Apologies to our Dutch friends – Verontschuldigingen aan onze Nederlandse vrienden

Originally posted at 1:00 am, March 22nd 2011.

When you have a business website, it’s a good idea to keep having a look at it from time to time, to make sure it’s all working properly.

I did just such a check on the Sandboys site this morning and found that the Home Page link to our Dutch language pages wasn’t working properly. Well, it was working, but only if you managed to find a tiny invisible slot just on the right-hand edge of the Dutch flag and then manoeuvre your cursor into it.

In terms of marketing cock-ups, it was if Harrods had a big door with a sign on it saying “This Way To The Shop”, but then installed a tiny secret latch that would only open the door if you happened to know where to push.

I hadn’t noticed this before because I used to have a second Dutch flag on the Home Page, also linking to the Dutch language section, but I removed it a couple of weeks ago – leaving only the dodgy link that didn’t work.

Why, you ask, did I do that?

Because I needed the space to insert a link to this new Sandboys Blog!

Oh, how easy it is to mess up when you’re trying to make improvements! I’ll have to remember that next time I’m asked to redecorate.

Fortunately I have now made the link work more easily, and, at the same time, found a place for the second Dutch flag link. Welcome back to all you Dutch visitors!

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Spring at The White House

Originally posted at 1:00 am, March 8th 2011.

There have been some beautifully sunny days here in the Pas De Calais during the last few weeks, but today at last the air felt comfortably warm. The trouible with this is that it’s the signal to start outdoor work that I’ve been able to leave undone all winter on the grounds that it was too cold outside. That excuse won’t wash any more. Now, what line can I spin to get me out of the gardening?

The White House - It's big and it's white!

Not that gardening’s the only outside job to do around here. First the cables from the satellite dish have to be renewed. I’ve never seen or heard of this problem before, but the cable’s outer cover has gone all brittle and it’s cracked in dozens of places. This, we reckon, must be the cause of the poor TV reception we’ve been experiencing for months. I think it might be that the cable is simply laid across our flat roof, so it is sometimes lying in puddles, sometimes frozen, and often baking in bright sunlight. The exceptionally bitter cold of the last two winters has probably been chiefly to blame, and possibly the cable was not the best quality to begin with. Anyway, new top quality cable has been bought, and I’m going to route it through a black plastic tube which I’ll seal at both ends to keep out the weather. Hopefully this will protect the new stuff and keep it from cracking up like the last lot.

The house will need painting, too. On an ordinary house that could be a daunting job, but on The White House it’s a truly terrifying prospect. It’s a huge place and every inch of its surface is painted brilliant white. Most of the house is rendered with a sort of roughcast stucco which, I suspect, will be hard work to paint. Oh, well, at least it shouldn’t need to be done again for 5 to 10 years – that’s what it says on the tin, anyway!

Modern art in our new gallery at The White House

We haven’t been totally inactive all winter, of course. a new modern art gallery has been created in a downstairs corridor, with lots of magnolia emulsion, eggshell white on the woodwork, designer lighting and bare wood flooring. On top of that, it was the Garden Studio apartment’s turn for a facelift this year, with a new bathtub and a completely redecorated bedroom.

No work tomorrow, though – it’s my birthday!

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