Saturday, March 31, 2007

Why stalking does not pay...


So… all did not go as planned last night. Mum and I met up and she didn’t feel very well so we went to a chemists and got her some tablets so she stopped feeling sick. Then we went for a bite to eat at a Greek restaurant, which was nice. Then we wandered along tickets in hand to go and see Celia Imrie. It was a BBC recording of a radio programme. Anyway, when we turned up the BBC people said that as there were so many people on the guest list that night they were turning people away who had tickets. They were very nice about it and I think said they’d send us tickets to something else (the tickets are free anyway and I could just order any tickets I wanted so I’m not sure what the advantage of that is…). All we could do is wander off into the night. So near and yet so far… Do they not know that this was going to be the high point of my entire life? Anyway, now my life has gone into decline without ever reaching its apex and the BBC are to blame. Mum and I went for a coffee and then had a wander around a bookshop and that was our evening’s entertainment instead. Not quite the same.

This evening I was meant to be meeting up with a friend and going to the cinema but she phoned me this morning to say that she now can’t make it, so that’s another cancelled plan. I also need to get a new tax disc for my car as it expires today. I went out earlier to buy one but the post office I went to doesn’t sell them, so I now need to find a post office that is open this afternoon in order to get one. It’s not actually that I am really badly organised, I did try and buy it online a few times over the last couple of weeks but the DVLA website couldn’t find my insurance details.

I think I feel rather subdued this weekend (not particularly because of any of the things I have listed above) so I hope a trip out into the sunshine will shake some of that off.

Incidentally, in case you were wondering, colleagues never turned up last week so there was no opportunity to try out my new CV. *sigh*

Friday, March 30, 2007

Gone


I needed to speak to my mum last night, so I phoned my parents’ house and my father answered:

Me: Hello, is mum there?

Father: She’s gone.

Er… she’s left you? She’s dead? Wouldn’t normal people have finished that sentence? When I asked where she had gone my father said she was at the drama group and then hung up. Charming.

Then I phoned my mum on her mobile. We are meeting up tonight but I wasn’t quite sure where we were going to meet.

Mum: You know where I mean. It’s the theatre where we saw 42nd Street [the musical].

Me: Mum, I was still at school when we saw that, that must have been 15 or 16 years ago.

Mum: Oh. Well, we’ll meet there anyway.

Anyway, the reason we are meeting up is because tonight is the night when I get to see Celia Imrie in the flesh and mum is going with me. This is a momentous day for me and the rest of my life may be a disappointment by comparison.

If you are into reading then DailyLit might be the site for you. You can sign up to receive a daily e-mail which is an instalment of a book*. They are well known books such as The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, some of the works of Dickens, Agatha Christie and so on. You don’t have to register or give them any details beyond your e-mail address (which I think is understandable given that they need to e-mail you each instalment). Obviously you could read an actual book made of paper but this just seems to be a nice compromise if for some reason you can’t do that. Of course I do not want to hear that you have signed up to this via your work e-mail address and now spend hours sitting at your desk pretending to be working but really are reading Crime and Punishment (in 241 parts). That would be very naughty.


*You can up the frequency if you want to or just get the next instalment sent through early if you are desperate to know what happens next.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Everyone's a suspect


Sadly there's nothing to report on the stalking my colleague front, as the meeting is actually today. In my excitement I obviously got the days muddled up. The problem with today is that I am in a meeting at the crucial time, so I think I may have to come up with another cunning ploy in order for true love to take its course.

I was driving home from a meeting at about 10pm last night and as I drove along a main road near where I live there were some teenage boys playing chicken with the traffic on small tricycles. Being a good citizen, when I got home I phoned my local police station and explained to the police operator what I had just seen. The operator said to me “It may be dangerous but if they want to kill themselves then that is up to them”. I didn’t really know what to say to that, but she did then put me through to someone else so I could report it (who was very helpful). Is it just me or was that a somewhat inappropriate thing for the operator to have said to me?

The situation with the cricket coach Bob Woolmer being killed is rather curious. I'm not a fan of cricket but I feel that we all need to take an interest in this story. "Why?" you may ask. Well, as the Jamaican police keep reminding us "no-one has been ruled out as a suspect". This therefore means that I am a suspect in Bob Woolmer's death - and so are you... As far as I am aware, I have never been suspected of a crime before but I am now going to start preparing my alibi for the time in question. I'm not sure "I was at home alone watching TV" is going to cut it.

I really liked the post over at Little Red Boat the other day (I can’t do a direct link to the post. It is the one called “Captured” on 26 March. Never again will you assume that the person opposite you who is writing something in the newspaper is just doing the crossword or sudoku. The thing that crossed my mind though was what if the chap picked up the newspaper the woman left on the train. It would be so disconcerting to pick up a newspaper and find a picture of yourself drawn by an unknown hand.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I knew I was good...


I've got an early start this morning. You might not consider it early but any meeting which starts at 8.30am is early to me. I did express my horror when someone phoned me to tell me the time of the meeting, but he just laughed at me. I'm not coherent in the morning at the best of times let alone when I am meant to be sounding as though I know what I am talking about and really am just thinking about how much I want a cup of tea. I think this is probably against my human rights.

I am beginning to suspect that my new CV initiative has mystical powers though. A couple of nights ago I got a really lovely text from someone I had a bit of a thing with the year before last, which basically said "I miss talking to you" and right warmed my heart. We probably last spoke about 3 or 4 months ago so I guess I'd better pick up the phone soon and make contact. Then last night I got another text from a number I didn’t recognise which went as follows:

“Thanks for this morning gorgeous, that’s the best ever, can’t believe I lasted 6 hours, hope you enjoyed it too.”

Well, I knew I was good but I even impressed myself with that one. My only quibble with this is that I am ashamed to admit that I don’t actually remember the particular incident cited here, so a few minutes later I sent back a reply.

“Whilst I would like to take credit, I’m pretty sure I’d have remembered had I been there. I suspect your text was meant for someone else. Keep up the good work though.”

A couple of minutes later I got back a text saying

“Sorry I think I texted a wrong digit. I hope I didn’t offend you it was meant for someone else”

Once I got over the disappointment, and yet felt reassured that I hadn’t totally lost my mind, I sent back a reply saying it wasn’t a problem and I would have hated a misdirected text to have been the reason for broken hearts. I think this may be part of the preparation ritual for when I am beating potential suitors off with a stick. I do suspect that the person who sent that text was rather mortified to have sent it to the wrong person, but I like to think that my future happiness was worth it.

Anyway, I shall have my CV ready for this afternoon when my colleague comes over. I'm thinking that I should hang about near the door to where I work and at just the right moment I could look all helpful by holding the door open and then "accidentally" drop my CV on the floor, then our eyes would meet as we both bent down to pick it up, there'd be a bit of nervous laughter and then all thoughts of attending meetings would pass from our minds and we would walk off into the sunset together. Or more realistically, given that I had to get up extra early today, I'll be sitting at my desk in a daze, not notice the time and then totally miss my opportunity.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Mistakes



I changed my car insurance company the other day. It saved me about £120, so it was worth it. They only trouble is that now I have to return the motor insurance document they sent me – and I cannot find it anywhere. Anywhere. And I have looked. Everywhere. I have chucked out loads of paperwork whilst searching for it so that I don’t keep going through the same mountains of rubbish and yet I still can’t find it. I can find all the other documents they sent me and even the envelope it all came in, but not the actual policy document. So today I will have to phone them and grovel or whatever it is that you’re meant to do in these circumstances and hope that they don’t punish me too harshly for my naughtiness. Although having said that, I don’t actually remember seeing the policy document, so maybe it’s all their fault. They probably wouldn’t appreciate that approach when I speak to them though. Grovelling is generally preferable.

