Friday, August 31, 2007


I feel much better than I did yesterday and normal service is resumed. For a four day week this seems to have been a looooooooooooooooooooong week. I am so glad it’s the weekend. I am wondering if I have been a bit under the weather this week though. One night this week I had to have a hot water bottle and another night I had to wear a fleecy jumper to bed because I was so cold. It’s August people and I have had to use a hot water bottle and jumper to keep me warm at night!!!!

Anyway, I should have a nice weekend ahead. G is staying for the weekend and we are going to do pleasant things and go for a couple of (gentle) walks and generally just have a nice relaxed weekend. Of course this will be after I have bored G to death about Vaxes and water meters and other such things – G is veeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrry patient with me which is fortunate in the circumstances...

Whilst I do sometimes wonder if we are turning into a bit of a big brother state, we are nothing compared to China which is about to introduce a system to more actively monitor Chinese internet users. Basically every 30 minutes a ‘police man’ will appear on people’s computer screens to remind them that the sites they visit are being monitored to protect them from ‘illicit sites’. I think UK internet usage would plummet if our use was monitored – well apart form the monitoring that Google and others do already.

But the internet has its uses, not least so people can create sites like this which is a map someone has put together to show people’s misperceptions of where people are in the world. Mind you I’m not one to talk as my geography of the UK is appalling. Perhaps I can entertain G by reading an atlas all weekend. I really should get out more.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Is anyone listening?

So… today we return to a subject that you probably would have hoped I’d have done to death by now. But no, once again we return to the subject of A (the ex).

I was talking to G on the phone last night who yesterday had met up for lunch with C, who is a mutual friend with A, which caused a problem recently. G had not been impressed with the way this friend had dealt with a situation recently and so they talked about it and all is well now. Only while G and I were talking about it, it became apparent that this friend had told A that G and I were going out and had actually pointed out who G was. There are a few reasons why I don’t want A to know, some of which I won’t outline here, but I think I will still say enough to show why I am not veryhappy about it.

In the last year, not once have I attempted to contact A (and am still somehow the bad guy in this). I did what I was asked to do.

But here’s the thing:

If it were my choice I would still be in touch with A.

It doesn’t matter what you want.

When I found out that G knew someone who knew A, I was wary about G talking to this friend about it. G talked to C about it anyway.

It doesn’t matter what you want.

Before G spoke to C about it, I relented and said that it wasn’t fair for me to stand in the way of them talking about our relationship if they wanted to. But I asked that G didn’t talk to C about my ex. They ended up talking about A anyway.

It doesn’t matter what you want.

I didn’t want C to talk to A about me, to discuss who I was going out with, to point G out, to have some conversation about my life - when A has made it perfectly clear that our lives are totally separate, that I have no right to know what is going on in A’s life and presumably A has no interest in what is going on in mine. Admittedly I had never said that to C, but did I need to??

It doesn’t matter what you want.

I’ll tell you something else about this situation – no-one has ever stuck up for me in this situation. After we split up A was never willing to try and meet me half way, it all went A’s way. When it came to an awkward situation where A and I might have come into contact with each other at a leaving drink, C just stuck her head in the sand and did the right thing by A and totally ignored the fact that all she had to do was speak to me and she would have realised it wasn’t a problem anyway, as I wouldn’t have turned up in those circumstances. Then when G could have stuck up for me a bit yesterday and at least queried why it was necessary for C to have gone out of her way to talk about who I was going out with etc, G didn’t even query it. The only person to stick up for me is me – only I haven’t got a voice.

My opinion doesn’t matter. There’s no point in getting mad with C about it. It’s too late. The deed is done and cannot be undone. The thing that has always got to me about this situation is that I have no rights, no say in the situation at all. That feeling of utter powerlessness in it all is in some ways what makes the situation continue to matter to me – I hold out the hope that maybe one day I might get to have a bit of a voice. It’s not even an accusing or angry voice, it would just be good to have a voice for once and to maybe have some chance of what I would choose – which is to get my friend back.

But the fact still remains that my private business has been passed on in circumstances where I would have thought it was fairly obviously not the appropriate thing to do. But as ever it is always me who has to back down and be reasonable and say that it doesn’t matter in order to keep the peace. It would just be nice if for once somebody stuck up for me a bit in all this or took into account how it might impact on me. Maybe one day I’ll get a voice in all this. It would just be nice if someone actually heard me for once.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I know I’ve said this before but I *really* cannot cope with less than eight hours sleep. On Monday night I went to bed about 11pm but didn’t fall asleep for a bit and then by yesterday evening I felt like death warmed up. This probably was not helped by me doing about 30 minutes of exercise last night, but after all that the only solution was an early night. I went to bed with a headache last night and then woke up this morning - with the same headache but it was slightly less painful. I don't know what that's about but I'm hoping as the day wears on that it will go.

On a positive note though, my neighbour came round with my missing light bulbs. The postman had been and picked them up from where they’d been left last week and given them to my neighbour. Plus there was a free mug from Sheriff Ken. You can get one too, if you live in Greater London. The mug has a message on it reminding you to only boil as much water as you need for your cuppa.

I was talking to someone at work recently and she said that someone else, who I know by sight but don’t think I have ever spoken to, is suing the organisation because a few weeks ago she had gone to make a cup of tea and she balanced the tray on her arm when she was opening the door (you have to put a code thing in to get in) and had spilt the hot drinks all over her arm. Apparently this was the fault of the organisation and had nothing to do with her actions at all. I despair…

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


I had quite a busy weekend and now it’s time for another short week at work. Yay! I don’t know how I’ll cope with a five day week next week – so I’m hopeful that the threatened tube strike will take place.

