Friday, February 27, 2009


The trip to Madrid is booked! At the end of March we jet off for a week of (hopefully) sunshine and such things. I have also been trying to turn my mind to the Canada trip. So far we seem to be working on the dead of doing a massive road trip that takes in four provinces – Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. If you don’t know your Canadian geography that is a *long* way (and a *long* way back too…). We may have to revise this plan, particularly if I am the only one doing the driving.

Anyway, it’s an early start today, so I’d better get going. Have a good weekend all.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


I, yet again, came so close to booking a trip to Madrid last night. The hotel and flights were selected and I was going through the process to book it, but the website couldn’t process my card details. I spoke to the company and they said it must be because they operate via the US and so my card company blocked my card due to it thinking it was a dodgy transaction. Apparently they get this problem all the time – which makes me wonder why they don’t just fix it. I tried to phone my credit card company but they had closed for the night. I have no idea if that really was the problem anyway, but hopefully I will be able to book it at some point today.

My over friendly colleague stood up from his desk yesterday and due to a knee problem nearly passed out in pain. We got a first aider to come and see him and he was then sent home in a taxi. Two of my colleagues went with him, as they though he possibly wouldn’t be able to get out of the taxi at the other end. Fortunately I did not have to offer my services for that particular job.

I foolishly agreed to meet up with someone first thing this morning to help them prepare for an interview. So I have to try and sound reasonably articulate very early today. Not an easy task at the best of times.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I was soooooooo tired last night. I got home from work quite late and was really hungry and thirsty and had a headache. G had made up some batter mix, so we had some pancakes and then a bit of dinner and sat down to watch some TV. One of the things we watched was Horizon, which was about how our body clock works. That was really interesting, but clearly my body clock was not wanting me to fully understand its intricacies, as I fell asleep on the sofa before the end of the programme. I managed to drag myself up from the sofa and get into bed and then slept through until this morning.

My computer is still doing very odd things. The main problem is that the only way I can access the internet via IE or Firefox is by switching off my virus scanner. I can’t access any websites that way whilst it is running and yet switching it off seems to defeat the object of having it. I have tried a couple of virus scanners and the problem is the same. My ISP can’t help and when they gave me a new firewall to download it made my computer crash. I will have to dig about and see what I can come up with.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Having the day off work was a good start to the week. I got my TV repaired, despite John Lewis giving the repairman the address of somewhere I haven’t lived for over 3 years and almost booked a trip to Madrid. We were trying to go by train, but after various problems trying to book on RailEurope’s website I phoned them and they tried to book it on the phone instead but the prices were getting extortionate so we decided it would be better to fly, but we definitely plan to go on a long train trip sometime soon.

Afternoon tea was very nice and we sat and ate sandwiches and cakes and scones and sipped tea for about two hours (and G also drank champagne). We both decided that this was definitely much nicer than being in work.

Today it’s back to work though and what I think will be a very busy day. At least it is only a four day week.

Monday, February 23, 2009


It’s a Monday and I’m not in work. What bliss. G and I are going for afternoon tea today, so we have taken the day off work. I am glad we did anyway, as it was a very busy weekend and we didn’t get back very early last night.

I went to a wedding in Sheffield on Saturday and dropped G at the Leicester Service station on the M1 and G was collected by a friend and went to Nottingham. The wedding was really nice and the couple looked so happy, despite the bride practically sobbing her way down the aisle. There was no wedding cake and instead there were scones, jam and clotted cream.

My friend’s parents were very disappointed that it wasn’t a church wedding and the next morning I was having breakfast with them and they said they had enjoyed the day “despite the parts that were missing” (meaning God). Given that they were not impressed by him living with his girlfriend I did think that perhaps they should just focus on the fact that he is now married and not be too concerned about the circumstances of it.

Yesterday I then drove to Nottingham to meet up with G and we spent a while there and went for a walk and did various nice things. It had been a bit of a traumatic weekend for G’s friends, as they were all visiting the sister of one of them and she has just had a baby, but her husband is not about, as a couple of days before the birth he fell off the wagon (he’s an alcoholic who is sober a lot of the time but when he starts drinking again it happens quickly and with big consequences). She has had to have all the locks changed etc but he turned up on Saturday night and was trying to get in and was being very abusive. It all got quite nasty and upset everyone. Fortunately people managed to try and life the mood and enjoy the party they were holding for the arrival of the new baby.

