We lost a couple of people to redundancies at work today. It's always sad to lose staff but this one manager in particular had been with the firm since before I began over 10 years ago. Through mergers and acquisitions Rob had been the steadying hand; in times of confusion, he had the insight and good humour to help us through and somehow with Rob around I felt that good sense would prevail. Today after 22 years he's gone, lost to the 'sense' of accountancy and rightsizing, he'll be fine, but us? Hmm of that I'm not so sure any longer.
Over thew years I've done a few things that some might consider quite dangerous, I've learnt to ride horses, I've dived some pretty deep caves, I've dropped some pretty big holes and even been on a SunSail Holiday but I haven't come quite as close to death as I did this morning.
En route to Basingstoke I overtook a car south of Lyndhurst in the New Forest doing (ahem) mph, it was at this point that a quite simply enormous stag happily leapt the 6 foot fence next to road and looked at me. I hit the brakes hard enough for the car to properly start to shake as the ABS kicked in. I was the first real emergency stop I think I've ever done, normally when I brake hard I think about the car behind me, today I thought about the deer ahead of me, he was simply beautiful, muscled, huge antlers and looked very erm heavy. He looked at me, I looked at him, he turned, easily leapt back to Forest as I screamed by. All over in 1.2 seconds - bloody hell, that was close .....
So the country-mice went to the town for an evening out. This particular town was Slug, or 'Slough' as I believe the locals say. It's quite a trip for the battered Mondeo but we duly chugged up and were only ten minutes late for the start of a great evening. Our friends had managed to work with the Slug writers guild and put together four plays for radio, meaning they could read their lines but also that the acting all had to be done in the vocals in a WaterStones bookshop after hours. The venue itself was slightly surreal but worked surprising well, the actors having to raise their voices slightly but nothing too dramatic and the overall feeling was being in the lounge of a rather lovely country house; which we like because we of course live in a rather lovely country house.
We missed most of the first play and have no idea what it was about but each of the other three was excellent. To blandly assert that they were all written and performed by amateurs is to imply a diservice to what were plays which had a sublime quality with flashes of brilliant acting. Sarah's characterisation of a Russian mapmaker, Jane as a creepy queen of the May with a penchant for sharp knives, Sally as a spy in love with Slug and Adam as the railway porter in unrequited love, all quite entranced the crowd of thirty or so who came to watch. The country mice then went for a walk in Slug and would've enjoyed a drink in the pub with the gang but it seems that towns need people called doormen who aren't overly keen on small children so that wasn't possible, however overall an outstanding evening and as BirdBoot would say, "A rattling good yarn, I was gripped!"
Last night we managed to take advantage of the excellent weather we're having in Southern England right now and got a fire going. We had some friends over, the boys camped out in their tents and Gary slept in the van. Me? Oh I slept in my bed...what about you Ben, was it cold? Oh yes, even under two sleeping bags, one duvet and blue blankie! The fire was still going this morning, and Ben managed to get the flames licking up in no time at all. Needless to say, a few beers were drunk and somehow (Ben this means you) an empty bottle exploded in the fire. The bees are doing well in the sunshine too, and the farmer is going to plant rape opposite their hives! mmmmm Spring honey.