Sunday, December 18, 2011


We had a really nice day today. We spent most of it with my mum and this included going out for lunch with her at the South Bank and then listening to some choirs performing at the Royal Festival Hall.

Before we set off for that, we had gone to a craft fair near where my parents live. When we were walking home from that along a residential main road, there were two boys walking along the opposite pavement and I saw one of them throw something at a parked car that was on the same side of the road as us. The car alarm went off, and I then walked forward a couple of steps and realised they had smashed the car window.

I turned to them and shouted at them across the road that they had just smashed the window. I was so angry at the action of the boy who had thrown the object at the car (the other boy looked rather more sheepish). He just put the hood up on his top and tried to look all macho. The other boy just said it wasn’t him who had done it. I continued to shout at them and tell them how unacceptable their behaviour was and that I was going to call the police.

They decided to saunter off into the local park and seemed somewhat surprised that I followed them (and probably I shouldn’t have, but I was very cross!). They turned round a couple of times to see if I was still behind them and shouted a bit of abuse at me. I did by this point know that G was on the phone to the police, and was a bit of a distance behind me but within sight. I continued to head towards the boys, who had stopped in the middle of the park, and when they realised I wasn’t going to back down, they made a run for it.

I went after them, but at walking pace (I didn’t actually want to catch up with them as I didn’t know what they might do). They had disappeared by the time I got out the other side of the park. I briefly looked about for them but they were nowhere to be seen. So I headed back to the car they had damaged and by that time the owner had actually arrived and my mum had already spoken to her and explained what happened. I spent a few minutes talking to the woman and gave her my details. The police had also been by that point and had gone in search of the boys. The police phoned me a while later, which made me think they hadn’t actually found them. The police officer was really nice and thanked me for what I had done.

It was probably unwise to have confronted them and then to have gone after them, but I was just so angry that they could have done something so mindless. I just knew that I couldn’t be the one to back down because that would have sent the message that trying to be a bit macho meant that they could damage people’s property and intimidate people. I would have been really angry with myself if I had just let them get away with it. I also didn’t want the owner to come back to the car and find the window smashed and have no idea what had happened. That said, I don’t know what I would have done if they had turned on me...

Tuesday, December 06, 2011


I decided that the best course of action was to resign my church membership. I wrote to the assistant minister and just said I didn’t want to be a topic of discussion or subject to a vote by the membership and said to take the letter as my resignation. I offered no explanation, but I guess I will hear back and will have to decide what to then.

I had to be at work for 8am today, which I guess by some people’s standards was not that early. Tomorrow I have to be in at 6.30am, which is a slight challenge given that my first train doesn’t run early enough to get me there for that time. At least I get to finish at 3pm both days.

The builders have caused yet more problems. They put “protective measures” in my fireplace while they were doing repairs to the chimney on the roof. While they were removing the measures they damaged the fire. I wasn’t there at the time, so I phoned the freeholder’s husband when I got home and he arranged for the builder to come out the next day to look at it. As expected, the builder denied there was any damage, despite us all being there looking at it. Fortunately the freeholder’s husband was there and he said it was damaged so the builder went along with this. I have now arranged for a firm to come out and repair it. The builders will be paying for it. I had a discussion over several months with the freeholder and her husband about why I didn’t want these builders to do the work, but they insisted it would all be fine. The builders have done various bits of damage and each time have denied it. I have written to the freeholder outlining all of my concerns and saying again that I would prefer them not to use these builders in future. We’ll see if it makes any difference.

It would be nice if life was a bit simpler, but at least I am on leave for Christmas from the end of next week.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


This blog currently seems to be an account of unfortunate circumstances in my life. Despite what these brief updates might suggest, I am actually fairly chipper. I don’t tend to add up the sum the of things going on in my life and wonder “why me?”. These things are all just part of life.

