Saturday, 30 June 2007


Our house doesn't look like our house. It's so tidy (on the surface).

There are plants that aren't dying. There are flowers that aren't dead. There's very little dust (downstairs). The only magazines around are current and not nine months old. The floor is not littered with toys. The grass is mown. The conservatory is clear of recycling, dead plants, dead flies, dead bees, dead spiders and general junk. The fruit bowl contains no mould.

I could have cleaned the windows. I should have done some weeding. But overall I think people won't think we're complete slobs.

The deception is almost complete.

Friday, 29 June 2007

Tidy Friday

Today I started tidying and cleaning, but just downstairs. How slatternly.

I recognise that in prior years I have been lucky with the choice of date for Hannah's birthday party. This year I think my luck has run out.

I've borrowed gazebos in the hope we may have slight drizzle rather than the torrents we experienced this afternoon. But methinks I hope in vain.


So I could have 20 odd kids (trust me they are odd) and associated adults, probably 25, in the house. Which is why I'm tidying and cleaning. And just downstairs because I'm hoping I can keep people to just half of the house.

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Disgusting, disgusting, disgusting

The other night I was following my sad routine of sitting on sofa with laptop where it was designed to be - my lap.

After many hours of surfing I decided it was time I went to bed. I headed towards the kitchen to take a dirty mug out there and it felt like some water had fallen onto my skirt or leg. I thought I must have been careless with the way I carried the mug but as I moved a bit further it felt like I'd spilt some more.

I looked down and saw a mark on my skirt and I recognised the mark. I moved the skirt (a long flowy skirt) around to get a closer look.

I screamed, because on the hem of the skirt was a disgusting slug. I've mentioned before we have an indoor slug problem because our house is so old with gaps everywhere.

I took the skirt off immediately and moved the slug and threw it outside and was nearly sick.

I hate slugs. They are disgusting, disgusting, disgusting.

Vocabulary enhancement

Allow me to introduce you to

This site is an online slang dictionary where users upload their own definitions.

Try the following words:

You may want to subscribe to the word of the day.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Age is a funny old thing

Hannah is five years old today. Well a bit later today actually at six minutes to eleven. The pink hospital card with all of her vital stats at birth is pinned to her bedroom door.

Name: Baby Cardus
Date: 26.06.02
Time: 22:54
Sex: Girl
Weight: 10lb 10oz
Head circumference: 36cm
Length: 55cm
Temperature: 36.8
Delivery: LSCS (Caesarian)
Konakian: Yes (Vitamin K injection administered)

What this card didn't mention was the shock of red hair that, together with her unusual birth weight, encouraged staff, patients and visitors to come and have a look at my little girl and say "10lb 10 - makes my eyes water just thinking about it".

And now she's five and has a wobbly tooth. But most importantly she has a brand new shiny purple bike.

And then just the other day there was the report of the ten year old who 'looked 16' according to the judge, and was raped. The rapist got a lenient sentence because the girl dressed provocatively. Difficult to imagine a ten year old being mistaken for 16. Difficult to imagine the victim being just five short years older than Hannah.

Monday, 25 June 2007

Birthday blues

It's Hannah's fifth birthday tomorrow.

She's getting a bike from Mummy and Daddy. We went to the bike shop a while ago to choose it.

Today Dave went to pick the bike up. And he realised they had the wrong bike, one without gears. They have the right bike, but it's in the Romford store.

Apparently it's partially our fault as the order had the wrong model on it. Well, as I didn't write the order and I'm not an expert in children's bikes I refute that.

The sting is that the bike we did want is an extra tenner and we have to collect it from Romford if we want Hannah to have it on her birthday.

And she won't be able to wake up on her fifth birthday and rush downstairs to see her present from Mummy and Daddy.

Sunday, 24 June 2007


35 party bags sewn. Why do I do this to myself?

Saturday, 23 June 2007

I've been at it for ages

I had thought that I was new to 'new technology' stuff. I thought all of this blogging, messaging, social networking sites stuff, was a new part of my life.

But I was wrong.

I had forgotten that way back in the late eighties I was using the University network JANET.

I was talking to a friend who reminded me of late night chat sessions all those years ago. And I was the only person in a room of dumb terminals.

I don't remember too much about how JANET worked but I never had official instruction on it. It was something one learned from those in the know. I think you could search for others on the network and send real time messages to others who were online, often those in the same room.

