Council meeting beyond the stars

Yesterday, in a council Executive meeting considering a report by the Audit Commission on the council’s performance, one of the Labour councillors responding made a reference to engine rooms and Scotty.  In other words, I think, much of what the Audit Commission was talking about was relevant only to a few people in the council whose job it is to keep the council moving financially, rather than the more public-facing parts of the council.

I took the Star Trek references to heart, and made a little out of including some in my response.  I got in “make it so,” “transporter room,” and “the engines cannae take it, Captain” just in my remarks on the Annual Letter.  Later, I made some reference to going boldly, and was faced with split-infinitive pedantry.

It wasn’t just me.  Once we’d got going, a Labour councillor responded that clearly Lib Dem voters were “Life, but not as we know it,” and another who confessed to not knowing much about Trek thought that anyone who didn’t agree with him must be “Lost in Space.”

It was a very long meeting.

New music

Watching the latest Scrubs (5×10) last week, I was rather taken by a song (regular readers now groan as we’ve been here before.)

This one was rather easier to find just by Googling some of the lyrics than the last one…

Working all day for a mean little man
With a clip on tie and a rub on tan
Running round the office like a dog around a track
But when I get on home I know you’re there to rub my back

Hey Julie!

So a week later thanks to Amazon Marketplace, I’m the proud owner of a Fountains of Wayne CD which arrived this morning just as I was heading out to work. So I played it in the car.

I have been here before soo many times. Liked one song, bought the album, hated the rest.

Not this time! There are some great songs, and I listened to it about three times altogether, when you include lunch and coming home for an early evening meeting. Cheerful, happy songs with a guitar or three. Country-alike songs you can sing along to on the first hearing. Clever words. Exactly the kind of music I like.

So, hopefully there will be more CDs in the post next week

Trial Run


Trial Run

Originally uploaded by nilexuk.

For tonight’s Valentine dinner signature dish: peanut butter baked alaska. You can’t get that in your fancy shops.

Just can’t shake the thought that it looks like a frog.

The menu in full:

Greek salad

Beef bourguignon

Peanut butter baked alaska

FODS weekend write-up

A few jottings about the weekend ringing tour around Nottingham’s tram, all brought together into one post.

St Leo’s

Originally uploaded by nilexuk.

First stop on Fods tram tour. Lovely ring to start the morning on the only Southwell peal installed as a war memorial. Ringing an expert balance of the superbly struck difficult methods and accessible rounds and easier methods. A wide variety of abilities, including including some word than me! I didn’t get lost in a touch of Bob major! Well, not properly lost.

St Giles

Originally uploaded by nilexuk.

23 of us by the time we got to Bulwell.

Random photo of pouting Sister Mikey

Originally uploaded by nilexuk.

Not quite up to her usual gorgeousness.

St Mary Magdalene

Originally uploaded by nilexuk.

On to Hucknall. First ringing chamber I’ve ever seen to have nightclub flyers pinned to the noticeboard. On the way, Tiffy had to stop to buy flatter shoes. Numbers swollen to about 25 but no sign of our member who’s on crutches. Just as well, as Hucknall church turned out to be a very long way from the tram stop. I should really have checked that before the day itself. This is the only tower I’ve not grabbed before today. I now have blisters on my hands to match the ones on my feet. Handling is a little tricky here on some of the bells but they sound good outside. And I just rang Grandsire Triples for the first time this millennium.

Disaster strikes at lunchtime

Originally uploaded by nilexuk.

Plans for lunch fall through when the Sal is unexpectedly closed at lunchtime and the Fods scatter across the city. The Sal had promised me they’d have no problems accommodating a group of 20 turning up on spec, so I have no idea how they managed to be closed! I ended up getting a pint in the Newmarket, a pub I have not been in for a very long time, followed by a posh sarnie and a double espresso in a caff on Heathcote Street before getting back on the tram and heading to my home tower.

All Saints


All Saints

Originally uploaded by nilexuk.

People reluctant to leave dinner. Plus it’s not straightforward finding the tower from the tram stop. So hardly anyone here on time. Still, ringing up now.

Achievement

Originally uploaded by nilexuk.

