Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Old age and incontinence

We went to visit Dave’s granny yesterday, and I know what you’re thinking. You’re putting two and two together aren’t you? Well you’d be wrong, so read on.

It’s never a particularly easy visit. She’s rather ancient at 92 and has been more than a bit deaf of late. She is admirably obstinate (depending on your point of view) and still has about 95% of her marbles. Conversations do have a tendency to be rather one way though as she can’t hear what you’re saying and she hasn’t mastered the skill of lip-reading.

She has two English toy terriers. They’re a bit mad, and a bit old. When we’re just about to arrive the dogs get sent upstairs and locked in the bedroom so that they don’t bite or scare the children.

Yesterday, although we arrived spot on our expected arrival time, the dogs were still downstairs. We did a bit of a manoeuvring in which we stood in the hall and the dogs went out past us through into the front garden. We then went into the living room and the dogs were brought back indoors and went upstairs.

I always sit in the same place when we visit Dave’s Granny. She doesn’t have central heating so, selfishly, I sit right next to the coal fire.

I sat down and thought the chair seemed very cold for one placed right next to the fireplace. I pondered this for a while and then became aware of another sensation. The seat felt cold, and wet.

I stood up rather quickly to discover that the seat I had been sitting on was wet, and that meant my seat was wet. I stood with my rear facing the fire and said to Dave “The seat’s wet….is that your Granny, or the dogs?”

That was unfair. I know Dave’s Granny only ever sits in one seat, and it isn’t the one next to the fire.

The dogs had been over-excited when we arrived and before being sent upstairs had seen fit to lose bladder control on one of the armchairs – the one near the fire.

Yuk, yuk and triple yuk.

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Homestyle pork casserole

I tend to judge my culinary exploits by the requests for the recipe or a peek at the recipe book. This recipe prompted one diner to buy the recipe book and consider buying a slow cooker like ours, which I consider to be positive indicators.

I like easy, foolproof recipes and this one fits the bill. It’s also one that can be cooking merrily while you sit getting sloshed with your guests.


  • 150g of mixed dried prunes, apples and apricots
  • 125ml amontillado sherry (or tawny port)
  • 250ml dry red wine, eg. merlot or pinot noir (I used whatever was next off the wine rack)
  • groundnut or vegetable oil
  • 75g seasoned flour (I used gluten free flour and upped the amount of stock added)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander (I had coriander seed and crushed using pestle and mortar)
  • 1/2 tsp ground mace (or nutmeg)
  • about 1.7kg lean pork, eg. pork loin or leg (well-trimmed and cut into large bite-sized cubes)
  • 4 large shallots – finely sliced (I used small onions)
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme or oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 ltr hot chicken stock (I used stock cube)
  • the zest and juice of 1 lemon

Put dried prunes, apples and apricots in a pan with sherry (or port) and red wine and heat to just below simmering point over a low flame. Remove and leave to marinate for 6-8 hours, or overnight.

Preheat oven to 140 degC for a fan oven/gas mark 3, although I used slow cooker for 3 1/2 hours and that worked very well too.

Combine flour and ground spices into a large dish or bowl. Toss in the cubes of pork and coat them. Keep any surplus flour. A large tupperware container works well here – add meat to seasoned flour and shake tupperware with lid on and voila, meat is coated.

Heat a frying pan over a medium flame then pour in enough oil to barely cover the base. When the oil is hot throw in the shallots and fry for about 5 minutes or until they have lightly coloured. Transfer them to casserole using a slotted spoon.

Reheat the pan over a medium flame, adding more oil if necessary. When the oil is hot (but not smoking), toss in some of the pork. Don’t crowd the pan or the meat will stew rather than colour – on the other hand, put in enough cubes to keep the oil “occupied” or it will burn. Once the chunks of pork are coloured on all sides, remove them with a slotted spoon to the casserole, and carry on browning the remainder. Put the pan on one side for a moment.

Scoop out the dried fruits from the marinade (reserving it, and add them to the casserole with the herbs. Tip in any of the remaining deasoned flour and give the pot a good stir.

Return the frying pan to a high flame and pour in the reserved marinade. Bring to the boil and deglaze the pan for 2 minutes. Add the hot stock, bring everything back to the boil, then scrape the contents of the pan into the casserole.

Cover the casserole and put in the oven to cook for 2 hours, stirring it halfway through. When the meat is tender and the sauce is shiny and thick it’s ready. Just before serving, stir in the lemon zest and juice.


Original recipe Ruth Watson "Something for the Weekend"

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Yay. Nay.

Yay.  Those British gas people came and worked on the boiler. 

I know they were supposed to turn up on Sunday, and didn’t.  And I know they were supposed to turn up yesterday, and didn’t.  But they turned up today and we made them coffee and we all celebrated with champagne and chocolates.  (I made that last bit up but after such a long drawn out disaster it might have been nice to celebrate.)

Nay.  Those British Gas people came and worked on the boiler and the bloody thing still doesn’t work properly.

My husband tells me I should only worry about the things I can influence and he believes I shouldn’t worry about this because I can’t influence the outcome.  Those British Gas people have promised to come back tomorrow and I can’t control how successful they’ll be.

I can’t help myself.  I do get wound up by these things.  I also develop a systematic pessimistic view of such situations.  I knew they’d screw up at the weekend which is why I insisted on a fix for the weekend, it would give me a bit of a buffer before Christmas in which to have the rework, or in this case initial work, booked.

The depressing thing is that I know tomorrow’s visit will just be an attempt at diagnosis.  Parts will need ordering and a seventh visit will need to be booked.  That will fail leading to another diagnostic visit and so we go on ad infinitum.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Money down the drain

Relatively recently we decided our washing machine had died.  Our washing was emerging ripped and marked.

We had attempted to get the darned thing fixed.  The nice people at Mackfields in Brentwood tried to fix our Bosch.  The replaced the rubber seal which had been sadly neglected and had gone a bit skanky. 

The clothes and linen abuse continued and we decided it was time to get rid, and buy a new one.

I wanted a decent quality machine that would last forever so we ended up buying Miele with 10 year guarantee.  It cost an arm and a leg but the laundry that was being chewed was becoming costly too.

Today I was having a look at some clean laundry that was showing the same kind of marks that the laundry was displaying before we switched machines.  These were duvet covers that were new and hadn’t been washed before so I knew the damage was fresh.

