Friday, January 30, 2009


G and I were out rather late on Tuesday night. We went to some friends for dinner and the evening slipped by very easily and we were still there eating cake when I should have been tucked up in bed fast asleep. I therefore was somewhat tired Wednesday morning. Everybody on the way to work seemed to be acting totally unreasonably and deliberately getting in my way or obstructing me. I did begin to wonder if perhaps my lack of sleep was contributing to my view of the world, but clearly I dismissed that thought. That wouldn’t actually explain the chap who was on the tube this morning who decided that he would sit in such a way that he deliberately took up some of my seat as well and sat in this very rigid way and managed to read the paper moving only one arm so that the other could form a permanent barrier marking his territory. I am surprised he didn’t urinate on the seat to really make the point.

G set off for work yesterday morning and made it about half way there but felt really ill so had to go home again. When I got home G wasn’t feeling much better and had actually been in bed all day feeling terrible. This meant I had to cook dinner, and having eaten, G perked up a bit, but was still kind of unwell. The only thing we could route it back to was some prawns on Tuesday night, but I felt absolutely fine, so perhaps not. G had sore kidneys and felt sick and generally unwell. I have no medical training or insight so I have no idea what that means though.

We’ve got some friends coming over for dinner tomorrow night. One of them has MS and follows a really strict diet in order to control the symptoms. This may make for a very bland dinner. G had been thinking of making something that involved prawns but I think those are now off the menu due to yesterday’s ill-health and that was about as exciting as the food got. I am, however, hoping I can have persuaded G to do a bit of tidying up before they arrive on Saturday. I won’t hold my breath. There are still lots of boxes to unpack and no progress made all week. I am trying to remain calm.

It was never like this when I was at school.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


The freeholder continues to drive me mad. She hand delivered a letter on Monday which said “I nailed up my back door shut so no-one could get in. Then I brought a builder round on Saturday and couldn’t get round the back because I had nailed the back door shut and you locked the gate and didn’t give me a key. Send me it.”. I may have paraphrased slightly. Right, she nailed her back door shut… she failed to secure the gate for years due to having no interest… The whole world doesn’t revolve round her bizarre way of dealing with security matters and somehow this is my fault.

Yesterday morning as I was setting off for work, a man was standing on the drive staring at the freeholders empty flat. I asked him what he was doing and he said he was about to deliver a skip. The only free space was the one belonging to my neighbour, as another neighbour uses the one for the empty flat. So the skip was put in my neighbour’s parking space. No warning. No checking this was ok, which clearly it isn’t due to her having a car that just happened not to be parked there at the time. No wondering if leaving a flat empty for years might mean that someone else uses the parking space. I had actually said to my neighbour a couple of weeks ago that she needed to make sure she parked in her space or else it would probably be ‘taken’ by the freeholder. I feel another letter to the freeholder coming on telling her that she can’t just put a skip on the drive and that I certainly don’t want it outside my bedroom window. G has offered to kill her. That is Plan B.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I had such a boring day at work yesterday. Some of it was probably just because it was a Monday but it was boring nonetheless. My over friendly colleague also came over to berate me for not making him any lamingtons to celebrate Australia Day. I told him that maybe one day I would, but I don’t like to be predictable.

I did almost have the chance to redeem myself over the whole blind story from yesterday. Life would have shown how balanced it is. All would have been right with the world. But unfortunately it passed me by. I was on the train on the way to work and the journey was very slow. We kept stopping on the tracks between stations. A man who was standing up asked if anyone would let him sit down. The lady right in front of me stood up for him – at which point I realised he was blind and had a guide dog. I came so close to finding absolution, but instead I must continue to carry my burden.

On that sombre note, I will leave you with the first part of a Microsoft UK training film…

Monday, January 26, 2009

Emissions and Omissions

I had a busy weekend. Friday night G and I went to babysit for my nephew. He was on good form and we played Hungry Hippos for a while and then had to convince him to go to bed. As G pointed out to me “it’s not a negotiation” – what a good job we saw Supernanny on TV recently.

G got a bit annoyed with me in the evening because my sister has three cats one of which wandered into the bedroom. I told G to just pick it up and take it out of the room at which point I found out that G had never picked up a cat and has no wish to do so. We did remove the cat from the room eventually

On Saturday morning, the bedroom door opened and I looked over to find my nephew lying on the floor with his head sticking round the door. He then wandered in and hopped into bed. Let’s just say he did more than talk and it was a good job neither G or I were smoking in bed or there may have been a small fire based on my nephew’s emissions.