There is something else to add to the list though. In case this has not been clear to you, my partner is female. Not such a revelation you might think, and for most people it isn’t. But for one part of British life it is, the church – more particularly the evangelical church, which in my case is the Baptist church. The evangelical church has very specific views on same sex relationships. Since my teenage years I have been to church, and have been a church member i.e. on the formal membership roll, for about twenty years. But that is soon to change.

I don’t go to church very often, but I went today because I was on the bookstall rota. I stay on the rota because it gives me a reason to go to church or else my attendance would probably diminish to nothing. The person who oversees the bookstall is the mum of a friend of mine. She asked if I could go over for a cup of tea this afternoon. I asked if everything was ok and she said “I saw the card you sent [her son].” “Oh” I replied.

Let’s rewind back a week or so. My friend and his wife had a baby. I sent a congratulations card, which was signed by both me and G. My friend’s mum read all the cards that had been sent and then began to wonder about the card sent from me. She asked more about it and realised that all was not as she had thought.

When she returned to London from seeing her new grandchlld, my friend’s mum spoke to one of the ministers and the pastoral assistant at church about what she had found out. The conclusion was not good, hence her conversation with me.

She was really lovely when she spoke to me. I know her very well. I even lived with her and her husband for a year. But none of those things took away the bitter pill that she delivered. My role in the church is under review. It is very likely that I will no longer to be able to cover on the bookstall. I will also probably be required to resign my church membership – and if I don’t resign it myself they will probably withdraw it anyway. If they remove your church membership, they do this at a church meeting and explain the reasons for it to all the church members. At least if you instigate the resignation yourself they don’t explain the circumstances, unless you have asked them to do so.

I listened to what she said and explained that this was exactly why I had never said anything. I knew the theology of it all and “get” how the evangelical church views such things, but I said that ultimately it was all very personal and it was rejection – which was what I found so hard about it.

She said she’d never seen me cry before. She said that I would still be able to attend the church, but wouldn’t be allowed to have any responsibilities (that means nothing, not even handing out a notice sheet, and certainly not working on the bookstall where I could be peddling immorality) and would not be allowed to be a member. (I know that I also wouldn’t be allowed to take communion.) I said that I wouldn’t be attending any more in those circumstances because the church would have rejected me and ultimately would be telling me that I’m not good enough. She said that it wasn’t about being “good enough”. But it is really.

I guess some might wonder why I even care. Over the years, some people at that church have shown me great kindness. I wanted to keep going there because it felt so final to stop, as though something that had been so significant in my life was finally over. In times when I had greater faith than I do now, it was a great place to be and I made some good friends there. I also care because it hurts to be rejected.

I sent my friend a text to tell him what had happened. He phoned me straightaway. He was totally shocked and was really angry with his mum and appalled that she had told other people my private business. He had no idea she was going to do that and I had to talk him down from phoning his mum and having a big go at her. He says he is still really angry about it, but was going to take a bit of time to decide what to say. He lost his faith many years ago and this just impressed on him how little he misses that part of his life.

It hasn’t been the best day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Trouble at Mill

We have been following a regime to try and declutter and tidy the place up to sell it. So far this has only involved clearing out two large cupboards. They look very nice though.

The house moving plan has ground to a screeching halt. The freeholder wrote to each of the leaseholders just over a week ago to say that suspected subsidence has been found in one of the flats they own. What was hairline cracks, shortly afterwards was joined by large cracks down the external wall of their flat. They called out a structural engineer and have now referred his report, which it seems was not good news, to the insurance company.

To begin with I was not that fussed by it. There is no subsidence in my flat and I was thinking that it was inconvenient, and as we have to pay the excess, yet more money that needed to be paid out. But then my brain began to whirr and I started to look into a bit. I contacted my financial advisor who said that all the flats will, ultimately, be tarred with the same brush and there would be no way to get out of declaring subsidence, particularly as the freeholder will be asked as part of the sale of my flat (not that I want to mislead. It is that the subsidence isn’t in my flat).

