Archive for October, 2006

Apparently, it’s British Sausage Week. They’ve gone a bit mad in our canteen, offering fifteen different varieties of sausage over the course of the week, along with a bit of a marketing campaign (for example, sausages are the most popular barbeque food in the UK (49% of BBQs), followed by beef burgers (38%) and poultry (37%). Despite average partnership profits of £686K per partner this year, it does seem like we’re wasting good money here.

After two weeks of peace and quiet, Ms. Squeaky made her return to the train. She declared herself victorious to the entire carriage and then proceeded to (yep, you guessed it) call all of her friends to let them know her news. I’ve just about given up, and am debating whether to buy a cell-phone jammer (illegal but satisfying) or whether I should simply move to another carriage. L’enfer, c’est les autres indeed!

Off to a swanky 5-star hotel in Brighton for a corporate piss-up tonight — black tie event with loads of champagne. They’ve got a spa as well, so I’m thinking about sneaking off for an hour for a massage. Tomorrow’s a day of team-building. Sometimes I’m amazed I get paid to do all this. At the risk of repeating myself, despite average partnership profits of £686K per partner this year, it does seem like we’re wasting good money here.

Still, I like champagne. Who am I to question the wisdom of the partners?

Our friends, Alessandro and Virginie, are travelling around the world for six months. They’ve got a blog as well:

The Blobs’ Blog

Their photos are online, too: Travel photos

Check it out!

We stayed out until 2am last night, which must be a record. Except for Jerome – despite being the youngest in our party, he’d crawled back to our place at midnight to catch up on his sleep. Investment banking isn’t quite the glamorous career it’s made out to be – this was his first night of decent sleep in a week!

The extra hour of sleep afforded by the clocks going back was a real blessing, and all three of us woke up with very sore heads this morning. Aude and Jerome decided to do some shopping while I prepared a traditional Sunday roast of roast beef, roast carrots and parsnips with honey and cinnamon, roast potatoes (roasted with the goose fat from our Christmas goose last year) and sautéed cabbage. It was just what the doctor ordered.

The weather today was unbelievable – warm and sunny and totally out-of-character for this time of year. We sat in the garden to eat our lunch, not believing that it was nearly November.

I cut the grass yesterday – the third time I’ve cut it for the “last” time of the season – but this time I think it might actually be true. I really can’t believe that this good weather can continue for much longer – the cold, dark nights of winter are really just around the corner.

Lunch in the garden

A traditional Sunday roast, taken untraditionally in the garden

Matthew gets stuck in!

Matthew gets tucked into his food…

Jerome at lunch

I’m convinced that Jerome only comes to stay with us so that he doesn’t starve.

Naughty cat

Lunch, if I must say so myself, was absolutely delicious. Even Daisy agreed.

Daisy and Matt

Daisy and I clearly do not share the same enthusiasm for the camera.

Summer weather

Warm and sunny in the last week of October? I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.


Jerome poses for the camera.

Who would have believed that another year has passed and that Aude is another year older? Although she likes to remind me that she’s still in her twenties, I like to remind her that she’s on borrowed time, and that before long, we’ll need to introduce ourselves as a couple in our thirties.

To celebrate the occasion, we had a party at Fusion, the new bar around the corner. We got really lucky and had the bar more or less to ourselves — and with the clocks going back this weekend, we got an extra hour of partying time!

Matthew smoking a shisha

Matthew smoking a shisha

Aude smoking a shisha

We’re not smoking marijuana. Honestly. Aude just gets excited very easily.


Gino making a grand entrance



Jiri's girlfriend

Anne Marie, Jiri’s girlfriend

Neil giving Aude a birthday kiss

You’ve got to keep a close eye on Aude. Lose your concentration for one second and another man is kissing her…



Aude enjoying her birthday

Clearly a very happy girl, despite her advancing years. This sort of giddiness is characteristic of old age senility

Neil, the clown

More old age senility. Neil, at his great age, is already further down the path than the rest of us.

Neil and Anne-Laure

Neil and Anne-Laure looking very “Sex in the City”


A face for radio…

Aude and Darren

Aude and Darren

Aude, Jerome and Ivano

Aude, Jerome and Ivano



Lina hiding

Matthew has a bit of a reputation with his camera. This is the reaction it normally provokes. What you can’t hear is Lina saying “would you please put that f*cking camera away?”

The dancers

Alcohol + salsa lessons = who leads whom?

Who the hell are you?

Our gatecrasher. This guy came in, ordered a full bottle of champagne for himself, and drank it in the middle of our otherwise private room. A particularly stylish touch was his shirt and tie, cut from exactly the same material. I’ve seen this look twice this week — I pray to God this isn’t the new fashion!

We had a great time at the party, but the reality of old age hit us hard this morning. We all had the heads that we deserved — including Aude, which was a real surprise!

A brief update from the world of work…

As nice as it was to have a short break over the weekend, Monday morning came early and it was time to head back to work. A few important updates:

  1. Still no sign of Ms Squeaky or her nemesis. I can’t say that I’m shedding too many tears as I enjoy my quiet commute into the office.
  2. The bid team that I was asked to join on Friday finally finished pulling together the bid at 3am Saturday morning. We’re supposed to hear whether we were successful later this week, and the client is targeting an immediate start around the world. We’re sending consultants to Amsterdam, California, Tokyo, Singapore and Dubai. It’s a great travel for those who like frequent flyer miles.
  3. I’m going to meet with my client to go through the final sales presentation on Friday morning. If I’m successful, there’s every chance that I’ll be living out of the Sheraton at Heathrow Airport for the next nine months, driving the same commute I left my last job to get away from!

As Alanis Morissette would say, “Isn’t it ironic?”

Orbec is a small town in the Haut Pays of Auge. It sits next to a river and takes its name from the Scandinavian word for “river of trout”, having been previously colonised by the Vikings. It’s famous for its many wooden-beamed houses and manoirs.

Here are a few pictures I took as we walked around the town (obviously some from the evening, some from the next morning!)

The town of Orbec

The town of Orbec

The town of Orbec

The town of Orbec

The town of Orbec

The town of Orbec

The town of Orbec