Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Bah Humbug

So the good news turned out not to be good news. C put in her appeal about her exam results, they wrote back and said “thanks very much, we have realised that we did get the scores wrong and have now lowered them accordingly”. So basically she appealed, and they marked her down. Excellent… Also my boss’s dad died yesterday morning, so that wasn’t good news either. My boss is such a nice chap and a really good boss and I feel quite sad for him.

Yesterday I got an e-mail inviting me to a work Christmas party. It’s October! I don’t want to be sent pictures of Santa and some reindeers in October! I sat at my desk and ranted about this and my head of unit just laughed at me. Charming. I can’t go anyway, as I intend to be on leave that week. I am, however, starting my boycott of companies that start their Christmas adverts too early. Two weekends ago I saw the first Christmas advert on TV. That was Argos. They are now in my bad books and I shall not be handing over any hard earned cash to them during the festive season. I do not want to hear Christmas music in October. I do not want to be told what I should be buying for Christmas in October. Just stop it!

I have actually been turning my mind to some things that are slightly Christmas related, mainly edible things that I can make in the run up to Christmas. I was thinking that I might make some fifteens and take them into work at some point. They’re not a Christmas specific treat, but my friend C usually makes them at Christmas time so they have that connection in my mind. I also thought of something to give G for Christmas, although I am going to try and come up with some other ideas too. Obviously I haven’t thought about this very much, as October is not an acceptable month to be thinking about such things.

Tonight there is Halloween to contend with first of course and so it strikes me that it is a good day to ignore anyone who comes to the door under cover of darkness. I don’t like Christmas starting too early and nor do I like Halloween. Bah humbug!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


There was good news and bad news at work yesterday. The good news was that C got the feedback from the exams she sat recently and there is a really obvious point of appeal. Basically her overall score was higher than she needed, but you also had to attain a particular score on each individual aspect and she missed out by one point on one aspect (grrr...). The feedback that went with it though didn’t match the score and actually met the criteria for a higher score. Basically they give you a mark of between 1 and 5 and they tell you what each score means – the wording was almost identical to one of the higher marks and so decided she should ask how she can have been given a lower mark if the feedback says different. This would also give her that elusive one mark... I have no idea if this will work but it’s certainly worth a go, so C put in an appeal yesterday afternoon and we await the outcome.

The bad news is that my boss got a call to say that his father had collapsed and hadn’t regained consciousness. My boss thought that his father might well not recover from this, so he left work to go and be with his father and we await news of any progress...

G left a pile of clothes on the bed yesterday morning. This is part of G’s strategy to bring less stuff at weekends - or as I call it “G’s strategy to move in by stealth”. I keep listing all the stuff that has been left at my place over the last few months – toiletries, a few items of clothing, some cooking ingredients, some slippers, an entire dinner service, some Tupperware, a whole load of books and CDs. The list goes on… I also have to regularly point out the “trail of destruction” left in G’s wake. Sometimes I take G round where I live and point out the debris all over the place that is evidence of G having been in the room previously – plates, cups, empty crisp packets, items of clothing - that sort of thing – and then have to whisper words like “bin”, “dishwasher” and so on to try and subliminally inspire G to consider that the floor of the living room might not be the final resting place for said items. I am concerned that one day I will wake up and find G has moved in and I’ll be drowning in a sea of debris. Throw me a lifebelt if the need arises...

Anyway, on other matters, to follow up from the well trained dogs in yesterday’s post, we have another one today which is one for people who are incredibly lazy. Why bother to make the effort yourself when a dog can do all the hard work for you...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Clinging on

I had another nice weekend. I stayed at G’s on Friday night, which was fine. I’d actually forgotten to take any money into work with me on Friday and so had to be bankrolled by G when we went out for dinner etc. Earlier in the day I’d mentioned to one of my colleagues that I’d forgotten my money and he assured me that I deserved to be treated and have G lavish money on me, G was slightly more sceptical about this.

Anyway, it was all fine and I was reunited with my money on Saturday, as we had to go back to mine. We then spent quite a lot of Sunday going through some stuff for G’s forthcoming appraisal, as G had really poor managers and so we were coming up with some suitable stuff to say that would help the meeting to at least be a bit constructive. That took ages and then I went over to my parents’ house briefly to drop off some train tickets for my mum and then headed home to watch Coronation Street with G, like the little old people that we have become.

I was talking to my mum a few days ago and she said that she’d been talking to my aunt who had confessed to a slightly unfortunate incident. My aunt had gone to see my cousin in Dublin (my aunt is Irish) and last thing at night cleared up the kitchen. All was well until my cousin’s son was looking for the kitten, which is what he always does before he goes to bed. They looked every where for the kitten, but there was no sign, at which point my aunt remembered that the kitten had been in the kitchen while she was clearing up. So they had another look in the kitchen but still there was no sign of the kitten. My aunt then thought about it and realised that the one place they hadn’t looked was in the dishwasher, which she had put on when she’d finished clearing up. Sure enough there in the dishwasher, clinging to the top of the door was a very wet, scared and unhappy kitten. I think it’s fair to say that the kitten was a bit hot under the collar.

I also heard yesterday that there are dogs that are trained to work cash points for people with disabilities. They can put the card in the machine and withdraw money. Bizarre. In case you need proof, here is a photo.

Apparently it was reported in the Daily Mail, so it must be true.

Friday, October 26, 2007


On my lunch break yesterday I walked to a mainline rail station to go and buy a train ticket for my mum. I was walking along minding my own business and as I walked into the station, a woman punched me really hard, and deliberately, in the arm. I turned and looked at her, someone I hadn’t even been aware of until she hit me and she just looked at me and walked on. I think she was some homeless woman, but I have absolutely no idea why she hit me.

I just carried on and went and bought the ticket, but it sort of rattled around in my mind. It wasn’t so much that it hurt both when she hit me and for a while afterwards, but more that it showed me how vulnerable we are. I wander around London without much thought to the likelihood of something adverse happening. I take precautions – I don’t flash money about and that sort of thing. But it just made me think that you can just come across people who for no reason whatsoever just do something violent or aggressive or in some other way unpleasant.

I tend to try and keep myself to myself anyway when I am out in public but what happened yesterday bothered me. I went to Tesco briefly last night and one of the shop assistants wasn’t looking where he was going and picked up a crate and turned and bashed into my trolley. He said sorry and I just didn’t say anything in reply because I just didn’t really want to engage with people. I’m not in some complete state over someone having hit me, I think I just wanted to get to the end of the day without really having to engage with anyone though. Mind you, I mentioned what happened to someone I work with and he said to me “Oh that’ll be because A will have shown your photo to all the local yobs so that they will hit you every time they see you”. At least that would be an explanation I guess!

Anyway, it’s the weekend ahead and I am off to stay at G’s for once. I’m not always that keen on staying at G’s because it’s a shared house – but the landlady is away (although the cats are not) and so maybe it will be a bit more relaxed than normal.

So, good weekends people – and be careful out there.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


My tube journey yesterday morning was even worse than it had been on previous days. I really do need to find some way to escape the rat race. Sadly I have no idea what that plan would involve but apart from becoming a tube driver I have no idea quite how to avoid being stuck in the crush of people whilst ravelling in London. Yesterday there was even a bit of heated discussion between some people about whether there was space and one woman smugly said “well, I’m standing in some space even though you told me there wasn’t any” and then she sucked her teeth. Sadly the man she said this to didn’t push her off the train for being so smug, but hopefully he at least trod on her foot or otherwise maimed her as he got off the train.

The drink G was invited to but had declined to go to because A would be there has actually been moved forward to tonight. G is wavering a bit about whether to go. C phoned and explained about the change of plan and also how much she would like G to be there, but that she understood that it would be awkward what with A potentially being there. C said that in the past it hadn’t been an issue as she saw A at work but now they don’t work together she still wants the opportunity to see A. I think I am the last person to say that they can’t understand this point of view! G really wants to go but is very much in two minds and might go along briefly but I don’t really know what the final decision is likely to be. G would have no problem with going along if A was civil to me, but it is just very awkward in the current circumstances. I said that both G and C were trying to be really reasonable and doing what they could to fit round A, who was the one who was causing the problem here, but I (metaphorically) shrugged my shoulders and said that it’s up to G to decide what to do. It does not fill me with joy to think that they might spend part of an evening together, but then I guess I also look at it and find it so odd that somehow I am the one who is ‘unacceptable’, when I have actually tried to be very reasonable in all of this and just want to be on civil terms with someone who did and still does matter to me. Sometimes I find the world a very confusing place.

Anyway… I was interested in a survey that asked what people would do if they knew they only had sixty minutes left until the end of the world. Most people (these were Brits by the way) say that they would spend the time with a loved one, which seems fair enough. 9% would have sex, 3% would pray, 2% would reach for some fatty food and another 2% would start looting. The remainder which just accept the inevitable and sip champagne. I am slightly perplexed that 2% of us would think “wow, I’m going to die, I must nip down to McDonalds because I don’t know when I’ll get my next Big Mac”. I’m even more perplexed by the people who would start looting. I think these people must be the ones that are not quite clear that when the world is about to come to an end, having the latest 42 inch HD TV is a bit pointless – but I guess you’d never be brought to book for it. *thinks* unless the Big Man upstairs tasked action, although he would have a *lot* of people to process all in one go.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Cattle market

It’s half term this week, and I was expecting the tube to be a bit quieter than normal, but nope, it is even worse than normal for some unknown reason. The last couple of days it has been a real squeeze to get on the tube and there have been lots of people grumbling about people not moving far enough into the carriage etc. I just find my little spot and try and ignore all that is going on around me. It does make me think that I would rather be somewhere other than on my way onto work though – on holiday, living a life of leisure, sleeping, that sort of thing. One can dream.

Sometimes I read the lovestruck column in the London paper. Basically people can text in to say they saw someone they quite liked the look of on the tube and then they might read it, get in touch and then it all ends happily ever after. Or they turn out to be a serial killer and you only realise this as they remove the axe from their rucksack. Let me start by using one that might work

“You had braids and beautiful eyes. We boarded at Chiswick on Thursday 6.15pm and spoke. I was lost and needed to get to Clapham Common. Your stop was Victoria. Would love to see you again.”

Now here we have one that gives a description that although brief (and perhaps bit subjective) does narrow down the field from the 8 million people who may have been in the London area at that time. It gives a time, a place and some other memorable information that being the content of a conversation.

Compare that to:

“To the beautiful girl looking sad and wearing a navy blue coat on the Victoria line. You got off at Stockwell and I sat next you, giving you a smile as you got off. Please can I try to cheer you up?”

It’s actually quite a sweet message, but it relies on the girl a) thinking she looks beautiful and b) having actually been feeling sad rather than just naturally being moody. A day and a time would also have helped…

But then there is:

“Your smile made my day at Baker Street, about 7pm on Thursday evening. I was in a suit with a red tie. Drink?”

I’m going to guess the person who was the intended recipient of the message is not going to work out that it is them being sought out. However, if you were at Baker Street last week and have a nice smile, but apparently no other characteristics that were memorable enough to describe then it seems someone is looking for you.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I seemed to spend most of last night doing admin related tasks. I had forgotten to leave my gas and electricity meter readings out yesterday morning so one of the things I did was to phone the power company to tell them what they were. Only when I pulled out a bill to get their phone number and my account number, I discovered that my readings were lower than those on the last bill. The meter had actually been read by someone last time, so I was perplexed by this. I phoned the power company and spoke to them about it and they said it could just be the person who read the meter made a mistake. However, I then found the readings from when I first moved in and I think it means I have only used about 200 kilowatts of power since I moved here - ten months ago. This sounds unlikely to me. I try and be energy efficient, but the average household uses something like 3300 kilowatts per year, so I will have used less than 10% of that in a year. Very unlikely… So I’m going to keep an eye on my meter and see if I think it is faulty. They have refunded me £200, which is nice, but even so I am just not convinced that I can be *that* energy efficient.

Anyway… G is back from Scotland which is good. I did almost commit murder last night when G kept phoning me form the train and after about 30 seconds the call would cut out. Soooooooooooo irritating. I was really tired last night so this was not an ideal combination.

A report came out yesterday that said that basically said that if you deny yourself something then you are more likely to indulge in it. So, if you tell yourself that you can never eat chocolate again then you are likely to eat more of it than you did previously. Mind you, this only applies if you’re a woman. It seems that if women are able to talk about their carvings faired rather better than those who just tried to deny themselves something. Men it seems just ate lots of chocolate even if they talked about it. I’m sure there’s some great insight into the human psyche there, but perhaps it is just that men eat more than women…

I like monkeys, I really do, but I am not quite so keen on these ones that killed an Indian politician who fell from a balcony trying to defend himself from an attack. I was particularly bemused by this part:

“The city has long struggled to counter its plague of monkeys, which invade government complexes and temples, snatch food and scare passers-by […] One approach has been to train bands of larger, more ferocious langur monkeys to go after the smaller groups of Rhesus macaques.”

So basically they seem to train killer monkeys. Next time you phone a call centre and get through to one in India, think of them having to earn their money in order to stay of the streets where they may be clubbed to death by a passing monkey. My life seems very tame by comparison.

Monday, October 22, 2007


I can’t believe that yet another weekend is over. It’s almost November! I’m going to be retired and drawing my pension before I know it *thinks* maybe this isn’t all bad after all.