I also remember when I started work at Ford there was an e-mail system that worked for sending internal e-mails only. I remember being shown, unofficially, how to use this to send e-mails externally.

I also had the internet at home in '95 and I have vague memories of an avatar in some strange virtual world at about the same time.

And I also remember, before they removed the facility, learning how to send anonymous messages to colleagues computers that would appear as systems messages. This was great fun. "Your computer has been infected by the worm blaster virus and you must close all windows and shut down immediately." I apologise now to Dave Jones who had about 50 windows open when I 'got' him.

So this isn't new to me, it's just the next step.

Friday, 22 June 2007

Maybe he does fancy me

Well we didn't bite when the gas man suggested the thingumagig that cost a lot but would prevent limescale.

We surfed and found similar for about a sixth of the price.

But maybe the gas man does fancy me. Guess what stopped working today. The bloody boiler, in the middle of the kids having a shower. It seems like child cruelty to force a child under a cold shower to remove the remains of Johnson's Top to Toe wash.

So I have yet another visit from the gasman scheduled for tomorrow morning.

I would have thought, if the gasman did fancy me, that the presence of my husband this morning would have been a deterrent. So my conclusion is that he is actually just incompetent.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

I think the gas man fancies me

OK, I don't really think the gas man fancies me but he has been a frequent visitor recently.

Appointment 1: British Gas sent a numpty who didn't know what he was doing.

Appointment 2: Nobody turned up.

Appointment 3: Diagnosis appointment during which the numpty engineer and his experienced friend argued with me about the cause of the boiler problems. I do acknowledge that they are the 'experts' but I am the customer and I thought the rule was that the customer was always right. One tea, one coffee.

Appointment 4 (today): The fix it appointment. Or that was the plan. Numpty turns up on his own then gets a call from his friend, who fancies a coffee, and who says he might as well pop in 'cos he's not far away. They take everything off the boiler that they plan to replace. When one bit is removed the holding bracket disintegrates. It's at this point they realise they don't have a replacement bracket. This means they need to order a bracket costing 50p which will be emergency shipped overnight. It also means we don't have hot water, at all. This is why I went to the gym tonight - they have hot showers there. One tea, one coffee.

Appointment 5 (tomorrow): This is the fix it again appointment. My sister-in-law, who was here when they called today promised them biscuits tomorrow. I don't think so.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

I'm younger than you think

I'm going to be 40 this year.

I don't feel 40, but I know my face gives my age away.

I'm trying to wonder whether this is a problem.

I know I'm only going to look older.

I don't want to get old.

I think it's a problem.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

My imaginery cousin

Dirk is leaving our department. He and I had been discussing when he planned to have his leaving drinks. He'd kindly thought he'd have it on a Wednesday to accommodate my three day working week. And then he thought he might have to move the day. I knew he and Victoria were combining their leaving do's and I'd already had a conversation with Vic and she had been thinking about having her leaving do on a Friday.

All of this background is very dull I know but it's important because it explains what was in my head.

I thought Dirk and Vic were having their combined leaving do this Friday.

Dirk and I had an e-mail exchange last Thursday in which I started by asking Dirk how his previous evening had been. If you remember the team were going racing and I couldn't go.

Ann: How was it?
Dirk: Great. Drank lots of beer, lost lots of money…. We missed you...

Ann: Well I joined you in the drinking – was just sad lonely drinking at home. Good news is I have an official husband issued pass for next Fri.

Remember - I think that next Fri I'm going to Dirk's leaving do.

Dirk: Friday? What are u up to?

So now I'm thinking Dirk's being funny. And I'm not going to give him the satisfaction of me saying "your leaving do, silly." So I decide to have some fun.

Ann: Hen night in Romford. Woo hoo.
Dirk: Sounds like fun!
Ann: There are about 25 of us I think. It's for my cousin who's getting married at the beginning of July. I think she's too young to get married. She's only 25.

I do have a cousin, but she's in her fifties and not getting married.

