Tuesday, July 31, 2007

An Olympian Achievement

So I have finally made it to the grand old age of 20-12 (I’m still in denial about being over thirty). I don’t actually feel very birthday-ish and am going into work today which is even less birthday like, but I have bought cakes for the people I work with and will spend most of the day looking through the e-mails that will have accumulated in my absence and trying to do as little as possible. Tonight G is coming over and is cooking me dinner and I’m sure we’ll have a pleasant evening.

My mum dropped in last night and inspected my decorating, dishwasher and other recent additions to the household. She also brought round a present for my birthday, a birthday cake and a cheque to pay for the dishwasher! All very welcome. I might even save some of the cake and take it round to my parents’ house later in the week, but it is my favourite which is a Victoria sponge with jam and cream from M&S. Yum.

Right I’m off to open my stack of cards and eat lots of cake.

Monday, July 30, 2007

A good time was had by all

So, I’ve returned from my hols and it’s back to work today. Boo! But I’m not in the office today. Hooray! But that’s because I have to go and give a talk. Boo! I have mixed feelings about being back…

The time away was great. G and I go on really well and although there was mixed weather at times, generally we had sunshine when we needed it. We also stayed in a lovely guest house right on the seafront at Bournemouth and ate more food than I would ever have imagined possible, even by my standards. We just seemed to be continually eating and would start off each day with a really nice breakfast where we were staying, then roll off down the road to go and eat lunch, then go and have lie down for a bit to recover and then roll off down the road again for dinner. We spent most of the time in Bournemouth wandering along by the sea or in the town or up near Beachy Head, but we also went to Brighton on Friday and had a very nice (three course) lunch there.

It turns out that I have a fairly decent Glasgow accent (which is where G is from) and I spent large amounts of time scaring G with it or my Highlands accent, although it did on occasion turn into something from Newcastle. You see, if you run out of conversation you don’t have to fill the silence by proposing, you can just say the same thing again with an accent. It works for me anyway.

I actually felt a bit miserable when I got back last night and G went home. G is starting a new job in just over a week’s time and is off work until then and I am now going back to work, which is a bit annoying. Still I got loads done last week and am really pleased with the hall and the bathroom and the dishwasher, although, by comparison to the hall, the kitchen now looks dark, but I don’t think I can bring myself to repaint that. You’ll hear it here if I change my mind though. I bet you can hardly wait.

So, anyway, it’s off to work I go – and after my talk I shall spend the rest of the meeting thinking of the next place to go on holiday (oh and now I think about it tomorrow is actually my birthday so I imagine I may summon myself out of my stupor to celebrate). Anyway, in the meantime you can look at this site that in its own strange way seems to sum up my feelings about going back to work. Keep on clicking…

Thursday, July 26, 2007


The dishwasher is fixed! I had a day of frustrating phone calls to John Lewis yesterday and finding that the chap I had spoken to the previous day had done nothing with my call. Anyway eventually I spoke to a chap and he said I could have anew dishwasher to which I replied that I didn’t think I needed a new dishwasher and that the issue was to do with the installation and in the end I convinced him that an engineer was a better (and surely cheaper!) option. He then phoned and engineer and arranged for him to come out today – only he hadn’t asked me if I was available today and as I am off on hols this afternoon it wasn’t all that convenient. He basically said he had done what he could and I’d have to phone them myself if I wanted to fine out the time they were coming or to change it. That then meant more convoluted phone calls and the engineer said I’d have to phone back today to get the exact timings. THEN just before 7 last night John Lewis phoned and said they’d send someone out last night to look at it. Sure enough about an hour or so later the same people turned up as had previously installed it and they had a fiddle about for a few minutes and it was fixed! I then ran it and had beautifully clean dishes. I am *very* happy. It’s the simple things in life…

I was talking to G on the phone during the day yesterday and we were joking about my affair with John Lewis and we were talking about the rivalry between John Lewis and G and I said that g had a problem was because John Lewis was “my other love”. I suddenly realised what I had said and then felt the need to do a bit of back tracking – because by implication it was a declaration about how I felt about G (which incidentally is way more than any sort of declaration I would want to make at this time. It’s way too early for that sort of thing). I ended up sort of apologising but then I thought that it was sort of rude to apologise and it all got a bit complicated. Anyway, we just ended up laughing about it and changed the subject. Aren’t relationships complicated sometimes…

So, today I am off to the south coast until Sunday. We’re staying in what looks like a really nice guest house and even if the weather is a bit ropey I’m sure we’ll have a nice time. We’ve booked lunch at a restaurant in Brighton tomorrow and have a few other bits planned for our time away, but it should be a nice relaxing time away. Be good and play nicely and I’ll see you when I get back. Hopefully I won’t have accidentally proposed or anything while I’m gone *shakes head in despair*

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The End of the Affair

The decorating is finished! Unless, I notice some bits that I have missed… But I’ve been very thorough and looked back over every wall and door etc and filled in any slightly dodgy looking bits. I am quite impressed with it and the hall is now much lighter and fresher looking and I feel as though the hard work was worth it (but I still hate decorating).

