The normal festive things but back to work in between 25/12 and 01/01 - unusual for me.
Dental infection and difficult to find help so near the holiday season. Antibiotics and an an opium-based pain-killer from a doctor in the Touraine helped - took only a few since addictive, apparently.
Brussels for a good weekend including a bit of shopping for presents (rare visit to shops!)
Issues with hyperlinks conversion from Word 2010 to Adobe PDF but temporarily resolved.
Month end stuff in London - much administration but a chance for dinner with partner and a friend of long standing.
A week in Brussels with work, Del Haize shopping and the St Niklaas day breakfast with colleagues.
To Paris & Brussels to complete the first month's work.
Back to the Touraine to see the new garden shed and finally move things to where they belong!
Social dinners and networking and a weekend in Brussels with partner from Paris and local friends - including one at Gucci.
Office & Visio 2010 as well as access to the new system; installed PaintShop Pro on Win 7 N and lots of detailed work.
A short weekend visit to London to check out bathroom renovations & back to Brussels.
Settling in to learn new system with some training and nice people. Set up new doc style and a lot of the structure for the new User Guide.
First trip to the new office sadly spoiled by a death on the tramline - so walked half way; walked all the way the following day and tried driving the next - close and quick with a garage and great for the winter.
A Sunday drive to Brussels to start on the 5th November - trouble free and to stay with a good friend.
Completed some plumbing repairs in Paris, a visit to another potential client (no business) and won a new contract - back to Brussels soon.
Another proposal for Brussels, gardening including the uprooting of a sycamore and return to Paris and the Touraine. Painting the shed, swimming and replanting the sycamore - will it live?
To Exmouth for an excellent, surprising, vegetarian, walking and sailing weekend with friends.
Much administration completed, some personal finance clarified and lunch and dinner meetings with old friends.
Bathroom contract agreed and a birthday dinner for a friend at Emile’s - excellent as ever.
Sales activity continued with a return to London. Organizing a replacement bathroom suite following a remarkable leak. Reconnecting with many UK contacts including a dinner in Esher with DTA.
Busy end of month with proposals for Swiss, Belgian and UK clients, apples & pears compote and a two-stage installation of a new shed for the orchard. To Paris for accounts and Canadian guests.
More detailed diagnostics and agreement with the vendor for a third engineer visit to replace the speakers: success with sound and no overheating!
Added Marianne Van Hulle to the CHL Consultants list and her CV for download. Marianne is a very experienced Belgian Project Management consultant recommended by CHL.
A temporary death of the same laptop machine. Sadly the start of the Moroccan support (in French) was less impressive. Motherboard, fan and heat sink replaced in the Touraine but still overheating. Strangely, updating the sound driver cured the heat but killed the sound of one of the internal speakers.
Volte-face by potential client so a sad loss of a good contract - a tough market. Back to marketing & sales.
Return to Paris following some good social events in Putney & the annual carnival in Kingston.
Only the final few emails, Contacts and Calendar items made just before the crash were lost - the dull diligence of frequent backups paid off.
London office, house and garden cleanup; installing applications on the new hard disk.
Brussels client administration.
Used backup data on a backup PC for a proposal update with web mail and met the deadline.
Back to Paris for an overnight stop and on to London for a hard disk crash and three visits to the dentist for a root filling. Bangalore support has improved and new disk installed within a day in London!
To Brussels to see friends and colleagues (one not seen for 25 years) and a meeting in the European Commission as well as a lunch at NATO.
To Paris to back up the systems and data on four machines.
Mistletoe - a parasite on our fruit trees - too much of it and a significant reduction in fruit production. Fresh plums though!
Marketing & Sales continued with several let-downs by amateurs in the Agency world and budget restrictions in the clients.
Birthday dinner for my partner - bubbles of course.
Brussels client administration and yet more maintenance in the Touraine.
Organised London insurance, to the Touraine to maintain the office & grounds, Lazuli project and European Commission proposal.
Nearly missed the Eurostar to Paris thanks to Underground closures but home to Paris and meeting with erstwhile ‘chef’ of some CHL Brussels projects. (Good to avoid the Olympics - perhaps).
Meetings with long-standing friends in Putney, Mayfair and Portsmouth - the last possible by hiring a Fiat 500 - amusing little car.
Eurostar (as for the last 16 years!) to London for a good week of reorganisation and the start of a new project: English language & culture, translation and web site material review with an earlier client - the Egyptian head of Lazulinil.
