Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Tuesday AM
So much for my dream of going home at a reasonable hour this week, last night it was 8.30 pm, and I had been here since 8 am. Today I got here at 7.15 am!

The reason for this is that in theory our core team of users should do testing from tomorrow, but there are still some issues with configuration and custom developments. And our beloved D has managed to upset everyone yesterday with his oh so charming manner, so it looks as though the users may not be willing to go ahead. David and I are slaving to rescue this situation, I have spent two hours with Rosetta this morning - she screamed at D yesterday, I think she hates him also. I certainly do, after yesterday's performance, and actually I spoke to our HR person in London today about him. We are all so relieved that he will be going soon, but there isn't a firm date yet, it is just "in June".

Of course I didn't do any stitching much last night, given the hour at which I got home, really this is not good. When I think of my previous project and Roddy, he had us all working until midnight sometimes in perfect harmony and good humour, and somehow we all managed to have personal lives as well. But I guess Roddy is a human being, while D is not!

Some views from my balcony here:

This is downtown Nicosia! I am five minutes (leisurely) walk from Eleftheria Square or Makariou Avenue. These were taken on Sunday afternoon, when it was still and hot, and all of Nicosia was asleep...
posted by Ally at 11:35 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Monday, May 29, 2006
AMAP Quaker Pochette Pictures

This is becoming addictive, here is the AMAP Quaker Pochette, the first picture shows the right flap and part of the centre. The second picture is the middle, which forms the back and front covers of the pochette. The third one is the left hand flap, as yet unfinished, and I have now got to the part where the chart is incorrect. It is possible to tell from the picture on the front of the packet what it should be, but I downloaded it from the AMAP website, where there are corrections for a few charts where there are errors. That one is a bit blurry unfortunately, I was just taking these ones late last night with the piece lying on the ironing board.

In fact I did most of this left flap this weekend, there is something to be said for days that are so hot that I cannot even go outside. I did a bit of Lefkaritika one as well, but nothing on Lefkaritika 2. So I have to make that the priority for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday evenings, before the lesson on Thursday.

This week I am going to try and leave work at a reasonable hour every night, not later than 7.30pm. Last week and the week before, in fact, the whole time since coming back from Agia Napa, I have been so totally sick, I have never had a cold in my life before that lasts for two weeks. I think it was a combination of several factors - two weekends in a row (Paris, Agia Napa) where I had no rest, I hadn't been eating anything for weeks, plus the whole stress thing with D. I've been semi-stressed ever since last year when he accused me in front of the whole team of being a hopeless architect who was putting the whole project in jeopardy. This is not true, of course, and everyone knows it is not true, but it is still very stressful to have to go through that sort of thing.

So I am going home at a normal time (only 10 or 10.5 hours per day instead of 11.5!), and I am taking iron supplements, and I will have my new specs tomorrow, which may help with the eye tiredness. Plus I will try and eat something, even if only bread and cheese, at night.

I'm torn between longing for the summer holidays when I can rest, and not longing for them, because I'm not sure if I will be coming back here afterwards. I wasn't supposed to be, but Leo says there's so much work here that I am necessary. However no-one has told me definitely either way, and I may not know until five minutes before where I am going to be. Of course I would quite like to come back here, I like working with Nicky, Alec and David. Especially Nicky, of course.
posted by Ally at 10:55 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Sunday, May 28, 2006
My Lefkaritika Pictures

These are the first three photos I have taken with the new digital camera - which is only a little one that I bought on the plane the last time I flew from Paris to Larnaka. It seems easy enough to use, but I have to work out how to take good photos now! I guess white on white Lefkaritika may not be the easiest thing to photograph anyway. They are a bit blurry, there must be a way to fix that, I suppose I have to read the rest of the manual (very thick little book, clearly translated from some obscure foreign tongue).

Anyway, these three show the essential points of Lefkaritika 1 (finikoto) i.e. daisies, openwork and tsimbi. There are sixteen of the daisies, and so far five out of the sixteen openwork areas and nearly half the meter of tsimbi.

