December 5, 2009 – Saturday
Those of you old enough to remember may recall a post-Beatles era solo recording by Paul McCartney entitled "Another Day". And so it was yesterday, just another day. We go out to the construction site to see how much higher is the backfill, we shop at Cheers supermarket in the city, we feed the dog, we change nappies etc. etc. Nothing special but it’s surprising how quickly the day goes by.
Justin definitely has attitude. If he doesn’t want to eat he just shakes his head. Thankfully we have some downloaded Morph videos which seem to brainwash him so that his mouth and brain become totally disconnected. As soon as he sees Morph his mouth is on autopilot and we can feed him again.
Gina was meant to have her third driving lesson yesterday but it was cancelled as her instructor had to go to Manila. She is gradually settling into the idea of driving having initially found the gear changing and pedals difficult to co-ordinate. Oh, and the steering also! The driving lesson car is manual and dual control in the sense that there’s an additional handbrake. Apparently she was told that she drives too fast which she blamed on me, although in practice I only drive "fast" when we are outside towns. If your speed exceeds 5 mph in Santiago City you would almost certainly run down a pedestrian or a tricycle doing a u-turn in the middle of the high street. I liken the experience of driving in the Philippines to the most challenging video racing game with the added hazard that there is always a tricycle within 1 mm of your back bumper.
The construction site moved to 24-hour operation last night using three 8 hour shifts. At night in the main they will compact the layers of gravel distributed during the daylight hours. At 4.00pm yesterday there were only 4 workers spreading a newly delivered pile of gravel so we are not sure how the new working arrangements will benefit the speed of backfilling. However, the septic tank, which is the lowest point on the site, is gradually disappearing so clearly there has been progress.
We discussed the positioning of the wall-mounted split type air conditioning units with the project engineer and gave him minimum height details so he can install the PVC drainage pipes when fabricating the walls. Hopefully the decision we made to go for the Styrofoam-insulated concrete walls will reduce to a minimum the need to run the ACUs.
The project engineer has now received the fire certificates and zoning clearance for both houses and the city engineer’s office has asked him to call in next Wednesday by which time they anticipate that the building permit (which confirms compliance with the Philippines building code) will have the required signatures. As the backfill still has some way to go we hope the permit and achievement of construction height will come together. Obtaining the building permit will also enable our contractor to apply for the supply of electricity to the site.
At the end of the day I sent an email to a former colleague at Cable & Wireless as there was news recently that the delayed demerger of the CWI and Worldwide operating units would now take place before the end of March 2010. The Worldwide business derives its revenue from being the number 2 to BT in the UK and from its operations in Europe, the USA and Asia, whereas CWI focuses on the Caribbean regional C&W operations, the Channel Islands and Monaco. Whether there will be opportunities in Asia which I could plug into remains to be seen but no doubt they will need support in this region for internal audits, risk management, revenue assurance, telecom fraud management and billing compliance all of which were my responsibility at Cable & Wireless Communications plc and later at Thus plc. C&W have announced that the CFO of CWI will be C&W Group’s present CFO, Tim Pennington, so I am intrigued to see if the CFO appointed for Worldwide will be anyone I know. On the other hand I do enjoy the time I have for family etc. now I have retired. It’s just that the additional income from time to time might come in handy.