I saw G on Friday night, which was nice. Then my parents on Saturday night, which was not so nice, but ok. Then my sister, bro in law and nephew on Sunday night, as I was baby sitting for my nephew and so stayed the night as they were coming back really late. Then spent the day with them yesterday before heading home.

Some of the weekend was also used to have a blitz of where I live, which included de-cluttering my bedroom and the kitchen, mowing the grass and cutting back some of the shrubs and tidying up. Most of where I live looks much better, the back bedroom now looks a total state though as that is where things are being stored until I decide what to do with them.

I also spent some more time on e-bay trying to track down something else I want, which is to try and keep my carpets clean. Once again the despair sets in as to my priorities in life these days... Anyway, I am still working on this item, so more time will have to be spent searching. I have kind of mixed feelings about e-bay. Yes it’s useful, but only if you know what things are worth in ‘real life’. I can see that people could pay well over the odds for something that they could pick up for less elsewhere if they hadn’t got caught up in bidding for it, particularly if the item is second hand.

Some of the feedback people give is a bit perplexing too. I was checking out a particular seller and over 99% of the feedback was good, but when I read the negative feedback the comments were things like “the product didn’t work like in the adverts”, which makes me scratch my head a bit because the seller doesn’t make the product and is merely the middle man selling it on. If the product was faulty or the delivery was slow etc then that it different to not liking the manufacturers design methods or they’re adverts that have appeared on TV. That’s why you need to research products properly before you buy.

I am still waiting for one of my previous e-bay purchases. It has been sent and Mr Royal Mail has kindly left it at a local business round the corner that is only open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday – so when I am at work. It was nice of that business to accept it for me, but unfortunately I can’t get the item from them. How am I meant to get that back then? I have sent an e-mail to Royal Mail customer services asking them why they left it there rather than taking it to the sorting office (which is a couple of minutes walk down the road!) and asking them if they can go and get it and take it to the sorting office instead. We’ll see what they say. Grrrrrrrrrrrrr…

Friday, August 24, 2007


I was thinking about the story reported in the media this week of the man who killed the teacher Philip Lawrence not being deported to Italy. It might first be worth declaring a personal interest here – I used to be quite good friends with one of Philip Lawrence’s daughters (before he was killed), so this isn’t merely an academic exercise, but it does maybe reinforce the need to try and be objective about it.

I can see that there are reasons it might be preferable to deport him, but I am also struck with the fact that whilst he holds an Italian passport he hasn’t actually lived there since he was 6 years old – and has been in prison since he was 15. Sending someone back to a country that they have not been to since they were a young child seems curious to me.

Somehow this brought case to mind of a man who was deported to the UK from Canada back in 2000 (I have no idea why this was squirreled away in my mind…) and it’s interesting to look at the story and how people reacted to that. If my maths is right he was nine years old when he went to Canada. He then committed a horrific murder, served a long sentence and on its completion was deported to Italy where he had no links at all. So he will be in an unknown country (can he even speak Italian?), have no job, no family ties (as his family is in the UK) and presumably there will be no form of supervision because he did not commit the offence in Italy. Does that sound reasonable?

The other thing is that the Human Rights Act has been cited as the villain in all of this, but it is actually a piece of EU law that the UK voluntary signed up to that has meant that this ruling was made. It’s not about whether the killer or the victims’ family have the greater human rights, the issue arose because the UK signed up to a piece of EU legislation that it implemented last year which means that reinforces the right to freedom of movement within the EU – and therefore if an EU citizen commits a crime in another country and has been resident there prior to the offence that country then has to demonstrate the person is a continuing risk upon release in order to have a strong enough case to deport them. That has nothing to do with the Human Rights Act – and it strikes me that in the times that we now live, we shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the Human Rights Act - because if we do, one day we may look back and wish we had not been so willing to give away something that could equally have protected each of us in times of need.

Whilst this particular case is not about human rights, let me leave you with a quote I have used before on human rights which might give pause for thought on whether we should dismiss the Human Rights Act so easily. It is from Amnesty International Secretary, Irene Khan:

“Human rights are for the best of us and the worst of us, for the guilty as well as the innocent. By failing to protect the rights of those who may be guilty, governments endanger the rights of those who are innocent, and put all of us at risk.”

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A load of balls

So, all my deliveries from e-bay have turned up, except one... I contacted the seller (who is actually a business) and he said that he is waiting for his stock to arrive. Methinks his customer service leaves something to be desired. Looking at his e-bay reviews whilst everyone praised the quality of his product there were some who said how slow delivery was - although others said how fast it was. Anyway, they're due to be sent out today.

One of my other purchases was some ecoballs. The jury is still out on this product. The basic principle is that you use them instead of detergent. You put the three balls in your washing machine and they are meant to wash your clothes as effectively as if you had put washing powder in the machine - but due to the lack of washing powder and fabric softener your clothes smell of nothing (although they do smell fresh and clean) when you take them out of the machine.

I am not a scientist (actually G is so perhaps I should commission a full scientific appraisal of them) but am slightly sceptical of why they work, if indeed they really do. Lots of people rave about them on the internet, but then there are a lot of people on the internet who claim to have seen Elvis alive and well or that they have been abducted by aliens - not everything on the internet is to be believed you know.

You're meant to do your washing on a low temperature (I think ideally 30 degrees) and use a fast wash (I think ideally 30 minutes) and if you add the ecoballs the washing should come out clean. But... if I did my washing with no detergent or ecoballs would they come out any less clean than by adding the ecoballs, is my question (I guess I could test this)? I guess time will tell anyway, if I end up with lots of very grey looking clothes.