Yesterday I was talking to someone I used to work with and although she knows exactly who I am, what with us having worked together for quite seem time and her now only working just across the corridor from me, the conversation didn’t go entirely as I had expected. I said “Hello” and she replied “Hi. How is the world with you [name of somebody else]?” I paused for a moment thinking “How do I respond to this? Do I point out that isn’t my name? Do I respond by telling her how that person is, who I happened to know had just gone out to Tesco? Or do I just carry on as though I hadn’t noticed?” Being a polite Brit I decided to pretend she hadn’t just called me by totally the wrong name. When I returned to my desk the person I sit next to just laughed at me as she had overheard the entire conversation, which mainly consisted of me asking about the woman’s dog, and was very amused that I had been called by monkey-loving colleague’s name*. The thing is that this is not the first time that she has done this and yet she does also get my name right. Maybe I’m just not very memorable.

Anyway… tonight I have to mentally prepare myself for tomorrow because my colleague who I took a bit of a shine to last month, I am reliably informed (not that I have been trying to find out or anything…), is due to be in the office again tomorrow afternoon. So I shall have to see if I can engineer a spontaneous meeting. I will also have my laminated CV prepared so that I can hand it over if a suitable moment arises.


*That’s not a euphemism or an insult. She really does like monkeys. In a platonic sense.

Monday, March 26, 2007

CV


I know you’re going to be shocked by this news, but...during the weekend I actually ate my last remaining Easter egg from last year. It was really nice, despite having gone out of date in July last year. I still have the sweets that came with it (it was a Cadbury’s Heroes egg), but this is indeed progress and I now feel warmed up for receiving some new Easter eggs this year. I probably won’t get any now...

I was thinking that perhaps I should try and come up with list of reasons why I might be worth dating, a CV of sorts if you like. Then next time I am interviewed as a potential date I will have my answers already prepared – I’ve been out of the dating scene for a while, it still works like that right?

Anyway, here are some points to get started with:


  1. I have a pulse.
  2. Going out with me *may* be preferable to you potentially growing old alone.
  3. I really like travelling and am very good at arranging holidays.
  4. I am solvent.
  5. If I’ve done something wrong I will apologise (and mean it).
  6. I’m honest and if you ask me a question I’ll answer it. But “honest” does not equal “blunt”.
  7. I don’t mind someone ‘having a past’ or being a bit insecure.
  8. I have all my own teeth and limbs.
  9. If I was in love with you, you’d know it. But if you needed a bit of reassurance I’d give it – in my slightly bumbling way.
  10. Animals seem to like me, even ones that are normally very wary of people.
  11. I am told that I come across as a very calm person.
  12. You are unlikely to ever see me on Crimewatch.
  13. I am willing to do all sorts of things in bed – sleep, read, watch TV, drink a cup of tea.
  14. For me, attraction is about so much more than what someone looks like.
  15. I have a good sense of humour and like to make people laugh.
  16. I am pretty unshockable and even if you told me something terrible I’d still speak to you. (Although I might have to take some action over things involving animals or children...).
  17. Even if you had a bunny rabbit, I would never boil it.
  18. I wouldn’t say one thing to your face and then slate you behind your back.
  19. I do not have any communicable diseases.
  20. I’m good in a crisis. If you lost your passport while you were abroad, got stuck somewhere in the middle of the night, were involved in a serious accident etc then I’d drop everything to help you. I can provide references for each of these examples.
  21. I am faithful and monogamous.
  22. I wouldn’t want you to have to live with the regret of thinking “what if...” if you were foolish enough not to go out with me.
  23. I can cook pretty well.
  24. I wouldn’t embarrass you in front of your family.
  25. I am housebroken.
  26. I give very good hugs.
  27. I would bring you a cup of tea in bed, without you having to ask.
  28. I wouldn’t just want you for your body – although if you just consisted of a head and some legs I might be a bit freaked out by that.
  29. But I’d try not to judge.
  30. I’m single.


Come on, how could anyone resist?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Three things




This was borrowed from Teeny. Prepare to be dazzled by an amazing insight into my life…


Three Things That Scare Me:

Spiders, spiders, spiders. They are horrible, horrible, horrible. I have actually got slightly better about this as I have got older and can just about tolerate small spiders but big ones get hoovered up.
That A will never get in touch and we’ll never be back on speaking terms.
That I might die alone (although actually being dead doesn’t scare me)

Three People Who Make Me Laugh:

My nephew
D who I used to sit next to at work but sadly he now works somewhere else.
My friend S who sometimes says the most funny things. Whenever we speak I end up laughing a lot.

Three Things I Love:

Canada. I don’t know why but I do.
Marmite.
My nephew.

Three Things I Hate:

People trying to get a on a tube train before people have finished getting off.
The clocks going forward (but only on that day because I lose an hour’s sleep).
Waiting for my mum to turn up for things. She is often not just a few minutes late, sometimes I have had to wait over an hour for her. I always try and remember to have a book handy now (to read not to hit her with).

Three Things I Don't Understand:

Why some people think silence solves things or makes them go away.
Why if you want your staff to perform at their best you treat them really badly or ignore what they say.
Why if people have a choice between saying something nice and saying something mean, they say something mean.

Three Things On My Desk:

Er… Does that mean the desk my computer is on because it’s not actually on a desk… On my desk at work though is:

A mug in desperate need of washing (and just needs to be chucked out anyway as it has a big crack in it)
A piece of chemical crystals thing (It’s not some new agey thing. I don’t quite know how to describe it) that a 12 year old boy gave me and I keep it because it meant a lot that he gave it to me.
A car windscreen scraper – for no logical reason whatsoever seeing as I don’t drive to work.

Three Things I'm Doing Right Now:

Watching TV
Running a virus scan on my computer.
Wondering why I am doing this meme because my brain doesn’t really work in this sort of way.

Three Things I Want To Do Before I Die:

Find a job that I really enjoy.
Find someone to spend my life with.
Go back to Canada.

Three Things I Can Do:

Sing
Draft really well – although I don’t think that is entirely clear from what I write on my blog.
Parallel park.

Three Things I Can't Do:

Go back on my word.
Write neatly - I really should have been a doctor. Although hating blood or anything medical would have been a slight disadvantage with that.
Have a conversation with my father that doesn’t turn into an argument.

Three Things I Think You Should Listen To:

Your conscience.
People who need to get stuff off their chest.
New (to you) music, as often as possible.

As an aside in a few of the responses I have read to this on other people’s blogs, they have said “Your parents”. I actually cannot think of any advice my parents have ever given me. Weird…

Three Things You Should Never Listen To:

Pretty much anything reported in the press – particularly the Daily Mail.
Anyone who cannot admit that they are wrong or is unable to utter the words “I don’t know”
Conspiracy theorists.

Three Things I'd Like To Learn:

Something musical, possibly the piano as I think it would be good to have more of a creative outlet.
A foreign language. Oh how I wish I had paid more attention at school…
How to do some bits of DIY.

Three Favourite Foods:

Roast chicken
Soda farls.
Chinese food – and I have a particular liking for Dim Sum.

