Monday, November 30, 2009


So I have now done the vast majority of my Christmas shopping, and the bits I haven’t done I pretty much know what I am going to get and where I am going to get it from. I also managed to convince G to get started as well – as you might recall, last year I had to do it a couple of days before Christmas because G was really ill and had been for most of December. We have even managed to get a present for a friend’s dog.

I think I have a busy day at work today. I foolishly offered to help another manager out as she was a bit snowed under. She gave me a really difficult piece of work to look at and it took me most of the day on Friday (and then my computer froze and I nearly lost it all. I phoned our IT people who said it was unrecoverable. I didn’t believe them and tinkered a bit more and got all my work back. I am in the wrong business…). I still have some stuff to write up to do with that as I need to give some feedback and an indication of areas that need further work. I also need to get myself organised as I am out of the office all day tomorrow, as I am heading to the North. I need to brief the person who is going with me and work out everything I need to cover while I am out of the office and train times etc. Life is much easier when I can spend the whole day at my desk.

I have a busy week ahead socially as well, so it could be a tiring few days. It’s hard work being sociable.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Yesterday was actually a calmer day. I know who my team will be as of January. Two of them are from my current team and three others are people I know, although not particularly well. Now we just need desks and other such minor things and we will be sorted.

Last night I was meeting G after work and I got on the bus and sat in one of two empty seats on the bottom deck. As I sat down a woman looked at me half in pity and half imploringly, at which point I realised the man I had sat next to wreaked of alcohol. He had been talking to the woman and she had been responding as she probably felt she had little option. The man then started to talk to me as well, and my heart sank, but then I realised as I was there and moving wasn’t really an option (or a polite option anyway). So I decided to engage in the conversation as it also gave the woman a bit of respite. So every time he asked a question, I would answer it but then ask him a question about himself and hope it was one that involved a bit of a story to answer it and if he said things that made the woman feel uncomfortable I would ask him a question to get him to talk about himself again. Other people on the bus were clearly amused by our conversation and when I got to my stop I said goodbye to him and told him to be nice to people and he assured me he would. Perhaps I should try and engage with my fellow commuters a bit more.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I do feel much better now I have had some time off work, but I am coming to the conclusion that it has not really dealt with something more fundamental that seems to be going on at the moment. I just feel angry about so many things at the moment – and it rumbles below the surface and generally manifests itself in feeling very resentful of other commuters and other such pathetic things.

I don’t really know for certain why. I think some of it, maybe a lot of it, is down to feeling very out of control of a number of things in my life at the moment. Where I live the freeholder, who also owns the flat next door has been having worked carried out for 11 months. I repeat: 11 months. I find it very invasive and, whilst I have drawn issues to her attention in the past, she doesn’t really seem to care about the impact. So being at home can be trying and I often feel wary about what I will find when I get home when I just want to be left in peace and not to have my privacy invaded. But equally, I also need the freeholder to reply to various letters I have sent her to sort out my lease extension, but we have made no progress on this since August. As I type this, it does (literally) make me put my hands up in despair because I feel as though I can do nothing about these things. I get a certain sense of security out of where I live, but that seems to be slipping away.

Work is fine expect that people keep invading our work space, which probably wouldn’t bother me if I didn’t feel the same thing was happening at home, plus my contract runs out on Tuesday and, as yet, a new one has not been forthcoming. I also have to move offices at the beginning of the year and that has its own stresses, for reasons I can’t be bothered to explain.

A used to say that depression is anger turned inward. In some ways I would rather my response to these events manifested itself primarily (only) as depression. I am not suggesting that depression is preferable as such, rather that it is more insular rather than being something that is directed at other people. I have been feeling elements of this for ages and I had hoped that taking time off work would have made it a bit better, but I didn’t really think that it helped. I am just not really what the solution will be – if it mainly the result of feeling powerless about various things, I just don’t really know how to get that ‘power’ back so that I feel a bit more in control of my own life. If you were to bump into me, I don’t think you would think I was some seething ball of anger, on the whole I think I would appear to be rather placid, but I need to do something or my cover will be blown at some point.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


There is something a bit mesmerising about this video. Make of it what you will.

That is all.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Going back to work went ok. I felt remarkably wide awake, which made me realise quite how tired I was before I had time off. My team have been working away in my absence and gave me lots of work to deal with on my return and it looks as though we could achieve the rather stretching target I set them to achieve by the end of this month (which was more stretching than the stretching target they had been set for the entire six months because they achieved that about six weeks early. They have often commented that I keep asking more and more of them...).

