| Wednesday 27th September 2006 20:35MDT | → 1 Comments |
I’ve been sufferring for jet-lag for the past few days, hence no update on my adventures.
Also, I’m in the process of changing hosting providers so this site may go dead or to some ‘holding page’ over the next few days. It will be back.
| Saturday 23rd September 2006 18:21MDT | → 0 Comments |
Heading home in a couple of hours (i.e. off to the coach to take me to the airport). Much has happened this week which I’ll elaborate on when home and recovered, as it’s back to work on Monday.
| Monday 18th September 2006 21:01MDT | → 1 Comments |
Much been going on over the past few days. Last week we travelled with Terry’s friends, Rose and her husband Gooch, to see the Mississippi River, which I didn’t even know starts up in Minnesota and runs down past Wisconsin and Iowa. It’s a very wide river. We crossed into Iowa and ate in Lansing (my first visit to Iowa!) before coming back via Prairie du Chien (and stopping off at an apple orchard on the way).
We had a dinner party which sort of made up for the planned ‘pot luck’ on Lake Mendota having to be called off due bad weather. Terry offerred to host here and about eight people turned up. Much fun.
From Friday to Sunday, we sent camping at Devil’s Lake with Brenda in her RV/Motorhome (what we would call a ‘camper van’), which was a new experience for me. Sitting around the campfire toasting hot dogs and marshmallows as well as climbing the mountains around the lake, which has some stunningly beautiful scenery. Many photos were taken and I must flickr them.
This evening we’ve been invited to dinner by more friends - it’s all go.
… and today I have a sore throat, probably a consequence of campfire smoke inhalation. On the assumption it is probably a bacterial infection, I usually gargle with some soluble asprin but they don’t seem to sell it in this country
In the meantime, I can feel more proud to be a Lib Dem after Nick Clegg’s campaign to scrap as many as possible of the illiberal laws and rules Noo Labour has introduced. I agree with everything on the list:
1. Restrictions on protests in Parliament Square
2. Identity Cards
3. Extradition to the US
4. Conditions on public assemblies
5. Criminalising trespass
6. Control orders
7. DNA retention
8. Public interest defence for whistleblowing
9. Right to silence
10. Hearsay evidence
Personally, I would add:
11. The proposed Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (known as the ‘Abolition of Parliament Bill‘)
12. The 28-day limit on holding terrorism suspects, especially if this government tries to up it to 90 days
13. Proper control of CCTV cameras
14. RFID tags in passports
15. Misuse of ASBOs, when no crime has actually been committed
16. Minimum standards required for activating the Civil Contingencies Act
16. Data retention on internet communications
Hopefully, this actually goes somewhere rather than being some sort of stunt. If it doesn’t, I’ll give up on politicians permanently.
| Tuesday 12th September 2006 13:57MDT | → 2 Comments |
7.50am: Woke up at 5.30am again, though I did go to bed relatively early. About five/ten minutes later there was a power cut so I sat in the living room watching the pouring rain, which is likely to result in the cancellation of our planned ‘pontoon’ ride around Lake Mendota that Terry had arranged. Power came back at 7.45am, though ironically we are apparently right on the edge of the electricity grid that went down - across the street, on a different grid, all the street lights were blazing!
| Tuesday 12th September 2006 0:13MDT | → 1 Comments |
6.10pm: I’m here, safe and sound. Due to the airport security hassles, I made a point of getting to Heathrow three hours early on Saturday. Ironic then that I got checked in and through security in less than 45 minutes so much time was filled wandering around the shops.
Plane arrived half an hour late at Chicago and an immigration officer seemed to be having a bad day and decided to take it out on me. Consequently, I got the the coach with only minutes to spare - only for it to arrive in Madison 30 minutes early and as I had no coins I couldn’t call Terry so sat on the curb in the cold (yes, just typical for me that the coldest day of the summer/autumn was the day I arrived). However, one bright spot was that the travel sickness pills worked (helped by not eating the in-flight food) and I felt OK when I finally got to Terry’s place.
Yesterday, we went to the grocery store followed by Office Max where I bought him a new PC - a Compaq Presario with monitor, speakers and DVD+-RW at $474 including tax and with a free HP Officejet 4315 printer, scanner, copier and fax unit. I’m most annoyed about that as (a) he doesn’t need it and (b) I’d love to have it but can’t take it back due to the different power requirements. Oh well, at least the PC works fine and I’ve copied all the images off his iMac.
He’s re-arranged the apartment so I must upload some images, possibly to my flickr account.
Today, we booked his flights to visit me (arriving on 4th November, two days after his birthday) and wandered downtown so he could show me all the new construction and to buy a few goodies. We lunched at one of my favourite restaurants, the Caspian Cafe, in its new location. Tonight we’re having a dinner party with Rose and Gooch.
Events have been somewhat spoiled by rotten weather. It has been pouring down all day today and I forgot to bring a waterproof coat. I might buy one.
| Friday 8th September 2006 23:28MDT | → 0 Comments |
It’s a good thing I made those lists - they certainly expedited packing given that I’ve had an unexpectedly ‘eventful’ evening:
Not long after arriving back from work I started experiencing crushing pains in my left arm. I tried relaxing, putting the packing aside, but it didn’t go away so I called NHS Direct as that is one of the symptoms of heart ‘issues’ (though I didn’t have any chest pain). After a detailed conversation, the nurse couldn’t work out what it was but, just to be on the safe side, referred me to an on-call doctor who called shortly afterwards but he couldn’t suss it out either and, just to be on the safe side, told me to go to the Walk-In Centre at the Hospital.
A very pleasant nurse (who I must write to and thank - she was so sweet) did heart, lungs and blood pressure tests and found nothing conclusive but… you guessed it, just to be on the safe side, referred me to A&E. They did an ECG and told me to wait for a doctor who would discuss it with me. Well, I waited for around 1.5 hours but no doctor came so I asked how much longer I’d be hanging around and a nurse said it was incredibly busy and there were three people ahead of me so, seeing as the pain had gone and the said nurse didn’t think there was anything obvious on my ECG, I discharged myself and got back shortly after 10pm. Some manic packing and here I am.
I told Terry (who had been calling and wondering where the hell I was) and he suspected, as with the last time I was in hospital with chest pains, it was high stress manifesting itself in some bizarre physiological manner. I can well believe that.
God knows if I’ll get any sleep tonight.
| Wednesday 6th September 2006 22:28MDT | → 0 Comments |
Busy, busy - both at work (project management cover) and at home getting ready to visit Terry in Madison for the first time in about two years. I have my packing lists prepared and they are incredibly detailed so it should just be a case of running through them.
I survived the company ‘fun’ day on Friday - doing a sort of assault/activity course in the morning (climbing, abseiling, etc.) followed by a pub lunch and riding around on RIBs in the afternoon across the Solent, visiting the Isle of Wight and doing a sort of treasure hunt there. Going round on those boats at full speed (I was one of five people plus a driver) I fully understand the meaning of ‘clinging on for dear life’ as we had lifejackets but were not strapped in. In the evening we decamped to a four-star hotel and had a nice meal and drinks lasting to midnight. And so to bed. I had the company of Cedric while driving there and back (BTW ‘there’ was the sweet town of Lymington).
It looks like those CIA detention facilities, that the Council of Europe had been going on about for so long, do exist after all. It’s a good thing that our government’s dear leader, who persistently denied any knowledge of this (along with several other countries) while slagging off the CoE for their efforts, may be forced out at the same time. Unfortunately, it might be due to Noo Labour MPs worrying about electability rather than taking a principled stand on Blair’s lying and deceit.