I can add Plain Bob Royal to my list of difficult things rung today. Only needed to be put right twice in entire plain course! This is so much fun. I really need to make a concerted effort to go to practice and service ringing more often.

Huge embarrassment at St Peters

Originally uploaded by nilexuk.

Because the St Peters key holder was away, they left a copy of a key with me to let our tour band in on the day. But I forgot some of the details of trying to get into the tower and we spent 15 minutes trying to get the key to open the wrong door before someone who’d been here before pointed out the error of our ways and 24 of us could finally troop up the stairs. Nice ringing once we got here. The full ring of 12 are not loud enough to interfere with the buskers in the street below. Am now busting for the loo, but no chance to go any time soon. I’m not one for peeing up a church wall, even in extremis. Added Plain Hunt on 11 to my repertoir after a few shakey starts and then sat out while the band decided what Maximus it could ring. Cambridge and Yorkshire were ruled out after it transpired that some of our more able ringers were sitting St Peters out in the pub after a recent traumatic peal attempt, and a plain course of Little Bob Max ensued. Now the gossip is that the Sal has been closed by the police and we are all a little intrigued. Violent crime? Serving minors?

St Mary’s

Originally uploaded by nilexuk.

Arrive late at St Marys after a comfort break and coffee at Starbucks. Ring rounds and calls and we all get hopelessly jumbled in an attempt to get to tittums. It’s very difficult to pick the smaller bells out from the larger ones. The sound is fudgy in the ringing chamber, but the room is palatial after St Peters. The 24 of us look lost in it. The route up is over the roof with a fab view over Nottingham rooftops towards the Castle past St Peters and the Pitcher and Piano. Not for the first time, I’m regretting not bringing my real camera with me today and having to rely on my phone. The band gets two touches of Grandsire Cinques and eventually gets around to ringing the long threatened touch of Cambridge Max. Which sounds fine to me, but I can still only hear the fudge.

Sunday — Service ringing (for some) and lunch

Five brave Fods ringers made it to service ringing in the city this morning. I and two others turned up at All Saints to ring with one local and two other people who just happened to be in Nottingham for peal ringing and who just happened to turn up for Sunday ringing at All Saints. The student band (who I normally ring with) succombed to an attempt at the Campus 14 the night before (a drink in each of the 14 bars on the university campus) and stayed at home en masse.

Two other Fods ringers made it to service ringing at St Marys.

The rest of them didn’t make it out of bed until it was too late.

Unsurprising, really, given that many of the Fods members had been out crawling the scene in Nottingham and availing themselves of the various venues. I spent more time in the Lord Roberts this weekend than I have in some considerable time, and had more fun than, well, ever! Not only was the place overtaken by ringers for much of the evening, but two exes happened to be there for various parts of the evening, and it was nice to catch up with them.

The weekend has been really productive from a work perspective as well, as two of the ringers are local government professionals in areas that are hot topics in Nottingham at the moment. One person works in waste management running incinerators, and another is a transport planner. So we passed the odd productive 5 minutes in conversation about the issues affecting the city.

Later, and after much more drink, and somehow bypassing the eating stage, we moved on to the Central, a place I haven’t really spent any time in since it was Gatsbys, and a place that is incredibly smokey. Since there was no beer, I had to switch to an unspecified number of gin and tonics. A long heart to heart with the transvestite Fod ensued, during which she demonstrated a useful skill and correctly guessed my Myers Briggs classification based on what we’d talked about. INTP.

In the end, I talked myself hoarse, walked her home, eschewing the trip to NG1 that many of the other members made, and got home by 2am so that I’d be fresh for ringing in the morning.

In the event, I was mildly hungover at 8am when my alarm went off, but my trusted hangover cure (one part ibuprofen to two parts black coffee and two parts bacon sandwich), and got to All Saints in good time for a nice ring.

The morning continued back at the main Fods hotel where those of us who’d made it to ringing sat in the restaurant and looked smug at those who barely struggled downstairs in time for breakfast. Then, en masse, we went and had lunch at the Olde Trip to Jerusalem. Half of us occupied a room hewn into the rock face beyond the cursed galleon and used outlandish and obscene conversation to prevent any other people muscling in on our room.