Today I should find out who from the office has applied to be part of the new project that I will be running in January. I know three of the names and they are all decent people and I think at least two people from my current team are going to apply, so hopefully it will be a good group of people – although I am hoping that I will get exactly the right number of people because I don’t really want to have to turn anyone down. I feel more enthused about the next project now that I feel more able to function, so hopefully that will be a good project too.

It is so nice not to fell totally worn out – and now I only have four weeks until I am off for Christmas.

Monday, November 23, 2009


We had a nice few days away. We were staying in Lymington, which is in the New forest (but on the coast). Despite the rather mixed weather, we had a good time. We went for a walk in the New Forest on Friday and we did have to change out route a bit due to a ford being flooded, but it was fine apart from that.

On Saturday we went to the Isle of Wight. I have never been there before. When I was at school we were meant to go there on a school trip, but it was when teachers were striking a lot and so they weren’t running school trips. So about 25 years later I finally got to go there. I am not good on water and so wanted to get some travel sickness tablets for the ferry journey. The lady in Boots was incredulous that I would want tablets for the trip and assured me that no-one had *ever* been sick on the ferry. I rather sheepishly asked if I could have the tablets anyway. She then pointed to a colleague and said that her husband worked on the ferry and there was no way I would be sick. I asked for the tablets again. She sold me them. I was relieved that I managed to get out of the shop without her making an announcement of the voice address system asking everyone to look at me, point and laugh.

In my defence, I was sick on the Great Barrier Reef once and the crew of the boat I was on described it as one of calmest crossings they’d had. Also, the ferry was cancelled last weekend due to bad weather and there was a risk of it happening again this weekend. I know my limits and sometimes begging for medication is the only answer.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Over the weekend, G and I were looking at how much we spend at the supermarket each month. By my calculations, we spend, on average, £163 per month. Last month was actually our cheapest month and the bill came to about £50, but there have been some very expensive months. So the plan now is to be have more of a budget for food – and it is to be set at £120 per month. We’re also going to keep accounts, so that we keep a proper track of what we spend.

We don’t buy very much meat, we don’t often buy any alcohol (and, technically, I never buy any, what with being a teetotaller), so that cuts out some of the more major items in a lot of food bills. We will be able to carry forward ‘credit’ from one to another, but we’re going to give it a go to see if we can bring out food bill down. It should also, hopefully mean less waste, not that we throw very much away - and we compost a lot of things anyway. We’ll see if we end up under-nourished and constantly hungry.

Tomorrow we are off to the south coast for a few days, so I will probably be back here on Monday, as I think it is unlikely I will have time to drop by here tomorrow. Have a good few days all.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Yesterday I started Christmas shopping. Despite doing a bit of wandering in London I actually did all of it online, but started is started. I am going back into the centre of London today to meet up with my mum and we are going to do a bit of shopping together – or perhaps shop separately and then meet up for refreshments at various points.

I think G is a bit traumatised that I am off work. Yesterday G said to me “when I got up in the morning and was wandering about and it was all quiet, I thought this is what it would be like if you were dead”. Right... which basically means no-one to make the tea, put out all the breakfast stuff (the night before no less) and to put the toast on. It’s nice to have my uses.

Over the last few days, I did also discover that G had a very sheltered upbringing. I found G buttering some cake - surely that is not normal? G has similar form in that earlier in the year I was given a hot cross bun that was not sliced, toasted or buttered. Surely a *very* sheltered upbringing. Every day is a school day.

Monday, November 16, 2009


I saw Celia Imrie on Friday night. Hooray! Had I sat in a slightly different seat I would have been offered a piece of cake by her. I said that to my mum and she said that the problem then would have been that I wouldn’t have eaten the cake and would have needed some way to keep it forever. I am not sure it is quite appropriate to embalm a piece of cake though.

I went to my volunteer training on Saturday and that went quite well. We were practicing some things and the trainer said it had gone quite well “but this is the last time I will be so nice about what people are doing”. There was a collective gulp in the room. We always had this Saturday coming off and then had three more weeks to go, but the training has now been cancelled for the rest of the year and will start again in January. We were all quite disappointed by that as it takes some of the momentum out of what we are doing and we were also starting to gel as a group and now won’t get to see each other again until next year. I really need to practice some things before we meet again though, particularly “active listening”.