An evening at the Casino de Paris Theatre for Eric Antoine. Dinner with friends who alas mislaid their car key.
Paris office maintenance, sales and a new contact in a Brussels-based bank.
Tourangelle (a niece) wedding and return to Paris for month end accounts.
Contracts review & follow up and CHL administration for UK and Brussels.
Small translation project of pharmacological material into French for a pharmacy thesis.
Significant effort required to cut the Touraine orchard field following absence in Cuba: tractor needed oil change and new drive belt; removal of the ‘dead’ garden shed.
Various proposals for technical writing support; review and update of a media CV.
May accounts and June up to date and regrettably withdrawing from some SOX business for which consultancy sources were difficult to find.
Red Eye flight to the UK, a quick turnaround and return to Paris to rest a little and for me, on to the Touraine for CHL work and dealing with the high grass in the orchard.
Virgin Flight to Cuba for a holiday partly by the sea in Varadero and three nights near Havana: nearly 40C with high humidity, storms and mosquitoes. A good holiday nonetheless meeting friendly French and Russian people.
To London with my partner by Eurostar. Follow ups to business leads, updates to web site and accounts, repair to drain cover.
Made an interesting connection with Tony Watts via the LinkedIn Reading University Group and we are planning further discussions (see HartleyWatts website).
Back to the Touraine for house and orchard maintenance as well as government admin - P14, P60, P35, P11, P11D & P11Db - unpaid work as usual...
British Airways back to Orly, Paris and onward to the Touraine the following day. Picked up family members and on to a village near Bordeaux for the Easter weekend, family events, local wine, city visits and films including ‘The Artist’ - what else in France!
Official opening of the new Sports Club facility at ‘my’ club - The Lansdowne Club - a good evening with fellow members.
Brussels Eurostar to London for CHL month end admin, final clean up following the New Year flood and house security and gardening.
Continued admin for PacBase analyst / programmer; updated Stephen Helms’ CV & Projects; visit to Brussels to celebrate promotion of erstwhile colleague & to see convalescent friends.
Restructure / update look & feel of an Association web site
A software trial of Adobe Captivate 5.5 to create interactive eLearning content from existing content including, images, video and sound for application simulations, branching scenarios and quizzes.
Captured a simulation of using Actinic (used for CHL Shop) and then added sound track.
Wrote a script & collected screen shots of two versions of Microsoft Windows Sound Recorder and slides. Then compiled a flash video, see New Software.
Compared functions of Camtasia and Captivate (and to a lesser extent VideoStudio) and prices. MadCap Mimic looks worth evaluating for the single sourcing elements.
Setting up a template for presentations looks straightforward so overall an OK product at reasonable cost but with a huge footprint (460Mb) contrasted with Camtasia (74.3Mb).
A software trial of FlippingBook: a relatively low-cost and easy way of converting documents into user-friendly books as HTML, for mobile users or on a USB key. Includes optional colour schemes, table of contents, content security, search.
A quick weekend visit to the Touraine to see the family, clean the terrace (Karcher anyone?), the pool and the car.
More marketing & sales for CHL projects with some encouraging signs.
New central heating boiler & tanks installed; flood repairs nearly complete and ‘Spring Cleaning’ advancing.
Continued research on Madcap Flare - successful conversion of a:
HTML Help system to Web Help with index & search
HTML Help system to Word but structure lost
Word doc to Web Help with index & search
Word doc to HTML Help with index, glossary, style modifications, auto update. Search not working due to an essential .dll not registered in the Win 7 Registry. Good Madcap Support identified the need to change the User Account Control Settings to ‘no notifications’.
Compliments from an Italian client: “I'm an Italian software collector and was searching for ‘Borland Office’. I found Chelverton. I contacted the online company and I received a fast and complete mail from Stephen Helms. We start a very nice communication, and I decide to bought the item. ‘Borland Office’ arrive in Italy after few day and is really perfect! I hope to make some other business with Chelverton and Stephen.” Felice Pescatorewww.storiainformatica.it.
To the snowy Touraine for family issues and continued research for projects and products.
Insurance, repair works and boiler upgrade organized for London, audit 2011 good as complete and visited some good friends - great! A little depressed however, with some more sad news of illnesses of some friends and their families.
Research on the latest version of Madcap Flare. Converted an HTML Help system to web help and DITA output.
Overflow of water tank has caused significant damage to the London home of CHL - but not the spirit.