Three Shows I Watched As A Kid:

Grange Hill
Dangermouse
Moonlighting (even though it was quite ‘racy’ in places).

I'm not tagging anyone but do feel free to do this yourself, by the way.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

High

Another weekend begins and for once I got to sleep in, so it is a good weekend already. I got home quite late last night, despite having no particular plans for the evening when I went to work yesterday. But there was a leaving drink for someone who I vaguely know and she had invited me along and someone persuaded me that I should go. I went for a quick drink and then ended up being one of the last few people there – even the person whose leaving do it was had gone. That’s really unlike me, but it was a pleasant evening just chatting with a few people I work with. At the end of the evening B who is a chap I work with gave me a hug, as did J who is in the team that I used to manage. It was really nice, a few years ago it would never have crossed my mind to hug people I work with, but I do work with some really great people.

Earlier on in the day I had exchanged a few e-mails with J as I had been talking to someone about some work and I glanced up and just saw a look on J’s face that gave me pause for thought. So when I got back to my desk I sent J a quick e-mail asking if she was ok and she replied and told me a couple of things that were going on with her and we exchanged a couple more e-mails and I offered her some assistance for something she is preparing for. When she got to the pub she came right up to me and thanked me for being so nice to her and later on said that I am one of the really nice managers and one that if you tell them something that you can rely on not to pass it on. I thought that was really nice of her to say and quite made my evening. So at the end of the evening she gave me a big hug and thanked me for e-mailing her earlier and said that she’d take me up on my offer of some help with some stuff she is doing.

As I walked to the station last night the refrain to High by James Blunt went through my mind and whilst the lyrics have nothing to do with yesterday (and the actual video is irrelevant as well, although you might enjoy it if you like ER), here’s the song because there is still something about it that sums up the feeling of last night which is of having done some good and things just seeming ‘right’.


Friday, March 23, 2007

Fingers crossed


Yesterday everyone who crossed my path while I was on the tube irritated me. I think this was partly because I was tired but also there were just a lot of irritating people on the tube yesterday- crammed into an even smaller space than normal because the tube system seemed to be a complete mess. My journey took much longer than normal due to trains being taken out of service and delays to “regulate the service”. People were squeezing onto trains that were already full and getting annoyed with fellow passengers for not forming human pyramids to create more space. The other day I read in the paper that TfL allow 0.25 sq metres per passenger. That is a bizarre statistic because as there is no limit on how many people can squeeze on to a tube train, so long as the doors will close, I can’t really see what meaning there is behind that statistic – except that they acknowledge that they don’t envisage passengers having very much space. Anyway on the way home it was better but I did want to ask the woman who was sitting very near to me why she had to chew her gum *that* loudly. Do some people lack the ability to close their mouth when they chew or to exhibit any manners in public??

Anyway, for those who are regular tube users who wish to break away from Oyster card conformity then this may be the place for you. Turn your Oyster card into a protest statement and smile smugly every time you touch in and touch out. You’ll be flying the red flag before you know it.

I think I may have found the answer to my dating issues. An 88 year old widower is looking for a woman to spend the rest of his days with. Mr Sellers (I feel we would have some formality in our relationship) said "I am just into life. I read a lot, and I paint a bit as well. But I want somebody to live with me until I die. I want somebody to love and I want them to love me, I really do. I will put my heart and soul into it." Sounds fair enough to me. He’s not quite what I had in mind but he’s breathing so sometimes you have to compromise in other areas. You should be able to watch the video of him here. How can you get to the end of that video without being in love with him just a little bit already? But BACK OFF- I saw him first!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Timing is everything


I had a nice enough day yesterday. I spent most of it at a meeting and got to the end of the day feeling as though I had actually made a contribution and that I was vaguely competent at what I do.

When I got home from work I started to put in the code to switch off the burglar alarm and realised that I had put the wrong first digit in. I stood there feeling all indecisive trying to work out what was best to do in order to stop the alarm going off. All the time aware that the time was ticking down, with moments to spare I managed to come up with a way to restart the code without setting the alarm off. As a result of this I have decided that I never want to have the job of dismantling a bomb. I’d be standing there with the timer ticking down (do bombs really have timers??) and be trying to work out whether to cut the red wire or the blue wire and I can give no guarantee that I would make a decision on this before it was too late. I suggest you call on someone more qualified than me should you ever need such assistance.

When I checked my post there was a letter, which had been redirected from my last address, from the people who service my car. In this letter they had got my name partly wrong, had quoted the registration number of a car that is not mine, told me my car is due for a service (which it isn’t) and that I normally get my serviced at a garage which must be about 100 miles from where I live. Apart from that it was all correct. It’s good to feel like a valued customer.

Should you have a bit of a sweet tooth then this may be the competition for you. Given the speed with which I tend to eat chocolate, I can assure you that you will not be in competition with me for the prize. However, I might actually try and eat my last remaining Easter egg from last year before Easter this year. Oh how I wish we had a late Easter this year…

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Carry on



It was another really cold day yesterday with a little bit of snow and some driving sleet at times, so I wimped out and decided it as not the evening to take a long walk. I left work late anyway, so wouldn’t have been home until quite late. So instead I caught the tube and felt slightly regretful that I had eaten a few too many chocolates at work yesterday, as I could no longer justify it to myself by thinking that I would burn them off with a bit of exercise.

The other day I tried a Dairy Milk bar with Cadbury’s Creme Egg filling and quite liked it. The ratio of filling to chocolate wasn’t quite right, but apart from that I thought it was quite nice. I saw that a Cadbury’s Easter egg lorry was robbed. I am hoping that I am one of the least likely suspects for having carried out the raid, as I have an Easter egg from last year still to eat. If I had a whole lorry full, I’d still be eating them into eternity. I’m not really sure why it would be worth your while going to all that effort to steal Easter eggs, is it not just easier to go to Woolworths and shoplift them?

I also saw that someone died on a British Airways flight recently and their body was moved from economy to first class for the rest of the flight and her daughter was also upgraded (can you upgrade a dead body?). I had previously heard that if someone died on a flight they put them in one of the toilets and sealed the door, but it seems that this is not the case. It’s certainly one way to get an upgrade – from now on I think I will try and travel with people who have serious health problems and if they happen to die mid-flight then at least I get to enjoy food and drink on tap and my own fold-out bed. Let’s hope that it isn’t one of the flights where they decide to put the body in the toilets instead.

The thing about that flight though was that they put the body in a seat next to another first class passenger – while he was asleep! Can you imagine waking up during a flight having paid thousands of pounds* for your ticket and out of the corner of your eye you glimpse a dead body. The bloke said he “watched in horror as the body repeatedly slipped beneath the seat belt onto the cabin floor” and apparently he also complained about the smell of the dead body. Lovely. I hope he got a refund on his ticket.

In other news, I am excited to report that next week I may get to see Celia Imrie *in* *the* *flesh*. I have put in an order for a couple of tickets to see her recording a programme. I did actually see her in the stage production of Acorn Antiques a couple of years ago, but was quite a distance away form the stage. Anyway, now I just have to wait for my ticket to turn up and then prepare myself for an evening not to be forgotten.

Oh and I don’t normally watch EastEnders but I watched a bit of it last night and was I the only person who when Peggy was doing those yoga exercises suddenly wondered if it was going to be like one of those Carry on Films where she ended up revealing more than anyone wants to see while they’re eating their dinner? Perhaps it was just me...

