So what’s been achieved so far then?

My last post on here was way back at the end of last year and I mentioned a few things I was planning to get done. Some have happened and others haven’t, although it has been a busy year all in all. I didn’t make it to Glastonbury festival as I had planned to do, in fact I didn’t make it to any festivals at all, there is a Reggae thing happening in Swindon tomorrow but the weather is looking pretty grim, so I probably won’t even make it there, I’m getting a bit old for standing around in the rain watching bands these days, it was OK when I was young, but those days are past now. Well I guess it’s all relative, but the thought of standing around in a field when it’s wet and you can’t even sit down dust doesn’t do it for me any more, perhaps I’m actually lacking enthusiasm and using that as an excuse, although I like to think it’s more a case of knowing what I want these days.

conservation project to clear riverI also wanted to get a bit more involved in local conservation groups, that has happened in that I keep bees so have spent quite  a bit of time caring for them, which in turn is helping the environment and certainly the local gardeners. I also helped out with a local project to clear some waste land and plant trees there, plus we all donned our wellies and waders and helped to clear a local stretch of the river which was very rewarding, albeit exhausting. I really would like to get involved in a proper conservation project at some point, but it needs to be something which fits in with my busy lifestyle.

As you can clearly see from the dates, staying on top of the site fell to the bottom of my priorities, hence this post making my excuses catching up from where I left off. I need to decide if it’s something that I should keep updating or just let it die a death when the hosting runs out next time. While I do enjoy writing here when I get around to it, I just so rarely do that I’m starting to wonder it it’s worth it.

I’ve also been practicing my guitar, I’ve tinkered around with it for years, but never consistently enough to make real progress, but what with the nice weather this summer, I found that I really enjoyed sitting outside and playing (quietly!) in the sun, although now the weather has turned I need to keep up the practice this time, because a few friends and I have had a couple of jam sessions together and have committed to playing a small gig up the local pub at Christmas, so that should keep me motivated, lest I make a fool of myself in public!

I also mentioned that I need to really get to grips with my sage software too, I feel that this is one big achievement for the year. A friend has spent a couple of hours with me a couple of times, just explaining the workflow through the software and telling me why a certain bit of data goes in a particular place, as a result it all started making sense, so I now feel like I actually know what I’m doing. This year when I send the backup to my accountant, perhaps she won’t look quite so puzzled and have so many questions about why I did what I did.

So unlike last time, I’m not going to make any grand promises about coming back and doing updates on anything more than a sporadic basis, if I have something to say I will, if I don’t/am too busy/am too lazy (delete as appropriate) then I probably wont.

Posted in conservation party band software Uncategorized by Sassy. Comments Off on So what’s been achieved so far then?

Time Flies

this year 2012, has been a rather busy year for me so far and there’s not much of it left now anyway. I know, I’ve been a bit slack on updating my site, but I vow to make it a more regular thing next year, hopefully everything will have settled down and I’ll have a bit more time on my hands to dedicate.

I’m still very interested in the whole eco thing and wildlife conservation, so am hoping to dedicate a little time to some worthwhile projects in the new year, likewise if we get some better weather in 2013 (well, it couldn’t be any worse than what we’ve had this year!) I would really like to get myself out to some festivals to see some live music on big stages, Glastonbury is in my sights and I believe it’s happening again this year.

Another thing which is on  my “to do list” is to get my head around my Sage 50 Accounting software, I’ve been doing nothing with it but the absolute minimum of invoicing sales and entering purchases, I’ve even got a training voucher which was valid for a year and was due to expire, fortunately Sage let me extend it for another 3 months after giving them a bit of a sob story.

So my plan for next year is to get writing more, both on here and my company site, to get involved in a local wildlife conservation project, learn how to use my sage software properly and see some live music. Of course if I do manage all or any of the above, that will give me something to write about anyway.

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Environmental Issues

Wildlife Conservation in the UK

With all the talk of climate change (notice how they never call it global warming any more) and government plans to reduce carbon emissions, I have noticed how it’s all gone very quiet in the last couple of years. Since the recession struck, all concern about environmental issues seems to have gone very quiet now. However on a micro level, people are becoming increasingly interested in ecology and wildlife conservation, to the point that many are taking an active role themselves.