Then I looked at the possible consequences of subsidence:
-Underpinning. If that has to be done, you have to move out, sometimes for up to six months.
-Monitoring. No action taken for months and months. An uncertainty that I would think any potential purchaser would be totally scared off by.
-Holes being dug. To try and identify the source of the subsidence.

Unless, by some miracle, the insurance company concludes that it is not subsidence, there is no way that I can sell the flat at the moment. When I do finally come to sell, it might be difficult to find a buyer, or one that is willing to buy at a decent price. Fortunately, I have quite a bit of equity in my flat, but I think this could potentially put some of my neighbours into negative equity.

I go in phases of feeling a bit miserable about this, and then I feel ok again. I have various short term and long term plans for what to do and am doing my research to try and minimise any collateral damage. But for now the future in unknown in terms of if and when we will be able to move house. Particularly as we are reliant on the freeholder pushing things, but who does not have a great reputation for being efficient.

Oh and I tried to phone my solicitor about this, but his website has disappeared and his phone seems to go through to a very residential sounding answer phone. So I am now wondering if he has shut up shop. I then thought I would contact the solicitor who did the conveyancing for me when I bought the flat. It turns out he has been struck off, or at least had his license suspended.

Sunday, November 06, 2011


The news was mixed when mum went to the hospital. They had removed all the cancer during the surgery, but there was an "instability", which means that they have recommended that she has a mastectomy. Understandably, mum is not thrilled by this prospect. She seems to be in a phase where she is trying to find a source of information that suggests a mastectomy is not the only course of action, so that she at least feels like she has a choice - even though she will then choose to have the mastectomy. I went to the hospital with mum on Tuesday and we looked at photos post reconstructive surgery etc and that was helpful. Mum is still taking time to make up her mind though.

G and I went away on Thursday for the weekend. We decided to walk 20 miles along the canal from Bath to Caen Hill Locks in Devizes. We did this over two days, and my sister joined us for the second day. She was meant to be there for both days, but couldn't get the time off from work.

We had a really good time, and the walk was enjoyable, despite torrential rain on Friday afternoon that even my waterproof coat and waterproof trousers could not withstand, and blisters bursting on one of my feet as I started the very gentle gradient at Caen Hill Locks. A very satisfying thing to do with a weekend though. We are now thinking about attempting a thirty mile walk (over three days) along the canal from Birmingham to Worcestor. I like walking long distances, but without having to deal with going up and down hills and so forth. Canal walks are the ideal solution. We did, however, struggle to find the car at the end of the walk. We had dropped my sister's car off in the morning and then driven back to the start of the walk. We hadn't checked exactly where the canal was in relation to the car park, and so trying to find the car as the sun was rapidly going down was not the kind of challenge we needed having walked 10 miles to get there. We made it though, and did finally find the car.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


My mum's op seemed to go pretty well. I worked from home a couple of days last week so that I could make mum lunch etc and then G came over in the evening and cooked dinner. I even changed mum's dressing on Sunday. I am squeamish...

My dad is more of a challenge though. He is a very odd man. I noticed last week that dad only washed one hand after he has gone to the toilet. I asked him if that was the case and he confirmed it was. Let's not even think about the logic that will have made him think that was sufficient. However, we had garlic bread that evening and I made sure that it was cut into separate pieces so that he didn't need to use both hands to tear the bread.

We were there again on Sunday. Dad wasn't speaking to mum due to some misdemeanour from the night before that mum couldn't even remember. G cooked a curry for lunch and dad didn't bother to come to the table for about 10 minutes and then ate in silence for ages. He did finally speak, and at some point he and I disagreed about something that I also now can't rememeber. A few minutes later, as dad left the room he told me that he is going to remove me from his will*. He's such a charmer. Mum must find him such a great support.