Dirk: 25 is really early. But if she found the right man that's ok.
Ann: Well, not sure about that. She met him on holiday in Ibiza. He's already cheated on her twice… Don't understand it. Different lives, different way of living. Anyway, I plan to enjoy myself regardless. Expect to be at divorce party next year.
Dirk: Oh that's not good!! She should cheat on him at least once before she gets married just to be even… Give her my phone no if she needs help ;-)
Ann: I don't think, as a respectable married woman (don't laugh) that I could recommend cheating. Having said that she is the sort of girl who sees the hen night as a last chance for a fling…
Dirk: Cheating is never good but if this guy did it already twice to her he will probably do it again…
Ann: Exactly, which is why I won't be stopping her next Fri. and why I expect divorce within the year.
Dirk: Sounds like it's going to be a fun night out. BTW what are you doing in front of your Laptop all afternoon! It's your day off!

So far this is just a bit of fun because I thought Dirk was winding me up. But at this point he should have taken the bait and mentioned his leaving do - he didn't.

Today I found out why. Dirk and Vic's leaving do is next Wednesday, not this Friday.

Monday, 18 June 2007

Abandoned principles

You are probably aware that in London there are a number of free newspapers available morning and evening. I think there are about four. There's City A.M., Metro, The London Paper and London Lite.

Now previously I have considered this to be a bad thing, a waste of resources producing something that people don't really need. And there have been video cam wars between a couple of these papers showing the distributors disposing of excess stock in large bins. This allows them to inflate circulation figures and thereby increase advertising revenues.

Recently, however, I have served to perpetuate and encourage this waste.

For the last four or five times I have approached the London Lite distributor outside Euston Square station and requested all of the papers she's holding.

At this point, I imagine you have two questions:
1) Why London Lite?

2) Why do I need all of these papers?

Well London Lite is the only paper that claims to be printed with ink that doesn't come off.

And I need about 40 papers for Hannah's birthday party, which begs another question: why?
One of the party activities I plan is making an outfit using just newspaper and sellotape with a prize for the best outfits.

Anyway, I feel sorry for the kind lady who's been supplying me with papers as I've probably got all the paper I need which means it's harder for her to shift her quota, and the next time I see her I probably won't want a paper at all but I'll take one because of the guilt I'll feel if I abandon her.

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Private airshow

We had 15 helicopters circling above our house yesterday. It took me a while to find out what was going on.

There were two formations of five, a formation of three and one solitary helicopter. We had Seaking, Merlin, Apache and Chinook.

I discovered they were part of the flypast Buckingham Palace to mark the 25 year anniversay of the end of the Falklands conflict.

It was pretty impressive, and very noisy.

Saturday, 16 June 2007

May the force be with you

I know tomorrow is Father's Day, but we decided that the boys needed their treat today.

Jo sorted tickets for the Star Wars exhibition at County Hall (just behind the London Eye) and we managed to keep the detail of the trip secret right until the last minute.

Actually Jo sorted tickets for her husband and I assumed she'd sorted for Dave too, which gave us a bit of a panic this morning, culminating in Jo's conversation with Jonathon who runs the whole Star Wars exhibition and who proved very helpful, even to the point of promising to select our husband's from the audience during the Jedi school performance.

The show is great if you're a Star Wars fan and even if you're not. It has tons of artifacts from the film and there are actors traipsing around the place dressed in very credible outfits.

Hannah and James (Jo and Alex's son) were playing on the floor in one of the rooms, in the way that children do, when Darth Vadar strode through the room. Hannah and James were in his path with the result that they got caught up in his skirt, or cape or whatever. This was a kiddie freak out moment, I think understandably.

Here's a Stormtrooper that was wandering the corridors to give you a feel for the place:

And then there was Jedi school. And no, our husbands weren't picked out of the audience, which was just as well as the average age of those selected was about seven and they would have felt a little out of place.

Jedi school taught a handful of youngsters how to master the light sabre and how to use the force. All of this happening in front of an audience.

The pinnacle of the experience for the Jedi students is a duel with Darth Vadar in which they see him vanquished. It was very well done and the actors did a brilliant job.

Picture here of a defeated Darth Vadar leaving the auditorium:

For those looking for an activity for Father's Day - it's not too late to book....

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Big boy pants

Wednesday was a big day for Ethan. He was dressed in big boy pants instead of a nappy for the first time.

Gemma (key worker) advised me that he'd done really well using potty and toilet and he'd only had one accident. I picked him up, told him how clever he was and asked whether he needed the toilet before we left Nursery - he did.

When we got home I made sure that every five minutes I asked him whether he needed toilet or potty. I asked five times and each time the answer was no.

Before I asked the sixth time I knew the question was irrelevant. Because Ethan told me he'd done a poo. In his pants.

He's been in nappies every day since.