I was really tired by the time we got back last night, so it has been a leisurely morning and the TV repairman is about to arrive…

Friday, February 20, 2009


A group of us went out for dinner for G’s birthday last night, which was nice. The food was good, but this did include G finding a bone in the vegetable mousakka. Admittedly it didn’t claim to be vegetarian, but I still think you wouldn’t expect to find an animal product of that sort in it. At the end of the meal we ordered coffee and I wanted a decaffeinated coffee. I saw the waiter go over to the waitress who was holding the tray of coffees for our table and ask which was the decaffeinated coffee and she looked at him blankly and said she didn’t know. He then confidently picked one up and gave it to me. A minute later she told the waiter she had the decaffeinated one in her hand and he just shooed her away… Thanks for that.

Anyway the big news for yesterday was that I have booked flights to Montreal. We are going in July for two weeks. I used my United air miles and so all we are paying is about £85 each in tax. The flights should have cost £690 each. We are flying Air Canada which someone has described to me as “the Ryanair of the long haul carriers”, which I didn’t take to be a big endorsement, but if you’re only paying £85 for the flight then I guess you can’t complain too much. Now we just need to decide on where we are going after we land (I think east from Montreal), hotels, transport and things to do. Fortunately we have a bit of time to work this out. More pressing actually is to try and book a week in Madrid at the end of March, for which we have not sorted out anything as yet. I love planning holidays!

Thursday, February 19, 2009


My computer and internet connection are somewhat unwell at the moment. I spent about two hours on the phone to my ISP last night to try and fix the problem that they then made much much worse through various things they made me try, which led to me entirely losing my internet connection for a while. Four technical support people later, the problem was sort of fixed but now keeps giving me the blue screen of death due to some software they told me to load. I am so unimpressed.

My day was, however, better than a woman I saw on my lunch break. She was walking along with one of those shopping bags on wheels and fell forward and seemingly did not put her hands out to break her fall at all and when she got up blood was streaming down her face from where she had hit her nose off the road very hard. It looked so painful. Poor lady.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


G and I were watching Supersize v Superskinny last night and at the end of the programme they said to log on to the Channel 4 website if you want to sign up for the next series. I asked G if I should sign up for it to which G replied all innocently “So which would you be?”. I looked at G intently who then realised the grave error, an equivalent of not instantly giving the correct answer to the question “does my bum look big in this?”, and said “superskinny?”. Still the wrong answer because as we all know the response should have been “you’re perfect the way you are”.

It’s G’s birthday on Saturday, which has had me breaking out in a sweat because I have been rather short of present ideas. I think I have come up with a few suitable gifts now though, which is a relief, but also might make up for me not actually being about on Saturday because I have to go to Sheffield until Sunday. G is meeting up with some friends and going to Nottingham instead. We are passing G across at a service station on the M1, the ultimate birthday treat I am sure you will agree… G does seem quite excited by this prospect having never been to Nottingham before. It’s a simple life.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I tried to be a good citizen yesterday. As I was walking to the station last night, a woman cycled passed and something fell off her bike with a load clunk. It turned out it was her bike lock. So I walked out into the road and retrieved it for her. She thanked me for getting it for her (she’d stopped at the side of the road a bit further up) and I then walked off while she was sorting her bike out. I was then waiting to cross the road and she cycled by and rang her bell and waved. How very civilised for London.

Then when I was on the tube, a woman stood up and something fell to the ground. As I looked over I saw it was her hat and she was about to walk off having not noticed she had dropped it, so I asked her if it was her hat and it was. So she was pleased and said thank you. I feel these two instances are my quota for the year. I am not normally that helpful.

I have made two food discoveries in recent days. First the New Covent Garden Risotto is very nice. Second is anything that is sort of nut roast like is not for me. That whole graininess of it is way too much like haggis and therefore cannot pass my lips without making me feel very nauseous. G did get some extra dinner a result though. Perhaps a bit of bacon would have helped.

You might also wish to investigate this website, if you have ever felt unloved.

Monday, February 16, 2009


I have found an author that I really like, Paul Auster. He isn’t a new author, but I have only recently discovered his books. I have just finished reading The Music of Chance and have previously read The Book of Illusions, both of which I thought were really good books. I am not sure I can quite describe what sort of person would like his books, but I would recommend giving him a go if you are looking for a new author to try.