I saw a few comments about Jeremy Vine not challenging a thug on the underground. Annie Mole writes about it here. I don’t know what I would do, chances are though not a lot, although I would consider pulling the emergency alarm. A couple of weeks ago though G was n the tube and a blind man was letting his hands wander over the leg of the women sitting next to him. The woman then moved away and sat somewhere else and then another woman got on the tube and sat there and the same thing happened again. So G went over and asked the blind guy if everything was ok and the man said things were fine so then G said that he appeared to be putting his hands on the woman beside him and that perhaps he should stop. I think the bloke made some mumbled response and stopped temporarily, the woman then moved away and I think he then tried it again when another woman sat there. Then the chap got off the tube and walked off. Yay for G though! Although I guess you are less likely to get assaulted by a blind guy, although if he’d had a guide dog it might have been set to kill. But yay for G for challenging someone acting inappropriately on the tube!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The games people play

Well, it was a lovely long weekend down by the seaside. I actually got back on Monday and then G and I both took Tuesday off work too, so we didn’t have to come back from a break and then be rushing about thinking of getting back to work. The weather was not great while we were away but we were right on the sea front and could watch the boats going past from the comfort of the sofa. We did also manage to get out 10,000 steps in on Sunday though which helped to work off some of the calories from the really nice Italian ice cream we had the same day.

We ate lots of nice food while we were away and cooked some of it ourselves which meant that we didn’t spend the *whole* time rolling from one meal to the next. G had the two days off for free – meaning that it didn’t come out of G’s leave allowance and we also were staying at a friend’s place for free so it was a very cheap time away and a good break. So hopefully I will make it through the rest of the working week.

G and I managed to keep ourselves amused in the car on the way there and back by playing the ‘transporter game’ which means that every time you spot a transporter you have to shout out “transporter” and if you saw the sea you had to shout out “I can see the sea”. They are very technical games, as I am sure you can tell. G also decided that every time we saw a tree you had to shout out “tree”. There are a lot of trees about…

I also made the mistake of singing in the car, which included the song “A you’re adorable, B you’re so beautiful, C you’re a cutie full of charms…” and so on right the way through the alphabet (with a few cheats along the way). G rather took this song to heart and throughout the weekend I’d hear G breaking into song with a more personalised version “A I’m adorable, B I’m so beautiful” and so on… there’s nothing like having a positive image!

Friday, August 17, 2007


I have come to the conclusion that the reason I get so tired is… wait for it… no really… here we go… because… I don’t get enough sleep. I can tell that you’re shocked by this very important scientific discovery and are wondering how I can possibly have stumbled across this groundbreaking conclusion. It’s just one of my many talents, that’s all I’m willing to divulge on the matter.

Actually what I mean is that I thought if I got eight hours sleep a night then I should be fine the next day, but I’m coming to the conclusion that actually I need a good eight and a half hours sleep in order to feel properly refreshed, which means being in bed by about 10.30pm or so. I am such a lightweight. Mind you, when I shared a house with a friend a couple of years ago she used to go to bed really late and then complain how tired she was the next day (*every* day). I’d ask why she didn’t just go to bed earlier and she said that she wanted to make the most of her evenings and by going to bed early that just benefited work and not her. I always used to query this with her and say that I went to bed earlier because it made me feel better and work might benefit form it too but ultimately I just felt more awake and capable. I can’t stand that fuzzy feeling you get in your head - and I’ve been getting it a lot recently – when you’re tired. I think I also need to get my eyes tested though. Old age is catching up with me I think, failing eyesight and going to bed earlier and earlier.

Anyway there is plenty of time for rest and relaxation this weekend as G and I are off to the coast again. We’re going to stay in a friend’s house and not do a lot. We’re going tomorrow morning and coming back on Monday and then we’re also both taking Tuesday off work – just because we can. So I shall dig out my bucket and spade again and will pray for sunshine. See you when we get back.

Oh and it seems that today is post 600. 600! Thank you for persevering with me...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Going nuclear

Last week I had a strange dream. It wasn’t really a nightmare as such but I was dreaming that a nuclear bomb went off and I knew about it before it was going to happen (I’m not sure how or why, but it wasn’t because I set it off!) and I was trying to get away from it and it was bit like one of those films where people are trying to outrun on a tornado – I have no idea whether I succeeded… *gulp*

Anyway, I woke up in the night because of this but instead of it being because I was scared, it was actually because I was weighing up in my mind who I was going to tell about the bomb going off and my mind was sort of flicking back and forth through time and at points it was before the explosion and at others it was after it had happened and my brain was trying to process whether I was putting people in more danger by telling them to flee and if they might just be safer staying where they were. I think only I, when dealing with a catastrophic event, could be there processing the pros and cons of informing various people, including running through a list of some people to tell (*you* were on the list of course *and* you made it out safely, so don’t have nightmares) and trying to risk assess the impact of informing people at various stages during an incident. *shakes head in despair*

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


My neighbour came round to see me last night with yet another list of questions that she thought I might know the answer to – and as it happened I did know the answer to most to them. They were things to do with the freeholder and so on. She also said that she really wants to do some exercise at the moment and was wondering if I might be interested in joining her, to which I replied that it was rather good timing as I was just on a fitness regime myself (another 40 minutes last night folks!). She’s off on holiday for the next couple of weeks but then I think we’re going to do something when she gets back. She also told me that she thinks the garden next to hers, which is totally overgrown and untended, has a family of foxes living there which she quite regularly sees wandering about in the mornings. My neighbour is now feeling paranoid that there is a whole range of wildlife living there as well and basically is hoping someone (not sure who!) will sort the garden out and deal with any creatures that live there.