Yesterday we watched Mamma Mia. We felt that this film was at rather the opposite end of the scale to Slumdog Millionaire and breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Friday, November 13, 2009


I was hoping to go into work late today and finish somewhat early, but as it turns out, I am the only manager in so I probably need to be about just to show willing. However, after today I am going to be off work for a week, so I can rest and recuperate then.

Tonight we are going to the theatre to see a play that has Celia Imrie in it, which hopefully will be quite good. I then need to try and get home at a reasonable hour because I have to be up early for another day training for my voluntary work.

Life feels quite busy at the moment. It is good timing to be off work for a few days.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I can’t remember if I said previously that I can stay on where I am working for longer. Yesterday ones of my bosses phoned me to say that they wanted me to run a new project for them, which I have said I will do. Although I am actually so tired at the moment that I would rather just sleep for the next six months. The project starts in January so hopefully the Christmas period will give me time to recover and then it will be tome for a new challenge.

On Wednesday night my upstairs neighbour was at home briefly and in the short time she was there managed to leave a tap dripping – and has now disappeared off again for who knows how long, as is her way. It was like Chinese water torture during the night. So yesterday morning I went outside to see if I could do something to deal with the problem but the noise is actually coming from the water hitting the inside of the drain pipe, so I had to put my thinking cap on.

As I left work today I said to one of my colleagues “I am off to put a sponge up a drain pipe” and then said “and that’s not even a euphemism” and she just turned to me and laughed and said “whatever turns you on!” and I decided it was best to go home.

It did work though...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


We watched Slumdog Millionaire last night. I was traumatised by the end of the film (and throughout). Why did no-one tell me what the film was like? I thought it would be some nice heart warming story instead there was murder and mayhem - and some Bollywood dancing at the end.

I tend not to watch 18 rated films anyway because I don’t like films that are violent. But now we might now only watch U rated films and I am not sure if that can include ones that “contain mild peril”.

Last night’s experience reminded me of an episode from Friends:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I think I have discovered the reason for the current rage that is gripping the UK. X Factor. Need I say more? Probably not. But I will anyway.

I know a number of people who are apoplectic with rage about the result on Sunday night’s X Factor. I know two people who didn’t sleep properly on Sunday night because they were so angry about it. G and I are actually not going to watch the programme anymore. We are actually starting an official boycott of X Factor. All those people who have said they are not going to watch it again: stick to your guns and boycott it.

It just isn’t British to do what Simon Cowell did. He had the chance to do the right thing, and to live up to what he had previously said, by evicting John and Edward. Instead he went for ratings and more money from votes. Don’t let Simon win! Don’t get me wrong, I actually quite like John and Edward, just not in a musical talent sense, and I thought that there reaction was Lucie was sent home showed that they are nice lads. But Simon Cowell is manipulating the British public and let me tell you that it’s not a good place to be in Simon Cowell’s hands *raises an eyebrow*

People are genuinely angry about X Factor and I see now that it is the root of all the anger going on in this country at the moment. Before the X Factor we were a peaceful, law-abiding nation – and now look where we are?

Do the right thing and watch another channel on Saturday night or read a book or go out to dinner or talk to someone. The safety of this nation depends on it.

I can’t believe that I have devoted a post to the X Factor. Doesn’t that tell you the depths to which this nation has sunk?

Monday, November 09, 2009


I don’t know whether this is true of other parts of the UK, but I feel as though London is a very angry place at the moment. I have noticed a fair few bad tempered people about and can’t say that I am always of the sweetest disposition at the moment. Even G, who is a very good natured person, has got from home from work a couple of times recently having nearly committed commuter rage.

Yesterday we went out for a walk in the local area and I was this man and woman walking along and they saw a car being driven by a woman with a man in the passenger seat parking in a disabled bay. He shouted over to them and said they didn’t look disabled. The man got out of the car and started to shout “are you disabled?”. He squared up to the pedestrian and then gave him a bit of a head butt. The other man then took off his jacket and glasses and punched the first chap. The two women then got involved and finally managed to separate them. The man got back in the car and he was bleeding and then had to be restrained by his wife from getting back out of the car and going back to deal with the other man. After a few minutes they drive off in the car.

G and I were sort of surprised by what happened, although interestingly G had missed everything before the punch was thrown and so thought the pedestrian was the bad guy in it, whereas from what I had seen I thought it was the man in the car. There used to be an advert for The Guardian (I think) which showed a yobbish looking man running along the street and you start to draw your conclusions about what was going on and then they show it from another angle and you see that what he was actually doing was running to push someone out of the way because something was about to fall on them from a building site. Sometimes it can all be about perspective.

