Friday, November 28, 2008


I was on a couple of courses yesterday, both of which were good and to the point and on interesting topics (one on conflicts and the other on influence). Anyway, we were asked a question, which was what the first piece of music we had ever bought (rather ashamedly I must admit mine was Pass the Dutchie by Musical Youth. Anyway, moving on…). One of the people on the course said “Do you mean on CD or tape?” and various people looked at her and one said “er… I think for some people it might be vinyl” and she looked at us all, as though she had just realised *quite* *how* *old* we were. The first ever music she bought was by Suede and I can’t remember the song now but it placed her somewhere in the mid-1990s. Mind you, one of my colleagues whispered to me that his first ever music purchase (as a child…) was of some Bach Concertos. I did tell him that knowing him quite well, I was somehow not surprised by this…

In other news, I finally managed to get the biscuits I needed. Waitrose came up trumps and they were even in date. I now also need to make a visit to Woolworths, potentially before it closes forever, to get some red liquorice bootlaces to make the tails of some coconut mice I need to make in the next few weeks. What am I going to do if they close down forever? How am I going to have any mice tails?

Finally, I also see that the BBC plan to film a version of The Day of the Triffids next year, which I will eagerly await. But could it ever be as good as the book. We shall see.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


I went back to Sainsbury’s today to see if they had any more of those biscuits – but this time in date. They did have some of the biscuits on the shelf, but as it turned out they were exactly the same packets that had been on the shelf the previous day. So when I spoke to them about it at the customer service desk and they apologised profusely for selling out of date biscuits, they were soooooooo sorry that they re-shelved the biscuits. They did try to suggest that maybe they were packets from the stock room that had accidentally been shelved but I assured them that they were exactly the same packets. Anyway the end result of all of this is that I still don’t have the biscuits. Grrr… I also haven’t heard back from the woman who sent me the rude e-mail a couple of days ago. Perhaps she is masterminding some plot to bring about my downfall – or alternatively it is causing her some difficulty to write an e-mail that doesn’t sound stroppy and finger-pointy.

Recently my boss said to me that he imagined I was the sort of person that would buy next years Christmas presents in the January sales. I said to him that whilst I probably should be offended by what he had said, I could see why he would say that and therefore it was a bit difficult to be too offended. But I did assure him that I have never done that and have no plans to do so. We had been thinking about trying to make a joint bid for Gatwick Airport, but we have now put that on hold, which is probably for the best, as he would probably think I would try and pick up lots of bargains in the duty free. My boss was also thinking about trying to buy Woolworths – all those sweets and all you would have to pay was £1 (and pick up the £274 million debt. Details. Details.). Bit late for that now though.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I got an e-mail from someone at work yesterday and it was one of those ones where you read it and have to walk away or else you will send a really annoyed reply. It was the e-mail equivalent who jabs their finger at you to emphasise each of their sentences. Fortunately I went off to a meeting and when I got back sent a rather calmer e-mail that, in as constructive a way as possible, pointed out that whilst what they said might be entirely correct her department had dealt with two other things totally differently and what I had done was based on advice given by her department. I actually wrote back a very nice e-mail explaining the history of what had happened etc. Bu then at the end of my reply I said that I had been concerned by her tone and I hoped I had misinterpreted it and that we could proceed in a more amicable way from now on. I still await her reply…

I did, however, get an e-mail from someone I do lots of work with and he was apologising for being really off with me in a meeting yesterday morning. I just scratched my head and wondered when he had been really off with me! He’s a really nice guy, and one of my most favouritest people I have ever worked with and we often debate and argue through issues (in a positive way to try and move our work forward) and it hadn’t even crossed my mind he might have thought there was potentially an issue between us. It was nice that it mattered to him though.

