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!

Monday, April 30, 2007

A +3 Weekend

It was a good weekend. Friday night's meet in The Manor was good- even with one of the bar staff shattering a galss all across our table. It certainly inspired a fair few puns for the rest of the evening (and indeed on our thread on PS!)

After work on Saturday we went up to see Jonno in Walthamstow. Honestly, Jonno is one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. He's always very welcoming and great company too and it's good to see him now that he's found himself a job, as he was quite different to when we saw him around this time last year, when you could tell that the lack of employment was really beginning to get to him. So it' good that his circumstances are better and he very kinly shouted us breakfast in the greasy spoon up the road from his place. Lovely! we even got to play Talisman, which I haven't had the oppotunity to play for a few years now- last time of course being with Gaz, who introduced me to the game way back in Sheffield. It looks like we're going to buy a copy from eBay- well if we can get one without being outbid anyway!

We popped in to see Paul and Lesley on the way home, after a spot of shopping in Watford. It's always nice to see them, as they're always make me feel very welcome, which is very nice! I was a bit quiet though, as I'm feeling very tired at the moment.

This week is the build up to the wedding of the year on Saturday. Everyone seems very stressed at the moment, so I'm glad that I'm on the periphery of it all. I'll turn up on Saturday, do my bit and enjoy the day. I think it'll be a great day- if it's as good as Vic and Mark's wedding was, then it'll be superb. I've got to practice my reading though, and get some early nights so that I'm not too knackered to enjoy the day.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Lack of Power

I'm absolutely exhausted this week. I think, finally everything is catching up with me. With just over a week until Jay and Laura's wedding, this isn't ideal and I'm going to ahve to make an effort to get a couple of early nights next week to catch up a bit.

It hasn't been a good week really. Wednesday was a very draining day. Just after i got up, we started to have a bit of a problem at home. All the lights started flashing and some of the plug sockets started to fizz in a rather nasty way. We raced round turning everything that was non-essential off, but the problem still persisted. Just after 8am all the power went off. Not good. Steve was quite calm about it, but there was a nagging doubt in me that was telling me it was something pretty big. I'm usually so optimistic too!
Anyway, I had to go to work and leave it. I was on a course (that was as good as sabotaged by some of the other people on it- or else I simply wasn't in the mood for other people fooling around) but it was niggling away at me all day. Anyway, we got home and there was still nothing. Dad had a look over it and didn't spot anything obvious, so there were few very tense calls to the insurance company and Southern Electric.
At 9.15 an engineer came out and had a look. It turns out, fortunately, that it wasn't a problem in the house, but rather with the connection from the main supply going into the house. That was a huge relief, as it means we're not liable for a huge repair bill. Thank goodness! At 10.30ish, a second set of engineers came out and connected us from next doors supply (though that's not as good as it sounds, they're not supplying our power alas!) and we're waiting for them to come out and dig up the road and reconnect us properly.
I don't mind telling you that for a while I was very worried about it being a huge problem. Still we did have a lovely evening without any TV, music or PCs when we just sat and chatted and had a bit of a laugh together. That was good. It's easy to get stuck in a rut and nice to have the oppotunity to do something a little different, even under those kind of stressful circumstances.

In othr matters, I've finished the first drafts of my episodes of our new story Magical History Tour and I think they're very good. They have a different feel to the other stories we've done so far and that's a good thing. Now I've just got to go through Si's episodes (they're very enjoyable too) and give them my input.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

One month in...

I picked a lovely day to have the afternoon off work as my time off in lieu of Monday's supervisor's meeting. The sun was shining and it was rather warm and I took the chance to do rather less than I'd planned- so no Blake's 7 review, no haircut, but a pleasant trip into town, where I bought some books and a present for Pat Taylor (who retires tomorrow).

I also took the opportunity to pop in and visit everyone at Bracknell. I do miss them. I sent so long working with them all that it still feels a bit odd not seeing everyone everyday. My new staff are lovely for the most part and I've not really got any complaints about most of them, it's just not quite the same as all those years of familiarity we'd built up in my time in Bracknell. Still that comes in time, doesn't it?

As I mentioned, it's Pat's last day tomorrow and I'm going to miss her a great deal. I couldn't ask for a more level headed and lovely person as a mentor for the past few weeks. Some of the other supervisors, lovely as they are, lack a sense of perspective about things. Pat in contrast has always been one of the more sensible ones! She's shown me the basics of the job, eased me into my new role and left me a very good library to work in at Birch Hill. She's said a lot of nice things about me both to other staff and to the customers I'm inheriting and I think that has really helped smooth the path until I take over properly. She's very graciously promised not to come and visit for a couple of weeks to give me time to get settles and start to change the things I want to change. You can't ask for more, really.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Seaside Stags

Brighton! Jay's stag do. In one of those massive coincidences, we ended up staying just across the road from where I stayed the only other time I've spent some time in Brighton, on Paul's stag do a few years back. The facilities weren't quite as basic as the previous time, but the Quality Home wasn't one of the best places I've ever stayed. I can't recommend staying in a smoking room, even as an ex-smoker, it's pretty grim. Ah well.

