Friday, July 31, 2009
My hotel is near Chania, this is part of the view from my room:
This small chapel, standing in a fishing harbour, is also seen from my room:
And this is the pool of the executive wing where I am staying, not very large, but quite private mostly:
The small Cretan kitten who shares my breakfast every morning:
If I don't give it some breakfast, it marches on to the table and starts drinking from the milk jug. Think it knows who is a soft touch and who is not, as it disappears under the table the second the cook comes out of the kitchen!
There aren't as many cats here as I had expected, nothing like as many as in Cyprus, but then this hotel isn't as good as I expected either - oh, it is adequate for a four star, but not five, as advertised. I must find out where all the kitties have gone and go there next time!
posted by Ally at 6:48 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Saturday, July 18, 2009
I've spent today in Copenhagen - having flown here from Tallinn after work yesterday and arrived at the lovely SAS Scandinavia Hotel not too late. I have a room with a beautiful view over Christianshavn, and everything is very comfortable.

This morning I went to the shops, especially Sommerfuglen, where I bought three Danish knitting books, and four skeins of yarn, two Noro, one Lorna's Laces and one Handmaiden. I also went to Illum where I bought some Jurlique products (these don't seem to be available anywhere else I go) and a Dyrberg and Kern heart on a chain at 70% off. I can't believe the jewellery sale there, last time I bought a Pilgrim necklace for 100kr, and I told Fiona about this and she went there when she was in Copenhagen for the weekend and bought up big. She loves jewellery, and is always pleased when she has to fly via Arlanda, as they have a fantastic jewellery shop there.

Tomorrow I'm flying back to Paris in the afternoon, should be chez moi by about 6:30pm, which is not too bad. I have fantasies of taking to my bed with stitching for the next two days (large packet of Needlepoint Silk should be waiting for me), but I am not sure this will come to pass. I still have work to finish, plus admin stuff of course.

I have to say that the two guys who came to help us have been fantastic, I've really appreciated it, especially when I think of what we could have got (the nasty man I had to suffer earlier in the year comes to mind, he was offered to us, and the answer was a resounding no). Plus they have been cheerful and optimistic, and Snowflake has not been there. We had a brief visit from our Big Boss, because there was one of these important monthly meetings, and Sylvain, who would normally come, is on vacation - not that that has stopped him from screaming at our project director on the phone for two hours. The poor man is more than ever anxious to buy a Euromillions ticket!
posted by Ally at 9:01 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Friday, July 10, 2009
Feeling Better
It is Friday night, nearly Saturday morning actually, and I do feel better - another architect has arrived, and another one will be here on Monday, and they will take some EDs from Sasha and me.

To answer the question about what an ED is, it stands for external design. People may understand what that is, bit for the (fortunate!!!) ones who do not, it is a document about a change or a development that we will do in our system for a specific client. Of course, our system cannot include everything for every client in the world, because everyone's business is different, so we have to do some special things. I write a description of what these should be, and it is quite detailed - I imagine how the new function will work, what it will look like, for example, diagrams of screens and what users will enter on them. These external designs can be quite long, 30 to 40 pages of great detail, and the thing about them is that they are totally prescriptive - if you make a mistake or leave something out, it can have dire consequences. And, for some reason, there is always a problem about the timing, or how many you have to do, or something, or someone goes mad and you end up with some horrible situation. So it is practically always stressful.

But I escaped from the stress tonight, we all went (minus Snowflake, who has of course jetted off to Paris to see Monsieur Snowflake)to an Italian restaurant where we ate and drank copiously. Even our project director - who has been asking everyone all week whether it is possible to buy tickets for Euromillions in Estonia - was quite cheerful.
posted by Ally at 11:51 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 1 comments
Monday, July 06, 2009
Perfectly Horrible Day
I still have 10 EDs to write!!!! By the end of next week, and our PD says that's late and we were supposed to finish them by the end of this week. Now no-one ever told me that date before, and frankly that is impossible, as even the end of next week is going to involve working all day, all night and all weekend. Sasha is not real happy either, as he has fewer left to write, but they are all complex. And he never heard that date either.

Furthermore we have visitors from the far east this week, and normally I would love to see them, but this week it is really too much. And there are more visitors arriving, from Poland and the UK.

And our Special Snowflake has been very annoying as well. I can't remember if I have mentioned SS? She is a delightful character, who is unable to travel at weekends or stay on site for more than about a week and a half at a time, because she didn't get married to be apart from her husband. Also, she is always right about every single thing, including all the things we did wrong before she joined the project!

In fact SS and Sasha had a rather acrimonious discussion today, I do love Sasha, I could have cheered, as he was saying "no, no, no!!!" to her - Sasha's favourite phrase, but I do not think anyone has ever said it to SS before.

Let us hope that things will get better as the week goes on - I'll be happy if I can do an ED each day - and let us hope I will not be so exhausted by Friday that I have to sleep most of the weekend.
posted by Ally at 9:48 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 1 comments
Sunday, July 05, 2009
Laulupidu - Estonian Song Festival
This weekend has seen an event in Tallinn that happens only once every five years - the Song and Dance Festivals. Thank goodness my work has got something right for once, and we were here to see this!

Yesterday afternoon there was a big parade through the streets, it took four hours to go past my place. This is from the start of the parade, taken from way above, I am on the 9th floor:

Many many beautiful costumes:
And this was normal dress for young girls this weekend:
When we went to the Song Festival arena in the evening for the concert, I was sitting on the ground, so I got a good view of traditional skirts and shoes:
The not so traditional pastic was because it poured with rain!
I saw salmon being smoked:
And here is the stage with 25000 singers, not a great photo, as it was raining heavily by this time;

It was amazing, worth all the walking - the Song Festival arena is about four kilometers from my place, and I had to walk all the way there and most of the way back, there were buses, but they were crowded. I was soaked by the end of it, and didn't get up until quite late today. I've done nothing else apart from some work this weekend!

posted by Ally at 10:57 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 1 comments
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Back To Tallinn Again
My head is still spinning......... I got to my apartment in Paris at 11pm on Monday night and back to my apartment in Tallinn at 11:30pm last night. The flights yesterday were full, I think everyone is arriving for the Song Festival this weekend. Although I doubt that the enormous Russian guy that was sitting next to me was going to the Song Festival, goodness, I cannot stand these guys, they are totally uncouth and I always seem to get to sit near one. Note I am not anti-Russian, our dear colleague Sasha is one, but there is just a certain type of guy...... we used to meet them in Cyprus as well, in hotels in Limassol they can be observed throwing money around and with very loud voices.

Now I am at work, having arrived late and mistakenly taken a bad taxi. I did think he looked a bit strange and furtive, and it turned out he was a pirate of some sort, I have never seen a taxi meter run so quickly. I ended up giving him about half what he asked, he settled for that after I wrote down his license number and name. This was silly of me, because I do know how to get the right taxi, but I was just so tired I guess I didn't look properly.

Paris was extremely hot, and the Estonian Embassy there was having air-conditioning problems, along with practically everywhere else, including the airport. I also visited Ulla Popken and the Nespresso shop before I went out to the airport yesterday, but otherwise did nothing of note.

CDG is a nightmare, there are no toilets inside the security area in Satellite 7, and there is only one snack bar that sells warm Coke for 3.90€ a small bottle. Oh no, no ice, either. You can get a plastic cup if you insist. If you compare this airport with Copenhagen, it is like Heaven and Hell, and you know which is which!
posted by Ally at 1:40 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments