Monday, July 10, 2006

Today in Westminster

A hectic day all round today; I was in work early, which meant enduring the rush-hour crush on the trains. The reason I was in early was that I had arranged a tour of the Houses of Parliament with Jess for 11 o’clock which I knew was going to take a fair chunk out of my day.

Brett’s former music teacher, Mark S, was along too having just arrived in the UK yesterday. He’s here early for a tour by his current choir and is doing some sightseeing of his own.

After some initial confusion about which entrance we needed to use, we finally met up with Jess and spent a good 90-minutes wandering through some gloriously overdone interiors as she gave us the history of the building. We did what’s called the ‘Line of Route’ tour, which starts at the Sovereign’s Entrance and passes through the Robing Room, Royal Gallery, Princes Chamber and the Lord’s Chamber before crossing the Central Lobby into the Commons areas; the Member’s Lobby, the actual Commons Chamber and the division lobbies before ending up outside Westminster Hall.

Jess looked very well and reported that she’d had two of her new staff in post for about a month now, so they were just beginning to be useful. I know she’s been terribly understaffed this year and her department has been the focus of a lot of attention because of John Prescott’s shenanigans.

Anyway, I left Brett, Jim and Mark after the tour to get back to work, where there was plenty of firefighting to be done; licensing problems stopping one of our project offices from working on a server, a key disaster-recovery server blue-screening and sundry other minor irritants.

To finish it all off, just before I left Gaetan appeared back in the office, having been knocked off his bike by a motorist at a junction. Fortunately no serious damage seems to have been done him, although his bike will need substantial repair. The motorist stopped and gave her details, so it should all be covered by insurance since it was clearly her fault.

My only other concern is that, with Sid on a training course, Henri on holiday, Rav in Leeds (fixing that blue-screen), if Gaetan needs to take tomorrow off sick, it will just be me and the work-experience guy manning the department…

Choir tonight was fairly enjoyable; we’re still polishing the show for Cardiff. The only thing I didn’t enjoy much was spending time on the choreography for Back In Business, which I’ve never liked anyway. Brett is concerned about his voice though, as he’s finding there are sections of his register that he just can’t reach. I suspect he’s overstretching himself singing tenor full-time. There’s no longer any need for him too and I think he’d be more comfortable as a baritone. I think we are both going to skip the Christmas season though, so making the switch in January will hopefully be easier as there won’t be so much stuff to relearn.

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