The Amazing World of Si Hart

Amazing insights into my mind as I battle against the inefficient world of the library, moderate a message board, write Doctor Who audio adventures and try and stay sane!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Ten Things...

Here's a list of ten things I recommend today:

1. "A Bit of Fry and Laurie"
2. Fab Ice Lollies
3. Hard Fi: Stars of CCTV
4. Doctor Who and the Tomb of the Cybermen
5. Buy a punnet of fresh strawberries
6. Phoning customers so that you're sure they'll turn up for your focus groups
7. The Honda Jazz
8. Farscape season 3
9. Make someone else smile today
10. Keeping cool.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Back in the old home town

As mentioned previously we went down to Yeovil yesterday for my cousin Kim's wedding. I have an odd relationships with Dad's family for the most part. I don't know whether it's just because they're not as close as Mum's family are or that relations between them all are strained by family secrets that no-one else is privy to, but I think we all feel that seeing them is an obligation rather than something we look forward to. It's a shame, but that's just the way things are. Indeed, the whole relationship is shown for it is by the rather barbed comment from auntie Linda as I was leaving yesterday "We've seen you twice once in year Simon. That's very unusual." Well, yes it is unusual, and it's not like she and her family make much effort to come and see any of us or keep in touch... Ah well, it's not a huge loss. Families, eh?

So anyway, the wedding. Oh dear. I want to be charitable, but it really was a bit of a shambles. Whether it was because Kim had a face like a smacked arse for most of the day, the really appalling speeches (the longest one lasted 3 minutes... even the best man couldn't be arsed dredging up any amusing stories and managed a single (short and not very funny) story and the toast...) or just that none of really wanted to be there at all. If nothing else, at least her first wedding had been entertaining, with the mad old vicar and the wretched singers with their quavering voices that made us giggle. Ah well. The food was good, which was something, although yet again it seemed our part of the family is not allowed to sit with each other, split as we were over three tables... Unlike Uncle Graham's children who's families all sat together. Oh god I'm sounding bitter!

Still, perhaps the best of the day (and this is telling) is when I "babysat" for a group of my cousin's kids and Luke and we went to one of the hotel rooms to watch Doctor Who together. I don't usually get to watch it with children, so that was really great. They sat there rapt, trying to guess what was going to happen, laughing at the funny bits and trying not to look scared at the frightening bits in the wardrobe. Superb! My favourite moment of all was when Luke got up and came and sat with me and cuddled me through the rest of the episode. That was just wonderful.
Its unlikely I'm going to have kids of mine, and so I suppose these are moments I'll treasure.

So was it worth going? We did go and see Nan, which was lovely. She looks so small now in her big chair, just a little frail old lady... I think she was a bit overwhelmed when we all turned up en-masse, but she seemed to appreciate our visit, even if it took a while for her to work out who we all were (she did recognise me straight away, which was good!) and she did smile a lot!
The chats with my brother and Laura in the car were good, talking to my cousin Adrian about the new series and life in general was good fun so it wasn't a total waste of time!

Current Music: ABBA: Oro
Current words completed of Dissertation: 8350
Current plans for lunch: Ham Salad

Friday, June 23, 2006

Alone Tonight

Like Mr Hunt I've got a couple of days on my own. Steve has gone off to Poland for Muzzy's Stag do, and since I have to go to my cousins wretched wedding on Saturday, I couldn't really go with him (and to be honest I was worried about taking several days off and I'd be worried about how behind I got on my dissertation... As it is, I think I'm doing ok, but I didn't know that a month back when to was being planned), so I've got a couple of days to myself.

This week at work has mostly given me the chance to do huge amounts of training on the new library management system, Horizon. I've been really enjoying it. The system is ok, not brilliant, but it's probably going to be better for us in the long run, but training everyone else to use it has been really good. I really enjoy doing the training. I think I'm quite good at it... I've got a lot of patience, which is good!
Its amazing when you're doing things like this just how different people react to it. On Wednesday I was training staff from one of the branch libraries and they came in all enthusiastic and cheerful, almost desperate to learn it, yet the people I work with every day have been difficult about it, and really negative. Even Anna took me by surprise, by being easy to teach and paying attention. Usually she's got a very small attention span, but she seems to have taken to the new system fine, which makes all of our lives easier!
I am pleased, however, to be at home today, not having to do any talking and just being able to get on with dissertation stuff. There's a small pile of questionnaire responses to compile and it's time to start really digging into the results I've got and to start planning my focus groups (Gaz, my tutor agreed with you on that strategy)... I do wonder if I've been devoting enough time to it all, but I've got a week off coming up shortly, when I shall be devoted to it! Lucky me!

