Diary – Thursday 15 August 2002

Fun, wine fuelled evening with les filles des mois Verts, aka Ann and Emma, in Richmond. Two nights of pizza on the trot wouldn’t be my idea of dream cuisine, but given the quality of Strada last night and La Trattoria this evening, things could be worse.

Highlight was Ann’s pledge to give John his marching orders if they weren’t engaged-to-be-married by the time she turns 30 – photographic proof of that pledge was obtained. You probably won’t be able to read it though – we were all a tad tipsy.

Drunkenly called H on the way home to suggest we might need some cooling containers for our Calais run on Saturday, particularly if our purchases include cheese and butter and yoghurt staples. That proved to be a temptation too far for fate (and H’s MGBGT)

Foreign Character Keyboards II

I did another search on our quest for personnel’s international characters, and found a site dedicated to International Accents and Diacriticals, featuring:

“Theory, Charts, & Tips for the QWERTY keyboard (mostly Windows) – Platforms, software applications, operating systems, versions, and user preferences influence how one works with accents and international characters”

The MS Word functionality was news to me, but makes perfect sense! Not quite as simple as having a keyboard with “letter+accent” keys, but more logical than alt codes, and faster than resorting to the character map.

Xara3D support have a useful crib sheet for typing accented and international characters.

Diary – Tuesday 13 August 2002

Torrential rain all afternoon. Left Liverpool Street station in chaos. Infuriating absence of public announcements resulted in hapless would-be tube travellers being directed from entrance to entrance, concourse shortcuts blocked by lakes of rainwater and cash machine queues. Took me 10 mins to elicit that tube was inaccessible. My irate departure took me straight into the lake outside McDs’ where upon annoyance really set in. Stomped to Bank muttering under my breath about city wankers with golf umbrellas restricting walking flows to one person per pavement width. Phoned Phil to alert him to my inevitable delay – the reason for my brisk pace and ire being that I was due to met him outside the Prince Charles at 6.15, and that was looking wholly unlikely. And I’d tried to make sure I’d not be late. Foiled again

Arrived sodden at Bank and opted for the Waterloo and City line to waterloo thence Northern line to Leicester Square, figuring that the Central was more at risk of flooding, and heavy demand from fleeing commuters.

Got to Prince Charles just ahead of Phil even so (just) and we munched pop corn and revels through “No Man’s Land”.

Calling all you admin-abhorers!

who have to fill in a UK tax return/do self assessment this year.

I’ve just filled out mine using the IR’s online tax return.

Provided you’ve kept and collected together all your:
– P45s & P60s / Payslips
– bank etc account Certificates of Deduction of Tax
– Dividend tax vouchers
– details of pensions contributions (could be a deduction on your payslip if it is paid out of salary)
– and anything else you need for e.g. income from property, self employment etc

then it’s amazingly straightforward. no hairpulling, no calculating, and telephone and email hotlines if you get stuck. Plus you get a PDF of your return which matches the Form to keep!!

Honestly, compared to completing the form by hand it’s a million times easier. I’ve just spent 30 mins doing mine, and it’s done and dusted. Finito. Compare that to evenings and weekends of agony in previous years trying to understand what went where and what page to turn to next.

DO IT NOW – you will have received all the tax paperwork you need, and if you’ve lost it you’ve time to ask for copies before the 30 Sept deadline.

No excuse for whinging come 05 April 2003

This has been a public service announcement.

Diary – Saturday 10 August 2002

Went up to see TJBR on Saturday afternoon, and they were all, bar Jo, awful! B&R hyper and overtired after a birthday party featuring a ball-pond and too much sugar & fizzy drinks, bro because he’d got the beginning of a nasty cold. which i think I’ve now got too….

Discovered we had to take a rail replacement bus from London Bridge to Peckham Rye to get to Kirsten and Mark’s.

I prefer the bus, not because it’s airier or because I feel claustrophobic – although I detest the commuter cattle carriages which operate on SWT enough to consider moving within walking distance of work – but because I like seeing how London fits together. It’s an upwards spiral – you need a certain familiarity with London’s layout in order to catch the bus, and the more you take the bus, the better your understanding of London’s geography is.