Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Enough already.

Phew - normal service is now resumed. In that I may be tired, grumpy and generally resentful, but at least I'm not boring you with tales of woe today.

I'm being hounded round the blogosphere by a man named Dave, who was, apparently, so offended by my post the other day on blog pimping that he feels compelled to sulk about it at every given opportunity. Dave - I wasn't insisting that nobody ever mention their own blog ever again, whether posting or commenting. If you want to spray your URL on a bedsheet and hang it from a bridge over the M25 please, feel free. It's all about freedom of expression. In my personal opinion, it's annoying when people leave comments on blogs they don't even like in order to promote their own. But if they need to do that, then that's fine. I'll just add it to the infinite list of things that annoy me (which includes but is not limited to: people who whistle, next door's telly, bad table manners, wet shoelaces, the floor of the changing rooms at the swimming pool, the bad telly reception in my bedroom, the knackered cd player in my almost-brand-new car, anything relating to Richard Madeley, people who like hummus etc etc etc...), and get over it. Eventually.

Now, can we all play nicely, please?

Monday, August 29, 2005

Monday Monday

It's been the sort of Bank Holiday Monday that makes every single rainy one turn into a lament for the golden, sun-kissed days of childhood. The sun has shone relentlessly and we've spent most of the day at the beach. We took a picnic, and Small Person paddled until she was soaked from the waist down and smelled of seaweed. There were boats, kite surfers and lilos. There was sand everywhere and nobody finished their sandwiches. It was freezing bloody cold in the wind and I ended up in cropped trousers and a fleece, while Small Person turned blue and resolutely refused my offers of warm clothing, ultimately travelling home, salty and exhausted, in her t-shirt and knickers with the heating up in the car. The sort of day that I hope will remain in her memory and prompt her to give her own children glorious, messy days out in her future. It pays to bear in mind that at the end of a day spent thinking "for goodness' sake, she's drenched. Those trousers are dripping and filthy, and, eeuww, she just put seaweed in her mouth..." that kids go in the bath and clothes go in the wash with no harm done. It's the sort of day I never had, and that makes me even happier as I sit here typing away while Small Person languidly stuffs Monster Munch into her mouth, watching David Bowie's disturbingly tight trousers in Labyrinth. With the neighbours bellowing death threats at each other through the kitchen window.......(theirs not mine).

Our visit to the family seat in Wiltshire was a complete success. My father and the Other Half bonded, and he got along famously with my Stepmum. It was proved that I had in no way exaggerated the Woodlands Experience, as we enjoyed a spirited game of Uno, followed by a lurching, semi-inebriated attempt to figure out the rules of gin rummy. Halfway through a hand the following conversation with my father ensued:

"You have to lay the first card you picked up"

" I did"

"Which one was it then?"

"I don't know"

"Well you picked up five cards so which one was it?"

"No I didn't"

"Right. How many cards did you have to start with?"


"And how many do you have now?"


"So you picked up five cards"

"No I didn't".....

At this point the only possible recourse was to retire, which we did.

It was a great weekend for me - I love spending time with the normal side of my family. As those who have been treated to my family history are aware, my family is generally about four miles past normal so any calm time is welcomed. In the mid-seventies, my parents and my stepsister's parents did what can only be described, in a very cliched way, as a swap. They divvied up the kids between them (in my head this is rather like picking teams for rounders), and I was on the losing side. Even now, I have nobody in my life that I call "Dad" - I haven't spoken to my stepfather for over ten years, and I've never had that sort of relationship with my father. I love him very, very much, and time spent in his company has the effect of reducing me to a six-year-old, intent on winning his approval. On this visit, a new chapter opened up between us - when I came down to breakfast on both mornings of our stay I was greeted with a kiss. When we left, my father hugged me hard and said how happy he was. On one level I knew he meant that he was happy to have met the Other Half again - they have much more in common than he and the Ex ever had - and to see me so happy. But part of me is still, even at thirty two, hoping that being with me is the thing that had made him feel content. I haven't lived with him since I was two, and I sort of know that it'll always make me sad. I heard him talk this weekend about "family" holidays they took when my brother, sister and half-sister were young, and it made me yearn for the sort of normality they must have had while growing up. My own "family" holidays were home life squared, with the added horror of close proximity for two whole weeks. My stepsister and I would lie, terrified, in a sweltering hotel room, turning up our walkmans and longing for home where at least we had the sanctuary of our own bedrooms to escape the bitterness and shouting. I know my Dad regrets what happened when we were all small. My mother prefers to blame others and pity herself, but my father knows what he has done, and, I believe, tries to make it up to me. And I love him for it - but will I ever find the courage to tell him, before it's too late?