My only concern is the quality of some of the paint I used. On the walls I used Dulux paint but on the ceiling and doors I used Homebase paint. The difference between those paints was really noticeable when I was applying it. The Dulux paint was just much better quality and were I to do it again (!) I would use Dulux paint for it all (well maybe not the ceiling because that is a long way away and therefore less noticeable). I also used some special Dulux paint called “light and space”. To be honest I can’t really tell you whether it made a huge difference – the hall was darker (a deep peach) and is now a light cream colour so it is going to be lighter anyway, but it certainly seems quite bright and airy but it might have seemed like that anyway.

People who are in my life generally know that my heart is spoken for and the person in question is a Mr John Lewis. Normally I love him and can do know wrong. G has even questioned whether I am having an affair with him – I talk about him a lot, his number is programmed into my phone, I regularly receive phone calls from him, and I am often talking about checking out what he has to offer. But let me tell you people, the affair is OVER. In fact, I am even considering expressing my disappointment and disillusionment with John Lewis by way of a letter – yes, it is *that* serious.

So what has Johnny done to upset me so much? Well, it’s a few things. First, there was the damaged desk about a month ago. So I had all the hassle of taking it back and getting a new one, which took about a week to arrange. Then my dishwasher was due for delivery from them yesterday and they were due to deliver some time between 3 and 9 pm (!). They turned up just gone 3pm so that was great and they brought the dishwasher in and put it in the kitchen and then were heading for the door and just asked me to sign the paperwork as they were leaving.
“So…” I said “what is happening about installing it?”
“Oh we don’t install them” the man replied
“But I’ve paid for you to install it” I said
He scanned his paperwork. No record of it.
“Can you show me your paperwork please?” He replied.

Despite where I live being a complete state I did manage to easily locate the paperwork and show that I had paid for it to be installed. So he called his mate back from the van and they installed it for me and off they went. Great or so I thought. Although it did cross my mind that he had perhaps lied to me by saying they don’t install them – what with actually having installed it for me. But that might just be an extra thing the delivery men do if they have made a mistake and not technically their job though.

Anyway, I then set it all up and fill the dishwasher with dirty dishes and put it on. Two minutes later it stops and an error comes up. I check the error and it means that either the sink spigot is blocked or that the water hose has not been correctly laid or is bent or squashed. I pull the dishwasher out and have a look at the back and then try running it out on the middle of the kitchen so that there is no chance of the water drain hose being bent or squashed. The same error comes up. I try various things and still with no success. I phone John Lewis and get put through to the Service Department. I explain the problem he says that sound like an installation problem but I need to speak to Large Electricals. He puts me through to someone else I ask for Large Electricals she asks what I need to speak to them about and then promptly puts me back through to the Service Department again. I explain the problem to the chap there and he asks me various questions such as have I checked if the sink spigot is blocked or there is a problem with the water drain hose. I tell him I don’t even know what a sink spigot is, but that I know the water drain hose is not constricted. He says he’ll look into it and call me back – I have heard nothing since.

It just strikes me that Mr John Lewis is not performing. Let me point out his inadequacies:

- There was no record of me paying for installation.
- When they installed it, they didn’t actually test that it worked. When I had a washing machine and a cooker installed (not by John Lewis I might add, both were from independent retailers) the installers tested them and checked that they worked before they left.
- I have no idea what a sink spigot is and searched for it on the internet so that I could see if it was blocked but I could find nothing that explained exactly what it was. According to the chap at John Lewis it is where the dishwasher joins the water supply but there are two pipes that come out of the dishwasher and have various connections and I don’t know which is which. Using terms that it isn't possible for a layman to know what it is is pointless.
- BUT I paid for someone else to install it because I don’t know how to install a dishwasher – that’s why I paid for someone who *does* know to do it. If I end up having to fix the installation, what exactly did I pay for??
- Getting passed from pillar to post does not impress me and not getting a phone call back impresses me even less. If I had taken only yesterday off work, I would have no chance of getting this sorted in the near future, but time is ticking away Mr Lewis, tomorrow I am going away for a few days and I want it fixed before then!