I had quite a busy weekend. I looked after my nephew on Friday night and that went fine. He still isn’t potty trained so had to sit on a towel most of the time, but I guess we all had to learn at some point in our lives – and some people regress as they get older…

I didn’t see my school friend on Saturday night in the end. Her husband’s grandparents had never met their latest child before and there was a last minute change of plans that meant they ended up meeting up on the Saturday night instead of Saturday morning. My friend is absolutely lovely and I’m sure she had no option about it, but I really wanted to see her and so was quite disappointed that it didn’t work out. It also just illustrated, again that in so many circumstances, family always wins through. I just don’t get that ‘first loyalty’ to family that some people have. I’m not saying that family isn’t important but it doesn’t mean that all other plans have to take second place to them. I don’t think that is actually what happened here – I don’t think my friend actually wanted to see them particularly but felt kind of obliged and it was the best way to ‘keep the peace’. She has always thought that all of her husband’s family are weird and one day, after they were married, he suddenly seemed to twig to this and said to her “my family just aren’t normal are they?” and she had to gently break it to him that they were perhaps on the off side. Having said that he is really nice and I used to meet up with him for lunch sometimes. Somehow his family’s weirdness seems to have missed him out.

Anyway, having said that, I then actually went over to my parents’ for dinner. My sister was going there so I went too. That was fine and I didn’t speak to my father much because he was watching the rugby. Two things to illustrate how odd my own father is though. First, he would rather be cooked in hot oil than support England. Fair enough, you can support whatever team you want, but I think his motivation is actually that his family (as in mum, me and my sister) are English and so that means he can’t support England. I think it’s his way of showing some sort of contempt at us being English. Weird. The other thing was that my nephew was walking around with an unopened tin of Pringles and we told him he wasn’t allowed to eat them (particularly as we had just finished dinner) and so he gave the tin to dad and dad opened them and gave him some. I said to dad that he wasn’t meant to have any and dad went into this rage and shouted “well, he gave it to me, what was I supposed to do?” Er… said “no”… My nephew is two and half years old and isn’t exactly some little terror. My father will always blame someone else, even if it is a small child. He is a very odd man.

On a lighter note, below is a video of another optical illusion and for some reason I really like the voice of the chap doing the commentary.

Friday, October 19, 2007


Yesterday was a worrying day. The alarm went off, I got up, put the kettle on, went in the bathroom, came back out the bathroom, made a cup of tea, drank the cup of tea – and then for the rest of the day just kept thinking that I just did not want to drink any more tea. I couldn’t quite stomach the thought of consuming any more caffeine. I do actually drink quite a lot of decaffeinated tea anyway, but the thought of drinking tea at all did not really appeal to me. I am shocked and appalled at myself! Tea is the best drink in the whole world and most days is all I drink and yet suddenly I seem to have reached saturation point. It’s one of my few pleasures in life, so I will have to force myself to enjoy it even if it kills me.

I meant to say previously that on the day that I suggested you read the Independent because they are nice and helpful, their main headline was that Africans were less intelligent than Westerners*. I was very unimpressed that they chose to run with that as their main story and with a headline that basically stated it as fact. They were reporting some rather controversial research carried out by an American scientist, James Watson, who claimed that he had found evidence that black people were less intelligent. If people believe that research then this could put back race relations by years and also fuel the bigoted views of people who were just looking for proof of ‘white superiority’. He said that he had hoped everyone was equal but people “who have to deal with black employees find this is not true”. Admittedly this chap is a Nobel prize winner and a well respected geneticist, but one piece of research does not a truth make.

Anyway, I have a nice weekend ahead. I am babysitting for my nephew tonight which could be interesting because he is being unsuccessfully potty trained at the moment. So whilst this might mean no nappy changing, I think it could mean much worse. *gulp* Then tomorrow night I am seeing a friend from school, who has a new baby, so there might be more opportunity to be up to my elbows in waster products. Lovely.

*Having said that, looking on The Independent’s website, there is no mention of it now. Interesting…

Thursday, October 18, 2007


G is off up to Scotland today for a long weekend. So while the cat’s away… I’ll be going to the supermarket tonight, babysitting for my nephew tomorrow night and seeing a friend from school on Saturday night. I really know how to live.

One of the people who bought an item g and I were selling on e-bay appears to be a bit of a problem. She bought a CD and then got in contact to say that her paypal account wasn’t working properly. G e-mailed back and asked when it would be fixed because we only wanted payment via paypal (as had been stated in the advert). She replied and said her paypal account hadn’t been working for months so the only alternative was for her to pay by her cheque. There being no choice apart from relisting it, G sent contact details to send the cheque. I spoke to G last night who said that there was a Royal Mail card to say that there was an item to be collected from the sorting office that has £1.28 to pay on - £1 of that is a handling charge and 28p is the cost of a second class stamp. So, we can surmise from this that the woman has sent the cheque (or an envelope anyway, who knows if there is a cheque in it…) and hasn’t paid any postage on it. Obviously paying a charge to pick up a cheque that is only for about £2.50 anyway is fairly pointless so we’re back to square one really. I don’t know if the woman is just an idiot, dishonest or what, but this is certainly not making e-bay seem like a worthwhile enterprise and far more hassle than it is worth to sell items on there.