On Saturday night I went to Burn's supper. I couldn't bring myself to eat the Haggis. It brought back so many memories of eating vegetarian haggis last year and then being really sick all the next day. Just the smell of it made my stomach turn. It was a really nice evening apart from that.

On the way home on Saturday, we were on a bus and I stood up to give an old lady my seat. She took it but then told me a couple of times how guilty she felt that I now had to stand. I told her it was fine (which it was). I did later admit to G all the times when I haven’t always been quite so nice, including when I was a teenager when I failed to speak up in time to tell a blind woman she was about to walk into the side a of a bus shelter. It was one of those moments when you knew you should say something but can’t quite compose yourself quick enough to get the right message across. I still feel a bit ashamed about that even now. There are more such stories, but perhaps it is best to leave it there. *Hangs head in shame*

Friday, January 23, 2009


The weekend at last. I am actually going to babysit for my nephew tonight. G is going as well and this could mean that there is a very competitive evening ahead. My nephew likes playing something he calls “the piggy game”. I have no idea why he calls it that, but basically you have to shoot things. This brings out G’s competitive side and making a three year old cry in no way diminishes the need to win. It could get nasty...

I may have mentioned before that my mum has always banned me from eating kebabs (not that I always listen to what my mother says). I think I may have had one once, but never having done the whole getting drunk thing, I have never had an urge for a late night kebab. Anyway, it turns out that my mum was entirely right and kebabs are indeed a dangerous things. I quote (from the article, not my mum, she is far more interesting than this):

Research by the UK's Food Standards Agency in 2006 found that 18.5% of doner takeaways posed a "significant" threat to public health, and 0.8% posed an "imminent" threat.

Be careful out there people.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Catching up

I had one of those short term memory failures again yesterday. Fortunately it occurred before I set off for work and I remembered in time that I had to go to a meeting somewhere else before going to the office. But as I had not remembered before I hadn’t got any of the paperwork or the details of where I was going. But I could remember enough details to be able to have a search on the internet and find where I was meant to go. It then meant I had a bit of time to kill, as I didn’t need to be there until 10, so I did some cleaning in the bathroom and kitchen and unloaded the dishwasher and did some washing up. I don’t think I have ever been that productive in my life before 9am (or very often after 9am either for that matter…).

My neighbour seems to lack the ability to turn off a tap. It is either dripping or running full blast – for days on end. I can hear it running into the drain when I am in the bathroom or the spare room. When I politely pointed it out to her and asked if she had a leak, it suddenly stopped, but slowly but surely she seems to be leaving it on bit by bit.

Not to belittle Obama becoming president, but I do wonder if there are some people in African nations who are thinking that they have had black presidents for years and the US is merely catching up with them.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I watched Obama’s inaugural speech at work yesterday. Except that we had it on two TV’s and one was showing Sky and the other the BBC and both had the sound on and were slightly out of time with each other, so his speech was this sort of weird echo. The TV I was watching had the subtitles on so I watched it on that and vaguely got the gist of what he was saying, but I think the combination of the out of synch sound and slightly dodgy subtitles meant I lost some of the finer points. As I walked to the station last night I overheard various people discussing his speech. It made me wonder if the rush hour was more quiet yesterday due to lots of people leaving work later than normal.

When I got into work on Monday there was a carrot pencil on my desk. I have no idea where it came from and I don’t think it was from my over friendly colleague. I’ll have to try and remember to take a photo of it and post it on here. If it’s yours you can then claim it.

I have nearly finished reading my latest book (The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists). It’s strange that after reading Ware and Peace no book seems long any more and it has taken me about a week to read a 700 page book. All I have done is read it to and from work and then a few minutes before bed. It’s a very socialist book and actually was a major influence on trade unions etc, but it is also an interesting read in the current economic climate. Anyway, nearly done and then on to a new read.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Yesterday was meant to be the most miserable day of the year. I have to say that I didn’t really feel any ill-effects yesterday and so have clearly bucked the trend. But as yesterday’s apparent gloominess will have been based on some rather dubious ‘averages’ and assumptions, hopefully it will mean that no-one got an extra dose of misery to make up for it.

G has always been a bad sleeper, but has been trying to take some steps to fix the problem – being sick a couple of times on Friday morning due to sheer exhaustion has pushed G to take some concerted steps to do something it. It seems that we now have a new rule that we’re not really allowed to speak after 10pm. I did ask G what I should do if there is a late night fire, but have concluded that it might just be best to make my way out the front door quietly. I am checking if I am allowed to communicate via the medium of mime or can whisper sentences of less than six words. I await a response (sometime before 10pm on any given day of course). This living together thing is more challenging than I had expected.