Mr Lewis the affair is over. I might occasionally spend time in your company. Run my hands over your goods. Look at you wistfully. But I shall treat you with a healthy scepticism from now on, I shall expect nothing better of you than I would of Argos or Currys: Yes, I’ve said it and I hope that hurts. I showed you loyalty, I lavished money on you and in return you just showed me disdain. Well let me tell you hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. It’s a good job you don’t sell pets because your bunny rabbits would be in serious trouble*.

*no animals were hurt in the making of this production.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Almost there

I am nearly there with the decorating – all the doors, door frames and skirting boards are painted and I have to say that it look really good! I fixed a problem with the bathroom door which meant that the paint kept getting scraped off when it was closed and tightened the hinges on another door, so my DIY skills have had to stretch beyond wielding a paintbrush. I am going to go over a few bits and tidy them up and then I need to remove the masking tape which I am not looking forward to because I know that it will pull the paint off in a few places. Anyway, nearly there, nearly there… And… today the dishwasher is being delivered and installed. This is truly an exciting day!

A few minutes ago a chap came round to reads the meters and I got a very clear view of his very hairy bum as he leaned forward to read the meters. Charming…

So today is a day of finishing things off and tidying and maybe going to the library etc, but generally just feeling very pleased with myself about what I have managed to achieve with my hall. I do still utterly hate decorating though. Yesterday when I went and got my hair cut the woman pointed out to me that I actually had paint in my hair, which I knew and was just pleased that she didn’t think I had gone prematurely grey. Anyway, it will all be over soon and then I can do something more exciting with my leave than painting.

The floods at the moment are astounding. Where I live hasn’t been affected at all, but I guess the lesson is that even if you think that you don’t live near a river or that you’ve never been affected before that if the weather is bad enough you could still end up under several feet of water. (I’m hoping this is not the case as it would ruin the paintwork in my hall!) I feel though that there is maybe more coverage of these floods than the ones that took place in the north of England last month. I have a different perspective on it as I am off work and have had the TV on in the background, but we quite often have the TV on at work and I wasn’t aware of so much emphasis being put on it previously. I know that the floods are more extensive but I wonder if there is a risk that the news companies could be accused of a north-south bias?

Anyway, time to get dressed and get on with some more painting.

Monday, July 23, 2007


It was a pretty successful weekend. I got all the walls painted and the bathroom door done – which only leaves *five* more doors and the skirting boards to paint. I am just glad there is no door on my kitchen…

Anyway, it’s all looking much better and when the doorframes are done, it should look really good. The chaps turned up at 8am to fit the lino or slightly before that actually. So they had the pleasure of seeing me in little more than a dressing gown. The new lino looks good but they didn’t have their sealant gun with them so they’re going to have to come back later to finish it off. So I think I’m going to go out in a minute to get my hair cut and then I can just be here painting until they’re ready to come and sort out the floor for me. It looks good already and so it will look even better when it’s totally finished.

The thing with someone doing work in your bathroom though is that your toilet is then out of action and I *really* wanted to go to the loo while they were here because I’d drunk a cup of tea and a cup of coffee since I got out of bed. So you end up in that dilemma of what to do: Are they going to finish soon so it’s worth hanging on? Should you ask them to let you use the toilet for a minute? Should you find a suitable alternative receptacle and use that instead? It’s a difficult one… *looks about suspiciously*

So, anyway, moving on… I’m off out for a hair cut and to buy some nappies to wear for when they come back later.

Friday, July 20, 2007


I am on leave as of the end of today, which must explain why I feel so unwell. Why does it always happen when you have time off work? I think I’ve picked up a cold from my boss and have a sore throat etc I did get an accusing (but joking) e-mail from G to ask exactly what I had been doing with my boss to have got a cold from him. I denied everything...

Anyway, my feeling ill did not aid my trip yesterday and the combination of a cold, having to get up really early for the second day in a row and the atmosphere on a plane, including a bit of turbulence to jolt about my tender frame made me feel very rough. I’m not always a huge fan of flying. It’s not that I find it scary or anything just sometimes when the plane is coming into land it makes me feel a touch nauseous. I sometimes take travel sickness tables because it takes the edge off it but I couldn’t find them yesterday. By the time I landed back in London I could feel that I had broken out in a real sweat and would have quite liked to have been sick, but fortunately after getting a bit of fresh air I was ok again. Must pack the travel sickness tablets next time though.