I can't do three strikes and you're out. When it comes to dealing with poo - one strike and you're out.

Those who have dealt with the full poo in pants scenario will understand. Those who haven't, won't understand why it's worse than poo in nappy.

Living separate lives

I think I've got a plan.

I wasn't sure whether it was entirely appropriate to blog about my marriage. I'm sure it's more interesting to you than some of the other dross you've found on these screens because it's personal and it feels like gossip and prying. All of which is more interesting, I'm sure, than Ethan doing a poo in his pants - more of which, maybe another day.

I've spoken to a couple of women recently, no names but you know who you are, who have the same experience that I have; although we live with our partners or husbands, we live separate lives.

During the working week we're separated by distance during the day. In my case I work in the same building as Dave but a floor above. It takes about a minute for me to get to his desk, and vice versa. It might as well be an hour away, although we do meet at the coffee shop about once every two months.

When we get home we have the task of feeding, bathing and settling the children into their bedtime routine. Once that's done, usually Dave or I will leave the house to go to the gym or some other activity (belly dancing on Mondays for example - me, not Dave).

When we're in the house together equally we could be in separate countries. I am usually to be found in front of the telly with laptop. Dave can usually be found either working (proper work) on his laptop on dining room table or upstairs on the main PC doing family tree research or playing World of Warcraft.

If Dave's watching TV then I'm likely to be elsewhere because the TV he watches is weird.

It's as though we don't live together. I think it's a problem and I want to fix it.

So back to my plan. I think we need at least one night a week when we meet in the house and do something together. The something may be watching a TV programme, it may be filing, it could be washing up. I don't think it matters what the something is but I do think we need a routine that forces us together before we drift apart.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

You've got it wrong Boots

You may have seen recent advertising for Boots.

The latest campaign is all about personal consultation rooms. The concept behind the idea is that we're all too busy these days to go to the doctor and we need an alternative.

I'm sure most of us know that pharmacists are a great source of information but Boots feel that they can enhance this service that pharmacies provide.

They have decided that we need to have access to personal consultation rooms that will afford us some privacy when we need to ask a pharmacist for advice.

Well I disagree. If I need to ask the pharmacist about something I'm quite happy to do so over the counter. "Aha" I hear you cry "but what if you have an embarrassing condition?"

Well frankly I'd just ask over the counter in a slightly quieter voice. I think asking for some time in a personal consultation room would be just as embarrassing as discussing a medical condition.

This isn't just a point of disagreement though. There are practical implications for this new strategic direction and I have an example of a downside.

The Boots store in Brentwood is quite small but it had one service that it provided that I used to use, a lot. They had a room set aside for baby change/baby feeding. There are very few places in Brentwood where this facility exists and the Boots facility was spacious, clean and convenient.

I think you can guess where I'm going with this. The decision they've made is to replace a baby care room for a personal consultation room.

A room that was used regularly throughout the day is now, I suspect, lying dormant.

A room that was appreciated by customers and drew people into the store even if they hadn't planned to shop there is now a room with a closed door that's probably getting dusty through neglect.

A poorly conceived and executed marketing campaign.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Worst mother in the world? Maybe not.

Hannah announced last night that she had a wobbly tooth. We told her to go to sleep an we'd talk about it in the morning.

This morning Dave tells me that Hannah has a wobbly tooth, and we check, and she does.

Huge guilt sets in. Hannah isn't even five years old and she's losing her baby teeth. I panic because I don't think children lose their baby teeth until they're at least six years old.

And then I realise she hasn't been to a dentist since she was about a year old. Because that's the last time I went to the dentist. Because trying to go to the dentist is a nightmare.

About two years ago I made an appointment and the dental practice cancelled the appointment twice.

I had another appointment about a month ago and, because of Denis and Vish, I forgot I had the appointment.

I have another appointment booked next Tuesday.

I asked if I could get the children and Dave on the dentist's patient list and was told "not at the moment", which means Hannah and Ethan are dentistless.

All of which means that Hannah hasn't been to the dentist for the last four years. And in my head this was why Hannah had teeth falling out (OK, wobbling a bit).

So the guilt was big. Until I spoke to Jane who said loads of children lose their baby teeth in the Reception school year.

So the guilt is now small, but my children are still dentistless. Must read up on Tooth Fairy behaviour.

So maybe I'm not quite the worst mother in the world.

Monday, 11 June 2007


I am a Facebook addict.

