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pjf (2464)

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I run Perl Training Australia [].

I help with Melbourne Perl Mongers.

I spend an awful lot of time talking about Perl, and have had my picture in the Australian newspapers with a camel. That's rather scary.

Journal of pjf (2464)

Saturday February 26, 2005
01:26 AM

Chickens, foxes, business and colds.

[ #23394 ]

Chickens and foxes
It's been months since we've seen any sign of the fox, so I figured that the new chicken pen was doing its job. Sure, a fox could go all the way around the block and jump the back fence, but no fox would ever go to all that trouble, would it?

Two nights ago, the fox did indeed go to all the trouble of running around the block and over the back fence. It tried to take a bite out of one of our chickens, who understandably raised a mighty squark!

It seemed that no sooner had I heard the cry that I had jumped out of bed, ran through the yard, chased off the fox, and rescued our chicken from the water bucket in which she had landed. Jacinta was kind enough to arrive a few seconds later with a dressing gown.

So at 3am in the morning I found myself smelling of wet chicken and nursing our oldest and favourite chook (Phoenix) back to health. Luckily the fox seemed to get a mouthful of feathers but not much else, and the chook's injuries were superficial. We suspected internal injuries for a while (laboured breathing, coughing and gurgling), but in hindsight she probably just inhaled some water from her drinking bucket.

Today our injured chicken looks and acts like all the rest, although maybe with a few less feathers on one side when she lifts her wings. We're spending the weekend errecting wire across the back fence to finish fox-proofing the pen.

One of our suppliers has just invoiced us for work performed over a year ago (and which we've already paid for), and for work that we explicitly asked them in writing not to do. I suspect they had simply forgotten we were a client of theirs until we called to obtain some paperwork from them; it appears they have now gone into a flurry of rememberance and catch-up. The bothersome thing is that they don't seem particularly eager to provide the paperwork I'm after until the 'new' bills have been paid.

I'll be addressing the issues on Monday to see if we can come to a resolution. I don't anticipate too many problems, as we have an excellent trail of paperwork, and a fairly clear and straightforward legal remedy if no understanding can be reached.

The best thing about straightforward legal remedies is that they work extremely well even if you never have to use them. They don't even need to be mentioned. The confidence of having one available means a much more stable platform from which to conduct negotiations, and very often that's all which is required. Most disputes seem to arise out of ingorance or incompetance, and these require more patience and persistance than the intervention of an Ombudsman, or a ruling from a tribunal. Still, it's good to know the option exists should we ever need it.

I was teaching last Thursday and Friday, my class was an interesting mix from government, telecommunications, and outsourcing firms.

Thursday night and morning I spent with a sore throat that left me almost speechless. I was worried this would impact my teaching on Friday, but a big box of throat lozenges managed to keep me vocal throughmost of the day. Feedback from the course was extremely good, with a number of students hanging around afterwards seeking to burn their training budgets and asking what would be the best courses to continue their Perl education.

Today (Saturday) I instead have a stuffy nose and groggy head, and have spent a lot of time sleeping. However a small dose of medicine, a good espresso, and a chocolate coated orange slice seems to have improved my condition greatly, so I should be able to continue working on the chook-pen and do some more last-minute editing of a conference paper before bed.

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