Saturday, 31 May 2008

Training required

I went to two events today at which face painters were present. The quality differed.

The first was at a party, and clearly she did a lot of face painting. This was Ethan after the painting and before he'd managed to rub most of the paint off.

It should be pointed out that Ethan did ask to be a blue animal, and there aren't that many to choose from, hence the blue tiger.

The second was at a Church fun day thing, and these were clearly ladies doing fund-raising for the church.

It should be pointed out that Hannah requested the same design as her best friend Harriet.

But it got me thinking. Someone must teach face painting. So I started to investigate training courses or workshops. I quite fancy learning how to do it well.

And then I thought who needs real training when there's YouTube?

Friday, 30 May 2008

Spiderman pirate

We went on a Pirates and Princesses Treasure Trail today.

Ethan didn't want to be a pirate. I spent most of yesterday afternoon trying to persuade him that he should be a pirate.

He wanted to be Spiderman, and he was an immovable object.

This morning we had reached a compromise: Spiderman Pirate.

I don't know why he was being so awkward but I'm sure it has nothing to do with credibility; because cool kids don't eat ice cream like this.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Go fly a kite

We went kite making and flying today.
Equipment needed:
Large bin bag - preferably not black
2 garden sticks (the green kind)
Thin string
Hole punch
Parcel tape
Wood stick about pencil length with diameter roughly 1cm

Here's how to make the kite:

For a better view of these instructions, click here.

And this is what the finished product looks like.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Improve your technique

Having done some interviewing today, something I do rarely, I think I can offer some advice to people preparing for an interview.

Firstly, do your research. Learn about the company and its products. Try and find examples of any marketing or PR activity. Visit the company website.

Look at the skill set required and compare it with your own experience and abilities. Identify the areas of your resume that will demonstrate your relevant capabilities and where there are gaps. Think about how you might address or overcome those gaps.

Be honest. If your interviewer needs to know whether you can speak Portuguese, and you can't, but you did go to the Algarve once, don't claim to be fluent.

Expect the unexpected. Your interviewer may be quirky and have a strange view of what makes a great interview question. You may also find that some interviewers see an interview as a kind of trial that you must survive to win.

If you are asked "If you were a sandwich, what sandwich would you be, and why?" then just keep your cool, don't panic, and think about your answer.

If you feel you are on the receiving end of a bad attitude with an extra dollop of rudeness, then retain your dignity and composure. You may want to consider whether this really is a company, or department, that would be the right environment for you.

If you are asked personal questions that have nothing to do with your ability to do the job, then choose whether to answer. There's no rule that says you need to answer all questions. You can also choose to be economical with the detail.

Don't be afraid to ask an interviewer why a question is being asked. If you know why a question is asked, it can help you compose the perfect answer.

If you have questions for your interviewer, then take a list into the interview with you. It shows you've prepared, and it also ensures you don't forget what's on the list.

Smile. It makes you and the person on the other side of the table relax.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Doubly lucky

When the gazebo disaster happened my first thought was "bugger!" and my second thought was "thank goodness nobody was hurt."

Later in the day the task of disposing of the wreckage reared its ugly head.

I wandered over to the campsite office to explain our disaster and to ask advice on how to dispose of the frame.

The man behind the counter had a glint in his eye and told me to leave the frame where it was and he'd crush it. (The woman with him said "Any excuse to use the crusher.")

We then spoke about the gazebos miraculous flight and how lucky it was that nobody was hurt, and then someone said "And you were lucky it didn't hit a car." That hadn't even occurred me. We'd been fortunate that people, cars, tents and caravans weren't hurt in the making of this bank holiday weekend.

Monday, 26 May 2008

It could have been worse

We are complete wimps

The weather forecast threatens near gales for tonight in Sandwich. Gales, or near gales is what we experienced last night.

The result was one broken tent and a flying gazebo.

Our gazebo was the pop-up kind. We bought this because we're lazy and wanted something that didn't require any thought. It was quite a substantial construction, and definitely heavier than the unusual non-pop-up kind.

I would show you a picture but I'm not sure I have a picture showing it erected. I do, however, have an image of our gazebo after it had been lifted by the wind, travelled 20 yards across the campsite (luckily not hitting anyone, or anything) and been stripped of its cloth cover.

To give you a better idea of distance travelled look for the black car at the far right hand side of the picture. That's roughly the point from which the gazebo travelled.