*I think it would be unpleasant even if you hadn’t paid thousands of pounds for your flight.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Missing



What has happened to the weather? It has got so cold. It is also not conducive to my new fitness regime. I did still walk a lot of the route home last night but it was not particularly nice walking in freezing rain and occasional sleet (it was fine when I set off, maybe I walked further than I thought). I may be less willing to do this if the weather is the same again tonight.

While my friend was staying at the weekend I talked to her about my latest thoughts on relationships. I was explaining about my initiative to try and start thinking about things that I like/ appreciate about people (but not in a way that is really lecherous because that would just be creepy). She thought it was a good thing and would hopefully get me out of this somewhat dry spell in dating. The thing is that by doing this it taps into that part of me that I try very hard to keep in check, which is the part of me that knows that I really want to have a relationship. Not that I didn’t think that I did but if you totally repress these feelings then it is much easier not to feel the pain of disappointment!

The other day I said that one of the things that I miss is knowing that it matters to someone else whether I love them or not (meaning am in love with them). I really need to try and explain that better at some point.

I was thinking that I also miss that thing of looking at someone you’re going out with and just thinking how much you really, really fancy them. When we were going out, sometimes A would wear this red jumper - there was nothing particularly special about it, it was just a red fleecey type sweatshirt. Anyway, every time A wore it, without fail I would end up doing a kind of double take and would always think “I really, really fancy you”. I think there is just something really great about looking at someone who you’re going out with, who you think is pretty fantastic anyway and sometimes there are those moments where you are just reminded quite how much you fancy them. ‘Tis a jolly nice thing.

I’m not saying any of this in the sense that I feel sorry for myself. I think there is just a certain sense of anticipation of feeling those things again, because I’d sort of forgotten about them. It could be a bit of a trek to get there and the more I open myself up to the possibility of getting round to going out with someone and that I might actually find someone who is foolish enough to want to go out with me, well it could be a very long time. Sometimes anticipation can be a good thing, at other times it is just a drawn out agony. But if my anticipation was actually realised, well, I reckon that would be worth taking the risk of opening myself up to a bit of disappointment along the way. So I shall continue to make my tentative steps forward, which I think might involve trying to enlist the help of a couple of friends to see if they can come up with some suitors. I’m meeting up with a friend in a couple of weeks’ time, who is actually someone I used to work with and I might see if she has any suggestions. I need all the help that I can get.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Desperately seeking



Another weekend over and sadly a five day working week ahead, which has been a rarity of late. At least I start this week feeling rather more wide-awake than last week. I have a fairly boring week ahead though so I think I need to think of some vaguely interesting social things to do.

Yesterday morning I saw my friend S, as he was in London with his girlfriend for a wedding. I haven’t seen him or spoken to him in ages and it was really good to catch up and I’ll phone him in the next couple of weeks to have a proper catch up. We were talking about another friend whose wife has just had a baby. The baby was born at about 24 weeks and weighed just over one pound. Oh my… I think it has been very touch and go but things baby seems to be looking a lot better now than they did a couple of weeks ago. I still think it is quite touch and go though and given how early the baby was born presumably some of his organs etc are not properly formed. Medical science is an amazing thing but I sometimes wonder if it tries to do too much.

In my bid to escape the grasp of google I am testing out some new search engines. You may have seen the recent adverts for The Information Revolution which is meant to be highlighting the fact that there is a monopoly out there in terms of search engine use, but it is worth pointing out that it is basically a marketing ploy by ask.com and is trying to get you to use their product instead. Interesting, but ultimately just a clever bit of marketing. Anyway, one of the things that I am testing at the moment is metasearch engines, such as dogpile.com which basically trawl a range of search engines such as google, msn and yahoo and then aggregate the results. To be honest I haven’t found anything as good as google yet, but my search will continue and I will hopefully come up with something that is up to the job. Do you think people will ever be saying “why don’t you dogpile it?”

I meant to mention before that I was very amused by this post over at In Search of Adam. I’m sure if you are able to help out by being willing to humiliate yourself show off your musical talent, then she would be very grateful – and might even invite you to the wedding, what with you being her new best friend.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The roof of the world



I got a really good night’s sleep last night and feel much better today. So the world is looking a better place already.

Anyway, I’m not sure this post will be of interest to anyone but myself, I’ll post it anyway though because it’s my blog and I can. I don’t think I have mentioned this before but I have a strange fascination with Everest. ‘Strange’ because I have no desire to climb Everest – after all I can’t even be bothered to join the gym at work let alone scale a mountain to reach the world’s highest point. But even so there is something that I find fascinating about those who climb Everest and have read many accounts of this, most notably the ones surrounding the events of the major disaster on Everest in May 1996 when a number of climbers were killed or left for dead on the mountain.

I think part of my fascination possibly comes from being interested in what makes people do something that is so extreme and risky, what drives people on when they are faced with the massive ascent that is ahead of them, and also the ethics of it all. How do you decide whether to leave fellow climbers to die – and if you were the one left behind would you think “that’s ok, that’s the way it works”? An oversimplified summation of it all but it touches on some of the things that fascinate me about it all.

Anyway, the other day I finished reading Beck Weathers’ book ‘Left for Dead’. He was one of the climbers in that trek that went so wrong back in 1996. Let me start with a few comments on the book. The beginning of the book is all about his ascent and subsequent rescue and that part is really interesting. Then the book looks at what led him to climb Everest in the first place and includes comments and input from his wife and others. Based on what his wife says, I am not surprised he headed to some of the most treacherous and unforgiving places on earth because it must have seemed like respite. It was an interesting book but the only parts that were particularly worth reading were the first few chapters about the May 1996 ascent. I wouldn’t recommend starting your reading with this book, Jon Krakauer’s book 'Into Thin Air' would probably be far better.

Some of the world’s most experienced climbers were killed on Everest on 10 May 1996 and there never has been any real explanation of how that happened (mainly because those who would know are dead). Beck Weathers was a fairly experienced climber although, by his own admission, perhaps not really suited to climbing Everest. He did not have a particularly well honed climbing technique, he did not have the body mass necessary to sustain you during an ascent and he had such poor eyesight that at certain times of day he was virtually blind – the last of those being the thing that nearly killed him (well that and the immense cold…).

During the ascent he realised that he was not going to make it to the summit and knew he had to turn back. As the others were still going to continue their ascent he agreed to await the return of their guide, Rob Hall. Rob Hall, one of the best and most experienced climbers in the world, turned out to be one of the people who never made it back. Beck Weathers waited and waited for Hall and in the end knew that it was futile and headed back down with some other climbers, but he was so weak due to having been stationery for so long that in the end he could go no further. Some of the others agreed to carry on and send help back when they could. During that long wait he got weaker and weaker, and by the time the rescuers returned he was so far gone that all they could do was leave him there to die. Because there was no doubt that he was going to die.