I will have to take some photos of the other things I've done and talked about, to make a sort of catch up. This is probably the cheapest digital camera there is, I think they are probably made for kids, so ideal for me to learn on! Maybe one day I will be one of these people who has the latest and greatest, but it seems a distant possibility. The expense for one thing....

Yesterday I did spend some money, £170 on new glasses, somewhat overdue. They are my first pair of progressives, so I guess I will be falling over things when I pick them up on Tuesday. I can't believe it is so simple and cheap to get glasses here, they have optometrists, which we don't have in France. There you have to go to the ophthalmologue, and in some areas there is a three month wait to see those, just to get a prescription for the glasses. Then you take it to the optician, and then you wait a week or more for the glasses to be made. And the prices are high. Last time a pair of reading glasses with Chanel frames cost me 700€. Of course you can get cheaper frames, but the lenses are expensive also. The frames I am getting here are Versace, not the horrible glitter ostenatious sort of Versace, but rather tasteful ones with a little bit of strass. It was sort of "Versace, really? I can hardly believe it!"

Apart from that did very little, slept for four hours in the afternoon - it is very hot, at least 37 degrees most days, at present, so it is not wise to do too much. Watch movies until 1am, and did AMAP Quaker pochette, the finish is within sight.
posted by Ally at 10:42 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Friday, May 26, 2006
I'm getting good at this HTML stuff, aren't I? Although some of my blinkies don't blink as they should, I need to find out the reason for that.

I was so tired this morning, I didn't want to get out of bed, but I had to. I took a taxi to the big Post Office to pick up the latest SANQ and several skeins of WDW from Criss Cross Row. I think this is the quickest shop to deliver normally. The taxi driver was sweet, when he dropped me at work, he said "Goodbye, my love, I hope to see you again". Only a Cypriot taxi driver could say this and get away with it. So different from the French taxi drivers, it is all "Madame" there. The French are so hung up on titles.

Nicky and I went to have salads for lunch at Debenhams, now he is sitting at his desk sleeping while sitting more or less upright with his eyes more or less open. The Dwarf has just returned from some unspecified high level mission, Leo and David are in Israel, Alec is off for a long weekend with his family, the young boys are out at lunch. I wonder how long it will be before it is possible to sneak off to Costa Coffee, I long for a seat under an umbrella and a coffee frescato.

Plans for the weekend include work, stitching, washing, ironing, and a few million other things. I did do my Lefkaritika last night until midnight, which probably was not the best idea, but maybe I will do the same tonight. I have given up the Friday night bottle of wine, but maybe a glass wouldn't hurt.... I should also eat something, I haven't really been eating all week, except for toast for breakfast and salad for lunch, and this is not the way to be healthy.
posted by Ally at 12:05 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Lefkaritika 10
I rushed out this afternoon to go to Lefkaritika, despite the chaos that was whirling around me.... today we went on with the Xolouri, leaning how to do the openwork for that (a bit boring, no eyes, just plain bars) and starting on the satin stitch shapes (quite interesting, but they will go more quickly at home).

I had forgotten to take out my blunt needle and replace it with the sharp one favoured by the locals and got told off for this! In fact, there is no need to use the sharp one, in my opinion, and I keep pricking myself with the damned thing. So I'll go home and use my own.

And it seems we will have another lesson next week, there were only supposed to be ten, but we are behind, that is true, some ladies have not done much at all. Today Astero and Androulla were not there, either, but Irini has already started the next one, which is potamos - means a river, and there is a lot of fearsome cutting.

Now I am back, testing madly, so that our little D does not put me even higher on his Hate List. Leo is on his way to the US for two weeks training, and he has just called me from the taxi to the airport to tell me how he sees the next two weeks going. He was mildly derogatory about some of Nicky's plans, I think, and I can see that there may not end up being a good relationship between those two. That could be hard for me, and I think it would be harder on Nicky than on Leo, as well.

I want to go home now and do Lefkaritika!