I think my conclusion from the stuff I mentioned to do with A yesterday are that it has made me feel really sad about it all again. I just can’t get my head round why things have to be so difficult – and not only between us, but also having an impact on other people. We were really good friends, we had a really nice relationship and we could be civil and friendly to each other (or I certainly could be anyway, as obviously I can only speak for myself). I just don’t get it and I don’t suppose I ever will. The sadness will pass, as it always does, but for now I am just quietly contemplating.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

There will now be a brief commercial

Right, well the good news is that The Independent is a marvellous newspaper and e-mailed me yesterday to say that they will send me the missing booklet. Yay! I like them. If you would like to by their newspaper then I am sure they would appreciate that. < / end of advert>

I had a chat with C yesterday and we have come up with some things that we are going to do to add some quality to her job and help to develop her. She did say that she thinks she will look to move on and I said that I could understand that she wants to advance herself but that we could make some changes in the short term anyway and also just do some things that would improve her prospects whatever she decided to do in the future. At the end she said to me “You know this isn’t a reflection on you”, which was very sweet of her and I just said that whilst I know I could be a better manager, I just want her to have a job that she feels she is suited to and gets something out of and we’d see what we could do about that.

I was talking to G on the phone last night, who said that C (not the one above, this one) had sent an e-mail about a forthcoming birthday drink. A very small number of people are invited, all of whom I know, and two of whom are G and A i.e. my current and my ex. I think we can safely assume that I am not invited. G could actually go, but is going to gracefully bow out to save any problems. This is the first time since G and C have known each other that they will not celebrate C’s birthday together.

I sat on the loo last night (nice image for you there) and just put my head in my hands and thought “is this ever going to end?”. I still maintain that the easiest way to deal with this is for A just to speak to me. If we were civil with each other and, heaven forefend, perhaps even friendly with each other(!) then situations like this wouldn’t arise. People wouldn’t have to second guess things and have to make decisions based on keeping the peace.

I don’t wish anything ill toward A, I’m not even annoyed, I just feel exasperated that this still isn’t resolved and I have no idea why we have to maintain this wall of silence. Maybe one day.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Plan... of sorts...

I forgot to say that the episode of QI that was shown on BBC 2 on Friday night was the one that I went to see being recorded earlier in the year. I did remember all of the parts that they showed but it was quite different than what we had seen being recorded (which is maybe unsurprising given that it took an hour and half to record but the programme is only half an hour. This meant that the bloke in the audience who answered a question (the answer was “Denmark” in case you are interested) and that they re-recorded at the end of the programme to make sure that they got it right was actually omitted. I bet he was sitting there on Friday waiting for his starring moment only to discover he had been deleted. The other thing that I noticed was omitted was a very amusing sex joke involving a smurf. That’s all I’m saying…

G is collecting a series that is free with the Independent at the moment. On Sunday I went out and bought the paper, only I couldn’t check what the inserts were as they were all packed up in a white plastic cover. When I got the paper home the insert wasn’t there. Oh dear. I sent the paper an e-mail to see if they might be able to let me have it but there is no reply as yet. I also asked lots of people at work to see if anyone got Sunday’s paper, but couldn’t find anyone who reads it. My conclusion from this is that I must have bought the *only* copy of the Independent on Sunday that was sold this week and yet it still didn’t have the insert in it. Life can be cruel at times.

Today I am going to have a chat with C about her thoughts on her job situation etc. I think she will say that she plans to leave (and actually yesterday she was looking at a job website), but I am going to try and get her to focus on what she can do to improve her chances of promotion, whether in her current job or elsewhere. I was talking to my boss about it yesterday and he asked if he should talk to her about it, but I said I thought it was better if I did it because I want to move the subject on from the fact that she didn’t pass to what we are going to do to increase her chances of promotion in the future - and if she keeps looking back then that’s not going to help. My boss is really nice by the way and I’ll explain to C what we discussed and say that he is happy to talk to her if she wants to speak to him about it.

Having said that, I am actually going to ask her why she thinks she didn’t pass e.g. does she think she’s not capable, does she not have the right skills, is she just not suited to these sorts of tests etc and then we’ll work out what we can do to rectify that. Also, on Friday I said to her that I thought she should think about why it is that she wants promotion. There are obvious reasons, but I think it could also be quite revealing and help to come up with a constructive way to move forward (even if ultimately that means she decides to leave to get what she wants). I am also going to ask her to take some time to think of situations where she feels she really achieved something and to explain why and what she contributed to that. Then we can try and build on her strengths and also highlight that she has achieved some really good things. The plan is basically to try and make her feel that she has some positive things to come, that she will get support from work with any development needs and that she will benefit from staying on rather than just getting a new job. I’m hoping it will work because it would be a real shame if she left (particularly as she knows the work much better than I do!).