Monday, January 19, 2009


I was doing some stuff on my computer last night and could hear a strange noise outside. Maybe like an animal in pain, as though it was being attacked. I went outside with a torch to see if I could work out what was going on. I did hear something run off into the bushes. I am hoping that it was an animal rather than a human – but also that I am not going to find some animal’s carcass at some point.

We cleared the rest of the stuff out of G’s room yesterday and brought it over to mine. We have managed to put some of the stuff away here, but there is going to be quite a long way to go before things look tidy again. I have realised that when things are cluttered it makes my head feel very cluttered, which is not a good situation. We did tidy the kitchen up lots on Saturday night (we know how to have a good time) and have reorganised all the cupboards and made it more presentable, but the living room and two bedrooms look a total mess. I am going to have to find some way to get my mind to focus on something else or I might go insane.

I was thinking about the Don Henley song “New York Minute” last night. It has nothing to do with 11 September etc, and predates that by several years, in case you wonder. Anyway, here it is. A good song.

Friday, January 16, 2009


Tonight I’m going out with soem colleagues for a belated Christmas meal, but without the turkey. My boss was trying to get some kind of theme or dress code for it, but I assured him that I would suddenly be going home sick if we had to dress for the occasion. I’m clearly into the Christmas spirit still.

I was watching TV yesterday and an advert came on for a thrush treatment and the slogan at the end was “so you can feel yourself again”. I raised an eyebrow and wondered if the person who came up with that slogan was perhaps surprised they managed to get away with it...

Thursday, January 15, 2009


The start of a new year and these dark winter months often make people think about a new job or a great holiday. Well, as it turns out, you can have both – and get a salary of £70,000 for 6 months ‘work’ and free accommodation. In return you have to do a bit of snorkelling and blogging and counting, but that’s about it. The BBC have even provided some tips on applying. If you do get the job, I would be happy to come and visit and would even bring a jar of marmite and teabags to remind you of home.

I also read an article that says your finger length can predict your earning power. Previous research has also shown that your finger length can show your academic potential, your level of aggression, your likelihood of having a heart attack, your sporting potential and your sexuality. The mind boggles. I’ll leave you to make up your own inappropriate jokes.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


This statement is being issued in response to the growing rumours and speculation about the living circumstances of Random Reflections.

It is now possible to confirm that G will be resident at the aforementioned’s property. When asked for a comment on the new living arrangement G said “This is the best thing that has ever happened to me in my whole entire life. I’m so excited, I just can’t hide it. I’m about to lose control and I think I like it”. Random commented “I’m expecting my dinner to be on the table when I get home each night, my slippers to be warming by the fire and my pipe waiting for me on the mantelpiece. I’m quite some catch and G knows it”.

Long discussions ensued in advance of the decision. During those discussions it was agreed that G would do all the cooking and clean the kitchen and bathroom. Random agreed to get the hoover out of the cupboard on occasion – and perhaps sometimes actually switch it on.

Commentators from across the world have stated that this is a truly momentous occasion and will be included in the history books along side the death of Princess Diana, the shooting of JFK and the moon landings.


Notes to Editors:

1. Random has been declared as of sound mind. These recent events have called this into question for G.
2. All quotes attributed to G require a Scottish accent.
3. G may not quite recall providing the quotes. Refer to note 1.
4. Romance is not dead

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I had such an irritating journey home yesterday. I had to take four trains instead of my usual two and it took almost double the amount of time to get home as normal. I also finished the book I was reading about 15 minutes into my journey. Grrr… However, I did better than G who also had a terrible journey made worse by someone being taken ill on the train and them then having to wait for an ambulance to arrive before the train could depart. Anyway, perhaps I can beat last year’s highest ever level of tube refunds - £162.

I realised that last year I read 61 books, which is the highest number ever and even included finding time to read War and Peace. Perhaps I need to get out more. I did really enjoy several of them and have found various new authors to read. I have also got better at not persevering with books that I don’t like – so I did actually start more than 61 books, but those are the ones that I completed. I have just started to read The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist, so we’ll see how I get on with that.

I saw this quiz in the London Paper yesterday. Did they actually pay someone to come up with this really astute quiz?

Monday, January 12, 2009


I spoke to a lawyer on Friday about the letter from my freeholder. She was a bit fierce, but speaking to her helped a bit. I read my lease over the weekend and decided that things could be a bit precarious if I pushed it too much, as if I default on certain payments then technically I could have my home repossessed by the freeholder. So I decided that the best course of action is do everything I need to do to make sure I am compliant with the financial requirements of my lease and then to suggest a plan to her that actually encourages her to only impose charges that she can legitimately do within the terms of our leases. I have therefore suggested a compromise solution that in my view she would be a bit daft to turn down, but my previous dealings with her may suggest that she does actually fall into that category.

