Thursday, August 31, 2006


I was talking to someone at work about my traumatic spider experience and she told me that she once worked with someone who had woken up in the night and found a spider up her nose. As if that wasn’t bad enough, she couldn’t get the spider out of her nose, however hard she tried. Eventually she had to go to hospital to get it removed and they had to flush her nose to clear out all the mess. Surely even the most fearless person would be utterly horrified by something like that?

Anyway, I was having a search on the weird wide web about how to deal with spiders. This was how to deal with them generally, not if they get stuck in nasal cavities *shudder*. Here was one helpful piece of advice:

“Unless you're overrun by spiders or deathly afraid of them, accept them. They devour less desirable bugs (flies, mosquitoes and a lot more), and they can be quite interesting to watch. Learn their names and find out as much as you can about them. Keep a journal.“

So, basically I need to make friends with them and then write a blog about it. Well, last night I decided to follow this wise advice and tracked down a visiting spider, or friend, as I know like to refer to him, and I thought I’d share it with you.

Me: Hi spider, thanks for dropping by. My name’s Random, what’s your name?

Spider: Hi. My name’s Bob.

Me: Hi Bob, nice to meet you. So what brings you here?

Bob: Just looking for somewhere new to lurk. I’ll maybe find a shadow somewhere. Just looking to hang about a bit and eat a few flies.

Me: Oh right, that must get a bit boring and lonely sometimes.

Bob: No not really, I’m thinking of moving the family in as well, what with you being so friendly.

Me: *looks nervous* The family?

Bob: Yes, just the wife and kids.

Me: *looks more nervous* The wife and kids?

Bob: Yes, there’s just a few of us, but did you know that with the breeding cycle of a spider, I could have generations of offspring numbering in the millions within a few years?

Me: *looks thoughtful* Really…

Bob: Did you also know that spiders can’t actually speak, what with them being arachnids? In fact did you know that what you are doing is giving me anthropomorphic qualities?

Me: You’re a clever little spider aren’t you?

Bob: *looks smug* I like to think so.

Me: *stamps on spider, instantly killing it* Not so clever now are you? *evil laugh*

Yes I found that extremely therapeutic, that was excellent advice. I must do it more often.

Please note: No spiders were hurt in the making of this production. Sadly.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I need a hero

I had a somewhat life threatening day a couple of days ago, well maybe not life threatening perhaps more traumatic but we’ll say life-threatening because that sounds more dramatic.

There I was dashing down the stairs at home and in my enthusiasm struck the top of my head very hard off the door frame at the bottom of the stairs. (I sleep with my feet in a wardrobe, why would it surprise you that it’s like going into a cupboard to go upstairs?) Being my usual self I decided to ignore any possible medical concerns over having done this, despite the fact that I quickly developed a bad headache, felt really sick and also got really sleepy, which are all signs of concussion. Of course, if it is only a mild concussion then you just need someone to keep an eye on you as you shouldn’t be alone. Except my landlady was away and so I only had the cat to dial 999 or drive me to the hospital. Whilst I’d draw the line at the cat doing mouth to mouth, I did put a few cushions in the car so the cat could see over the steering wheel if the need arose.

A friend sent me a number of texts telling me to phone NHS direct even if I wouldn’t actually go the doctors. Of course she can’t have been that concerned as she couldn’t actually be bothered to get up off the sofa and drive me somewhere to get medical help.

It was just a good job I had the cat there to look after me and protect me. Because cats, they’re fearless and brave, they can walk along the top of fences and not fall off, they can curl up on your lap and give you a bit of TLC, they can lick their own bottoms... *thinks* Er, maybe that last one isn’t entirely relevant here, but anyway they can be handy to have about in a crisis, a crisis such as a huge spider lurking in the living room. Or so I thought... And now we move on to trauma number two.

I was in the living room thinking I should put the rubbish out when I saw a massive spider, and I do mean really massive, standing by the living room door. Just to give a couple of illustrations of how big this spider was *gets out a crayon and a bit of paper* oh, no not that sort of illustration… it was about as big as the spider which came to an untimely demise with some boiling water when I was living with evil landlady a few years ago. But more pertinent here perhaps is that about a week ago, I saw the same spider and the reason I saw it was because it fell off a curtain that was about 10 feet away from me on to a wooden floor and I heard it hit the floor. Now that spider was either wearing some heavy duty boots or it was a *very* big spider. That time it just scuttled off into the shadows and I was all brave despite spending the next few hours looking over to that corner of the room in a paranoid fashion.

However, this time the spider had gained a new bravado and was sitting there all smug by the door taunting me. I decided I’d sneak past it and go and sort out the rubbish in the hope that it would have disappeared by the time I got back. So I made it past the spider and opened the front door and there was the cat waiting to come in. “I’m saved!” I thought “The cat will rescue me”. So she wandered into the living room and I shut the door to keep both the spider and the cat in there and I went outside to sort out the rubbish. But the next thing I knew the cat was outside with me wrapping herself round my legs and following me everywhere I went. This is the same cat that normally does a slightly pathetic scratch on the living room door as she can’t be bothered to open it, but this time she had that door open quicker than Houdini escaping from a safe fifty feet under water and encased in cement.

When I went back into the house, the cat followed me in but skulked about trying to avoid the spider. Now come on, surely if even a cat is scared of a spider that must show that it is big?! So I was in a dilemma, what do you do with a spider in these circumstances? You have given it time to skulk off, you have tried to get the cat to eat it, you’re quickly running out of options as you’re guessing your landlady is not going to be too impressed by you pouring boiling water on the carpet to kill it. But then the old ‘suck it up in the hoover’ trick came to mind.

There’s a choice of two hoovers, one is a Dyson, meaning bagless and made of clear plastic, so should the spider survive I’d be able to see it running about and tapping on the plastic to get out. Although having said that apparently if you vacuum up a spider it makes it implode. Nice. Anyway, I thought I’d go for the other hoover which is one which you fit a hose on and you can’t see inside it so all the evidence is well and truly hidden. So I snuck up on the spider, but still keeping as far away as possible, and managed to hoover it up just as it realised that all was not well and it tried to (eight) leg it. I left the hoover running for a bit afterwards just to make sure that it wasn’t hanging on for dear life, but I didn’t hear a small imploding sound at any point, so it might be building a nest in the hoover bag even now.

At this point the cat decided to roll about on the carpet and show how clever she was, which was indeed the case in that she got me to do all the hard work and now my only task left for the evening was to feed her. So she did quite well out of it. Cats, you can’t trust them in a crisis.

I was slightly wary the next morning when I came downstairs in case the spider had managed to survive and was now building a massive web to catch me in so that it could then attack me (as you can see my paranoia is entirely rational), but it was just the cat there to greet me and she just looked at me and meowed for her breakfast. Crisis over. I can, however, tell you that it will not be me who will be emptying the hoover bag.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Sanity returns

My sanity seems to be on the mend. It might well have been enhanced by a bank holiday weekend, but it’s an improvement nonetheless. I think my poor brain had had enough of various things and needed a bit of time to rest and recuperate.