I went to Sainsbury’s yesterday and bought a packet of biscuits and I just happened to look at the back of the packet as I was walking down the road and noticed that they were about six weeks out of date. I went back to the shop to change the packet and then found that all the packets were totally out of date. I got a refund, but unfortunately then had no biscuits. Grr…

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I had a really busy day at work yesterday and seemed to just got from meeting to meeting and had loads of e-mails and phone calls to deal with as well. I prefer being busy though so it was good. I did manage to find time to go out at lunch time though and I bought a Secret Santa present. Surely this is the best present ever (for under a fiver)? Or if that isn’t quite right, then how about this?

There is also another website that has some great Christmas present items. I really like this cup (builders brew every time). You could also have this rather unusual teapot to go with it as well. I do also need to try and get G this notepad. I wasn’t aware of this being a particular issue, but G saw someone with one of these notebooks on the tube last week and now really wants one. But I want to find a shop to buy it rather than ordering it over the internet, so this may be a problem… Although G sulking on Christmas Day or leaving me post-it notes written in blood (due to a lack of any other writing implement obviously) may be more of a problem.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Another weekend over and this time it included such highlights as seeing a play that my mum was directing. Whilst it was amateur dramatics, fortunately it wasn’t one of those toe-curling instances involving wobbly sets and lots of very bad acting. It was Lady Windermere’s Fan and I was surprised quite how many famous quotes are in that play.

“I can resist everything except temptation.”

“Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about it.”

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”

“In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.”

“A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.”

And so on...

G and I also did things like buy Christmas cards (and G has now written some of them…), I’ve worked out various Christmas presents I am going to buy and have prepared most of an internet order and other such exciting things.

I did also have to deal with a few irritating things like not being able to access the internet via Internet Explorer (a problem I still haven’t fixed, but I know why it has happened). I know various people rate Firefox, but I have just never seen the appeal, it seems like now might be the time to make the move though.

Anyway, a busy week ahead...

Friday, November 21, 2008


I was on my way into work yesterday morning and walked passed someone who I know was famous, but I have no idea who he was or what he is famous for. I’m hoping I will see him on the TV sometime soon and will then it will all fall into place.

I went to Oxford Street last night. I walked over 17,500 steps yesterday. It was very busy and made even more so by the sale on at M&S. While I was in M&S I overhead a woman saying “I think Vernon Kay is trying to look more and more like David Miliband”. I can’t imagine many people aspire to that. Not that there is anything wrong with how David Miliband looks, I just can’t see looking like the Foreign Secretary is many people’s ambition in life.

When I got into work yesterday morning, this was waiting for me on my desk*. It was from my overly enthusiastic colleague. I thanked him for the pre-licked stick. Apparently he did wash it before he left it on my desk. I am grateful for small mercies.

*The note says: The ice cream (milk chocolate - no dark) was like the movie - disappointing.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


G came over last night and we went out for dinner with some friends, which was really nice. They are people who like the finer things in life (I once told C that I relate the sound of a champagne cork popping to her), but are very down to earth people. It was C’s birthday and we had this lovely meal and just chatted away. I did have to apologise at one point because G and I were talking so much and I explained that we don’t get out on a week night much. We gave her a cake book and she was really pleased with that and said that specific book had been the top item on her Christmas present list. Anyway, it was a really good evening, but I’m a bit tired today as it turned into rather a late night.

G pointed out an article in the paper saying that couples who don’t live together are helping to fuel the housing shortage. So I think I am now meant to be considering that us living together is a social responsibility and for the good of society as a whole. Right...

Is it just me or is it slightly ironic that John Sergeant, the BBC’s ex-political correspondent stood down from Strictly Come Dancing because he was worried the democratic process would actually let him win...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I am pretty near the end of Fooled by Randomness now and whilst I am enjoying the book, the author is incredibly arrogant and that is matched by an equal dose of being incredibly opinionated. This is not an entirely endearing style of writing. But it is an interesting read nonetheless.

One of the things he said was that he tries to avoid situations where people criticise him – so he doesn’t read reviews of his work, or deal with unsolicited comments on his books etc and compares himself to when Odysseus got sailors to tie him to a mast so he could hear the Sirens call but not be enticed to his death by them. His sailors had wax stuffed in their ears so they could not hear the Sirens call, but could ensure that eh didn’t break his binds. Taleb, the author, compares himself to the sailors and says that he does the equivalent of sticking wax in his ears so he does not get distracted from his course. I don’t think it’s that he can’t take criticism, I think it is that he is so committed to what he is doing that he wants nothing to distract him from it. And really quite arrogant that there isn’t really much he can learn from others. Whilst I think his book is really interesting, I find his approach to life more widely bizarre. Surely we can always learn things from other people and it’s about sorting the chaff from the wheat – and learning to take criticism or how to respond to it, is part of growing up.

He also said:

“We are designed to respond to hostility with hostility. I have enough enemies to add some spice to my life, but I sometimes wish I had a few more (I rarely go to the movies I need the entertainment). Life would be unbearably bland if we had no enemies on whom to waste efforts and energy”

He does like to make quite controversial statements, but there are just so many things wrong with what he said. Whilst our instinct may be to respond with hostility to a given situation, surely it is better to aspire to ways that are more measured and about achieving peace and drawing a line under hostility. Surely we should aspire to a life where we have no enemies and don’t have anyone to hate or who hates us. What a pointless waste of energy to hate anyone, and ultimately, even if we cannot forgive, surely for our own sake, if not for that of the other person, we should seek to find a way forward that is about no longer letting any given situation keep us within its hold. That quote strikes me as the words of someone who has never really taken the time to comprehend what they really mean.

Choose peace, even if it can be a painful road to get there – and don’t wish for enemies or you might just get them. I don't mean that in any terribly profound way, more as a statement of fact. I am not impressed by anyone advocating actively pursuing gaining more enemies. I despair a bit that anyone would think this was a good thing to include in a book, particuarly one mainly based on mathematical principles.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


My car is being serviced today and despite knowing that is what I need to do today, I am still feeling a bit paranoid that I will still walk out the front door, straight past my car and head into work - like I did a few weeks ago when I was meant to be getting my bumper repaired. I still feel as though I have no short term memory at the moment.

I had my mid-year review yesterday and that went well. My boss seemed really pleased with how things are going and said that he thought I should think about promotion at some point, but I told him that I am just not interested (which he knows, but wanted to reiterate this anyway). If the right job came up then I might consider it in order to do that particular role, but beyond that I have no interest in promotion. I used to have ambition, now my priorities in life are to have a good work-life balance and to get home in time to watch Home and Away. I’m a simple soul.

Scarily, this is post 900...

Monday, November 17, 2008


This weekend I:

• Ate the New Covent Garden Soup of the month, which is called “Choc Full of Beans”. It’s lots of nice beans with a hint of chocolate and is remarkably nice.

• Ate Paul Rankin’s cinnamon and raisin bread. That is also very nice.

• Managed to convince G to put up the mirror in my living room. This turned out to be a remarkably large amount of work for G (up and down ladders, lots of measuring and drilling), but for me mainly consisted of making tea and providing food.

• Was reminded how observant children are and you therefore have to be careful what you say. We went to visit one of G’s friends. He has a daughter who is about 18 months old and recently was teaching her about dog’s having “waggy tails”. Said child then saw him with no clothes on and pointed out that he too had a waggy tail…

Friday, November 14, 2008


Yesterday I went to pay the deposit for my teams Christmas lunch. Where we are going is just round the corner from where G works so we met up and had a stroll and a chat, which was a really pleasant way to spend my lunch break. Despite the rain. It did seem to stress the restaurant that I wanted to pay the deposit though, as the manager was off dealing with an ‘emergency’ and everybody else seemed too scared to touch the computer system. I did finally manage to get them to take the money, but they did huff and puff a bit. Who would have thought that it would be so difficult to convince a restaurant to take your money?