Monday, October 15, 2007


Good morning people - and another new week begins… As you may have picked up from my comments, C did not pass her exams. I had the great displeasure of telling her this On Friday because the results got e-mailed to me, so I took her to one side and told her the result and then chatted to her about it for a while. As you’d expect, she was not very happy about it and we talked about it later in the day and I suggested that she take a bit of time to think about it and we would talk about it this week and come up with an action plan to try and get her promoted in the future. I did suggest that she try not to do anything too rash (meaning resign etc, I wasn’t suggesting she might try and do something more drastic that that). I did feel rather bad for her because she really deserves a promotion. I might go and see one of our directors this week to see if there is anything that can be done, but I think it is doubtful.

G and I spent another weekend together that seemed to mainly consist of eating. We were testing out some new recipes though. G is a vegetarian (the horror!) and so I have to come up with some more ideas of what to eat so that we don’t just eat beans on toast the whole time.

This is an interesting item and is meant to show whether you use more of your right brain or left brain. G and I were looking at it last night, which proved that it must be something to do with your brain rather than the image itself changing because both of us could see the dancer moving in opposite direction at the same time. I think this could lead to potential arguments if you look at it with someone else, so beware.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Fingers crossed

France was good and a very pleasant work trip. C, who I work with, is very bright and on the ball, but also very clumsy. If there is something to lose then she will lose it. On several occasions I had to get her to do a run through of her stuff to make sure that everything was accounted for. However, I could not help with one problem which was when she informed the hotel receptionist that she was in room 501, he looked at her confused and said that this was unlikely given that there was neither five rooms in the hotel or a room 501. She did eventually manage to locate her room.

We were actually in neighbouring rooms and there is something very weird about both going to your rooms at the same time and then saying good night to each other. It’s not that I have never said good night to a colleague before but it just felt really weird to do it right outside each of out bedroom door’s – just that bit too personal for someone that you work with.

Coming back on a train through Kent last night it felt so much later than it actually was. I think in part because I had been an hour ahead on France and also because it was so dark. Just as it getting dark though there was the most fantastic sunset. The sky was a lovely reddish/ orange colour which then turned to a really beautiful deep red.

I felt really tired last night and had to go to bed earlier than normal ans still woke up this mornign feeling exhausted, but at least it’s almost the weekend – and tomorrow I get to go and pick up my new glasses. Today I might be able to find out C’s exam results, so fingers crossed that she has passed.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Bon Voyage

Rightio, well today I am off to France today and will be back at some point tomorrow. Of course my departure coincides with a brief respite from the current Royal Mail strikes so I will probably be unable to open my front door on my return due to the mountain of post awaiting me – or it might just highlight the fact that I get very few things in the post beyond bills these days. *sigh*

I still don’t know the results to C’s exams so I guess that will await us when we return to work on Friday. I would try and dial in on my laptop to check but they carried out an upgrade on it which meant that my e-mail become inaccessible. They have fixed that, but now I have plugged my lap top in at home it seems that the modem is not working, so it won’t dial in. This was a very helpful upgrade…

Anyway I had better head off for sunnier climes (might be a tad over hopeful there) and I am wondering if they will remember to feed me regularly because as we all know I become like a bear with a sore head unless I am topped up with food. I will try and resist the urge to goad the French about the rugby because a) I know nothing about rugby b) we might get slaughtered and c) it is just a game and d) I don’t really care. Nuff said.

A bientot.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Breathing is over-rated

It turns out that this breathing thing is not as easy as some might suggest. Despite having been breathing since *thinks* well, birth, it seems to be troubling me now. Since I got a cold last week, I have had trouble catching my breath. It’s that feeling when no matter how hard you try, you just can’t quite fill your lungs. By the end of the week I was finding it difficult to walk and talk at the same time. Given that I am female, I would expect to be able to do this rather minor piece of multi-tasking, but I am finding it harder than you might think.

So, on Friday I spoke to a pharmacist who gave me some tablets, which were pretty effective and have made breathing easier. The tablets contain steroids and so I am now fearful that my Olympic career may be over. However, as at the moment walking 100 metres can be a struggle, I might not have been in line for too many gold medals – but I would have hoped to get a prize for at least turning up. But going through the humiliation of being stripped of my medal (like a certain Olympian did the other day) might be more than I could take. Who would have thought that the common cold could have such a marked effect on my life*?