Eventually, the party broke up and people started to make their ways home, amid hugs, and promises to see each other at the Washington DC tour, the London EuroPride weekend formal dinner, tour and Pride ringing, and the Exeter weekend which will be the Autumn tour.

Judging by how often and how profusely I’ve been thanked, a good time was had by all! I know I’ve had a lot of fun this weekend, so thanks to all who turned up.

Well!

I’d already got a lot out of the Dunfermline by-election — nice people, a stellar candidate, totty, as  mentioned previously.
But a win as well?  16% swing against Labour in their heartland?  Winning the seat the Chancellor lives in?  Wiping the silly grin off the shiny new Tory leader’s face by proving we can thrash them in a by-election when we don’t even have a leader and we’ve spent the campaign suffering erm, unfortunate, publicity?

Plus shedloads of cash on my bet?

Priceless!

I’m safely back

Note to self: if driving to Scotland again, do so in daylight for spectular countryside most of the way.  Almost 7 hours to drive home.  Somehow, despite leaving Scotland (north of Nottingham) GPS managed to route me so that I arrived in Nottingham from the South.  Cumbria is full of speedcameras.  One on every bridge, mobile vans.  Must keep a careful eye on the post.

Ballot papers have arrived for leadership election.  Bumped into both Huhne and Campbell during the campaign, both of them desparately trying to be leaderly and wander around the HQ inspiring activists.  I was actually staying in Campbell’s constituency.
Very tired now.  My eyelid is spasming and I can hardly keep awake.  But there are results to wait for and a leadership hustings.

Have driven nearly 1,000 miles including ferrying leafleters around for practically every waking moment in the last few days.  Probably 100 quid in petrol.  And why?  Of course there’s the fillip of helping do my bit for the party.  But mostly it’s the people.  Loads of totty, some elected totty, and this time, tons of Scotty totty.  Loads of people like me, only nicer, brighter, and harder-working.  A chance to oil the network wheels, and find out what jobs are going.  Lots of bright young things in new jobs who got there by turning up at by-elections.  Loads of American interns who were all slightly shell-shocked, hadn’t banked on seeing Scotland at all during their stay, and were mostly livid that KFC UK doesn’t have ‘biscuits’.
Starving and CBA to cook.  Feet in a seriously bad way. Ringing tour of Nottingham this weekend to put final touches to.

zzzzzzzzzz

Wake me for the results.     If we win, betfair.com gives me my petrol money back and a little over.

I'm safely back

Note to self: if driving to Scotland again, do so in daylight for spectular countryside most of the way.  Almost 7 hours to drive home.  Somehow, despite leaving Scotland (north of Nottingham) GPS managed to route me so that I arrived in Nottingham from the South.  Cumbria is full of speedcameras.  One on every bridge, mobile vans.  Must keep a careful eye on the post.

Ballot papers have arrived for leadership election.  Bumped into both Huhne and Campbell during the campaign, both of them desparately trying to be leaderly and wander around the HQ inspiring activists.  I was actually staying in Campbell’s constituency.
Very tired now.  My eyelid is spasming and I can hardly keep awake.  But there are results to wait for and a leadership hustings.

Have driven nearly 1,000 miles including ferrying leafleters around for practically every waking moment in the last few days.  Probably 100 quid in petrol.  And why?  Of course there’s the fillip of helping do my bit for the party.  But mostly it’s the people.  Loads of totty, some elected totty, and this time, tons of Scotty totty.  Loads of people like me, only nicer, brighter, and harder-working.  A chance to oil the network wheels, and find out what jobs are going.  Lots of bright young things in new jobs who got there by turning up at by-elections.  Loads of American interns who were all slightly shell-shocked, hadn’t banked on seeing Scotland at all during their stay, and were mostly livid that KFC UK doesn’t have ‘biscuits’.
Starving and CBA to cook.  Feet in a seriously bad way. Ringing tour of Nottingham this weekend to put final touches to.

zzzzzzzzzz

Wake me for the results.     If we win, betfair.com gives me my petrol money back and a little over.