Another book I have just read is Ignorance by Milan Kundera (the chap who wrote The Unbearable Lightness of Being). It’s a book about going back to the past and trying to possibly remake old connections etc. I was struck by a few of the passages in the book:

During the twenty years of Odysseus' absence, the people of Ithaca retained many recollections of him but never felt nostalgia for him. Whereas Odysseus did suffer nostalgia, and remembered almost nothing.

We can comprehend this curious contradiction if we realize that for memory to function well, it needs constant practice: if recollections are not evoked again and again, in conversations with friends, they go. Émigrés gathered together in compatriot colonies keep retelling to the point of nausea the same stories, which thereby become unforgettable. But people who do not spend time with their compatriots, like Irena and Odysseus, are inevitably stricken with amnesia. The stronger their nostalgia, the emptier of recollections it becomes. The more Odysseus languished, the more he forgot. For nostalgia does not heighten memory's activity, it does not awaken recollections; it suffices unto itself, unto its own feelings, so fully absorbed is it by its suffering and nothing else.

After killing off the brazen fellows who hoped to marry Penelope and rule Ithaca, Odysseus was obliged to live with people he knew nothing about. To flatter him they would go over and over everything they could recall about him before he left for the war. And because they believed that all he was interested in was his Ithaca (how could they think otherwise, since he had journeyed over the immensity of the seas to get back to the place?), they nattered on about things that had happened during his absence, eager to answer any question he might have. Nothing bored him more. He was waiting for just one thing: for them finally to say “Tell us!” And that is the one thing they never said.

For twenty years he had thought about nothing but his return. But once he was back, he was amazed to realise that his life, they very essence of his life, its centre, its treasure, lay outside Ithaca, in the twenty years of his wanderings. And this treasure he had lost, and retrieve only be telling about it.

After leaving Calypso, during his return journey, he was shipwrecked in Phaeacia, whose king welcomed him to his court. There he was a foreigner, a mysterious stranger. A stranger gets asked "Who are you? Where do you come from? Tell us!" and he told. For four long books of the Odyssey he had retraced in detail his adventures before the dazzled Phaeacians. But in Ithaca he was not a stranger, he was one of their own, so it never occurred to anyone to say, "Tell us!" P33-35

We don't understand a thing about human life if we persist in avoiding the most obvious fact: that a reality no longer is what it was when it was; it cannot be reconstructed. P 124

I imagine the feelings of two people meeting again after many years. In the past they spent some time together, and therefore they think they are linked by the same experience, the same recollections. The same recollections? That's where the misunderstanding starts: they don't have the same recollections; each of them retains two or three small scenes from the past, but each has his own; their recollections are not similar; they don't intersect; and even in terms of quantity they are not comparable: one person remembers the other more than he is remembered; first because memory capacity varies among individuals, but also because they don't hold the same importance for each other. P126

Friday, February 13, 2009


I was out for a walk on my lunch break yesterday and a young woman came up to me and asked for 40p to make a phone call and I declined to give her anything. It was only as I walked away that I wondered why I had done that. She might well have genuinely wanted money for a phone call but my instant reaction was to say “no”. Even if she had wanted it for nefarious purposes, what could she have done with 40p – even if she managed to get a few lots of 40p? I just found my instant reaction to turn down a request for help, and only 40p of help at that, a bit concerning.

I read this somewhat horrifying story yesterday. It’s really not a pleasant thought to wonder quite whether the man was dead before he got caught under that car and quite what a state his body was on by the time the driver stopped. Probably best not to dwell on that too much.

Anyway it’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow, so I hope you have a good one - whether in a relationship or otherwise.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


I was on a course yesterday and it was made up of three lectures, the first lecturer was late and the third lecturer did not turn up at all. I found it quite interesting though, but guessing by the body language of some of my colleagues they did not agree and one of them looked like a surely 12 year old being all stroppy about having to be there. Watching various colleagues reactions to the course was in some ways as interesting as the course itself and I certainly learned a lot about how some of them deal with things they don’t like.

I am a big fan of public libraries and would be a lot poorer if I bought all the books that I read. I have read 10 books so far this year… Anyway, if you borrow a book from the library, if the author is signed up to the Public Lending Right, they get 5.98p every time you borrow a book. G and I were talking about this on Tuesday night. I belong to the library service where I work, which is a different borough to where I live and therefore pay my council tax. I get to borrow a book for free and the library then pay out 5.98p to the author on my behalf. I find this a strange concept… I then read this post last night and thought that I would encourage people to maybe venture to their local library and get some books out. It helps to keep them open, you get to borrow a book for free and the author still gets money. Everyone’s a winner. I would also add that if I really like a book I then do actually buy a copy and so the author might also get money from two sources from me sometimes. I think the scheme only applies to British and EU authors who have signed up to the scheme and it is capped at something like £6500 a year, but that would mean an awful lot of book loans to hit that amount. Get borrowing!