My favourite poem, and one that I carry with me, is "This Be the Verse" by Philip Larkin:

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had,
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.

Well, I have Small Person, so it only remains to be seen whether I can shove her towards adulthood with her self esteem and sanity intact. I'm much happier these days - being with the Other Half has brought me peace I never thought I'd find, and I hope that filters through to Small Person. However, my demons are still very much on the prowl, and my only hope is that I can beat them before they beat me. This started off as a mellow, upbeat post and seems to have trickled off into melancholy. I'm sorry for that, but weekends like I've just had make me nostalgic, self-pitying and sort of despairing once they're done.

Blimey, makes you long for a rant about telly noise, doesn't it. I'll be back to normal (?!) tomorrow, honest.

I'll be off then....

Friday, August 26, 2005

Name and shame

The BBC News website has been running a small feature inspired by the death of Robert Moog, the man who invented the synthesiser. It's pronounced "Mogue" (rhymes with "vogue"), apparently. Readers were asked to write in with their own experiences of difficulties with their names, which led to this which I found today.

Personal favourites are number seven, and number twenty. Enjoy.

Family outing

As is the way of these things, the CD player in the car has chosen today to stop working again. I asked the garage to look at it when the car died the week before last, but since they are halfwits with brains the size of peanuts that obviously didn't happen. It's particularly annoying today as we have a four hour drive down to Wiltshire this evening, to spend the weekend with my Dad and Stepmum. Although the Other Half has met them before, it't the first time he's experienced the full-on party-games-and-bickering extravaganza that is a weekend at Woodlands. It's going to be sort of weird for me, too....walking into the living room and thinking "hang on, you're that bloke from the IT department.." (the Other Half, not my Dad. My Dad's retired, and in any case views any technology beyond the calculator with suspicion).

Another weird dream last night - Dirty Den from Eastenders was my Dad, and we lived in a bungalow with a swimming pool. There was a man with no front teeth who kept trying to get off with me, and I couldn't find my glasses (in the style of Velma from Scooby Doo)...the only ones I could find all made me look like Kathy Burke in Gimme Gimme Gimme. There was an incident involving sister Fifi's Other Half, and my Other Half ended up sedating him (badly - think that dippy Norwegian bint off Vets in Practice trying to inject a kitten...)and trying to contain him by putting a laundry basket over him. Despite this excellent restraint, he escaped and Dirty Den, the man with no front teeth and the Other Half all chased him off down a Starsky and Hutch style alleyway.

Still, at least it's a lovely day.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


So I just went to the vending machine to get a diet coke, but instead of tapping in the number of my selection, I started putting my pin number in. The other night I pointed my car keys at my pc to lock it when I left. I've tried to open my front door with my car keys before now, and I'm often to be found putting the spoon in the bin and the empty yoghurt pot on the draining board. I'm hoping it's tiredness and stress - otherwise in a few months time I'll be popping to the shops at 3am dressed in a ballgown, and complaining loudly to the police that the man next door has been stealing my bananas (he does it in the middle of the night, while I'm at the shops).