The thing is that several hours later Beck Weathers suddenly regained consciousness and stood up. Despite it being a driving storm he managed to walk directly back to the camp and raise help. The others knew that he was still going to die and so they put him in a tent and made him comfortable and then left him to finally die. Except that he didn’t. Instead, when the others were packing up their final belongings to move further down the mountain they suddenly realised that he was still alive and able to communicate and in fact was in the process of kitting up to join them. This man could not be killed. His wife had already been told that he was dead but subsequently was informed that news of his demise had been exaggerated. They did manage to descend further down the mountain with him and his wife arranged for him to be airlifted off the mountain by helicopter. The only problem with that is that the air is so thin at that altitude that it is impossible to get there by helicopter. Somehow they found a pilot who would try it though and in another absolute miracle flew to where Beck was and airlifted him down. When he finally received medical treatment (that would take years to complete) he had to have one of his hands amputated, his nose had came off so they had to grow a new one for him, his whole face was just generally a mess anyway (so bad that people stopped in their tracks when they saw him) and other parts of him just fell off of their own free will, such as a toe here and there. I give you brief highlights as it was actually much worse than that.

I think there is something miraculous that happened that day. There are so many reasons why Beck Weathers should never have made it back alive - he himself agrees that he should have been dead. But somehow he made it. For years arguments have raged about that day, about whether more could have been done to help those who died, the rights and wrongs of how things were handled. By coincidence there was an IMAX film crew filming there at the time and I saw that film a few years ago which helped to give yet another perspective on it all – and also to see the reality of the injuries sustained by Beck Weathers and (perhaps somewhat voyeuristically) to hear the last phone calls made by some of the people who died when they knew that there was no way to get back down. Quite heartbreaking stuff.

I don’t know what drives some people to such extremes, I don’t know what causes some people to survive the impossible, I don’t know what enables some people to carry on when all hope is lost, but there is something about Beck Weathers that deserves respect because somehow he did the impossible.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Bovvered



Can you see me weeping, weeping in despair?? What was today meant to be?? Yes that’s right, a day to have lie in. Did I get a lie in? Nope (you saw that coming didn’t you). So what happened to ruin my blissful morning of sleep? My mother.

Mum phoned last night just gone 11pm to say that he flight she was due to fly back from Florence on had been cancelled so she didn’t know when she would be back. I phoned and cancelled the taxi she had booked and then phoned my father and told him. I stayed up for ages chatting to my friend and so didn’t go to end until about 1.30am, but set my alarm to go off nice and late this morning. Fine, except that at 7.55am my mum phoned from Stansted and asked if I would go and pick her up. So I dragged myself out of bed, had a quick shower and a cup of tea and drove there to get her. I was meant to sent her a text to tell her I was nearby so she could meet me outside the terminal but at the crucial moment my phone ran out of power so I had to park anyway and go in and find her. Then I drove her home and then went home myself to eat breakfast. I probably ended up eating breakfast about the same time as I would have hoped to anyway, but I wasn’t planning on a major detour to Stansted being the reason.

Where was my lie in?? I was working nights last weekend and was so looking forward to a nice bit of extra sleep this weekend but ended up with about six hours sleep at the most.

Anyway… I now have to think of something exciting to do with my friend who is staying. We were planning on going out this morning to have a cooked breakfast and a nice leisurely morning but will now have to think of something else to do instead. Last night we went out for dinner at a very classy greasy spoon and I had some gammon and my friend had egg and chips. The local yoof were out and causing trouble but they seemed to be used to it in the café and just ejected any unsavoury characters as soon as they set foot through the door. Mind you there were a couple of teenage girls who were in there, one of whom seemed incapable of even responding to the chaps questions about what she wanted to eat and she then proceeded to spend the entire meal time talking on the phone to someone and totally ignoring her friend who was sitting opposite her. It seems that the art of conversation is not entirely dead, it just can’t be directed to anyone who is actually in the same room as you.

Totally changing the subject, I was really shocked to see on the news last night that Sally Clark is dead. I think that’s really sad. At the moment it isn’t clear what the circumstances of her death were but she has had the most miserable life for almost a decade and is now dead. I think that’s really sad and must be horrendous for her husband.

Anyway, on a lighter note, go here to buy the Shaggy Blog Stories book, as brilliantly compiled by Mike Atkinson over at Troubled Diva. I am sure it will be a good laugh and it will maybe introduce you to lots of new blogs as well. As if that isn't enough then I have to say that I was impressed by Tony Blair taking part in Comic Relief last night. Enjoy.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Made it



Hooray, it’s Friday! I am very pleased to have (almost) made it to the end of the week. I read this article yesterday and am now worried that I may have done lots of inappropriate things this week due to my lack of sleep. Perhaps I will wake up tonight in a cold sweat and remember with horror. Yesterday I did tell a chap that I work with how good he looked in a suit, but I did assure him that I wasn’t telling him this in a sexual harassment kind of way. He just laughed and said a slightly bashful “thank you very much”. Who knows what else I said while my defences were down?

Last night my friend came over and fixed my living room light for me. It took him about five minutes to fix it and all it cost me was an Indian meal (and that was my choice to pay for the meal, he would have done it for free). It was a nice evening, but while we were out I felt a bit odd and had a real pain in my stomach, so I didn’t feel entirely focussed on either my food or the conversation. I did manage to finish my meal though (I didn’t feel *that* unwell) and kept up with the conversation, so it was fine.

A friend is coming to stay for the weekend, which should be good. It’s my friend who has nowhere to live and from the texts we have exchanged of late she seems to be in a complete and utter mess at the moment (mentally rather than physically) so I’ll have to see how she’s doing. I have a few ideas of things we can do this weekend and hopefully she’ll feel as though she’s had a couple of days break from moving from hostel to hostel and having to put up with other people’s snoring.

You may recall that a while ago I commented on Google’s potential power to take over the world. Well, might I point you to this article here. Need I say more. Next I shall be telling you the winning lottery numbers*, so get your money ready to buy the winning ticket.

*Get in contact with me at about 8.45pm tomorrow night and I’ll be happy to tell you Saturday’s lottery numbers.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Shocked



I have been tired all week from working at the weekend. I really was not designed to work anything other than 9 to 5. Things at work are going fine generally though. The only thing that troubles me with it is that I am doing some ‘management stuff’ at the moment that gives me pause for thought. I am doing it because I have been asked to and I know that I will deal with this person in a way that has that their best interests at heart, but I do wonder if somehow I might end up doing this person a disservice. I can’t explain it all here, but I just really want this person to be treated in the right way and with a bit of integrity and so am concerned that I do the best that I can for him. It worries me though.

Last night I did the same walk as I did last week which misses out part of my tube journey home and hopefully gets me a bit fitter. I walked it about eight minutes quicker than last time (just over 40 minutes), which hopefully means it did me some good. Given how tired I was already, it maybe wasn’t the wisest thing to have exerted myself like that, mind you getting up off the sofa can be quite an exertion for me a lot of the time.

Tonight a friend is coming over to look at my broken living room light. I know how to show someone a good time, as I am sure you already know… I asked him to have a look at it because he is very practical and it was only afterwards that I remembered he actually works in the lighting industry and so is the ideal person to have asked. I think he is coming round tonight to make a diagnosis and will come back and fix it another time. We’re going to have dinner anyway, so it should be a pleasant evening, assuming I can stay awake. My only concern is that if he fixes it it will show up the rather large tea stain on the carpet. At the moment you could think it was a shadow but I think it will be displayed in all its glory once the light is fixed. I guess I will have to consider greater use of mood lighting.

I was truly shocked to read this story yesterday. What is the world coming to when something that is as much of an institution as Blue Peter may be fleecing children of their 50p a week* pocket money. It was bad enough when it was Richard and Judy but now even the programme that teaches you 101 uses for sticky backed plastic and washing up liquid bottles can be corrupted. Nothing is sacred these days. Nothing.