I am an addict to the extent that I am attempting to resolve an argument with Dave using Facebook.

Jo and I plan to spend a day at a spa. We had conversation in which I was deadly serious, and she thought I was kidding.

I wanted to know if they had wireless. I wanted to know when I could get online.

I am now starting to stress about my holiday in August. How will I cope with two weeks of denial.

So if you're curious, take a peek, but be warned - Facebook will take over your life.

Sunday, 10 June 2007

Happy angry

So after expecting a British Gas engineer to call later this week I was happy when I received a call today advising that there was an engineer in the area, would it be convenient to call?

All of that good feeling disappeared however when it became apparent they'd sent a numpty who would have to call back with a technical engineer because, as a qualified numpty, he lacked the requisite skillset.

Deja vu. Didn't I ask for an experienced engineer?

Customer from hell

I called British Gas to report our boiler problem. Ian, my brother, was listening to the conversation.

He was amused to hear snippets like:

"and could you send an experienced engineer this time please because we ended up having three calls last time around because the first guy was useless"

"So the first appointment you have for me is Wednesday. So we have to have cold showers until then?"

"No that's actually five days of cold showers"

"Yes we do have a fix for when the water runs cold. It involves turning off the shower, running into the kitchen, turning the kitchen tap on full and then getting back into the shower and turning it on."

"Sorry, I just want to make a note of that 'n o t a p r i o r i t y'. I have got that right haven't I, we're not a priority?"

"How much am I paying for this service?"

I know, I know! She was only doing her job. But I didn't raise my voice or use bad language.


I have been told our house is haunted.

Up until now I haven't really believed it. I'm not entirely sure I believe it now, but I do think it might be jinxed.

A while back I showed you the wall that needed fixing in the front garden and I mentioned it was the third time it had needed fixing. I could catalogue the 101 things that have gone wrong with our house since we moved in on Christmas Eve, 1999, but if you stick with reading this blog for long enough, I'm sure I'll cover most items. My point is that a lot goes wrong.

The shower in our bathroom is currently in pieces. The control that switches water from taps to shower has been leaking. This has been the case since it was installed when we spent a fortune on having the bathroom 'done' in 2004. As it appeared to leak water into the bath we didn't worry.

We started to worry when the plaster on the associated kitchen wall went a bit funny (technical term). It appears that the plaster on the kitchen wall that is directly under the shower wall has become damp. Without wanting to assume cause and effect, Dave thought he'd take it all apart. (Have I told you Dave's an engineer and therefore prone to dismantling things?)

Anyway, having the upstairs shower in pieces is not normally a problem because there's a shower downstairs.

This weekend we had my brother and his family staying with us.

Yesterday morning Shona, my sister-in-law, was in the shower. There was a rather distraught voice from the shower advising us that the water had gone cold.

About five very chilly minutes for Shona and I'd diagnosed the problem.

Last June we'd had the same problem and after three trips from British Gas (I'm getting my money's worth out of the three star cover) they fixed the problem.

Back to the house being jinxed....

The boiler in the house was fitted new in 2000. It had a fault in 2006 and was fixed by British Gas. Their fix has lasted less than a year. Oh, and it decided to fail when the shower upstairs isn't working either and when we have a house full.

Definitely jinxed.

Saturday, 9 June 2007


Abigail, age six:
Why did the sand laugh?
Because the sea weed.

Olivia, age four:
Why did the sea laugh?
Because sand did a poo and rubbed it all over its head.

Why did the banana go to the Doctor?
Because it didn't peel very well.

Friday, 8 June 2007

Fart strategy

I was chatting to Mel about the men in my department.

I think my mind had wandered during our last team meeting and I found myself looking at the way the men were sitting. I think I read somewhere about body language and it said that confident men sit with their feet on the ground and knees far apart. I think the next level on the confidence scale was sitting with one foot crossed onto the opposite knee. Crossed legs were a defensive posture and I can't remember much more. Anyway I was observing and making assumptions about my male colleagues and I noticed that there was one man sat in the most confident position, and it surprised me that he was the only one.

Mel then started telling me about the strategy Phil, her husband, has on trains when he finds himself sitting next to a man who's taking up too much space by sitting knees wide apart.

Phil farts.

At this we both fell about with the giggles. Mel, because she couldn't believe she was telling me and me because I thought it was a bizarre response.