In these financial times you might want to use this free service to track down any bank accounts you have lost along the way. There i.e. meant to be something like £1 billion of unclaimed money, but unless you have a really bad memory, it is unlikely to uncover any accounts that you don’t have a vague memory of having a few years ago. It might help you to uncover some old account you hadn’t though of in years though...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I seem to be getting more and more like my grandparents. We have now put an electric blanket on the bed. I don’t know anyone who does that these days, but have strong memories of my grandparents putting the electric blanket on for me and my sister whenever we stayed there. They also had a “teasmade”, which we were fascinated by and we used to get a Trio to eat in the car on the way home. Those were the days… It does now mean that G doesn’t have to warm up my side of the bed before I get in, which is what we had been doing until we dug out the electric blanket. Each night when I get into bed it does put a big smile on my face to get into a toasty warm bed though.

I don’t know what you will have made of the recent campaign by the Atheist Society to advertise their lack of belief in the existence of God, but now is your chance to create your own campaign for whatever you like. Go here and come up with your own slogan.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Last week I was really rubbish at going out for a walk on my lunch breaks. But yesterday I dragged myself out in the cold and the rain (and walked to a library a bit of a distance away so that I at least had somewhere nice and warm to go, if only for a few minutes). Part of the reason I am trying not to let the weather put me off is that since I have been trying to make sure I do my 10,000 steps each day I think I have lost about half a stone. So, no dieting or anything like that, just making sure that I get up from my desk at lunch time and get some exercise – and as I like walking anyway that isn’t really a hardship. Although I do destroy many pairs of shoes by walking in them too much. I was really surprised when I weighed myself at the weekend and realised that I had lost that much weight. So now I just need to keep it up. Although today I have a meeting at lunch time, so I’m not going to do all that well today.

The other thing that is happening today is that I have an appointment for a check up with a brand new dentist. The second dentist I have ever seen in my life (and I do have regular check ups), so this could be traumatic seeing someone else after all these years. I figure if I don’t like my new dentist I can just find another one. What’s the worst that can happen? Probably best not to come up with too many answers to that question... *gulp*

Monday, February 09, 2009


I had a nice weekend. One of my housemates from university and her husband came to stay on Saturday night. G did all the cooking on Saturday night and for Sunday lunch and I just had to wander round looking pretty. It’s difficult being me sometimes. We did also finally exchange Christmas presents, as we haven’t seen each other for a few months, so that was good.

I have to say that I am getting rather bored with the BBC constantly acting as the nation’s moral guardian at the moment. First there was the Russell Brand/ Jonathan Ross incident and now Carol Thatcher has been sacked from The One Show and most recently, Jeremy Clarkson was censured for insulting the Prime Minister.

I am no fan of Carol Thatcher or Jeremy Clarkson, but think the BBC has not handled wither situation well. Carol Thatcher described someone as looking like a golliwog. I don’t really know quite what I think about what action the BBC should or shouldn’t have done about that as such, but what annoyed me about the BBC was that when Carol Thatcher apologised they said that her apology wasn’t sincere enough. So now the BBC is the expert on whether an apology is ‘up to the grade’. You can see the video of the BBC commenting on it here.

The BBC then also spent a lot of time reporting on Jeremy Clarkson calling the Prime Minister a “one eyed Scottish idiot”. I don’t like Clarkson at all, but found it somehow bizarre of the BBC to then spend most of Friday constantly repeating his slur of the Prime Minister because they were reporting it as “news”. Apparently you can talk about the Prime Minister as a “one eyed Scottish idiot” as many time as you like when it is part of a news story.

No-one would have known about Carol Thatcher’s comment and most people in the UK would not have been aware of Clarkson’s either, but because the BBC kept repeating the stories via their news channel, things that could have been dealt with in a rather more low key way instead have now been lodges as stories in the minds of most of the country’s population. I just find it somewhat hypocritical that the BBC acts all outraged and yet constantly repeats the stories so that people hear about it.

Anyway, in other news, be safe out their people, there’s a storm on its way.