I think I might have turned the corner on feeling totally worn out from the exercise. I went to bed earlier than normal on Monday night and felt much better when I woke up yesterday morning and then did some more exercise last night and felt fine after it – although I did flag a bit mid-exercise. Anyway, hopefully I will be able to keep this up and really begin to reap the benefits.

There was a letter in last night’s London Paper which said “The McCanns should go home and leave others to enjoy their holidays. There are many missing children – what makes them so important? They left their babies alone, out of sight and earshot, advertising the fact by returning. It’s time they started facing up to that and living with what they did to poor Maddy”. I just can’t quite get my head round that letter. I do think it is bizarre how much publicity this case has got but I think that just reflects the concerted effort that her parents have put in to find her and they obviously have good connections to make the most of the media. Does the person who wrote that letter really expects that McCanns to say “it’s been about 3 months now, she hasn’t turned up, to be honest we’re just causing a nuisance now and people should just be allowed to enjoy the sunshine. Let’s forget about finding out daughter and instead we’ll go back to the UK and wallow in out own guilt” I don’t think any family would look at their child going missing in such circumstances and just walk away form trying to find them – and as for why this little girl is so special, surely that is a question for the media. As out of proportion as I think all the media coverage of this is, all it says to me is that her parents are desperate to get her back, which is perfectly understandable, and that it would be good if other cases were able to get an even tiny amount of the exposure that this case has, but I don’t think you can knock the McCanns for trying to find their daughter.

I got an e-mail from a friend on Monday and she said that her sister in law had been at the park with some other mums and their children. One of them went off to change her child’s nappy and they then came back and joined the group. A few minutes later this woman realised that her young child was nowhere to be found, so my friend’s sister in law rushed off to get the park keeper (do you get park keepers any more??) to shut the gates and they then started searching the park. There were some women sitting in the café and they had a small child with them and they insisted the child was theirs – but actually it was the child that had gone missing. I guess by getting the park gates shut the women couldn’t escape with the child and so hoped that they could somehow abduct him by pretending that he was theirs. Quite scary really.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Pondering again

This exercise thing is soooooooooo tiring… I feel exhausted at the very thought of doing it, but I’m persevering. Last night I did some but began to run out of steam after while and my poor legs were starting to rebel. I know exercise is meant to be good for you but I think that one day I will be found drowning in a pool of my own gentle glow* the dying words that will pas my lips will be “I know… I know... what doesn’t kill us makes us stro….” Make my eulogy good please.

Bizarrely, having spoken to a friend last week about his families’ reaction to his girlfriend moving in with him, I got an e-mail from another friend yesterday who was telling me in a confessional sort of way that she is seeing a chap who is divorced. She wasn’t entirely sure how I would react – not because I am some particularly hard line person who tells my friends off (!) but because she comes from a similarly strict church background to me and just didn’t really know what I would say. I sent her an e-mail back and said that it was fine and she shouldn’t worry about what I think. She has had some very negative reactions from people and I think was just uncertain if she was going to face some more.

I look back on the church I went to as a teenager and realise how controlling it was. We were entirely banned from drinking alcohol (and people abided by this) and most of our socialising was at our youth leaders’ house. The very thought of having a party that involved slow dancing was unheard of! I don’t resent those times, I think it gave me a very strong sense of right and wrong (although I see a lot more grey now then I ever did then), which hopefully makes me fairly ethical and has saved me from many a mistake that I might otherwise have made. In my life I have few regrets and those that I have tend to be about things that have not worked out rather than wishing I hadn’t done something.

What my friends getting in touch has highlighted to me though is how if the church takes a really hard line on things, even those who are part of the church are fearful of the consequences. If church, is meant to include things like confession (I don’t mean in the catholic sense, my background is in the ‘free church’) - and forgiveness then how come people are so scared to be honest? It troubles me, and my friend and I had a bit of a discussion by e-mail about it and I’m sure we’ll return it again. I just can’t quite my head round why somewhere that is meant to be about acceptance (although not finding everything acceptable) seems to now be having an effect on a number of people that I know of and making them fearful of what sort of reaction they will receive to things that are going on in their life. I’m not knocking the church, I am just perplexed by things that go on and wonder if the church will be able to continue to meet people where they’re at. If those within it are fearful of being themselves or making ‘mistakes’, what must those outside think?

*Horses sweat, men perspire, but ladies gently glow - as they say.

Monday, August 13, 2007

To infinity and beyond

It turned out to be quite a busy weekend. G’s niece was visiting so we didn’t see each other but I managed to occupy my time anyway.

Saturday I met up with my sister and we had a chat and a coffee and wandered around a few shops – not that I am a wander around the shops sort of girl but I don’t mind if there are specific things that need to be purchased. I just hate browsing.

I was fairly industrious most of the rest of the weekend and repainted a couple of doors in my hall that I wasn’t very happy with and ironed a couple of tops I had been ignoring for ages, I hemmed a pair of trousers and discovered e-bay… What exciting things did I buy on there? Some light bulbs, radiator panels and some eco-balls. I’ve been kind of curious at what eco-balls are like but have been put off by the price but there were some that were an absolute bargain on e-bay so I bought them. I see I am going to have to show some self control.