I couldn't see that Mr Confident would take the hint, and make more space, just because the bloke next to him had farted.

Mel continued and said that once, when the fart hadn't worked, Phil resorted to the nose pick, leaving the results on the end of his finger as a warning to Mr Confident.

Once again - giggles.

Mel was just continuing her previous giggles. I just still couldn't understand the strategy.

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Squirrel Nutkin has lost his nuts

The hazel tree in our garden produces lots of hazelnuts, which the squirrels love. All day they bury them around our garden.

About half (slight exaggeration) of our garden is devoted to a huge climbing frame which sits on a six inch bed of play bark which sits atop a weed stop liner.

Well the squirrels must have been busy last year because in the last couple of weeks I've pulled about 20 baby hazel trees from the play bark (nut attached to roots) which means the dumb squirrels, who are universally referred to as Squirrel Nutkin, have forgotten where they buried their nuts.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Things that make you feel good

This morning, after my presentation to boss's boss (Mark), which went very well - thanks for asking, I was walking back to my desk.

Lianne walked out of her office and said she hadn't seen me for ages and that I was looking good and, get this, I was having a good hair day.

So first thing this morning Dave left the house at six o'clock and on my own I'd managed to I'd get the kids out of the house on time. I'd made it into the office to have enough time to buy some milk from the Pitstop, wash a mug, fill the kettle, make a cup of tea, load presentations onto a memory stick and get to Mark's office 10 minutes early. Then Mark seemed to love the presentation. And to top it all Lianne considered I was having a good hair day.

I know I'm shallow, but does it get any better than that?

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

The procrastination of an eejit

Dave is leaving the house tomorrow morning at about six and he's not coming back in the evening. Remember? He's doing something very important that's stopping me from having fun?

I tried to get some time in my boss's boss's diary for tomorrow afternoon. I need to present something. The time I actually got in his diary is 8:30.

So tomorrow morning I have to cope with getting the kids out and delivered to Breakfast Club and Nursery and then get as quickly as possible into work so I can walk straight into a presentation with boss's boss.

To make this more challenging the presentations I'm presenting, combined, probably contain about six hours worth of content. The time I have to present is 30 minutes.

Now I know I can talk quickly and I do tend to skip the fluff when I present, but still. I think I must be some kind of warped masochist (is that tautology?). Why do I make my life difficult?

Sometimes I think it's because I need a kick up the backside.

I've had so much work piling up and it sort of became a big monster. Well this presentation was something I needed to do but, because it'd be difficult, it wasn't happening as quickly as possible. I just didn't see when I'd have the time to do the prep work and then find the time in the diary, etc. etc.

So I bit the bullet and now I am where I am. Still I've opened a bottle of wine....

Monday, 4 June 2007

I think I get it

Some people get web 2.0, some people don't.

I think I do but I don't get it completely.

I understand the value of a lot of it but I don't see the point in many of the bits that I come across. I don't think I'm alone.

We use the bits that work for our lifestyles, the things that help us or provide us with entertainment.

Many of us are disappointed with the entertainment that is available via other channels. We're time poor and not very good at commitment.

The web gives us an environment that allows us to dip in or dip out. It's portable and it's endless.

Radio is portable too, but let's face it you can get that on the web.

Books can be downloaded.

TV can be downloaded.

You might argue that the recent expansion in TVR such as Sky+ mean we can schedule TV around our lives but I would argue this isn't true. You have to be at home to watch TV, you can't dip in for a quick two minutes at work. I know it's possible to download programmes to be viewed on a portable video device like a PSP but you can't just watch two minutes worth, it just doesn't seem right.

With Facebook and Twitter I can, at a glance, see what people are getting up to. The only frustration with this is not being able to keep tabs on everyone.

With a quick check on Hotmail and Yahoo mail I can see who's trying to contact me. I can also see who's done what with my Facebook account and who's commented on my blogs.

With meebo I can manage all of my messaging accounts in one window.
I can blog on Blogger and it appears, as if by magic, on Facebook.

I love widgets and tools and shortcuts. I don't understand it all but I'm hungry for the knowledge.

But for some people this is an alien world, one inhabited by geeks and weirdos.
So I think I have become one of those weirdos.

I don't get Second Life. I don't do World of Warcraft. But I do do Tinternet.

Sunday, 3 June 2007

Polish prostitutes

I had my hair colour refreshed yesterday (otherwise known as getting my roots done).