I then asked colleagues to say what they would ant for each course of the meal and one person, who claims she isn’t a fussy eater, had to have every item described to her in detail so that she could see if there was something she didn’t like in it. It turns out she won’t eat raw salmon, doesn’t like tomatoes, won’t eat anything that might have been friend. You get the idea. This is the same person who said that wherever we picked would be fine with her – but then when I ran through a list it turned out she won’t eat Chinese, Indian, fish and chips, Mexican, Spanish... Again… you get the drift. She is a really nice person, just possibly not very self-aware.

Since I read War and Peace I have lost a bit of my enthusiasm for reading. I think it might in part be because it is quite difficult to think of a book to flow on from that with (and might explain why one of the book’s I am reading a children’s book!). A book I am reading at the moment though is “Fooled by Randomness”, which basically looks at whether we too easily see patterns that we think can predict the future, including in the money markets etc. We also draw assumptions because we basically see the past as a really key determining factor of the future, but often we base this on flawed data or just not enough of it or assume that because that is what happened in the past that it will therefore happen again. It’s an interesting read, although it would be an easier read if I knew more about the money markets. He does kind of argue for a simpler and less complex life though and I am interested in his take on that (but he is somewhat arrogant and kind of rambling though…). Anyway, there was a quote in it that struck me:

“I was at the age when one felt like one needed to read everything, which prevented me from making contemplative stops”

Sometimes I think I need to take more time to let the things that I have read sink in...

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I think I was feeling in a bit of a bolshy mood yesterday. This might in part have been influenced by taking part in a conference where we knew one of the speakers was going to absolutely slate what we were doing - which he did, but it was fine. Afterwards he said he was really grateful for how we had responded to his criticisms i.e. we let him say his piece and acknowledged his concerns and on a personal level didn’t give him the cold shoulder etc and treated him the same as we would have had he been really supportive. I guess it comes down to being able to identify the difference between the views someone represents and who they are as a person and you have to learn not to take things personally.

I watched Home and Away on Fiver last night and as the presenter introduced the programme she described one of the characters, who is suffering from serious mental health problems, as “going cuckoo”. I was so unimpressed and for the first time ever contacted a TV broadcaster to make a complaint about what had been said. I was really shocked that anyone would have thought that an appropriate comment, let alone on TV like that. I don’t suppose me getting in touch will make much difference, but I did say that I hoped this did not represent the channel’s view of mental health problems and that there wouldn’t be a repeat of such a comment. I just can’t believe that in this day and age someone would think that it was ok to make a comment like that.

Anyway, yesterday morning someone parked outside where I live (as in our private parking area) got out the car and walked off. I saw her come back last night and went out and spoke to her because I had seen her car parked there several times and had no idea who the woman was. Before I even uttered a word she started telling me that she was a friend of one of neighbours and she’d never have parked there without permission etc etc. I said it was fine and she still kept telling me that she was on a training course and again I said it was fine. Clearly she thought I was going to have a go at her. I’m not sure why. Perhaps I should have put down the bloodied axe before I went out to speak to her.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Yesterday was a busy day and seemed to involve from one totally unrelated task to another. I had to announce the two minute silence across the building and that went really well. I hate doing it because the message goes out to over 1000 people and some of them are very important (well they all important obviously, but in an Animal Farm sort of way, some are more important than others) and if it goes wrong it is a *major* mistake. But it all went fine and various people said to me afterwards that I had done it really well, including me using my best BBC Radio 4 voice.

I got an e-mail from my old big boss yesterday. I had sent him a card on Thursday to say how saddened I was at D’s death and that he was in my thoughts because I was sure it would have been a great loss to him personally. He sent me back a really nice e-mail thanking me for the card and telling me how he and others in the office were coping and reminding me of when the funeral is. I do feel greatly saddened by D’s death and I was talking to G about it the other day and suddenly remembered that he did my leaving speech when I left the office and things like that just made me feel more sad. I think I just feel quite sombre about a few things at the moment.

