Friday, February 26, 2010


Words cannot describe how tired I was yesterday. I ended up not going to bed until about midnight because G had arranged birthday drinks after work on Wednesday and they went in until quite late and were in the centre of London. I left at about 10.30pm and this involved deserting G, who was in for the longer haul. G got home about an hour after me and so was even more tired than I was.

Even though G’s birthday was last Sunday, the celebrations are not over yet. Tomorrow we are going out for dinner at a posh restaurant and will do various nice things in London during the day probably. Then on Sunday it is my sister’s birthday so there will be more home cooked food from my mum and another birthday cake to consume. It’s a hard life.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Things have been a bit hectic over the last few days, but hopefully they will calm down a bit more now. This has not been due to anything overly exciting, just general busy-ness.

Anyway, I was somewhat amused by this blog that catalogues radio fails. There are some seriously dodgy things that go out on the airwaves it seems...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I have decided that I really need to improve my handwriting. I often have to handwrite notes for my team and sometimes have to then translate my handwriting for them. I would have made a great doctor, if it wasn’t for the blood and gore involved in that.

I was looking at this website and that seems to suggest that a problem for a lot of people is that they “write with their fingers” rather than with their arm and shoulder. I am certainly someone who does that because when I write it is my hand that does all the work and my arm and shoulder remain pretty still. I have also sometimes wondered if I am actually left handed, despite using my right had to write. I am very ambidextrous and do a lot of things with my left hand and have always just assumed that I am right handed. I am not proposing learning to write with my left hand, but it could explain a lot if I have been using the wrong hand. Or perhaps I am just clutching at straws!

Anyway, I think I am going to make some effort to improve my handwriting and see if it makes it more legible.

I am not going to be about here tomorrow. I am away with work on some managers thing that none of us want to go on. I shall return on Thursday.

Monday, February 22, 2010


We spent this weekend doing various things for G’s birthday. On Saturday, we went for a walk on Hampstead Heath, which was not ideal as the tube wasn’t running properly so it was quite a trek to get there and the walk in the book we have seemed to keep taking us close to very busy roads, but it was pleasant enough. We were aching by the end because we covered several miles. It was a nice day though and it was good to go for a walk in the sunshine.

The day had actually started very early because the freeholder turned up at 7.30am and started doing various very loud things, like putting various together with a noisy electric screwdriver and digging very loudly in the garden. I don’t think either of those things seem as though they would be very loud, but believe me they were. I bumped into the freeholder when we got back from the walk and he said that new tenants are moving in next week, so we’ll see how that goes. He also said that he would miss all the work that had been going on. I had to bite my tongue to stop myself from, in no uncertain terms, telling him that we certainly wouldn’t.

Anyway, yesterday we went to my parents’ for lunch and my sister and nephew were there as well. My dad was in such a bad mood all day, and it seems he has been for several days, so we just ignored him. Mum had made a really nice lunch and had got some champagne and had baked G a cake, so that was all good. My nephew thinks G is absolutely great and had written a very sweet birthday card saying that G is his best friend. Awwwww...

Friday, February 19, 2010


If I am tired, I am grumpy. If I am hungry, I am grumpy. Therefore if I am tired and hungry, I am very grumpy. We went out for dinner last night with my family and we had quite possibly the worst service ever. We got there at 7pm, they didn’t take our order until 7.40pm, starters turned up just before 8pm, the main course at 8.30pm (my four year old nephew getting his rather later than anyone else), desserts about an hour later. The waitress walked off before taking the menus when we first ordered, so we had to collect them up ourselves. We had to point to exactly what we wanted on the menu and explain to her any additional details she needed to note down e.g. if there was a choice of accompaniments. We finally left the restaurant at 10pm. We were lucky to escape. Fortunately we were using Tesco vouchers to pay for the majority of the meal or else it would have been even more galling to have to pay for the evening.

