Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Stranger danger

Early yesterday morning I drove past the local school and saw a lone schoolgirl running along the pavement, clearly upset.

I pulled over and spoke to her.  She was running late.  She’d been to a swimming club and something had happened so that she was late.

I offered to give her a lift wherever she needed to go and she accepted.

Gradually she stopped crying and I discovered she was on her way home.  It was the first time she had ever done this journey on her own.

I had assumed she didn’t live far from the school but as she gave me directions to her house I realised the journey we were on was over a mile.

I was surprised that a girl of just seven or eight was expected to walk over a mile after swimming, and before school, on her own.

As we got closer to her house I realised that, whilst I think I did the right thing, she might get into trouble for accepting a lift from a stranger.

When I told my husband later in the day he told me how he’d handle the situation: hand your phone to the child and let them phone their parents and, if required, you can talk to the parents too.  Wish I’d thought of that.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Couldn’t sleep

Dave was due back from Belgium last night.  He’d left on Tuesday and I hadn’t heard from him.

I started thinking that maybe he’d had an accident.  It’s unusual for him not to call while he’s away.

I didn’t really think he’d accident, but he might have done.  I ran through what would have happened if he had had an accident.

Well surely the company would have phoned me.

Except that the HR department are useless and probably mislaid my number.

And would anyone know if he’d had an accident on the way there or would they have assumed he just hadn’t made it because he was sick.

And if he had had an accident then surely the police would have found something with contact details.

Unless it was a major car wreck with fire or in which debris is scattered far and wide.

I started to wonder what time would be a reasonable time to start worrying.

I then realised I had probably already started worrying.

So I tried to persuade myself that all of these thoughts were just hypothetical and everything was OK really.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Lord Roberts's Message to the Troops

I have inherited a book that belonged to my grandfather, William Sadler.

I never knew my grandfather but he served in the first world war and the book is called The Daily Portion Testament. I'm guessing it was issued to troops to give them comfort and to help preserve faith.

This is inside the front cover:

Lord Roberts's Message to the Troops
25th Aug 1914
I ask you to put your trust in God. He will watch over you and strengthen you.
You will find in this little Book guidance when you are in health, comfort when you are in sickness, and strength when you are in adversity.
The message inside the front cover is not overly legible which is not surprising, as if it was Lord Roberts that wrote the message by hand, he was 81 at the time. He died later that year, in November, aged 82.

I wonder if the same time, thought and effort goes into the spiritual welfare of today's troops.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

The poncy world of marketing

I received indirect feedback today.  It wasn’t positive.

I’m overly aggressive.

On a good day this means passionate and assertive.  It means fighting for the right course of action and having the courage of my convictions.

On a bad day it means raising my voice and/or swearing and arguing or consistently persisting with an opposing or unpopular point of view.

This is not new news and frankly if I found it easy to change, I probably would.

When I’m stressed I bite my tongue less and I speak out more.  I am stressed right now to the point where tears are not far away for most of my days.  I can’t pinpoint one specific thing that’s causing the stress as I think there are a number of factors but I know it has an impact on my behaviour.

I don’t want sympathy, frankly it doesn’t help and is more likely to push me over the edge.  I just wanted to let people, anyone, maybe nobody, know that this feedback has had an effect.

Instead of being more vocal than normal because of the stress, I now just feel utterly depressed.  I really don’t want to go into work tomorrow or any day.

I know that’s selfish because people are losing their jobs, but I'm not appreciated and I just feel some people would rather I just wasn’t there at all.

So what am I doing about it?  Eating too much, drinking too much and finding excuses not to exercise.  Shouting at my husband and shouting at the children.  Great.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Invasion of privacy

I had an inkling that my doc would refer me to see a specialist so I sorted out my healthcare arrangements.  Not very complicated just arranging to be covered in my own right rather than being a dependant on my husband’s policy.

Doc did refer me so I phoned PPP to get authority to make appt with specialist.

I went through the usual verification of name, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, height in centimetres when I was three, the number of times in the last month I’ve had sex, the number of lightbulbs in my house, the name of my first pet and my pornstar name etc.  And then the conversation turned to the reason for the call.

I was calling from work because all of my membership details were in a work e-mail that I’d only recently received and it hadn’t been followed up by anything in the post.

I was comfortable with explaining that I’d been to the doctor and I had a referral.  I was also comfortable with providing the specialist’s name and the hospital in which he works.  It was when I was asked to describe symptoms that I declined and we arranged that I’d call back when I had more privacy.

I don’t believe it’s the business of anyone at work to know about any medical condition.  I could launch into a diatribe about medical case management but that might have to wait until I’m forced to go through the process.

Summer fruit muffins

This one’s for Tim, after he used the banana and chocolate muffin recipe to make blueberry muffins, and it didn’t quite work.

  • 280g plain flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 110g sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 240ml milk
  • 90ml corn oil
  • 140g summer fruit (any berries, either alone or in combination: blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants, cherries etc.), fresh or frozen (don’t thaw frozen berries); larger berries should be coarsely chopped.
  1. Pre-heat fan oven to 160 degrees
  2. In a large bowl sift together flour, baking powder, salt.  Stir in sugar.
  3. In another bowl, beat egg and stir in milk and oil.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry.  Stir until just combined, folding in berries at the end using 2-3 gentle strokes to avoid crushing fruit.
  5. Spoon mixture into muffin cases and then bake for 20 mins or when tops are lightly browned and spring back when pressed gently.  If frozen fruit was used then add 4-5 minutes to the cooking time.

Friday, 5 June 2009


Ethan and Hannah were trying to find something that their dad would like for Father’s Day.

When their dad didn’t have many suggestions then he was presented with a variety of ideas like books, videos (bless Hannah for not thinking DVD), iPod, etc. 

And then Ethan said “What about a book about Grandad?” and Hannah explained.

“Ethan thought Mummy could write a book about Grandad to help you remember him.”

My dad died just over a year ago.  Ethan is such a sweet and caring little boy and his Grandad’s death has obviously affected him.

*Wobbly bottom lip.*

Local elections

We had four parties contesting the local elections and they all had very different ways of trying to get my vote.

Labour did nothing.

Conservatives but boards up everywhere around the town saying “Vote for change. Vote Conservative.”

Lib-Dems put their blurb through the letterbox and knocked on the door for a chat to discuss issues uppermost in my mind.

BNP bought advertising space on a hoarding near the town centre. This was mysteriously papered over “by accident” and then somehow got redone. Not sure I really know exactly what went on.

Who do you think got my vote?

I could blog about Euro elections but frankly there were about 15 candidates and I didn’t know who 80% of them were.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

I cannot accept your refusal

To those who might be receiving refusal letters in such a tough labour market – you may want to adopt this approach.

I stumbled across this today.

Herbert A. Millington
Chair - Search Committee
412A Clarkson Hall, Whitson University
College Hill, MA 34109

Dear Professor Millington,
Thank you for your letter of March 16. After careful consideration, I
regret to inform you that I am unable to accept your refusal to offer me
an assistant professor position in your department.
This year I have been particularly fortunate in receiving an unusually
large number of rejection letters. With such a varied and promising field
of candidates, it is impossible for me to accept all refusals.
Despite Whitson's outstanding qualifications and previous experience in
rejecting applicants, I find that your rejection does not meet my needs at
this time. Therefore, I will assume the position of assistant professor
in your department this August. I look forward to seeing you then.
Best of luck in rejecting future applicants.
Chris L. Jensen