There are many thoughts going round my head about the need to make life simpler. I think we often have so many demands on our time and thoughts, and with that comes all the stresses of those demands. I just think that somehow we should be able to avoid those conflicts and stresses of life. I think in part my thinking, and perhaps some of my general sombreness, is due to stuff still rattling on about what C said was the ‘truth’ about what happened with A etc. Despite the fact that I have no interest in discussing any of that stuff or putting the record straight, it seems to continue to have a negative effect, partly because C feels awkward about what she said and seems under the impression that I would therefore feel awkward if I saw her. Except I wouldn’t because a) I would only feel awkward if the things were true and b) I do actually have a level of maturity that is far more concerned about moving forward than dwelling on something that I can’t do anything about – and actually wouldn’t be fussed about doing anything about even if I could.

I suppose I find the whole thing quite tedious really and am wondering when we’re all going to just shrug our shoulders and decide that there isn’t actually a problem. I’m not in touch with A, we have no reason to come into contact with each other and I am happy to steer clear of situations where that might happen if it might cause other people upset. I haven’t got an issue with A and would be perfectly friendly and civil if we did happen to see each other and the same goes for seeing C. So I just find it incredibly boring to somehow be in a situation where people are not really sure what the next move is (C is actually away at the moment, so I am hoping that the next move is she will come back from holiday, we’ll meet up for a drink and simply move on) and yet somehow there is an ‘issue’. A sent me that e-mail over two years ago now (my, how time flies) and ended it by saying something like “let it go” and I am wondering why it is only me who is meant to be following that instruction. Most tedious and all rather unnecessary – and a continuation of how things currently are is actually far more likely to create an issue and provoke a discussion about what did actually happened. I can see nothing helpful coming from that conversation and can’t see the point in having it. I just hope that we can go for the simple option and indeed “let it go” and end this tedium.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


On the way to work yesterday someone activated the emergency alarm in the carriage I was in. We came to a sudden stop in the tunnel and then the voice of the driver came over the speakers (bizarrely to the entire carriage) and asked what the problem was. I didn’t hear the reply (this wasn’t broadcast to the entire carriage) but when we got into the next station the driver came to reset the alarm and a man basically pointed at his own very young child and said “it was the kid, it was the kid”. Next time I need an alibi, I will make sure there is a small child nearby and blame them*.

I went out for a walk on my lunch break yesterday. This was a mistake. I had to wring my trousers and socks out when I got back to the office and my feet were like blocks of ice by the time I left work due to being in wet socks and shoes all afternoon. Exercise may be a good thing but perhaps I need to find a less weather dependent one at some point.

I was helping someone arrange some work related stuff yesterday. It was important, but in the grand scheme of things not very significant. I was feeling a bit annoyed with the whole thing because I felt as though I was filling in for other people’s lack of willingness or experience etc and there were various e-mails being sent and so on and I just felt annoyed by the whole thing. I didn’t know the person I was helping and had never met him, but yesterday afternoon I met up with him briefly to run through what needs to be done today and while we were waiting for someone else to arrive he just commented that he wouldn’t have even known where to start if I hadn’t been available to help him etc and that made me feel a bit ashamed of my attitude really. I didn’t feel smug or anything like that because of what he said, it just made me think that I need to try and be more willing to try and see things from other people’s perspective. In some circumstances I can do it easily. If I know the people in involved I usually try and give a lot of leeway (G might not necessarily agree with this!), but where I am being asked to do things by people, who might ultimately be asking something perfectly reasonable, it sometimes brings out the side of me that puts up some degree of resistance and resentment. If I then get to meet the people involved I am then often struck by a sense that if I had just been a bit more compliant in the first place the road could have been a bit easier and the goal achieved more quickly, without all the frustration along the way. I’m not sure I’ll ever learn though – and that frustrates me and makes me feel even more irritated by the whole thing, or me really.