C came back to work yesterday and I updated her on what had been going on at work last week, told her that we are off to France on Wednesday (which she was really pleased about) and also talked to her about how she was feeling about her impending exam results that are due in the next day or so… She seemed much more positive about things generally than she was before she went on leave, but still isn’t hopeful that she passed the exams. I told her that we have every confidence in her but even if all did not go as planned that she would still have a job (I have lined another job up for her, as a safety net if all else fails). Sometimes I pretend to be a nice manager.

On a sombre note, I feel sad for Funny Thing over at Toxicsoup.

*Obviously some fantasy life that I’m not actually living, but that’s not the point….

Monday, October 08, 2007


Yet another week begins… But at least I had a nice weekend. On Friday night G and I had a Chinese take away and just watched TV. Then on Saturday G very patiently waited about while I got my eyes tested and a hair cut and then we had a bit of a mooch about the shops. My eye sight hasn’t changed at all but I have ordered some new glasses anyway and will go and pick those up next Saturday.

In the evening we went out for dinner and had a really nice meal. We were sat next to a couple who had gone into the restaurant directly before us – but had obstructed us by having a somewhat intimate moment blocking the door to the restaurant. G and I picked up bits of their conversation and we were trying to work out quite what the nature of their relationship was. Despite the very tactile way they were with each other, it sounded to me as though they were actually on a first date (and certainly didn’t know a lot about each other) and I think they had met on the internet – because the chap was talking about his profile and that he thought he was better looking in person than in his photos. G and I would be having our own conversation and then we’d pick up a couple of sentences from the table next to us and we would exchange slightly perplexed glances at the things we were hearing. It was just really interesting doing a bit of people watching and working out the dynamics of their relationship. Him: French, very opinionated and good at talking about himself. Her: English, rather more reserved, slightly uncomfortable at how forward he was and yet quite enthusiastic about him. He did at one point seem to be discussing moving in with each other, which was very keen on what seemed to be a first date.

Anyway after all that, G and I went home and had some dessert and watched a film and had a pleasant evening. Then yesterday we spent some time sorting out some stuff that we were selling on e-bay. The auctions came to an end yesterday and so we had to sort out the logistics of how we were going to send the stuff (once payment is received, of course). I don’t mind doing this sort of thing but I have no interest in doing the whole “customer service” side of it. I’m more of a behind the scenes kind of gal. I’ve never sold anything on e-bay before and this was selling 8 separate items so the logistics are actually reasonably complicated and probably not what I want to be doing on a Sunday night. My poor brain.

So, now it’s back to work. C is back from her week off and I’ll have to see if she is more cheerful than when she went away. I have been tasked by a colleague to find out if she has a bit of a thing going on with someone else we work with, as they went to the same place on holiday at the same time. *raises an eyebrow* We have to keep ourselves amused somehow…

Friday, October 05, 2007


I am so glad it’s Friday. My cold has made me feel so worn out all week and there has also been the very disconcerting feeling of not being able to breathe properly. I have never had that as a side-effect of a cold before but there have been several times over the last few days where I have really struggled to catch my breath. I hate that feeling where you just can’t quite fill your lungs. I would hate to be asthmatic and I think I have a slight phobia about not being able to breather properly, so it hasn’t been an entirely pleasant week from that perspective.

Anyway… as it turned out there was no bid to try and get me to go and work for the dark side. We actually had a very constructive meeting and may have found anew way to take forward all the work we have to do. I’m pleased about that because when C went on leave at the end of last week she seemed so down about a range of things and so I wanted to be able to tell her some positive news when she gets back on Monday. The issue next week though is that she is due to get the results to some exams she sat a couple of weeks ago to get promoted and she didn’t think they went very well, so we will see what happens… I have arranged for us to go to France next week though. We were meant to be away one night next week for work anyway - but staying in a slightly seedy part of England. However, we’re now going to nip over to France instead which hopefully will be something positive for her to come back to. It is work but it should be very pleasant work.

Tomorrow G and I will have been going out for five months. So what are we doing to celebrate? Well, I’ve arranged to have my eyes tested* and I might also get a hair cut. Romance is not dead.

*There is no actual connection to having made it to five months and me having my eyes tested. It has been two years since I last had them tested rather than anything that may cast aspersions on G’s appearance. I am just totally unromantic and choose such days to go to the opticians. I am such a catch.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


The other day a letter turned up from the Energy Saving Trust. I can’t remember having had any dealings with them, but maybe when I filled out a survey for the council they passed it on. Anyway, they rated my property as a ‘C’ moving towards a ‘B’ for energy consumption (which is good by the way. ‘A’ is the best ‘G’ is the worst). It suggested a couple of things that I could do to improve things. One is cavity wall insulation, which you can’t have done to a flat and the other was buying energy efficient appliances, but actually all of my appliances have the most energy efficient rating already. So I can’t do either of those, which I guess means I am about as energy efficient as I can be, the only other things is to put in a more up to date boiler, but I think that could prove very expensive, so I will maybe do that rather further down the line.