UK countrysideOn a research level, there are numerous gadgets and devices now available for the monitoring, counting and catching of wildlife. Whilst I’m not an advocate of catching them unless totally necessary, I do appreciate that it’s a valid part of conservation. For example, if a developer is planning to pull down an old building and replace it with a block of flats, there are certain things they must check for first, such as the presence of bats. If bats are found in the roof (or anywhere else for that matter) the developer must stop work. Now, whilst the vast majority do play by the rules, there undoubtedly a few who choose to ignore the bats and the law protecting them and continue regardless. As a result I have heard of someone who actually spent their own money on a bat detecting device and stands outside potential development sites to see if they are present.

On a younger theme, many schools now take the children out into the countryside, or at least to a local pond, to monitor the wildlife which is present in there. Schools can be a great source of data for ecological surveys and the kids love it too!

We have quite a lot of wildlife in this country considering how well populated we are (or do I mean over populated, Hmmm, well, that’s another post altogether) partly due to the ability of some animals to adapt to their surroundings, such as the urban fox, or dare I even mention rats! However many others are struggling, due to habitat loss, a good example being the Dormouse, this is a nocturnal creature which is seldom seen and is now protected by law due to it’s declining numbers, if it weren’t for some of the wildlife conservation initiatives being put in place by the likes of natural england this creature could soon be gone from our shores forever.

So everyone should do their bit, plant a tree, grow some honeybee friendly plants in your garden, dig a pond or simply support those people and organisations who do and we can conserve and protect the nature in the UK for many more generations to come.

Posted in conservation by Sassy. Comments Off on Environmental Issues

Getting a soaking at Glastonbury

Well, due to the fantastic line up of bands I decided to get myself registered and enter into the scrum which is buying a ticket for Glastonbury festival, I got lucky, unlike many of my friends, who I’m actually now quite jealous of, as they will be watching it from the comfort and dry of their lounges, supping a cold beer and watching all their favorite artists performing live from their TV set. I however, will be trudging around in the cold and wet, from stage to stage, watching the bands in the pouring rain, most likely soaked through and cold, drinking a warm beer.

I went there one year before when it tipped down, the stages were still packed, and as far as I’m aware the tour buses all got in OK and everyone who was supposed to played. But the lack of sleep due to being wet and cold, not because of the noise coming from the stages, and exhaustion of trudging around in thick gloppy mud, really doesn’t appeal to me any more.

I’m sure the crowd will appreciate the bands, and I too will undoubtedly really enjoy seeing my favorites play, these include morrissey, elbow, coldplay, rumer, plan b and paul simon, I also wouldn’t mid seeing tinie tempah, the chemical brothers and pendulum.

Some friends are off to see a local party band instead, they are good and put on a really good show, but I was bragging how I got a ticket and they didn’t until recently and we saw the long range weather report lol. I like party bands too, actually I like any kind of gig, as long as they play something upbeat, so people can have a dance around. Hmm, that reminded me of the Amy McDonnald lyrics “play an upbeat song so we can dance”, I wonder what happened to her, that first album was brilliant, then I’ve not heard anything more of her since, shame.

Anyway, the group they are going to see are one of their faves, they do loads of songs which everyone knows and keep the dance floor busy too.

They love seeing party bands Wiltshire or party band Berkshire, party band Hertfordshire in fact, they will even go to, party band Oxfordshire or party band Cornwall, as they like a good old knees up.

At least they will be entertained in the warm and dry, while I’ll be trekking round seeing all manner of unusual artists, hering excellent groups but rather soggy.  I’ll update upon my return if I make it back in one piece.

Posted in party band by Sassy. Comments Off on Getting a soaking at Glastonbury

Legal Aid and The Legal System

Our transformation program aims to improve the quality of services that we purchase on behalf of clients, while making the best use of a limited budget.

We are aiming to create a sustainable legal aid system, with quality, access and value for money at its heart.

The focus in Legal Aid Reform: the Way Ahead has been on solicitors’ fees, which comprise the bulk of the budget spend.

We are also exploring the extent to which this new approach can and should be extended to expert services.
Work so far

We consulted in 2004 on ‘The use of experts, quality, price and procedures in publicly funded cases’. In 2005 we published an interim summary report on the consultation. It included:

proposals to review guidance on when and why it is appropriate to instruct experts
measures to control the amounts paid for experts in individual cases
proposals to develop quality assurance measures.

When Lord Carter’s review of legal aid was announced, work on experts was put on hold. This was due to uncertainty of the outcome of the review and the impact it would have on experts.

Due to the time that has passed and the changes that have taken place since the consultation was launched, we will not be publishing a full response to consultation.