*I rather doubt this will become a reality seeing as he would want mum to phone the solicitor to make the appointment and then drive him to the solicitor's office.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


We saw a preview of the new version of Footloose a week or so ago, and thought it was pretty good. Somewhat shallow, but also quite humorous. I don’t know how this happened, but I don’t think I had ever seen the original film. We watched this weekend, and whilst this is probably sacrilege to say this, I think we preferred the new version. It was very similar than the original, but was just “reorganised” in a way that seemed to work better. My sister is decidedly unimpressed when she asked what I thought...

We went to a friend’s wedding yesterday and had a really good time at that. We had never met her fiancé before, but he was very friendly and welcoming when we arrived. When they had their first dance, I instantly twigged to the significance of it and afterwards I congratulated my friend on the choice – and she said that she’d said to her fiancé that she thought I was the only person who would realise, so I am pleased I lived up to my billing!

Mum is having surgery tomorrow. My sister is going to be with her all day at the hospital and all day Tuesday. I am then going to work from home on Wednesday and Thursday to offer assistance. It will be good to have some progress.

I often look at the blog Big Happy FunHouse and I really liked this post. A nice reflection on how people deal with life.

Monday, October 03, 2011


It's been a busy few weeks. I worked a couple of night shifts and survived. I stayed at my sister's, and it was nice to collect my nephew from school a couple of days. We're actually thinking of moving much closer to my sister. It is cheaper. (Still London prices. It's all relative.) We have no strong reason to live anywhere in particular, so we thought we might as well consider moving to the same sort of area as my sister. The plan is put our current place on the market at the beginning of next year, in the hope of being moved into somewhere new by June.

The fly in the ointment is that my mum was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. I hadn't really expected it to be anything when mum went for tests, but unfortnately it was. It hasn't stopped my dad from being grumpy and bad tempered. Where we currently live is close to my parents' house, so we'll see how it goes with mum's treatment and then make a decision at the beginning of next year.

It would be really nice to have a house though, and we have a very long list of requirements and possibly not the money to match it!

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I had to phone my bank this week because I got a message saying their fraud department wanted to talk to me.

I put my account number and sort code into the automated system and was then put through to someone in the fraud department. I explained why I was phoning and she then asked me for the long number on the front of my card. I explained that I didn't have this with me. She then asked me for the same number again, and I again explained that I didn't have it.

She then somewhat sarcastically said to me, "So you just put in random numbers when you phoned then?"
"Er, no", I replied "I entered the numbers I was asked for, which were my account number and sort code."
"That's what I asked you to confirm were correct", she said
"No it wasn't. You asked for the long number on the front of my card. But the details are correct."

She then proceeded to ask me six security questions, which I "passed". I then explained what I thought the transaction was they were likely to be querying.

She told me it wasn't that and that she would look at my records. She then told me the details of the transaction - which were exactly what I had just told her it would be. She seemed completely oblivious to this.

I then explained that I needed to make another couple of payments to the same organisation. She replied "I can't do anything about that. It's another department that flags the problems".

There's customer service for you.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Let me tell you a story that sums up a lot of the mood I see in London these days.

On Friday I was in the lift at work. I work in a building that is predominantly occupied by a company that is nothing to do with who I work for, and we just rent a small space there. The lift stopped at a floor and one fellow passneger said to another "Can you move that bag?"

On the floor was three large bags of McDonalds. The only way for the man to get out was for him to step over it.

The McDonalds consumer replied "Oh come on, you can step over that."

The lift leaver said "Show some manners and move the bag."

The McDonalds consumer told him to step over the bag.

The lift leaver then kicked the bag across the lift and walked out.

The McDonalds consumer turned to (the very silent) fellow passengers in the lift and said "He is a bit angry".

No-one said a word in reply.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011


We went to the gym today.

A personal trainer took us through a session. This was not meant to be part of the plan.

I am now unable to walk up or down stairs.

Who said the gym is meant to be good for you?

Send help.

Monday, August 01, 2011


It was my birthday yesterday and I had a very pleasant birthday weekend. Mind you, it wasn’t hard to improve on my birthday last year, most of which was spent looking for garden chairs.