So an early night was planned for yesterday but then I was talking to G on the phone for a while and the school round the corner from where I live seemed to be holding some event that included the playing of loud music until quite late, so it wasn’t entirely easy to achieve this.

I seem to have many things rattling round in the dark recesses of my mind to comment on at the moment but I need to get my thinking together to do so, hopefully when I am off next week I will have time to do that a bit and maybe some of it will appear here. Now there’s something to look forward to – or perhaps not, but it has to be better than me writing about lino and painting my walls. Probably.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Water cooler moment

An early start today because I have to go to the airport and hop on a flight. I’m not going anywhere exciting, I’m not even leaving England let alone the UK. I know that probably isn’t very good for my “carbon footprint” but flying is the best option and so it’s off to the airport that I go and then I’m flying back this afternoon.

I was at the supermarket last night and the chap in the queue behind me bought 21 large bars of Dairy Milk chocolate plus some large mars of Milky Bar plus a five pack of Bounties. I really wanted to ask him what he was going to do with all the chocolate, but being a Londoner I resisted the urge. I was there buying some ice cream because I was off to a barbecue and I bought some Tiramisu ice cream and some chocolate ice cream both of which were really nice and we really had the weather for a barbecue yesterday so it was all good.

Someone I work with sometimes has a dog in the office with her. It’s a very young and slightly unruly dog and sometimes you’ll find it sniffing round our desk or wanting a stroke. I was talking to someone at work the other day and she was telling me that the water cooler in the office is out of order and is waiting to be replaced. Apparently the dog kept licking it and trying to drink the water out of it. I think I’ll be drinking tap water from now on.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Donkey madness

I think the ceiling is now done and it has to be said that it does look much better. It has gone from a strange off white/ dirty cream colour to brilliant white and is a big improvement. Next the walls... But not tonight, as I am off to a barbecue, so that will be a job for the weekend.

I am definitely on the count down to being on leave and today G booked a place for us to go and stay for a couple of days at the end of next week. I’m really looking forward to that and it looks like a really nice place. I just hope that the weather is slightly better by then. G was a bit concerned that it might be too late to get a room there but it didn’t seem too difficult and I suppose people have fled the country in search of the elusive sunshine. It will be good to go away as it will be a couple of days before my birthday and yesterday G got a new job. Woo hoo! A double celebration.

Whilst you might be aghast at the smoking ban, infuriated at the government seeming to tax every single thing that we do and considering lots of options to make us more environmentally aware, at least you don’t have a donkey (well I assume you don’t, maybe you do...). Anyway, if you live in Kenya then you’d have to be looking into putting a nappy on your donkey. Where you would actually get a donkey sized nappy from is another matter but it seems the plans have been put on hold due to people protesting about the move. One chap said "If we have to put nappies on our donkeys, soon they will say our cows need them too" wise words, wise words. It’s madness I tell you!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Brush off

So, I have finally started doing some decorating. Last night I painted my hall ceiling. It took about an hour and a half and reminded me that I hate, hate, hate decorating and I cannot understand why someone would want to do it for a living (although obviously I am glad that they do because then I might be able to employ them to do my decorating in future). It might need another coat tonight but I’m hoping that I did such a fantastic job that it only needs a bit of touching up in a few places. I hate decorating and I still have the walls, doors and woodwork to paint, as well as the separate task of painting my front door *puts head in hands and weeps*

It’s funny though, on the evenings when I engage with something I seem to get more done generally. Not only did I paint the ceiling but I also hoovered and cleaned out the vacuum cleaner and did some washing up and sorted a few other bits as well, whereas other nights I can sit at home and hardly have the energy to get up off the sofa. Everything in moderation though, I say, and I am sure I will spend many an evening making more of a dent in my settee in future.

I have a whole week off next week to do domestic chores, it is looking less and less appealing by the moment. Methinks I need to think for somewhere to go away to for a couple of days next week.

Monday, July 16, 2007

In tandem

Another tiring weekend. The wedding was good and, miraculously, the weather was lovely on Saturday and various people managed to get sun burned.

The wedding was at a large manor type house and it was a humanist ceremony, which I was entirely sure what that would involve, but it was a nice (and brief) service and then the couple dashed off to a registry office to make it all legal because the humanist ceremony had no legal basis, it was more their public declaration.