In the London Paper a few days ago I saw an article about research into the meaning behind where people sit on the bus. I think you may find it very illuminating, although with the arrival of bendy buses in London clearly means that thee are no rebels in London – and also nobody who thinks. Make of that what you will.

In other news, a formal statement may be forthcoming shortly.

Friday, January 09, 2009


So... I got a letter from the freeholder demanding £950 by return of post to pay for two years’ building insurance and ground rent (which she has never asked us to pay before, due to her terrible invoicing skills). She also wants each of us to pay another £250 twice a year to cover maintenance charges and buildings insurance – even though she has invoiced us for the buildings insurance separately. So she wants me to send her £1200 immediately and another £250 in June. Right…

Fortunately where I work has signed up to a scheme where we can get free legal advice. I phoned them last night and they are going to get someone to call me back today to go through all of the issues. I am hoping they will agree to read the lease for me and let me know what I have to pay etc. I don’t object to paying any reasonable charges for buildings insurance and maintenance, but I can’t be expected to send her £1200 at no notice and I would query her ability to suddenly levy a new increased charge – and I certainly object to being double charged for things! One of my neighbours has gone mad about it, but I have suggested they wait until I get some legal advice before doing anything. My plan is to try and make sure I am clear on the legal position and then go back with some reasonable suggestions on how to proceed. Perhaps bizarrely, I am actually pleased she is finally taking an interest and might finally carry out some maintenance and replace the fences but just think she is going about it in the wrong way and has managed to over-complicate things.

I may have to move someone in to meet the costs of these new bills, of course. Maybe. That’s all I’m saying...

Thursday, January 08, 2009


Yesterday morning I set off for work and glanced at the empty flat/ cannabis factory and saw a light on in the hall. I decided not to investigate and instead phoned the police when I got to work. They said they’d “look into it”. I have no idea what that means and if they did, but the light was not on last night. I’m not sure what of that scenario is a good sign…

I was on a course about ethics yesterday. It seems I have a different view to many of the others on the course in that we were discussing the hypothetical example of the “ticking time bomb” and if in such circumstances you can justify torture i.e. the only way to locate and/ or defuse it is to torture someone for the details. Many could die if it is allowed to explode. I was of the stance that if the State sticks to the absolute principle of torture never being permissible that you therefore cannot justify it on an individual level – and if you do carry out torture then in the circumstance you have to accept that the state will try you and have to find you guilty because it has an absolutist policy on torture and therefore it cannot ever be justified. However, the others were fine with the State not allowing torture and thought that should be maintained but if they were presented with a (rather hypothetical and unlikely) scenario of being the person who had to perpetrate torture to deal with a great(er) evil then they were there at the front of the queue with the pliers and weapons of torture. I couldn’t quite reconcile in my mind how they could then maintain a policy of the State maintaining an absolutist position. I shall have to ponder this further – and also make sure that I don’t get on the bad side of those who were on the course. Who knows what they might do?

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


I went to see my financial adviser yesterday and that was quite interesting. I said that at some point I would like to buy a house and he said he reckons the end of this year or the beginning of next year would be the time to do that, assuming things continue on in the current way for the economy. He also recommended an alternative/ addition to having a savings account, one part of which seems to involve US based life policies. I am pondering the ethics of this, as it relies on mortality rates etc. But I guess pensions and state funding etc is in some ways based on the assumption that people will die and predicting when that will be etc, so maybe it isn’t that unusual and it is just when it is presented in those terms that it seems a bit dodgy.

It seems that love can never come too early. If it comes when you are about six years old, it also seems that you have to elope to Africa. Do you know at that age, I’m not sure I was thinking about love and other such things at all, let alone running off to live a life in the sun with someone. But, of course, the main lesson from this is that if you plan to elope remember to take money and your passport – or go somewhere closer to home. Try Gretna Green, although I hear there is actually a waiting list, which isn’t quite so romantic*. I bet in years to come those children will be so embarrassed by that story.

In other news, no official statement has yet been released on the Random and G living situation. Glossing is still in progress.

*I haven’t actually checked this for my own purposes you understand – before the rumour mill gets going on that one as well.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


One of housemates from university phoned on Sunday and we spent a bit of time catching up. I told her about the cannabis factory next door and we discussed that for a while. I asked her if she’d had any exciting adventures over Christmas. She said she had. She’d been involved in an armed robbery. I felt this trumped my story.

