The trainees’ weekend away was a roaring success, with all credit to Edwin for organising a fantastic break. A bus picked us up from the office, along with several bottles of champagne to ease the ride up to Norfolk. Diss, it turns out, really is in the middle of nowhere, and we were staying in a farm a few miles outside town. Long View consisted of a main building with a large living area and kitchen, with a second floor of bedrooms taken by the girls, and an attached cabin outside with more bedrooms for the guys. The first night was actually rather civilised, albeit suitably inebriated. Edwin had, it must be said, rather over-catered on the alcohol side (far better than under, of course!), so that to polish off the remainder on the second night each person would have needed to drink a bottle of white wine, two bottles of red and half a bottle of spirit. Perhaps fortunately, we failed.
Saturday was largely taken up by a walk through the crisp, grey Norfolk countryside (the cold air being a great cure for those inflicted by hangovers) to a cosy provincial pub replete with roaring fireplace and genial barmaid. Here we split, some choosing to stay put and while away the afternoon while others preferred a longer, meandering walk back. I fell into the latter group, and as the setting sun dipped below the cloudline, we were treated to a beautiful golden light that played across the fields and illuminated the trees. After a very grey day, it was a stunning sight.
In the evening was the weekend’s main event, a large catered dinner (prepared for us in the cottage) which had been themed with “oversized accessories”. After a quick discussion with Rom the previous week it transpired we had no oversized accessories whatsoever in the house (for my part I tend to go with “realistic” fancy dress) so I headed out to Angels to buy one. Given my Alice in Wonderland obsession it’s not hard to guess what I picked out. Let’s just say it was a hat of the crazy variety. Lev and Stu’s Dubious Accessories Committee fared well at first, imposing penalties on those who failed to dress appropriately, but ultimate broke down. At which point the night got rather messier as people just started pouring unseemly “shots” of vodka for each other. And since it has been agreed Tour Rules apply, that is where I shall stop. I will, however, point you towards the Trainee Weekend Away gallery for a series of pictures that, at the going rate, are worth approximately sixty thousand words.
Those of you who frequent the Critic section of the site may have noticed a new page appearing in the last few days. Quite why anyone would frequent that section leads to questions of sanity since it is not exactly kept what one might call up-to-date. Which is sort of the point of the new page, Ones To Watch. It is an entirely personal list of the films on my radar that I intend to see, along with the reasons that I am interested. Since it will look forward by around six months, the idea is that it should never end up totally out of date. There is no real guarantee of quality on the films listed, and my opinion may well change as further information emerges, but the descriptions should let you know if it’s likely to be up your street. There is also a higher probability that films in the list will get the full review treatment, but given my dismal performance last year I make no promises at all. The list is sparse right now, just to give you an idea, but should fill up over the next week or so.
Virtually all of the first year trainees are heading off to Diss in Norfolk this weekend for a potentially debaucherous weekend of fun in a large cottage. This is the result of some sterling work by Edwin in arranging the entire affair, including the provision of a worrying amount of alcohol. For the sake of everyone’s health I rather hope there is some left over. Expect a fuller report once recovered next week.
Several bits and pieces I’ve been meaning to mention:
Google Maps has added a transit layer for a host of major cities including London. Quite how useful you’ll find it in the long run is a good question, but my impression is it may be more helpful as a tourist in one of the other 58 cities added so far.
I’m definitely suffering inauguration fatigue from the excessive Obama coverage, but arguably one of the more interesting things to emerge from it is the best demonstration to date of Microsoft’s PhotoSynth technology in CNN’s “The Moment”.
Wired’s long article The Plot to Kill Google discusses the wrangling behind the search giant’s deal with Yahoo!, the potential criminal prosecution that resulted in Google pulling out, and from where the next threat may come.