Last night I watched “Not Forgotten: The Men Who wouldn’t Fight, which was about conscientious objectors in the First World War. It was a really good programme and if you get the chance to watch it then do (it’s on every day this week at 4pm on More 4 or 9pm tomorrow night). I was struck by an epitaph written by WH Auden called The Unknown Soldier which says:

“To save your world you asked this man to die:
Would this man, could he see you now, ask why?”


*it was actually the child who did it. He managed to reach up from where he was sitting and pulled the alarm.

Monday, November 10, 2008


So it was a marvellous weekend away. We set off down to the south coast after work on Thursday and got to the place we were staying at about 9pm, which was when we said we would arrive. They had forgotten we were coming though and so made us a quick cuppa while they rushed off to make up the room. They were mortified about it, whereas we were rather more laid back. I did assure them that a cup of tea fixes everything and so they had nothing to worry about.

Friday we went for a really nice walk and then ate a huge lunch (it was meant to be a small lunch but turned out to be huge) and we managed to dodge the rain all day. In the evening we went to a Polish café for dinner, which was lovely. The lady who ran it was so welcoming and the food was really nice and we had this lovely Polish drink, which was hot orange juice and apple juice mixed with cinnamon sticks and cloves. I had beef goulash, which is one of my favourite meals and was really good. At the end of the meal she gave us some home made cherry vodka and I decided I would try it, as she had gone to so much effort for us. I am a complete teetotaller and let me tell you that vodka is quite a shock to the system. I did drink some of it, but G rescued me.

Saturday I managed to convince G to buy some new jeans. This was a major achievement, as G hates shopping but did actually end up buying three pairs. This also gave me the chance to get started on my Christmas shopping, so I got a few bits done. In the afternoon we went back to where we were staying and watched Poirot, drank tea and read the paper and it all felt very civilised. Then in the evening we went for a curry. It was a nice meal, but some of the prices were far more than I would expect to pay in London (£12 for a Biriyani!). It was a nice meal though.

Then yesterday we slowly made our way back to London and I then spent a while clearing up all the leave in my garden and G made us a late lunch and we generally came to terms with having to go back to work today. It was a really good weekend and having that extra day on the weekend made such a difference. Only about six weeks until I am off for Christmas now, and not a moment too soon.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Yesterday I was really saddened to hear that someone I used to work with died. I don’t actually know the details of what happened, when I left work yesterday I switched on my phone and there was a really brief message from someone telling me he’d died. He’d had cancer but I thought he was in remission. I don’t know any details at all of what happened though, but assume it was cancer related. I had expected to see him a couple of weeks ago (with some other people) but he didn’t turn up. I’d asked if he was ok and people seemed to think he was and I didn’t really think anything of it. I was really shocked to hear that he had died. I’ll send an e-mail to my old big boss today to pass on my condolences. I’m not really upset, I was just rather shocked and saddened by the news.

There’s a new chap who has started at work and he seems ok, but there is something about him that I was just a bit uncertain about, but I couldn’t work out what it was. Then I realised that there is something about him that reminds me of my father. Oh dear. I am still not certain what it is that reminds me of my father but I think we may have a slightly challenging relationship with each other.

My overly friendly colleagues, who is meant to be on a course for two weeks, came and spoke to me yesterday and showed me his latest acquisition, which was a Kookaburra card (think birthday type card with a photo of a kookaburra on the front which when you open it makes the sound of the bird). I feel like his mother, on Monday he told me what he had learned that day and now he is showing me his latest toys. I guess that could be preferable to other options of how he sees me, but as I am over twenty years younger, still very, very wrong.

Anyway, I am off to the south coast tonight to soak in some seaside air. Back here on Monday.

One final thought: I think it is really great that Obama is going to be the next US President and it does really feel as though we are on the brink of change, but I was always slightly bemused by the Obama campaign signed such as these saying "Change We Need" (click on the image for a larger version):

Every time I saw them I heard Yoda saying the slogan in my head. Perhaps that was just me... I shall leave you with some Yoda wisdom, surely you can hear it too...

