Posted in Updates on Thursday 18th November 2004 at 10:13pm

Back from a couple of days away at the Capita EMS National Conference. Set off late on Tuesday and spent the evening at Burford, which turned out to be a remarkable little Cotswold village which I'd love to visit again with more time and better weather. Nice food in a quiet and rather ancient pub.

Heythrop House is a fine early 18th century house, with a disappointingly ugly 20th century conference centre tacked on. The facilities were however pretty good. In general, felt happy to be able to attend - the brief chats with other LEA reps indicated that we were doing pretty well by all accounts. Comforting peek at future plans too.

Entertainment was also interesting - rather bland dinner, and an after dinner speaker who was closer to an old-school stand-up comedy act! Didn't hang around too long at the disco. Felt old and tired by now. Sloped off pre-midnight to my colleagues shame.

Day two was equally reassuring. Brief presentation from the DfES representative who has perhaps been most involved in Coordinated Admissions. Again, felt like we were on course, certainly in comparison to some others.

Very sleepy ride home in dark and damp weather. Time to prepare for this weekend, and another conference...


Posted in Updates on Wednesday 3rd November 2004 at 7:32am

The older I get, the less confidence I have in democracy. I suspect that roughly 48% of the US voting public feels similarly just now. Of course, as I write all is not lost for the Kerry/Edwards campaign and all eyes are on Ohio - but in fairness it's not looking good.

Over the last couple of months of hysteria, I've heard from two separate friends with relatives in the US how their families were doggedly, almost obsessively pro-Bush. I sense that neither of these families would have materially suffered under a Democrat president, but there is some unspoken fear of the unknown at play. The Bush 'just about holding on to the reins' style of leadership seems to fit perfectly with the 'America Under Sieige' mentality he has created. Its as if he is saying "look folks, I can't hold this door shut for much longer - you guys enjoy four more years of paranoid insularity while I keep the bad guys at bay". So many Bush voters seem to have ignored the key questions yet again - who are the bad guys, where are they, and why do they care about us?

Four years ago, when the genetic strand of democratic socialism was perhaps still stronger in me, I proclaimed that the end of the world was nigh under Bush Jr. Perhaps it's really just democracy that is going to end - that twisted idea that a lucky break represents a mandate, and that a baffled, mislead public can effectively choose its leaders?


Posted in Updates on Tuesday 19th October 2004 at 10:29pm

The Birthday. I have to confess that this October has seen none of the strange badness which normally plagues the month for me. I've actually managed a successful holiday, made some reasonable work progress, and generally stayed positive in a reclusive sense.

Today however was a little tough. Woke late, feeling appalling - considering most of the UK population I met on my travels had either a severe cold or a stomach bug, I'm amazed I lasted so long before succumbing. Struggled into work, and through six rather tricky appeal hearings, which were none too successful.

Some positives - had my attendance at a conference organised by our software suppliers approved, which means a couple of days of intensive networking and hopefully sharing experiences with other authorities struggling with the same problems. Also arrived home to find my ticket for the LAMAS Local History Conference at the Museum of London. Booked the train ride. Should be an interesting day, just a week after my visit for the Lord Mayor's Show.

On the birthday front, things were quiet - which was what I prefer. Being out of the office for much of the day prevented any ceremony there! A call from my parents and a couple of text messages from important people.


Posted in Updates on Sunday 17th October 2004 at 1:07am

I am sort of back from my week away.

I've spent the last six days zipping around the UK, popping up in unlikely places, wearing the same trousers and badly needing to shave. The tour has taken me to Glasgow (twice - but in total for less than an hour), Dover, Norwich, Manchester, Sellafield, Leeds, Nottingham, Aberdeen, London, Ramsgate, Inverness, Plymouth (for ten minutes - all of them pre-0500hrs) and Redditch among others. I've made dozens of journeys, hundreds of sightings and eaten far too much bad food.

I may try to distill my strange and wonderful week into separate daylog entries once I've crunched the numbers, examined the photographs and got rid of the rails which whizz in front of my eyes whenever I close them.

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I've had a home on the web for more years than I care to remember, and a few kind souls persuade me it's worth persisting with keeping it updated. This current incarnation of the site is centred around the blog posts which began back in 1999 as 'the daylog' and continued through my travels and tribulations during the following years.

I don't get out and about nearly as much these days, but I do try to record significant events and trips for posterity. You may also have arrived here by following the trail to my former music blog Songs Heard On Fast Trains. That content is preserved here too.

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