I'm tired today because we went to a gig in Norwich last night. The first band on were like a documentary entitled "When School Orchestras Go Bad". Complete with enthusiastic brass section (it's ok, it was ska. Of a sort...) made up of people who've been thrown out of Chess Club for being too geeky. Next up were Bucket, who only had time to play about three songs due to the fact that all their songs went on for about fifteen minutes in order to shoehorn as many genres as possible in...ooh, it's the Oasis bit..now the shouty punk bit...now the emo bit...oh, hang on, it's the Oasis bit again. I can only presume that the Pie Tasters (with Peter Sutcliffe on trombone) had spent the afternoon celebrating their drummer's forthcoming wedding, as although they were musically tight, their between-song banter was unintelligible and rambling to the point of irritation. And the drummer kept doing double tequila shots. After an hour and a half they were showing no signs of stopping so, like the big girls that we are, me, the Other Half and a friend left a gig before the end. No wonder I'm developing Alzheimers - it's my age.

And I have just (on the side, I don't mean in this post) comprehensively proved that Iron Maiden have had more than three different vocalists, which for reasons I can't divulge, has made me very happy. Gawd bless yer, Dennis Wilcock and Paul Day.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Pimp my blog

It's an odd place, the blogosphere. I like my corner of it - there are friends I visit regularly, and those who visit me. There's an awful lot of rubbish out there, but every so often I happen across a place that makes me laugh, makes me think or even just makes me cross. I pootle around, reading something here, commenting there, and that's the essence of what makes this such a wonderful medium - you can make your point or just lurk, enjoying someone elses point of view. Before I get onto the main point of this post, a small disclaimer is called for. I blog because I enjoy it. I have an awful lot of stuff floating around in my head at any given point - some of it useful, most of it rubbish. The Other Half suggested blogging to me as a way of finding some peace rather than obsessing over useless things, and it works for me. If people enjoy reading it, then that's a bonus as far as I'm concerned. Of course there's a certain narcissistic pleasure in watching my stats daily - everybody loves an audience and I'm no different. And I welcome anyone who happens by - lurkers, commenters et al. Spammers are of course a different matter - why anyone thinks I'm going to visit their random timber website on the basis of a poorly worded overlong spam comment is beyond me. Neither am I troubled with premature ejaculation, lying awake at night wondering about a cure for diabetes, or trying to figure out a solution to my web hosting issues. Still, it's all part of the game, and I accept it as such. I've made some good friends through blogging - some in the real world and some who remain in the ether. The thing that marks them out is their desire to express an opinion, and I'm conscious of my own responsibility in keeping my eye on the point of my internet existence.

My main bugbears in this arena fall into two categories. The first of which are blog pimps. There are some top blogs out there, some of which I've fallen in love with, who have subsequently pissed me off to the point of deliberately avoiding them. There's a guy from New York who, by his own admission, is fat, hopeless and reliant solely on dick jokes in an effort to retain his audience. He's made me laugh helplessly and often out loud, which is never a good thing in an office where I'm not exactly popular among my immediate management. I stay with him because in five out of any ten posts he's hilarious. However, he's one of a growing band of bloggers who are using the sort of public support that makes a blog such a warm and cosy place as a springboard to his own fame and fortune. Now, there's nothing wrong with that per se - we all dream of the celebrity (or at least the financially comfortable aspect of it) lifestyle, and blogging is certainly an effective way of honing writing skills. What I object to is either endless posts alluding to very exciting things that I as a regular reader cannot be privy to, or blatant pimping in the style of "I really hope I get a book deal off the back of this blog". Whilst I appreciate that those who consider themselves on the cusp of fame and fortune may not wish to divulge their ways in, I find it slightly offensive that someone who relentlessly begs for readership then cuts those very people off the minute they get a sniff of their ultimate goal, while simulataneously asking for donations from their readers in order for them to continue striving for success. In some cases, faithful readers are subjected to evening-class exercises in diversifying someone's writing style, which is occasionally nothing short of embarrasing. If this is coming across as sour grapes, let me assure you that it's not. I fully appreciate the power of the off-switch - and if someone irritates me enough I simply stop visiting. If I want to write a book I'll write a book. If I want public recognition I'll streak down the high street, regardless of the inevitable wincing and horror. Just let's keep these things separate, shall we?

