It's just been mad with work which is strange as August and September are normally dead months for consultancy work - clients off on holidays and all that. Not this yeasr, it seems. I've been spending the last couple of months juggling multiple client commitments and shuttling between home, Warrington and other parts of the North West and Newbury. Even flew up to Inverness for a site visit! Heh. When this busy period started I had a title for a LJ post - "Welcome to the Hellmonth (or two)" but never quite got round to it.
Still, boss is happy: my utilisation is through the roof, to the extent that my variable compensation for August was 200% of normal, September should be the same (there's a lag of 2 months) and I got a quarterly Professional Services Award which, along with a certificate, comes with a handy chunk of cash. Almost makes all that driving up and down the M6 worthwhile. Almost. However, shouldn't complain too much or even at all, given the current grim economic situation.
And the extra cash will come in handy because... I appear to have put an order in for a Skoda Superb. OK, let's get the piss taking over and done with but it's a big hatchback with a massive boot, good reviews and an awful lot of kit for the price. ETA currently around end of the year. Annyone fancy a by then 8 year old Mondeo which will have about 70k miles on the clock by then? ;-)
I also have 21 days leave left to burn. Yes, that's *left* and that's for this calendar year and can only carry forward 5 days (and I need to book in a 5 day training course too). So, looks like 3 and a bit weeks in Malaysia for aeshna_uk and I this Christmas which will still leave me taking 5 days forward (which will have to be taken before 31 March but I'll worry about that bit later)! However, due to leaving it a tad late to book, looks like we will be transiting via Cairo!
Other things then, somewhat randomly:
- First of all, for anyone still mourning the passing of Oriental City, check out Pacific Plaza in Wembley. Same sort of idea - Asian food court. Not as many stalls as Oriental City had but it's still early days. I certainly hope it takes off! Found out about this from an AA man of Malaysian descent when the car's spark plugs started playing up. The merest of a silver lining, I suppose...
- mrmrsmith and ladydchaos's Wedding - top bash and most impressed at the number of people who made it to the pub meet the day after!
- Quiet Birthday this year with just a few people round at Firebase Finchley, mainly because I completely failed to get much of anything organised in time due work occupying week fully and leaving me knackered for the weekends. Despite turning 42, the Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything appears to still elude me.
- Went to see Lady Antebellum with aeshna_uk, thanks to her spotting they were playing in London. As I only discovered them thanks to semi-random browsing in a store on a trip to the US and it being country music and all, I was kind of expecting the O2 Shepherds Bush to be semi-deserted. It turned out to be heaving. Discovered later that, with their second album, they've been one of the biggest selling bands in the US this year. Heh. Not sure who was more surprised at how full the venue was: me or the band members!
- Still not managed to go airsofting. However, I may have an alternate means to getting my hands on that airsoft M60. The MACV-SOG guys have pointed out that I am now one of them as far as they're concerned which makes me not just a re-enactor but one for a period appropriate to the weapon (still amused about buying the AUG A3 as an English Civil War re-enactor).
- Been boxing, eBaying and purging stuff as part of general process of aeshna_uk moving in. Where the Hell did all these trading cards come from? Good thing the LOTNA auction's coming up ;-)
- Not been to fencing the last two months. Next session is going to hurt...
- Now have a netbook (an Acer AspireOne D260, christened Fenris) as sometimes lugging personal laptop along with work and client ones becomes undesireable. Pretty nifty so far.
- The N97's touchscreen crapped out and had to go back to Nokia for repairs. Learned as a result that Nokia warranties are apparently 2 years! It may only be a year ago I got the N97 but going back to the N95 with the PocketPC for satnav duties felt like going back to the Stone Age! With < 6 months till my contract's up, I already have my eye on potential replacements. Lead candidates are the Nokia N9 and HTC Desire Z i.e touchscreens with keyboards.
- Very pleased to see Fringe, Chuck and The Big Bang Theory back.
- Still managed to make some progress with reading and notes for the ARVNcyclopedia. This might actually be a go-er...
- Got a small group of English Civil War re-enactors coming to stay this weekend for the Regicides March this Sunday. Need to catch up on two months of already neglected domestic chores. Good thing too that the Pope's gone home. Not sure what he'd make of the Army of Parliament marching down the Mall occasionally bellowing "No Bishops, no Popery!"...
Well, that's about it for now. Probably lots of stuff I should have mentioned. Life should ease up a bit but never can tell...
A strange thought - just heard about the Chilean miners' rescue being brought forward to tonight. Interesting coincidence that they've been trapped since the start of August, when things started getting really busy for me, and they're coming out the day I finished up the big report that's been occupying me most of the last two+ months!