*Are parents allowed to give pocket money below the minimum wage these days?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Out of the mouths of babes


I apologise in advance for a post entirely about my nephew, but indulge me.

My sister and nephew are staying at my parents’ house this week. My mum is away so they are keeping my dad company for a couple of days. I too may have to venture over there at some point but am hoping that this drastic course of action can be avoided.

Anyway, my sister and nephew came round to my place for a bit last night, which included them making suitably approving noises about my new sofa. My sister carefully removed my nephew’s shoes as he had mud on them. To be honest that turned out to be the least of my worries.

My nephew decided he wanted some orange squash so I made him a glass of it. Most if it ended up on the kitchen floor due to him deciding that the best way to drink it was by sticking his fingers in the glass and then licking them. That wasn’t really a problem though, the bigger problem was my computer…

I had left my computer on, but the monitor was switched off. My nephew was playing with the keyboard and I could tell that this was possibly not the best idea due to the various dings it was making. After a while I switched the monitor on and was somewhat surprised to see that that my computer had done this:


I was laughing about how talented my nephew obviously was and turned the monitor round to show my sister and promptly knocked a cup of tea on the carpet. Oops. My sister looked at my computer for ages trying to work out how to fix it and my nephew helped me mop up the tea that was on the carpet. I’m surprised he didn’t start whistling in the hope that it might distract us from the array of disasters. Fortunately I have the internet on my phone so I did a search and it told me how to undo my nephew’s handiwork.

All returned to normal and I was chatting to my sister and we were getting my nephew to make various animal noises. “What noise does a duck make?” “Quack” “What noise does a cat make?” “Meow” “What noise does a cow make?” “Moo”. You get the drift… At which point my phone rang and it was my friend C*. I had a quick chat with her and said I’d phone her back when my sister had gone. But then my nephew really wanted to speak to C and so I handed him the phone. He’s two this week so his powers of communication are somewhat limited, but what did he say when he spoke? That’s right… “Hello, cow”. My sister and I were just killing ourselves laughing and my nephew just looked perplexed at what we were laughing at. When I finally stopped laughing long enough to get the phone back from my nephew, I did apologise to my friend. Fortunately our many years of friendship has stood us in good stead and she wasn’t entirely horrified to have been mistaken for a cow by a complete stranger. She did agree that it was an easy mistake to make though.



*C is not short for cow.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Couldn't pick it up


I am so glad that I didn’t go to work yesterday as by the evening I was really flagging. I’m such a lightweight. Anyway, it’s back to work today *sigh*. At least it is a short week.

Teletext recently carried out a survey of the books least likely to be finished by Britons. I think we’ll have to brush over the fact that this survey is likely to be very flawed (unless all of the 4000 people surveyed had actually tried to read all of the books then it doesn’t mean that if 25% failed to finish a book that the other 75% succeeded, they might just never have even considered reading the book. So it’s not really clear what it is showing. There are various other things which are really unclear about the survey too), when has something being based on sound research prevented something being reported on as fact.

I think a lot of the books on the list are ones that have received critical acclaim but that doesn’t mean that they have appeal to the average reader, some of them strike me as the sort of books that people feel that they *should* read, but the reality doesn’t quite measure up. I have to say that I haven’t read most of the books. Of those on the fiction list I have only attempted two of them, which were Captain Corelli's Mandolin and The Alchemist* and I didn’t like either of them (but did finish them both). I haven’t read any of the books on the non-fiction list.

Personally I tend to struggle with ‘classic literature’ because it just reminds me of being forced to read books when I was at school – although having said that I am currently reading Armadale by Wilkie Collins and am really enjoying that. The comments on the BBC story (linked to above) are interesting and I think just prove that whether people enjoy a particular book is very subjective. In the comments on the BBC, some people have said that books like Catch 22 and We need to talk about Kevin should have been on the list, but I think they are both really good books. Catch 22 is totally absurd, but that’s the point really. It’s basically showing how absurd war is and how mad and arbitrary the decisions are about how to fight a particular war. I know other people who have read it and hated it but personally I thought it was a really clever and insightful book. I’ve already said before about what a good book I think “We need to talk about Kevin” is. Very dark, but well written and I was really shocked by the ending (which might just reflect how unobservant I can be!)

Anyway, should you be interested in the fiction list, here it is:

1 Vernon God Little, DBC Pierre
2 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
3 Ulysses, James Joyce
4 Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis De Bernieres
5 Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell
6 The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie
7 The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
8 War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
9 The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
10 Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevsky


* One person who commented on The Alchemist on Amazon said “what is wrong with people? This book is simply terrible. I was given it as a present by a man I was potentially falling in love with, when he declared this was his favourite book I realised it would never work.” Enough said…

Monday, March 12, 2007

Ahead


Yet another day off work today. I knew that having worked nights it might be wise to be kind to myself and make sure I have as near to a weekend as possible. I didn’t find the night shifts anywhere near as difficult as I thought I would. I actually was on quite good form the whole time. I just decided that I’d eat at normal times, so I had dinner about 8 or 9pm and then didn’t eat again while I was working because I wouldn’t normally eat at 3am etc. I drank lots of water and had an occasional hit of caffeine and avoided chocolate because it gives me a high and then a real low energy-wise. This all seemed to get me through the shifts without too much pain. I actually finished earlier than expected yesterday morning so was in bed just before 4am. I had to get up at a reasonable time though so that I got to eat breakfast at the hotel. I can’t miss out on free food.

I was actually working near to where my sister lives and so went round to see her on the way home and there was actually a small party for my nephew as it is his birthday this week. My nephew was as cute as ever so it was nice that I got to see him. Then I trekked home and didn’t do a lot for the rest of the evening.

Last night whilst watching TV, prompted by some passing moment in a programme, I suddenly thought that one of the things that I miss is knowing that there is someone who it matters to whether I love them or not. I have no idea if that even makes sense to anyone else and there is actually an awful lot in that in that statement if you start to unpick it, but it was just one of those moments where it suddenly struck me that I’d understood something that is really important to me.

Recently I said that one of my problems in the whole relationships stuff is that I just don’t tend to fancy people, which is in part my way of avoiding disappointment. Anyway, after years of living my life by this philosophy I am trying to retrain my brain to think about what I can ‘appreciate’ about someone. Over the weekend I ended up working with various people who I didn’t really know and so I took that as an opportunity to test this out. So sometimes when I was chatting with someone, in my mind I would be thinking about what I could like about them. That sounds *really* shallow and I don’t mean it like that. It’s more that my normal mindset is not to bother to think about things like that because instead I think “well, they’d never feel the same way anyway” and so I give up at the first hurdle. So instead I would be looking for attractive qualities in people I was talking to and trying to appreciate those things. I think part of what I need to do is remind myself that the world is full of possibilities and sometimes you have to have an open mind in order to see them*.



*Whilst that can be good it is also helpful to remember ‘balance’ because at times there is a thin line between ‘available’ and coming across as desperate.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Brief



Back. In one piece. Not as worn out as I expected. Only have enough brain power to watch Grey's Anatomy tonight.