The stuff with A will continue to make me sad because that is just the nature of having lost someone who was, and still is, that important to me. Whilst there is that part of me that thinks it would be better for me just to draw a line under it all and accept that we are never going to get back on to civil terms, it just doesn’t sit right with me to do that. You don’t give up on someone just because it hurts.

Sometimes I look at my life and am surprised by how few regrets I have. Surprised, I suppose because as someone who is kind of risk averse I might expect to have wished I had done all sorts of things differently- but actually I don’t. That sort of motivates me with the stuff with A because I don’t want to make a decision that ultimately I would regret. Last week I said about how A had promised that our friendship would survive all the turmoil and I suppose I still await that day. It’s funny because I don’t actually distrust A even though so much time has passed with no progress having been made. I think I just tend to prefer to take people at their word and still await the day when we do actually manage to resolve things. Naïve I know, but I’d prefer to be like that than really cynical about people. Any wariness about relationships with other people isn’t actually because of what happened with A. It’s just my nature rather than having been ‘damaged’ by the way things turned out between us – because actually I don’t think I have been. Saddened yes, damaged no.

I’ve managed to make some progress on a few bits in my life and going to Russia at the end of September gives me something to look forward to. Last week was an interesting time as well in that a good friend told me of some rather unplatonic feelings towards me. Being my usual bumbling self, I think I just replied by saying something slightly stammering along the lines of “Ok. Thanks very much”, but I can’t say I have vast experience of people telling me that basically they’re in love with me and given that I am sometimes a bit rubbish at processing my own feelings about such things, sense will probably have prevailed by the time I work out what I feel in return. But I feel sort of honoured that someone would think about me like that and, despite knowing me and my many failings, hasn’t run away screaming. Maybe there’s hope for me yet!

Monday, August 28, 2006


I had a very quiet day yesterday, just pottering about and catching up on some TV viewing etc. The cable TV box was broken for about 24 hours. When I got back on Saturday night, it had stopped working. I had a search on the internet and that said the only way to fix it was to get it replaced, but I did eventually manage to get it working again. It seems you can’t believe everything you read on the internet – who would have thought it?

Various dramas on ITV at the moment are sponsored by Clerical Medical pensions and so each ad break starts and ends with a retired couple (they’re Ken and Barbie type dolls rather than people) doing various things that show how exciting it is to be retired when you have got lots of pension to live on. Anyway, I don’t know what this says about the way my mind works but there is one of the clips that they show which is of the couple hiding behind the sofa while their family, who have come round to visit, ring on the doorbell. The first few times I saw this, I wasn’t quite paying attention to what was on the TV but somehow I thought that the advert was basically of them having sex behind the sofa. Obviously old people *never* do that sort of thing anyway but despite it being unlikely that would be the plot to one of the adverts, somehow my mind seems to have wanted to lower the tone. Mind you given some of the programmes they show on TV these days, maybe it isn’t all that unlikely.

Another quiet day ahead with not a lot planned, so I think I’ll have to think of something to do beyond the excitement of going to the supermarket and other such things. A good thing at the moment though is The Killers CD Hot Fuss which I think is really great. I wasn’t too sure how much I liked The Killers when they first appeared but I think that CD is well worth a regular listen. If I had ever made it into the 21st century and owned something like an iPod they would be great to listen to on the way into work in the morning. Really gets the energy levels up. Highly recommended!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Breaking the rules

I was at my parents’ house yesterday afternoon and spent ages sorting out the internet connection on their computer and then changing their gas and electricity suppliers. My parents have never done anything about their utilities suppliers and so have probably been paying over the odds for years, so it applies to my skinflint nature to find them a far cheaper deal. Next month, my mum’s car insurance…

We had a Chinese take away yesterday evening and mum and I went out to collect it. There’s a dispersal order in place in the local high street which means that yobbish youths are not allowed to congregate there and the police can move them on if they do. However, I guess these things are only as good as those who enforce them, so there were a number of teenagers (and some pre-teens) hanging about and being a bit intimidating. A couple came into the Chinese and the bloke was fuming at the state of today’s youth and how he couldn’t believe that nothing was being done to stop them from hanging about in the local area. Then he suddenly dashed out of the door after a group of girls and berated them for dropping a cigarette packet on the ground. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they couldn’t care less and just treated him with utter disdain and he just ended up throwing the cigarette packet in the bin himself. Then he walked back into the take away and seethed.

The thing is that whilst I think it’s good to try and “maintain standards” and it winds me up when people drop litter or leave rubbish on the tube, running after people in the street is quite a dangerous thing to do. That chap was such a ball of anger at the “decline in society” though the most likely outcome for him at some point is for him to have a heart attack at some point.

For me though, I am reasonably law abiding citizen, and have a healthy respect (or is it fear?) for authority. I can think of a couple of instances from my youth where I didn’t follow the rules and they taught m that the path of least resistance is just to do the right thing. My littering days were brought to an abrupt end when I must have been below the age of 10. In fact it was possibly the only time I had dropped litter. I dropped a smarties tube on the ground and the next thing I knew this old bloke was having a go at me and telling me to pick it up, which I did and that always stuck with me and I have never dropped litter since.

Something else you’re always told as a child is not to run out into the road. I can think of two instances where I ran into the road, the first time I nearly got knocked down by a speeding car. The second time I ran across the road to my house and this car was coming down the road. I made it to the other kerb at which point I realised it was my dad driving the car (it was a different car to normal) and he was not best pleased. Every time I try and break the rules I get caught. I can’t imagine where I get my risk averse nature from.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Small world

I met up with a friend for dinner last night. We know each other from university but haven’t seen each other for a bit. The last time we met up was last year some time, so we were having a bit of a catch up and she was talking about various men she has met up with through an internet dating site. I have another friend who has been using the same internet dating site and as the conversation went on yesterday evening I began to have a slightly odd feeling, as though there was something very familiar in what I was hearing.

Suddenly the penny dropped and I realised that both these friends, both of whom I know through university, although they only vaguely know each other, had each been having a bit of a thing with the same chap. I don’t think they were both seeing him at the same time, although they were doing the ‘getting to know you’ e-mailing bit of it at the same time. It was really odd hearing different accounts of what the chap is like and after I got over my amusement at this turn of events, I broke the news of this weird coincidence – and then texted my other friend to explain it too and laughed some more. That’s the weird wide web for you I suppose, it makes the world a very small place.

My landlady told me yesterday that she has got a starting date for her new job in Cardiff. So that means regardless of whether it is because I have moved out or because my landlady has moved away that by the middle of August my sanity will be restored and my underwear should be free of interference.

Anyway, I’ve decided to put the stripping on hold for today and am instead going to meet up with my sister and nephew and go to a model village. I suspect it might mean dodging the raindrops, but they know how disappointed I’ll *cough* my nephew will be if we don’t go. We’ll have to learn to run fast.