We did get a free bottle of wine and lots of profuse apologies, but I think we can safely say we will never go back again – and this was Prezzo which is a reputable chain. Even G, who s is normally very placid and polite (well relatively polite!) got very annoyed and had a word with the manager. That tells you it was a bad night.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


I have started a new book. It is non-fiction – The Angry Island by AA Gill. So far, it spears that he was born in Scotland lived there for the first year of his life and then moved to England. His book is about the English, and it seems he is not really a fan.

Whilst I am English, I was born and raised in England, if someone asked me what nationality I am, I would say I was British and am not a massive fan of knocking the various parts of the Union. I am not sure how I will get on with this book and might have to abandon it if it makes me angry, which would be an ironic turn of events given the subject of the book.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Yesterday the bad weather was just what I needed. For a variety of reasons, I just needed to step away from my desk and go and clear my head. It was pouring with rain at lunch time, but I went out anyway. I walked in the wind and the rain and walked at a pretty fast pace, not because of the weather but because the pace and the rhythm were what I needed. After 40 minutes of walking in the rain, the world seemed a better place and I went back to my desk and saw things from a new perspective.

I bumped into G on the tube on the way home. We are both reading books of almost identical length – about 560 pages each. We therefore were in a race to the finish, despite there being no real purpose to this at all. Although, having said that I am not a fan of the book I have been reading so it has been a good incentive to get it over and done with. Who won the “race”? Well, I shall leave you to work that out for yourself.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


It is G’s birthday at the weekend. I have already sorted out some tickets for a concert, so to that degree I have sorted out a birthday present. However, the concert isn’t until November, so I feel it is a little ungenerous to not give something that will be for now. Delayed gratification is not always a bad thing, but this might be taking it to an extreme. The only problem is that G is seriously lacking in present ideas. The main one at the moment is an egg timer… although I have suggested a couple of DVDs that might be suitable.

Anyway, I went to see if I could find an egg timer at the House of Fraser yesterday and was wandering around the home wares department and there was this man who was wondering around with a woman and it seemed that he had just bought a one bedroom flat. I couldn’t quite tell what their relationship was. At one point, before studying them at all, I thought they might be mother and son, but then when I looked at them properly they seemed to be much nearer in age than that, but I wasn’t convinced that they were a couple – or at least I hope they weren’t. The woman would suggest items for his flat and the man would just reply and make some really jokey, but rude in that it was always putting her down or a dig at her taste, comment in response. In the end I wanted to ask the woman why she put up with someone talking to her like that. What he said was way beyond a joke and it was like she could say nothing without her belittling her in some way. But she seemed oblivious to it. Nobody needs someone like that man in their life constantly running them down in the name of humour. I was so unimpressed. I also didn’t manage to find an egg timer.

Monday, February 15, 2010


For once, I cooked this weekend. I made a very nice lasagne (with meat!) on Saturday, which we also ate yesterday. It was very good, even though I do say so myself. I also made breakfast on Sunday (bacon on soda bread. Nice…). Seeing as I don’t normally do any of the cooking, I rather exerted myself this weekend.

On Friday the big boss told us that he is leaving. This was rather sad news and I will be sorry to see him go. He has been very good to me over the years, including helping to arrange for me to go back on a secondment last year, which, all things considered, has been very good. So there are changes ahead and it will be interesting to see who the new big boss turns out to be.

Friday, February 12, 2010

You'll Do

We had a very nice dinner last night and it was a really good evening. The food was excellent and the staff were such pleasant people to deal with, and they really helped to make it a nice evening.

We have a fairly quiet weekend planned. I might actually do the cooking for once this weekend, which I think is what I have agreed to do instead of going out for a meal for Valentine’s Day (only because we have been eating out so much recently and might explode). I think that might be about as romantic as I get, as it is not really my forte! If Valentine’s Day really isn’t your thing then this is the perfect place for you. I did ask G if it would be ok to send the one that says “You’ll do”. It seems it would not.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


There seems to be yet more cold weather on the way. I did manage to find a way of making myself going out at lunch time yesterday. I might up with someone I used to work with and we went for a walk for an hour. I hadn’t seen him for ages, so it was good to catch up. But today, more forecast is (maybe) due, but it all depends on when you catch the weather forecast as to what is likely to happen, of course.

