Paint everywhere. Boxes everywhere. Slightly frayed tempers. But getting there.
And big thanks to Tim, Lu and Kev for coming over to help.

New house

We have the keys. We’ve cleaned. We’ve started spotting some paint here and there. We’ve had bacon and egg sannies. We have two phone lines. We have broadband. We have gas. We have electricity. We have water.
We’ve got a home.
Not bad for day one.

Good news and bad

Just had the call from our solicitor to say that everything is running smoothly with the purchase of the New House™, and that we should be able to get the keys from the estate agent in about one hour. Which is good.
I’ve also had a call from the BT engineer. He wondered why he couldn’t get into the New House™ at 8.30 this morning. He was scheduled to go in somewhen between 8am and 12 noon. This in spite of the fact that I told BT that I wouldn’t have access to the property before lunch. Gah. Thankfully, I have his mobile number, so can call him back as soon as we get there.

Graybo’s Review Of Books

I promised to let you know how I got on with the books I’m reading at the moment, and whether or not they lived up to their one-word reviews on the cover. The first that I tackled was How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered The World by Francis Wheen, which was rated as "Hilarious" by Jeremy Paxman.

I’m not sure I agree with Paxo.

Now, please don’t get me wrong – this is a very good and thought-provoking book. It is, in essence, an appeal for rationality in an irrational world. He challenges not only thinkers and opinion formers (ranging from the likes of Noam Chomsky and Al Gore on one hand, through to Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan on the other, and not forgetting a good swipe at the Bible and the Koran on the way through) but also the likes of you and I to use a more rational approach to our appraisal of the world and our own situation. Definitely recommended and well worth reading, but only likely to raise an odd "goodness! how ironic!" chortle every now and then rather than anything that could be described as hilarity.

The one bit that is hilarious, however, is the index. Let me give you a few quotes:

Blair, Tony, 215, 225, 272;

  • claims descent from Abraham, 165;
  • defends secondary picketing, 216;
  • defends teaching of creationism, 7, 113-15;
  • displays coat-hangers, 224;
  • emotional guy, 205, 207, 210, 212;
  • explores Third Way, 226;
  • likes chocolate-cake recipe, 51;

Lacan, Jacques, 79, 91-2;

  • mistakes his penis for a square root, 88-9;

Peters, Tom, 234;

  • discovers secret of success, 41;
  • flails and sweats, 50-1;
  • discovers secret of failure, 62;
  • thrives on chaos, 63;

and, most brilliantly,


  • accepted by Newton, 4;
  • angered by feminists and gays, 183;
  • appoints American coal-owners, 25;
  • approves of laissez-faire economics, 27;
  • arrives in America, 158;
  • asked by Khomeini to cut off foreigners’ hands, ix;
  • believed to have created humans 10,000 years ago, 103;
  • could have made intelligent sponges, 109;
  • doesn’t foresee Princess Diana’s death, 154;
  • helps vacuum-cleaner saleswoman, 45;
  • interested in diets, 95;
  • offers investment advice, 48;
  • praised by Enron chairman, 277;
  • produces first self-help manual, 53;

Brilliant. And you can quote me on that.

Next up: Noam Chomsky’s Hegemony or Survival which, in light of Wheen’s comments, should make interesting reading. (In fact, I’ve only got to page 8 and have already found evidence to support Wheen’s point of view).


Tomorrow, we get the keys for the new house. Today, I have to go to HomeBase for some decorating supplies, and to Sainsbury’s for some first-day-in-new-home provisions (teabags, milk, readymeals, etc.).
Yesterday, BT phoned me. At 1pm tomorrow, my old office telephone and broadband should be switched off, and my new phone line and broadband should be switched on. At the same time. The chap from BT (who had a very strong west Scotland accent) said to me "well, we’re still on for it at this end, but who knows what’ll happen on Friday – we’ll just have to wait and see". I’m not filled with confidence.