This year I had lunch with some ex-colleagues on Friday and then went for a drink with a couple of other people. Then G and I went for dinner at the Gilbert Scott restaurant at the St Pancras hotel. On Saturday, we went for a picnic at a National Trust place and then on Sunday my mum cooked lunch and baked a cake (and I had to convince her that she really didn’t need to make any scones to add to the three course meal plus cake).

Fortunately, last week, for the first time ever, I went to the gym. I will be making a return visit tomorrow…

Thursday, July 28, 2011


We also went to Aarhus, which both of us liked the best of the trip. Each morning we would wake up and look at the lovely view from our window and smile.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011


We had a really great holiday, with good weather and lots of time to relax. I haven't got any of the photos of Copenhagen, but I have a few of some of the other places we went and will see what photos are on G's camera.

One of the places we went was Esbjerg. A fairly industrial town (in that it is a major port and known to most Brits as the place the Harwich ferry goes to). But we went to a small island called Fano, which was really lovely and only about a 10 minute ferry ride away. We also walked to some huge statues, which are called something like "Man Meets the Sea". There were four of them, about 9 metres high, so let me introduce you to one of them:

And now with his companions (and some humans for context):

Friday, July 08, 2011


We're off to Denmark (and briefly Sweden) tomorrow for a couple of weeks. I'll try and be a better blogger on my return.

Have a good couple of weeks.

Thursday, June 02, 2011


I quite often read The School of Life, which can have some thought provoking posts.

There was an interesting one there today which is some recommendations of books to read around the campfire. I am not a fan of camping, but I like books and I liked the recommendations - and they almost tempt me to light a camp fire.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Life in a Day

We’ve been pretty busy of late, which is one of the things that have contributed to the lack of blogging (another probably being laziness…).

Anyway, yesterday we went to see a preview of the film “Life in a Day”. The tickets were free, so we thought we’d give it a go. So we wended our way to the local cinema for a 10.30am Sunday showing.

The film is the culmination of a project that took place on 24 July 2010. People all around the world were asked to film their day and submit it to YouTube as a possible contribution to the film. They were asked to answer questions like “What do you love?”, “What to do you fear?” or “What is in your pocket or handbag?” (although I don’t think that was compulsorily) and the film was then put together from some of the 4000 plus films submitted from about 190 countries.

This is not the sort of film I would normally choose to go and see, but we actually both really liked it. It gave you a sense of the people and world around you (in the truly global sense). It showed happy parts of life, sad parts of life and everything in between.

I would recommend going to see it, but it is definitely one to see at the cinema rather than on DVD, although I can’t quite explain why. Although that said, there were times when it would have been good to pause it to discuss what we had just seen. It has no plot beyond there being the progression through 24 hours, so don’t expect a “story” to unfold in front of you. It is moments in people’s lives and it gives you a sense that the world over we have things in common and a shared humanity. Or that’s what I got from it anyway – it’s for you to decide what you get from it (and I would highly recommend listening in on other people's comments as you leave the cinema!).

Friday, May 20, 2011


Many of us believe that when we feel down, we should try to focus inwardly and evaluate our feelings and our situation in order to attain self-insight and find solutions that might ultimately resolve our problems and relieve unhappiness. Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, I, and others have compiled a great deal of evidence challenging this assumption. Numerous studies over the past two decades have shown that to the contrary, overthinking ushers in a host of adverse consequences: It sustains or worsens sadness, fosters negatively biased thinking, impairs a person’s ability to solve problems, saps motivation, and interferes with concentration and initiative. Moreover, although people have a strong sense that they are gaining insight into themselves and their problems during their ruminations, this is rarely the case. What they do gain is a distorted, pessimistic perspective on their lives.

Professor Sonja Lyubomirsky - The How of Happiness

Saturday, May 07, 2011


I was disappointed that the AV referendum went with the “No” campaign. This was one of the best opportunities we were ever likely to get for people to have more of a say in how the government is formed. But the people have spoken.

I feel I might be able to give some insight into how the “No” campaign managed to win though. My sister went to vote and took my six year old nephew with her. He wanted to know what she was doing when she was standing their in the Polling Booth. So she read him the question and asked him what she thought. He said he thought the answer was “no”, so my sister told me she went with that*. If you voted “no”, you voted the same way as a six year old. Just so you know.

When my sister told me this tale, I replied that this was why women should never have got the vote.

*Just to spare my sister’s shame, she is actually a perfectly intelligent person and had already made up her mind about how to vote.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


A speedy update.

The new job is going well. Everyone is very friendly and really helpful.

Someone who I used to work with texted me on Friday to tell me about a rumour that is being circulated about me there. It’s nothing very serious. It just reminds me why it was good to leave there. I would have thought people had better things to talk about. I am going to someone’s leaving do from there on Thursday so we’ll see how that goes…

I have decided how to vote in the AV Referendum. I am going to be voting “yes” i.e. we should change the voting system. If I get the chance, I will try and explain my reasoning here (assuming I can articulate it). When I thought about it and spoke to a few people, I realised that it wasn’t a hard decision at all and would be a massive missed opportunity if the system doesn’t change. Up the revolution.

Sunday, April 03, 2011


It has been a good few days. I started the new job on Friday. I still have no idea what my job really involves, but got through my first day – and the views from where I am working are fantastic!

I seem to have made peace with the colleague I fell out with. I sent her a card last Monday about her losing her sight and also about not getting to say goodbye to her before I left. She sent a really nice message in response.

I saw a friend from school yesterday. I don’t think I had seen her for about three years. It was so nice to meet up with her and catch up on the last few years. It was somehow cathartic to meet up with someone I have known for 25 years and just chat about life and also about nothing in particular.

The shock of the last few days though is that the IT system I am on at work does not give access to the internet. What am I going to do at work every day??

Monday, March 28, 2011


So, the colleague that I had an argument with sent me a text on Friday morning. It was sort of reconciling “I’d be happy to talk about what happened”, but kind of finger-pointy “personally I found it slightly embarrassing and unprofessional” substitute “you” for “it” and I think we have a more accurate view of what she was thinking. I decided not to respond. Text is not a way to have such discussions. In fact, if she hadn’t texted, it would all have blown over by today. I decided I’d just speak to her about it briefly at work today and we’d move on.

Only things didn’t work out quite that way. Yesterday she totally unexpectedly lost the sight in one of her eyes and is undergoing an emergency operation today to try and restore her vision.

This might indicate my power and the consequences of crossing me. Or it might suggest that the old adage “never go to sleep on your anger” might have some sense to it. I sent her a card today to say that I hoped she gets better soon and, as we won’t see each other before I change jobs on Thursday, saying a few nice things about having worked with her.

But, to be on the safe side, I suggest you don’t cross me.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


I seem to have fallen out with a colleague at work. We are both somewhat opinionated at meetings and whilst often we are in agreement, today I think we both just wound each other up. I was really annoyed and so had to revert to silence to keep my seething to myself. It is very rare that I get really annoyed at work, it is only work after all, so not something that is worth getting upset over, but I was really angry about the way I was spoken to and my views dismissed. We exchanged a goodbye at the end of the day, but that was it really. I am not in work tomorrow. This is probably for the best.

It’s disappointing though because we actually get in very well. It is also my last week in the job next week. I also don’t like to be on bad terms with people. But my annoyance has not subsided as yet.

I’d like to be a nicer person. I’d like to feel that I could get to the end of the day without causing harm to the world around me. But I feel these aspirations are regularly tested and I am coming up short. I would like to think I am a work in progress, but I am not sure in which direction I am progressing.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I might have said this here before, but over recent months I have been finding commuting anger inducing. The very presence of other people, let alone being crammed onto packed tube trains, can be enough to raise my anger level several degrees.