Tonight we are going out for a nice dinner. I think it must be quite a posh restaurant as they phoned me yesterday morning to confirm the reservation. I can’t think of a time when I have had to do that before. I am not that keen on places that are very posh, so I am hoping that this is going to be a pleasant experience. We are using Toptable points, so aren’t actually paying for the meal, so I guess that will help to ease any “pain”.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


G phoned me somewhat red faced (or as red faced as it is possible to be on the phone). G had been in meetings at work all day and spending time with various people doing work related things. It was only at 4pm that G’s jumper was identified as being inside out, having been so all day, including in front of some very senior person from work. I am not sure that G would have been able to get away with it as a fashion statement. I was very supportive and at one point was crying with laughter while G told me.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


We seem to be eating out a lot at the moment. We have Toptable points to use up and Tesco restaurant vouchers and G’s birthday in a couple of weeks (for which I am actually hoping that my mum will do the cooking and bake a cake...). Given that the weather has not been great of late and this seems to be taking a turn for the worse, this is not an ideal combination. I need to get more exercise!

Tonight I am doing some more volunteering. I wasn’t actually certain that it was going ahead because I hadn’t been sent any paperwork for it. Scary man finally sent it to me at 8pm yesterday. I don’t think I will be challenging him about his organisational skills though. I’m not that brave.

Monday, February 08, 2010


Yesterday I spoke to my friend who had the rather large baby and, perhaps unsurprisingly, it was rather a traumatic birth and what has followed hasn’t been that great either. She is normally a very positive person, so it was rather strange to hear her sound rather low. Anyway, I’ll give her a call later in the week to see how things are going.

I was feeling a bit bugged about something at work last week. All of the managers had put in some money to buy drinks for people at the work Christmas meal. There was money left over at the end and our boss sent us an e-mail to say that there was quite a sizeable amount of money for each of us to reclaim. One of the other managers replied and said to give hers to charity. Then another manager replied and said to do the same with his and the next day another manager said to do the same with hers. Each person copying everyone else in. There are some who have not replied at all, one of whom is me. I was rather miffed by this though. I feel that it has created a certain social pressure for everyone to say that the money should be given to this particular charity, and I don’t feel that my giving to a particular charity (or not) is anyone else’s business. But I also don’t like public shows of ‘generosity’ like that (not that I am doubting the sincerity of the gesture). For myself, I rather believe in a “giving in secret” philosophy because if you do otherwise it can call into doubt whether you are giving for the sake of the giving itself or for some other form of ‘reward’ e.g. recognition from others. So it rather irks me to see it being done in this way. I gave the money for the purpose of being used for drinks for colleagues and now find that I will have to ‘break ranks’ to reclaim the money that was not used. So sometime this week I shall attempt to get the money back, but without looking like some complete miser. Bah humbug.

Friday, February 05, 2010


Yesterday was an interesting day.

When I got to work there was an e-mail from a friend’s husband to say that their baby had been born. He weighed just under 11lbs. I’m not sure that I want to hear the story of that birth…

I then phoned to ask for an update on my pension, as I don’t think I have had an update in years. This was both a good thing and a bad thing. It highlighted that they had managed to ‘mislay’ 13 years of my pension contributions. But they are now going to look for them – and hopefully find them.

After lunch I went into the kitchen to make a cup of tea and this woman that I hardly know (I might have said hello to her once or twice) started to tell me about how a couple of days ago she got a small insect bite when she was in the garden and it had turned into a massive infection. THEN, she undid her trousers and pulled them down a bit and proceeded to show me the infection. It did indeed look very, very nasty and I would never have understood how bad it was without seeing it, but there was nothing right about that scenario! I really need to stop asking people how they are.

Thursday, February 04, 2010


Recently a contestant* on Mastermind got the lowest score ever. He got four points on his specialist subject (Ataturk) and one point on general knowledge. All things being equal (i.e. not being recorded for TV or sitting in the back chair under the glare of the lights), I would have scored more on the general knowledge (but probably nothing on his specialist subject!), but he has my sympathies nonetheless and I don’t think I would have put in a particularly stunning performance either.