I know. Shock! Horror! Ann's 'Essex yellow' isn't natural. Anyway, the following conversation happened as a result of my trip to the hairdressers.

Me: "I'm worried my hair is becoming the colour favoured by Polish prostitutes."

Dave: "Why? Have they got grey hair too?"

I love my husband. No, really, I do.

It's not fair

I apologise now for using this as a platform to vent my frustration, but it's either that or completely lose my temper and say some hurtful things that I don't mean.

You know I was planning to go on a jolly, sailing off the Solent. Note the use of past tense. I can't now because Dave is leaving early to go to Gaydon (Midlands) on the same day for what should be a two day event. Ideally this would mean an overnight stay. Now I did have coverage in the evening with Dave's parents coming over, cutting short a stay with friends to help us out. They were going to leave friends in Devon after breakfast, rather than after lunch, to ensure they were back in time. Well that leaves a gaping hole in childcare in the morning. As my 'event' was deemed to be less worthy, it was the one that was chopped.

And while I'm on the subject of Dave's work commitments getting in the way of me having fun, let's talk about next week. We're having a team meeting offsite with a social event afterwards. The day will be full of presentations and then the plan was that we'd all go to the races at Kempton Park, returning to London at about ten o'clock at night with maybe a few drinks in town to follow.

Well on the same day Dave is going to be in Lommel (Belgium) and it's another overnight stay.

Dave's parents had offered to cut short a bird watching trip to come and help out in the evening (I know - I am really lucky to have the in-laws I've got) and I'd be comfortable with asking for their help until maybe eight in the evening, but to expect them to be in our house just because I'm out getting drunk and having fun seems unfair, especially as the earliest I would be able to get back would be about 11 o'clock. And even that would mean missing in town drinks.

So I'm planning to do the work part of the day and then come home while most of the rest of the team go to the races.

I'm not happy.

Saturday, 2 June 2007

I nearly died

I could have died last weekend. Clearly I didn't.

We aren't campers au naturel. We fill our cars to the brim with equipment and we use electricity.

Now we're fairly new to this electricity on campsites lark. Some of the equipment we use used to run off the 12V power outlets in cars. To make this work using 240V mains power it is necessary to use a transformer.

The transformer we bought from a camping shop plugs into a three pin socket and links to a transformer which has a 12 V output with a socket that looks like a car cigarette lighter.

The transformer that Paul and Sandra were using did something similar but was bought in the States by Paul quite a long time ago.

Paul and Sandra are engineers and Sandra works as an electrical engineer.

I don't know much about electricity other than a basic understanding gathered from studying Physics at A Level. I do know that in America they operate on 110V and not 240V. I also know their plugs aren't the same as our three pin plugs.

This might explain what happened on our second night in Sandwich.

In the middle of the night Sandra could smell something that wasn't right. She woke Paul up to push him to investigate. His response, unsurprising for a drunken bloke was to blame bad gas. Sandra persisted and Paul got up to investigate.

He found flames coming out of their transformer which was sat in the middle of their tent.

Paul transformed himself from sleepy, dozy drunk into "man of action" (his words not mine). He chucked the transformer into the heavy rain outside - emergency averted.

Because if their tent had caught fire, ours would too as it was right next door, and then so would Mel and Gary's tent. On the upside this would have meant there wouldn't have been a tent for Mel to be ill over later that night.

Friday, 1 June 2007

Chocolate willy

Last weekend on the way to the campsite I made a note of a couple of things using my phone. This is what I typed:

place called thong
radio 2 comedy
chocolate willy

I saw the note today and started to worry about my mental state. The place called Thong I could recall. On the M2 I saw a signpost for a place called Thong and it made me smile. But the rest was a blank.

Several hours later, with this still buzzing around in my head, I'd had a couple of glasses of wine, and it all became clear.

While we were in the car we were listening to Radio 2. I don't remember exactly what we were listening to but it was a comedy programme. I think it's the normal time of Jonathon Ross' show on Saturday but because it was a bank holiday weekend he had been replaced.

The only thing I can now remember about the show was that the phrase 'chocolate willy' featured quite a bit. After hearing it about five times we switched channels because we had the children in the back of the car. Five seconds later there was a refrain from the back of the car. Both children were chanting, in unison, 'chocolate willy, chocolate willy, chocolate willy'.

I looked at Dave. Dave looked at me. We smirked and tried to pretend we weren't listening.