I suspect I am not alone in this. I think in part it is weather-related, and in part I am just reflecting what other people feel as well, which is a sense of all not being well because of the current economic climate etc (and don’t even get me started on the way that the ConDem Government is systematically destroying this country, which they justify based on economic reasons, but in reality, it is for ideological ones).

I think a lot of it is also about not liking people invading my personal space. However, this is impossible to avoid if you travel on the tube during rush hour. I normally read a book on the tube and try and absorb myself in that to block out the world around me. I could probably achieve this more effectively by listening to music or a talking book, but actually I think this would have a more negative effect. The more I block out the world, when the world does then intrude it is likely to have a bigger impact – and perhaps a bigger reaction from me in response.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t shout at fellow commuters or trip them up on the escalator. I tend to turn it inwards and seethe inside instead. But this isn’t good. I also know that it is somewhat irrational. It is not my fellow commuters’ job to take care of my wellbeing. Often when people invade my or others’ space it isn’t deliberate or malicious, it is just part of the nature of travelling on a system that about 3 million others also use each day. But as much as I can rationalise it, it doesn’t make the feelings any less real or somehow magic them away.

On Friday, we are going to Lisbon for the weekend. I am hoping that getting away from London for a few days might calm my mood. But I suspect it will just be a brief respite.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011


My head still feels very busy. Primarily there are good things going on, so I shouldn’t really complaint. But it all makes my head feel very full.

I have got a new job. Someone phoned me up and said they had a job for me if I wanted it. It is a really interesting job, doing something that is one of those “once in a lifetime” things (that is rather more dramatic an expression than the job entails, but it makes sense in the context of what the job is). I could have stayed on where I currently work, but as a secondee I feel somewhat vulnerable and I was concerned that if I didn’t take this job that was being handed to me on a plate that I would very possibly end up kicking myself – for a whole variety of reasons.

The job is somewhere new geographically. I have worked in the same area for about ten years so I will be venturing out into new parts of London. It might also mean getting up earlier in the morning though, which is not quite such an appealing thought.

We’ve also booked various trips away. We are off to Lisbon next weekend. Neither of us has been to Portugal before, and we thought it would be a good place to go to try and get a bit of warm weather and some rest and relaxation. Then we’re going to Devon for Easter and Denmark in the summer. At the moment, we have only booked he flights to Denmark and need to work out where we are actually going to go once we have landed. Details, details…

One of the things I will miss about my current job is the somewhat unusual comments regularly made by one of my colleagues. I have no idea how this came up in conversation, but I have to say that she makes a good point, so I shall leave you with her latest gem:

“Personally, you couldn’t pay me enough to lick a toilet seat.”


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Life Lessons

I have two scenes from recent times that I give you as potential life lessons.

Lesson One – Showers and telephones do not mix.

When you phone your mother to arrange to meet up for Sunday lunch and need to consult your partner for a view think about the circumstances, think. If your partner is in the shower, you might want to mention that not only are you seeking their advice, but your mother is still on the phone, which is in your hand. This might have a bearing on what they then choose to say to you, and whether they want your mother to hear it.

Lesson Two – Answer phones are not normally a good way to break bad news.

I know that grief hits people in different ways and that we cannot always be rational in such circumstances, but a colleague of mine returned to her desk from a meeting and checked her voicemail. There was a message from her mum saying that her uncle had died. This led to a very public breakdown in the middle of the office. Not ideal, although I suppose her uncle dying was, in itself, less than ideal.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I have been terrible at blogging recently. There just seems to have been a lot going on and not a lot of time to focus my thoughts into a blog post – although I don’t suppose my blog posts have always been that “focussed”…

My mind has felt very distracted of late, not for any negative reasons, it has just been wandering about of its own free will. I am an avid reader, but I went for almost a week without reading a book. Even on my commute to and from work I would just sit there and be absorbed in my own thoughts or stare out the window. Hopefully focus will return some time soon, not least because my library books will need to be returned at some point.

