Monday, October 25, 2010


I bought a digital recorder the other day. I decided that I want to interview my mum and find out more about her life. I asked my sister what she thought of the idea before I asked mum if she would do it and she said she thought it was a bit weird, but then I asked mum and she was fine with it. I’m going to record it and then upload it on to my computer etc.

When I was at school I once had to interview my granddad and great aunt for a history project. It was a really interesting interview and I found out loads of things that I hadn’t known before. But then, as teenagers do, I decided that I wanted the tape for something else and recorder over it.

I watch programmes like “Who Do You think You Are?” and always find them fascinating and yet I would imagine most of those people would never have sat down with various family members unless they were taking part on the programme, so I decided to be bold and ask mum if I could interview her. She wants me to ask her questions rather than her just give a monologue so I need to think of things to ask, but the more I think about it, the more things I can think of that I want to know about. So, in the next few weeks, we’ll sit down and I’ll interview mum. Should be good.

Friday, October 22, 2010


It’s been an “interesting” week:

It started with getting stuck on the tube for two and a half hours on Monday.

On Wednesday I went to a lunch time do to mark the departure of my last boss. I felt really sad by the end of his speech. I had a chat with him and he clearly has mixed feelings about going, but being made voluntarily redundant worked out well for him. So now he has a whole new more relaxed life ahead.

After that lunch I went to a management meeting and one of the other managers ended up in tears, recovered a bit and then walked out of the meeting. We had a chat afterwards and she seemed a bit better by then, but was not looking very happy yesterday either. She did also tell me off for not telling her she was looking a bit rough and said that we needed to develop a relationship where I was more direct with her about things like that. I feel this might be a challenge, as it has never struck me as terribly polite to point such things out.

Then another manager spoke to me for a bit because she is also feeling really rubbish. So we chatted for a bit and she vented her frustrations. I don’t feel work is a very happy place at the moment.

I am actually feeling as though I have a bit more head space at work at the moment, so am feeling reasonably positive. I feel I am out of kilter with most of my colleagues.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Free at last

As normal, I set off for work at 8am yesterday. I arrived at work at 12.20pm. Just in time for lunch on the course that I was meant to be running.

I had the somewhat dubious pleasure of being on one of the five jubilee line trains that had to be “detrained” i.e. we had to walk along the tunnel to get to a station. I think the train I was on must have been the last to get the passengers off because according to news reports the last passenger on the five trains got to a station platform at 11.30am, which was about five minutes after I finally made it to the platform at St John’s Wood.

The tube train came to a standstill at about 8.50am and two and a half hours later (for all of which I was standing – and on a very packed tube train) we all finally got off the train by stepping down onto the tracks and walking through the dark tunnel to the nearest station. I was actually walking pretty close behind someone, and there was a whole trail of people in front of him, but it was very dark in the tunnel, so you can’t pick them out in the photo below.

There has been some criticism in the media of how TfL dealt with the problem – and two and a half hours in far too long to have left us on a train for – but a lot of it seemed to be down to the line controller not being able to decide whether we should get off the train or not. At about 9.30am we were told that we were going to have to walk through the tunnel to St John’s Wood. This plan then got shelved as we were told the train should be able to continue. At about 10am we were told that we would have to walk along the tunnel to Baker Street. About 20 minutes after that we were told that we would be walking through the tunnel to St John’s Wood and then a while later police officer and TfL staff arrived and walked through the packed train and eventually, gone 11am, things were finally in place for us to get off the tube.

At no point did I feel unsafe and actually our driver was really nice, and kept us as up to date as he could given the changing situation. A woman did have a panic attack where I was standing but passengers helped her and gave her an asthma inhaler and a doctor, who was also stuck on the train, came and helped her. For once, it was also fine to talk to your fellow passengers and compare awful travel stories form years gone by.

When we finally got to St John’s Wood, a girl of maybe six years old ran up and down the platform shouting “free at last”. Free at last indeed.

I have to say my colleagues were lovely as well. A few people had tried to contact me on my mobile as they were really concerned about where I was, and there were three messages on my home phone when I got back last night with people trying to track me down. It was nice to feel missed.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Last week I got an email from my boss at the organisation I am seconded from and he said he is taking a redundancy package that means he needs to go this week. I was really shocked to get the e-mail and it made me feel quite sad as he is a really nice chap. He is also my contact with my parent organisation and so I don’t really know who I will contact in future. So I had better see if I can find someone else to be my contact.