The responses we received to this consultation have been valuable, and are being reviewed as part of our current programme of work.
Approach

The way forward is being considered in light of wider changes in the overall reform of legal aid and analysis of experts’ costs.

It is clear that in some areas the financial position now makes targeting the cost of experts a key priority.

We are developing priorities and strategy for addressing expert costs and assuring quality. We plan to engage further with external stakeholders.

We also intend to streamline processes, making it easier for legal aid providers to procure the services of a quality assured expert. This will help to assure:

the client that they are receiving a quality service
the taxpayer and the LSC that value for money is being achieved.

Building a strategy

Experts are a numerous and disparate group, all with different issues and concerns.

We will first prioritise groups of experts to work with.

We will pilot our strategies with a view to eventually assuring quality, access and value for money from services procured from all types of expert (including interpreters).

We plan to engage with:

experts, and their professional bodies
legal aid service providers, and their professional bodies including no win no fee.

We will aim to keep the clients’ best interests at the centre of our strategy.

To ensure that our strategies are aligned, we have established links with:

several external organisations and initiatives
other government departments and jurisdictions.

There are numerous Swindon solicitors such as this one, I know this because I have looked for one previously, the choice is quite startling, but I suppose the same is true of  Oxford, or any other big town that you can think of. They would be happy to have a look at your case, they tend to specialise to if you have a clinical negligence claim, try to find a specialist, many do provide services on legal aid. So find a good solicitor and ask if they accept legal aid or no win no fee cases.

We are collating information to improve our understanding of the use of experts from a variety of sources, including a file sampling exercise. We will use this to inform our decision-making.

If you have any information you think will be helpful to us, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Setting up a pilot to reform delivery of health expert witnesses in public law family

We’re in discussions with NHS Trusts and other private organisations to set up a pilot. This project sees multi-disciplinary teams providing jointly instructed health expert witness services in Public Law Childcare Proceedings.

The first contracts with pilot organisations have been signed. See here for more information.

Posted in solicitor by Sassy. Comments Off on Legal Aid and The Legal System

London Theatres

Here’s a list of the theatres around London, just in case any tourists land on my pages:

Panton Street, SW1
Criterion Theatre
Piccadilly Circus, WC2
Dominion Theatre
Tottenham Court Road, W1
Drury Lane Theatre Royal
Catherine Street, WC2
Duchess Theatre
Catherine Street, WC2
Fortune Theatre
Russell Street, WC2
Garrick Theatre
Charing Cross Road, WC2
Greenwich Theatre
Crooms Hill, SE10
Hammersmith Apollo
Queen Caroline Street, W6
Haymarket Theatre Royal
Haymarket, SW1
Her Majesty’s
Haymarket, SW1
London Palladium
Argyll Street, W1
Lyceum Theatre
Wellington Street, WC2
Lyric Hammersmith
King Street, W6
Lyric Shaftesbury
Shaftesbury Avenue, W1
National Theatre, Cottesloe
South Bank, SE1
National Theatre, Lyttleton
South Bank, SE1
National Theatre, Olivier
South Bank, SE1
New London
Drury Lane, WC2
Old Vic
Waterloo Road, SE1
Palace Theatre
Shaftesbury Avenue, W1
Phoenix Theatre
Charing Cross Road, WC2
Piccadilly Theatre
Denman Street, W1
Prince Edward Theatre
Old Compton Street, W1
Prince of Wales Theatre
Coventry Street, W1
Queen’s Theatre
Shaftesbury Avenue, W1
St Martin’s
West Street, Cambridge Circus, WC2
Savoy Theatre
Strand, WC2
Strand Theatre
Aldwych, WC2
Victoria Palace
Victoria Street, W1
Wimbledon Theatre
The Broadway, SW19
Wyndhams Theatre
Charing Cross Road, WC2

Posted in theatre by Sassy. Comments Off on London Theatres

Indian Wedding Clothes

Have you ever been invited to attend an Indian wedding but have absolutely no idea what type of clothes you should wear? If you live in the west and are not part of this community it could be a somewhat tricky situation, of course the easiest thing to do is ask the host, after all they will probably have several guests attending who don’t know either, so it’s unlikely that you would be alone in this dilemma.

indian bridal jewelleryOK, so that’s the easy way out, but what if you don’t actually know them yourself, perhaps you are going as somebody else’s “plus one”, that’s when you may need a bit of advice. Well firstly I doubt anyone would frown if you wore typical western formal clothes, suits for men and wedding dresses for the ladies, although this is taking the easy way out, why not be a bit more adventurous, you could buy some new jewellery especially for the occasion, it’s not unusual for women to buy new indian jewellery specifically for a wedding.  Generally speaking the women will wear one of three styles of dress and these are highly likely to be very bright and colourful.

