nineveh_uk
22 July 2014 @ 02:16 pm
One of the things that I do in my job that often provokes me to eye-rolling is try to get people to understand that if they shirk [unpleasant task] the problem will not go away, but that it may potentially get worse. There are things that go away if you ignore them: bruises, sulking 5 year olds, cats. The “will it go away if I stick it in a drawer for a month” school of time management also often has its merits, so long as you get the thing out of the drawer next month and take action if required. But there are also the things that don’t go away, that fester and get worse and worse and worse, and the things that you hoped you could ignore and the worst wouldn’t come, and then in fact the worst does come, and the things that just stay annoying forever.

One of my more entertaining duties at work involves handling things to do with named chairs/statutory professorships/whatever you want to call them*. These can have files that go back 150 years, in which I occasionally have to look stuff up, and when I do I cannot deny that having looked up [the religious approaches of previous professors – I particularly enjoyed that one, which revealed one joining the Ba’hai in 1912] I spend an extra bit of time reading the random letters from Tolkien/committee papers written on the back of during the war paper shortage/sets of horrifically embarrassing press cuttings about a scandal/humorous notes full of ‘my dear Carruthers’ and ‘good chap’ and ‘a damned close-run thing’ etc.

But I digress. The thing I am currently looking up is not a tangent, but a query around a thing that the faculty would like to change when making its next appointment. I am checking whether anyone has ever tried or desired to do this before. To which the answer is yes, they have been wanting to do this for nearly 45 years, but every time the issue arises it is too much bother and they say that they’ll do it just as soon as they’ve avoided it one more time**. Not this time they bloody well won’t.

All of which is going the long way round to say that the ECB needs to sack Alastair Cook as captain now because they ought to have sacked him sooner, and if they don’t sack him and let him go away and bat a bit, then they will inevitably end by having to sack him and he won’t be able to come back and bat at all. Which will hardly be great for him or the England team. And for goodness sake, stop this quasi Gentlemen and Players business and consider giving the captaincy to a bowler.

It won’t happen; the selectors are serial offenders, the failure of management and leadership goes far beyond the captaincy, the rank favouritism is obvious and increasingly heading for disaster, and

*Like the Rawlinson and Bosworth Professorship of Anglo-Saxon held by J.R.R. Tolkien.

**They nearly managed it in 1975, but there were objections and rather than have the argument, they caved.

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nineveh_uk
In fairness, if mobile phones with cameras had existed when I walked to school, and I had seen a giant salamander, I would certainly have recorded it*.



I am feeling a bit cheesed off, having come down with a cold just at the point at which I saw light at the end of the tunnel on a couple of work fronts. I cracked and went home for the afternoon in the hope that a rest might head it off a bit. We shall see.

*Technology outstrips language. This sentence originally read, "In fairness, if mobile phones with video cameras had existed when I walked to school, and I had seen a giant salamander, I would certainly have filmed it."

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nineveh_uk
14 July 2014 @ 02:37 pm
The excellent [profile] lopezuna_writes has a new Wimseyfic, asking the eternal question ‘what if Harriet had refused Peter at the end of Gaudy Night?’

The other way round

Highly recommended! There is another 'Harriet says no' fic somewhere that someone has written, but I can't find where - possibly in comments - but it is less long-term. If it was yours, do let me know!

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nineveh_uk
Red-headed 20ish woman walking along in front of me, talking to her friend.

Woman: [Flicks hair]

Friend: [comment about the weather being better now]

Woman: …the sun should help. I mean, somebody actually called it auburn! I was like, excuse me, it’s ginger.

In other, slightly disgusting, news, I have acquired a classic scab on my knee. This is not due to falling over in the playground, but caused by bashing my knee against the wall when turning over in a single bed.

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nineveh_uk
08 July 2014 @ 10:08 am
Let’s get the most important thing out of the way first: the Earl of Harewood* can pronounce his title how he likes (Har-wood), but the village and the house are pronounced as spelt, Hare-wood. Thanks to the twitter commentariat for getting that one corrected by later in the broadcast.

I had an excellent couple of days watching the Tour de France. On Saturday we stationed ourselves in Otley, staking out a prime spot on a corner and a mini hill before 8 o’clock, with the sole disadvantage of some bongo players opposite. The police were swiftly trained by the crowds: drive past without acknowledgement, and you get nothing. Entertain us in some way and you’ll get a cheer. After the racers themselves, by far the largest cheer went to the lorry distributing small packets of Taylor’s tea. Scaffolders have clearly done well out of the weekend, with lots of people putting up small platforms in their gardens to raise themselves above the crowds or a wall. Sunday was a dash to a roundabout on the A59, five minutes before the peloton came through. Here it is on Saturday:

IMG_4831

There were a lot of helicopters about. I rather liked the man shouting ‘It’s an invasion!’

