Archive for January, 2007

Corporate e-mail footers

Does anybody else think that a 431 word disclaimer is perhaps a little bit excessive?

Updated: It would appear that it’s a legal requirement now: Is your Company Website in breach of UK laws – specifically the 2007 Companies Act?

They failed

Some little scrotes tried to nick my bike from work today.

They sliced straight through the Kryptoflex cable, but thankfully the (very expensive) New York Lock defeated them. Luckily, Tim left work just as they were coming back for a second go, which scared them off.

The greedy buggers clearly wanted the whole bike though: Nicking either wheel would have been pretty easy after they’d cut through the cable lock. Thankfully they were too thick to figure that out.

I think I’ll be borrowing Brett’s uber-cheap “Probike” for the next few days…

Boiled eggs

On Saturday 6th January 2007, my granddad Dominic McDonnell passed away, after a mercifully brief battle with cancer.

On hearing the news, I jumped on a train home so I could be with the family. My grandmother and most of his children (including my mum) had congregated at his house in Woking: we spent the evening celebrating his life, reminiscing and sharing our favourite memories of him. It was very much the right thing to do.

A week and a half later, I headed back down south for the funeral. I’m not sure why, but I felt almost emotionally detached during the service. The church was absolutely packed with friends and family, many of whom I hadn’t seen for years. It wasn’t until we left the church and I had my arms around my younger sisters that I broke down, as we watched the hearse carry Granddad away. The cremation service the following day was lovely, with his children, Justin, Claire and Stephen all reading pieces about him.

It almost feels wrong to say it, but the parties we had after each service were great. It was good to catch up with all of the people I only ever see at the really big family events.

You may still be wondering why I’ve titled this piece “Boiled Eggs”. It’s because that’s my favourite memory. I don’t think I voiced it at the time.

When we were young, Alice & I would occasionally be dropped off at the grandparents for a weekend. Our mum & dad were usually off doing something silly like The National Rally on their classic bikes. Anyway, breakfast was always a highlight: Dominic had perfected the art of the soft-boiled egg. It came from the chickens they kept in the garden. It went in for four minutes. It never cracked prematurely. The soldiers were toasted to perfection. There’s probably an element of rose-tinted glasses, but that’s the way I remember it. Good times.

Obviously he was a lot more to me than just the man who taught me how to boil the perfect egg. It was my mother that pointed it out to me: I was probably a lot closer to him than I might have been if my father hadn’t died in my teenage years. Granddad was always a man I looked up to. He was so bright, talented and worldly wise, without ever being condescending.

I was looking through my collection and could only find one photo of him. I’ll have to get some more from the family. My little sister’s got a nice photo of the whole family from the day of the funeral.


I know, I know. I’ve been a bad little blogger. I’ve not been keeping you amused very much of late. The truth is I’ve just fallen out of the habit of writing regularly1 and I’ve found it difficult to get myself back into the groove.

I’ve sat down umpteen times to write about something and just been completely unable to make any headway. I’ve started writing, thought “that’s complete crap” and just closed the browser. My in-built self censorship has got in the way a bit too: I’m quite shy by nature, so when a difficult subject comes along I can find it hard to talk openly about it, even with close friends and family. The same carries through to my writing, although to a lesser extent.

It’s not like there’s been nothing for me to write about. Plenty’s happened since I last wrote anything much about my life. There’s a couple of things I want to get out there over the next few days and hopefully that’ll kick me back into blogging. We’ll see.

1. It’s not just here either – my posts on mailing lists and fora have almost completely dried up too. Some might argue that it’s a good thing ;)

I’ve been blog-tagged

Sheila² got me: The object of the game is to reveal 5 things about you, which most readers probably don’t know, then nominate 5 friends to do the same.

So then, here’s five things you might not know about me:

  1. My dad and I went to watch the Isle of Man TT several times on his classic bikes, including a Matchless G3LS (350cc single), an AJS 500cc twin and later a Honda CB750 (the rest of the family followed in an old VW Minibus). The Honda was my favourite at the time, though I look back on the 350 most fondly. The last time we went, the I.O.M. Steam Packet Company crashed one of their ferries into Douglas harbour. Joey Dunlop was a boyhood hero of mine, so seeing him win at the TT was pretty special.
  2. At school we built a wall-climbing robot that got us second place in the local Young Entrepreneur of the Year award. It used compressed air and suction cups to climb up smooth surfaces. I did all the artwork – it was probably my first proper bit of design. Looking back, it was a bit rubbish. The awards were held at the old motor racing circuit at Brooklands in Surrey.
  3. On the same day I had a look around the Sultan of Brunei‘s old private plane which was housed there. Very plush. A few years later at college, I became friends with Steve, who comes from Brunei. The plane was still at Brooklands when I visited an Auto Italia event with Owen & Anne a couple of years ago. The three of us finally made it out there for Steve’s wedding earlier this year.
  4. I’m a founder member of the Kusatado Ninja and I’ve got the bright yellow jersey to prove it. We took turns “racing” mountain bikes round in circles for 24 hours. I use the term “racing” in the loosest possible sense – we didn’t do very well, but we had a great time burning round on bikes, burning on the blazing sunshine and getting high on RedBull. Wonderful.
  5. When I was a kid, we used to live right on the River Wey, in Guildford. We had a large canvas-covered canoe that my dad, my sister and I would row up and down the navigation, carrying it around the locks and generally having a laugh. We had a big adventure one day after some particularly heavy rain. The current carried us for miles, we took some interesting detours through water-meadows (they take the overflow when the river floods) and nearly got dragged down the odd weir. In the end we had to phone my mum and get her to come and collect us in the minibus.

You know what? It was good fun reminiscing about that lot. Good times.

And with that I tag you Weon, Matt, Simon, Rich and other SimonAndy.