Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

HNY2008 from me to all of you!

I must get round to doing my review of the year for 2007....  Someday!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas Everyone

So what do we think the chances are that the big box under the tree is:

(a) For Me


(b) a Nintendo Wii?

I'm reckoning slim to none!

Friday, December 21, 2007

We may starve!

What do think?  Is there enough food in the fridge and freezer for Christmas?


Ha Ha!

Whilst Jase's greenfields site may be devoid of celebs, I have spotted one of my all time favourite people in Chiswick today!!!

I saw Hugh Fearney-Whittingstall driving a white van on Chiswick High Road. He's one of my favourite TV chefs and food hero.

Now beat that, Jase!

New Job - First Impressions

So here we are, two weeks into my new job. Time for a bit of a first impressions blog.

Wow! The commute sucks but my new job is great. Once the schools are back my drive to work will take between 60 and 90 mins and my drive home will take 80+ minutes. At the moment it is OK as the traffic is quiet in the morning and manageable in the evening.

My job title is “Senior Business Analyst”, but my role can be summed up as helping the business decide how it wants to change it’s processes and then helping to drive that change though. Most of this will be through IT projects, but it should also include process re-engineering.

I am kind of going back to my roots with this move to L&G, as it’s core business (Protection) is what I started out doing at both Standard Life and NAB.

The people here are all really friendly (even the contractors!) and whilst politics clearly play a part on the day to day machinations of the company, they don’t seem to cause too many blockages.

The building has an odd layout (being like a giant figure 8), and the loos are all in the central hub (which is annoying as I work at the top of the figure 8 and the canteen / café is at the bottom of the 8). The café does a nice cappuccino and the restaurant is reasonably priced (if not subsidised) and the food is of good quality.

Whilst I haven’t got my own laptop yet, the PCs and infrastructure seem to work well, although I am dismayed to be using Office 2000 again. Using Outlook as opposed to Lotus Notes is also a refreshing change.

The current big project is close to deployment and looks like it will work well. The majority of my time at the moment is being spent with the contractors learning about the new system so that, along with the other new starts, we can become the new business experts on the system.

I am the second new analyst to be hired in the last month, with one more joining this week and another in the New Year. I think the ultimate goal is to recruit 5 in total, so they are still one short. The team consists entirely of contractors and a permy manager, so the business is clearly looking for fresh blood to clear out the contractors. I hope we are given ample time for the “knowledge transfer”.

I also need to come up with a new feature for my Blog header as this greenfields site is completely devoid of celebrities! Suggestions on a post card!

Relief and Disaster

I checked my bank account this morning and was relieved to see my Christmas paycheck sitting there, smiling back at me. Not having a proper paycheck for 5 months has been no fun at all. Now I just need to remember my Credit Card bill and not start planning a spending spree!

I then opened my email to find out that a close friend has just been told that he will be one of the 40% of his company being laid off in January.

I'll be doing a "Review of 2007" post next week, and was trying to really be upbeat for Christmas, but news like that really kicks you in the nads. At least I got 3 months' notice from NAB and kind of saw it coming from about 3 months prior to that. I think 1 month's notice out of the blue just before Christmas is the worst thing to do to someone. It ranks up there with 1 week's notice, 2 months before someone's wife is due to give birth!

My commiserations mate. :(

Sunday, December 16, 2007


I'm delighted to announce that Gareth failed in his challenge to beat me at Star Wars DVD Trivial Pursuit.  It was very close, but I took the title 2 rounds to 1.  Gareth took his defeat like a man and issued a return challenge for the next get together.  I was happy to accept.

Gillian, being uninterested in Star Wars acted as question master (doing a supreme job) and then managed to pick up Gareth's spirits by steering the Scottish team to the narrowest of victories at normal DVD Trivial Pursuit.  Serena and I suffered greatly at the hands of the "Wheel of Death" on multiple occasions!

This defeat was for-ordained in a way, as Serena and I have lost before in a very similar manner to Jase and Charlotte.  They have denied us access to a rematch though!

Given time there may be some Genus III action today for the ultimate in Trivial Pursuit tests.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Back to work


Jase is back to work and seems to be enjoying it (not the long commute, but everything else).

I'm sure he will fill you all in soon.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Middle Man...

If I am the Left Hand and Legal and General are the Right Hand, then does that make the Agent (middle man) the Dick?  Mine seems to be!

Having been told that I am to start work on Wednesday 5th December and that I would receive the paperwork through the post I have been unable to raise my agent since.  I have received no paperwork and now that I have phoned L&G's HR department they have told me that they think I am starting Monday 10th December.

Oh well, three more days of freedom!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

We are alive (honest)!

So what have we been up to?  Well we just came back from a week up north, where we spent a few days with my parents in York before heading to Edinburgh for Jocelyn's christening at St Giles' Cathedral.  We then drove all the way back down, staying over in York on the way back.

We did the journey in two cars, so we could swap cars with Serena's parents for the return journey.  I have my old red Honda Civic back and will be trading it in some time early next year for something bigger.  Serena now has her Mum's Honda Jazz in trade for her Nissan Micra.

To make the journey a bit more bearable for Lauren we bought a portable DVD player on which she watched hours of Teletubbies and In The Night Garden whilst I listened to audiobooks on my MP3 player!  Serena and Jocey happily listened to Classic FM in the other car.  In fact Jocey was exceptionally well behaved on the drive and is turning out to be a little angel!

We are now well on with spring cleaning our whole house in preparation for Christmas, as we have a house full for both Christmas and New Year (our trip to York for New Year has been canceled and my parents are coming to us instead).

Beyond that I finally have a start date for my job at Legal and General, after they decided to carry out a full five year reference and credit check on me!  That meant capturing info from our stay in Australia, so the whole process seemed to take forever.  I start on Wednesday 5th December.

Both Serena and I have been really good recently as well, going to the gym, eating healthily and I have also been taking Lauren swimming (although she doesn't really like it yet).  It was paying off as I had lost 10 lbs, but I suspect the unhealthy eating of the trip to our parents will have undone some of the good work.

Plans for the immediate future are finish the tidying and get the house straight before the Weegies descend upon us in a fortnight and a family lunch with Jase and Charlotte celebrating Charlotte's 30th birthday!  Then it will be polishing my shoes and finally having a shave!  Being on the social for so long means that my beard is rather bushy!