I couldn’t believe it.  The new machine was causing the same problems that were being caused by the old ones.  Nightmare.  Loads of money down the drain.

A few minutes later Dave came into the room and said (rather over-dramatically) “I’ve caught it in the act!”

It transpires that Dave had caught the tumble dryer in the act of trashing the laundry.  Great!  I ditched a perfectly good washing machine and kept a crappy tumble dryer.

So I’m now looking at Miele tumble dryers, three days before Christmas.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

British Gas

Are crap.  And so are Sky.  And you know what, I think things can only get worse.

Which is why I shall be waiting until the promised final, final, final boiler fix which has been rescheduled a million times, and is booked in for tomorrow afternoon.

The good news is that a very nice man called Michael did turn up yesterday and fit a 7 day thermostat.

The bad news is that it’s a bit complicated.  I did start to work through the programming whilst following the instructions but I was saved from this tedium by my patronising husband who said “Just write down when you want the boiler on and off, every day, and I’ll programme it.”

I could be generous and assume this was a genuine offer of help or I could assume that he wanted me to steer well clear because he thought I’d screw it up.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Blog blog blog

Blah, blah, blah.

I could do a bit more ranting about British Gas. I get the feeling that this thread has legs, or maybe it would if the right engineer ever turned up at the right time with the right bits. (Because engineers have legs...Oh, never mind!)

I could rant about TV reality shows but my angle is a little unorthodox and might need a bit more thought.

I could rant about the fact that it's coming up to Christmas and I have a cold and all I seem to be doing is drinking and eating and feeling ill.

Haven't you had enough of me ranting?

Friday, 19 December 2008

Acceleration works

The e-mail to Sam Laidlaw at British Gas seems to have had an impact.

Darren (who loves his job and works in Customer Services) now phones me regularly to make sure I'm happy.

I'm not happy because they still haven't fixed the boiler and fitted the thermostat, but the thinking is that if I can vent my anger at Darren it means Mr Laidlaw doesn't get anymore annoying e-mails.

The idiot that couldn't install a new thermostat yesterday, and who had the wrong parts to fix the boiler, will return tomorrow morning. I've told Darren that I don't hold out too much hope.

A senior engineer will also turn up at some point tomorrow to fit the thermostat.

It is a measure of my lack of faith that I requested a weekend appointment so there may still be an opportunity to rectify any screw ups on Monday or Tuesday.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Old boiler

I might have mentioned a certain irritation with British Gas before, maybe here, here, here and here.

Well the boiler is up to it's old tricks.  It usually decides to let us down about seven times a day.  This is an inconvenience but I know how to fix it.  Next week when the house has guests, they might be less understanding if, mid shower, the hot water suddenly turns cold.

I've been through the usual two appointments before we get to the one where they promise to fix things and they sent an idiot.  Granted it wasn't his fault the previous guy had ordered the wrong parts but, you know what, I don't think he had the wrong parts.  I think he decided he couldn't be bothered.  Lazy git.  And I made him a decent coffee.

I'd arranged to have a different thermostat fitted today too.  Killing two birds with one stone was the plan but it's sort of turned into the Hitchcock film Birds, which is rather scary.

How can a qualified British gas technician (sorry I am beginning to resent using the word engineer) say that the wiring looked a bit confusing and he wasn't sure what to connect to what?

He started to suggest he'd leave that for the guy who would arrive with the right parts but then it transpired that they're "a bit busy 'cos it's Christmas".  (No shit Sherlock!)  That means I'll need a further two visits which of course assumes no further screw ups, which we know is ridiculous optimism.

Sam Laidlaw's minions were quick to respond to my first e-mail, but the promised speedy contact from Customer Services is still pending.  Maybe they're hoping I'll cool down.  Well without a fully functioning boiler I might do more than cool down; I might freeze!!!

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

This one's for Victoria

Went on Christmas lunch duty today.

Lost my scarf. Yes the one I bloody well knitted and I liked. I am gutted, but not gutted enough to about turn when I got to Moorgate and realised.

Nearly snogged a girl. Lucinda nearly got snogged. Nobody dared me to do it which is why it probably didn't happen and, to be fair to Lucinda, she might have told me to get lost.

I found out a few things about colleagues that I didn't know before, and honestly Vish and Rana I never had a clue.

Talked about sex toys for a while.

And Michelle, you have a lovely bum which should be shown off more often, and if you ever want to go bra shopping together, it's a date.

I lusted over Apple product. I want an iSomething. Phone or Touch, not sure I'm fussy but probably Phone.

I discovered that someone has a plan that involves me and that's all the detail I have.

Anyway I sit here wrapped in a towel sipping Alka Seltzer doing this for the lovely Victoria who I have always appreciated but now so even more so.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

And the answer is....

Conversation between Dave and Ethan:

Ethan: Daddy, what's the third biggest country in the world?
Dave: I'm not too sure, maybe India.
Ethan: No, silly. India is the seventh biggest country.

For those who are wondering, the third biggest country is either the United States of America or the People's Republic of China. This is disputed and depends on whether territories claimed by India are included in the China figure.

Monday, 8 December 2008

No No No

Every Monday I catch the tube between Liverpool Street and Euston Square. Well not every Monday, but enough Mondays to have an opinion.

As we pull into Kings Cross there is an announcement advising us of the fact and suggesting that should be need the Royal Institute of blind people, we should alight when we reach the station.

No, no and thrice no!

It's the Royal National Institute for the Blind. The omission of the word National isn't the thing that irks me, it's the use of the words "of blind people." The Institute, I'm sure, does not comprise entirely of blind people. I understood it existed to make life better for the blind and partially sighted, i.e. it was for the benefit of those who were blind.

Anyway it winds me up every Monday, so I thought I'd share it with you to see whether anyone else might find it irksome.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Tim is my idol, sort of

We were having a chat in the office about entertaining the other day.

Whenever I know people are coming over to the house (e.g. this weekend) I start to worry.

I just try to plan and re-plan and think through when the preparation will happen, when any cooking will happen, what to cook, where to serve it, when to serve it. You know what I mean. You might think I'm mad and you'd be agreeing with Tim who didn't understand this at all.

Tim's view was that one doesn't need to worry about any of this until the day and even then a couple of hours prior to guests arriving.

Tim obviously has an immaculate and very well organised house. He obviously has a kitchen of unlimited possibilities and a chef-like ability akin to Gordon Ramsey.