I was also talking to my mum over the weekend and she said that she thinks they should get some more energy efficient bulbs so I am going to go round to their house soon and carry out an audit of their light bulbs and see how many we can replace with energy saving bulbs. This post today just sums up how exciting my life is…

However, on a more exciting note – I saw the space shuttle orbiting earth last night! I think it is currently coked with the International Space Shuttle at the moment and so is particularly visible. So I stood in the dark in my garden at just gone 10pm last night and looked up into the sky and spotted it. It basically looks like a fast moving star and should being moving from west to east. If you want to try and spot it tonight you should be able to see it at 10.26pm – or you can look at the schedule for London for other opportunities. You need to keep your eyes peeled though because my sister and I live maybe 40 miles apart and we spotted it at the same time. If 10.26pm tonight is after your bed time, you should be able to see it tomorrow at 9.15pm (in London). If you live elsewhere, then check here for your country/ city.

It was actually quite impressive looking at the night sky anyway. It’s a rare thing (for me at least) to spend time just staring at the night sky. As my eyes got used to the darkness, more stars became apparent and it was just really amazing looking at its vastness. As the quote says, “The night sky is a miracle of infinitude”.

Friday, August 10, 2007


I did 40 minutes of fairly decent exercise last night – 40 minutes! I was just glad that G phoned at that point to save me from collapsing in a heap on the floor. Still I feel as though it did some good and it showed me that I am reasonably fit already and just need to actually do some exercise in order to build on that.

I phoned my friend S last night and had a bit of a chat with him. I hadn’t spoken to him in ages, partly just through circumstance and partly because it was easier, for a variety of reasons. Anyway when I had dinner with a friend on Tuesday night he told me that S’s girlfriend had moved in, which is what had prompted me to give S a call. I realise to most people this is not a big thing, but we both come from the same somewhat strict church background and doing this is comparable to saying that you have killed someone. I asked S what his parents had said and apparently his mum cried and then in a later conversation said that she wouldn’t be mentioning this to anyone in the wider family because it was rather shameful.

I actually used to live with his parents and they are really lovely people, they just have quite strong views about certain things. However, they do also love their son a lot and that is what will have motivated their response but will also be what will encourage them to find a way to accept this turn of events. He has had some really difficult things to deal with over the last few years and I am just glad that he is able to move forward with his life and I just told him that I was really pleased for him.

I also spent a bit of time talking to him about some things that are going on in my life at the moment and he was really great about it all and I felt lots better after I had spoken to him. I guess it just showed me that if you pick the right people, you can be yourself and that’s ok. However, he did end the conversation by saying that we can be outcasts together, which is also good to know.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The sound of silence

Yesterday was such a tiring day when it really should have consisted of little more than sitting at my desk. I seemed to spend most of the day dealing with very irritating people who seemed to be refusing to do their job or doing it very badly. Anyway I got through the day and managed not to kill anyone. We’ll see if I can keep that up today, as the irritations are likely to persist.

I did do a good deed for the day though. One of my colleagues has a major leg injury and is in quite a lot of pain if her leg is not properly supported. We had put together a somewhat haphazard structure to help her until something more permanent could be tracked down and yesterday she found a suitable item, but getting it was the problem. So I said that I’d go and pick it up on my lunch break which involved a journey to South Wimbledon on the tube, a walk to a warehouse, and then making a return journey holding a reasonably heavy box that seemed to get heavier with every step. I will be doing an injury to her other leg if it doesn’t turn out to be suitable. I sent G an e-mail to say that I had gone to pick up a stool for a colleague and then had to clarify that this was a *foot* stool rather than me going to pick up an intimate sample.

I met up with G last night for dinner. G is very hyperactive and talkative at the moment having started a new job on Tuesday, which seems to be going very well. I sat there is dumbfounded silence at quite how much G could talk and hold a conversation but without me actually needing to say anything. I think the ratio was about 50:1 in how much I said! Anyway, G has lent me a phone so I am now able to hear the other half of the conversation if I make a phone call – which if G is on good form would be an awful lot of silence if I couldn’t hear what was being said!

I’m a bit mixed on the health and fitness thing. I got a lot of exercise yesterday going to pick up the stool, but the previous night had been out with a friend for a very nice biriyani, so was probably still in deficit. I did do a fair bit of walking yesterday anyway, but also ate a couple of biscuits at work – I just can’t seem to resist the temptation. I did have a reasonably healthy dinner last night as we went to Wagamamas. But much more work still needs to be done. I might do some work on another part of my life tonight as I might phone a friend I haven’t spoken to in ages who I think has some news to tell me which he is probably uncertain of how I will react to. In reality I think it is very good news, but I plan to phone him and see how long he takes to tell me before putting him out of his misery and saying that I knew anyway! Perhaps this is why we don’t speak very often…

Oh and I am wholeheartedly in support of this suggestion of banning Crocs on the tube (and more generally). I find them the most strange "fashion" item and can't see the appeal at all. What is the world coming to where is finds brightly coloured plastic shoes appealing. *realises I sound as though I’m about 90 and decides it’s best to leave it there*

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Guilt: free

My mobile phone seems to have contracted a serious problem – that being if I make or receive a phone call, I can’t hear the other person unless my phone is on speaker phone. It took me a while to work out that it even worked on speaker phone though and so I may have phoned a couple of people, thought I hadn’t got through, said something highly inappropriate and then hung up on them. Nothing new there then. Anyway, I can’t upgrade my phone (for free) at the moment as I am only a few months into my current contract so G is going to lend me a phone until I decide what to do – and I am sort of hoping that by doing nothing that my phone might miraculously start working again. This is why I never attempt any DIY, I’d spend the whole time relying on faith to fix my electrics when a qualified electrician might be more effective.