Anyway here were his questions:

Q: Which insects got their name from the ancient superstition that they crawl into the ears of sleeping people?

Q: One of the taglines of which 2001 blockbuster film was "December 7th 1941, it was a Sunday morning"?

Q: In Greek mythology what did Prometheus steal from the gods? He was punished for this by being chained to a rock where an eagle ate his constantly replenished liver.

Q: Pierre is the capital of which American state?

Q: What do people suffering from trichotillomania have a compulsion to do?

Q: The American ambassador's London residence Winfield House was sold to the United States for $1 by which chain store heiress?

Q: The "Heroic" in a Flat Major Opus 53 is one of 16 of Chopin's works in the form of which dance?

Q: In women's gymnastics, the uneven bars on which swinging routines are performed are also known by what name?

Q: Whose 1770 poem The Deserted Village describes the appalling effects of the enclosure acts on the rural poor?

Q: Ursus Maritimus is the scientific name for which bear?

Q: Le Maillon Faible is the French television version of which British quiz show?

Q: The Halle Orchestra is based in which venue in Manchester?

Q: A device capable of storing electricity consisting of conducting plates separated by a layer of insulating material is given what name?

Q: Which Warwickshire town granted its royal prefix by Queen Victoria in 1838 claims to be the home of England's first lawn tennis club?

Q: What word can mean a joint of pork, to pawn, or a German white wine?

You can get the answers here.

*I say “contestant”, but apparently they are always referred to as “contenders”.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


The tube on the way home last night was very busy. All the seats were taken and then a man stood up right next to where I was standing to get off the train. I moved the very small distance to sit down in the seat and this arm reached round the (admittedly quite large) man who was disembarking and put a rucksack on the chair. Then the owner of the bag “appeared” and I said a somewhat dry “thanks for that”. He looked at me and somewhat contritely and humbly said “Sorry, I didn’t see you there. I’m not that mean.” Then he moved his bag and let me have the seat. I then felt somewhat rude, but being a typical Londoner, just took the moral high ground and sat down in silence. I did rather feel that the man was probably a very nice chap and thought that he was somehow going to end up in a confrontation over a seat (which he wouldn’t have with me). I think he had been rather cheeky, but I did feel rather bad that he had been so sheepish.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


I went out at lunch time yesterday to sort a few things out. One of those things was to try and find a book on Jersey. It appears I have found a gap in the market. There are very few books about Jersey and any that do exist tend to be rather slated by the people who have used them. Perhaps I should now turn our trip away into a book writing tour and write a guide to Jersey. I could make my fortune.

On the way back from lunch I was walking along an alley that is by a school and got whacked in the head with a football. The first time I was aware of it was when it hit me in the head. I didn’t chuck it back over the wall, but neither did I stab it or pick it up and march up to the school door and demand an explanation. I think I was *very* restrained.

I am currently reading the book Lolita at the moment. When I am reading it on the tube, I wonder if people look at me and think that I am reading a dirty book. It isn’t – it was never even banned when it was published in the 1950s, how bad can it be? But there is a part of me that thinks people will be judging me by my reading material. At times it is a good job that people don’t speak to each other on the tube.

Monday, February 01, 2010


Yesterday we booked a holiday for Easter. We are going to Jersey for a week. Neither of us has been to the Channel Islands before, so it is somewhere new to try. So we’ve booked flights, a place to stay and car hire, which means it is pretty much sorted. It means we will be away for Easter itself, which I don’t think I have ever done before. Hopefully this won’t mean that I don’t get any Easter eggs though.

We’re thinking of going to Austria in the summer, and possibly by train. So that is going to take quite a lot of planning because I imagine we will be moving about a fair bit. Fortunately I like planning holidays, as they do all seem to take a lot of logistics that need to be worked out and costed and finding nice places to stay etc. I should offer myself for hire. Satisfaction guaranteed. Probably.