The other aspect of blogging that drives me insane is the comment whores. Again, spamming is a separate issue. What I'm talking about is people who comment on blogs with the sole intention of pulling people into their own readership. I know from experience that blog commenting is a moral minefield - I've spent ages lurking round blogs I enjoy, wondering whether to comment or not. Of course there's the option to comment anonymously, but as I said the narcissist in us all drives us to leave our URL. So I do - but only on the basis that I feel I can comment in a way that relates to the blog that I've enjoyed or hated so much that I just had to say something. What I can't bear is people commenting in an effort to piggyback on an obviously popular blog. There's one I've recently deleted from my favourites, on the basis that any given post would elicit over a hundred comments, with at least seventy five percent of them consisting of "wow, that's really funny. I'm funny too - check me out at www.imacompletefuckwit.blogspot.com" . Yes, we all want to be heard. Yes, the commenting on your blog gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling of knowing what you have to say has made someone feel something enough to give you their take. But please, stop with the whoring.

And another thing, while I'm on my soapbox. How many of us have stopped by a blog more than once, not because we like it, but because it's deemed to be the best thing out there? Some of the blogs touted around are indeed fabulous, but some are utter, utter crap. So, to sum up. I know I have a small readership - I'm grateful for that and hope it grows. I love blogging and I love that you care enough to stop by and tell me what you think. I'll carry on reading and commenting where I feel I can contribute. Sometimes it feels like crashing a private party, especially where it seems like all the commenters know each other and you're not sure whether you should pipe up. I'll carry on dropping my URL in places where I feel the blogger might enjoy my two pennorth as much as I've liked theirs. And if I happen across someone who irritates me sufficiently, I'll tell them.

Blimey, can you tell I had another really really bad day at work today?

More wine. Immediately.


I had a very long, very complicated dream last night. I was called for a job interview on a Saturday, along with several people I work with (the Other Half included). When I arrived at the large white house by the sea, I realised I was wearing a t-shirt with a picture of Simon Cowell on it, and the words "Pick Me". Not the best thing to wear to an interview but hey, I was asleep. After a small row with a man who asserted that I was dressed too casually for an interview, we settled down to learn that this was not actually a job interview, but that we had been chosen to try and escape the zombies that had taken over the earth.......

There then followed a very random sequence involving Small Person's school, other people's driveways and a motorised sofa. I woke up at eight minutes past five this morning, with Olivia Newton-John's furious, decaying face still clear in my mind.

I worry.

Am going to write a long, rambling post later which I won't be able to put up til this evening due to the firewall here. In the meantime, I'll be spending the day in sympathy with the Other Half - I ground my teeth so much in my sleep that my jaw aches today.

Not that I'm mental or anything.

Monday, August 22, 2005


Uurgh, Monday. A quiet weekend, borne out of necessity as the Other Half has been sore, swollen and generally a bit grumpy following the removal of three wisdom teeth on Thursday. I've been providing mushy food and biting my tongue, and trying not to mind too much that he looks like Phil Mitchell (although if he buys a big white van and suggests a driving holiday in Belgium I may have to say something). But he's getting better, slowly. In fact today I'm quite envious - it's cold and rainy and I'd like nothing more than to spend the afternoon snuggled up with him and Small Person, eating chocolate biscuits and watching rubbish telly. Instead, he's doing that (well, sucking chocolate biscuits anyway), Small Person is at holiday club, and I'm here, sitting at my eerily tidy desk and trying not to spend all day on the internet. And failing, as usual.

Sigh. You can have a proper post tomorrow - I just haven't got the energy.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