She had been in Nigeria over Christmas as her husband’s parents live there at the moment and they had gone to a park and as they were walking about two men blocked their path brandishing machetes and made them all lie face down on the ground. So they complied (unsurprisingly) and the men then made each of them in turn hand over their valuables and then they disappeared off into the forest. Rather scary. They were all ok though. Me potentially getting high on cannabis fumes rather pales by comparison.

The return to work was ok, apart from having to trek through a bit of snow. My overly friendly colleague came over and had a brief word. I briefly responded to him, but kept my eyes firmly fixed on my computer screen. It seemed to work fairly well. Maybe 2009 will not be the year in which I kill him.

Monday, January 05, 2009


I cannot believe that I have to go back to work today. How can two weeks off have gone by so quickly? A return to early starts and having to motivate myself at work. At least I can pass some time talking to my colleagues about the cannabis factory.

In other news, I was talking to my neighbour who lives above me and she reckons one of my other neighbours is a drug dealer (the one who reversed into my car). He doesn’t work and gets lots of visitors who only come round for a few minutes and then sometimes late at night he goes out for about half an hour and then comes back again. He seems friendly and a nice enough chap, but maybe that’s what drug dealers are like. He doesn’t seem to have had any visitors since the police came round earlier this week. Suspicious? Very possibly not...

We may also have spent some time moving some of G’s stuff in this weekend. But we shall gloss over that for now. *gulp*

Friday, January 02, 2009

Up in smoke

I was so tired last night I fell asleep half way through Agatha Christie’s Marple. My sister explained the plot to me this morning on the phone, but seeing as I missed half of the programme and my sister summarised it all in about two sentences, I may have missed some of the finer detail.

So I went to the local police station on Wednesday. Although it is in a police station, it is actually a police office. This means that it is run by volunteers and the ones who were there on Wednesday looked as thought they had stepped straight out of the 1950s. They were quite interested to hear that a cannabis factory had been found and after a bit of head scratching came up with a couple of numbers for me to call.

I called one of the numbers and spoke to a PCSO who was very helpful and he will get someone to call me with some details of what happened and also is going to get a Crime Prevention Officer to visit (at my request). He said that he thought it was unlikely they would come back but even if they did they seemed to be keeping a low profile and so would not want to be spotted. If I thought there was something going on I should call the police.

Well, yesterday morning I heard noises coming from next door, so I called the police (on the police’s new “not quite an emergency” number, rather than 999) and they came out within about 10 minutes (because they decided it was an emergency). They couldn’t find anything and the property was locked, but I explained to them that it was locked before but they were in there doing their cultivating. Then one of my neighbours said that his girlfriend had got up a while ago and had been making a cup of tea and that was maybe what I had heard. The police seemed to think that was the explanation, except it wasn’t because I can’t hear hem in their flat ever, so why that would now account for the noise that was clearly coming from next door is beyond me. So I’m not very impressed with my neighbour because it wasn’t any of his business. When the Crime prevention Officer comes round I am going to talk to him about it. My neighbour is a nice enough chap (he’s the one who reversed into my car), and he is always really friendly, but there are two things that are odd about the way he has behaved lately – he basically sent the police away yesterday and he has also changed the padlock on the side gate and hasn’t given anyone else the key, which he old me was because he didn’t think anyone would want to use the gate at this time of the year – which means that no-one then would be walking past the back door that the cannabis people would be using because the only reason you would go round there was to get to the gate. Just a bit odd…

I also wrote a friendly but stern letter to the freeholder explaining how important it now is that she makes the place more secure by replacing fences, getting the black of the windows and sorting out her garden (the final one so no-one can secrete themselves in it) and when the crime prevention officer comes round I am going to see if he will write to her as well.

So it’s been kind of busy here, but fortunately I haven’t bumped into any dodgy characters as yet...

Incidentally, I have looked into the signs of a cannabis factory and had I known these before I would have spoken to the police when I spotted the blackened out windows, so here they are:

- The windows of the property are permanently covered from the inside
- People visit the property occur at unusual times of the day or night
- People often do not live in the premises and only visit to maintain them
- There may be a vent protruding through the roof or a rear window
- There may be a pungent smell coming from the premises
- There may be noise coming from the equipment, such as cooling fans
- A large amount of pots and lights may be moved into the premises when the factory is set up
- In terraced houses, shared walls may appear wet to the touch
- Large amounts of soil and pots in back gardens

You might think that if they’re not disturbing you then you don’t want to disturb them, but you might reconsider if you know that they often tap into the electricity supply before it reaches the meter, which is very dangerous and is often the cause of fires. So phone your local Safer Neighbourhood Team or Crimestoppers and talk to them about it, if you think you might have some unwanted visitors...