My ambitions run more along the lines of sausage rolls or chicken goujons (which are just posh long nuggets), Pringles or tortillas, pizza slices or vol-au-vent. OK, I'm exaggerating for effect (the goujons are way beyond me) but there are things to consider: the fussiness of children, the ease of eating without having to sit at a table, food that can be eaten by children without it ending up all over the walls, how much to cook, how to accommodate everyone's likes and dislikes, and this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of considerations.

I'd love to be like Tim and not worry about everything until the day, but my house is a picture of disorganisation which matches my mind. Stress and worry are my bedfellows.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

How blonde?

I checked in for a flight at Stansted with Tracey, a seasoned traveller.

We checked our bags and headed over to the security section. Just before we went through I had a horrible realisation. In my handbag I had two penknives.

I know, one penknife is a mistake and two is criminal. Well actually, if David Cameron had his way I'd be arrested.

I realised it was too late to put the knives in the checked luggage because it had been checked and had disappeared into baggage handling hell. So we approached a gang of three men wearing fluorescent jackets with the word security emblazoned. This was a risky strategy, as we realised when they threatened to lock me up.

We explained my problem and the lovely men had a solution. They explained that I could leave them in lost property but I'd be charged £5 per day and a better solution was to buy a jiffy bag and stamps and post the knives to myself.

We started to edge away from the lovely fluorescent men towards WH Smiths when they caught us to ask a question. "Have you got a car?"

Of course. The car. How blonde were we? It never occurred to either of us that we could nip out to the car parked in the short term car park right next to the terminal and drop them back in the car.

Very blonde.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Little donkey

It's that time of year again - nativity preparation.

I'm sure most of you will remember the song Little know, "Little donkey, little donkey on the dusty road. Got to keep on plodding onwards with your precious load..."

Hannah's been learning this, but she and a couple of friends have come up with an alternative:

Little donkey, little donkey on the M25.
Got run over, by a Land Rover.
And then, he died.

Ah bless, how sweet.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Fat swimmer

I've taken up swimming. Well I say taken up swimming but that makes it sound as though I can't swim. And actually I can't swim very well, and that's my point.

I swim once a week now because it's an exercise that I can fit into a relatively short period of time. On Thursdays I have two hours to myself. If I were to go to the gym I'd have enough time to get to the gym, work out and get home, but no time to shower and feel human again. A swim, on the other hand, takes less time and allows me to get to the pool, change, swim, shower, change back, get home and have a swift cuppa and magazine read. This is a more efficient use of time and therefore the preferred course of action.

Going back to my first point....I can't swim very well. I can manage breast stroke but not the professional looking breast stroke with goggles, nose clips and head under the water. Mine's more of the old lady breast stroke where someone doesn't want to ruin their perm or shampoo and set. (I hope it's not necessary to point out I have neither perm or set.) The head is definitely above the water but only just because my technique is so awful that it takes a fair amount of effort not to sink.

Breast stroke is a fat swimming stroke and I take up a lot of space when I'm swimming.

The swimming lanes that are available at the pool are the width of a racing swimming lane which, in my defence, I consider to have been designed for one swimmer. If one tries to cram more than one swimmer into one of these lanes, then things get a little crowded. This isn't generally a problem if swimmers are doing the crawl because crawl is a skinny swimming stroke. When two breast strokers meet then arms and legs are likely to come into contact. Even if I'm swimming and encounter a crawler in the other direction, a collision is possible.

The thing is, that it doesn't matter how much swimming I do, I'll still be a fat swimmer.

Monday, 3 November 2008


Remember when companies used to talk about downsizing? Everyone knew this meant job losses.

Then companies started to talk about right sizing. Everyone knew this meant job losses too.

Some companies are currently talking about rebalancing the business.

Do they think we're stupid?

Friday, 31 October 2008

Negative effects

Marketing departments make some poor decisions.

Nescafe have made the poor decision to sponsor Disney. This means that the Nescafe logo can be seen anywhere that refreshments are available.

This, I could live with. The lack of any decent tasting real proper coffee made from real coffee beans in any of the dining establishments on the whole of the Disney site, I can't.

The exclusivity clause that must have been a key part of the sponsorship deal has succeeded in alienating this potential customer.

I resented forking out three euros for an instant coffee. I then understood why I was in that situation; I needed a decent coffee and Nescafe were restricting my choices because they believed, in their ignorance, that my Nescafe drinking experience would convert me once and for all time and that forevermore I would only buy and consume Nescafe.

Wrong. I had neutral feelings towards the brand that are now twisted and negative and it's all their fault.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008


It's rare that I found something but today, it happened.

Ethan had lost a watch. It's been lost for months. It's been so lost that we bought a replacement.

It's been so, so lost that Ethan wanted an exact replacement for Christmas.

It's been so, so, so lost that I called the company that made it and who have discontinued the product and begged them to look in the marketing department cupboards to see if there was a sample or something that could provide my little boy with the watch he misses so much. They couldn't help. But I don't need their help anymore.

I found it.

I just need to find Hannah's DS case, my binoculars and the little pendant amethyst heart surrounded by silver that used to belong to my mother. If I find those I will be content.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Normal children

So there I lie on the bed in the doctor's surgery. The door's locked, I'm naked from the waist down, I've assumed the position and have been told to relax. Ladies will realise I'm prepared for a smear test.

I know that many women complain about the smear test process but to be honest I think they should just put up and shut up. I've never found it painful although some claim it is. And as for the indignity, frankly I think it might be just as awkward for the nurse. In my case though I can't remember when this encounter was awkward. My last test was six months ago and I was back for a retest because I'm not normal. I'm not quite sure what that means but I'm not worried; I've never been normal.

Anyway, it's perhaps not an everyday experience but I've had so many examinations "down there" (do I need to clarify here that I mean medical examinations?) that it's really no big deal.

The nurse looking after me was one that has been at the surgery for a while and, at the risk of sounding patronising, she is the lovely little Chinese nurse. (She is lovely, little and Chinese). She has seen me through pregnancies and also administered MMR and other immunisations to the children.

As she was warming the implements she was about to use, we were chatting about how the children have grown, and then she asked "Normal children?"

I thought about this, taken aback such a strange question. I thought that they were fairly normal. I mean they both have their moments, but don't all children? I know Hannah's doing well at school and I assume Ethan will too but it's too early to tell. Is Hannah doing abnormally well? I didn't think so. Just as I was about to reply, she repeated the question; "No more children?"