Friday, 23 May 2008

Wedding video

We've got a gadget thingy. It takes the signal from a VHS player and enables conversion into a digital format.

Great for the wedding video, except I don't have a wedding video. I do have this though:

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Would you do a Trevor?

I have a friend who is on the singles circuit. She's sickeningly pretty with a great body and personality. She also looks younger than her years...not that I'm jealous.

I hope this sets the scene.

She hasn't had the best of luck with men and has tried a number of strategies to catch her man. That sounds terribly calculating but I think every single would agree they have an approach they adopt with the opposite sex.

Well her latest strategy is multi-dating. This is dependant on more than one man being interested but the idea is that dating is not exclusive and men are dated in parallel.

As a big start to this new approach my friend went to a club on Saturday. She caught the eye of someone who made it clear he wanted to get to know her better. She played hard to get until eventually he asked if he could give her his number. She advised him that she didn't accept numbers from men, to which he replied "Can I have your number then?"

He'd overcome her (rather lame) defences and she provided her number, which he promptly rang, presumably to check the number was real.

At the end of the evening she said goodbye to him, and he told her his name was Harvey, and that might have been that.

Harvey is an unusual name and conjures up an image of a tall white rabbit.

Over the next few days there has been an exchange of texts. Harvey has been pushing for a date and has been meeting with resistance. He might have been meeting less resistance had he not admitted his name wasn't really Harvey, but Trevor.

My friend has a test for men. It's the "Oooo baby do it to me XXX" where XXX is replaced by the man's name.

Harvey didn't really pass the test. Trevor definitely doesn't pass the test.

But, guess what? Despite the test failure, a date is planned for Friday night. be continued

Wednesday, 21 May 2008


Yesterday I had a card through the letterbox advising me that Royal Mail were holding a package that required a signature.

This morning I nipped into the Royal Mail office to collect the parcel.

I wondered whether there were enough notices on display providing customers with important information.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Patience and being normal

Yesterday it appears I displayed some impatience. It seems that I wasn't giving my blog page time to load. Oh well.

It's not the first time I've demonstrated an inability to wait, and it won't be the last. Today I picked up a new car.

One might imagine that this becomes mundane for someone working for a car company, especially as cars are reordered when they are about five months old. Normally I would agree. Today however I behaved like a normal person.

I think people are normally excited when they get a new car, private purchase or company car. I was so excited about collecting my car today. I couldn't wait to rid myself of EO57 LLW.

So today I welcomed EK08 PBV into my life.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Give me my stuff back

I was just checking my blog, as one does, and someone's stolen bits of it.

There used to be lots of "stuff" running down the left hand side. From memory there was a Flickr carousel, a Breast Cancer click through, an enormous tag cloud, a subscribe via e-mail option, a blog roll, Urban dictionary word of the day and other stuff.

Well it's gone and I want to know who's nicked it. I'm not amused. I can't get it back.

Normally it would be something dappy I've done but honestly everything is plugged in and I didn't put it in demo mode or leave the lights on or forget to switch it on.

So it must be one of you? Who do I phone? Helpdesk, police, ambulance, fire service? Now there's a thought. On that subject I might have the subject of a post for the girls tomorrow.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Easy peasy

Easy Peasy Pizza Base

This is really a pastry base but it's here because it's easy.

200g SR Flour
50ml olive oil
100ml milk
Smattering of dried or chopped fresh herbs (optional)

Sieve flour into a bowl. Make a well in the flour and add oil and milk. Use a fork to mix and make a dough.

Divide into four and roll into pizza shaped thin crust bases.

Cover with passata or tomato pasta sauce either homemade out of a jar and whatever pizza toppings are your favourite.

Bake in pre-heated oven at 160 Celcius for 14 minutes or earlier if it looks done.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

The trouble with family

My stepbrother has discovered he doesn't benefit from Dad's will.

He and his wife seem to be the only ones who find this surprising.

I know how Dad viewed the pair of them and it's clear that they have no idea about the lack of esteem in which they were held.

I have discovered that there are two ways to challenge a will. The first is to claim that one was a dependant of the deceased and the second is to claim mental incapacity of the deceased at the time that the will was written.

I have received legal counsel that encourages me to think that my stepbrother has no valid claim. I think any solicitor doing a good job will advise my stepbrother the same, but I think that the challenge will happen anyway.

I think that, even in the face of almost certain failure, Richard will look to contest the will. The cost of such activity will not trouble him, but the personal hurt and financial pain that he will be able to inflict will provide him with great satisfaction.

In fact, the more he continues in this vein, the more I understand why Dad did what he did, and the more I am encouraged to defend my dad's decision.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Poles apart

There has been a lot in the press about the migration of Eastern Europeans, especially the Polish, over to the UK.

Well, for some of them, it doesn't always work out.

Today we said goodbye to someone who came across to the UK to make a new life for herself. Whilst here she met and married a man and they had a little girl.

The marriage failed, as many do, and she found herself struggling as a single mother without the support of family.

So today, with her five year old daughter, she said her farewells to friends.

It was interesting hearing her talking about the court judgement that is enabling her to take her daughter back to Poland. It mentions the need to have internet and Skype access for the daughter to maintain contact with her father. It allows communication by letter, phone, e-mail and text message. And with the cheap flights available with low cost carriers, the judge was easily persuaded that it was just as easy and inexpensive to visit Scotland as Poland.

Bye, bye Magda and Anna. Good luck.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Party season

This is party season. It's the time when the kids are going to parties almost every weekend on both Saturday and Sunday and also it's the time when I end up planning parties for both of them.

For the parties I have to run I plan to take the best from previous efforts and add to them.

The tentative plan for Hannah's party: party bag decorating (plain cotton bags and fabric decorating crayons), party bag shop, treasure hunt (we've done wool and ribbon so I need a new plan for this year, maybe money for the party bag shop), bouncy castle (need to negotiate with Ian), pass the parcel (maybe but this can get out of hand especially with 40 kids), hedgehog game, party food picnic boxes, balloon modelling.

Whereas Ethan's party is shaping up as follows: treasure hunt (probably eggs given I have about 100 plastic eggs in the loft), trampolining, bouncy castle, egg and spoon race, sack race, party food picnic boxes, party bag shop, pass the parcel, musical bumps, balloon modelling, half time ice creams.

One other item for consideration is newspaper construction of some kind (last year was make an outfit from newspaper and sellotape).

In any event, I need good weather and volunteers to help it all run smoothly.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Spouse advice

I wore a dress to work yesterday, which is a rare occurrence. The other thing that was rare was the fact that dress exposed knees.

I had worn the dress before and knew it came with problems. I knew that if there was a breeze the dress needed to be kept under control to prevent it doing a Marilyn Monroe.

The dress behaved if the breeze came from just one direction because that pushed the dress against the body. Any Marilyn problems only occurred when the wind changed direction quickly.

As I left the house with Dave and walked towards the cars the skirt fabric started to show a tendency to misbehave.

Some husbands might suggest changing the outfit, some might suggest holding the skirt to keep it in check but Dave had a different response. "Are you wearing nice knickers?" he asked. "You should be in that dress."

Tuesday, 13 May 2008


A friend alerted me to an invention that helps to even out the differences between the sexes. She sent me a link to a video that highlighted the product benefits of this invention.

I thought it was a fantastic spoof, until I checked out the not so fake weblink at the end of the video.

It's real. I think it's fantastic and clever. I'm just not sure I'd ever use one.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Excuse me

It was a hot day today on the trains.

I sat in one of the only available seats; a squishy one in between two fat, hairy commuters. OK, they weren't actually fat and hairy but they might well have been given the comfort levels I was experiencing.

At Stratford a few passengers got out and I took advantage of a space on a seat for two, which affords much more comfort than the three-seater.

As passengers got off, new passengers got on, and a very pregnancy lady sat where I had been sitting. When I say very pregnant I would estimate she was about seven months pregnant.

She was the second pregnant woman in our bit of the carriage, and I thought it odd that, on a hot day, neither were taking advantage of the free upgrade to first class that can be enjoyed by all expectant mothers.

I looked at the woman in front of me. It really was unfair to expect her to sit in our hot and crowded carriage. She was no spring chicken and I found myself thinking she was very brave having a child at her age. I thought I was old when I had my children but she looked at least fifteen years older than I'd been, pushing the boundaries of the physically possible. I wondered if she was an IVF mum. In any event I decided she needed to know about her free upgrade.

I leaned forward to talk her. "Are you pregnant?" I asked.

"No. Why?" she replied.

I panicked. "Er only there's a lady over there who's pregnant and I'm wondering whether she knows she can travel first class with a free upgrade." but it was too late. The damage had been done.

"It'd be a miracle if I was pregnant. I'm 62, nearly 63."

I cringed inwardly and asked lamely "You certainly don't look it....what's your secret."

"I'm a bit fat. My daughter's 40 you know."

I resolved never to speak to another pregnant woman offering help or advice unless I'd seen incontrovertible evidence that bump was baby.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Spot my tree

Last week someone prompted me to think of my favourite tree. Luckily I had decided on a favourite just the day before.

We had our picnic today and all enjoyed ourselves. But can you spot my favourite tree?

Saturday, 10 May 2008


There are two ways to do picnics; there's The Easy Way and The Hard Way.

The Easy Way
Go to the supermarket just before the aforementioned picnic and buy everything ready prepared: sandwiches, pork pies, picnic eggs, cocktail sausages, sausage rolls, salads in pots and bags, cut, peeled and chopped fruit and ready mixed drinks.

The Hard Way
Prepare everything from scratch.

Having just endured several hours of The Hard Way, with some more hours on the horizon for tomorrow morning, I can recommend The Easy Way.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Dinner conversation

Ethan: Mummy, why did Grandad die?

Me: Well, he was poorly.

Ethan: Why was he poorly?

Me: Well Grandad was quite old, and the older you get the more likely it is that you'll get poorly.

Ethan: I didn't want Grandad to get poorly.

Me: Neither did I.

Ethan: Why isn't Granny dead?

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Quantas has the best safety record...

After every flight, Qantas pilots fill out a form, called a 'gripe sheet,' which tells mechanics about problems with the aircraft. The mechanics correct the problems, document their repairs on the form, then the pilots review the gripe sheets right before the next flight. Never let it be said that ground crews lack a sense of humor.

Here are some of the actual maintenance complaints submitted by the Qantas' pilots (as marked with a P) and the solutions recorded (as marked with an S) by the maintenance engineers.

P: Left inside main tyre almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tire.

P: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.
S: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.

P: Something loose in the cockpit.
S: Something tightened in the cockpit.

P: Dead bugs on windshield.
S: Live bugs on backorder.

P: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200 feet per minute descent.
S: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.

P: Evidence of a leak on the right main landing gear.
S: Evidence removed.

P: DME volume unbelievably loud.
S: DME volume reset to a more believable level.

P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
S: That's what friction locks are for.

P: IFF inoperative in OFF mode.
S: IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.

P: Suspected crack in windshield.
S: Suspect you're right.

P: The number 3 engine is missing.
S: Engine found on right wing after a brief search.

P: Aircraft handles funny.
S: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right and be serious.

P: Target radar hums.
S: Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.

P: Mouse in cockpit.
S: Cat installed.

P: Noise coming from under the instrument panel. Sounds like a midget pounding on something with a hammer.
S: Took hammer away from the midget.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Only in Oz

These were posted on an Australian Tourism Website and the answers are the actual responses by the website officials, who obviously have a sense of humour.

Q: Does it ever get windy in Australia ? I have never seen it rain on TV, how do the plants grow? (UK).
A: We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around watching them die.

Q: Will I be able to see kangaroos in the street? (USA)
A: Depends how much you've been drinking.

Q: I want to walk from Perth to Sydney - can I follow the railroad tracks (Sweden)
A: Sure, it's only three thousand miles, take lots of water.

Q: Are there any ATMs (cash machines) in Australia ? Can you send me a list of them in Brisbane , Cairns ,Townsville and Hervey Bay ? (UK)
A: What did your last slave die of?

Q: Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Australia ? (USA)
A: A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe . Aus-tra-lia is that big island in the middle of the Pacific which does not ... oh forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Kings Cross. Come naked.

Q: Which direction is North in Australia ? (USA)
A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we'll send the rest of the directions.

Q: Can I bring cutlery into Australia ? (UK)
A: Why? Just use your fingers like we do.

Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys' Choir schedule? (USA)
A: Aus-tri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which is ... oh forget it. Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday night in Kings Cross, straight after the hippo races. Come naked.

Q: Can I wear high heels in Australia ? (UK)
A: You are a British politician, right?

Q: Are there supermarkets in Sydney and is milk available all year round? (Germany)
A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of vegan hunter/gatherers. Milk is illegal .

Q: Please send a list of all doctors in Australia who can dispense rattlesnake serum. (USA)
A: Rattlesnakes live in A-meri-ca which is where YOU come from. All Australian snakes are perfectly harmless, can be safely handled and make good pets.

Q: I have a question about a famous animal in Australia , but I forget its name. It's a kind of bear and lives in trees. (USA)
A: It's called a Drop Bear. They are so called because they drop out of Gum trees and eat the brains of anyone walking underneath them. You can scare them off by spraying yourself with human urine before you go out walking.

Q: I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Can you tell me where I can sell it in Australia ? (USA)
A: Anywhere significant numbers of Americans gather.

Q: Can you tell me the regions in Tasmania where the female population is smaller than the male population? (Italy)
A: Yes, gay night clubs.

Q: Do you celebrate Christmas in Australia ? (France)
A: Only at Christmas.

Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? (USA)
A: Yes, but you'll have to learn it first

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Nudity and nostalgia

Some of you know I've been looking through old photos and scanning and uploading old family pictures from the early 1900s through to about 1990.

If you care to take a peek, I can promise you nudity and nostalgia.

Sunday, 4 May 2008


While I was growing up my parents had a series of coffee makers. Most were the reservoir, filter, jug variety but there was one that was different.

I like coffee and, at home, we use a simple cafetiere. It doesn't take up a lot of space and can be packed away when not in use. The coffee it produces is OK but can be a bit muddy.

I don't really remember the coffee made by Mum and Dad's Cona vacuum coffee maker but I do remember it being an amazing piece of kit, and just a little bit scary while being operated.

I think it was an electric version as I don't remember any burner or it needing to sit on the hob.

I had wondered whether I might find the remnants of the machine tucked away somewhere in his house and I have romantic notions of refurbishing/reconditioning/fixing it and using it. But it hasn't appeared yet.

As an alternative I tried to find out whether they were still made and had the misfortune to discover the Cona website. So I think the answer is no to Cona electric version.

Bodum make one that gets varying reviews but is made of plastic and lacks the Cona aesthetic (shame that aesthetic isn't applied to the website) and Cona only make the slightly strange-looking paraffin ones which just look tricky.

I think I'll be sticking with the cafetiere.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

See what I mean

Boris Johnson in his own words

The wannabe (and now actual) mayor on race, sex and politics

On homosexuality
"Gay marriage can only ever be a ludicrous parody of the real thing." · Daily Telegraph, 2005

"If gay marriage was OK - and I was uncertain on the issue - then I saw no reason in principle why a union should not be consecrated between three men, as well as two men; or indeed three men and a dog."· From his book, Friends, Voters, Countrymen, 2001

"We don't want our children being taught some rubbish about homosexual marriage being the same as normal marriage, and that is why I am more than happy to support Section 28." · Daily Telegraph, 2000

"The clerics gave us [journalists] a wigging for being so mean to the Church of England ... Why did we draw attention to tricky subjects like homosexuality, aka the Pulpit Poofs issue?"· The Spectator, 2000

"I'm not bisexual so far ... not that I would condemn myself if I later discovered I were."· Daily Telegraph, 2008

On Africa
"No doubt the AK47s will fall silent, the pangas will stop their hacking of human flesh, and the tribal warriors will all break out in watermelon smiles to see the big white chief touch down in his big white British taxpayer-funded bird."· In 2002, on Tony Blair's visit to the Democratic of Republic of Congo, Daily Telegraph

"Right, let's go and look at some more piccaninnies."· Reported remark, while visiting Uganda, to Swedish Unicef workers and their black driver, the Observer, 2003

On the Commonwealth
"It is said that the Queen has come to love the Commonwealth, partly because it supplies her with regular cheering crowds of flag-waving piccaninnies."· Daily Telegraph, 2002

On failing to recognise his Filipina housekeeper
"When our housekeeper appeared on stage in her hot pink strapless number [as a finalist of the Mrs Philippines 2005 contest in London], I failed at first to recognise her, surrounded as she was by 10 other Filipina mums, each shimmering in every shade from fuchsia to Germolene ... Was that Luz, the No 6, the one with the cleavage? Or was she No 5, with the smile? Surely she wasn't No 11, the one with the legs. No: wait - that was her, with her hair up. No 8! 'We want eight,' we screamed, and waved at good old Luz, a woman who has been exposed to the full horror of the Johnson family washing and yet contrived to look little short of $1m. · The Spectator, 2005

On his prospects
"My chances of being PM are about as good as the chances of finding Elvis on Mars, or my being reincarnated as an olive."· The Independent, 2004

George Bush and Iraq
"He liberated Iraq. It is good enough for me."· Daily Telegraph, 2004

"The Americans were perfectly happy to go ahead and whack Saddam merely on the grounds that he was a bad guy, and that Iraq and the world would be better off without him; and so indeed was I." · Daily Telegraph, 2003

On Islam
"The most viciously sectarian of all religions in its heartlessness towards unbelievers."· The Spectator, 2005

On race
"I'm down with the ethnics. You can't out-ethnic me, Nihal ... My children are a quarter Indian, so put that in your pipe and smoke it."· To Nihal Arthanayake, BBC Asian Network, 2008

On cannabis
"It was jolly nice. But apparently it is very different these days. Much stronger. I've become very illiberal about it. I don't want my kids to take drugs." · GQ, 2007

On sex
"I've slept with far fewer than 1,000."· On whether he has slept with fewer than 30 women, like Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, Daily Telegraph, 2008

"An inverted pyramid of piffle."· The Mail on Sunday, 2004, on allegations that he had an affair with Petronella Wyatt, later confirmed.

On obesity
"Nothing but their own fat fault."

On transport
"I don't believe [using a mobile phone at the wheel] is necessarily any more dangerous than the many other risky things that people do with their free hands while driving - nose-picking, reading the paper, studying the A-Z, beating the children, and so on."· Daily Telegraph, 2002

"The whole county of Hampshire was lying back and opening her well-bred legs to be ravished by the Italian stallion."· GQ, while in a Ferrari

On Liverpool
"A society that has become hooked on grief and likes to wallow in a sense of vicarious victimhood."· A Spectator editorial, 2004 (Johnson didn't write the editorial, but he approved it)

On his arts role
"Look, the point is ... er, what is the point? It is a tough job but somebody has got to do it."· On being appointed Tory Arts spokesman, 2004

On stag hunting
"I remember the guts streaming, and the stag turds spilling out on to the grass from within the ventral cavity ... This hunting is best for the deer." · From his book Lend Me Your Ears

No laughing matter

I can't believe that London has a comedy mayor.

What were the citizens of London thinking?

I'm in shock.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Coincidence, I wonder

I wasn't aware I enjoyed premonition. When I was writing yesterday's post I had no idea what was in store today...or did I?

This morning, as usual, I was rushing around tidying, cleaning and getting things ready for the day, particularly swimming things ready for Ethan's swimming lesson.

Five minutes later than would have been ideal, I locked the back door and unlocked the car. We got in didn't start. And I tried again, and again, and again. Nothing. It didn't even try to turn over.

I decided we could walk. I went indoors to change my footwear and as I did so the doorbell rang. Mel had just popped round to drop off a couple of things we'd left at her house the previous evening so I cheekily asked for a lift.

In a bit more of a hurry than normal, when we got into the changing rooms we were operating at double speed. It was then I realised I hadn't put a swimming costume in the bag for me to wear.

I went pool side to check if Ethan could swim without me and the answer was "no" but the instructor explained that there might be a spare costume at reception.

Whilst this would normally be abhorrent, I didn't have much in the way of options.

Reception came through with a spare costume that fitted and we were ready for the lesson in time.

I blagged a lift home and Louise offered to take Ethan to her house while I sorted the car. We were due at Lou's house anyway so I readily accepted her offer.

I tried the car again and it continued to ignore me so I called my friends at the AA.

One milk and two sugars later I had a working motor. Mr AA offered to run some tests but I told him not to bother. I wasn't bothered anymore so I didn't see why he should be. Plus I had lunch waiting for me at Lou's where Ethan was also waiting for me.

Those wonderful people (to be read with heavy sarcasm) at Essex Ford will not be seeing the motor this time. It's booked in with those lovely people at RT Rates this time. Hopefully they'll be able to fix it.

There are two ways of viewing today: lucky or unlucky. I'm an optimist, so how do you think I viewed it?

Thursday, 1 May 2008


I'm sure we all know people for whom everything just seems to fall into place, where luck always seems to be on their side.

Equally I'm sure we know other people who just seem to be working against the world all the time, people for whom disaster is commonplace.

I wonder whether this is anything that can be linked statistically to specific individuals.

Are some people more susceptible to car breakdowns, holiday cancellations, traffic hold ups, computer failures, domestic appliance failures, lightening strikes, being underneath a bird when it needs a poo....

You know what I mean. Do these things happen randomly to people, or are some people statistically unlucky?