Friday, August 25, 2006


I was reading a news story yesterday about a Chinese funeral where people were arrested for stripping at the funeral. Stripping at a funeral? How inappropriate you may think, but they were actually there as part of the ‘entertainment’. Apparently the more people who turn up to your funeral the more status you get from this, so people have started to hire troupes of strippers to get people to turn up to pay their last respects. I suspect their may be more people sitting in the back row than elsewhere at those funerals *cough*

It was all looking a bit shaky whether I was going to Siberia at the end of September. My head of unit seemed to think that she would quite like to go, I think she saw it as a bit of a ‘swan song’ as she is retiring at the beginning of October. But as it turns out she can’t go, so she asked me yesterday if I “wouldn’t mind” going instead. I told her that I would indeed be willing to make that sacrifice and might even bring her back a bottle of vodka so she could share in the experience. I’m going with someone else from work who fortunately can actually speak Russian and I think we are going to fly to Moscow and maybe have a quick visit there and then fly on to Siberia. I think the latter journey will mean flying on some dodgy Russian airline so I may well die, but at least I will have got to visit Russia. *makes note* remember to request no strippers at my funeral.

My landlady has gone away for the weekend and is probably not back until Tuesday, so I have a peaceful, non-underwear tampered weekend ahead. It also means that if I want to get in any practice in case I plan to attend any Chinese funerals then this weekend would be the perfect opportunity. *thinks* It would be best to check that the estate agent wasn’t planning on showing anyone around the house first though. I suspect my weekend will be rather more mundane than that but I *could* do that if I want to. The world is indeed full of possibilities. Some less likely than others, but possibilities nonetheless.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Feeling a moment

I think I may be winning in the battle of wills with my landlady. Victory is not yet mine but give me time. She seems to have given up trying to tidy my room when I leave in the morning, although she does still seem to feel the need to move my bin. But each night I return it to its rightful place. I now have to defeat her in tidying the bathroom as well. She hides my hair brush every morning and has now started swapping the cup my toothbrush is in with another one. I’m sure those things are really going to tip the balance when people are trying to decide whether to buy the house because a hair brush in the bathroom is just going to horrify people. I shall defeat her. I shall!

Anyway, perhaps more concerningly is her new seeming obsession with my underwear. Fortunately not while I am actually in it, although I might start to lock my bedroom door just in case. Anyway, her latest thing seems to be rifling through my underwear when it is on the clothes dryer. The other day there were various items of clothing on it and she removed my knickers and bras from the clothes dryer and left all the rest of it on there. I assume she was taking things off there that were dry, but basically that means she felt my underwear. Is that just me or is that slightly freaky? My landlady going through my underwear…

Although I appear to be winning in the bedroom tidying battle, the new one of feeling my underwear maybe is not the turn of events I was hoping for. One possible solution is for me to stop wearing underwear, but I think that might be a bit extreme. But I will find a way to defeat her. A few months ago who would have thought one of my biggest problems would be keeping my landlady out of my underwear? *shakes head in despair*

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


I think I have done most of the work for my head of unit now. Certainly yesterday I spent most of the day at her beck and call. However, she disappeared for a while during the day because she had an emergency appointment to have a tooth removed. On her return she seemed to preface everything she said with “If you can smell all the blood that’s in my mouth then just say and I’ll move a bit further away.” Lovely.

I’m not sure if that is better or worse than the experience of someone I work with who was given an apple from someone’s allotment and was happily eating away when she discovered half a worm in it. Unfortunately she only realised this as the other half disappeared down her throat. She didn’t eat any more of the apple.

The thing of late that I find most unpleasant though, and it appears to be an increasing phenomenon, is people farting on the tube. Recently I have been sat there on the tube when my olfactory senses have detected an unwelcome odour. Do people think that their silent emissions are somehow less offensive due to it subversively making its way around the carriage?

I think the main culprits are the people who are standing up (although it is probably less noticeable if you are sitting down). Perhaps they are trying to punish people who have got a seat. But surely as the smell pervades the already stuffy atmosphere they may have second thoughts about their misdemeanour – in case it comes back to haunt them. Of course it is impossible to identify the culprit and in our true Britishness we try not to react to the odour encroaching on us, trying to breathe shallowly so as not to inhale it. But folks, if you’re ever tempted to follow suit and think it will do no harm, think of your poor fellow travellers who have to endure your emissions. I have other things to wake my senses up, such as caffeine - and believe me whilst that first cup of tea in the morning is perfection, I have no similar sentiments for other people’s odours. So, please, just don’t. Please.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


My head of unit managed to do her usual trick of starting the day yesterday by saying that finishing the work she wanted was absolutely vital and it just had to be done. No excuses. But by the end of the day there was no such urgency and she said we’d sort it out today instead. It’s not some great management technique on her part with her thinking that pressure is a great incentive. If that were the case then the first time she did it would rather show her hand and she would then just be impossible to believe. Actually… people don’t ever believe her but that’s because they know how unreliable she is and that she will just change her mind about something if she suddenly decides something else is more of a priority. It’s a weird way to work and not one that I think (hope) I will ever get used to.

One of the things that has been affecting my mood of late is that now (well a couple of days ago actually) is the anniversary of when A and I last saw each other (on civil terms at least). We did stay on speaking terms for a couple of months afterwards but the last time we both ‘willingly’ saw each other was the middle of August. A promised that we’d work something out, that we’d see each other again, that our friendship would survive. Evidence suggests that this wasn’t entirely accurate. I know this will pass and it’s more that it’s a kind of sadness at the back of my mind and it just reminds me of things, brings them more to the surface.

I’m not one to automatically assume that because something happened once that it will always be the case. But because what A said didn’t turn out to be the case, it makes me more wary. That was a big loss to bear, a loss that has never gone away. It perhaps makes me slightly less willing to take a risk or to put myself in a situation where someone else might do the same, harder for me to believe that they won’t actually go away. Who wants to go through a long drawn out process if the outcome is inevitable? Listening to false comforts, hoping against hope that they are true. It’s judging that though – how well do you really know someone to take the risk? How much do you trust them – and on what do you base that trust? Those are the things I turn over in my mind sometimes, having to fight that instinct to protect myself. Usually successfully but if it is a fight, then surely the outcome is not always a given? So I mull things over and in my usual ponderous way move forward. Thinking. Learning. Healing.

Monday, August 21, 2006


I shall illustrate how ‘urgent’ that letter was that I had to draft last week for my head of unit and quite how much things run on double standards where I work. Since I gave the letter to my head of unit last Tuesday, she hasn’t even looked at it. When my head of unit gets something in her mind then she gets obsessed by it until you’ve done whatever she wants and then it doesn’t matter how long she takes to deal with it. Anyway, today I think we are going to finalise it, so it is likely to be a tortuous day of her dictating over my shoulder and “drafting by committee” which means that she will ask various different people if we have put the right emphasis in a sentence or used the correct syntax and so on. You just have to blank your mind of everything or else you’d tear your hair out. It’ll be over soon though.

Twice in the last couple of weeks my mobile has ring and it has been a landline number that I don’t know. When I have answered the phone, all I can hear is a ringing tone on the line. I’ve hung up because I don’t really want to get through to some number that I haven’t even called and I do wander if it might be some scam that somehow charges a really expensive call to my mobile. I phoned my mobile phone company and asked them about it. They seemed totally unfussed and just said it might be a crossed line. Maybe they’re right, but it’s really odd that it has never happened before and then happened twice in as many weeks.