I talked to one of my neighbours and we are drawing up plans to oust the freeholder. Hopefully we can do so fairly soon, as I saw the letters the freeholder wrote to two of my neighbours, which were so unprofessional and also rather threatening. We need to get rid of her. Soon.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I don’t know what I think about The Finkler Question winning The Booker Prize. I liked it a lot more than some of the other books on the shortlist, but I think it is one of those books that will really divide people. Someone else in the group who was reading the shortlist absolutely hated this book and refused to finish it. She just found it so irritating and could not bring herself to read another word of it. Personally, I find it perfectly readable, but I am not sure it is the “comic novel” that it likes to think it is. Don’t let the author, Howard Jacobson, describing himself as "the Jewish Jane Austen". Jewish he may well be, but Jane Austen he is not.

I was wearing a new shirt yesterday. I was glad that G saw my rear view (so to speak...) before I left for work because a label showing the size was still stuck to the collar and would have told any passer-by throughout my day far my information than I wanted them to know.

Monday, October 11, 2010


We bought a wii on Friday night. I feel that this might take over our lives - and make it even harder to keep up with the number of programmes that we have recorded. We have also got wii fit plus, so we will both hopefully become well toned couch potatoes though. I might also buy shares in a battery company, as I think we will go through many batteries over the coming weeks.

Tonight I am meeting up with a few people from work to discuss who we think should win the Booker prize. I am not entirely qualified to do this, given that I have not read all of the books, but it should be an interesting discussion anyway. We have had a huge variety of views on some books so far, and I suspect we might find it hard to reach a consensus. As I have not read them all yet, I don’t know which one of the shortlist I think should win, but based on those I have read so far, I liked In a Strange Room by Damon Galgut the most – which was the first one I read and it was therefore downhill from there on.

Thursday, October 07, 2010


I have been running a course at work for the past couple of days. The first day went pretty well, but the good was undone by the second day. One person on the course, who is always rather outspoken, just did not want to be on the course and made sure that everyone knew it. Others tried to ignore her, but she really brought down the mood of the course. Her feedback said something like it was “rude” to expect people with her experience to go on a course like this. It had taken many hours of work and refinement to get the course to where it is now at. It is aimed at people of differing abilities and everyone can get something out of it, however experienced they are – but only if they want to engage. We are running the course again in a couple of weeks and I am hoping that there is no-one else who is going to exhibit a similar attitude.

On a more positive note though, Nova Scotia is going up and up in my estimations. We went there last year and while we were there G bought a baseball cap. Unfortunately while we were in Sweden this year the cap got left on a bench and when we went back to get it, it had gone. So I contacted the Nova Scotia Tourist Board office where we had bought it to see if it was possible to replace it (G *really* liked it). The Tourist Board passed it on to the people who run their shop and I got an e-mail a few days ago saying that they didn’t have it in stock, but would see if it came in on another order, and even if it took quite a while they would keep my e-mail so they could let me know when they got new stock in.

Then yesterday I got an e-mail from another of their offices, this time in Halifax, Nova Scotia, saying that they thought they had what I was looking for, but they could send me a photo if that would help. It was such a nice e-mail and I was already very enthusiastic about Canada, and Nova Scotia, but now I want to go back there all the more. I know it is their job to sell things, but they have been willing to go to a lot of effort to get this to me. So, next time you are looking for a great holiday destination, go to Nova Scotia and make sure you go to the tourist office shop at Amherst (on the border with New Brunswick) and Halifax because they are very friendly and helpful people!

Monday, October 04, 2010


The little boy who lives next door continues to cry at all hours of day and night. He was crying at about 1am on Saturday morning. For about an hour. As we can hear him very clearly sobbing, it is hard to believe that his mum cannot hear this. So either she is not there or she just cannot be bothered to deal with him. It is really irritating being woken up by him, but if he is being neglected in some way then that is far worse, so I guess we’ll just have to see if we decided we need to take some action at some point…

Here are some things on the BBC website that I am currently listening to:

Five Minutes With, which is interviews with famous people that last five minutes (perhaps unsurprisingly).

Interviews from the BBC archives with various authors, including John Wyndham, Virginia Woolf and Aldous Huxley (The interview with Aldous Huxley includes him discussing that he thought the future of books might be for them to be listened to on gramophone records.)