Friday, February 06, 2009


My mum phoned last night to say that someone had driven into the back of her car yesterday afternoon. She’d just stopped and was indicating right to turn into her driveway and this van smashed into the back of her car. She thinks he wrote his van off. Mum doesn’t have too much sympathy for him though, as he got out of his van and immediately started shouting at her and said that she had braked abruptly and hadn’t been indicating and had only put her indicator on after he had hit her. None of that was true and a neighbour came out and said he had seen what had happened and then went and called the police because this man wouldn’t stop shouting. The man who had hit her had managed to smack his head off his windscreen and smashed the glass and set his air bag off, which presumably means he either wasn’t wearing a seat belt or was driving very fast to have had that sort if impact. Anyway the police turned up and dealt with it all and told mum not to speak to the man because he was so horrible. The police did the exchange of details etc and waited until mum had gone in the house before they drove off.

Mum wasn’t too happy about it all, but she did then manage to rather put her foot in it by going over to speak to the neighbour who had seen what happened to get some details from him. Mum thanked him for his help and then also said how helpful his daughter had been previously when dad had fallen over on the drive last year, to which the man said “That’s not my daughter, that’s my wife…”. Fortunately he had a good sense of humour and thought his wife would be particularly pleased by that comment!

I have a friend from university and her husband staying on Saturday night, which is the perfect excuse to have an arctic roll. I realise that isn’t perhaps an obvious connection, but when I see my friend S, we normally end up having things like Angel Delight and other desserts that you would perhaps only have as a child. I have been looking for an Arctic Roll for ages and Birds Eye have just started making them again and now I have the ideal reason t o go out and buy one. My latest discovery was that G had no idea what an Arctic Roll is. It will be an education.

Finally, is it just me or is the new Google service that means people can track your location rather sinister? I can see it would be useful for parents to know where their children are – but also for abusive or suspicious partners to track their ‘loved ones’ whereabouts. Really, really not impressed.

Thursday, February 05, 2009


One of the things that really winds me up is the bad use of statistics. I have pretty much given up reading newspapers, and in particular the free ones because they so often use statistics that are based on supposition and some weird calculation of averages, with those averages often based on surveys that had a somewhat dubious range of questions. For example “which month is your least favourite?” Answer: January. If you were to take a day off sick, which is the most likely day of the week? (You must provide an answer, even if you haven’t been off sick for years). Answer: Er… Monday. By what day of the month have you normally gone into the red? You must give an answer, even if you are always in credit. Answer: Er… 21st. That is then followed by lots of stories based on very ‘scientific’ evidence that Monday 21 January (or whatever date the ‘statistics’ conjure up that year) is the most depressing day of the year.

So the bad weather is the latest thing to have brought out some ‘statistics’. The main one being cited is that the UK economy lost £1.2 billion due to people not turning up to work on Monday. Shall we just consider how they came up with that figure.

First it is based on the belief that one in five people did not go to work. How did they know that? I think even now most organisations couldn’t tell you what percentage of people were in work – and where I work there were far less than four in five people in. In fact I think less than one in five actually made it in. I realise it is meant to be an average, but where did they get the data from – did they phone round all the HR departments who then wandered round their organisations and took a register.

Second, not going to work does not necessarily mean not working. Plenty of people have the ability to work from home. Perhaps they had intended to go into work that day, but that they then didn’t might have partly been because they didn’t need to in order to do some work or people ‘made do’ with what they had.

Third, where does the figure of £1.2 billion come from? Well according to The Telegraph “The Federation of Small Businesses' estimate is based on studies which show that every Bank Holiday costs the UK economy about £6 billion in potential business”. Right so an estimate of how much money is lost on a bank holiday is divided by a total guess of how many people might have not turned up for work. So you divide £6 billion by 5 and you get £1.2 billion. Of course!

Fourth, it makes the assumption that money not spent on Monday will also not be spent another day. Admittedly if you didn’t buy Monday’s newspaper that money is forever ‘lost’, but if you couldn’t buy a sofa or a car or you weekly supermarket shop you would actually presumably just buy it another day. That’s no lost revenue, it’s just deferred.

But now the media keep quoting the £1.2 billion figure and pile the doom and gloom on to the already depressing news they are peddling about the country’s dire financial situation.

There are lies, damned lies and statistics, as they say.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


There was a pretty low turn out at work today. My boss couldn’t get in. He told me he would have had to walk 3 miles to the nearest open station. I reminded him that our policy is that you have to walk for 4 miles or an hour if transport isn’t working. He ignored me. Regardless, I am not sure a) how many people actually walk four miles per hour because that is actually pretty quick going and even less achievable in bad weather and b) what if you walk 4 miles/ for an hour and haven’t actually got anywhere useful. Do you then have to wait there until the end of the working day before you can then walk 4 miles/ for an hour home?