In exciting news (for me at least), I have booked a ticket for Snow Patrol’s concert in December. I have never been to a concert before (well classical music concerts - yes, those fangled new popular beat combos – no) so it will be a whole new experience for me. I am actually going on my own. There was a friend who would go with me but it wasn’t possible to get two seats together, so it was a bit pointless because she was going to come along more for moral support than that she desperately wanted to see them. So, I’m going to my first concert all on my own. I hope I can work out what to do. Maybe there are lots of things that more seasoned concert goers would know and they’ll just laugh at me for my naiveté. Or maybe they’ll actually be more interested in Snow Patrol, as despite any evidence to the contrary the whole world doesn’t *actually* revolve around me. Anyway, I’m really looking forward to that and I plan to take that week off work, as it is the week in the run up to Christmas, so that’s already one exciting thing to do with my week off. Planning for Christmas already, what is the world coming to?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Travel bug

I had a much more successful haircut yesterday and my hairdresser said that he thought my previous hair cut was not done quite right. Not that it looked particularly odd or anything, it just wasn’t very well done. But now I am back to my normal glorious self *breathes a sigh of relief that this is the internet*

Anyway, I met up with my friend C yesterday and we had a really good catch up. She has just got back from Italy and been through all the hassles of travelling at the moment. She was actually meant to have gone to Israel but decided to change the plans a few weeks ago, as it didn’t seem the safest place to go, so I guess a few problems at the airport didn’t seem quite so bad by comparison.

Next year C wants to go to the US and Canada, so I said that I would look into it for her and work out whether what she wants to do is possible within her financial and time constraints. She wants to go to Boston, New York, Toronto, Niagara Falls, Montreal and Ottawa in 14 days. It’s perfectly possible to do that but might make things rather rushed and be quite expensive. There is a vague chance that I might fly out and join her while she is away if she goes to Montreal or Ottawa, because I have been to the other places but neither of those. Anyway, I really love planning holidays, even if it isn’t me who is travelling, so I am going to work out all the various travel options, look for some hotels and come up with a bit of an itinerary and some costings for her. Maybe that sounds a bit bizarre as I possibly won’t even be taking advantage of all this planning myself, but I know that I’ll really enjoy planning it and maybe it will inspire me to come up with some exciting travel plans for myself. Mind you, I am already going to The Gambia on holiday at the end of November and am possibly going to Siberia at the end of September for work, so I can’t complain too much. *mind wanders off to think about all the amazing places in the world to visit*

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Catching up again

It was a good evening yesterday and really nice to catch up with my friend. She lives not far from where we went to school and so I took a longer route than I needed to get to her house and had a wander through some of the local area. I’d forgotten what a great place it is to go out and socialise. Lots of nice bars and restaurants – not that I was particularly into either when I was at school, but I used to work in the same area as well. Her house was nice. She has bought it with her sister and they are in the middle of doing it up. I don’t think I had seen her sister since we were at school so it was good to see her too.

Fortunately, my public transport geekery came in handy, as there were some real problems on bits of the tube last night and so with a quick wander through the old grey cells of my mind, I came up with an alternative route home that meant taking totally the wrong tube line and then a bus. But there are times when having contingency plans stored at the back of your mind come in handy. It could explain why most useful pieces of information manage to get lost somewhere along the way though.

Today, I am having my hair cut and am hoping that it is better than last time. It should be as my normal hairdresser is cutting it and he knows that when I say I don’t want my hair blow dried and so on that he doesn’t need to do it. My hair seems to have got quite long more quickly than normal so I don’t think the woman cut much off when she did it last time. Anyway, I shall be neatly trimmed at lunch time today.

Then I’m meeting up with my friend C for a late lunch and a catch up. She is the friend I was meant to be buying a house with, and she is back from Bristol for a few days so it will be good to hear how she has settled in there.

It’s August and I am really cold. I even have a thick jumper on at the moment – possibly if we were allowed the heating on it would help but what with it being the middle of ‘summer’ that isn’t allowed. The Press Gang DVD turned up today to torment me while I am waiting for the delivery of the previous series, although I might break at some point and watch it anyway if the other series takes to long to arrive.

Anyway, a pleasant day ahead and I might even follow my own advice and write a letter later, although I might have to practice my bestest handwriting in advance of that.

Friday, August 18, 2006

The weekend is almost here

I am very glad it’s Friday. I have just got more and more tired as the week has gone on. But there will be no early night for me tonight as I am meeting up with a friend from school for a catch up, which should be good.

Earlier this week I said about writing letters and if you are desperate to write a letter and can’t think of anyone to write to, then try these people. Now, I had always thought a Dead Letter Office was the place where letters get sent to if it isn’t possible to identify someone. So if you address an envelope and all you write is “God” (I think they still might struggle to deliver it even if you added c/o heaven) or “the person with a really nice smile on the number 74 bus last Thursday” or you know just something that might make it a little difficult to deliver it to the intended recipient then they go to a Dead Letter Office. Anyway, that actually has nothing to do with *this* Dead Letter Office, which is actually somewhere that you are meant to send letters to when you are, well... dead.

As the site explains “The premise is simple: You are now dead. You just died. You don't know how it happened, you don't know what happens now. The only thing you know for certain is that your life is over.

This is your opportunity to write one letter to the world. You may say anything you want. You may use as many or as few words as necessary.

What will you say?”

You may not be surprised to learn that some of the entries are a bit morbid or depressing but I guess if you have just died then you might not be entirely happy. Some of them are funny though and you can actually choose the type of letter that you want to look at and pick one that is a bit more upbeat.

I got an e-mail to say that *one* of the Press Gang DVDs has been despatched. The only problem is that it is series three. I’ve already watched series one and want to watch the remaining series’ in the correct order, so the lack of series two is not helpful for this plan to work. So I’ll just have to see how long they take to send out that series and if it takes too long order it from somewhere else. Do you see what happens when I decide to be extravagant and buy some DVDs?

The chap I work with who was obsessed by getting a cable for a tape player, yesterday told me very excitedly that there were a lot of uneaten sandwiches outside where I work and trying to encourage people to go and eat them. So these were sandwiches from an unidentified source that had been left uneaten by other people and were left out for the cleaners to collect. Yum, appealing. Even with my usual willingness to eat free food, I couldn’t quite bring myself to rush out there and eat them. He, however, had no such qualms and ate his way through a number of the sandwiches and drank the warm orange juice. We’ll see if he turns up to work today or if we might need that power cable to bring him back to life.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

A warning

It seems I’m not the only one who is finding work a bit hard going at the moment. The chap I sit next to, D, who is normally placid and even-tempered waited until N stood up and walked away from his desk and then started to swear because N just would not stop going on about trying to buy a cable for a tape recorder. On and on. On and on and on. On and on and on and on. You’re getting the idea aren’t you? D did actually manage to find a cable for it and I did suggest that he might like to tell N where he could stick it. N just gets obsessed by things, distracted by trivial detail and it does your head in when he just keeps going on. On and on. On and… Oh hang on we’ve been here already haven’t we?

