07 Jul

Europe and the Summer

Well, mucho work on RETRACK project final Technical Annexe, several submissions on a tender on fuel efficiency with FM, but also a realisation that people are disappearing. It must be the summer vacation starting to roll across Europe. For those of you who’ve not worked on a pan European basis it’s a wave of holiday that sweeps across Europe. Each nation used to have a set ‘vacation’ when the whole country went away. In many ways this still holds true, altho there is more flexibility now than there used to be. In some ways more flexibility means that the months of vacation overlap but spread further. If you have multiple nations in your work then you can effectively bid goodbye to half of June and all of July and August. Since I haven’t taken a long summer vacation in some years (we do weekends and festivals instead) this means I have to shift to a different pace and style of work. Out come the books and journals I haven’t quite read and I can work in a comfy chair with a cup of coffee or juice and read. Well that’s the theory, this year I am doing quite a bit of UK bidding so that doesn’t stop, so we’ll see how it goes. One way or another, it’ been a hot couple of weeks and I feel summer is here.

02 Jul


Spent three days in Benelux in intense negotiations about a new contract for a new rail project we hope to start next year. Let us just say that I was running on almost pure adrenaline by Friday! It was very hot and sunny and humid but sadly I was inside in meetings the whole time, and on Thursday the room wasn’t air conditioned nor pleasant after six hours of talking. Friday’s meeting was more air conditioned but more intense. Still I think we sorted out a lot of things and it can be a good project with some real results and outcomes.

I am spending today watching Babylon 5 and doing a bit of typing and email and shopping. Seeya!

27 Jun


I have finished the paper for the LRN conference. It’s amazing how many times you can write and rewrite something and yet when someone else proof reads it they find paragraphs that read like complete bollocks. I am making sure I send nothing to no-one unless Ann has gone over it in future. On a similar note I have rewritten and massively improved our forthcoming EPSRC bid, GANTT charts the whole lot. Need to navigate it through the various financial systems and submit it, but the people who run the systems at Newcastle seem very friendly and helpful so I am sure we can do it. I have started another smaller proposal to do some more work on a topic we did some stuff on earlier this year. I need to get a paper written to go towards my PhD as well. The bloody thing has been sitting in long hand in my drawer fpr 18 months now and god I don’t want to type it up. Off to a series of contract negotiations in Brussels and Delft over the next few days. Not sure whether to take a camera. One of my pix of Brussels ended up in the Schmap Brussels guide, but I am tired of photographing the city in the dying sunlight! I won’t get anytime outside in the sun either day.

We have ordered a fitted bedroom, whoo hoo! I have found a way to delete spambots from my BBS, woo hoo!


12 Jun


Well that’s the exam papers marked and half the coursework. 50 Fathoms is cancelled so I think I’ll go and play Tales of Symphonia on the Gamecube.

12 Jun


Marking exam papers today. Going to do it in a room far far away from the computer. My office phone is on the blink so that’ll keep the volume down.

11 Jun


Lovely weekend in Northampton with friends. Setup another wireless network. Presented me with some lovely new ‘features’ such as the ability of a TV to obliterarte a wireless router. Don’t put your router on your TV! Big week of marking coming up. Mind you I have very little compared to most. Going to run 50 Fathoms tomorrow night, had a trial run with Matt tonight to refresh my mind. Going to go to bed and read the rulebook again! Ann away all week in Devon doing work shadowing.

08 Jun

Tom gets a TomTom

We setup our new TomTom satellite navigation system to guide us in the car. We previously have used the built-in system in the Volvo S60, but since we intend to sell that car, we bought a portable unit to use in the new Vectra. Oddly enough I have just finished editing a paper on the effects of using such wayfinding systems in freight vehicles, which will be presented at the Logistics Research Network conference in September.

Really enjoyed reading Deadlands Reloaded but I have decided that it changes enough of the Savage Worlds system that I will start with a 50 Fathoms game instead, which will be great fun and also get me up to speed enough on the rule system before trying the Weird West game. I do like the rpg a lot, it’s what I shall be playing this summer, apart from running Mongoose RuneQuest games set in Gwenthia for the summer cons: Continuum and Furnace.

Going to set up a friend’s wireless network this weekend, then I have to go and do the same for my son-in-law the week after. I have done this so many time you’d think I could do it in my sleep, but no. There is always some cute problem that comes along and makes it all so very different every time!

No recent photography.. 🙁

05 Jun


Just had a great weekend in Amsterdam with the missus. The weather wasn’t as good as back in the UK but it improved until we were in shirt sleeves by Sunday. We found a new Asian fusion restaurant overlooking the back of the Dam monument, but basically we had a chilled cafe culture time with nothing too taxing.

I have finished reading the new Deadlands Reloaded by Pinnacle. This roleplaying game is one that in the original incarnation passed me by completely so it was great to be surprised by it. Ken Hite, the great gamer writer and reviewer, noted recently that the twenty first century has been one of retreads and releases for roleplaying games. Deadlands is a great orginal game, and Ken is right, there have been too few of them recently, however much the re-issues have been fun.

Did no photography this weekend and in fact the year is going very poorly for photos! I did use the 50mm Canon lens that my neighbour got me from HK, I must post a few of those picture sometime.

28 May

Deadlands Reloaded

Bought Deadlands Reloaded yesterday, been so productive and busy on domestic and parental duties that I haven’t read more than half a page so far! I am off to read and will report.

25 May

Lovely Day

BESTUFS newsletter done. Starting to get to grips with EPSRC bid. Need coffee. Trying to ignore lovely weather outside..