I actually got a letter from my electricity company a couple of days ago telling me that they want me to pay them less money each month. My monthly payments are going to go down from £64 a month to £41 for my gas and electricity, which is very good news. I think that me using energy saving light bulbs and getting my hot water thermostat fixed etc might actually have really paid off and so I am going to see if I can do a few other bits that might cut my bills a bit more. I’ve been trying to track down some suitable energy saving bulbs for my kitchen and think I might finally have found some. I’m also going to get some insulation to go behind my radiators to try and reflect a lot more heat back into the room (this being more useful in winter but given the summer we have had, may come in useful before then…).

So now I need to track down some more energy saving light bulbs – I have had trouble finding some for spotlights and for a dimmer switch but have managed to find both of these now and just need to find the cheapest place from which to buy them and then hopefully that will save a bit more too. Whilst I would like to say that I am doing this to improve the planet, my motivation is far more about saving money because I figure why spend it on things like electricity when I could be spending it on much nicer things. However, if you are more altruistic than me and want to find out what your carbon calculation is then you can look here. The only thing I would say is that ti is not entirely helpful that it doesn’t give you any context for it – so whatever figure it comes up with should you think that is good bad or indifferent? Perhaps this doesn’t just help to calculate your carbon emission but also allows you to calculate your own level of guilt.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Size matters

Yesterday was one of those irritating days. My eyesight was a bit dodgy as I seemed to have a form of photo-sensitivity and when I looked at different sources or intensity of light it made my head hurt. This was not ideal as it could be as simple as looking at my computer monitor and then looking at my desk, which isn’t great for getting a lot of work done. I don’t know what caused it, but I’m hoping that today is a bit better. It’s about time I got my eyes tested, so perhaps I should do that sooner rather than later.

I also got to lunch time yesterday and realised that I had forgotten to take my lunch to work, so I had to go and buy a sandwich instead. However, I took this as an opportunity to get away from my desk and to go for a bit of a walk. I weighed myself on Sunday night and shocked by how much I weighed. Over the last few months I have put on about half a stone. Eek! So no matter how lazy I am, it is time to get my act together on getting a bit of exercise or I will start to get harpooned when people mistake me for a whale.

I went for a walk for about half an hour yesterday lunchtime and will try and do that as often as possible and for my birthday a friend gave me a couple of fitness DVDs (not as a hint I might add!) and it’s definitely time to get going on those. I could also be spotted walking home last night from the station counting the number of steps it took, seeing as you are meant to take about 10000 steps a day. My walk home is about 650 steps, so there’s quite a long way to go. I reckon I take about 3500 steps a day, not including any wandering about when I am in the office, so hopefully a lunchtime walk will get me rather nearer to 10000 steps.

They say that going out with someone can mean that you put on weight and I think that is definitely the case. Quite often at weekends G and I have a cooked breakfast (although it’s not fried and could be far unhealthier) and we just generally seem to eat a lot of food. In fact this week I’m meeting up with a friend for dinner tonight and I think having dinner with G tomorrow night. This is not good for the waistline. But, as I tell myself, a girl’s got to eat!

Anyway, my new regime (a grander title than it warrants) is going to consist of not eating all the biscuits in the office, a bit of portion control and some more exercise – and hopefully I will manage to return to more normal proportions soon…

Monday, August 06, 2007


Another weekend over and yet another nice time was had. G and I went to the Innocent Village fete in Regent’s Park on Saturday and that was a lovely day. We just mooched about for hours eating food, watching the entertainments and getting lost of freebies. My kind of day! I think it was quite a clever marketing ploy by Innocent as it should make really positive connections in people’s minds and so when they now see the product in shops I imagine it will make people far more likely to buy it – as does getting to try various free samples…

Over the weekend I was thinking about how I got through phases in my life where I seem to hold friends at arms length, which is not a great thing because sometimes you find that they end up totally drifting out of your life. I seem to be in one of those phases at the moment – one where I find it hard to let people in on my life. I am generally quite a private person – no matter what writing a blog may suggest(!) – and sometimes I like to just keep myself to myself. Often on the outside all seems well and I am perfectly communicative and friendly but if I am talking to someone and reach a point where they might start to chip below the surface then a wall goes up and, even though they might not necessarily realise that is what is happening, I just deflect all attempts for them to find out the real details of my life. It always sobers me a bit when I think about it, partly because I realise how easy it can be to push people away, to let them drift out of your life and sometimes I wonder if I will wake up one day and have pushed people away so far that our friendship is no longer in view.

I have a friend who I have known for years and I think she may not be entirely happy with me at the moment. We have the same birthday, so is unlikely to have forgotten when it was, and yet she sent my birthday card late and wrote the minimum possible in the card. She is someone I struggle with sometimes. Sometimes I think that she has this idea of who I am in her mind that if I ever really let her know the truth about me that she would just be so disappointed in me. I don’t even mean me revealing skeletons particularly, more that she just has this set idea in her mind and in my own way I feel a straitjacketed by that and just cannot be myself with her. She phoned me a few weeks ago and I said I’d call her back, but I haven’t – which is very unlike me. I just don’t want to have a conversation with her where I am talking to her for the sake of it and don’t feel that I can talk to her about the things that are really what I am about.

I need to think though because the strategy of keeping people at a distance is a foolish one, particularly if you are doing nothing to cultivate other relationships in your life that are more significant. Instead, what I am really doing is not dealing with it and I need to work out how to start doing that. Time to consider starting to make some phone calls me thinks. Maybe.

But on a brighter note- today is mine and G’s three monthiversary. Yay!

