Saturday 30 December 2006

Today's events

I went for a run (first in 2 months), then met Markus for lunch on Goodge Street. I had a lasagna. Then went home and watched nonsense on TV.

Currently QI

Tuesday 26 December 2006

Not much news

Not much news here but just a little message to say that i'm happy. More happy than i've been in a long, long time.

I'm smiling as I write this and i'm looking forward to the new year and all that comes with it.

There's lots of new things in my life and i'm very happy about all of them.

See everybody soon.


Thursday 21 December 2006

End of an era...

...for me at least.

I leave Lloyd's of London today after a four and a third year stint. I'm excited about the new job but will miss many things about my old one. Canteen, internet and no pressure.

I think it was a great experience for me and I feel very lucky to have worked here. I've met lots of lovely people (and a few arseholes) and will endeavour to stay in touch with my friends. I've met my two lovely flatmates and my even lovelier girlfriend too, so it can't be bad. I've also gained a great insurance background into the bargain. But for me to progress I need to move on to bigger and better things. And learn how the real world of insurance works.

Cheers Lloyd's. It's been emotional.


Now for the party! One cider at 11am, and 2 beers at lunch. Followed by me leaving work at four for my leaving drinks. It's going to cost me a few quid but it's the done thing. I'm going to put my card behind the bar for a couple of hours so hopefully they won't take the piss too much. Luckily somebody's having a sprog and someone else is leaving so they've asked to muscle in. Fair enough... split the bill!

Stuart Clark (RIP)
Lloyd's Franchise Performance
Telephone +44 (0)20 7327 5983
Fax +44 (0)20 7327 5718

Absolute assholes

Rail services across the East will be disrupted over the festive period after unions and train operators failed to reach agreements over special payments.
No Central Trains will run and Midland Mainline services will be cut on Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

On the Midland Mainline the RMT union accused the operator of offering some workers half of a £200 lump sum given to drivers for working on the two Sundays over the festive season.

I know it can't be nice to work on Christmas and New Year's Eve but it's still your job. You don't see Doctors or Nurses, or bank workers shirking their duties at this time of year so why do rail workers feel justified in their actions?

Half of a £200 lump sum? So £100 before tax? This is their senior conductors so I imagine they could quite possibly be in the 40% tax barrier. After income tax and national insurance you're looking at approximately £50! Absolute selfish bastards!

I agree with my brother. Sack the lot of them and hire some hard working Polish people. It'll be a pain for a few months but once they're trained you will have a hard working group of people genuinely happy to work for a living.

Wednesday 20 December 2006


Just got back from my current teams' lunch to thank me for my help this last 6 months. 2nd lunch time curry of the week. Urg! 1 day to go and counting.

One of the team is taking me out for a 'coffee' tomorrow morning at 11am. Eek! It's going to be a big one... luckily my flat mates have volunteered to carry me home.

I've just packed up so that I can take everything home tonight.

Feels sad in a way to be leaving but excited about the new job and will always see my friends again as the city is a very small place. Certainly in insurance.

Monday 18 December 2006

My weekend

How I feel...

I had another great weekend. Friday night was my work's Christmas ball. Usual affair, dinner jackets and free booze. And of course the lovely April.

I was supposed to be playing on Saturday but I think that was a bit optimistic, I would have played with my usual hangover but it was April's last day in the country so spent it with her instead. We went for a Nandos and had a really good chat. She's off for 3 weeks now though. Boo hoo! I then left her to pack whilst I walked back to mine.

Saturday night was just what I needed, a nice night in with Becky, not booze and a DVD and a takeaway. The Da Vinci Code. It was okay, but I can't be arsed writing a half arsed review.

Last night (afternoon and night) I went on a mini pub crawl round Putney with Shaheen. Ugh!!! Finally got in at about 10 and attempted to watch Miami Vice. What a poor film. I won't even dignify it with a review.

However for some reason IMdb rate it 6.1/10 (17,154 votes). Maybe I should try and watch it again sober.

Off out to my new team's Christmas lunch in a bit. Should be fun meeting the rest of them.

Thursday 14 December 2006

How odd...

SC Movie Review 10

The Fantastic Four

I had a rare night in last night, I've been doing 'something' almost every night in December (...and November for that matter) and sometimes it's nice to just sit on your arse all night and do nothing. Flicking through the Sky programme planner nothing much was on. Wigan v's Arsenal... not the greatest game. Rubbish on pretty much every other channel then I saw that the Fantastic Four was on Sky Movies 4. I'd not seen it before, probably because I had not heard many good reviews. But for the want of some low brow nonsense to occupy my time I watched it.

It was surprisingly 'okay', I was expecting complete tripe but I didn't actually think it was that bad. Lively action sequences and a lovely Jessica Alba meant for a mildly amusing film. Would I watch it again? No. Would I recomend people to watch it? Yes. Probably only if you have a mild interest in other similar genre films though.

SC Rating: 3 Potatoes (1 Vote)
IMdb Rating: 5.9 / 10 (27,131 votes)

P.S. I can now add pictures!

Wednesday 13 December 2006

For those that really wanted to know...

Pork Chops with Sage and Apples


4 lean pork chops
3 level dessertspoons very finely chopped fresh sage
2 Cox's apples, cored and sliced into rings but with skins left on
4 level tablespoons dried white breadcrumbs
1 small egg
about 3 tablespoons oil
about 2 oz (50 g) butter
1 medium onion, sliced into rings
salt and freshly milled black pepper

First of all, mix the sage and breadcrumbs together and season well with salt and coarsely milled black pepper. Then beat the egg and dip the pork chops first in the egg, then into the breadcrumb and sage mixture, pressing firmly all round so that the chops get a really good, even coating.