"No" I replied, somewhat relieved, and the conversation moved onto cervices and how easily, or not, they can be found.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Blog Action Day - Poverty

Today is Blog Action Day. The subject is poverty.

That seems quite apt with the credit crunch crunching right now.

At lunchtime I was listening to the radio and someone was suggesting that China could help us out of this mess.

This evening I found this:

Somehow I don't think China can help.

Makes you feel very sorry for those bankers who won't be getting a bonus this year doesn't it?

Tuesday, 14 October 2008


Hannah's school has a school council and pupils are elected to represent their classmates.

Last week all pupils in Hannah's year were asked if they want to stand for election. All of the children in her class, bar one, decided they wanted a chance at power. All interested children were told about elections and were told to think about three questions:

  • Why do they want to be a school councillor?
  • What would they do?
  • Why do they think they would make a good school councillor?
In addition to considering her policies and campaign speeches, Hannah was tasked with preparing a rosette and was given a paper plate as starting block. The instruction was to make a rosette with the candidate's name clearly visible.

Hannah and Dave got busy with a stapler and sellotape, some ribbon, a safety pin and the paper plate. This is what they produced:

I have a feeling Dave was more involved than Hannah.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008


Generally, I hate the warnings that get sent around, but I have to admit that this one is important. Please protect everyone you know by sending this to your entire email list.

If a man comes to your front door and says he is conducting a survey and asks you to show him your bum, do NOT show him your bum. This is a scam - he only wants to see your bum.

I wish I'd got this yesterday. I feel so stupid and cheap.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Proof of the pudding

Well I definitely didn't eat it, but I did take a picture of the burnt pasta.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Voice of the future consumer

Me: My next car is probably going to be a bright green Fiesta.
Ethan: I thought it was going to be pink.

Me: Well I don't think the pink is bright enough, but I think the green might be.
Ethan: Why not blue?

Me: Well I think the blue might be a bit boring.
Ethan: When I have my first car....

Me: ...your first new car?
Ethan: ...yes, my first new car. It will be a multi-coloured Fiesta.

Me: That sounds really exciting. How old do you think you'll be when you have your first car?
Ethan: 111. No, 40.

Me: And will you have a second hand car before that do you think?
Ethan: Yes.

Me: And what do you think that car might be?
Ethan: An S-MAX.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

A hint of

I was lucky enough to go on a cookery course on Saturday. There was a little bit of watching, some preparation, some cooking and a lot of eating and drinking.

I was so inspired that I even made bread on Sunday and I didn't cheat with a bread maker or a packet mix.

My gorgeous children (probably primed by my gorgeous husband) had told me I didn't need to go on a course to learn how to cook. They didn't know my dirty Friday secret.

Ironically, given that I was making fresh tagliatelle on Saturday (which was absolutely delicious by the way), I was cooking some dried pasta on Friday. My plan was to cook some pasta and then store the cooked pasta for reheating later. I figured that later in the day this would save me ten minutes.

I put the pasta in the pan, added boiling water and put the hob on a low heat. I then went upstairs to do some stuff (I can't remember what).

That day was a bit hectic. I had to grab the children from the school and take them straight up to the dentist where we all had an appointment. We then had to get back home, jump in the car and travel to Leigh-on-Sea because Ethan needed to be taken to a friend's house for a sleepover (how American....we never had "sleepovers" in my day).

As we walked in through the back gate it was clear that Dave was home and the children wanted to say hello to Daddy before hopping in the car.

It was then Dave told me he'd come home to a house full of smoke, smoke alarm blaring with a saucepan on the hob that contained black burnt pasta.

Pasta with a hint of burnt anyone?

Monday, 22 September 2008

Haunted handbag

This morning I had a call from Al.

He'd called because I'd sent him a text. "What text?" I asked. He explained it was the text that said "I'm at home. Please call."

I was confused, and said so. Whilst it was lovely to chat with Al first thing on a Monday morning, I hadn't sent him a text.

I hung up and checked sent items and there it was:
I'm at home. Please call

I explored explanations. Al could be the first person in my contacts list and it was a random text that just went to the first person in my contacts list. Not a good explanation as Alan is my first contact. Plus I didn't remember having that as a text message in my drafts folder. And it wasn't as if Al had been the last person I remember sending a text to. In fact it had been weeks since I'd sent Al a text.

My attention moved to the content of the text, and for that the explanation is strange. It's the second template available on the phone.

This means that my phone had selected the second text template to the second person in my contacts list.

Later today I received a text from Louise. It read "Are you OK? I've had 7 empty messages from you in the last 10 mins! X." I replied "Haven't touched my fone. :-S"

I checked sent messages and Louise was right. Seven messages, all blank, in under 10 minutes.

After the Al incident I'd sent him a text to explain what I'd thought had happened.

The messages to Louise might have been easy to explain if I hadn't texted Al (once inadvertently and once deliberately) because the last text I sent consciously was to Louise. It said "They might if I'm naked."

Either my phone is haunted, or it's the handbag. It's the only logical explanation.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

I discovered today

I discovered today that it was Enid Blyton that first coined the term "google." Google buns were available in The Land of Goodies which featured in The Magic Faraway Tree (one of my favourite childhood books).

Strange, but true.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Important Health Advisory for Women

  • Do you have feelings of inadequacy?
  • Do you suffer from shyness?
  • Do you sometimes wish you were more assertive?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist about White Wine.

White Wine is the safe, natural way to feel better and more confident about yourself and your actions. White Wine can help ease you out of your shyness and let you tell the world that you're ready and willing to do just about anything.

You will notice the benefits of White Wine almost immediately and with a regime of regular doses you can overcome any obstacles that prevent you from living the life you want to live.

Shyness and awkwardness will be a thing of the past and you will discover many talents you never knew you had. Stop hiding and start living, with White Wine. White Wine may not be right for everyone. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use White Wine. However, women who wouldn't mind nursing or becoming pregnant are encouraged to try it.

Side effects may include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, incarceration, erotic lustfulness, loss of motor control, loss of clothing, loss of money, loss of virginity, delusions of grandeur, table dancing, headache, dehydration, dry mouth, and a desire to sing Karaoke and play all-night rounds of Strip Poker, Truth Or Dare, and Naked Twister.

