Friday, May 30, 2008

Airline Cashflow Crisis

I've been waiting almost ten weeks for a refund from an airline, which had originally promised to do it in six weeks (which I thought was bad enough).

So what do we think the reason is? Cashflow crisis, incompetence or cynicism bordering on banditry?

I hesitate to name them as I'm sure there are probably laws against accusing companies of being insolvent but one really does wonder how difficult it is to process a refund.

Passport Control

I flew back to London City Airport from Dublin yesterday.

I didn't have to go through passport control.

Is that normal?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Narrow Platforms

The platforms at Limehouse DLR Station were narrowed rather severely a few weeks ago by having scaffolding and wooden planks positioned along the length. I would say that the depth has been reduced by at least 50cm - possibly more.

The work appears to be temporary and, as both platforms have been similarly mutilated, I'm guessing it's something to do with the three-car project rather than the bridge to the c2c station but the narrowing is noticeable and borders on dangerous at peak periods.

Surely this isn't just being done to create storage space?  Anybody know?

I knew it

Walking back from the cinema at West India Quay last night, I looked up at the DLR viaduct and something didn't seem right.  There were huge numbers of workers in high-visibility vests scurrying around, pulling ropes and driving machinery.

There was still about ten hours left until the system had to be open again but something didn't seem right... I said something like: "looks like we'll be walking tomorrow".

And so it has turned out...

I thought they would over-run because of the weather (it was pouring down) but, if the first comment above is to be believed, the problem was actually with one of the bridges.

If so, why didn't they bother to email those on their mailing list once they realised so we could make alternative plans?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

This is a big deal

If I understand this correctly, one of the major ratings agencies incorrectly rated some instruments in 2006. This is surely an open goal for anybody wanting to blame any subsequent losses on someone else.

I really wouldn't want to be Moody's or their insurers right now...

(Question: who can say they knew what a CPDO was before they heard about this story?)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Radio 4's Today Programme... still embarrassingly ill-informed

I don't know why I insist on listening to the Today programme. It's not healthy to get so stressed so early in the morning by their one-sided reports, determination to follow their own agenda and insistence on persisting with the "socialist homily of the day" slot at 7:45.

This morning's show was a classic, though.

Evan Davies's failure to understand the difference between "volume" and "mass" during a discussion on alcohol (8mg vs 10ml in a unit) was minor enough but still amusing.

But the best part was James Naughtie's embarrassment of an invterview with the boss of Glaxo SmithKline.

He was determined to throw some mud about Seroxat, seemingly thinking that vague questions, unsupported assertions and sheer aggression could substitute actually having a clue about the topic or having been briefed.

I thought Jean-Pierre Garnier humoured him more than was necessary before tearing him apart. You could sense Naughtie floundering at the end and it made for a most satisfying experience.

Being reminded that even the most "respected" members of the press are really just a bunch of cowboys is still somewhat disconcerting, however.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Old Street

My brother was down this weekend (primarily to attend a party being held by a theatre company who had recently performed a play he wrote).

Rather than go into town or stay local, as usual, I thought his arrival would be a good excuse to go somewhere different for a change.

So we went to Old Street. Now, I know this area has passed through "scary", "fashionable" and "mainstream" on its journey to "unremarkable" but I have managed to avoid going out there until now so it was new to me.

We went to an enjoyably idiosyncratic bar and had a great night.  Perhaps we'll go there again sometime.  Probably in 2011 or something, knowing how long it takes me to change my habits.