Brighton is a pretty cool place, even though I've still not really had much chance to explore it properly. It's a shame that it's so difficult to get into by car, because sitting in a queue of cars for over an hour every time you want to come back in is a huge problem, especially when it's as warm as the past weekend was. I like being by the sea, though I think Jay was a bit surprised to find out that Brighton has a pebbly beach. How could he not know? I thought everyone knew that!

Fortunately the weekend was pretty good overall. I have to admit I wasn't particularly looking forward to it because knowing all about the wrangling between Mark and Jay that went into organising it, I wasn't sure that we'd have an enjoyable weekend, because there were obvious issues arising there, but it's to their credit that none of that showed over the weekend. In fact everyone got on pretty well really and there wasn't any problems between us all. You never quite know how these things will work out when there are a disparate group of people meeting up for the first time. I think I was pretty quiet alot of the weekend, possibly because I was worrying that Steve wasn't having a good time (he looked really miserable on Friday night) and worrying what they all thought of me. It's sometimes pretty uncomfortable being a gay man in the company of straight men- especially the kind of friends my brother has, and I was worried that they had a problem with us. It's probably irrational but it's done now, and I was quiet a lot more than i should have been. Sometimes I still have these moments where I feel shy and not very confident, even after all these years. *sigh*

Anyway, I very much enjoyed Friday's fishing trip, especially as I managed to beat Jonathan to catching the first fish. Just like all those years ago in Cornwall, except he didn't sulk as much as the last time! The evening out was OK. Harry Ramsden's fish and chips were a big disappointment. They're a long way from being the best in the country, let me tell you! We went to some bars, which were noisy and busy- I feel so old sometimes cos I like bars where you can have a nice chat and hear yourself speak... ah well. The Font was pretty cool though!

Saturday was paint balling. That was cool. I've never tried it before, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm not sure if I was any good at it, because I did send to spend a significant proportion of the time waiting to be resurrected! People kept shooting my goggles, which made shows how obvious I was! Anyway the best part of the day was the stag run, where Jay and Mark had to run the gauntlet while the rest of us shot at them! Great fun and just about the only humiliation my brother got. He was lucky!

We went out for a Mexican meal that evening. They put cheese on the chili, which wasn't a good idea if you ask me. However, I laughed it off having had a shot of tequila, a flaming sambuca and a couple of cocktails. We got into the club despite my lack of ID, unlike Mark who didn't and ended up in a bit of trouble for trying to use someone else's... not very clever. i enjoyed the club. It was a shame that the cheese room was so damn hot, because the music was much more fun in there. We stayed until 1ish, then went and cooled off on the beach, which was still busy at that time.

Sunday everyone looked far too fresh at breakfast! A long trip home and we were were ready to watch the return of the Macra in Doctor Who. That was a Wooo! moment.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


It's been a really busy week!
We've decorated the living room! After eighteen months of putting it off, having valid (and not so valid) excuses, we knuckled down and did it. It looks wonderful. In fact I think we should feel really proud of ourselves because we've done a really good job of it, for novices! It just looks so clean and bright and fresh, which is lovely.
The biggest job was clearing everything out of the room. We've got a lot of stuff and alot of the stuff we've got lives in the living room. So Sunday was devoted to clearing, sorting, moving and shifting before we were ready to actually do anything. It's amazing how big the room looks when there's very little in it! We then washed down the walls with sugar soap (see doing things properly!) and sanded down the skirting boards and the door frames.
Monday we gave the ceiling a once over (after a lovely visit to see Steve's family and a huge lunch and Steve's fantastic simnel cake) but the light was bad, so we gave up quickly and left it until Tuesday.
Tuesday was a great day! We painted the ceiling, twice- a second coat to make sure we did the bits that we missed, then we painted the walls. Dad popped round and had great fun watching us paint while he sat on the sofa in the sunshine! We got two coats of the wall done- and got ourselves splattered with paint, but it was worth it.
Wednesday we gave one of the walls another once over, as it looked a bit patchy and then did the horrible glossing. I didn't enjoy that so much. It was fiddly and awkward and the paint smells horrible, but it looks nice and shiny now.
Today we've put everything back- well a few things back anyway, sorted out some books to take to the charity shop and almost got things straight here again...
But there has been a distraction. Recently, my 10 year savings account matured and I got a nice cheque from it. Most of it will go towards paying off my various student debts, but I thought there was an opportunity for a little treat too, so I bought a new Cambridge Audio Amp and a 5.1 speaker kit. We got it all connected up last night and I have to say it's pretty damn awesome. We've been testing it out with a few DVDs today and it just sounds fantastic! A really good investment I reckon!