The consumption of White Wine may make you think you are whispering when you are not.
The consumption of White Wine is a major factor in dancing like an idiot
The consumption of White Wine may cause you to tell your friends over and over again that you love them.
The consumption of White Wine may cause you to think you can sing.
The consumption of White Wine may lead you to believe that ex-lovers are really dying for you to telephone them at four in the morning.
The consumption of White Wine may make you think you can logically converse with members of the opposite sex without spitting.
The consumption of White Wine may create the illusion that you are tougher, smarter, faster and better looking than most people.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Mad cow

I went to the new Community Hospital for a blood test this week. I had a transfusion a few years ago and they need to do regular checks to see that I don't have mad cow disease.

Anyway, when I made the appointment I asked where I should go when I turned up at the hospital and was told, "Just follow signs for Blood."

I drove from work to the hospital and as I entered the grounds there were signs for the car park. I drove in the direction indicated and thought I'd reached the car park but there were these signs everywhere.

Plus all the spaces had numbers and letters. Even though the direction signs made me think I was in the right place, the environment made me feel I was in the staff car park.

I drove on. Well I would have but I'd reached a dead end. I couldn't see anywhere else to park so I took the risk of a ticket, parked and went in to reception.

I asked the receptionist about the parking situation, explaining that I hadn't requested, or received, authorisation to park in the car park.

She assured me that authorisation was not necessary and that I'd be fine. I said that in that case the signs were unnecessarily threatening and certainly hadn't made me feel welcome. She said she'd make a note of my concerns and I thought "Yeah, right."

I thought we'd end on a light note as there were no signs for "Blood" and I asked where I should go. (I had seen a sign for Phlebotomy but being a pedant and having been told to follow signs for Blood I thought I'd best check.)

She advised I shouldn't follow signs for Phlebotomy or Blood as it was currently sited about as far away from its intended location as possible and where the sign suggested I should turn left I should, instead, turn right.

The good news was that the phlebotomist was ready to see me as soon as I arrived.

Amusingly as I walked back out past reception I noticed the receptionist pointing at me. Within seconds I was being introduced to the Patient Liaison Manager.

I guided the Patient Liaison Manager around to the patient and visitor car park and explained my confusion when presented with the car park signs. She placated me by agreeing with me so I took the opportunity to mention the Phlebotomy signs.

I bet they can't wait for my next mad cow test.

Saturday, 6 September 2008


I have to admit that the thought of spending a day at Diggerland did not inspire me.

I've always thought that diggers required a reasonable amount of skill to master. I didn't think it was something one could pick up in a couple of hours. I was wrong.

I was also wrong to think I wouldn't enjoy a Diggerland experience. I can thoroughly recommend it.

Where else do you get to operate a big digger that costs £38,000? Where else can five year olds drive real tractors, scoop earth with real diggers and drive a go-cart? Where else can you sit in the scoop of a digger costing £118,000 and get lifted as high as the scoop will go and get spun round as fast as the digger will spin? Where else can a five year drive a digger around a muddy track? Where else can you travel on a merry-go-round constructed with a digger at its centre?

It is heaven for kids (and kids at heart). They can do things that would normally be forbidden and it is very muddy.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Mother's little helper

On Wednesday I listened to the news and heard about an increase in the street value of Valium because heroin has decreased in both availability and quality.

On Thursday I took Dave to the doctor with chronic back pain and he prescribed Cocodomel and Diazepam, more commonly known as Valium.

Now I'd always thought that Valium was prescribed for depression and was prescribed with abandon in the seventies before people realised the extent of its addictive qualities.

But the doctor knew his stuff, and Diazepam can be prescribed to help with muscle spasm.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

It doesn't get better than this

I could have put this on my work blog but it was too good not to share it here too.

The team at work needed to restore data using a backup of the system. They contacted the department that do the backups.

I'm not exactly sure of the detail, but I was told that the latest backup was only done five months ago. This was a shock because backups were supposed to be happening regularly, daily.

When this was investigated the team responsible for backing up the system said that they used to get daily e-mails reminding them to back up the system, but the e-mails were irritating them, so they set up a rule to delete them automatically.

No reminder e-mail, no backup.

I laughed and laughed.

Did someone say "Muppets!"

Sunday, 31 August 2008


Beach huts can command high prices. A friend of a friend recently purchased one in West Mersea for £40,000.

I observed Beach Huts being used this weekend in Frinton.

I understand the benefit of storing beach stuff at the beach rather than lugging it down from the car but, at Frinton, the distance between car and beach really isn't that far. It certainly isn't worth £40K.

I understand the benefit of being able to make a cup of tea at the beach, especially as backwards Frinton doesn't allow food or drink trading on or near the beach. But again, this isn't worth £40K.

So having failed to establish the value of these benefits I thought I'd look at how beach huts were being used.

In the main, people had taken chairs and tables out of the hut and placed them directly in front of the beach hut on the concrete promenade above the beach. There they sat.

For me this does not constitute a beach experience. There's no sand, sandcastles, burying people in sand, paddling, swimming, flying kites, finding shells, admiring pebbles etc.

So why do people have beach huts? Even if I had the cash I can't see the point.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Smashing time

List of things broken whilst camping this weekend:

Washing up bowl - bashed with foam baseball bat by a three year old
Picnic table and seat set - sat on by husband
Pegs - several during extraction from ground
Guy rope - during peg extraction process
Bucket - hit by stone thrown on a beach
Airbed - although this may have had a puncture before the weekend
Picnic glass - perhaps broken by aggressive washing up
My spirit - only kidding, I'll be back for more of the same next year.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Bad smell

In case anyone is interested, I don't even own one home.

My name is on the deeds of one house but until the mortgage is paid I figure it isn't mine.

Oh, and when the mortgage is paid it still won't be exclusively mine as I'll only own half of it with Dave owning the other half.

And if a pair of legal eyes were to look at this situation they may say that because I contributed less, financially, towards the mortgage then I would own less than half.

Would that be full disclosure? Could that be twisted by political spin? Probably.

I know that the Presidential candidates face extreme scrutiny and criticism. But of all the issues facing either of them, it's the initials of my preferred candidate that I think are the most unfortunate.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Stop it!

Medal is a noun. It is not a verb!

Will the BBC Olympics team please stop talking about people medalling.

People can meddle, but not medal.

Got that? Good.

OK, maybe I'm 40 years out of date.

(Is it appropriate to mention here that the Blogger spellchecker didn't like the word either?)

Monday, 18 August 2008


The world has gone mad.

An air freshener with a motion sensor.
That's ridiculous!