Friday, August 03, 2007


I’ve been trying to get my head round something I want to write here, so today is the day to give it a go – and be warned this is a *very* long post.

I have explained previously that there is a connection between my current, G, and my ex, A – something that really freaked me out when I found out because there should be no connection between them at all. They basically have a mutual friend (who I also know) and whilst I had hoped that it wouldn’t prove to be the case, as it turns out it has had a detrimental effect that there is this connection.

Basically this mutual friend was changing jobs and although G had previously been invited to her leaving do, we were both uninvited because A might be there. But not actually formally uninvited, it was actually done by G deliberately not being told the details of where the leaving do was etc. I was pretty put out by this for a number of reasons. First, G is being excluded from things because of someone I used to go out with. How can that be fair?

Second, G had mentioned the leaving do to me before the whole “uninviting” thing and I’d just instantly replied that I wouldn’t go because there was a reasonable likelihood A would be there. G had accepted that and it was fine as far as we were concerned. I wouldn’t mind seeing A in the slightest if I thought we would be civil to each other but I have no desire to go somewhere that might mean we end up in really awkward circumstances – and potentially ruin someone’s leaving do. The thing that bothers me though was the assumption that I am a problem by turning up at a leaving do, that just my very presence was an issue. I don’t know whether that was because there was an assumption that I would do or say something that I shouldn’t or if I was just not welcome, but unwelcome indeed I was – and so was G. This is a *really* good friend of G’s and so I think that was particularly harsh. I don’t mind missing someone’s leaving do, but I don’t think G should be left out because of someone from my past.

I don’t have a problem with someone being loyal to their friend – and do you know what? I am actually very loyal to A myself, even after everything. I don’t have an issue with someone trying to do the right thing by their friend, but this wasn’t the way to do it. It’s not dealing with the problem and instead hoping that it will all go away if you just stick your head in the sand. By not talking to G about it, we could both actually have turned up at the drinks anyway (because someone else had mentioned to G where they were) and then whatever this scenario was that was meant to be avoided could have happened by default. The sad thing is that I think it has damaged G’s friendship, which is just so needless.

There are other side-effects of it as well. I don’t know many of G’s friends, but the one I do know reasonably well basically indicated that I wasn’t welcome. That in itself is not a nice thing – that’s rejection, which is never pleasant. The other thing is that it makes me wonder what on earth she knows that makes her think I have to be banned from something? Have I been painted as some totally unreasonable or nasty or pathetic or stalker like person? Or some combination of all these things? Whatever it is, I guess it can’t be a very great picture that has been given of me – and I will still have to face her at some point unless I refuse to spend time with G’s friends, which isn’t an option. Incidentally, I don’t want to know what she has been told about me and will never ask. I have no desire to give my “side of the story”. I also know that G has never discussed it with this friend and wouldn’t. It’s just not great to think that someone knows potentially negative things about you.

Anyway, that leads on to another point though - if someone who already knows me sees fit to exclude me from something then what picture must that paint to G’s friends who either don’t know me or only vaguely know me? It doesn’t put me in a great light. So I basically feel that because of someone I used to go out with and who refuses to speak to me (even though I have tried to be amicable), I am having to prove myself to people who it should have no bearing on whatsoever. Great.

Another thing it demonstrates to me though is that if you just avoid dealing with things, it doesn’t mean that it goes away. Just because A refuses to speak to me it doesn’t mean that there is no issue to be resolved and just because someone else hopes that by not explaining the details of a leaving do that will be sufficient to avoid what might be an awkward situation, doesn’t necessarily make that the case.

How could this have been avoided? Well, most obviously A could just speak to me and then there isn’t an issue anyway. Alternatively the friend could have just explained the problem and then actually have realised that it wasn’t an issue anyway, as I wouldn’t turn up for a drink if I knew A was going to be there. I don’t actually deliberately put myself in situation where I am going to see A. I spoke to A if we saw each other on the street (for all the good that it did) but I never actively sought out a meeting between us.

Yes I sent a few e-mails as well- and I still don’t think that was the wrong thing to do. Not only did A and I have a relationship but A was actually my best friend and when the relationship came to an end I therefore lost my best friend as well. I could make many comments about the whole friendship side of it, about the promises A made etc, but I guess it makes no difference now. The thing I will say though is that the reason A was my friend and subsequently my best friend and we then had a relationship is that A is someone who I genuinely like and no matter what that will always be the case, as pathetic as that may sound.

The other thing that made me send an occasional e-mail was that I always knew the initiative would have to come from me. I knew A pretty well and that A’s instinct is to flee from difficult things, so I just tried to hang in there in the hope that even if A never took the initiative that maybe replying to an e-mail might be easier. But then almost a year ago now A sent me an e-mail that basically brought all communication to an end – and yet even so, I still have to defend myself; I have to explain to G why we are not welcome at a good friend’s drinks; I have to search through my mind for anything that I think A could possibly accuse me of and talk to G about it, to ensure that there is not something that undermines our relationship if I am cast as some terrible person. I’m not suggesting that I was blameless in what happened with A, but I did try to deal with things and to be amicable and I’m not going to apologise for trying to stick up for what I wanted, even if that was at odds with what A wanted.