Coming up this weekend is my brother's stag do. I wonder if it'll be more fun than all the organising would suggest? I'll let you know!

Thursday, April 05, 2007


Fiona came out to see me at Great Hollands yesterday afternoon. We decided that it might be for the best for her not to have a chat with Glynis, as she seems to have settled down a little bit now, only a bit mind you, but it's not worth upsetting her any further. It might make things worse after all.
She seemed really impressed with all the hard work that I've put in over there though. It's nice to see it appreciated. She said it looked tidier, bigger and more friendly which, at least, were what I promised I could deliver in my interview. She agreed with Lynn's ideas for promoting the library using the windows that permanently have the blinds closed, and she also agreed that we can have some new furniture for the children's library and a new book display unit to replace the rubbish old mismatched cardboard ones we're currently using. I just want to smarten the library up, show that we're taking some care of it and that the slapdash ways things have been done before won't be acceptable anymore. Perhaps I will be good at this job after all.

That's about it for the moment. I've got a couple of potentially quiet days coming up. Steve is going off to fest for a couple of days and I'll be at home and have a chance to get some writing done and might have a day with Luke tomorrow if we can get it arranged. That'd be nice!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

A few thoughts

I couldn't sleep last night. My back ached really badly, which is very unusual. In the end it got to 1.45 and I couldn't take any more and had to rake some painkillers to be able to get some sleep. As such I've been knackered all day. I wonder if it's the fact that my new job involves me being on my feet a lot more than the old one did, or whether it's simply one of those things.

We've got tadpoles in the pond! This is a new and exciting thing! I know it sounds silly, but I go and have a little look every day to see what's happening with them. Soon enough we'll have plenty of frogs around, which is nice. Shame we've only got one fish left now though.

I read the first script for our audio plays not written by me and Si today. It was ever so good. Our regulars were well characterised and there were a couple of really good moments- especially the bit with the Doctor getting really angry about the tea. I liked that!
Steve's plotted a Christmas adventure that's loads of fun. I won't have to get thew red pen out now, it seems. Not until we start scripting it at least... It's great that there's so much enthusiasm for these things! What have we started?

Oh and I remembered a CD that Gaz bought me years ago that has the perfect music for the score of Magical History Tour! Fab! Just the right kind of melancholy Beatles stuff we need. Groovy!

I just watched School Reunion. i didn't intend to, but if UK Gold will persist on putting Doctor Who on just after Neighbours has finished in the evening, how can I resist. School Reunion remains my favourite of all the new series episodes so far. Not the best episode, but it's the one I love the most. Poor K9!

Monday, April 02, 2007

New Doctor Who

Two Doctor Who premieres in one weekend is most irregular.

Smith and Jones was very good. A nice solid opener to the new series and a nice solid introduction for Martha Jones too. After months of reading all the "Freema isn't very good" rumour mongering on the Internet, it was lovely to watch her give a good performance. Martha is just about different enough from Rose for the character to work and I'm looking forward to getting to know her better as we go through the series.
The story itself was very entertaining, and it was good to see that The Judoon were more than the Sontaran clones (sorry!) that their appearance initially suggested. They were brilliantly designed and played with their gruff voices. I also very much enjoyed Ann Reid as the Plasmavore. Her last line was great! It's about time new Doctor Who had a great old hag villainess!
A nice 8/10 effort I reckons.

The other was, of course, Soap of Fatal Death. That too was pretty damn good! We've learnt a lot from making Protii and the production seemed a real step up from last year's story. We've still got to really make sure that everyone keeps their distance from the microphone to reduce the popping, but otherwise the production was very good. Si does a great job of the sound design considering it's not something he specialises in, and the music and sound effects fitted very well.
Of course, I really like the story (but then I would!) and I'm pleased to say that all our cast gave their all and really got into it and made it very special. It's so good to hear it all come alive! I especially enjoyed the Clear Waters scenes which in the novella were dying to be heard at the very least to make them work. Here they were worked marvellously, with the "actors" missing their cues, talking over each other and giving larger than life performances. I couldn't have asked for more!
Our regulars seem more at ease this time round, Paul especially really seems to have got a handle on his Doctor, and he gave an understated but very convincing performance this time round. Steve makes Rob really unique and very entertaining to listen to and Dave is a good foil for them and give another really good performance.
Favourite bits? Well, my favourite scripted seen with The Doctor and Roddy Stevens at the awards came over really well, as did the wonderful episode 3 cliffhanger and the ending was really good too. Steve got the line just right! I just enjoyed heraing everyone laugh at the jokes and the surprise cameo, which was wonderful. I had no idea!
I did miss the Doctor's line about the human lives being better than any scripted travesty of a soap opera in part 4, which I thought was perhaps the most important thing to stress, but otherwise I have no complaints!

Now I'd better get on with writing the next one!