October 1987. What a month. Although I was only 7½ at the time I remember it well. The Great Storm of '87 (famously unforecast by Michael Fish) ripped through Southern England, giving us a day off school. Our garden flooded; we had a canoe which my brother and I used to get about. My grandmother had flown from New Zealand to stay with us - she got sick and had to delay her flight home. She flew back to NZ on what must have been 19th November, the day after the King's Cross fire that killed 31 people; using the underground that day must have been a nightmare. October also saw a worldwide stock market crash that badly affected New Zealand where people had borrowed to invest in companies that had borrowed heavily themselves.
Twenty-five years on, nothing remotely as dramatic is happening. Work is still much the same. I still get pulled up for this, that or the other, and it doesn't make me feel any better about myself. Two weeks ago they started piping music through the loudspeakers; it's just a "classic hits" radio station that plays pop music from the eighties onwards. I wonder what happened in the mid-to-late nineties that caused virtually all mainstream pop music after that time to be complete and utter crap. They ran a bizarre raffle at work today. Tickets were $10 each (a bit steep for my liking) and there was just one monster prize up for grabs, which included a paid day of leave. I didn't quite see the logic of offering a prize with a salary-dependent cash value.
Last night I attended the autism group (along with 17 others) at its new location on Willis Street. I'm a fan of the move; the new place is close to both work and home. It's almost right beside where they have the Sunday market so it's very much on my beaten track, if not everyone else's. It's more spacious too so it'll give the ever-expanding group a chance to breathe. The session itself didn't go brilliantly last night though. A couple of new blokes (friends) have an axe to grind, a bee in their bonnet, and the facilitators do little to stop them.
On Saturday I went on a tramp - Cannon Point walkway in Upper Hutt. We had good weather and it wasn't too arduous. Only six of us did the trip including just one woman: an Austrian in her twenties who had piercing eyes that I found a little intimidating as she asked me difficult questions about my job.
My brother now wants to join the NZ Army. He had various tests and an interview last week. He did the infamous bleep test; apparently he outlasted everybody else by some distance (he would have thrashed me too). The maths test was a different matter - he's inherited his numberblindness from Dad - but after 13 years in the British army he should waltz in.
Yesterday they changed the code for getting into my apartment block. As the previous code was "press all the worn-off buttons in ascending order" that's no bad thing.