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‘Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.’

The Uninvited Guest

This is my first blog for a while, I have been a bit busy, having the bathroom at home ripped out and put back together again, it is always a winner in my book for major stress moment, have you bought the right tiles and enough of them, does the new toilet actually fit in the new position, will the shower actually work?

We have a bathroom the size of your average postage stamp, the sink would have looked great in the garden as an ornamental bird bath, and the bath was a half bath, with a shower unit as part of the integrated taps.

I am not a small man 6 foot tall and I work in IT and used to be a chef, what do you expect??, I couldn’t get myself in the bath without having my feet poking out one end, or the other end getting very cold. The shower was ok, but it was really beginning to leak, as was the toilet every time you flushed, thankfully from the cistern not elsewhere and because of inadequate ventilation the walls and ceilings had started to go this lovely black/green colour.
We decided long ago that we needed a new bathroom, as we didn’t have the money to either convert one of the bedrooms, or build an extension, we went with the ‘Do it up’ theory.

We thought this would be the easy bit, my wifes’ sister and husband had the bathroom in there house refurbished about three years ago, so we thought get the same company in to give us a quote.
The guy came one evening, my wifes’ bus was late so she wasn’t there as well, just me and my daughter, he scared her silly, talked rubbish for 20 minutes before deciding to go and actually have a look at the bathroom, word of note, don’t offer these people a drink, he sat down and very slowly drank it. After which he spent almost 40 minutes measuring our cupboard, then he came downstairs, sat and talked about options, then went back upstairs to re measure and calculate the cost. 1 hour and 40 minutes after he had arrived, we got the approximate quote 5.5K, but we would get a full quote within the week (turned out to be just over 6K), but hell, if he hadn’t spooked us, he looked like a cross between John Candy, and Donald Pleasance in the later Halloween movies!! very unnerving.

So, having had that quote, we started looking for other quotes, mainly to compare, but also to see if we could get cheaper. About the same time, we had our boiler serviced, and I was talking to the guy that does it for us, nice bloke, if you live in Bristol and you need a good boiler engineer or thinking of replacing yours drop me a line, trust me, he is brilliant.  Anyway, I was talking to him and he said, that’s ok, we can do that as well, great, I know him and trust him, that would be great. So after he had done with the boiler we had a further chat, he said be cheaper if you buy the bits yourself, and we will just fit them for you. Brilliant, even better, however, that’s where the fun really began

In the best Star Trek Tradition



Works been ok, although we have just started this great Performance Management Framework thing, on the surface, a great idea, give everyone an equal ‘Appraisal’ footing, 7 measures, which soon became 8, then 9 and now possibly 10,which they all have targets. So, 180 staff, all with a spreadsheet, which feeds into a team spreadsheet, which feeds into an Area one, which feeds into a Management one, which feeds into a board one, anyone see the issues?

My first task was to work out what the hell they wanted. Oh that’s going to be clear then, next was to work out a way of getting the data required out of the database, Advisor level, consolidated numbers i.e. total number of contact made in the past month, then get that data populated into almost 200 spreadsheets at once. Yup, this is going to be fun!!!

Thankfully, talking to our database software supplier, they have come up with a process of exporting the data out of the system and into a table, from this I can pull this data out using a Crystal report into a spreadsheet format, keeping up at the back? here’s the science, from this I than have some VBA code, which will run, open all the spreadsheets, under each is another piece of VBA code to look at my big spreadsheet, filter it, finding the data I want for a named person, updating and saving the spreadsheet, then closing it again, and the main one.

That took two days to get that working correctly, believe me if I had any hair, I wouldn’t have any left after that.
While I get the reason for it, standardizing the process by which staff are measured, does it really have to be so damned complicated?

Still, all I have to do now is document it all…………..

For that growing band of interested parties, the section titles come from songs by a band called Marillion, the main title is from the film ‘Bladerunner’

Thanks for listening, and in the words of the late great Richard Nixon ‘Those things don’t work, they never put any tapes in them’

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