PS This morning D asked me if there were any stopovers.......... blank looks from Leo and me. He meant showstoppers..........
posted by Ally at 6:29 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
New Look
I should not be doing this at this hour of the morning, as I have 5000 things to do, but I saw this template and liked it......... very appropriate as Cyprus is the island of Aphrodite.

I still have a few things to do, like learn HTML, I guess. No seriously, I should be able to manage to put in the things I want to without going to those lengths. I am not THAT sort of IT person, I don't write programs, I just tell everyone else how to do this - at least, that is how it has felt this week. Sometimes I wish I was back in the days of writing programs, I miss Natural very much, Cobol to a lesser extent. I think I worked with Natural on a daily basis for the best part of 20 years, and I was good at it.

Have already spent time with D and Leo this morning, as there are still problems, but I intend to go out to Lefkaritika this afternoon, as it is the last of the ten lessons. I'm not sure if I have to give back the covered board, but, if so, I've worked out how to make one. A breadboard would suffice for those who do not have access to timber offcuts!
posted by Ally at 9:31 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
More Chaos
Today has been even more chaotic.............. I nearly lost it at one point, as we had a three hour meeting with the users (David calls them the Three Witches, which D doesn't understand, as Shakespeare was not on the curriculum where he came from, but he titters politely all the same). They told me all about all the things they want the system to do, some of which I have heard before and some not. Some are things that are included in the system, others not, it's very dispiriting to have to go through them all time and again.

Then, when I got back from that, I heard that the developers recommended that the solution to one of my showstopper problems was to change the configuration so that the error message I encountered did not occur. Goodness, I was cross, if it were that simple, we would have done this three days ago. We can't change the configuration because it meets the customer's requirements, it's just that the transaction where the error occurs processes things in a particular order which means that the validation needs to be bypassed temporarily. So we had a conversation about that, and now they are busy coding a solution that I suggested. Earliest possible delivery tomorrow. Late tomorrow, I would imagine.

I've also got a stack of configuration notes to write, I won't be able to do most of those before tomorrow. The database has been up and down all day, at one point we had an infinite loop, which is rather beautiful if you think about the concept, but extremely annoying in real life.

To console myself, I ordered a couple of charts, including Miss Mary Mack, from Wyndham Needlework. If things go on like this for much longer, I would say ordering the entire pink and green line from Des Histoires A Broder is a distinct possibility.
posted by Ally at 6:15 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Feeling Better
At least I thought I was this morning, but I am having my doubts now......... it is very hot, well over 30 degrees, and I still have to blow my nose a lot, and I cough painfully if someone makes me laught, which Nicky has been doing all day.

I went out to get my lunch at 1 pm, but ended up not being able to eat it until 2.30 pm, as I was immediately grabbed to go into a meeting upon my return, and both David and I had to sit there with our stomachs rumbling, and, in his case, he was yawning too, as he wanted to go off for a sleep.

This certainly didn't do much for David's temper, as he threw a notepad at me when we got back to our room, the young boys shrieked. They were very late today, as they were here until after midnight last night.

At least one of my major problems has been solved, but I still have another one which really is worrying me. It is a showstopper, we would not be able to deliver next week without it. David has two showstoppers, I think. It is at times like this that the pressure is on the thread architects, as we have to pass everything that has been developed for our threads, and sort out any problems that occur. I have a massive thread as well, with an incredibly wide variety of functionality, and I seem to be getting questions from all sides.

Last night I did do some stitching, a bit of tsimbi and a bit of four-sided stitch on the first and second Lefkaritika respectively. I shall try to do a bit more tonight, but I really am tired.