All in all, full marks to the team who brought the race to Yorkshire and delivered splendidly, nul points to UK Sport who recommended that no government funding for it at all should be provided (in the end they got £10 million), even after it beat DCMS-backed Scottish bid, and VisitEngland who tried to take over the marketing. No doubt Gary Verity has been thoroughly enjoying offering them large servings of humble pie. Getting multiple farmers to dye their livestock has got to be a strong indicator of success even before you start counting the crowds, and there were a lot of crowds. I'm going to be watching the full broadcasts while doing the ironing over the next couple of weeks.

Back to work tomorrow afternoon – well, tomorrow morning, when I am going to be working on the train. But first I am off to Beryl at the West Yorkshire Playhouse for more cycling-themed entertainment.

*Surnamed Lascelles, pronounced to rhyme with tassels.

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nineveh_uk
03 July 2014 @ 07:49 am
The Tour de France starts on Saturday, and I am looking forward to a long weekend and watching the race – or the five seconds or so as the peloton whizzes past. I am not particularly interested in cycling, but it will be An Event. I am recording the two Yorkshire days so as to enjoy the scenery at my leisure.* I could really do with a long weekend. Work has been very intensive this term, with a couple of very challenging things going on. I feel I’ve performed well in them, and have had strong feedback, but it has had its moments and I am in need of a break. Though probably not as much as the person who yesterday backed a scaffolding lorry into the stone gatepost to the drive outside my office building.

I finally managed to catch up with the broadcast of the Globe’s The Duchess of Malfi on BBC iPlayer the other night, and am inevitably kicking myself for not managing to see it live, because it was terrific. The Cardinal wasn’t my favourite – the actor’s facial features reminded me rather unfortunately of Tim Roth as Cardinal Richelieu,** which distracted me from a strong performance – but both the Duchess and Bosola were very engaging, and Ferdinand... Basically, David Dawson as Ferdinand was my platonic ideal of Ferdinand, with febrile eyes, pinched and haunted face, and general air of twitchy and pitiful psychopathy. Nor was the incest underplayed.*** Have some extracts here.

*Must make sure there is space on the DVR.
**Doubly unfair as I have never seen Roth as Richelieu, I just know he was in that recent, dire film.
*** The ‘strong-thigh’d bargeman’ line gets a mention in not a few reviews.

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nineveh_uk
27 June 2014 @ 10:52 am
My office is close to another building that is having major renovation work done to it, by which I mean it is being gutted of all non-essential parts, having bits torn off it, and surrounding concrete broken up. As you can imagine, this can get quite noisy. This is not helped by needing the windows open at this time of year to cool things down. Most of the time it isn’t too bad, being the sort of steady rumble that is present, but not necessarily intrusive. Sometimes it makes the radiators shake or sounds like a very large gear wheel is being tortured, and then I want to bang my head against the wall, and wish I had been organised to enough to take whatever I am doing home to work.

And then there are the blood-curdling screams, because the builders are quite vocal. Obviously, tossing scaffolding poles to one another or handing large planks of wood up to the second floor does involve a certain amount of communication, and it’s fairly obvious when they’re doing that, or organising things, or having a chat, or perhaps sometimes just overcome with the desire to imitate the calls of newspaper sellers. What is not obvious is why every so often they let cry a blood-curdling scream, such as might be uttered by a man who in renovating an old hospital building has accidentally awoken an evil spirit from beyond the grave, and in his surprise has dropped a sledge-hammer on his foot. Since evidently no harm of this sort has come and the building is only pigeon-haunted, I can only assume that this is not what it is going on, but it is quite distracting.

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nineveh_uk
24 June 2014 @ 09:09 pm
For those less taken by the football, the Volcano World Cup! England’s performance is, predictably, pretty abject.

Must get my summer holiday sorted, it's nearly July.

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nineveh_uk
21 June 2014 @ 03:18 pm
Cabin Pressure/Test Match Special

GERTI and crew provide last-minute transport for the TMS team to London on National Cockapoo Day*.

*Which according to Michael Vaughan should be 17 July, first day of the England vs India test at Lords.

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nineveh_uk
It is the weekend, I have no work to do, I have nothing that I absolutely need to do and cannot delay. I intend to do it.

Actually, I intend to spend some time outside in the sun, listen to the cricket, watch some TV, all three possibly while doing some ironing,* and go for more than one walk.

Also I shall do some writing. That is non-negotiable. So that is what I shall do.

*It must be done. It threatens to take over upstairs.

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