I had a traumatic experience yesterday. I phoned to get a dental appointment to be told that my dentist is about to retire. I have been seeing the same dentist for 33 years (or since I first had teeth, which is a bit less than 33 years ago. I have only ever seen one dentist in my whole entire life. One. And he’s retiring. And he didn’t tell me. Or ask my permission, more importantly. The receptionist didn’t even break it to me gently. She offered me a range of other dentists. I said I’d have to call back. I hung up and phoned my mother. I told her the dentist is retiring and asked why she hadn’t told me. Apparently this was news to her too. We have the same dentist and he is actually a friend of the family. She’s going to phone him at home and quiz him about his retirement. Perhaps he will now do home visits. My parents have a power drill in the garage, so he could travel light. Actually I phoned another dentist and have an appointment on Tuesday. The first time I will have seen another dentist in all my 33 years of life. I have less than a week to prepare. *gulp*

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


I didn’t make it into work yesterday. I checked and the tube service I needed was running so I went to the station, but a few minutes after I got there they suspended the service. My neighbour works for London Underground and she was actually working at the ticket office at my local station, as she couldn’t get to the one she normally works at. So I had a chat with her and she wasn’t very hopeful that the service would be restored any time soon.

I went home and couldn’t get my laptop to work. I spoke to my boss and he couldn’t get his laptop to work either and he told me to “work from home in inverted commas”. I therefore spent lots of time reading very important and intellectual things and watching daytime TV.

I will see how I do at getting into work today and if I do make it in will hope that I can head home nice and early.

I did get a bit annoyed with various people on the news saying how incompetent we are as a country because parts of it ground to a halt due to the snow. It was SEVERE weather. The clue is in the name. I am assuming that each of those people who complained have now installed snow tyres on their cars, as they were clearly totally prepared to deal with over a foot of snow. Sometimes we have really adverse weather and it means that we can’t do all the things we would normally. That’s life. Stop complaining about it. Don’t even get me started me on the man on the BBC news who described the UK as “like a third world country” because he couldn’t see any grit on the road.

I leave you with the obligatory photo of yesterday’s snow. This was my back garden about 7.50am yesterday.

Monday, February 02, 2009


I finally met my freeholder yesterday – and it turned out to be a remarkably pleasant experience. When G was off sick on Friday a man came round who wanted to read the gas meter at the empty flat. He tried to put the card through the door but he said the letterbox had been sealed, so he insisted on G taking the card, despite protests. I saw the freeholder was about yesterday morning so I went round to give her the meter reading card – to which she told me that, as far as she was aware, there was no gas to the property so it would be quite hard to read the meter anyway! We then had a bit of a chat and she apologised for where the skip was and that she had been rather lax about getting things done, but said that this was now going to change. She then took me through all the things they were planning on doing to the property as a whole (rather than the flat she owns) and it sounds as though they have lots of helpful things planned.

She also told me that the other flat she owns (she owns two of the six flats where I live) is a big problem because the people who live there will not answer their door, pay rent or respond to letters. It means they can’t carry out any of their legal obligations as landlords etc and so will have to take legal advice to see what to do. She also said that the man who lives there had left her a message saying he no longer lived there. Except he does and the freeholder knows full well that he does – as does his wife, who presumably he wants to take all the responsibility for dealing with the problems, as he didn’t say she had moved out. Charming.

An old boss contacted me on Friday. We haven’t spoken in several years, although we do exchange Christmas cards. She is actually retired, but does special projects sometimes. She wants me to help her with a major project she is taking on. I would be really interested in doing it, but it involves persuading my manager to let me do less hours in my normal job, so that I can do this other work. It probably isn’t a great time to be asking to do this, for a whole variety of reasons, but I’ll see what he makes of it. I did mention it to him briefly on Friday, and he was open to the idea, but the timings on it are now rather different having gone through all the details on Saturday and he might not be quite so keen now. I would really like to work for my old boss again, even if on a short term project. She was the best boss I have had (even though my current boss is really good) and it would be a same to miss out. But there would be lots of logistics to work out, so we’ll see what happens. So today I have to put a case to my boss, as tonight I need to be able to give a good indication of if I am going to be able to do this. Time to be brave.