To me what it comes down to is perspective. A could have painted me as the worst person ever and yet I could explain exactly the same circumstances from my perspective and each of us could gain equal amounts of support for our point of view (not that I am looking for people to be on my “side”). What makes the difference is the context in which you explain it. When we split up, A and I were going through different circumstances and also chose to deal with things differently. That changes each of our perspectives and how we might explain what happened. A probably thinks I was unreasonable, but equally I could say the same about A. I don’t say this to apportion blame, it’s just to highlight that what it comes down to it different people deal with things in different ways and that’s always been the basic issue here. Do I hope that one day that A will be willing to move towards something more amicable? Yes. Do I think that will actually happen? I have no idea, but I hope that A now looks back and knew me well enough to remember some of the good in me and that I keep my word which included saying that I would always be a friend.

I just don’t want that relationship, which to me was a good relationship and had a lot of positives in it, to be one that causes problems for either of us after all this time, but to a degree that isn’t within my gift. I'm not trying to be profound, I just sometimes wonder why this situation can't be resolved, I would reach out my hand to my friend if I thought it wouldn't start some new big argument, but I have nothing to suggest that A would be any more welcoming of me getting in touch than previously. I did as A asked and have not been in touch for nearly a year and yet still I am somehow being made out to be the bad guy here. Whatever I do, I seem to get a raw deal and that doesn't strike me as entirely fair. It would just be nice if A would meet me half way for once and we could move on to something a bit more positive.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Simple pleasures

I am feeling the effects of being back at work i.e. I am already really worn out. Mind you, I shouldn’t complain too much, two days this week I have been home before 5.30pm due to going to meetings near where I live. It’s funny because I get a great deal of satisfaction from being home in time for Neighbours. It’s not that I follow Neighbours any more or have any great interest in it but I think it reminds me of getting home from school and switching on the TV in time to watch Neighbours. It’s the little things…

Last night G and I were talking about finances. G is a bit short of money at the moment due to being between jobs and so I was suggesting a couple of things that might be good “income supplementers”. I think it will just be a temporary glitch, and hopefully G will be back on track soon, but what we’re also going to try and do is both try and get some money that is purely extra money and we can then spend it on going out for dinner etc. This is through doing things like yougov surveys – we can then spend it on doing nice stuff and there’s no need to worry about who pays etc because it just comes out of the “having a nice time” fund. I like this plan.

I also wrote a letter to my freeholder last night about building insurance. It’s due for renewal shortly and I reminded her that she can only levy reasonable charges and requested that she therefore get multiple quotes for the insurance – particularly as it doubled in cost last year. She is actually under no obligation to get multiple quotes etc, even though she does have to act reasonably, but I figure you don’t get if you don’t ask. I have decided that if she refuses to act like a freeholder I will just keep reminding her of her obligations and that she also gave her word (which at the time I knew to be worth nothing and have since been proven correct) to renew my lease. I am therefore just going to send her a letter every month prompting her and if she fails to respond keep on doing so until I hit the two year mark and will then serve papers on her. I am just seeing it as a game now – if she does as requested then I win and if she doesn’t then I have lost nothing, but at least I’ve given it a go.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Well, it turned out to be a lovely birthday. One of my colleagues greeted me by singing the Stevie Wonder version of Happy Birthday and people were generally very friendly and happy to eat my cakes. G came over and cooked me a really nice dinner and we ate more cake and had a good evening. So it was all good.

Another month of the year is over and already we’re into August. This year is just flying by and it’ll be Christmas before we know it. I did actually have some things that I want to say on this here blog but I need a bit of time to draw my thoughts together and so on. I was hoping for a bit of space to do that while I was on leave but it was all just so hectic that I didn’t have time to do anything but decorate and then spend a bit of time at the coast (it’s a hard life). Anyway hopefully I will blog those things soon.

I was thinking about the latest suggestion of giving co-habiting couples the same rights as those who are married and it has to be said that I don’t quite get how that would work. The cynical part of me says that all it will do is line the lawyers’ pockets. There are ( I assume) lots of cohabiting couples who if one of them dies the other then realises that they have no legal right to various things that had they been married they would have been entitled to – property, pensions etc etc. The thing is that if you don’t get married (or have some form of contract) how do you prove that you are entitled to it? Whilst there are some who would argue that they don’t need to get married to show their commitment and whilst people who get married aren’t necessarily any more in love or committed than couples that don’t the significance is that there is a formal contract as a staring point by which to then bring that relationship to an end (as perverse as that may sound). I can envisage a few complicated (and lucrative for lawyers) situations that could come up. First, that people spend months arguing when co-habiting began. Was it the day they ceased to each have properties or was it the day they started leaving a toothbrush at the other person’s house or somewhere in between? Second would be the scenario where someone becomes a serial cohabiter and takes each partner to the cleaners when they split up even if it has only been for a very brief period of time. The thing about marriage is that it draws a line in the sand and gets rid of the grey areas when it comes to formalising a relationship. Yes, it’s unromantic to think of it being useful to divvy up the goods in the event of a divorce but I don’t suppose divorce is that romantic either. There are also those who cohabit rather than marry because they enjoy the “benefits” of not having a legal contract – their stuff remains theirs even when the relationship comes to an end. I bet there are many people who when they realised the amount they lost on a divorce wished that they had never signed on the dotted line of the marriage certificate. It cuts both ways.

The thing is that people don’t plan for the worst possible scenario, they don’t plan to split up, they don’t live their life expecting their partner to die unexpectedly etc and that’s when cohabiting becomes a problem. People have lived under the deluded belief that there was some form of “common law partnership” that entitled them to things in the same way as those who were married. Surely the issue is therefore about educating people and making sure that they understand the difference between being married and just living together, people then make a choice and get the benefits (or otherwise) that go with that choice. I can’t see that changing the law is the answer because those who cohabit deliberately avoid entering into a legal partnership. Is it just me or is that not the significant point?