Current novel: Douglas Coupland: Jpod
Current Blakes 7: Gambit
Current music: Belle and Sebastian: Act of the Apostle

Thursday, June 22, 2006


I just watched the Blakes 7 episode Sand. I don't know if it's just because I'm finally ready to appreciate it's themes, or that I wasn't watching it carefully enough before, but it's made a huge impact on me tonight. Perhaps I'm just in a wistful mood, but it seemed better than it's ever done before. As an exploration of Servalan and what makes her the woman she is, there's none better. She's so much more than "the greedy gangster" she'd be referred to in a couple of episodes time (although, that's a neat and rather telling moment in the relationship between Avon, Tarrant and the woman herself). Maybe I just find the idea of a spurned love affair turning her into someone desperate for power as a substitute for that lost love, something rather wonderful.
The fourth series of Blakes 7 gets rather bad press, but I'd prefer to watch most it's episodes over the more tedious ones in season 1 (heresy I know), because if nothing else, it's always fun. I rarely agree with Gareth Roberts (except over the true genius of the Graham Williams years of Doctor Who), but he's right when he says in this month's DWM that the show needed another season to deal with a few loose ends and make the newer format really work. There was still some potential there.

So Sand, watch it again with fresh eyes and see what you make of it. Look beyond the cheap sets and effects that plague the final series more than all the others and see if you can see the gem!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Barbeque me do

Steve and I sat down to watch Father's Day (appropriate, huh) with my nephew last night. It was great to finally watch some Doctor Who with him. As the titles came up, he was singing along with the theme music and then turned to me and said "This is the best bit isn't it?" I just grinned! It's lovely to see him so enthusiastic about the show, and without any prompting from me either, even though by default I seem to be getting the blame for it.
It just goes to show that this is a programme that captures the imagination of kids. How can that be a bad thing?

It was a good weekend. We had friends over for our first barbeque on Saturday night. Despite leaving Tim in charge (sorry Tim!) it went very well indeed and we didn't poison anyone with half cooked chicken drumsticks or charred sausages! It all bodes well for when we do it on a huge scale in a few weeks time.
Shame about the pollen which didn't do Steve, Chris or Ian any good all night. I'm lucky not to suffer I think, after seeing them all sat with their red noses and bleary eyes. Poor Steve was in bed most of yesterday feeling miserable and drowsy. Whether it was the pollen, an overdose of anti-hystermines or a combination we don't know, but he didn't look well, poor thing.

Made Mum a Coconut birthday cake yesterday. That turned out well. I love baking cakes!

Current music: Elton John: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Current Mood: Bouncy
current Most Played Song According to Last FM: Franz Ferdinand: Do You Want To? (8)

Friday, June 16, 2006

Normal Service resumed!

The good news is that Ashley's Mum managed to do a deal with the bank and get back into the house last night, but we did end up putting him up for two nights. It felt really nice last night to get the house back to ourselves though!

I had a lovely afternoon on Wednesday with Luke. He's becoming a bit of a Doctor Who fan, and so when he walked into our living room and saw all the Doctor Who stuff there he was really amazed! He didn't know what to look at first!We had a great time playing with the remote control Dalek, Steve's Sonic Screwdriver and K9... He exterminated Geoff the Squirrel though, which wasn't nice, especially as his sister really seemed to like Geoff. Mr K survived however by creeping up behind the Dalek and covering it's eye stalk. Kids catch on fast!

It was lovely to watch him being the Doctor. Mum said it was like history repeating!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Last night, we did our bit for a friend. We put Ashley up for the night, as due to circumstances beyond his control, he'd been made homeless. Basically his parents, for various reasons, hadn't paid the mortgage and their house had been repossessed. Not good, as you can imagine, particuarly as his Mum had no idea just how bad things were... anyway, we helped as much as we could by letting Ashley stay overnight and tried to buck him up and get him organised for what he does next.
To be honest, I think Steve was better than I was over the whole issue. He was quite adamant that he couldn't stay more than a night or two if needed, and though it's difficult to say, I think he's quite right. It's easy to get taken for a mug and I think Steve could see it becoming a rather longer term thing than I did, and wanted to nip the idea in the bud of him staying here indefinitely. I'm a bit of a soft touch you see, and would probably have let him stay for a few nights, but like Steve said, we don't want to out stay his welcome and fall out over it.
So we spent the evening trying to keep him cheerful, and trying to work out what happens next. Hopefully he's gone off today with a good idea of things to do and can get himself sorted out through the council, who I'm sure will be able to help in the short term while his family sort things out.

