Monday, 23 November 2009

Taking the piss

A client wanted to do a spot of plastering and fancied trying his hand himself. Nothing wrong with that - I'm all for spreading the word about proper materials as well as hogging work for myself.
He wanted to mix his own plaster, and saw from Ty Mawr's website that a local branch of Jewson's stocked tubs of their lime putty. How very forward-thinking of Jewson's. And then he asked the price.
£24.45 per tub, plus VAT!
That's seriously taking the piss. OK, as a trade customer, I could get that from Jewson's for around £13 a tub, but Nigel at Ty Mawr sells the stuff direct for £8.40 - or a tonne for a shade under £200. By contrast, a tonne of putty from Jewson's would cost my client nearly £800. Is it any wonder that people are put off doing the job properly because of the cost?

Now where was I?

...before I was interrupted by a vulgar little myocardial infarction? Probably ranting.
Anyway, it would be nice to say that I'm back with lots to report, but if truth be known, the chill hand of the recession has gripped this part of the world to the extent that very little is ongoing. In some cases that's a blessing; I was beginning to despair of the number of "renovation" projects that involved stripping out as much original fabric as possible and replacing everything with either plastic or imported hardwood before giving everything a liberal coating of cement and gypsum. thankfully most such projects are on stop, and the speculative cowboys and ignorant second-homers seems to have retreated for the time being.
The second-homers are a bloody pain, though. This year many houses have remained empty and unkempt as the absentee landlords forsook their two weeks in the rain and cut back on the gardener and the part-time housekeeper, and some villages around here are looking rather shabby as a result.
Even before this summer's abandonment I ground my teeth when I heard Lord Hindlip's lumpy daughter on the Today programme. She said that as the owner of two holiday homes she did her bit to support the local communities; nevertheless, "communities have to save themselves," was her blithely Thatcherite prescription.
I'd love to plonk her in the middle of a village near me where two thirds of the houses are empty for much of the year and see how she sets about galvanising that community in helping itself.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Johnny Collins

A nice obituary in the Guardian today for Johnny Collins, a superb singer and a thoroughly nice chap.
Johnny was on tour, singing in Gdansk, when he had a heart attack and died just hours after finishing a performance last weekend.
A great bear of a man, I found Johnny slightly intimidating when I first encountered him some 15 years ago, but he was one of the warmest, kindest individuals you could hope to meet. Here's an interview with him from 1998 which gives a flavour of the man.

Abdication crisis (again)

According to the Architects' Journal, the Prince of Wales has stomped away from SPAB in a huff because the society doesn't agree with his rather hardline views on conservation.

The AJ reports:
The falling-out centres on a foreword Charles wrote for a handbook on the restoration of old houses. The heir to the throne used the opportunity to express his belief that buildings should always be restored in their original style. The society, which frequently uses modern architecture and design, asked Charles to amend his conservative views. The Prince refused and subsequently resigned from the Society.

Philip Venning, secretary of SPAB, said: ‘We agree with so much of what he says, but on the issue of new design there are occasions when we disagree, and we don’t disguise the fact. We were pleased he was our patron.’

Charles was asked to write the foreword to The Old House Handbook by its authors, Roger Hunt and Marianne Suhr. After his work was rejected, Philip Venning provided the introduction himself.

The SPAB, founded by socialist architect and writer William Morris, is the world’s oldest environmental campaigning group. It is understood that Charles resigned from the Society several months ago when his five-year term as patron ended - before his very public row with Richard Rogers over the Chelsea Barracks development.

SPAB has yet to appoint a new patron.

It strikes me that HRH was rather clueless to accept the post in the first place if he failed to find out tht SPAB has nothing against new work, and has its own award to promote good new design in the context of historic buildings.
Perhaps SPAB will seize the opportunity to appoint a patron who actually knows about the society's work and who can actively work to promote it.
Whoever does get the job would be advised to spend just a couple of minutes reading what SPAB says about its aims:
Our work is guided by these principles:

Repair not Restore
Although no building can withstand decay, neglect and depredation entirely, neither can aesthetic judgement nor archaeological proof justify the reproduction of worn or missing parts. Only as a practical expedient on a small scale can a case for restoration be argued.

Responsible methods
A repair done today should not preclude treatment tomorrow, nor should it result in further loss of fabric.

Complement not parody
New work should express modern needs in a modern language. These are the only terms in which new can relate to old in a way which is positive and responsive at the same time. If an addition proves essential, it should not be made to out-do or out-last the original.