Friday, 15 August 2008

Genetic history

We went to Tropical Wings today which is a great day out for the kiddiwinks (and the adults). It's a wildlife sort of place with a tropical house for butterflies, birds, massive koi carp and other strange beasties as well as a massive outdoor area with mammals, reptiles, birds and lots of play areas.

Hannah took her camera (our old digital camera) and her Nintendo DS. These were packaged in a little girly backpack giving her the responsibility of looking after her things.

So when she lost her backpack later in the day, I also lost something; my temper.

And then I reflected. Hannah lost something. Who else loses things on a regular basis?


Hannah was always going to be absent-minded.

Luckily "Auntie Sandra" found the backpack and I regained my composure.

This probably isn't the time or the place to mention that seconds after we discovered the loss of the backpack, I lost Ethan. So I'll leave the tale there.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Just once

This morning I lost my keys.

I ended up leaving the house with an unlocked back door.

I even phoned Dave and wanted to know if he knew where my keys were.

This evening Dave found my keys.

Just once I'd like to lose something and for it not to be my fault.

(Obviously I'd like to find it again.)

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

I know nothing

Pimms o'clock.

Who, working in marketing, would have seen the pitch featuring a socially clumsy and awkward individual promoting a drink with the strapline "Pimms o'clock" and thought "My what a fabulous idea, I bet that catches on and improves sales"?

I am pretty sure I would have rejected the idea, and I would have been wrong.

Pimms has increased sales and brand awareness. Good job I don't work for Diageo.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Compliment of the day

I was chatting with one of the staff members at the gym today looking for some advice on a change of routine.

As we walked around discussing the merits of various different weights machines we came to one that worked the shoulder area and he said "you're shoulders aren't bad to look at."

Hmmm, not bad, but not good, so not really a compliment I guess.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Decisions, decisions

We've not taken a summer holiday this year, and we don't plan to either.

We took a quick break to Madeira in Feb but the weather was pants and it was only a mini break.

I've got my eye on October. The choices so far are sun, sea and sand in Menorca in an apartment right on a beach or a great apartment near Paris with fantastic facilities and tickets for Disney theme parks.

Camping isn't even on the radar.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

War poetry

I've been going through old family papers and found this. This is an original work by my grandfather while he was serving in France during World War I.


Who took me from my warm, warm cot
Whether I wanted to or not
and sent me to France to die – and rot?
The Army!

Who “feeds” me up on bread and jam
and smiles as innocent as a lamb
Then days he doesn’t care a damn?
The Quarter!

Who takes parade and moans like hell
at what no doubt he alone can tell
and makes you wish your name was Nell?
The Major!

Who fries our eggs at 5 a franc
and puts the profit in the bank
While we look thin and awful lank?
Why! Dickens!

Who causes this war, the ruddy swine
And bought us here to fade and pine
Who should be stewed in boiling brine?
The Kaiser!

Who feels our pulse and says “you’re fine”
And gives us naught but “number nine”
When you’ve icicles running down your spine?
The Doctor!

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Green rubber

I've owned up to recycling Royal Mail elastic bands.

I thought I was doing the environment a favour but I discovered today that it's not the big favour I thought it was.

I bumped into a postwoman today and we started talking rubber. Apparently the red rubber bands aren't as good as their predecessors in terms of performance and longevity, but there's a reason. The red rubber bands one sees discarded everywhere are biodegradable.

One learns something new every day.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008


OK, so I lost my id badge. And I looked in all the usual places and a few that weren't usual.

I don't know whether you do this too, but when you've lost something do you look in the same place several times because you really think it might be there even though you've checked before?

We have an odds and sods draw in the kitchen (well actually we have two in the kitchen and several others scattered around the house) and, although I've never put my id badge in this drawer, I thought it might be worth checking.

I went through this same thought process and behaviour several times checking the same drawer. Nothing, nicht, nada.

This evening I said to Dave, as I opened the same drawer, "I wish I knew where my badge was" and just as I was about to close the drawer Dave said "What, this badge?" as he pulled my badge from the drawer which I'd just looked in and just hadn't seen the badge.

How annoying is that. I mean it's great he found it, but how annoying is that?

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

I need a PA

No not a public address system, a personal assistant.

This morning I couldn't find my pass for work. Normally when this happens there are about five places I need to search before the offending item is discovered.

This morning I looked in about 500 places (note exaggeration for effect).

The dumb thing I that I know that stupid piece of plastic is either in the car or the house, somewhere. I know I'll find the damned thing but only after I've gone through the pain and humiliation of the leper treatment at work.

I visited Mr Security Card today and he asked for my name and immediately on his system produced the picture on my id badge. Admittedly the picture was taken over 10 years ago but it's definitely me.

One might think that my passing resemblance to a former me might be sufficient to enable the process of replacement card creation to begin.

For a bureaucratic giant like Ford though that would be far too simple. So I was given a form to complete which needed to be signed by HR and a manager. The new card would then take five days. In the meantime I have five days to find my old card and re-activate all of the associated privileges.

All of this is a right royal pain in the backside. I've worked for the company for so long that I have built up access rights to almost everywhere. Granted I no longer have access to the design studio but, that aside, I have an access all areas card. Building this up again is too much like hard work. The alternative? Get Dave to look for my card because he's so much better at finding things than me.

Monday, 4 August 2008

It all about the money

During my, admittedly short, mid year appraisal I was told that I am expected to look for a new job in the new year.

I work part time, and I know that other part time opportunities are few and far between, which means I could end up in a job that is the only job available rather than necessarily a job I want.

Interestingly, I'm sure that when my current role is advertised it will be advertised as a full time role.

Maybe, when I'm looking for a move, I should just look at full time roles and offer myself up as a cost saving, delivering a full time workload for part time money. That could be a win win situation. I might get a job with some interest and my manager gets a bargain.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Not the best day

Ethan's foot was still hurting so I called the emergency doctor again. While I was on the call with the doctor Ethan miraculously found that he could walk again (albeit with a limp).

As we left the house we made sure that we put the sheets on the line so they could dry while we were out.

I also made sure I took the satnav so we could do a nav off between Dave's Landie satnav and my mate Tom. We knew where we were going (Dave's parent's) but it doesn't hurt to check.

Our visit had two objectives: celebrating birthdays and delivering children for school holiday childcare.

We ended up leaving late-ish and got stuck in M25 end-of-weekend queues, and it was raining. Just before we went under the Thames I realised we hadn't handed over the child seats when we handed over the children.