It does make me realise how lucky we both are with our families. Neither of us could imagine our families would just run off and leave us to sort ourselves out, with nothing at all, except what we had on us at the time (he couldn't get into the house to even pick up a change of clothes).. it just wouldn't happen. It just goes to show, we're both very lucky to be part of a family that'd drop everything to help sort things out in an emergency.

Current Music: Elliott Smith: Waltz #2
Current Novel: Philip Pullman: The Subtle Knife
Current Dissertation Task: Questionnaire analysis

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Right Sort of Nothing

We planned a weekend of doing nothing. There's something ironic about that really, isn't there? Ah well. Since we seem to spend a fair while complaining that we never have any time to just stop and spend time by ourselves, not that I'm complaining about all the great weekends we've had with friends, it's just that sometimes it's great to stop and relax.
So that was the plan for the weekend. There wasn't anything in particular to do or anyone we desperately wanted to watch Doctor Who with, so we stayed at home. Steve washed the car, I hacked down the ornamental grass that needed tidying up a bit (and I have the scratches to prove it!), we tidied the house (a bit), we watched films and Farscape and Doctor Who and posted on PS and did some shopping while England played in Germany (great time to go clothes shopping I can tell you!), had a walk when it wasn't too hot on Sunday afternoon and bought cornettos in mini-Tescos and washed and ironed clothes and that was about all.

It was just fantastic.

Current BBC Shakespeare Play: Julius Caesar
Current Doctor Who: The Abominable Snowmen
Current Novel: Philip Pullman: Northern Lites

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


How do people decide they're going to form a tribute band? On the face of it, it's a pretty obsessive thing to do isn't it? You learn, by heart, the songs of a band you like, try and perform a perfect replica of them on stage, get applauded for how well you do it and of course, thinking up the must punning name you can... Re-Genesis, Think Floyd, Bjorn Again). I suppose it's the ultimate way of showing how much you love a band really, but when you stop and think, it's really silly.
Anyway, that didn't stop us having a good night out on Friday, when we took Mum and Dad to see Think Floyd (do you see what they did there, hmmm) in Camberley. They weren't bad I have to admit. It did help that they performed their most famous works (and coincidentally the ones we know best!) Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here in their entirely, plus several other tracks too. If nothing else, 3 hours of music for £13.50 was great value. The music was recreated very well, although one of the singers lacked a bit of enthusiasm I think they pulled it off rather well... that doesn't stop it being a very silly thing to do!

I've been enjoying a bit of Star Trek: The Next Generation over the last couple of weeks, as Sky are (yet again) repeating the series. I've caught various episodes from the third season and fourth seasons, which probably do represent the highpoint of the series. Steve doesn't like NextGenn very much, which is ashamee as it's probably my favourite of the revival Trek TV series's. It might be a bit safe, and cosy at times, but that doesn't change the fact that there were some damn good episodes. We were watching The Best of Both Worlds pt 2 last night and even Steve had to admit that there was something quite special about it, as if they'd raised their game that little bit to make something really good.
Tonight's episode, Family always had that feeling for me as well. It's the final part of the great Borg trilogy in many ways, and something that the Original Series could never have done. There's just a certain something about Picard going home to confront his demons while reconciling with his brother. It's different enough (certainly at the time) to make it rather special... and the bit where Picard breaks down after the fight in the mud with his brother and talks about how even he couldn't fight against what the Borg were doing to him makes the character all the more human again. Superb stuff.

Current Novel: Gareth Roberts: I Am A Dalek
Current Music: REM: Electrolite
Current Mood: Happy

Thursday, June 01, 2006


It's Thursday evening. I haven't done the washing up. This is no interest to anyone at all, but it doesn't change the fact that it still hasn't been done.

I cooked chilli for dinner tonight. It probably wasn't as hot as Gaz's are, but was still a bit hotter than we usually have them. It's good to challenge your taste buds like that every so often. I wonder what Steve will make of it tomorrow? There's another two helpings (and more besides) and since we due to be out at 7ish tomorrow night, a quick and easy reheatable dinner is required. One of the joys of living with Steve (and there are many more than most people need to know about) apart from his Goodies DVDs is that every night there's a different meal. When I was just cooking for me, I used to make double portions and heat one up the next day. There's nothing like leaving a curry for a day to mature before re-heating it for dinner, and I kind of miss that, but I'm probably better off this way.

We haven't had a Veggie stir-fry for weeks now. That's rare.

Steve is doing a night time safety audit on a part of the A406 tonight. One of the problems with summer night safety audits is that it takes so long for it to get dark. I hope he's not home too late. I've had the house to myself quite a lot this week for a change, while it's nice to have my own space for a bit, it's been very quiet without him here.

I'd better go and do the washing up. It won't go away, no matter how much I hope it will!