Sunday, 28 February 2010

Boston Revisited

Much to my great surprise I had to make a second visit to Boston and our labs at Littleton within a month. This time, with a sales colleague Nick, we were to accompany a couple customers while they did some testing and assist with some in-depth discussions. The trip got off to a shaky start as the customer's staff could not make Heathrow in time for our flight as their connecting flight from Manchester was delayed by snow. We agreed to go ahead and meet them later in Boston. This time the weather was warmer, just above freezing, but with the promise of heavy snow later in the week. To be safe we decided to take a 4x4 rather than a regular hire car.
Nick and I wondered around Boston whilst we waited for the customers to arrive; it was interesting seeing it without the covering of snow.

We had the opportunity to have a close look at the Holocaust Memorial; six glass towers, one for each of the million people exterminated in the concentration camps. What I had not appreciated when I saw them from afar on my first trip is that they are covered with the inmate numbers which were tattooed on each prisoner. It is a very powerful and moving memorial.

The trip itself was reasonable successful from a business perspective. We were able to cover off the customer's questions and concerns; we will have to wait and see whether the orders follow!

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Walthamstow Market

Last Saturday Julia and I decided to go up to town and visit Oxford Street and the Wallace Collection; using of course our Freedom Passes. Whilst on the tube going to Oxford Circus I mentioned that the line ended at Walthamstow. Julia said that she had never been there so that is where we went. We were amazed at what we found; the longest street market in Europe!

It was fascinating, it is an old cockney market which is now infused with a strong ethnic mix.
We had a great day browsing at the myriad stalls and shops that lined the streets. It would be a great place to buy your fruit and veg, cheap prices and good quality. There are plenty of cafes to stop for a coffee and a bite; not to mention numerous pubs. There is still a traditional Pie and Eel shop, Manze's which has been restored to its former glory.
A great day out, a London gem which is often overlooked.

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Thursday, 18 February 2010

Old Lags Reunion - revisited

The "official" photos are now available, here are some for your delectation!

With Alison and my old manager Tom Aspinall

Not the most flattering of photos to say the least!

Slightly better!

Whatever happened to the diet?

Oh dear, whatever happened to the diet? First there was a "boys" get together with Terry, malcolm and Mike to celebrate Terry becoming a grandad again. Then the Old Lags Reunion, where the odd glass or three was drunk was followed by a Catenian Dinner the next night. This was in an excellent Italian restaurant in Bermondsey. A great time was had by all. Julia and I went by public transport, which is free to the over sixties - who said that there were no advantages in getting old? We had a lift home which made it all the better.
Then there was rugby over the weekend. I just made it to the start of the Welsh/Scottish game as we had been helping at church in the morning. The exciting Saturday games were followed by the turgid English performance on Sunday. England were dreadful; but at least they won. Andrew, Gaew, Kieron and Claire came round to watch, at least we could chat and have a beer during the sorry spectacle.

A young couple have moved in to the house opposite. They called round to see us whilst the game was on, at least it enlivened the proceedings! They invited us over for pancakes on Shrove Tuesday.  Julia was unable to come as she had a UCM meeting. I had a meeting but was able to join them at about 9pm. They are a lovely couple and had some interesting friends; but boy did I feel old. they are all about thirty or younger, I somewhat raised the average age in the room. The pancakes were lovely but I ate far too many!

So far I have avoided putting on any weight despite all the food and drink - but I am still x stone 10 lbs - time for another run (or slow jog!).

Friday, 12 February 2010

RS6000 - Old lags Reunion

Twenty years ago IBM launched what was for it a revolutionary new computer running a Unix operating system called AIX,  the computer  was called the RS6000.

The range at launch
An early notebook weighing at about 15 lbs!

Those of us who worked on the product in the early years meet up annually to have a reunion. Normally we meet on Beaujolais Day in November. However as this month marks the 20th anniversary of the products launch we postponed the 2009 celebration to this month so that we could all meet and celebrate properly. Some 38 of us "Old Lags" met up for a trip down memory lane. It was a great success; I met up with two of my old (aren't we all old now) managers who I have not seen for some 15 years. One of them has a house in Devon and hopefully we will meet up for a beer when we next descend on the lodge.
We are all still young at heart!

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Of friends and family

Last weekend was quite busy and interesting. Friday night saw me attend the Kirkham Cup. This is a light hearted speaking competition organised by the Catenians. It started with a formal meeting, followed by dinner then the competition. Speakers have just three minutes so it is fast paced. There were some 163 of us there; a good evening.

Saturday saw me glued to the box watching the rugby. Andrew and Gaew joined me for the England game following the dire spectacle of Ireland v Italy. Thinking about it dispassionately the England v Wales game was not that good; but it was exciting and England won.  Besides it fulfilled one of my criteria for a good game of rugby ; one that Wales lose! I spent too many days at college surrounded by Welsh rugby players cheering on the great Welsh teams of the late sixties. I gain still recall the pain of Keith Jarrett scoring 19 points in his debut game playing England. They did have some very special players.

Sunday saw Julia's niece and boyfriend join us for a late Sunday dinner. Andrew and Gaew joined us; we had great food and a good long chat. A most enjoyable evening

All this has dome no good to me dietary campaign. the only consolation is that I am still going out for a "wobble". I think that to start with every other day will be sufficient; Rome was not built in day.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

I looked in the mirror

I looked in the mirror and what did I see?
Two fat Barrys staring back at me
This is another way to stay that I have become distinctly porky. Over the years the weight has slowing crept on until now I am an overweight middle-aged (old-aged?) man. I have had various attempts over the past few  years to shed the excess baggage but in the end LOMF (lack of moral fibre) has defeated me.  
The few weeks preceding Christmas did not help. We had a succession of weekends of parties, people staying with us and then Christmas itself. Then the snow curtailed physical activity until one day the scales just reached y stone. I am too ashamed to reveal the actual poundage, suffice to say it is far too much. 
So starting last Sunday I began to take myself in-hand. the first thing to go has been the nightly glass of wine, it is not just the wine but the accompanying peanuts, pringles etc which do the damage.
I have also started jogging or should it be called wobbling? Oh for the days when training at six and half minute miles pace was relatively easy. I doubt if I could run a 100 yards at that pace today. This has given me a reason to wear the Ron Hill tracksters that Lawrie and Emma gave me for Christmas and the windbreaker top and gloves from Julia. So far it has been mighty slow and not very far. I am hoping that this public airing of my aims and goals will help keep me on the straight and narrow. Today I am x stone 10 lbs so there has been some immediate benefit; the problem will be keeping it going in the weeks ahead; a forthcoming business trip to the States won't help!