We all stayed at the house and drank and ate and soaked up some sunshine and then the couple arrived back about two hours later and cycled in on a tandem, which was very amusing. In the evening there was a hog roast and a ceilidh. I can assure you, I did not dance, despite G’s enthusiasm.

It was a nice enough day and very laid back. Had I gone to a wedding like that without knowing anyone there, I would have struggled because the formality of a sit down meal means that you are sat with people and usually end up chatting to them, but at this wedding you could wander round the grounds or in the house or do pretty much whatever you wanted and so if you were there without knowing other people, you’d have to have boldly gone up to people and started chatting to them. My idea of a nightmare come true…

Then yesterday we drove back through torrential rain and stopped for Sunday lunch on the way. I couldn’t believe the contrast in the weather to Saturday, but at least it was the right way round.

Today it’s back to work again but at least I know that at the end of this week I then have a week off – to do chores mind you, but I now have my dishwasher on order to arrive a week on Tuesday and so there is only one more week of washing up to be done. Yay!

Friday, July 13, 2007

One is very amused

Today is likely to be one of those days when I live up to my name of being random. First, what exactly is Prince Charles doing in that picture? I was laughing at it on the train home last night so I had to scan it on to my computer. Is it just me or does he look as though he is admiring more than that woman’s medals??

Yesterday morning I was talking to someone quite important on the phone and about a minute into the conversation I noticed there was a reasonably large spider walking across my desk. This was not the time to stand on my chair and scream like a girl, although I was sorely tempted to do so. Instead I rapidly pushed my chair back from my chair and tried to carry on tracking this spider’s movements whilst at the same time sounding vaguely professional on the phone. After what seemed like hours I finished the conversation and said to the woman I sit next to that there was spider somewhere on her desk at which point she leapt up and announced very loudly that she also can’t stand spiders and then dashed away from her desk. One of my nice male colleagues had a thorough search all around our desks but could not find it anywhere. *gulp* That got the adrenaline going first thing in the morning.

Yesterday I saw that Tintin has been moved to the adult section in some bookshops. Apparently one of the books Tintin in the Congo has some rather racist subject matter in it. Why do I raise this? Because about a month ago I gave someone a copy of that very book. Oops. In my defence I didn’t actually see the book in advance as I bought it via Amazon and it went directly to my friend - although I think I would have been oblivious anyway.

G and I are off to a wedding tomorrow, which I’m not particularly looking forward to, but I guess I get free food, so shouldn’t complain too much. They are friends of G’s who are getting married and I have never met them so we’ll see if I prefer going to the weddings of complete strangers rather than people I actually know. Can you feel my excitement?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Look away now

I went into the toilets at work the other day to be greeted by the sight of one of my colleagues in a somewhat compromising position putting on a pair of tights. I decided to avert my eyes and not comment – there are some things that one does not wish to know about a colleague and I think you can go blind from certain sights as well. It’s a bit like looking directly at the sun, best not to take the risk because the consequences can be serious.

Last night G sent me another job application form to look at, having stayed at work until 7.30pm to get it done. I probably could have been slightly better in my phrasing when I then phoned to talk about it and my summary was basically that the font size was inconsistent and some of the paragraphs didn’t flow properly one from the other (I did say it better than that). Neither of us could quite work out what had happened but it seems that somehow that was not the final version of the form that G had spent so long working on and it had reverted to a much earlier version. There may be much last minute work to be done on it today…

Anyway, here are two interesting websites. The first is what people around the world eat. For the people from Britain, I would ask two questions – where is Cllingbourne?? Also “Favorite foods: avocado, mayonnaise sandwich, prawn cocktail, chocolate fudge cake with cream” there is something that is very 1970s about that list, but also a mayonnaise sandwich?? They’re meant to be representative of Britain, so you might want to either revise your diet accordingly or consider lodging a formal protest.

There’s also this website. Who knew tampons could serve so many uses...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Good and the Bad

There seems to have been a strange trend over the last week or so (if two things can be called a trend…) to attribute events to God’s judgment. The more recent of those is rather sad in its own way as Jade Goody has suggested that her recent miscarriage was God’s judgment on her actions on Big Brother. This makes a few assumptions, first that God watches Big Brother (an amusing concept, but I guess we all have to get our kicks somehow); that God pinpoints and punishes individuals as a direct result of particular actions; that God would do so by taking away one (arguably innocent) life in order to punish a bad action; and that God does in fact exist.