We turned around and righted that wrong.

When we'd re-joined the M25 queue, the rain got worse so I turned to Dave and said "At least the washing will have dried nicely."

I deserved the look I got.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Doctor doctor

On the way back home this evening Ethan was running and fell over and hurt his foot/ankle.

It clearly hurt. He didn't seem able to put any weight on it and was carried the rest of the way home.

For the next two hours he hopped and crawled but did anything to avoid putting any pressure on the injured foot.

I phoned the out of hours doctor service. When they called back they advise me that it sounded like a sprain and he should be dosed up with alternate ibuprofen and paracetamol.

Ten minutes later, at bedtime, Ethan wanted to sleep in his top bunk. I explained that wasn't a good idea because if his recent injury. He then said that he was better and it wouldn't be a problem.


Friday, 1 August 2008

A date for your diary

On August 8th take a camera out with you and you can take part in 24 hours of Flickr.

I didn't realise but they did the same thing last year on May 5th, encouraging people to post photos from a particular 24 hour period.

Look here to see the result.

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Ugly and green

I went to the Motorshow yesterday and had a good look around.

Why is it that Toyota believes that "green" cars should be ugly?

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Don't drink and talk

OK this evening I started by drinking a few gins, and that's where the problems started.

The problems finished when I had too much gin and figured I needed to walk home from the station so I might have time to sober up before getting home.

I know I talk too much generally but I talk way too much when drunk.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Old timer

I went to a 40th birthday party at the weekend and met up with some people from my school, all turned or turning 40.

Check out this motley crew:

Sunday, 27 July 2008

I'd be lost without...

I'd be lost without my satnav.

Well this is a lie. This weekend I have proved I can survive without the aid of that particular gadget.

I bought a nav unit and its first real test was this weekend, an extended weekend in Devon. It's an area I know reasonably well but I knew that the traffic could be testing and thought it might be useful.

Well it didn't help me avoid any of the traffic on the way down, so my journey down on Thursday was a bad six hours.

On the Friday I used the nav while we went to Teignmouth to a park and lunch followed by the best ice cream in the world (sold at the Beachcomber on Teignmouth sea front), then through Shaldon for some raspberry picking in Netherton. After this, I put the satnav away.

Friday evening was a dash to get the children fed, washed and in bed as quickly as possible which proved difficult because they want to mess around and play with their cousins. I was on a mission though and left the children in bed, being read to in time to meet a school friend that I hadn't seen for 22 years.

After we'd helped to piece together one another's memories and catch up on a lot that has happened in the intervening years, we picked Dave up from the train station. Three beers for Dave later we dropped Debbie back at her house and we headed back to my brother's house.

The next morning I wanted the satnav. I looked everywhere, and I mean everywhere. I explained that this always happens to me; I lose stuff and then it just turns up.

Dave looked everywhere. Later in the day Ian (my brother) looked everywhere. I knew where it should have been - under the driver seat. I looked there during the day about 15 times. Dave and Ian both checked there and the rest of the car.

I was furious; angry with myself. We called the fruit picking place in Netherton - nothing. I sent Debbie a message - nothing. I called the police (and got an answerphone) - nothing.

The next day we still hadn't found it. We discussed house insurance, credit card purchase protection and I lost it.

We arrived home and unpacked. I was looking for the telephone number for the credit card people and Dave walked in with the satnav unit.

It had been under the driver seat. Exactly where I'd put it and exactly where we'd all looked lots of times.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

We're all going to die

What is it about adults on a plane?

Today as we descended into Southend I thought I was going to die.

I'm used to turbulence, but this wasn't turbulence, it was a nutter at the controls.

We sped up, we slowed down, we banked, we dived. The landing gear was dropped and sounded like it had fallen off.

I stole a look around at my fellow passengers and not one looked scared. So I tried to look un-phased too but I really did think I might die.

Was everybody else thinking the same, but trying to look cool, or were other people genuinely OK about the whole situation?

Monday, 21 July 2008

Coals to Newcastle

I am going to be taking sausages to Germany tomorrow.

Do you know how difficult it is to find out whether that is permissable?

I checked the Southend airport website - no information.

I phoned Southend airport and got rather tangled up in their switchboard.

I checked the BAA website which recommended checking the DEFRA website. The only vaguely useful bit of that website was the "Ask Hilary Benn" link but I considered this question a bit beneath a Member of Parliament.

I checked the website for the company that owns Southend airport and phoned the only telephone number I could find. A nice and highly amused lady answered. She was intrigued and promised to investigate.

Later I was called by someone, with what I imagined to be a pilot's voice (very definitely wearing a uniform), from Southend airport who explained that taking sausages out of the country was completely permissable. He was unable to comment on the rules pertaining to the importing of sausages into Germany though. I thought this might be a stumbling block but then he cheerfully volunteered the information that bags are not checked upon arrival in Cologne.

He said that I must walk through German Customs looking very innocent, which I explained was very difficult because even when I am innocent that environment makes me feel and appear guilty. He said that if I were to get caught then my sausages would be confiscated and that would be that, but on the whole he thought I'd be able to get away with it.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Sugar Daddy?

Ethan's birthday yesterday, Ethan's birthday party today.

He opened presents that arrived by post yesterday, and the ones from partygoers today. But there is a problem.

One present (a rather excellent Batmobile with sounds, lights and working missiles) arrived, addressed to Ethan but with no note or card. So we have no idea who sent it.

The only clue we have was the post office label with postcode of the sender: IP3. I think this is Ipswich and I don't know anyone in Ipswich. I didn't think Ethan did either. Unless he has a Sugar Daddy.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Ah bless!

So last night we spent hours assembling Ethan's trampoline. Is it too late to admit that Dave did all the difficult bits and I made the tea? Well it wasn't quite like that, but almost.

Anyway, it meant that for most of the evening we were in the back garden.

When we went upstairs later in the evening we saw this:

Allow me to translate:

Plese get me some water. Then bring it back! Hannah

We thought that was quite sweet. We also thought that the poor little thing could have been gasping for water and suffering because she couldn't find us. Fortunately she was fine, and ended up with two lots of water as Dave and I sought fit to oblige.

Ah, bless!

Friday, 18 July 2008


Ethan wants a trampoline for his birthday and he's convinced it's going to happen.

He's gone to bed tonight expecting that tomorrow it will have arrived.

He's right. Which is irritating in a way.

He hasn't seen it delivered and me lugging the 93 kilos into the garage.

He hasn't seen Dave and I spending three hours this evening assembling the stupid thing.

He just has faith that his mum and dad will deliver. It is this that allows me to forgive the irritation.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

What women really want

Imagine the scene.

A woman has spent all day entertaining, feeding, cleaning and tidying up after her children. She is exhausted. Her husband walks in after a day in the office and she says "Am I glad to see you, I'm so tired. They've been really hard work today."

He says "Well why don't you get a job?"

What he is doing is trying to fix the problem. What she wanted was a little bit of support and understanding.

Imagine the scene.

A man has had a tough day in the office. A promotion that he was sure would be his, has gone to someone else.

He arrives home in contemplative mood and isn't very talkative. His wife says "Did you have a good day darling."

"OK." he says with a sigh.

"Are you sure?" she says "You seem down."

"I'm fine." he says as he walks away from her upstairs.

She follows him "Is there anything I can do?"

"I'm fine." he replies with more than a note of irritation.

What she is trying to do is empathise because, correctly, she has sensed that her husband has something troubling him. What he wanted was a bit of time and space to come to terms with what happened during the day, on his own.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

I couldn't better this

I saw today's Gaping Void cartoon, and couldn't better it.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008


So I've linked the phone to the sat nav via Bluetooth....and that's where the problems begin.

For the whole of today I've been wound up a treat by my phone. Every call I've tried to make has been a disaster. I dial, or answer the phone, and the person on the other end can't hear me and I can't hear them.

I did notice late this afternoon that there was a little headphone symbol on the phone which told me what the problem was but not why. The phone is channelling all sound through the headphone jack.

A phone reboot solved the problem.

I think, because the sat nav can work to channel phone calls and texts via Bluetooth, the phone is confused and thinks it needs to channel stuff through the headphone jack, except it doesn't have that confusion when it uses the Bluetooth in the car.

I must be doing something wrong. Any ideas folks?

Monday, 14 July 2008

My mate Tom

My new sat nav Tom was delivered today and I've had fun playing around with it.

It's got a whole bunch of features I never knew I needed. I'm not sure I'll discover all of its treasures because it's all a bit complicated.

I think it'll get it's first proper outing when I go to Devon next week. I admit to being a bit excited about having a new toy to play with.

Sunday, 13 July 2008


Hannah participated in a gymnastics competition today.

I know what you're thinking - "pushy parents".

Well I'd disagree. Hannah does gymnastics every Saturday morning. It's my way of playing catch up because we don't have the same time that other children have after school because of my working hours. I see it as a bit of fun that might help her co-ordination and confidence. The competition was also a bit of fun organised by the girls that run the Saturday gymnastics sessions.

Hannah didn't have a special outfit for the competition (unlike some of her competitors) but she did have her family there to support her, even though not everyone was there willingly.

Ethan did not want to go to the competition at all but he settled down a bit when we told him to concentrate on Hannah and gave him something to do when she was having her turn (clap like crazy and shout "Go Hannah! Go Hannah!")

He didn't contain his vocal enthusiasm for just supporting Hannah.

In the middle of one little girl's routine the audience were very quiet, except for Ethan, who could be heard across the hall "She's not very good is she?"

Well he was right, she wasn't.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Triple ouch

Ethan had his pre-school immunisations yesterday.

The note I received just said he needed to be offered Tetanus Booster 1, Polio Booster 1, Pert Booster 1, MMR2, Dip Booster 1 and Hib Catch-up.

Tetanus and Polio are self-explanatory. MMR is the controversial Measles, Mumps and Rubella triple vaccine.

Pert refers to pertussis which means whooping cough.

Dip refers to diptheria.

Hib is Haemophilus influenzae type b. Apparently Haemophilus influenzae type b can lead to diseases like septicaemia, meningitis and pneumonia which are quite serious.

This sounds like a major assault on a three year old's body and it translated into three injections.

Ethan doesn't like going to the doctor's surgery and he's old enough to know that vaccination means needle. It was long enough since the last injection though that I think he'd forgotten how much pain this would mean.

The first injection in the left arm resulted in a wince and then Ethan knew exactly what was going on.

The second injection produced tears, but his response to third was a stiff upper lip.

Aside from the obvious immunisation against disease he was rewarded with three dips into the sweetie jar and a sticker.

Oh, and the effects of the MMR (possible rash and cold symptoms) may kick in in seven days, just in time for Ethan's birthday and party.


Girls, at dinner, comparing the less than average aspects of their respective men.
  • One makes jam and had a "jam off" with a colleague at work today (and lost).
  • One watches Battlestar Gallactica.
  • One plays ping pong at an international level.
  • One drinks Vimto and Vimto alone at home.
  • One records cookery programmes (almost obsessively), searches for the associated recipes but doesn't do any cooking.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Boing boing

So I ordered a trampoline today for Ethan's birthday. I've gone for small but not tiny, mainly because I want to fit it into the garden somewhere but not on grass. If it were to go on grass we'd have no lawn left.

So now, in order to fit the trampoline into the space I've mentally set aside, we need to hack some branches off a conifer, up to a height of about 12 foot. Ideally I'd get the tree removed as it's big and ugly and adds no value but Dave likes trees too much to get it ripped out.

I did think about calling in the tree surgeons anyway and seeing if he noticed. I honestly think it would be about a month before he realised it was gone. It's taller than our house but blends in with tall laurels behind it.

Maybe I could arrange for it to be removed, and when he asks me what happened I can feign a lack of knowledge and suggest it must have been stolen. Doing this and maintaining a straight face, or even faking a shocked expression, would be a challenge but then I did study drama...

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

A cup of tea solves everything

I'm the last person (OK girl) that people would expect to see crying at work.

I shout, swear and laugh my way out of situations. I don't cry. Crying is generally perceived as a weakness (not by me I hasten to add) and, if I'm right, most people don't perceive me as weak.

Today they were wrong.

And I didn't just lose it quietly. Most women who feel tears pricking their eyes head straight for the privacy of the toilets.

I lost control of my emotions in a meeting and at my desk.

Does this change anything?

It means that a few people have seen a bit more of the real me. It's made me understand that maybe I'm stressed, but the stress won't change. It's made me realise that I do care about my job and that I take it all too personally.

I also learned something about support, and who provides it, and who withholds it.

Oh, and a cup of tea solves everything.