Sylvain is here, to work with D and Leo on our poor project plan, which fell into disuse under the D regime, and is now being revived in a more reasonable form i.e. one that bears some relationship to reality. I am worrying though about the amount of work to be done, although it seems possible, even likely, that I will get to stay here longer because of that. And while there are some inconveniences to being here, there are quite a few other benefits. Especially when D goes.
posted by Ally at 6:34 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Monday, May 22, 2006
Monday AM
The rest of the weekend was a bit of a washout, as I felt quite ill.... I probably shouldn't have stayed up to watch the end of the Eurovision Song Contest. I started watching it in a trendy cafe with David, who was very scornful about the whole thing. The place was full of trendy young things all gazing raptly at the screen.... when the ballet dancer appeared out of the piano at the end of the Russian entry, David was doubled up with scornful laughter, much to their horror. We left soon after that!

I did try to work yesterday, but David sent me home, he said I had a temperature. I never know things like that, but he has years of practice with children. I called at Starbucks on the way to get fresh Orange Juice, and Nicky was lounging there in the sun like the Cypriot lizard he is. I remember having a brief conversation with him, but my memories were such that I had to ask him this morning if I had made any sense at all.

Then I did get home and went to bed for a while. Got up later and did some Lefkaritika, both tsimbi on one piece and four-sided stitch on the new piece, also took up the AMAP Quaker Pochette again. But it wasn't a lot, and I did have to go to bed quite early. Terribly tired this morning, and did not want to get up.

We have testing design session with the users again today at 9.30 am, I hope it doesn't go past 1 pm. I really need some time to sort out the problems with all of this testing.
posted by Ally at 8:37 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Saturday, May 20, 2006
Saturday Morning
It is official, I am completely barking mad, as I was in here at 8.30 am this morning, writing emails about algorithms......... reading my notes from the back of the envelopes and scraps of paper that I was using to work things out while I was not watching the Cyprus election coverage or the Eurovision song contest last night. It is a bit scary to realise that I have become the de facto expert on some things that I didn't know anything about until a few months ago, but there's nothing I can do about it. I just have to hang in there, pretend I do know what I am talking about and ward off attacks from small hostile creatures.

In fact I am going to stitch for a while, then go out and do a bit of shopping, David said he would call me and we could go for lunch. He is going to work this afternoon, so are the young men from Singapore - goodness, they are young, too, in their early twenties, the youngest we have had so far, and they have never been overseas before. We feel like their parents! I rarely get maternal feelings, but this time I do have them. David and I sometimes snipe at each other and tell each other outrageous reasons why we hate each other and why the other is a lousy architect and a failed human being - just for fun, you understand - but these kids watch us with eyes like saucers. I don't know what they will do when Alec and David have a disagreement about something, they can get pretty heated about whether to use a lookup value or a characteristic value for a particular field, for example. As it's often in Hebrew, it's not always apparent that they are not actually going to kill each other.

I left washing on at home, so I should go home after lunch and deal with that and sleep. I am incredibly tired, after having that cold this week. It seems pretty much to have gone, although I did have a coughing fit earlier. Just the tiredness remains......... but these days sleep eludes me. Last night I fell asleep thinking about the algorithm, and it was my first thought waking up six hours later.
posted by Ally at 10:03 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Friday, May 19, 2006
Still Alive!
I went home early from work on Wednesday (after only 8 hours, haha!) and didn't come in yesterday. It seems to be the standard cold thing that most people call flu, although I know it's not, because I have actually had flu once before in my life so I know what the real thing is like. I went to bed early on Wednesday and didn't really sleep because of having to blow my nose or cough every five minutes, so I just stayed there until about 10am yesterday, then rang Nicky to say I wouldn't be in.

After that, I did get up and went to buy newspapers, post a letter, then took a taxi to Zako to buy some more coton perle No 8. I got 5 20 gram skeins, for £1.40 each. I've never seen skeins as big as that on sale before, only the small ones, I don't know how many meters these are, and the balls of 10 grams. Then I got a taxi back and went back to bed again. I got up to get some bread ans some more tissues around 6 pm, and naturally ran into everyone I know in Nicosia on the way to the periptero. Only not Nicky, thank God, I don't need him to see me like that.