I do actually believe quite strongly in the existence of God and that he takes an interest in our lives, but I don’t believe that he is out to stamp on individual actions. No matter what Jade Goody may have done, I don’t see that God’s judgment is the reason for her miscarriage. Miscarriages happen for a whole range of reasons, not least that sometimes a pregnancy just isn’t viable, but that isn’t a reflection on anything or anyone, sometimes those things just happen. I guess sometimes we look for explanations and answers, but sometimes they just don’t exist. Pouring the wrath of God upon yourself though, doesn’t seem like the healthiest response though and not a good position from which to feel capable of moving forward.

The other instance was the Bishop of Carlisle being reported as saying that the recent floods were God’s judgment. I think some of what he said has been taken out of context* and was interpreted as meaning that the floods in Sheffield meant that the people living in Sheffield were particularly sinful – something that they were a bit miffed about. I don’t think that is actually what he was saying though. I think the Bishop was arguing that due to our actions and by living lives that are wasteful and where we don’t consider the consequences that we reap the whirlwind of that. So if we live in a disposable society where we buy a product and get rid of it when we are bored and add to the mountain of rubbish in landfill sites, if we fly thousands of miles on our holidays, if we drive too fast, if we become so insular that we don’t even know our neighbours - then there are consequences of each of those. But you actually don’t even have to bring God into it, isn’t there a law of physics that says “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. That’s Newton’s third law in case you are interested. I don’t think people particularly question Newton’s statement but if you bring God into something then people seem to get somewhat under the collar about it.

* I think he was accurately reported as stating that the increase in gay rights as one of the reasons for this, which is not particularly helpful (to say the least…)

Blaming individuals isn’t helpful but us as individuals accepting some responsibility for our own actions and considering that we might actually be able to make a *positive* difference, doesn’t actually strike me as being an unhelpful thing to point out to people. There are ways and means to say these things though, of course.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

If all else fails

My tiredness continues, not helped by me having to spend most of the afternoon sitting through an extremely mind-bendingly boring meeting that ended up going on until 6pm. I almost lost the will to live and was in a bad mood for the rest of the evening. A friend sent me a text to ask if I wanted to meet up for a cuppa but I replied and said not because I felt too grumpy. We’re meeting up ion Thursday now, by which time hopefully I will have returned to serenity and be the picture of composure rather than wanting to kill anyone who crosses my path.

Anyway, I spent most of the evening sorting things out which included doing a massive pile of washing up (the dishwasher is almost ordered but there was a slight technical hitch in that it wasn’t in stock when I went to place my order. Grr…) and moving my computer from the living room to the back bedroom. The back bedroom still looks like a bomb has hit it so the next task is to get that into some vague order. This may take some time…

Tonight will not be the night to do that though as I am going over to G’s new place. Hopefully G will be feeling reasonably sane having has a job interview this afternoon. G has applied for various jobs and shouldn’t have a problem in getting one of them, but it is slightly unfortunate that the interview this afternoon is for the lowest paying one, but there’s another interview on Friday and I think there’ll be a few more in the not too distant future, so hopefully the right one will come along.

Last night G and I were talking about interview questions which included the classic (for which read irritating and pointless and one that I would never ask in an interview) question “what would you say is your biggest weakness?” Most people go for the standard approach of saying something that is actually a positive but trying to make it sound as though it is something they struggle with - like saying they are a perfectionist and so on. The other way to do it is to pick an example that has nothing to do with work. So you choose something like “when I go away on holiday I can only speak English and I think it’s important to speak other languages, so now I’m learning Spanish” or something along those lines and then you sound all proactive. However G is actually reasonably good at languages and being a Scot is doing pretty well at learning English. So I did suggest G reply by saying “I spend far too much time on the internet when I am at work” which might then suitably be followed up with “and sometimes I am too honest for my own good”. However, we concluded that this possibly was not the best approach. So I think the final conclusion was to fall back on the approach that we all need to keep in reserve for such occasions – lie. Just do it convincingly.

Monday, July 09, 2007


It turned out to be a really tiring weekend. I had a nice evening with G on Friday night and things seem to be going ok there. I dropped G off at the station on Saturday morning and on the way there G said to me “You’re really rather growing on me you know”. I have no recollection of what I said in response but then G asked “Am I growing on you too?” and, again, I have absolutely no recollection of what I said in response but it was something reasonably positive (I'm guessing, as we are still speakign to each other...) . I am just always very wary of overstating things though as I don’t want to give anyone the wrong impression, so I usually whole back on saying things unless I know that I can be certain of things – not that you can be certain about *everything* of course.