First the Saree, this is probably the one which you will already have heard of and usually consists of a fairly plain blouse which is almost entirely covered by up to nine metres of elaborately coloured and decorated material which can be wrapped around in a number of different ways to create this fantastic indian classic look.

Next is the Lehenga and although you probably don’t already know the name you will have undoubtedly seen people wearing them before, it’s made up of a long skirt with a matching blouse or Choli, with a very long scarf (traditionally called a Dupatta) because it’s a more common style of  outfit for western tastes, this could be a much easier option as there is no need to learn how to wrap a saree around.

Finally and the easiest to wear is the Salwar Kameez, these are worn by both men and women (of course different styles for each, an obvious way to see the difference is that the women’s don’t have pockets), they are essentially a long shirt which is worn with tight or loose trousers underneath and usually a matching Dupatta.

The Bride

The bride at an indian wedding will traditionally wear an embroidered Saree, this may have been her mothers which was handed down, or it may be new. It is likely to take many hours for the bride to get dressed as in addition to the saree, there is special indian bridal jewellery to be worn, Chudas which are red and white bangles only worn by the bride and of course hair and make up to be done.

As a guest you could also consider some new indian jewellery to accompany your new saree, salware kameez or lehenga, there are many styles to chose from and some are copies of those worn in bollywood films and many gold jewellery sets are inspired by Jodha Akbar costumes and kundan bridal jewellery is quite fashionable at the moment.

Whatever style you choose, it’s a great opportunity to get dressed up! And of course you want to look your best while the wedding band plays on throughout the night and particularly as the wedding photographer is snapping away.

Posted in jewellery by Sassy. Comments Off on Indian Wedding Clothes

Deadlines and a conference

I started the week with constant deadlines and commitments to make the Transport conference on Thursday as perfect as can be. On Thursday morning, the conference commenced and with excellent attendance from both the young people and decision-makers, we were able to call it an absolute success. The conference got immediate coverage from the Wiltshire Mail and many other local press. It was not by any means the end of the project, in fact, the conference was the end of a beginning…

The Steering Group. From Left: Mohammad Bilal, Carys Evans, Gregory Yates, myself, Pav Dhande and Ankita Chadha.

Cllr Len Gregory, Cabinet Member for Transport, sat on round-table discussions with the young delegates.

Cllr Jon Hunt feeds back on the recommendations and suggestions made by the young delegates.

Stephen Rhodes, Bus and Highways Director from CENTRO.

The Brumderground group went home with free bus passes and bicycles each! From Left: Jamie Phillips, Jamie Hodgson and Aaron Pereira.

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Sage 50 Accounts 2011 Latest Features

Here is a list of the new features which have been added into Sage 50 Accounts in the 2011 version release:

New Flat Rate VAT Scheme in The UK
Sage 50 Accounts is now fully compliant with the new scheme which was introduced by HMRC.

Bank Rec’
You can now add customer receipts and refunds to a bank reconciliation in addition to processing refunds to amend records in the software. The familiar look of the interface as a standard bank statement also helps with the processing.

It’s now much easier to email particular documents and reports to people who do not have access to the software.

Sage Pay Integration
If you run an on-line internet shop which does not have integration capabilities with Sage Accounts, you can use Sage Pay for processing, then download the transactions from your pay account, directly into your accounting software.

Not For Profit Organisations
Charities can now produce P&L for each individual fund. There is also a chart of accounts available for charities, this includes all the nominal codes you are likely to need, you can of course add new nominals as you go along anyway.

Alternate Views
You have various options in how you view your financial information and ledgers, these include a detailed list, the process map, so you can see what stage various transactions are at and the standard dashboard display. In addition your homepage in Sage 50 can be set to whichever screens and sections of the software you utilise most regularly, so when you open the program you are straight in the section you want.

The disputed items area of the program (in sage 50 accounts plus and professional only) will list the relevant customers can be selected from the chase debt screen.

All in all a few handy features which I expect many regular users will find very helpful indeed.

Posted in software by Sassy. Comments Off on Sage 50 Accounts 2011 Latest Features