Regular maintenance
This is the most practical and economic form of preservation.

Although, to be honest, I would have thought that that a body like SPAB would be grown-up enough to be able to enter the 21st Century without a patron to, er, patronise it.

Friday, 15 May 2009

As the storm clouds gather...

...and the future looks ever more uncertain, sometimes one stumbles across something that raises the spirits.
We could all learn, I think, from Archibald Clark-Kerr, 1st Baron Inverchapel.
As British Ambassador to Moscow in early 1943 he could be forgiven for feeling gloomy. Nevertheless he found time to write a letter to Reginald Herbert, 15th Earl of Pembroke and 12th Earl of Montgomery - a panjandrum of some note at the Foreign Office.
The world was falling around them, Hitler was still untamed and things looked decidedly bleak. Yet Archie, I feel, hit the spot:

God bless the Freedom of Information Act.

A remarkable sale...

The sale of a Victorian village at the Shambles Museum, Newent, Gloucestershire:
Some remarkable things there, from coffin handles to taxidermist's equipment. And the chance to place a bid online. The temptation is too much...

Monday, 11 May 2009

An alloyed success

I've always been a huge fan of the Open University. It's one of those legacies of the Wilson years that really seemed to catch the spirit of an age and to have gone on to make a truly positive long-term contribution to the country. Only a churl or some embittered whey-faced academic, too long in his ivory tower, could dare say anything nasty about such a cuddlesome concept.

Then I enrolled as a student, one of the 180,000-odd people being churned through the machine. And now, three years into a history degree and nearing the end, I have to wonder if the OU really does cut the mustard as a 'proper' university.

From the start the OU has had an open entry policy - hence the name - whereby students' previous academic achievemnts (or the lack thereof) are not taken into account when enrolling for courses. For someone like me, who chucked away the chance to do a Botany degree many moons ago, that's probably irrelevant - a reasonable crop of A levels would have done the job regardless - but for many who left school without qualifications, the policy is the only key to the door of higher education.

Once through that door, though, the open policy appears to continue in a way which does little credit to its much-vaunted status as a pukka university. I have no idea what the courses were like in 1969, but in 2009 they seem to be too bloody easy.

The OU states that one of its 60-point undergraduate courses requires 14 hours a week of study to master. Currently I'm signed on for two concurrent 60-pointers. By rights I should be spending pretty nearly a full working week just on the university work. Am I buggery.

Yet, on the basis of the results I'm getting, it would seem to be perfectly feasible to trouser a 2:1 with about three hours' study a week.

The material - beatifully produced, it has to be said - is effectively spoon-fed to the students and the essays (tutor-marked assigments in OU speak) are set about with so many notes, guidelines and hints that it would seem to be impossible to fail.

The pass mark is 40 per cent, but one would have to be monumentally dim to fall even anywhere near that level. Even among the Desperate Housewives who twitter on the online OU conference forums, there is never a mention of failure, and if the semi-literate, solipsistic and frankly stupid level of writing on the boards is any indication, then failure bloody well should be an option.

Yet a simple regurgitation of the materials you have seems to be adequate for a second, and it appears possible to complete a degree entirely without once looking something up in a library.

I can't help but feel I'm taking the piss. Someone like me, with a cavalier attitude to the course, who never attends tutorials (they would involve five hours of travel, for Pete's sake) and who stuffs his study into odd moments in the week, surely shouldn't be able to get away with it?

So, the OU is undoubtedly a good thing. But does it have to be quite so dumbed down? Certainly it's hardly surprising that was rated the top university in England and Wales in the 2005 and 2006 national student satisfaction survey, and second in 2007. Who's going to grumble when things are quite so soft?

Anyway, enough wittering. I've got an essay to hand in today, so I'd better get started...

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Quem pastores

The last ewe finally lambed a full two weeks after the others. Oddly the raddle mark on her bum showed that she had been tupped at the same time as the others, but biology and calendars have a habit of confusing the unwary. Or perhaps she was just the ugly one, and the ram deliberately left here until the last (she looks attractive enough to me, but maybe that's rather more information than one should put in a blog post!).
There's always a slight pang of reget when the lambing comes to an end. The long, chilly evenings spent in the lambing shed are tiring enough, admittedly, but there is also something magically atavistic about seeing a new life arrive. Sitting there in an old chair, cat dozing on the lap and just a dim light from the lamp and the sounds of rustling,breathing and cudding, there's a feeling of a bond shared with every shepherd back to the dawn of time.
They're out on the pasture now, though; the ewes happily working through the fresh grass and the lambs alternately running in packs up and down the hedge-line and dozing in untidy heaps in the sun. The swallows have returned and the days are longer, so (for now) all is at its best. And I'm finally catching up with sleep.