Anyway, then I went to my parents’ house and picked them up and drive to my sister’s house as my sister had arranged a party for my mum. That all went well and everyone seemed to have a good time. I then drove my parents’ home and stopped off there briefly to look for something. It was only then that I realised I had left my jacket at my sister’s house, which wouldn’t generally have been a problem except that it had my season ticket in the pocket and I need that to get to work. Grr…

My sister was busy until late afternoon yesterday so I spent some time sorting out my garden and mowing the grass and washing piles of clothes etc and then made a two and a half hour round trip to my sister’s house to get my coat and season ticket… It was nice to see my sister again and my nephew was on good form and we spent a bit of time playing in the garden and he is utterly obsessed with Shrek and so he spent a bit of time sitting on my lap watching that – a repeat of the two times we had watched it the previous day. Obsessed I tell you…

Friday, July 06, 2007

As time goes by...

Time seems to be flying by – today G and I have been going out for two months. This is particularly apt because today is National Kissing Day. Perhaps we might even exchange our first kiss in honour of the day. I will ensure that we have a chaperone present. I think we will also be having a take away – do you see how the spark goes from a relationship when you’ve been going out for a while? At first it is romantic meals and spending hours getting to know each other better, but after a while it’s a take away and watching Coronation Street.

Mind you, it was looking a bit touch and go yesterday as to whether we might make it to the two month mark – what with me proposing to a colleague. G seemed to take this remarkably well, but that may have had something to do with me proposing to a chap I work with who is in a long term relationship with a bloke. I sent him an e-mail to ask him (I am *so* romantic) and the deal was that basically he could do all the housework, cook me dinner etc and he could bring his dogs with him and I *might* walk them on occasion. He came over to speak to me and knelt down next to me… but after a bit of thought decided that he would have to decline but said that if I asked him again in a few weeks time he might have changed his mind by then.

It’s a busy weekend ahead mainly because my sister has arranged a party for mum and that will take up most of Saturday and then on Sunday I think I might start some decorating (maybe…). Anyway, I don’t think I am seeing G over the weekend after tonight, so I’d better make the most of National Kissing Day…

Thursday, July 05, 2007


I am so tired this week. I was meant to go out last night but didn’t have the energy. I just stayed at home and glued my desk drawers together. It’s an exciting life.

Sometimes I despair at what a small world it is. Sometimes things happen and people’s paths cross and I find it disconcerting to see the connections. At times, for totally coincidental reasons, circumstances come together in ways that might not be anticipated. Sometimes it can be a good thing and be an opportunity and at others it can highlight that sometimes life just isn’t fair.

Anyway on other matters… yesterday, after nearly four months of waiting, Alan Johnston was released by his kidnappers. When Norman Kember was released from captivity last year, I quoted Konstantin Simonov and I quote it here again because it seems very apt.

Wait for me, and I’ll return.
Only wait very hard…
For I’ll return, defying every death.
And let those who did not wait say that I was lucky.
They never will understand that in the midst of death,
You with your waiting saved me.
Only you and I know how I survived
It’s because you waited as no-one else did.

There's something so powerful about waiting. It might seem so passive and inconsequential and yet it can be this most life changing thing. A sign of love, loyalty, hope. There are things... people... a person... I still "wait" for in the hope that one day it might make that difference. Maybe one day, and so I wait.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


So… yesterday was an interesting day. Well, interesting if seeing the somewhat vulnerable side of colleagues counts as that.

Yesterday morning I got an e-mail from an old boss asking if we could have a chat, as he wanted to discuss something personal with me. I couldn’t think what personal issue he could want to discuss with me, but said it was fine to have a chat and met up with him yesterday afternoon. He is a chap in his early to mid fifties and was my boss a couple of years ago. He’s a lovely bloke and was a really nice boss and I was really disappointed when he moved on. Anyway, we went and had a coffee and a chat and he basically talked to me about some serious personal problems that he is dealing with at the moment and we talked about some stuff that had happened with our old boss and the serious bullying that we had endured and soem other stuff that had gone on when we worked together.