I’m reading Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult at the moment and that’s quite a good read. Recently I was horrified to find out that someone I work with always reads the end of a book before she reads the rest of it. My jaw dropped at this news. Surely part of the point of reading a book is that you let the story unfold before you? Anyway, with Salem Falls I actually had to look at the end of the story to find out what happens, even though I am nowhere near finishing it yet. There is something about the book that riles me, not because it is bad but actually because it is engaging. The book riles me because this bloke gets falsely accused of raping a woman and what bothers me is that no matter what he says no-one will listen to him. People have already made up their minds and however much he tries to explain what happened (or didn’t happen for that matter) no-one is interested. Instead he accepts a plea bargain because it is the safest way to ensure he won’t spend years in prison and so he goes to prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Then he gets accused again – which is kind of the main focus of the story – and because he already had a conviction people have already made up their minds and he is in even more of an unenviable position to prove his innocence.

I think what gets to me is the position of powerlessness that the chap is in, that no matter how much he tries to explain himself, no-one wants to listen, even though his whole life could be ruined as a result. I can feel the tension when I read about him trying to get people to believe him so to save my sanity I had to see how it turned out. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t this really fantastic book, but somehow it bothers me to read about some fictional character who just wants people to listen to him and give him the benefit of the doubt. I don’t know what’s going on in my head at the moment. Things just ticking over. I’ll return to normal soon.

Anyway, if you’re easily shocked - or eating for that matter - you might not want to scroll down any further. You have been warned. It seems that the security checks at airports are more thorough than has been reported in the press. I would recommend careful thought about whether you really need to travel at the moment.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Normal service will resume shortly

Yesterday did not start well. I had forgotten to reset my alarm from the previous day’s late start and that feeling of something not being quite right sank in as soon as my alarm finally went off. The thing is that despite the extra sleep, I still felt so tired all day. Somebody at work even said to me how tired I looked yesterday. It’s not that I’m sleeping badly. I usually easily fall asleep at night and sleep through until the morning – and the peace and quiet since the boys went back to China is lovely. I guess maybe I just have stuff on my mind, so the quality of a night’s sleep does not necessarily match the amount of time I am asleep for.

When I got into the office yesterday morning, I still had my coat on and my bag on my shoulder and as I approached my desk, my head of unit said to me “Have you drafted that letter for me?” I couldn’t even bother to sugar coat it and just said “No, I haven’t done it”. I think she was somewhat taken aback by my response. I said to her that she had never bothered to have a conversation with me about exactly what she had wanted and that I had other rather more urgent things to deal with, which she knew about, and therefore hadn’t had time to do it. But whatever you say to her, it is never good enough. You could tell her that you’d been in a coma and she would still tell you that you should have done your work. In her usual style she then took my manager to one side and totally slated me and then did that again later in the morning - and I am guessing did the same with my new head of unit because that is exactly her style to do so. My manager spoke to me about it and I explained what had happened and that I had done all the work, but that finding the time to draft the letter had been somewhat elusive of late. My manager just said that my head of unit wouldn’t accept any excuses and I had better get on with it. So I did and I wrote the letter and someone else more senior looked at it and said that they thought it was well drafted and dealt with everything, but by then I was passed caring.

Most of the morning I sat there just wanting to hand in my notice and walk out, or at least sit at my desk with my head in my hands and cry. Someone, unprompted, even sent me a job notice and said I should think about applying for the job. It would mean leaving my current organisation and is vaguely tempting but I don’t think my unit would let me go at the moment anyway.

I think I must have looked somewhat out of sorts generally because a couple of people asked me if I was alright and someone totally unexpected kind of patted me on the shoulder while he was talking to me, as if to try and soothe me a bit. I just cannot bear being dismissed by my head of unit, as though there is no defence for anything, that whatever you might say she will never accept it. It is always your fault, never hers and she makes sure you know that.

I headed home last night and when I got home there were some people viewing the house. I went and had a shower and seethed about all my stuff being moved again and my possessions not quite measuring up to my landlady’s standards so that she has to remove my towels from the bathroom or the rug from my bedroom whenever someone comes round. It’s all about putting across the right impression and if that means doing things at my expense, it doesn’t matter.

It’s just been a bad few days, people asking things of me or telling me to do things - seemingly giving me choices when there actually isn’t any choice at all. Normally I just take it on the chin, but sometimes it all gets a bit too hard and I get tired of people demanding things of me or expecting things of me when all I want is a bit of peace and quiet and to be left to my own devices.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A B C D E...

I used to be a somewhat prolific letter writer. All through my time at university and for a few years that followed I would write probably two or three letters a week. I guess back then e-mail wasn’t such a big thing but over time its use has grown so much that writing letters has gone by the wayside for most people.

Many people perhaps count it as a blessing to no longer receive letters from me, as I have somewhat indecipherable handwriting at times, which may well have detracted from the excitement of receiving the letter. I was also probably quite rambling – I know... it seems so unlikely...

When my friend went to the Gambia last year I said to her that I would write and she replied “why bother to write, it takes time and costs money. E-mail is far easier” Er… right… thanks. I guess I won’t bother then. Admittedly she is incredibly practical but to me, sending or receiving a letter is far better than an e-mail. Not that I don’t appreciate e-mails, but it isn’t quite the same as a letter.

E-mails can be sent without a moment’s thought. I would think there are any number of e-mails that people have sent that had they taken more time to think about it, they never would have done so. Wasn’t it Jo Moore who sent that infamous e-mail saying that it was a “good day to bury bad news” when the attacks took place in New York back in September 2001? At least without e-mail she might have used a different method of communication that could have given her more time to reflect on what she was going to say – or at least one that was less easy to splash across the media.

Sometimes I get sick of dealing with e-mails and instead go back to writing letters for a bit, but ultimately it’s easier to send an e-mail. It’s more convenient. Now we often text instead of phone and we send e-mails instead of making the effort to put pen to paper. I read on the BBC the other day that the art of writing a love letter is dying out. I think that would be rather sad if that became a thing of the past. There is something special about someone going to the effort of putting in writing what they feel, putting it in an envelope, sticking a stamp on and taking it to the post box. I know it takes longer to arrive but then I think that’s part of it – it isn’t something that you mean at the moment you click on the button and send the e-mail, but it has to be something that you still (hopefully!) mean a couple of days later when your letter drops through the letter box of the object of your affection.

So, if you have a few spare moments, dust off your pen and paper and write a few lines to a friend, a lover, someone who you once knew or if you can’t think of anyone put a message in a bottle for someone you don’t even know to find. I suspect the message you send will be more than that just written on the paper.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Like a Sirens call

Not only was there no disturbance from the Chinese boys due to their departure yesterday, this meaning a good night’s sleep, but I even got to sleep in this morning because I am on a course all day. That’s a good start to the week, particularly given how chaotic things have been of late. My new head of unit starts tomorrow though so maybe it is only a brief respite.

We had absolutely torrential rain yesterday afternoon and the main road flood where I live, which is particularly odd as I live at the top of a hill. I don’t think it means that everyone at the bottom of the hill had drowned or that their cars floated away, but I haven’t set foot outside yet, so maybe I am being overly confident about this. It was a massive thunderstorm and we must have been right at the centre of the storm for a fair bit of time. There is an open fire in the living room where I live, so my landlady lit that all afternoon and evening, partly because it was bit chilly but mainly because you have to dry out the chimney when it rains. So in the middle of August we had a roaring fire blazing, which was actually quite nice, but not really what you expect at this time of year. Open fires in August, floods at tops of hills - I don’t know what they are talking about when they say we should be concerned about climate change.

