contracting. Moan moan – I’ve just come back from the pub where a few of us were complaining about work, so I’m a little worked up.

Tonight I am having a fondue with T and J. Then a couple of days to recover from that, and we are out for drinks on Friday. T wrote her doctor specialist exams this morning, and will get her results on Friday, so either way it will be a piss up. They only pass the top 40% so it is touch and go.

Then Saturday to recover from that, and on Sunday morning Mountain Man should be home. The last couple of weeks without him have flown - it is very wierd to think he is in South America at this moment! It feels like he should be at work on the other side of Waterloo station!