He’s this posh, middle aged chap who is old enough to be my father and he sat there telling me about some stuff that made him feel so vulnerable and, I think it’s fair to say, scared and I just sat and listened and tried to give him a bit of reassurance and context on the stuff that was going on for him. It’s not right for me to explain what that stuff is here and you wouldn’t guess it from what I have said either - but it was something really serious and I felt so upset for him both during and after the conversation but there’s nothing that I can actually do for him really and he was just looking to make some sense of it all. He doesn’t want anyone else at work to know and so I will continue to ponder it and hope that it doesn’t turn out to be as serious as it looks at the moment.

Anyway then I went back to my office and a few minutes later went to the toilets. As I was about to go into a cubicle someone I worked with a few months ago saw me and in a conversational way I asked her how things were going and she just burst into tears. Even though at times I can be somewhat dense, even I could pick up that all was not well and so we then spent a while talking about what was going on with her at the moment (which is work related stuff) and she seemed a bit better by the time we had finished talking (and I was finally able to go to the loo…). I work in such a happy place sometimes…

On a lighter note I met up with a friend for dinner last night and we were in the Leicester Square area while the Harry Potter premier was on. We walked round the edge of it and into Chinatown and Dr Who walked past (otherwise known as David Tennant) and he was wearing a maroon velvety suit for those who are interested. My friend was decidedly non-plussed but I was quite impressed to have come within stroking distance of a time lord. But perhaps that is just me.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


I had another evening of domestic chores last night. I went and bought some paint to repaint my hall and then spent the rest of the evening putting my desk together. I still need to fit the drawers together but beyond that it is done. Just a whole hall left to paint…

I was talking to G on the phone last night. Last week G moved to a new place and that seems to be doing quite well and G seems so much happier now, which is good.

Last night I was thinking that there is something kind of weird about relationships and it can take a bit of getting used to being in one. It takes some reprioritising and maybe sometimes even doing some things that you don’t want to (like going to a wedding in a couple of weeks time…). But it’s a good thing and I have noticed that I feel a lot more driven to sort things out. I think that is why I have been doing various things to where I live. Starting to go out with G just made me think that I am sick of compromising and putting things off and has meant that I have become more decisive in getting things done – although it has meant that on occasion I have woken up in the night talking about lino *shakes head in despair*. I have tried to explain to G that I am not generally all that driven about sorting things out but have had a sudden burst of enthusiasm. It will wear off at some point which is why I have to make the most of it at the moment!

There are of course other good things about being in a relationship other than it giving incentive to decorate. I get my washing up done for me sometimes and G also cooks a very good breakfast. It’s to be recommended.

On an unrelated note, you may recall that I am not a big fan of google and think that it is trying to take over the world. I saw this video the other day. Let it be a warning to you of what might happen if we choose to ignore the potential of google. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Burning issues

What a weird few days it has been – failed bomb attacks in London and Glasgow, torrential rain at the beginning of July and now smoking has been banned across the whole of the UK now that England has caught up with the rest of it.

I have to say that if I was a smoker I would be decidedly unimpressed by the ban. Smoking doesn’t generally bother, despite not being a smoker and never having been one. The only time I particularly object to it is when I am in a restaurant and someone nearby is smoking. It will be nice to go out socially and not have to think about whether I will go home smelling of smoke though.

Smoke was the least of their problems in Glasgow on Saturday of course, what with someone seemingly trying to firebomb the airport. G comes from Glasgow and G’s parents said yesterday that they knew a few people who were at the airport at the time and apparently various people were shouting at the police and telling them that they shouldn’t have put out the man who was on fire. As awful as what he was trying to do was, letting someone burn to death when you could save them doesn’t seem right to me. Even if you are totally hard line about these things then at least thinking about it from the perspective of the evidence that the person might be able to provide if it is all part of a major plot - surely it has to have been worth saving him. It just scares me a bit though that people’s gut instinct seems to have been to want someone to die. Look at it like this. A man attacks an airport and the thought in his mind is “These people don’t deserve to live, I hope they die in flames”. The man is stopped in the act but is engulfed in flames and the reaction of some of those looking on is “That man doesn’t deserve to live, I hope he dies in flames”. As much as we might like to think that we are different to those who try to perpetrate terror, maybe sometimes we’re not so different after all.

Anyway, on a lighter note I was chatting to G on Saturday and was just running through various things that I needed to mention. At one point I was explaining that I had bought some tuna when I was at the supermarket (this was going somewhere as I was going to say that I was going to make a tuna lasagne for lunch on Sunday, I wasn’t just running through my shopping list) and G just started to laugh at me and said “Sometimes you are just so random” See? Random by name, random by nature…