Today I got here about 10 am, immediately was grabbed by the Dwarf to answer complex questions, and have been doing this more or less continuously all day, with short breaks to answer other people's questions. I did go out to lunch with Nicky and our new trainer, Carl, who is here for a couple of weeks. I am going to go home relatively shortly and try to reorganise my life, and work out what's what. I still have washing lying on the floor from last weekend and I haven't done any stitching. I'm not like people who have a sick day and manage to stitch three things, when I have a sick day, it seems I'm lucky if I can sit upright!

What is more, David is still here, he hasn't gone home for the weekend, as he has so much work to do, but he also has backache and has just come back from the pharmacy with something that says "prescription only", so the pharmacist must have thought he looked pretty pathetic. He's hobbling around with a look of pain on his face. The Dwarf clearly thinks we are a hopeless geriatric lot, it's obvious he is dying to give us advice about how we should get up at 4am to do strenuous exercise and stay healthy. Both David and I are likely to reply that that's actually bedtime, if he does spring that one.

I did get some nice mail yesterday, some Sampler Threads for the 2006 Collectors Heart from HIH, I could start that if I liked. Although I have acres of Lefkaritika to do.... we'll see how the weekend goes.
posted by Ally at 12:19 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Horrible Tuesday
Goodness, we have had a most unpleasant day, with D being totally obnoxious. Sylvain was here yesterday, and until lunchtime today, and Nicky did manage to have a talk with him about our little problem.

I spent all morning in a meeting, came back to find the database was unusable and told D a short while ago, only to get screamed at for not telling him this morning. I walked out of his office, rude little man. I heard from one friend of mine today that everyone on her team was appalled by the way he treated me during the team presentation, they are all saying they never want to have to work with him.

Not only that, my cold has got worse, and I just had to go out to the pharmacy, where, thank goodness, there was a nice man......... I shouldn't be taking over the counter cold stuff, but I have to risk it now.

D is now in his office with Leo, and we have just heard him drumming his heels madly, it is like an AK47...........
posted by Ally at 5:11 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Monday, May 15, 2006
Weekend Roundup
Not of stitching, as I did virtually none over the weekend in Ayia Napa........ it was mostly work of one sort or another and was quite tiring.

We did not get there until about 6.30pm on Friday, as we stopped for a rather large late lunch, which was prudent as it turned out, since they had not organised dinner for us. There was a sort of drinks thing, and then they kind of told us to go to a restaurant. I think all of our group went to bed, do not know about D and Mrs D, as none of us spoke to them all weekend, except poor Nicky, who was corralled by them at one point. Also my friend Francis from Singapore, who was here for the weekend, got penned in by them, I went to rescue him and he embraced me in relief. Much to the astonishment of D! Actually I saw him in a state of constant astonishment, as about twenty men came and kissed me, including Roddy, who came up behind me and embraced me lavishly, to the extent that the person I was talking to thought he was my husband. Nicky and I were asked by the receptionist if we wanted two rooms or one, also, we blushed and said two.

On the Saturday, I got up very early and swam, as my room had steps directly into the pool, which was a tropical lagoon style........... I was swimming happily along, then noticed someone waving, it was Alec sitting on his terrace on the other side of the lagoon. I was slightly embarrassed as no-one at work has ever seen me in a swimsuit before. Then we had to go and listen to talking from 8.30 to 2.30 with only a short break for lunch.

One of the talking things was actually our team presentation, no singing and dancing for us, only commentary on slides written for us by D - too dangerous to let us write our own slides, of course, but he couldn't actually control our comments. Nicky purposely forgot what he was supposed to say, Alec and I were pretty subversive in our commentary. But people thought D was a jerk, as he made some crack about my Greek skills in his speech, it went down very badly with the audience. I made use of it later, when I introduced Nicky "our technical expert, and of course he really does speak Greek", which got a huge laugh.

On Saturday afternoon we went for a ride on a catamaran from Paralimni down to Cape Greco, where we anchored and swam, then came back and had about an hour to sleep or get ready for dinner. Which was a huge disappointment, it was supposed to be Cypriot meze, but it was the worst I have ever had. Most people just gave up and drank too much wine. The place was staffed by Russians who asked Nicky and me to speak English, not Greek! On the way back, we dropped most of the younger ones in the nightclub area, which meant we didn't see them very early the next morning.