I don’t really know much about Greek mythology but the story of Orpheus and Eurydice has been flitting through my mind for the last day or so. Basically, Orpheus is a really talented musician and he is in love with Eurydice. Eurydice gets pursued by one of the sons of Apollo and when she tries to escape him, she stands on a snake and dies from the bite. Orpheus is heartbroken so he goes to Hades (where the dead go) and manages to persuade the king of the dead to let Eurydice return with him. Because of Orpheus’ great musical skill his wish is granted but on one condition – that he does not look back at her as they are leaving Hades. Simple enough. Well apparently not because just as they are about to leave Hades, Orpheus looks back and as a result he loses her forever. Then, as if Orpheus hadn’t already gone through enough, his fate was to be torn to shreds by some women *and* after his death the Muses saved his head and he continued to sing forever.

Anyway, maybe it has no greater significance than that I saw it mentioned somewhere - or perhaps I should heed the warning that you shouldn’t look back. Once you’ve set your sight on the goal you should focus on that and all that lies behind is in the past. Who knows? But I will certainly be keeping any dormant musical talent in check just in case. Although if I had to sing forever, I suspect my fate would be even worse than Orpheus’ and I would be singing something like BBC Radio 2’s “Sing Something Simple” which marred every Sunday lunch time as I grew up. All those harmonies... *shudders*

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Woo hoo! They've gone!

They’ve gone! They’ve gone! They’ve gone! Woo hoo! The boys are on their way back to China, well the airport actually and given the current difficulties with flying out of the UK I guess they may be back later. But anyway, they’ve gone. For now.

My landlady, as if to demonstrate that without the boys to distract her, her attention will be focussed more on me, told me that someone is coming over from Germany to view the house this morning so everything has to be spotless. Fortunately, I was actually housetrained a number of years ago and if you throw me a biscuit I might even do some tricks *winks*.

I had a good day yesterday and met up with a friend in the morning for coffee and then another friend in the afternoon for a catch up. I got several phone calls from work though, mainly because my ex boss seems to have lost the ability to think for himself. I had drawn up some rotas for staff cover and he phoned and then got someone else to phone to query why there wasn’t someone more senior on the rota. If he had phoned me one more time about it, I would have had a go at him because I had done exactly what he had asked and suddenly he seemed to think that it wasn’t right and kept phoning me to query it. He really seems to have lost the plot at the moment and thinks he has said things when he hasn’t or asks you to do things and then dismisses you when you try and explain the outcome. Not impressed.

A friend gave me the first and final series of Press Gang on DVD for my birthday. I really liked that programme when it was on back in the early 1990s and I have now watched all the episodes from series 1 again. I think I want to watch them all the series in the right order though so I have ordered series 2, 3 and 4 so that I can watch those before I get to the final series. I’ll be sitting by the letter box over the next few days hoping that they turn up. Several of the characters in it have gone on to various well known series including Lee Ross who played Kenny and is now a rather nasty character in EastEnders. He used to be such a nice boy.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Calm ahead

I was so tired last night and wanted a really nice line in, but as ever the Chinese boys woke me up really early. My landlady’s mobile also kept ringing and therefore preventing me from even vaguely dozing. The good news though is that the boys depart at 10 o’clock tomorrow morning. I am sure it will be preceded by much clattering about, talking loudly to each other, phone calls and other such noise, but hopefully after that things will return to relative calm. Then my landlady’s control freak pickiness can just be directed at me. Oh hang on a minute...

I usually switch off my mobile at night and when I switched it back on this morning there were two voicemail messages from people wanting to meet up today for a catch up. Fortunately one wants to meet up this morning and the other this afternoon, so it should be a good day of being sociable.

My estate agent phoned and I was slightly concerned with what he might want as I am not really sure what estate agents do apart from sort out how much a property sells for. As it turned out it was a useful call because apparently the vendor has come up with a way that might make extending the lease slightly cheaper, which would be good news.

Anyway time to go out for a coffee with a friend. I have warned her that it does actually cause me quite some pain to drink hot drinks because of the cut in my mouth, so I may spend the whole time grimacing and with tears coming to my eyes. I just can’t resist caffeine though, so will have to put up with the pain.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Pain and tiredness

I bit the inside of my mouth a week ago and it’s still really painful. I keep accidentally re-opening the cut and am having trouble getting it to heal. I’ve tried Bonjela to ease the pain but that only briefly makes it less painful.

I think it hasn’t helped that I am really tired. I haven’t been going to bed early enough and am still getting woken up by the Chinese being noisy. Or maybe it is the nightmare’s from the 18 year old having dinner the other night in his underpants. Still, I guess I should be grateful he was at least wearing something.

It also doesn’t help getting woken up in the middle of the night by someone from work phoning me. Fortunately it was someone I am friendly with and she was really apologetic – but she then asked if I would go into work for 7am. My heart sank but I agreed and then reset my alarm. Then someone paged me and it wasn’t even something that I needed to be contacted about. They then sent me an e-mail the next day to say that they had been testing the pager system – at 1am!!! I don’t think your body heals very well when you feel really run down. Hopefully I can sleep in at the weekend.

Anyway, I got home last night and there was a letter saying that my mortgage offer had been agreed. So I was really pleased about that and things seem to be progressing. I still have no idea when I might be able to move but hopefully it won’t be all that long now and then I can look forward to a quiet night’s sleep. Oh happy days.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Survival of the fittest

I was sitting on the tube the other day and had that age old dilemma – was the woman standing in front of me pregnant or just a little on the more ‘substantial’ side? Do you run the risk of offending someone by offering them a seat or do you ignore someone who may need a seat more than you. So what did I do? I wimped out and decided that the simplest solution was to shut my eyes and try and have a doze hoping that the problem would have gone away when I opened them again. I occasionally glanced at her, including when she sat down anyway a couple of stops later and decided that she wasn’t pregnant anyway, so had avoided a potentially awkward conversation. Why can’t it be more obvious when someone is pregnant? But then what if someone is pregnant but they don’t want anyone to know and through eagle eyed observation you spot that they are and offer them your seat thus broadcasting it to anyone within earshot? It’s a minefield to decide the right thing to do.

I see quite a large number of blind people on the tube as well and there’s one blind woman who gets *really* offended if people offer her a seat and her reaction must make people really regret the very suggestion of giving up their seat for her. So even where it’s more obvious that someone might want to sit down, you still don’t know if you’re doing the right thing. No wonder it often seems easier to just focus on your own little world and ignore all your fellow commuters.