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


At work yesterday one of my colleagues was telling me that due to the Presidential election I was living through a key day in history and I needed to take note. Not that I wasn’t paying any attention to the Presidential election – and we have the BBC News Channel on at work so it is almost impossible not to know it is happening (and also about some incredibly obscure pieces of news that qualify as ‘breaking news’ when you have to keep broadcasting 24 hours a day, such as some time ago them regularly broadcasting that the toilets had stopped working on the international space station). But anyway, remember that you were a part of history. Despite (probably) not being in the US or having the right to vote there, of course. Great result though and maybe we are now in a time of real change.

I am really on the countdown to going away on Thursday night. Yesterday was really busy and I didn’t get to eat my lunch until nearly 2pm – it is almost unheard of that I would at lunch that late and it does tend to make me want to kill someone if I get hungry. Be warned that I am not particularly picky about who that person would be. By the time I go home I was really tired and then as the evening wore on my cough came back. I seem to be caught in a cycle of tiredness and coughing (which are probably not unconnected) and also my memory is getting bad again. I just keep forgetting to do things, even if someone has left a note on my desk to do it. Last night I forgot what day it was and thought it was Wednesday. I think I am just easily confused at the moment. I am pretty certain I won’t forget to go away this weekend though.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


I have slept so badly the last couple of nights. I have a cough and when I go to bed it takes on a life of its own and keeps me awake. I really had to drag myself out of bed yesterday morning and force myself to keep going enough to actually get to work and then to do anything vaguely constructive while I was there. G and I are going away for the weekend on Thursday night for a long weekend on the South Coast and I cannot wait.

My over-friendly colleague is on a course for the next two weeks and yet he did still manage to come back to the office and had brought back some biscuits, one of which he deposited on my desk. I did ask him what he had learnt that day and he replied “that a day apart from you is a sad day for me”. I thanked him for the biscuit and hoped that he might learn something else tomorrow.

Yesterday I read that some councils are trying to make officials stop using Latin in their correspondence. I haven’t got any opinions on that particularly, although stopping using words like ‘via’ seems a bit much. But… I was a bit perplexed by the closing sentence “A Campaign spokesman said the ban might stop people confusing the Latin abbreviation e.g. with the word "egg".”

What?? I don’t think I have ever heard anyone mistake e.g. for egg. Surely there must have been a better (and more convincing) example than that? Anyone? Anyone??

Monday, November 03, 2008


I had a fairly busy weekend, but felt decidedly under the weather when it came to sleeping at night, which was particularly frustrating as I felt pretty much ok during the day. Anyway, it didn’t stop me doing anything, so I went over to dinner with the parents of a friend of mine – I used to live with them several years ago and haven’t seen much of then lately so it was good to catch up with them. Then Saturday my sister and nephew came over and we had planned to go on a miniature railway, but decided it was too wet and cold to do that, so we had to entertain my nephew, which I think G did fairly well- and has the bruises to prove it.

All the rain meant that there was some quite major flooding outside where I live. I was already due to speak to someone from the council about it this week, but I took some photos and sent them to him to see if that made the point a bit better:

It's not the best photo but everything in the foreground is water and you can see the car drivign through it.

Then yesterday morning I was woken by someone from the council dropping off a very large compost bin for me, so my new project is to fill that. This may take some time… it is 220 litres… My council was giving them away for free and I wanted one anyway so that worked out quite well. A lot of councils seem to be doing this at the moment, so if you want to do it then now might be a good time. Even if you don’t intend to use the compost, it is better to let all your garden waster, food waste etc go into compost than into landfill because it breaks down differently and doesn’t harm the environment (it’s the difference between it breaking down organically rather than inorganically and therefore releasing methane, which is bad for the environment. I only know this because G told me…).

I was amused to read this story on the BBC. I am now thinking about having all of my e-mails translated into Welsh to see if they come back saying something more sensible than what I sent them. One can but hope.