The image is from One Bean

Friday, March 09, 2007

Late starts



A late start today as I am hoping that by getting up late I will still be awake in the early hours of both Saturday and Sunday morning. I still woke up quite early this morning though but hoped that by staying in bed for ages that somehow it was like being asleep. Somehow I don’t think it works like that. As I left work yesterday I said to a colleague “So I’ll see you about 4.30 on Saturday morning then” and she said she’d see me then. How depressing is that. For some strange reason we have to do a handover in the middle of the night. I think I have actually done slightly better by doing nights as at 4am at least I can think that I can go to bed shortly whereas some colleagues will be getting up knowing they have a whole day of work ahead of them. (Can you see how I’m trying to find the silver lining in this?). It will all be over soon… It will all be over soon…

Despite the fact that exercise plays no role in my life, yesterday I was thinking that possibly I should be a bit more proactive on that front. Particularly as my food intake this week has been rather high and unhealthy. I normally take two different tube lines to get home but last night I didn’t take the first tube and instead walked to where I could pick up another tube line instead. It took about 50 minutes to walk it (which as on the tube it takes about 10 minutes, is not the quickest way to get home), but it took me through pleasant bits of London and I think I might do it more often and try and do myself some good. As I am also going on a walking holiday at the end of May I should probably try and do something to get myself vaguely fit in preparation for that. This link is only useful if you want to walk in London but if you look here you can put in the name of places in London and it will tell you how to walk between the two. Interestingly it told me that it would take a medium speed walker fifty minutes to walk the route I did last night and I knew I wasn’t walking all that fast, so if I up my pace a bit then I should be able to do it about 10 minutes quicker I reckon.

On other matters, could this be the most boring news story ever- Wembley has got its fire alarm certificate.

If you're a UK blogger then you might be interested in this which is the chance to contribute an amusing blog post you have written to a book that is going to be published next week in aid of Comic Relief. So getting cracking if you want to be part of it.

I read something the other day which in which someone described morale at their company as being so low that you could limbo under a sleeping snake's belly. What a brilliant turn of phrase. Your task is to somehow get that into conversation over the next few days. The more high profile the event the better.

Anyway, that’s all for now. I would guess I’ll be back here on Sunday if I can prop my eyes open with matchsticks. Remember, the phrase that pays* “limbo under a sleeping snake’s belly”.

*When I say “pays”, actually it doesn’t.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Reunited

I had a successful time away with work. This was after I had managed to drag myself away from my new sofa and armchair. I sat on each of them, bade a tearful farewell, set the burglar alarm to keep them safe and then headed off to work.

I was staying in a really nice hotel. So nice that they even gave you a rubber duck to use in the bath:




I don’t think I have ever been to a hotel where they have given you a rubber duck before. This was perfect for my usual ‘stay at a hotel’ plan which involves me having a nice long bath. Er, actually that isn’t much of a plan is it? Anyway, this time it involved a rubber duck, which therefore has taken my somewhat limited plan to a whole new level.

We had a really nice dinner which included some absolutely delicious lamb followed by some really nice cheese. There was so much food that even I couldn’t eat it all. I only knew one other person who was there, and him only vaguely, so it was a good way to get to know people and everyone was very friendly.

When I flew back I discovered that if you are flying with BMi on a full price economy fare you can still go in the business lounge, so we went and used that which was handy. While I was away I discovered that the chap I vaguely knew lives just down the road from me and he had booked a taxi so I hopped in as well and got home in a fraction of the time it would have taken me by public transport. Marvellous. On the flight I was sitting next to a very friendly Nigerian chap who I think was keen to get to know me. He offered to buy me a cup of tea on the flight and seemed rather hopeful that I was going to be at the airport for a while after we had landed as he had several hours to kill before his next flight left. I assured him I would be heading straight home.

When I got home I was reunited with my sofa and armchair, but the moment was short lived as a bulb blew in the kitchen. Then later in the evening the bulb in the living room went a well. I tried to change it but the bit you slot the bulb into just disintegrated, so there was no way to fit a new bulb. I dug out a couple of lamps and will have to use those until I can get it replaced. I have texted a friend to see if he will do it for me and will see what he says.

I also spoke to my mum briefly who reminded me that I am busy all weekend as I have to work – and annoyingly I am doing nights. I am not looking forward to this at all and my heart just sank when mum said it as I had (temporarily) totally forgotten. So tomorrow I need to try and sleep in really late and then set off early afternoon to the place where I’m working and then maybe have a brief doze in a hotel before starting work. Then I will sleep in the hotel all day Saturday before going back to work until the early hours of Sunday morning. *sigh* I really could so without this, although I do get paid (a pittance) for doing this.

I can’t promise anything that quite compares with shaving a yeti, however, I have a new site for you to look at. Today I resent you with Rate my cow, which is just what it says it is - a site where you rate people’s cows. Steady yourself and only view this site in small doses if you think this could turn into a problem for you.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Delivered



I had a nice day yesterday and it was good to catch up with my friend and her husband. They turned up just as the plumber gas fitter (he gave me a disapproving grunt when I described him as a plumber) was finishing fitting the new thermostat. He turned up about 45 minutes late, but at least he arrived. He also altered a couple of other settings as he said that if they stayed as they were they would rust up the radiators, which could explain why they had to all be cleaned out recently. This also stopped a dripping sound that often emanates from the airing cupboard. So success all round really.

My friends and I walked to the nearby high street and I got a new battery for my watch and then we went for lunch, which was very pleasant, despite the cup of tea not really tasting of tea and instead it had a distinct undertone of chocolate to it. That bit was not entirely pleasant. There seemed to be an awful lot of police officers about in the local area as well. I think we saw eight in the time we were out. They were all just walking the beat, but as I never normally see any near where I live and I hardly live in a hot spot of crime I was a little surprised to see quite so many. Still, I think they did ticket a woman for parking on the zigzag at a zebra crossing.

This morning my new sofa is due to be delivered and hopefully in time so that I am not late for work. Then this afternoon I have to go and hop on a plane so that I can get to a meeting (this makes it sound more exciting a journey than it is) that is first thing tomorrow morning and then I’ve got to fly back tomorrow afternoon and hope that I’m back in time to go out tomorrow night. All of this means that there is unlikely to be any new post here until Thursday. So, no playing with knives or other such dangerous pursuits in my absence. I suggest a nice cup of tea and a listen to some of the songs I have mentioned over the last few days to take you to a happy place.

If you are unable to take yourself to a happy place then I suggest you consider going here instead. However, if formulating evil plans to take over the world is not enough to occupy your time then maybe here is the place for you. Words fail me.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Stopped

No work again today. This time it’s because my friend came back from The Gambia permanently this weekend and so we are meeting up today. It will be interesting to see how that goes. Actually, we’ll get on just fine and they really want to see where I live and so on. They did actually view it with me when I was looking at properties and want to see what it’s like now it’s mine – and to see me as well.

The plumber is also due this morning and hopefully he will then fix my hot water tank and the temperature of the water will be somewhat cooler than it is at the moment. I also need to get my watch fixed. It stopped working on Saturday and so I need to get a new battery for it. The last time I had to get a new battery for it was a couple of years ago and it was one of those rare days when A and I did not meet up on our lunch breaks. That lunch break A got pooed on by a pigeon and I got stung by a wasp. When I got back to my office I realised my watch had also stopped so then I had to wander off again to get that working. I am hoping that today will not be so fraught with such disasters, but can you see why I don’t often go out on my lunch breaks any more? It’s dangerous going out into the big wide world without A and I just look plain silly in one of those bee-keeper outfits.