The other day as I got on the tube some woman deliberately obstructed me so she could spot any empty seats before I did. Fortunately for me I must be a more seasoned traveller than her and located an empty seat while she was looking elsewhere for one. She then went up to a woman who was about to sit down and prodded her a couple of times and said “I want to sit there. I want to sit there.” and the other woman just said “Er... Ok” and let the woman sit down. See? It’s not always manners that count. It’s survival of the fittest – or the most rude.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A battle of wills

My plight requires more urgent assistance than I had previously realised. I got home last night to find that, once again, my landlady had been in my room and tidied it. Again there was no-one due to view the house but because people could come round with the estate agent unannounced, she appears to have decided that very morning she will go into my room and rearrange it. This is becoming a battle of wills. She goes into my room and removes my rug and moves my bin and rearranges the duvet on my bed and then in the evening I put my rug back on the floor, move the bin back to where it came from and mess up my bed. She has even taking to stacking the toilet paper up in the bathroom because somehow she doesn’t like it the way I leave it in the bathroom. So everything she moves I move back to where I want it to be instead.

I know, I know… I should speak to her about it. However for various reasons that I’ll explain another time, I don’t want to do that. But you *taps on inside of monitor*, yes you *points – and then remembers it’s rude to point* could fix this for me. You could relieve the agony and lift this burden from me. Having said that my eyes are still watering at some of the suggestions of what I could do in return for people killing my landlady. I may have to look into upgrading the Yahoo filter system *fans self at the thought of it* But, you know, desperate times and all that…

I’m beginning to wonder if the boys who are staying at the moment are actually Chinese. Yes they may come from China, look Chinese and speak Chinese, but I have reason to believe they may be duping us. On Saturday night my landlady decided to cook them a Chinese meal. When I say ‘cook’ she actually got them a Chinese ready meal from Sainsbury’s and put it in the oven. The thing is that they took a few mouthfuls of it and just couldn’t eat any more. So how can they really be Chinese if they don’t like Sainsbury’s sweet and sour pork covered in that oh so authentic sauce and special friend rice? Surely anyone who was actually Chinese would think it was a taste of home. I think they have really begun to slip with their cover story. On Monday they told my landlady that they didn’t want her to cook their dinner and they had bought some ready meals and would eat those instead. What were the ready meals? One was chilli con carne and the other was beef stew with dumplings. Now would real Chinese people eat that? I think not.

Maybe this is all just some grand plot to make me go insane. I’ve got my landlady tidying away the evidence of my existence, the ‘Chinese’ boys making a lot of noise and disturbing my sleep, bits of my computer disappearing and so on. Perhaps she has some plan to steal my identity and take on my mundane and boring exciting life. So should I suddenly disappear or seem to turn into a complete control freak then send help. Please.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Insert here

I got home last night and went into my bedroom and my landlady had tidy my room again. I actually growled at this! I was not impressed anyway but I was even less impressed when she said to me later that no-one had even been round to view the house over the weekend. So... basically... *takes deep breath* she just tidied my bedroom because she is a control freak. Let me just remind you that the offer is still there if you want to do a trade in which you kill her and I *thinks* will... at this point probably do pretty much anything in return. *Thinks some more* what a good job I haven’t put my half of the deal in writing. Let me tell you though, no matter what I said before, it now has to be a looooooooooong and painful death. Preferably involving inserting a duster and a hoover in places that are not recommended in the manufacturers’ instructions.

My escape is hopefully in sight and I just have the little issue of the purchase going through on the place I am buying and then paying the mortgage. I have been trying to come up with a plan to make the mortgage payments more palatable and I am in negotiation with my friend K for her to give me £50,000 as I think that would help a bit. When I say ‘negotiation’ the general way the conversation goes is I say “Can I have £50,000?” and K says “No”. I have suggested a new plan that I think might help though. Basically I have come up with a scheme where on day one she lends me £10 which I then return to her the next day. Then she lends me £20 and I return it her the day after. This continues with the amount doubling each time she lends me the money and I always give it back to her until we finally get to £50,000 - at which point I just keep the money. I think it’s a fair deal and she does actually know that she won’t get the £50,000 back. I was talking to her on the phone yesterday and asked her again if she would just give me £50,000 and she replied with the usual answer and then I reminded her of the other scheme – at which point she said she is going to report me to HR for harassment. I think she might not be entirely signed up to this plan yet.

Monday, August 07, 2006

All in one piece

Back to work today and I was actually on call this weekend, but apart from having to deal with some stuff on Friday night I wasn’t disturbed at all. I hope that continues because I hate getting disturbed in the middle of the night. My head of unit has been off all week but is back in the office as of lunch time today. I did actually speak to her briefly on the phone last night – and in fact several times while she was on leave, but at least I have an idea of what to expect when she is back. My concern this week though is that I have a reasonably new member of staff and I am being absolutely atrocious at managing him at the moment. That’s partly because I keep getting asked by my head of unit to do other work and also because the work we do seems to change so often that it is difficult to tell someone what their job is if you’re not entirely clear yourself. Anyway, this week, I really need to put some thought into it and set him some objectives and give him some decent guidance on what he should be doing because he must be bored out of his mind. I think this might involve some serious lateral thinking to come up with a decent bit of work for him to do though.

Anyway, I managed to make it through the weekend without killing or maiming my nephew. I think that is quite an achievement. We will brush over the incident of him getting into the cupboard that contained the chemicals for the aquarium. Least said soonest mended...

I may have the answer to where my nephew stands on the age old debate of “marmite – love it or hate it?” He wandered into the living room at one point intently licking the marmite jar. I did persuade him to return the jar to the cupboard but his actions seem to show he has made the right choice on which view to hold. I think we also have to be grateful that it wasn’t the aquarium chemicals he was licking. *thinks* We were going to move on from that weren’t we?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Early starts

Hmm what to report today? My nephew is still in one piece – but my sister and bro in law haven’t gone away yet. I did get disturbed by my nephew at about 8 this morning and you can’t just ignore a small child, something I will be very much aware of as today goes on, so had to go from a state of unconsciousness to absolutely fascinated by everything my nephew did in a matter of moments. I don't think he understands the concept of sleeping in on a Sunday morning. But I still got more sleep and it was a more pleasant awakening than being woken up by the loud Chinese boys at home. My landlady has been asked if she will have two German girls to stay when the boys go, but she has decided not to, as she has found it rather wearing having the boys staying, as they are quite hard work and get up about 6am, which means that she has to be out of bed by that time so they can use her bathroom.

Anyway, I’ve been shown where my nephew’s nursery is and am on my sister’s car insurance so I can drive him there tomorrow morning. I’ve gone through when he should be fed and when he should sleep. I know how to change his nappy. I know which end to put the food in. What could possibly go wrong? Oh and he was sitting on my lap a few minutes ago without a nappy on and I now have a faint whiff of poo and nappy cream emanating from my night attire. Lovely...

In other news, I caught up on a bit of blog reading this morning and see that Whinging It has come to an end, which is a shame as that that was a really good blog. I guess all good things must come to an end, which is probably why I will end up blogging into eternity.

Right time to go and find out what my nephew is up to and I hope when my sister and bro in law are away that I don’t break him...

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Peace and quiet

My solicitor sent me some documents on the place I’m buying, this included a list of the items included and excluded from the sale. She has excluded all the kitchen appliances, the curtains and the fire in the living room. The only bit I might be interested in buying is the kitchen appliances. She’s moving in with her boyfriend so I am not sure what she is going to need curtains for and quite how she is going to disconnect and remove the fire, but if that what she wants to do then she’s welcome to give it a go. However, my suspicion is that she sees it as a way to make some money, but I’m not willing to pay for things that I don’t want. The poor woman probably has no idea what she has let herself in for selling her place to me!

