Saturday, 26 March 2011

Hard At Work

On Monday, I completed my annual review for last year. My manager booked the meeting room for 2 hours and I was thinking what on earth are we going to talk about. Guess what? We came out nearly 2 hours later. It was a very productive discussion where I got to tell him what I’d accomplished so far and if not, why. All the reasons were beyond my capacity such as the special collections weren’t available due to the refurbishment, RDA wasn’t up and running etc. I’m pleased that one of my ideas about e-books management will be brought to the attention of the Management Group. I’m really looking forward to that.

We also had the library system, Millennium, upgraded during the weekend. It was quite worrying to come to work and find out that the system had crashed because everyone logged in at the same time. It was slow to begin with but as the day progressed, it got better and faster. There were a few minor hitches like certain tags had disappeared but the DILTS team managed to ironed them out quickly.

I was late for work on Tuesday because of a major accident at the main cross-roads to the University. We were stuck for nearly 20 minutes before we saw the flashing blue lights on Hearsall Lane. Oh dear…By this time, all the roads by Chapelfields was clogged up as everyone was scrambling to find an alternative route. As we weren’t familiar with these roads, we decided to drive back to the ring-road. And off course, a lot of the drivers were thinking of the same thing.

There was a very long queue onto the ring-road because there were road-works being carried out. Half of the roads were cordoned off. We drove down to Foleshill Road and then back to to the ring-road before entering the Kenilworth Road. It had been a very loong morning. I hoped that no one was badly hurt in the accident.

After all that, I tried my luck on the tombola for Red Nose Day. I seldom win anything but on that day, lady luck was on my side. Both my tickets won me something. One was an Einstein mind game and the other was a white woollen shawl and glove set. Since I have no need for the later, I put the ticket back and kept the game which was still in its box. I will definitely try it out soon. A big pat on the shoulder for all staff cos we managed to collect £175 for the charity. Well done. 

Traffic into the university was heavy on Wednesday and Thursday because a major housing conference was being held here. It turned into a one-way system where the road was divided into delegates and others. So I guess you know which one we took. My colleagues were not pleased as they had to find an alternative parking space because one of the multi-storey car-park  was designated for the conference delegates. And they had paid for their parking permits. Some came very early just to secure a parking space. A few had been driving round and round. It was chaotic for the staff.Coventry D300s  22-03-2011 09-56-11

When I arrived home, babe showed me this. WTF!!! A used-syringe was stuck onto my neighbour’s fence. Some idiot had used the alley as a drug den. Ghee…I don’t care if they want to inject themselves but can’t they do it in their own homes??? I used this alley way when I did my clearing up of the garden. I’ll drag the wheelie bin and put the rubbish in it. Furthermore, children can sometimes be seen running up and down this alley. Someone could get hurt. What were they thinking!!!

On Wednesday, too, we found out that the University Council had approved the proposal to set the tuition fees at £9K for home and EU undergraduate students for the 2012 entry. They currently charge £3290. That is nearly a massive 300% increase.  It needed the rise to cope with dramatic cuts in government teaching grants and to fund bursaries for students from lower income families. But I think the University was trying to be on par with the top universities like Oxford, Cambridge and LSC which had set the fees at the same amount. My only concession on this was at least there will not be any more job cuts after the serious culling they did last year, fingers-crossed.

I had to take the bus to work on Thursday cos Babe was feeling unwell. As soon as I got down the bus in the city-centre, I saw the No12 minibus whizzing past me. I ran as fast as my heels could carry me up the road and guess what??? As soon as I reached the door, it closed and the driver drove off. %*$£ I’m sure he saw me and still he went off. If I was a %*£$, I would have kicked the bus but thankfully, I was still sane. Some of the bystanders who were waiting for another bus told me that these drivers never stopped. No point running after them. Don’t these drivers know that without passengers, they wouldn’t have a job!!

AM told me that since the students have gone for their Easter break, the evening bus service was very irregular. Another bee in my bonnet. But thankfully, the bus arrived right on time. As we were reaching town, we saw a few police cars patrolling around the city centre. One was even parked right in the middle of New Union Street. What was going on? When we got off the bus and walked to our respective busses, a few policemen was on beat. It was very strange but it made me feel safe. When I reached my stop, the No20 bus arrived on cue. Hmm…I think someone was listening to my rant:-)

There was another strike on Thursday. It was part of a national dispute over plans by university employers to reduce their contributions into staff pension funds. It was a very subdued one especially as most of the students have already gone home. Weren’t strikes supposed to create an impact??? All I could see were people holding posters and standing by the roadside, handling out leaflets. A few drivers did honked to show support. Anyway, good luck to all of them.

One of the great reasons for the popularity of strikes is that they give the suppressed self a sense of power. For once the human tool knows itself a man, able to stand up and speak a word or strike a blow.
Charles Horton Cooley

We’d another update on our library system. The anti-virus checker license had been renewed and a new Kaplinsky 6.0 had been installed. We were told to upload it, followed the instructions and restart again. As usual, with everyone logging in at the same time, the system s-l-o-w-e-d down. It was a relief when everything when back to normal.

It had been a very, very busy week for me and my colleagues. There were 8 of us in the department. On Monday, we started with 6 and by Friday, there were only 3 of us keeping the wheels running. We’d urgent and super-urgent requests for books to be processed like yesterday. Why? Students and lecturers will be away for their mid-term/Easter break and they wanted to take these books with them. If I am not mistaken, the students will be sitting for their examinations when they return. I was literally drowned with books.

Thankfully, we ended the week with a party, yaay. The 23 Things project had been completed and we just had to celebrate our hard work. There was also an award ceremony for best blog, best blog name, best…etc. 40 of us registered and 24 completed. Well done to all of us. The best thing was that all 24 of us had an award each, and I got the best photograph on Flickr award. Another yaay for me.

After work, Babe and I went to the lake to check the frog spawn. The frogs have disappeared and still no tadpoles about. The weather was not very stable at the moment. It was very warm during the day but freezing at night. So I guess it was still not vey conducive for them to be hatching yet.

Apart from me slogging at work, I would like to wish my beautiful niece, Siobhan, a very Happy birthday. For William, congratulations on becoming a daddy to TWINS. So far, we don’t know the sex yet and I hoped mummy, babies plus daddy are fine. And last but not least, well-done to Jess. Finally, she got a new (and better) job at LDC. I’m so pleased for her and very sad to see her go. But at least, she doesn’t have to go far. 

Coventry D300s  22-03-2011 09-53-35

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