Posted Aug 18, 2009
We had a rather calm man come into reception yesterday, saying someone had had a bit of a fall and could we go and help?
My cousin and I went out to find he'd fallen from the bottom step of the hotel, not having seen it through his new varifocal lenses. And 'a bit of a fall' was an understatement; he'd clearly landed full on his face. His whole forehead was leaking blood at an alarming rate, and he'd split his nose so badly you could almost have lifted the skin clean off the bottom half of his nose if you'd been a bit twisted. He was covered in thick, congealed blood, and so was I by the time the ambulance arrived.
When he got back several hours later, bandaged up like a mummy, I made him and his wife a cream tea on the house. I couldn't help but hope someone would be nice to my Grandad if he'd been in the same position. Tomorrow, I'm taking them to the clinic for a check-up. Poor fella.
Today, my cousin had a call from his ex to say she was moving to Hampshire in an hour, taking his daughter with him. He was desperately upset and picked up his fiancee from work, but through his tears he couldn't see the car in front of him stopping, ran into the back of it, and wrote his car off. He's ok physically, but I can only guess at his emotional state right now.
Finally, as I was about to finish work, a woman came down and said 'my friend is choking!' My colleague and I ran up to the third floor to help. I've only ever seen someone choking once, and in the time it took me to cross the restaurant, she was blue in the face, goggle-eyed and panicking, stumbling and flailing and faint. Probably the scariest thing I've ever seen. We arrived at the room and found that she'd managed to remove the offending bit of phlegm, and were bloody grateful - more for ourselves than for her, it has to be said.
Time we all did a first aid refresher, I reckon.
Posted Aug 15, 2009
(Hi GB )
We're having a bit of a nightmare at the moment.
For those of you who don't know, Lainey and I are planning to get married out in The Gambia in January. We've been really well-organised; last time we went out there, we met the owner of the restaurant we want to have our wedding breakfast in and sorted out the details; met the GM of the hotel we're getting married in and sorted out costs and details; chose our musicians and worked out how to pay them and so on. We came back with the whole Gambian side sorted out.
Back here, we've planned a reception for everyone who couldn't make it out the The Gambia. It's going to be at a nice, rural pub that (almost) shares my surname, and we plan to have a live band rather than a disco, have a mini-service for the people who didn't come out, and so on.
Our ideas were very clear and simple.
Over the last month, our contacts in Africa have disappeared without trace. We still have no confirmed date for the wedding, and we're at the stage now where if we don't get one very, very soon, nobody will be able to get out there. And our contact at the pub back here hasn't been answering emails either; we still have no actual formal quote, no band, no date.
And we've found that our dreams are unaffordable; we can't have the musicians we want, for example, because they're too expensive. Lainey has always dreamed of being driven to her reception by horse and carriage; well, we can't afford that, and would it work in February anyway?
Yesterday, I started poohing myself.
I've never been into the whole idea of weddings and the charade that surrounds them, but I know for Lainey it's a big deal. I'd bloody well do the extra hours if it meant she could have her pony, you know? But what if I can't even get a wedding date sorted out?
There is a worst-case scenario here that is actually realistic. We get to The Gambia and find out that the registrar can only make it on a date just after all our friends and family have gone home. That would be devastating.
What would we do? I guess, for me, it wouldn't be so bad. I think if that happened, I'd organise a kind of service on the beach; exchange vows, have photos, have the meal, then sign papers at the registry office back home. That's only just occurred to me, which shows there is a kind of catharsis in writing. I'd roll with that, but I'm not so sure Lainey would.
I keep telling her it's 'our' day, but it isn't. It's hers. She's been dreaming about this since she was a child (and, you know, she was a very sweet kid; she learned how to groom ponies from magazines without ever having contact with one, stuff like that); for me, it was more 'well, I suppose I'd better' - I never knew my real father and had a complicated upbringing that taught me marriage was an irrelevance. Understanding what that bit of paper could possibly mean to anyone else took a lot of time, and a lot of wine.
For the first time, I really don't know what I'm doing; but I also know that *you cannot screw it up*.
Normally, this would be fine; I am the uber-organiser, and the Legendary Traveller. If anyone can nail down a third-world bureaucracy (and a second-world seaside pub) to specific arrangments, it's me. But the fact that I'm trying to make Lainey's big day into a dream day gives me an extra weight, and the lack of responses from just about everyone is panicking me. Stuff should be signed and delivered by six months, you know?
Posted Aug 13, 2009
I'm after some suggestions for words we can use to describe different levels of access on our nature reserves. Essentially, we want to create new access standards where any reserve needs to fulfil certain criteria to be awarded a kind of quality mark, but I don't seem to be as verbose as I thought, so this seems to be the natural place to ask for help.
At first, I thought we'd label the levels according to the users we thought might be able to access the site: All users, Families, Ramblers, that kind of thing. But that presupposes a level of ability that may or may not be there in visitors. So I thought we'd go for a standard that says 'The WT considers this site to be...', but I want to get away from meaningless terms such as 'people-friendly'.
The categories are:
Sites that are accessible by everyone; wheelchair users and able-bodies folk alike.
Sites that are suitable for families and inexperienced walkers.
Sites that are fairly wild but still accessible for hardy walkers and ramblers.
Sites that are completely wild and unmaintained (for example heavy bogs) where there are no paths or visitor infrastructure. Some of these sites will be closed to the public.
'Rugged' and 'Wild' are pretty good ideas for the last two, but all suggestions would be welcomed!
The Cavaliers Win!
Posted Aug 12, 2009
Long-term Cavaliers fans will know that we won a game earlier in the year, a rather unexpected run-chase against Ipplepen. In that game, however, we batted twice and the opposition only once, so there's been considerable debate over whether or not it was a bona fide victory.
No doubt who won on Sunday, though - the Cavaliers triumphed for real, and I managed to make the crucial stumping right at the end. If you want to read the match report complete with photos, it's at http://cavendishcavaliers.com/news/?p=151
I honestly never dreamed this would happen.
And I've had a really good year with the bat. I've scored 234 runs so far at an average of almost 17, which is pretty good. Apart from the last game, I've also kept well and have started to get all the right fielders in the right places. So as well as having a really good laugh, I've had a little personal achievement, too.
One thing eludes me; something that would crown the year. I haven't got to 50 yet. Nobody has. My top score is 38, the highest on the team thus far, and with three games left I'm nervously trying to do the maths. Given my ponderous scoring rate, I'll have to bat for 20 overs to get there. And two of our games are exactly 20 overs long. I'm running and going to the gym every day, trying to make sure I'm at least fit enough to do it. I'm more likely to just get unlucky or play a bad shot than run out of steam, but I have less control over those than my general fitness.
Wish me luck
Posted Aug 8, 2009
This seems quite important, so I'm going to post a link here:
I'm not sure what to make of Seetha's blog. I know the BBC has to review what it does and make sure its website is standards-compliant and so on, but she uses some alarming words and phrases - in other blogs, she talks enthusiastically about 'mothballing' sites and says things like 'Free up your content for consumers to take away', which I don't understand at all.
It's probably worth having a read of the blog and commenting below; from the look of her previous blogs, they don't attract much in the way of comment, and a good amount of feedback is more likely to make her take notice. I don't think it's about 'survival' at this stage, as this sort of review generally finished with a timescale for essential improvements, but it may be worth getting a message across while the spotlight is on us.