Last night I settled down at 8pm to watch the start of series 2 of Grey’s Anatomy and ten minutes into it the signal went on my TV again. I think it must be because it rained so much last night. So the only programme I had wanted to watch in months, I could only peer at through a cloud of snow and interference. However, all was not lost as I managed to find the two episodes on the internet that they showed last night, so I watched them via the internet instead. I really need to get my aerial looked at at some point.

Anyway, here is a rather nice song, which is “Falling Slowly” by The Frames. It’s a live version and personally I prefer the studio version without the female accompaniment (which is here but the video is of something totally different). The live version is still good though and I also really like his explanation of what the song is about. Enjoy.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

One was entertained



I met up with my mum yesterday and we went to see the film The Queen. I have to say that I really enjoyed the film. It was very engaging and focused on the Royal family around the time when Princess Diana died - although, obviously various parts of the story were fictionalised. I’d forgotten a lot of the furore surrounding Diana’s death and quite how big the public response was to it all. I thought it was gave a really interesting portrayal of the Royals and Tony Blair, although it needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. I actually cannot remember what I thought about the Royal family not returning to London. I think it all probably washed over me, but I do remember turning on the TV the morning that she died and hearing the news and phoning my parents about 8.30am to say that Diana had died because it was such shocking news.

After the film I went over to my parents’ house for dinner and whilst the food was nice, it was yet another evening of feeling really frustrated with my father. I just find him so hard to get on with and revert to dealing with him like I am strop teenager, which totally does my head in. He is just so self-absorbed and is totally oblivious to what anyone else may want. He cannot go beyond his daily routine, so even if you are in the living room he will switch off the TV and turn off all the lights because he is going to bed. It really frustrates me to feel the way I do though so I’m going to have to find some way to deal with it differently because my attitude irritates me and I don’t like feeling the way I do about it all.

Anyway, if you want to be more environmentally friendly but are rubbish at working how to do this or think that it won’t make any difference then Crap at the Environment (CATE) could be the very thing you have been looking for. Basically it’s meant to be a potentially enjoyable and fun way to maybe in a small way make a difference – and if it does make no difference then at least you’ve tried, and you’ve had a bit of fun along the way. With credit to Stand on the Right for pointing this out.

Another blog I sometimes read is In Search of Adam. The blog owner is (soon to be published) author Caroline Smailes. She’s seems like a nice sort – friendly, kind hearted and other such good things, so I was very amused when she posted a list of things that she hates the other day. It seems that when she started she just couldn’t stop! I think the lesson from this is that sometimes it is safer to leave all those evil thoughts inside your head or else you might not be able to step foot outside of your front door without ranting and whipping out your biro to add yet another item to the list. Be warned.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

To put a smile on my face



So... Teeny tagged me and I have to come up with the first ten songs that played on my iPod. The person who tagged her changed it to this even though the original tag had been about the contents of his handbag. Yes... I am then changing it again because I don’t actually own an iPod. This is a bit like some children’s game of Chinese whispers. We’ll probably go back into the mists of blogging history and find that this all started with someone asking “how are you?” - but sometimes you can’t hold back the tides of change.

Anyway, I will give you a list of the ten songs that I would like to listen to on my (imaginary) iPod on the way into work because I reckon they’d put me in a good mood for the day ahead*. This is actually more revealing than naming the first ten songs that come up because you can always add the disclaimer that there are lots of other *far better* songs on your iPod and these *just happened* to be the ones that came up, whereas I have no such get out. *gulp*

If you click on each of the titles it will take you to the video of it. I reckon with a bit more thought I could come up with a lot more, so may continue it at some point for when I become a proper adult and get an iPod.

So, in no particular order, I present you the contents of my head:

Mr Blue Sky - Electric Light Orchestra
Beautiful Child - Rufus Wainwright
Feeling a Moment - Feeder
When You Were Young - The Killers
Somewhere Else - Razorlight
Chasing Cars - Snow Patrol
Wires - Athlete
No Tomorrow - Orson
Better Days - Goo Goo Dolls
How to Save a Life- The Fray


I should now tag five people but I get all paranoid and it’s like being back at school when you have to pick teams in PE and so on. So to save tagging people who then laugh in my face, I leave it to you to take up the gauntlet. Feel free to do so and you’ll then give me a nice warm glow.



* A very catchy and succinct tag I am sure you will agree.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Satisfied



I am now fully burglar alarmed. It took the chap much less time than I’d been told so that was good – and my neighbours were probably quite relieved given the amount of drilling noise there was plus various tests on the alarm that meant it ringing very loudly. I can now set the alarm when I go out and also when I go to bed at night. I can go from my bedroom to the bathroom but if I got anywhere else the alarm will go off. I couldn’t set it last night though because a friend was staying in my spare room and I think my neighbours would have been even less impressed if the alarm had gone off at night. I do also have a panic button by my bed if I am feeling particularly paranoid and hear strange noises in the night. There’s a joke there somewhere but I’m too tired to work out what it is…

Going to see my financial adviser was fine as well. I am only doing part of what he suggested at the moment though, as I explained to him that I thought I might get to the end of the month and have absolutely no money if I’m not careful. So I want a bit of time to work out what my outgoings are each month. I have lots of things I need to sort out anyway though, so if I don’t have enough to occupy me where I live then I can spend the rest of the time working out what to do with my finances. I think I need to get some new interests.

While I was out yesterday afternoon I went to John Lewis in Oxford Street and one of the staff there said to a colleague about going to get something from a “cakery”. Her colleague asked what a cakery was and she replied “You know… the place they bake cakes”. Erm, yes… worrying. There was a story in the paper the other day that a lot of children don’t know what animal pork or lamb comes from – or where yogurt comes from (I’m not sure I could answer the last one with a very exact description). It seems those children may be in good company.

I finished reading Red Leaves by Thomas H Cook. Mr Cook gets a big thumbs up from me, a really good book and a *much* better read than the last book I read. I got to the end and was left with lot of “if only…” points in my mind, which was not because the plot was ludicrous but because it was a well put together story. My faith in crime writers is restored.

Oh and I know about Teeny’s tag but will have to apply my brain to it as I don’t own an iPod.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Time Flies



No work today. Yay! The burglar alarm man is here to fit a new alarm system. He turned up very slightly early, came in walked round where I live and told me exactly what he was going to do and then set to work. So I’m quite impressed by all that - and burglar alarm fitters seem more reliable than plumbers. Later I am going to see my financial adviser and then a friend is coming to stay tonight which should be good.

Last night I spoke to someone who I am going away on holiday with at the end of May. There are two or three people I know purely because of going away on holiday with them and I don’t seem them or have any contact with them beyond that really. It might sound odd, but it works well and it’s mainly because they are friends of friends (although the mutual friend doesn’t necessarily go away on the holiday. We’re going to Wales this year (the previous couple of years has been Scotland) and I had to phone the chap who has booked it to get his bank details so that I can send him the deposit. I have got my internet banking working again and as far as I can see, I have been charged for having gone overdrawn. I still await the refund cheque from my credit card company though. No surprise there...

I can’t believe that it is March already. This year is flying by. I think it’s meant to be a sign of old age that the years fly by very quickly and I suppose I am getting older by the day, but at this rate I’ll be drawing my pension before I know it.

Today is World Book Day, which is meant to encourage people to get into reading. So it’s a good opportunity to dust off a book and get reading.

I have some chores and watching trashy daytime TV ahead.