They made us start at 8am the next morning, and we were told it would be over by 11.45, so that we could check out by midday, but of course people were still raving on at 11.50, so I just marched out and back to my room, Nicky followed, and it was good that we did, because all the people who politely waited for the talk to finish found that their keys had been deactivated and had to walk all the way back to reception to get them reactivated. And the complex covered 14 acres, so it was a long walk for some!

We did get very nasty navy blue and beige t-shirts which we had to wear for a photograph - 70 people standing on one bridge, it was rather nerve-wracking, and I was pleased to get off it. Finally we were allowed to depart, but then we had to wait ages for Leo, our driver, who was chatting with the bigwigs. We fell asleep on a big sofa in the hotel lobby - Alec, Nicky and I - and naturally there is a photo of this, as the entire weekend was photographed and videoed ad nauseam.

Back now, and we have major crisis here, with testing and databases......... I am sure we will be working all weekend, and I have a massively sore throat.
posted by Ally at 7:29 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Friday, May 12, 2006
Lefkaritika 8
It was the eighth lesson yesterday, even though the last one I documented here was Lefkaritika 6 - I did sadly miss one last week when I was in Paris.

And I have started my second piece, to be a table runner in the xolouri style - this is a narrow border, involving several meters of four-sided stitch, some rather nice satin stitch shapes with scroll bits which I think are a whipped back stitch and openwork shapes without doves' eyes. Pity, I like the Cypriot doves' eyes, although Kyriaki and Charoula from the class are not keen on them and have not yet mastered them - we others, me, plus Astero, Irini and Androulla, are fine with them and we have all gone on to the xolouri.

I am taking all of this to Agia Napa with me, in the hope that I will get some time to do it. Typically for our company, no schedule for the weekend has yet been presented to us, so goodness knows what we are supposed to be doing. Each project has to give a presentation, we have prepared nothing, I guess our leader intends to do all the talking himself! That will go down well with the bosses.

We plan to leave shortly after lunch, and take the scenic route. Leo, our new leader, is driving, he has me, Alec and Nicky with him. Nicky is in a really good mood, he has made a series of rather risque remarks to me this morning (this is good, further evidence of his loosening up, I hope it will continue). So we may have a good weekend.
posted by Ally at 10:30 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Somewhat More Cheerful
Much better today, I spent the morning doing question & answer with Rosetta, then having a meeting about reports with Andreas - then I went out to lunch with Nicky, as my regular lunch partner, David, was ensconced with the client and Leo, the new PD. Since then I have been trying to catch up on my re-testing.

Last night when I got home, the bright green fabric for "Mermaids Singing Each to Each", the TS Eliot design from the Workbasket had arrived, with the Watercolours Budding Leaf thread. It is incredibly vibrant........... I've now examined my stock of Weeks Dye Works, the ones I brought back from Paris with me, and ordered the missing colours from CrissCross Row, who only list the colours they have in stock. It drives me mad when I order something from elsewhere, and they send an email saying "because one colour of thread is missing, we are going to delay all the 1000 other things that you actually need right now!"

I have nearly, nearly, nearly got to the end of the flowers and leaves on the Lefkaritika - I call them stars, but really they are daisies surrounded by leaves. Still have eleven openwork motifs to do, of course, but let's tackle that one after the weekend in Agia Napa.

Did I say about the weekend in Agia Napa? It's a work thing, our European Professional Services annual meeting, likely there will be some very unprofessional behaviour. I guess there will be about 50 people there, plus hangers on. There will be an excursion on the Saturday afternoon, and a dinner at a restaurant on Saturday evening, and we are expected to arrive by 4pm on Friday. Apart from that, goodness knows what they are planning, probably end to end boring talks and other people who like the sounds of their own voices. At least we are being driven there by Leo - the alternative was too horrible to contemplate, you can guess what that was. Actually Nicky says Leo is not that great a driver, but of course he is much better company than the alternative, who is a shocking driver - he nearly killed Alec and me one day - plus no-one wants to spend more than a minute with him.