My landlady seems to have found somewhere to buy in Cardiff . Well, that’s if having an offer accepted but the house being left on the market, none of the legal process being started in the foreseeable future and no offer having been received on her current house. Oh and she hasn’t resigned yet so has no idea when she will be moving to Cardiff. But apart from that it is a really sure thing and she is quite excited by it.

I’m off to my sister’s later as I am looking after my nephew on my own all day tomorrow through to Monday morning, as my sister and brother in law are going away. I am quite looking forward to it and given that I seem to spend most of the time having to wake him up as I keep putting him into a coma I am sure it will be a time of peace and serenity. So whilst 16 month olds are wandering about getting into all sorts of trouble my nephew will probably just be asleep. Yep, I’m sure that will be the case, as sure as I am that I won’t have to change his dirty nappies at all in the time that I’m there. *repacks to include clothes peg, rubber gloves, self administering adrenaline, shepherds crook, handkerchief to mop brow and list of emergency numbers*.

Friday, August 04, 2006

No-one can serve two masters

We found out last week that the horrible woman is going to be our new head of unit. There’s going to be strange handover period so that my new head of unit starts in a couple of weeks’ time but my current head of unit doesn’t leave for another couple of months. Excellent – two control freaks in charge of us at the same time!

The other day my new head of unit came round for a chat in advance of her arrival and she seemed nice enough and asked some intelligent questions, but unfortunately I have had enough dealings with her in the past to know to be very wary of her. I can’t believe that we have managed to go from one nightmare head of unit to another.

When I heard the news I sent an e-mail to someone where I used to work to see if there might be any jobs coming up there in the next few months. I might add that this is not the place where I used to work with A. I might be a stubborn idiot at times but even I am not that much of a fool. Over the last couple of years I have actually been approached by them a couple of times to discuss the possibility of going back but it just wouldn’t work and as A would probably quit at the very sight of me, it doesn’t seem like a great idea... Anyway, I approached another place I used to work and apparently someone may be leaving in the next few months and they’ll let me know if a job comes up. It would be doing something different to what I did before and would be much more interesting, so I have that as a back up option should I start to go insane in my current job. I have a project that I need to complete and that should be done by about January and at that point I will try and move on. So it gives me the chance to see what it is like with my new head of unit and then escape if necessary.

I shall conclude on the email I sent to the woman who I really wanted to get the job when I heard she hadn’t got it.

My e-mail: There is no justice in the world

The reply: Meanwhile... over at [new head uf unit's previous employer]

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Say hello, wave goodbye

It’s not often that I remember my dreams, in fact most of the time I am not even aware of having dreamt anything at all. But the night before last I woke up and could recall my dream, in fact I guess I was still sort of dreaming when I woke up.

Anyway, I realised that I was dreaming that A and I had finally got back on to speaking terms and we got on really well and there was no tension between us and we were just able to have a laugh and enjoy being in each other’s company like we used to. The dream continued and for some reason we got separated from each other and I just couldn’t find A and so I didn’t get to say goodbye when we had spent some time together.

When I woke up I realised I could still feel that loss at not having been able to say goodbye, that we didn’t even get to give each other a hug before we went our separate ways after having spent a really good time together. It wasn’t even a ‘final goodbye’, just a goodbye after having spent some time together. I think perhaps we are doomed never to be able to say goodbye to each other, even when I am dreaming about things.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


I got a phone call from the estate agent yesterday to say that my mortgage company’s surveyor has been in touch and will be going round on Thursday morning to carry out his survey. So that feels like real progress. When I got the letter from the estate agent last week, it said that I had 14 days for a surveyor to get in touch or else they would advise the vendor to put the property back on the market. So I am relieved that another hurdle seems to be well on its way to being dealt with.

The Chinese boys seem to be learning about the British transport system. I was at home on Sunday morning and the phone rang and it was one of the leaders from the group the boys are with. She said that one of the boys was at home because he had a headache. I was kind of surprised to hear this because I didn’t think anyone else was at home. Anyway, she asked me to go and speak to him and ask if he would be joining them later, but I said I didn’t want to go and disturb him if he was ill because he was probably asleep – I also had no desire to wander into a teenage boy’s bedroom because who knows what he might have been doing. So, I wouldn’t go and disturb him, but as it turned out he wasn’t there anyway! In fact he had gone off to visit a friend in Ware, so had I agreed to go and speak to him, I would have given the game away. When he caught the train to Ware he went to Liverpool Street and thought that his Oyster card would cover him for his whole journey, so ended up getting fined £20 for travelling without a valid ticket. He then had to pay £14 for a taxi when he got to his destination. I suspect that may have rather given him a headache even if he didn’t already have one.

On Monday night the other boy got home about 10.30pm, which my landlady wasn’t too impressed by because he is only 12 and was out on his own. What was more concerning though was that he said that someone had given him a lift home from the station. From what I could work out, it was someone who worked for London Underground, but even so it wasn’t entirely safe. I think my landlady had a word with him about getting into strangers cars, because even if the person this time was a really nice chap, others may not be.

I spoke to D last night which was the first time since January. It was really good to catch up and exchange news. I have always had a decided soft spot for D and it was nice to be in contact again after several months of not really being on contact (more due to circumstance than for any particular reason). D is off to Venice next week and did tentatively ask if I wanted to go as well, but I decided that could be way too complicated and so declined. Hopefully we’ll see each other soon anyway and have a proper catch up then.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Escape Routes

Back to work again after a nice day off. It didn’t go quite according to plan as my friend ended up not being free until the evening but I had a good day anyway and got various mundane things done like going to the solicitors and the supermarket. I really do know how to live...

My landlady told me she sacked her estate agent on Saturday as she decided they were useless. When she appointed them I said I didn’t think they were very good as I have had various dealings with them. Since I started to look for a place on my own they haven’t given me the details of any properties, so they are hardly proactive in their sales technique. Anyway, this meant that my peace was shattered yesterday afternoon by a new estate agent coming round and taking photos etc. My landlady’s father also came round to supervise them or some such thing as well. Anyway, two friends ended up coming over last night and just to show quite how classy I am, I went out later with one of them to the local Wimpy. I haven’t been to one of those in years, but it did the job and is obviously far more high class than a McDonalds.

On Sunday morning I got a text from a friend which said “Need to speak to you today, when are you free?” I came up with various options and we ended up meeting in the evening. I never did quite work out what she wanted but I think that she is really stressed at the moment as she has had to move home to live with her dad. He’s a nice chap but she has to account for her every movement when she goes out, and having lived away from home for many years finds that a bit much. Anyway, I said to her that if she wants to rent my spare room in a few months time then she could have that in mind as an escape route. She seemed to be much more cheerful after I suggested that. I don’t need the money to pay the mortgage but obviously any extra money would help because my mortgage will be considerably more than I pay at the moment (which is £340 per month including bills!). So it could be quite handy for both of us and it’s always nice to feel that there are options.