Now heat 2 tablespoons of oil and 1 oz (25 g) butter together in a frying pan and, first of all, brown the chops quickly on both sides with the fat fairly hot, then lower the heat and let them gently cook through (it will take around 25-30 minutes depending on the thickness of the chops).

While that's happening, melt a little more butter and oil in another frying pan and fry the apple and onion rings. Drain everything on crumpled silicone paper (parchment) before serving.

And for those that haven't guessed, it's not a Stuart original. I thank all that is cookery goodness, Delia.,1228,RC.html

500th Post...

... and to mark this momentous occasion, what will I talk about?

My solution for ending 3rd world debt?

My guide to end religious hatred?

Or my quick and easy recipe for pork chops with sage and apples?

Nope... I'll talk about my impromptu drinks after work last night!

I was due to help Becky get a Christmas tree for our flat last night but Becky e-mailed late telling me that she'd been invited to a champagne and Christmas pudding reception upstairs here at Lloyd's. At that very same moment I was asked if I fancied a 'quick' drink after work.

Call it fate, or call it me not being able to say no to a drink but I ended up going to the Jamaican Wine Bar down Cornhill (Ian, i've eaten there with you and Wolfy). There were about 10 of us at one point so it was quite a good laugh. I think I may give San Miguel a miss next time. Ugh, I feel a little ropey now. After that we moved on to the Counting House and had a couple more. It wasn't a massively late one but we did have a few.

I then got a taxi to Waterloo with Patrick, then waited for my train home. Ideally I would have grabbed a take away on the walk home as all i'd eaten that night was the odd spicy peanut that Liz managed to hand feed me / throw at me, but my favourite place was shut (Ben, this is where we got our takeaway a few weeks back).

I love the Christmas period. I will make my second 'attempt' at getting a tree tonight…

Tuesday 12 December 2006

...and in local news

How many of these guys can there be in Northampton?

"The man was described as white, about 40-years-old, 6ft 8in, with brown, greasy, shoulder-length hair. "

For those that are Simpsons fans

P.S. I'm on my best blog behavior over the next few weeks. April has found my journal...

Monday 11 December 2006

My weekend

I've had a pretty good few days this past weekend.

Friday was good apart from the all day 'blue skies thinking' meeting. I only went because of the free lunch... It was good though, two courses, but all I really needed was the starter. Still managed to eat the main course. Didn't want to see it go to waste. More rubbish talk in the afternoon where one of the team nearly fell asleep. That's blue sky thinking for you, up in the clouds.

After that we had a few beers outside the Lamb (Ben: That's the place I took you last week, the one with a picture of the Queen mum pulling a pint). Shivered for a bit as it was virtually outside then went to Stirling (The bar at the bottom of Swiss Re (The Gherkin)), to meet up with a few old work colleagues, one of which has just past his last actuary exams and is off to Bermuda for two years on secondment with PWC. I left there after last orders and eventually got home at about 1am.

On Saturday I was rudely awakened at 9am by my dentist telling me that my rearranged rugby game was cancelled because that pitch too was water logged and unplayable. Secretly pleased about that as I've never really been a fan of playing in the winter. I much prefer to show off my silky skills in the spring... Instead I went with my mate Iain (Dentist) to Twickenham to see Harlequins play Bath in the rugby equivalent to the UEFA cup. Really good fun, although wished I had another 5 layers on. Bath won 18-24.

In the evening I went out with my new girlfriend April. :-) That's only the second time that I have used an emoticon. We had a quick drink in Wandsworth where I met her old Uni friend Len, he had to meet other friends later so left us too it. He was in the UK for a few days before flying to Turkey then back to Oz. April's from Perth Australia by the way. Then we walked to Clapham Junction to a bar she new and we had a lovely mojito. It's been a while since my last but that was great! Then to a local DVD rental place which she blagged membership for without having full ID then watched the start of I (heart) Huckerbies. I'll watch it fully at some point.

Sunday was just the ticket, Breakfast at Weatherspoons (sequel to Tiffanies), much better than the original. No soppy story line just bacon, egg, sausage and all the trimmings for £1.99. I then did a bit of shopping then headed back to watch the footy. Chelsea v's Arsenal. Best game I'd seen in a while.

Ta ta for now.

Friday 8 December 2006

SC Movie Review 9

Casino Royale

I went to see the new James Bond film with my brother Steve last Thursday and it was very good. I think the poker section was a bit too long, but as my brother pointed out. The film's title was Casino Royal so I guess it should have quite a prominant part to the film.

Great action, not too far fetched as was the problem with the last handful. Invisible car, I ask you...

Daniel Craig was excellent. Even better than Roger Moore.

Go and see it if you haven't already, and role on the next one.

IMdb Rating: 8.0 / 10 (33265 votes)
SC Rating: 4 Potatoes (1 vote)

Thursday 7 December 2006

That'll smart a bit

"They said he had broken his neck. [The impact of the crash] had actually taken the skull off his neck," he said.

Wednesday 6 December 2006

Working from home today...

I could certainly get used to this. It's the first time i've done it in 4 and a quarter years. I hope my new place lets us. I've already done an hours work so have my feet up for 20 mins watching TV.