Anyway, somehow neither G nor I were surprised by what we saw and thought that it just summed up how things seem to be in London at the moment. It makes you wonder if it is worth challenging other people and if relatively minor incidents might actually lead to entirely unintended consequences.

Friday, November 06, 2009


I have decided to take the whole week off work the week after next. So I only have one week to get through before I have some time off work. I am not entirely sure what I will do with all that time, but the plan is still to go away at the end of the week. I feel much better now I am going to have some time off work – and this week has gone remarkably quickly, so if next week goes as fast that will be marvellous.

Sometimes when I have been walking to and from work I have seen Hairy Goat being advertised. I rather like the sound of this (rather small) organisation. You get to go on photography tours of London for a mere £20 – it seems that you will see new things even in places that you might know very well. I am actually a rubbish photographer and can take over a year to finish even one film (a film! I know! I’m not even digital! I have only just bought an electric toothbrush as well… I am very twentieth century in a number of ways). Anyway, if you like London and you like photography going on one of those tours sounds the perfect combination - and judging by the accompanying blog, a bit more custom would be appreciated. So, if you’re tempted, then give it a go and report back!*

*I am not on commission and I don't know the person who runs the tours I think it is just a really nice idea and the woman who runs it sounds like she might need a bit of extra trade.

Thursday, November 05, 2009


I just finished reading The Death Of Grass by John Christopher. A most interesting read and I shall review it over at the other blog some time soon. When I finished reading the book I went back to the beginning and looked again at the first page or two and liked the opening words more than I had when I first read it. You can read the whole book here.

Going back to the beginning of the book also reminded of a quote that was on the first page and I shall leave you with that:

“It’s hard to know how these things happen. Quarrels begin, and neither person stops them, and they become silences, and nobody breaks them.”

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


When I got to work yesterday I sent G an e-mail saying I thought we should go away for a long weekend (primarily to save my sanity and the lives of anyone I happen to come into contact with on the way into work). G is up for this, so we now need to decide where to go – and pretty sharpish, as we might well go away the weekend of 21 November. I have looked at going somewhere like The Cotswolds, but we quite like going to the coast, so perhaps we should do that instead. I am also aware that my geography of the UK is appalling so I might need to consult a map before making any decisions.

Having made the decision to go away, this has lifted a huge weight off my shoulders and I feel much better. Apart from last Friday, I haven’t had any time off since July and I can really feel it. Someone said to me yesterday how tired I looked and I said I wasn’t surprised by that, as that is how I feel. I will be off for a couple of weeks at Christmas, but a long weekend before that would be really good. So it is time to make some proper plans.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


When I was on the course on Saturday, the guy giving the training had two rules. First was “be on time” and the second was… “no clicky pens”. He even gave us pens that it required no clicking to try and ensure this rule was enforced. Apparently he has stopped meetings in the past to tell someone they are clicking their pen. I feel I don’t want to get on the wrong side of this man.

My team have moved to a new part of the building. The move went fairly well, despite my computer having no network connection and having to get that fixed. I think I was not in the best mood yesterday and one of my team actually asked me if I was ok because I “wasn’t my normal cheery self”. I did concede that I was perhaps not in that great a mood, primarily due to a headache (and the IT guy not being able to speak without slurring all his words together). I think I should really take some leave from work and it is beginning to take its toll that I haven’t; had any proper time off work since July. It isn’t that long until Christmas now, but I should perhaps give some thought to taking some time off to rest and relax, except G wouldn’t be able to do so at the same time, so it wouldn’t be ideal. So at the moment I will try and get some more sleep and see if that does the trick instead.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Getting on

The training on Saturday went ok. I am still sort of wondering what I have signed up to do and I think it is going to be really difficult, but nothing ventured, nothing gained I guess. I did find that some of the people seemed to have quite set views about things and I felt that a bit uncomfortable with that at times. I’m not sure if that was because I thought their views were wrong or if I just thought they would talk me down if I tried to put across my view. But it disconcerted me a bit anyway. I have various bits of homework to do, which includes having to learn something off by heart. I am not sure I will have perfected that by next week though – and I think we might get tested on it. I’d better get on with it.

The two most memorable things from the day were not actually about the training, but other things. First was lunch (surely the thing people always remember from training?) which was home made Caribbean chicken and rice and peas. It was made by the mum of someone who works there and it rather better than the sandwiches I had been expecting. The other thing was that a woman in the group invited me to go to a book group and so I am thinking about doing that.

G is back tonight. Hooray.