I just hope we get there in one piece, that I have an OK room, that it is not too boring, that I get some time to slope off and have a sleep. I am taking the Lefkaritika, as actually people are fairly impressed when they see it, and I think I can do tsimbi during meetings, if they are just sitting and listening ones. I actually had it in the office in Paris, in order to show it to Laure, and Sylvain walked past and said, my God, did you do that? I horrified him by saying, well, you could do it too, all you need is a little patience and manual dexterity.

I should see all my friends there, although David is not coming, he has to be in Israel this weekend. But Alec, Nicky and Leo will be there, as well as a heap of people from London and Paris. Not Laure, she was disinvited because she resigned, but Lucie from Paris, also Roddy, my old PD. Also that old gossip, Franz, who told me today that Aurelien arrived at a client on Monday and they asked for him to be removed on Tuesday. I told Nicky this, and he actually knows the client, and says they do not suffer fools gladly and are probably totally hacked off with our company for sending them Aurelien. Sylvain must be tearing out what little remaining hair he has, wondering what to do with Aurelien - A doesn't want to go anywhere except Cyprus, and he only wants to come here because it's warm and he thinks he can go off every afternoon and chase girls. Of course we don't want him.

Franz always tells things like this one about Aurelien, and I always wonder what he says about me - he thinks I am terribly naive, and he probably tells this to everyone. Of course if I want something to be known generally, or even particularly to Sylvain, I tell Franz quick smart, as I know it will get around as desired. I'm pretty sure Franz gossips about everyone, as he tells me things about David and Alec, and he is always on line with about six people at once.
posted by Ally at 6:11 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Exhausting Day
What a horrible morning! We started having a meeting at 9am where it was perfectly clear that our client had no idea what the meeting was about or what we were going to try to achieve over the next couple of weeks or so. In fact they seemed very puzzled and quite hostile about this, and it took us until 1.30pm to sort this out and come to some sort of agreement as to what we should all do.

By that stage I was practically dead, so was David, so we went to have lunch, I did some shopping - lots of sensitive skin stuff and some new shoes, dark brown sandals to go with my coffee bean colour linen dress. I intend to wear this at the weekend, I am taking quite a lot of clothes, although it is supposed to be casual. But this is WORK, when they say casual, you know that they don't really mean what you actually do wear at the weekend.

The other thing I need to do is sort out how to work this digital camera, but I doubt I shall get a chance to do that tonight. It is 8pm, and I am still here - I left home at 8.02 this morning, and it is five minutes' walk, so this is a long time!
posted by Ally at 7:01 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Monday, May 08, 2006
Nicosia Again!
Yesterday's plane was crowded as well with French package tourists, all of whom had their entire worldly goods as hand luggage. Actually I had only hand luggage, having left my suitcase full of winter clothes in Paris.

I just had my computer in my back pack, plus a few thousand other things - Elgydium toothpaste, Blondes by John Frieda conditioner (both unobtainable here) and my collection of Weeks Dye Works and Gentle Arts Sampler Threads. I managed to locate these over the weekend, and I have 80 or so skeins altogether. Next task is to print out the lists of colours and work out what I have not got. I just ordered a few missing ones from Silver Needle for my 2006 Collector's Heart from Heart in Hand. It's quite cost effective at present, as the US Dollar is weak against the Euro.

In Paris on Saturday, after my trip to the hairdressers, I did go to Ulla Popken, but they had no dresses there that were in my size, so I shall do the internet thing again, I think. I also went to Des Fils et Une Aiguille (1 rue Chabanais, just off rue des Petits-Champs, the Opera end) and I bought Toccata 1 from Drawn Thread, Sentimental Needlebook from Cherished Stitches and some brown Wichelt linen for the latter. Toccata 1 is lovely and just my sort of thing, that is going to be my next "big project" after the AMAP Quaker. I need to order the threads for it though.