Work continues to come in, thank goodness; thus far the recession doesn't seem to have deterred people from wanting work done on their houses, although the new builds around here are nearly all on stop, and lay-offs are continuing. Interestingly the website stats show that around a quarter of the hits over the past month have come from searches on 'penetrative damp'. Has the Daily Mail done a feature on this lately? I'm intrigued to know the reason for the sudden surge in interest for penetrative damp.

Meanwhile the conservation project work seems to have settled into a routine of 10 per cent 'useful' work and perhaps 90 per cent bureaucracy, with seemingly endless paper-trails to be laid and followed. Today's exercise is 'branding'. To quote, 'In accordance with Annex VI of EC Regulation 1974/2006 it is a requirement to acknowledge and promote the assistance from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development also known as “EAFRD”.' and so on, for 16 bloody pages, until the clincher; 'It is important to adhere to these European requirements. If they are not met, European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) payments to beneficiaries may be withheld or “clawed back”.'
That's telling me.

Saturday, 18 April 2009


Where was I? Yes, that. And then lambing started. Hell but it's been bloody tiring this year. It must be because I'm getting older, as there weren't any more complications than usual, and only one lamb has ended up on the bottle - a runty triplet that arrived late and was promptly rejected by the mother. Still, one or 10, the buggers still have to be fed, so it's up at three every morning to stagger out to the lambing shed, get butted and splashed with milk (which always smells appetising the first time you smell it - like fancy ice cream - but which soon cloys after a few night feeds).
Just two ewes left now, both bloody huge, like sagging zeppelins, and both doing little more than eat, crap and pant. In their position I'd be hard put to do anything more, I'll admit.
Anyway, that's my whinge/excuse. I had sorely hoped to get lambing finished by this weekend to enjoy a break in Devon, but it wasn't to be. Arse.

Friday, 20 March 2009

There's tidy!

Yes, I know I'm playing straight into the hands of the advertisers by promoting a viral video, but this one is too good not to share:

Now, if only Wales can show some of the same flair against Ireland tomorrow...

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Brilliant Noise

Having been rather busy over the past fortnight, there's not a lot to add. Save, that is, for the sun and everything under it.
I found this to be rather remarkable and, in its own way, even quite moving. It's the sun, as seen in raw data from countless satellite images, with the sound supplied by the shifting energies of the sun itself. In the great scheme of things we really are quite puny and insignificant...

Brilliant Noise from Semiconductor on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Apropos nowt in particular

Nothing to do with buildings, but I offer this as received from a friend. It made me chuckle:

Apparently, everyone's favourite knuckledragging halfwits, the British National Party, have launched a campaign to return Eastern Europeans back whence they came rather than 'taking all our jobs' here.
They illustrated their posters with a stirring, patriotic image of a Supermarine Spitfire. The machine, Romeo Delta Foxtrot, had an illustrious career with the fabled 303 Squadron.
You can see what's coming next...
303 was a Squadron of Polish pilots.

More here, including the picture the BNP seems to have half-inched.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

A suitable case

Credit crunch, downturn,depression; call it what you will, it seems we're saddled with the bloody thing for the foreseeable future.
Of course, it's an ill wind. The serious shoeing the banks have had over the past year has put paid to some of the more ludicrous and grandiose building schemes that would have seen yet more of the old East End put to the bulldozer, while the horrible Caltongate scheme in Edinburgh has thanfully been shelved, as Nemesis reports elsewhere.
Notwithstanding that, however, in a more parochial sense, the recession is already turning out to be a bit of a bummer for the conservation and 'heritage' sector.
The building trade as a whole is already feeling the pinch, with clients reluctant to spend money in the current climate. New builds are worst hit - most of the sites near me are already on stop, and one local contractor that I know of has laid off five staff since Christmas. But now even the limestone cowboys are exposed. I'm fortunate enough to have work booked up until the end of summer, but thereafter? Who knows?
Certainly it does look as though one source of work for the conservation sector is about to take a kicking. Wearing my other hat, as a conservation project officer, I'm trying to encourage clients to take up large amounts of grant money to have conservation work carried out. The snag is that they have to provide some of their own money.
Understandably, most don't feel in a position to do this at the moment. We may call it match funding, they simply regard it as an unnecessary extravagance.
And 'they' are not just private clients. 'They' are also large public bodies and local authorities. I had a chance to secure £60K a year of grant money for domestic properties in one conservation area on my patch. All that was needed was for the local authority to agree to match this with £60K of its own money.
The issue went to committee and then to cabinet. The answer that came back this morning was a flat 'No'.
Coming on top of the Iceland debacle (in which my authority was one of the losers), and the general pulling in of horns, a grant of £60K would be hard to justify when education and social services were facing cuts.
As a result a total of £120K a year will not now be going into the conservation and restoration sector in my area alone. Arse!

Monday, 16 February 2009

Victorious viewing

To be honest, the box usually leaves me cold, but last night I caught the first of Jeremy Paxman's programmes on the Victorians and was wowed by it.
The Victorian era is not a hugely popular one in the British consciousness, as is witnessed by the uphill struggles of the Victorian Society and SAVE to preserve and protect so many of its buildings. Paxman makes a persuasive case, however, and one can only hope that his splendidly Reithian series goes some way to instilling a new sense of pride and wonder in the achievements of the era and does something to sweep away the misconception of the age as one of ugliness cloaked under cloying sentiment.
He makes his own case rather well in a piece in The Times.
One reason for me to like the programme was the lavish attention paid to Ford Madox Brown's social-realist painting Work, long a favourite of mine. In a sad, spoddy way, its details appeal to the builder in me; the sand-screen in use for grading the aggregate, the shallow wooden barrow, the hod with the leather shoulder-pad and the intense, almost homo-erotic physicality of the workers in the pre-machine age of civil engineering. Wonderful stuff (And Heath Street is still largely recogniseable today, thanks in part to the actions of the effete intellectuals being subtly slighted in the painting...).

Brown wrote in his own 1865 catalogue notes,
'At that time extensive excavations, connected with the supply of water, were going on in the neighbourhood, and, seeing and studying daily as I did the British excavator, or navvy in the full swing of his activity (with his manly and picturesque costume, and with the rich glow of colour which exercise under a hot sun will impart), it appeared to me that he was at least as worthy of the powers of an English painter as the fisherman of the Adriatic, the peasant of the Campagna, or the Neapolitan lazzarone. Gradually this idea developed itself into that of Work as it now exists, with the British excavator for the central group, as the outward and visible type of Work.'

Quite why Carlyle and FD Maurice are standing by so idly is anyone's guess - if one didn't know better one would think Ford was having a dig at them as well.
But back to the prgramme. If nothing else. Paxman's series certainly makes for a bracing antidote to the mawkish travesty of Flora Thompson's wonderful trilogy that precedes it - the execrable Lark Rise.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Two cheers for English Heretics

We've had three years of harrumphing since the last raft of Approved Documents - the "Building Regs" - came into force. Overall, a jolly good thing they were too; a real commitment to meeting our Kyoto targets and cutting energy use in the UK. Apart, that is, from the way they have been implemented.
If an old building was not listed, in a conservation area or a scheduled ancient monument, then one could pretty well guarantee a long and frustrating debate with the Building Control Officer over what historic features could be retained and what had to be smothered or removed to satisfy the perceived demands of Part L of the Regs. Some BCOs would listen to reason and treat a case on a 'whole house' basis, offsetting one element against another, others simply dug their heels in and risked becoming landfill as tempers rose.
Now, however, English Heritage has published the fruits of its discussions with the government on part L.
The full text of the suggested ammendment has been posted by our friendly neighbourhood conservation officer here.
He argues that the whole exercise has been pretty much a waste of time, given that the net result would seem to be 'no change'.
I'm inclined to agree, up to a point. Nevertheless I'm also inclined to give two cheers for the revision for the simple reason that at last there seems to be a recognition that traditional buildings behave in a different way to modern buildings, even when they don't have the magic protection of listing, being in a conservation area or as ancient monuments.
The bit that slightly warms my cockles is:

"There are three further categories of buildings where special consideration is encouraged:

a) buildings which are of architectural and historical interest and which are referred to as a material consideration in a local authority’s development plan; or

b) buildings which are of architectural and historical interest within national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty, registered historic parks and gardens, registered battlefields, the curtilages of scheduled ancient monuments, and world heritage sites; or

c) buildings of traditional construction with permeable fabric that both absorbs and readily allows the evaporation of moisture."

The particularly welcome bit is section 'c'.
I've lost count of the number of times I've encountered Building Control Officers who simply cannot see that there is a significant difference in behaviour between a modern house and a traditonally-built, solid walled and breathable building. All too often they simply regard Part L as published as Holy Writ, leaving me grinding my teeth in frustration and the client bewildered.
Specifically, the new wording asks BCOs to seek advice in "making provisions enabling the fabric of historic buildings to ‘breathe’ to control moisture and potential long term decay problems."
I do hope this is adopted, for anything which encourages BCOs to take off the blinkers is welcome.

Friday, 6 February 2009

An appropriate message for the day

A lovely, simple poster, recalled here.
But what's the font?
I've been arguing the toss for a couple of days now with fellow typography nerds, and almost had it nailed as a version of Gill Sans, but on closer inspection it clearly isn't . Neither is it Johnston, nor the great P22 Underground typeface.
All I know is that the original commission for the poster stipulated that it should be in a "special and handsome typeface" to make it difficult for the enemy to counterfeit it. As such, it appears to be a 'one-off'. Some unknown graphic designer missed his or her chance to make a mark on history with 'Blenkinsop Sans' or 'Fothergill Futura'.

Shameless nostalgia

...and shamelessly stolen from someone else's link, but I thought it was too good not to share. What with all the talk of snow and transport chaos, it was lovely to see Geoffrey Jones's fantastic short for British Transport Films; Snow. For those of a certain age there's an element of nostalgia, but it's also a fabulous piece of film-making, and praise be to the BFI for making it available.

And all done on 35mm film, too.
There's more about it here.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009


Pish. I've just logged on to the office system to check my emails. And I'm now informed that the IT equipment I ordered can't be charged to the project because the office manager didn't put the right code on the requisition.
Welcome to the world of local government.
What's the deal?
Because this project* is being paid for by the EU (or maybe because it's been drawn up by some anally-retentive bean-counter with an unhealthy obsession with Star Trek), my funding is allocated in quarterly tranches. This is the first quarter, and the target is ridiculously high. Nonetheless, I have to meet it, lest I be branded a workshy, lily-livered, whey-faced, do-nothing dullard.
The set-up costs were meant to come from that first quarter, and I had hoped that the meagre IT request I'd made would go a little way towards meeting that target. Needless to say, any monies not spent in one quarter cannot be carried forward to the next.
Ho hum.

* The project is, officially, a heritage project. Am I alone in absolutely bloody hating the word heritage? To paraphrase Goering, when I hear the word heritage, I reach for my Browning.

Nearly done

Now looking more like a house. It's gone up about 14 inches at the eaves to give some more headroom upstairs, and the awful brickwork has been replaced with stone throughout apart from the stacks themselves. Overall, a satisfying job - though still not quite finished. It's been delightful working with a client who just wants the place 'as it was', but with mains electricity (instead of the diesel generator it had) and proper extensions rather than the timber and asbestos sheet lean-tos that had once surrounded the place. The house has been in the same family for the best part of a century but had been virtually uninhabitable for the past few years.
Inside there's still all the interior plastering to do, plus first fixes for power and water, but a corner has been turned. And, if truth be known, it's projects like this that make this job is vastly more satisfying than the other job. Not a word to the council though!

Getting there...

There wasn't a lot left by the time the fragile bits were cleared away, but nearly all of the stone could be salvaged and - immodest as it seems - a rather better building has resulted. The original house was extended upwards in the early 1900s, and the standard of workmanship was mind-bogglingly bad - bricks were laid stacked with no bonding, bits of loose timber were used structurally and overall it was a miracle the place had stood as long as it did.

Then the extension could go ahead, properly tied into the stonework. Yes, blockwork, I know - but given the work involved, I'm bloody glad they didn't want the whole thing in rubble-stone!

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Nothing to see - move along. Just the early stage of a project that's nearing completion. If the weather's half decent tomorrow I'll get some 'after' pix.
This, by the way, is an object lesson in learning to question your local building control officer. Rubble stone walls do not like being undermined, even if the BCO says it's necessary to dig straight down in order to lay a raft for an extension. Two days of rain, and the house falls down.
Always dig on a batter of at least 45 degrees. And, if in doubt, get an engineer in.

Fading away...

It's nice sometimes to find only good words to say about people or organisations.
Yesterday I was looking at the war memorial in a village. It was a cut above the average; a statue of Peace with an olive branch above a rather grand red marble plinth, the whole thing set about with an ornate set of wrought iron railings.
It's only a small village and, back in 1923 when the memorial was put up, it must have meant a lot. As it should, given that 13 men from that small village were killed in the Great War.
As the UK's National Inventory of War Memorials has it:
It also describes the condition as "GOOD". Which it isn't.
In truth, the memorial is looking rather sad. The olive branch has crumbled away, Peace herself is streaked and grimy, the marble is dull and the railings are corroding and splitting.
Surely something could be done to help, I thought. I could find some money from grants, but it would need to be matched. And how, in a depressed rural area, is one to come up with match funding?
Enter the War Memorials Trust, a charity which does what it says on the collecting tin. The trust is able to give grants towards the restoration and reinstatement of memorials. Not huge grants, but enough to make a difference.
The trust doesn't make a fuss, like the RSPCA, and I imagine that very few people make bequests to it or offset chunks of their hedge fund for gift-aid tax relief. But it chugs on, doing invaluable work. Bloody good it is, too.

Monday, 26 January 2009

The secret of comedy...

...dear boy, is timing.
And of largesse, it would seem.
In the normal course of events, riding into town with a wheelbarrow full of cash to help restore the historic features of vernacular buildings would be seen as a pretty nice thing to do. OK, it might not make auburn-haired temptresses swoon at your feet, but it should make you rather more popular than the night-soil man.
But that's the normal course of events, and not events as manifested through the prism of a national assembly and the EU, and launched at precisely the moment when economic confidence and the will on the part of punters to invest in such things has gone through the parquet.
So I find myself in the odd position of having money to give away and yet no-one's queuing up to take it. All I get are rather suspicious looks.
The problem is that the cash in question is grant money that needs to be match-funded. Nasty plastic windows? You really need some nice timber windows instead. One snag. You need to fill in a nine-page form, seek three tenders, get planning permission, be granted a unique case number by the national assembly and have the work done and signed off in three months. Just enough time for the pigs to get their pilot's licence, I would have thought, given the way things work in these parts.
Oh, and you've got to pay 20 per cent of the cost.
Normally the 20 per cent wouldn't be too much of an issue, but two things have thrown a spanner in the works. One is Joe Sixpack defaulting on his tar-paper shack and sending the world's banks into meltdown, and the other is the fact that the areas I'm targeting have just been blitzed by a uPVC window company practically giving away their shite on the never-never. Walking down the road is a depressing experience - every other house has brand new plastic windows, many of them still with the paper protective tape round the frames. And, understandably, the owners aren't too gruntled at the prospect of forking out to replace the windows they've already bought and will be paying off over the next ten years.

Thursday, 22 January 2009


Still just to the east of Herts.
But anyway.
I was struck by a post on the Period Property forum in which someone made much of their professional work on a house near Birmingham. To me the place looked absolutely bloody awful - a weird mix of materials left exposed inside and outside and clearly a 'renovation' rather than a sensitive repair.
Yet the website made much of their use of traditional materials, and seemed to tick many of the right boxes. To the casual browser it would seem that this was the 'proper' way to treat an old building.
OK, the work done was not destructive to the fabric of the building, and my gripes are largely aesthetic, but it still rankles.
And, yes, it might be that the client specifically asked for the exposed stone and brick, but if that were the case I'd be a bit embarrassed to showcase it quite so boldly, let alone pimp it on another website.
The moderation on the forum in question does seem odd - on the one hand it allows this sort of bollocks, yet it bans people who say anything remotely contentious.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Manage Blogs

At least that's what it says on the admin page. And then, in parentheses , '1 total'. As if that's meant to be some sort of reproach. How in the name of all that's sweet can anyone manage more than one? I imagine I will find it hard enough to manage this one - there will be lacunae and longeurs; times when bugger-all appears to happen. But enough of my blathering...

A sobering thought

Two Google searching equivalent to a nice cup of tea. The tea would be preferable.

A tentative toe... dipped into the waters. So, a solipsistic piece of onanism, a tree falling in the forest or just a stream consciousness punctuated by mood swings, tiredness and cheap booze; Molly Bloom with PMT? Yes. Yes. NO!

We'll just have to wait and see. Meanwhile, there are sheep to feed, silage to move and water troughs to check. Hey ho - of course he's the fucking farmer, Withnail - or has he come on holiday by mistake?

Things could prove sticky with this keyboard - it's been so sore abused that the keys stick like snot to an oven door, and typos and literals are guaranteed unless I hammer the keys with enough force. The gentle patter of touch-typing it ain't

So there you are. Like most losses of virginity, vastly over-rated. Not as sticky as some, however.