I spoke to my burglar alarm company yesterday and they are going to come out Friday lunch time and fix my alarm, and mum is going to come round and let them in which is very nice of her. In case you were thinking of burgling my property before they fix it, the alarm is actually in full working order and it will go off if you attempt to break in (I know this because I had to set the alarm off a couple of times while the engineer was telling me what to do over the phone. It’s very loud). It is just the light on the front of the property hasn’t reset properly. So don’t get any ideas.

G has a really odd boss, S, who I am not entirely impressed with and I think is a really poor manager and just deliberately stands in the way of G doing things. Grrrrrr… Anyway, S went on an assertiveness course a few weeks ago and they had to explain why they were on the course etc and she said “I’d like to assert myself more, but my boss won’t let me”. Well that just about sums it up really doesn’t it? There are some people that are beyond hope.

Oh and today I may have to put in a pitch for why I don’t think I should go and work for another department (the one that would mean joining the dark side), so that we can work more closely together. Let’s hope they don’t take too much convincing. Mind you, yesterday I was talking to someone on the phone who works there and he was talking about someone else in his team and they obviously hadn’t discussed something and he then said that it was because they sit nowhere near each other. So hang on a minute, I might have to go and work some were totally different so that I am nearer the dark side and yet the people I would have to go and work with work nowhere near each other? *scratches head* I rest my case, your honour.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Out on a limb

Right, back again. I was down near Exeter on Monday afternoon and yesterday and that was all fine. I stayed at very nice hotel and it was a pleasant stay and I even did some work while I was there. I have, however, developed a bit of a cold which seems to have given me rather shortness of breath. It’s nowt serious, I think my nose is just quite blocked and so I’ll be fine when it has cleared up a bit. I can tell we’re heading for winter though…

I phoned my alarm company when I got back last night and they ran me through various things to reset the alarm and none of them worked. So the conclusion was that the system itself is faulty so I need to phone them again this morning to make an appointment for someone to come out to have a look at it.

I also phoned my mum last night to see if she might be about if I needed someone to let the alarm people in and she said that was fine. Dad was there while I was talking to mum and somehow it came up in conversation about mum coming round anyway at some point and dad made some comment about how he was also “entitled” (his word) to come round because he had paid for my dishwasher. That really annoys me. I’m not suggesting that it wasn’t very kind of them to buy me a dishwasher and I do appreciate it, but it’s that my father thinks he is therefore “entitled” to things as a result of it. When I was looking for a place to buy, mum vaguely mentioned that they might be able to give me some money towards buying somewhere and I declined it because I knew that my father would see this as him having some kind of hold over me and that I would therefore owe him in ways that I could not even imagine. It just isn’t worth being in my father’s debt in any way because he will remind you of it and expect things in return. He did, however, then tell my mum to ask me what I wanted for Christmas. I replied that there was no way I was going to give an answer to that question two days into October!

On an entirely different note, I read this totally bizarre story yesterday. There are some truly weird people out there. That story raises so many questions in my mind, but ones that are probably best left in the depths of my mind. Only in America…

Monday, October 01, 2007


I had that real “Sunday night before school feeling” last night. I haven’t had that in a long time but I was just not looking forward to going back to work today. I’m actually only in work until lunch time and then I am away until tomorrow night, but I still wasn’t looking forward to it. I’m not really sure why though. Still, I’m sure it will pass.

My burglar alarm went off while I was out during the day on Saturday. I’m not sure what triggered it, but I don’t think it had anything to do with someone trying to break in. I managed to reset the system but the strobe on the front of where I live is still flashing as though it had been activated – and I only got home just after the firm who installed the alarm had closed for the remainder of the weekend. Not ideal. So I’m going to phone them this morning and then see what they say and if they need to come round to reset it, see if my mum is able to arrange to let them in. Mum retired on Friday and so she is available during the day to help with things like that now, which is good. My dad hasn’t worked for years but cannot be relied on to do such things so it is very fortunate that mum can now.

Anyway, I did have a nice weekend. G and I went out for a meal at an Italian restaurant on Friday night which was good. We then just pottered about for the rest of the weekend sorting various things out. G was going to go home about 6pm but this would have meant missing Coronation Street so instead G stayed for a while longer and we sat and watched it and drank tea and ate crumpets. It’s scary sometimes how we seem rather like some 70 year old couple. *shakes head in despair*

Anyway, I'm off and I shall be back here on Wednesday...