Did more Lefkaritika on the plane back, although did no stitching while I was actually in Paris. I also on the plane bought a small digital camera, which does movies, stills, plays MP3s and is a dictaphone - I just have to figure out how to work it now. I plan to use it mostly for still photography, I don't need a dictaphone or MP3 player (have the Ipod Nano, pink leather case, of course), so the other things are just incidental.

And now that I am back, there is really good news! We are to be delivered from the presence of the unpopular project director! Actually it is he who is moving, to another project far, far away, where we will never see him (hopefully never ever again). We are getting someone else who I don't know, but David and Alec do, they like him. I had hoped they would appoint Nicky as the PD, but evidently not, I don't know whether this is his choice or the powers that be don't think he could do it. The new guy is here already, although we are not supposed to know this yet - although I am not sure how our current lord and master thinks we can't know this, as the new guy came on the same flight as David and Alec yesterday!
posted by Ally at 10:32 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Friday, May 05, 2006
Friday in Paris
I got here, it was a fairly strenuous trip - as I'm trying to save money, I did not upgrade my ticket, so I had to sit next to two Frenchmen who did not draw breath the entire way. They were flipping through magazines called things like "Nature & Hunting" and "Wild Boar Professional", so I have to wonder what they were doing in Cyprus. Killing things, I guess. The good thing about the flight is that I did get all of the second row of tsimbi done - although I did not do anything since.

Last night I slept from 7pm to 7am with a brief break just after midnight, I was so utterly tired out. Today I've come to the office and by chance our new CEO from the US is here - we have new CEOs regularly, every couple of years, and they are all much the same. This one is from Texas, they often are. He doesn't speak French, they never do. He has talked to us for over an hour without stopping, this again is typical, and now has gone off to lunch with our European MD and a potential client here in Paris. In fact, the one that they are on the verge of signing, and for which I will probably have to return to Paris to work. I will miss Nicosia a lot, and the people there, but it seems I have only a couple of months left.

There is some good news, I went to the bank today, and paid over 4200€, in order to pay off all the rest of the debts that my ex-husband bequeathed me. When this transfer arrives in Australia, I won't owe anyone a penny, as I have also paid my French tax, more than 4000€ also, today. Mind you, I will have very little money left, I think enough to fill my Codevi - this is a French savings account, where you can't keep more than 4600€ (for tax reasons), I have a bit in there already, what I didn't use paying last lot of taxes. I'm also going to open a CEL, this is an account where I can keep up to 15000€, not that I have that much, but you can get interest on it, whereas on the current account that I have to have for paying bills and so on, there is no interest.

Yesterday I went to Le Bon Marche, and today to Loisirs et Creations, neither of them stocks Perle Coton No 8, would you believe? I will try and go to Des Fils et Une Aiguille tomorrow, after the hairdressers. I also have to go to Ulla Popken, to see if I can get another summer dress, I think I need one more. I picked up the black linen one from the Post Office yesterday, and am wearing it today. I have a lot to do tomorrow, hairdressers and so on........... then back to Nicosia on Sunday. No rest for the wicked, as they say.
posted by Ally at 4:40 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
One Day To Paris
Last night I put nearly all my winter clothes that I have down here (i.e. the ones I wear in autumn in Paris) in a suitcase, to take back to Paris and leave there. I don't expect to be here next winter, I talked to Laure yesterday, and as far as she knows, the plan is still that I return to Paris in the autumn to work on a project there. This is a mixed blessing, I have to wonder what will happen with the whole Nicky thing...

In fact, it is pouring with rain now, we were just saying that someone has upset the gods on Mt Olympus, as there are huge thunder and lightning crashes and flashes. Special weather just for Aurelien, I guess.

Have decided to do Lefkaritika on the plane - I should be able to finish the second row of the tsimbi because that does not require any special cutting or close thread trimming, as you leave the threads hanging to be finished in the third row.
posted by Ally at 3:24 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments