Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sod's Technology Law

If it needs to be done fast, if you are working against deadlines, if people are waiting for the output, only one law will apply - Sod's Technology Law. Having sorted out the maps, typo's, layout, colours, content and photos to our satisfaction - a long and painful exercise - we are now at the stage where all - a word with such a comprehensive sense should have at least 40 letters - all we need to do is convert the Quark files to PDF and send it off to the printer.

First round - it all flips into landscape and is sent back
Second round - the PDF convertor we are using is not 2001 compliant
Third round - we have purchased a new convertor and Paul is battling with it as I write this blog. In fact this is the only reason I can write the blog, because every other minute is usually taken up with Vol. 2, painting the apartment and otherwise trying to do all the other things that need to be done.

Meanwhile, the storm to beat all storms has just crashed over England and slopped its left-overs on France, which means we and more specifically our horses are looking for an ark (two by two). And on the subject of horses, it is all change here too - faster than we had expected. For anyone who is unfamiliar with our story, I will just say that Gwendolyn and Lubie are no ordinary horses. Having been left on the equine scrap heap here in France, they got back up again and carried us 1,500 km to Santiago de Compostela and then 2,000 to Rome. Friends for life, but also due better treatment than we can give them when we finally move into our new apartment. Fields and willing helpers are plentiful, but what our 'girls' really need is daily contact and care, so we have had to make a major decision with regard to their future. In short, I put an advert out on the web, explaining what we/they are looking for in terms of a new home, and now it looks like the perfect person is offering just that - albeit in England - how ironic. If all goes according to plan, they will be leaving here at the end of this week, which is wonderful for them (10 acres of fields), but heartbreaking for us.

Meanwhile, Lucy's kittens, Marx and Nell, have been to the vet for the 'op' and we find that we in fact have Marx and Engels - a shock, but cheaper.

Lucy is poised on the brink of a new future, applying for universities, trying to get it right first time and summing it up so perfectly by commenting that she is doing such 'grown up' things without really feeling grown up at all. Nevertheless, I envy her and wish I had used my 'lead-in' time more usefully, but of course it is too late for regrets and I still have time to write that book everyone is supposed to have inside them.

In the wider world insanity reigns as usual. Today Lord Goldsmith proposed "to make schoolchildren take part in citizenship ceremonies (swearing allegiance to the Queen) and a new public holiday to celebrate "Britishness", established by 2012". If it wasn't for the lack of lions and wardrobes I would swear we are in Narnia. Or perhaps Lord G is in fact the real-life version of Uncle Andrew. Either way, he would benefit from taking a good look at today's Britain, where the Queen has very little relevance for anyone (least of all teenagers forced into some sort of Baden Powell-style ceremony) and Britishness is the kind of embarassing condition most of us avoid talking about.

And continuing the theme .... insanity that is ...

Following a week-long training seminar for priests in Rome, the head of the Apostolic Penitentiary Archbishop Gianfranco Girotti has announced that the seven new mortal sins are to be:
Environmental pollution

Genetic manipulation

Accumulating excessive wealth

Inflicting poverty

Drug trafficking and consumption

Morally debatable experiments

Violation of fundamental rights of human nature

But if anyone out there (politicians especially) is about to check ebay for fire resistant suits, don't panic because Pope Benedict has already sourced the problem and the solution.

"We are losing the notion of sin," he said. "If people do not confess regularly, they risk slowing their spiritual rhythm."

Ergo, a bit more effort in the confessional area will speed up our spiritual rhythm, enable us to rediscover our notion of sin and ensure we avoid all those deadly new ones.

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