There are also some strange things going on at work at the moment. One part of this seems to involve an element of division amongst the managers. Another manager and I are perhaps more radical in our thinking on where the organisation can go. Others seem more reticent and one is entirely opposed to change. Perhaps strangely, the two of us who are more radical seem to be viewed as the prime candidates to go if changes need to be made. But my manager spoke to us both at the end of yesterday and in a rather heartfelt way told us how much she doesn’t want us to go. I was touched by what she said, and I guess we will just have to see what the future holds.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011


I am on about book number four or five so far this year and have lots of books that I already have lined up to read. Despite that, I have been tempted by Sarah’s reading challenge over at her blog. It is open to all, so feel free to join in too.

It is as follows:

Ten books, one from each category. Some books would fit more than one category making it ridiculously easy: so no crossovers within the challenge! Ten unique and distinct books are required.

1. A book that has been previously abandoned

2. A re-read. Didn’t quite get it/thought there was more/made promise to self to re-read? Time to make good.

3. A book that has sat on the shelf, like, forever. (Decades.)

4. A book that paralyses one with dread.

5. Investigate a canonical writer hitherto most shamefully overlooked.

6. Seek out a book by an author who has earned ostracism by being so good that any further novel could surely never measure up…?

7. And the opposite… That author who was supposed to be really good, but didn’t go down too well? Give him/her another go!

8. Take a chance. Read a book which you would rather not. For instance when the OH says ‘you’ll really like this’ and you’re thinking ‘no, I really won’t…’

9. A book from an unfamiliar genre.

10. Ask a friend (preferably a person of impeccable taste, and definitely not someone who might have an axe to grind) to choose a book that you will, in their opinion, like. (This does not mean ask a dozen people until you get the right answer!)

I am still pondering some of the books to read, but some thoughts so far are:

2.On the Road by Jack Kerouac
3.Crime and Punishment – Dostoevsky
4.Possibly some Samuel Beckett
9. Neuromancer – William Gibson (borrowed from the library yesterday)
10. One Day – David Nicholls (a colleague recommended this to me the other day. I did say I had seen Deirdre Barlow reading it on Coronation Street once, which had slightly put me off, but she is going to lend me her copy anyway.

That’s about half the list so there is still much thinking to do.

Monday, January 24, 2011


Life seems very hectic at the moment. It isn’t even the end of January and I already feel worn out. Work is busy. Life outside of work is busy. Things are just generally busy.

We’ve just booked to go to Devon for Easter though, so at least we can have a break then, if not before.

I read a blog sometimes called The School of Life. Recently one of the contributors wrote about a project to increase people’s happiness. But there is a part of me that wonders if that is not a strange ambition in itself. It’s not that I think there is anything wrong with being happy, but I am not sure I see it as a purpose in its own right, but more of a bi-product of the things that we do. Maybe I am just too cynical, but it seems very self-indulgent to aspire to happiness in that way. But perhaps that is why an initiative is needed.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Several years ago, I previously worked where I do now. Yesterday someone who still works there was talking to someone else (and sort of to me) and said “when [Random] worked here before she was slim”. I rather protested about the implications of that comment, and whilst it wouldn’t do any harm to lose a few pounds, I am not verging on the obese. Anyway, to truly register my horror at her comment I sat on her and killed her*.

*part of this story may not be true.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Late Again

Is it 2011 already? I feel I might be a bit behind the times… I went back to work on Tuesday after over two weeks off work. It was a shock to the system. I wish I was still on leave. I need to come up with a get quick rich scheme.

The return to work was “challenging”. There were various crises to deal with on my first day and by the time I had got to the end of Tuesday I was glad it is only a four day week. Things seemed to have calmed down a bit now, but life would be very much easier if I didn’t have to work with other people (despite the fact that I do actually work with some very nice people).

I read the story about birds falling out the sky in the US and Sweden and am now wondering if FlashForward is coming true. Prepare for the blackout. Make sure you are wearing clean underwear. You heard it here first.