December So Far…

Well November ended on a high: whilst up in Norfolk for the weekend, I took Amy – Jack baled out at the last moment – to see London Grammar play the Open in Norwich and very good they were too (as expected).

Hannah Reid of London Grammar at the Open, Norwich
Hannah Reid of London Grammar at the Open, Norwich
London Grammar at the Open, Norwich
London Grammar at the Open, Norwich

I was also impressed in particular by one of the support acts: Josh Record, who may or may not use my suggestion of “Geoff” for the title of their presently unnamed track. Or not.

Josh Record at the Open, Norwich
Josh Record at the Open, Norwich

Tuesday of the following week and I was back off to Canada; Toronto this time to speak at a major exhibition (people actually had to pay to see me speaking). This time, it was a morning flight so I arrived at lunchtime EDT . Straight from the Airport via our offices to check the venue out for the following day, then off to the hotel to do a quick shower and change and back out for the evening: dinner at the Toronto Maple Leafs where their top player, Phil Kessel, celebrated his career 200th goal after scoring against the San Jose Sharks. Very enjoyable evening.

Toronto Maple Leafs v San Jose Sharks
Toronto Maple Leafs v San Jose Sharks

Wednesday and it was up early for breakfast and meeting colleagues before heading down to the convention centre to do my thing. A quick drink afterwards – bought for me by an ex-pat British lawyer (I didn’t have time to get her name) – then off to the airport for the red-eye to Heathrow.

Friday I had the day off: I was heading down to Gloucester for the PurplePort social. Great fun with lots of drink and chat: Katra was memorable for touching my face all evening looking for (non-existent) plastic surgery scars and Ali was memorable for not falling out of her corset despite all odds!

After breakfast, I headed back to London … via Bourton-on-the-Water where I lived when I was a little boy and we’d come back to the UK from Malta. I’d been taught our address parrot-fashion as we all do with our kids, so I popped it in to Waze on my iPhone and headed there. It was still as I remembered it, bar the houses that had been built behind the bungalow. Off into the village centre which was as I remembered it for a coffee and a walk around.

Fosse View
Fosse View
Selfie in Bourton
Selfie in Bourton

More of the same the following week – another seminar to give in London – and then the following week was fabulous, starting with the Placebo gig at Brixton on Monday 16th with GT. Really, really good they were too and it was nice to see GT after a few weeks.

Placebo at the O2 Academy, Brixton
Placebo at the O2 Academy, Brixton
Placebo at the O2 Academy, Brixton
Placebo at the O2 Academy, Brixton

Later that week, in Crawley at a Client’s, I dropped the RX-8 off at the nearby dealer to see if they could sort out the headlight washers: hitting a pheasant at {cough} MPH had split and lost the thick hose that feeds the headlight washers. They have had to order-in the hose which will be a massive £380 fitted! Expensive car, this one. Then back on Thursday evening for the company Christmas Dinner Cruise along the Thames, during which I gave a younger colleague a pep-talk about his forthcoming new baby and how he shouldn’t envy my lifestyle. He didn’t go home that night, apparently. So much for mentoring…

Friday I had the afternoon off as a friend, NT, was coming to stay at mine for the weekend. I picked her up from the railway station and we stopped off at London Bridge to pick up my car from the office where I’d left it overnight. As it was a lovely day, I took her up the Shard – fnarr! – before heading home. A lovely steak at Gaucho that evening. Saturday she wanted to do some shopping for her kids so we went up to Camden; tapas and t-shirts. Saturday and it was off to Le Pont de la Tour for dinner from their tasting menu. Excellent nosh.

NT at Tower Bridge
NT at Tower Bridge

Then into the Christmas Week: Christmas Eve was peculiar as due to the storms that hit the UK, I was one of the first into the office and it remained that way until mid-morning when just a few made it in. Drinks and snacks at the pub and then home. Christmas Day and I’d been invited to GT’s for what was a lovely Christmas Dinner including her fabulous Cheesy Chestnut Roast. Feeling bloated, I headed home to an early night before heading up to Norfolk for Boxing Day and the first of two defeats this week for Norwich City.

New Year’s Eve beckons now – after a shoot I have planned tomorrow with Marlyn Lindsay – and my plans include a possible NYE at Slimelight. I did wonder about grabbing a last-minute flight to Moscow to see the New Year in with Manuel and Angelo (friends from Route 66) but flights are stupidly expensive for what would be a one-night stay!

8000 RM Cherished Numberplate For Sale

I recently acquired another cherished numberplate to go with the ones on my car and bike as I did think about getting another vehicle soon and wanted a more memorable ‘plate.

But I’ve changed my mind about that, so I’ve advertised the plate – 8000 RM – on eBay starting on 16th April around lunchtime if anyone’s interested.

The number is currently on a retention certificate and the price includes the DVLA Assignment Fee but not a DVLA change fee if required.
I have seen similar numbers advertised on the trade sites at between £8,000 and £17,000, so I am seeking a realistic price for the ‘plate which I’ll keep and assign to another vehicle of mine later on if it doesn’t sell.
8000 RM

Siri Arse Lee

So when I first got my iPhone 4S I wrote:

“I see it really being of use to me when I’m in the car and a text message comes through: Siri can read it out and send a dictated reply. It’ll be interesting to see if that’s done through my Mazda RX-8′s Bluetooth sound system or the iPhone’s loudspeaker.”

Well there’s some good news and there’s some bad news.

The good news is that yes, it works through the car’s Bluetooth sound system, so it mutes any music and reads out the text messages.

The bad news includes:

  • “Uh-kay” being said before most things it does.
  • If you haven’t got a web connection it’ll say it can’t do anything right now, like reading something stored locally.
  • The voice recognition at anything other than walking pace is pretty poor, actually, and I’ve now started simply sending bizarre text messages in reply to people rather than spending hours arguing with Siri when it comes up with gobbledegook instead of what I actually said, thinks that I said “danger” rather than “change it” and claims not to understand danger (big, brave Siri!)  and sometimes even picks a track from my music library to play in an attempt at being ‘helpful’.
  • Won’t perform a web search because I’m in the UK and using proper English.
Close, but no cigar.
Oh and another thing: to be fair to Apple, they claim different sets of services from Siri on their US site to those on their UK site.