In which I document a Very Bad Day

It was bound to happen eventually, and today I got my comeuppance. I’d made a fairly fundamental error on a Board report, and it was picked up by one of the directors. In my defence, the document in question is a twenty-four page, extremely detailed report, compiled in Excel with a great deal of manual input required. Since a) every so often someone will request a change which will be immediately reversed by the first person to notice it, and then defiantly reinstated when the person who originally requested the change notices that it’s been reversed, ad infinitum, like some horrible version of Mornington Crescent; b) I’ve been “relocated” to a part of the office that houses the call centre, with people quoting prices and therefore shouting numbers at each other all day so it’s hard to concentrate, and c) I’m not a robot and have never claimed to be infallible, mistakes may sometimes be made. However, it’s my responsibility to ensure the accuracy of the document before publishing. Well actually it isn’t, it’s the director’s, but since he didn’t spot the error until after publication he was irrationally annoyed and I found myself in a meeting this morning listening to my manager explain that I was a whisker away from a verbal warning on the matter. This strikes me as a little harsh - after all a typo is a typo is a typo. Also, if you ask me to justify my actions it might be a little unfair to then condemn any response I make as an “excuse”…..still, that’s the way of things here so I made my apologies and retreated; stung, yet undeterred in my quest to find another job and fast. On top of this, my car died on its arse on Tuesday, and after some laughably bad customer service (nice cars but Seat after-sales service is presumably an elaborate Beadle-esque hoax being perpetrated on a grand scale) which I won’t bore you with, but which netted me twenty quids worth of vouchers by way of an apology, I finally got it back today. This made me late back from lunch, which was not helpful on a day when I’d have preferred to be a little more inconspicuous. Also, the Other Half has been in hostipal today, having three of his six (see the freak!! the freak!!) wisdom teeth out, so I’ve been anxiously expecting a call. His Mum’s called me twice today, which does my head in as I keep expecting her to develop emotional Tourettes and screech “homewrecker!!” and “slut!!” at me in the middle of our conversation. I finally had a call from Himself, in which he explained that he felt like he’d been kicked in the face by a horse, and that if he didn’t eat his biscuits he wouldn’t be able to take his painkillers orally. Faced with the prospect of either receiving or administering a suppository, both he and the nurses were naturally hopeful that the biscuits would go down a treat.

So, in summary, the sort of day you might reasonably hope would end in a pleasant, beery haze. Instead I’ll be offering milkshakes and sympathy to a sore and swollen Other Half, whilst idly dreaming up ever-more unpleasant ways to off the management.

I hear garrotting’s nice at this time of year.


I prepared a lovely post all about my lovely day ( are you getting the sarcasm there? are you??), only to find that I couldn't publish the damn thing. So you can have it later.

Has anyone got any nurofen?

Monday, August 15, 2005

Nothing to see here...

....mainly because I'm just plain tired and can't think of anything even remotely interesting to say. It's Monday. The sun is shining but I am stuck in an airless office, surrounded by halfwits. I am skint and I don't get paid until Friday. The Other Half has buggered off to Oslo and I miss him, even though it's only been for one night - I don't like knowing that he's not ten minutes away, as he normally is on the nights we don't spend together. I had to see my mother twice this weekend, and a) she bought Small Person a king-size Mars Bar (hello?? She's five for christ's sake..) and b) I had to talk to her twice this weekend, so that's contributed to my general demeanour of sulky teenager. Also, I'm supposed to be away this week on my work "educational" trip, spending a week in the Scandinavian sunshine sampling the product first-hand, with expenses and more cocktails than you can shake a new liver at. However, since Small Person is only now recovering from the emotional trauma of my trip to Mexico at the beginning of June, sanity and conscience prevailed and I elected to instead stay at home in the hope that it will in some way repair the damage done and spare her from a life of prescription painkillers, therapy and self harm. Bless her little heart - the more times I hear that girl tell me, unprompted, that she loves me, the more convinced I am that it actually might all turn out ok in the end. I'm basically a selfish person (as anyone who's ever witnessed me in the proximity of an open packet of hobnobs will confirm), but being somebody's mother has opened up a selfless side of me that constantly surprises me. On the mornings I drop her off at her holiday club, I watch her running ahead of me up the path and I swear it's all I can do not to cry. She's perfect - all skinny legs and streaming hair, and running for the sheer joy of it. My one wish is that she has a life that brings her as much happiness as she deserves, and that in some way I can contribute to that.

I hope the Other Half brings me a Toblerone.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

My tether. End of.

We had a small (by our standards) night out last night. A pint, then a curry, then back to the pub. We spent a satisfying hour watching a young office-type make a complete, drunken fool of himself in front of a older colleague - am not sure that obviously rubbing your (sober) girlfriend's crotch while a man who seems to consider himself your mentor fills you in on the basics of project management is necessarily the best way to get ahead in business, and it almost certainly earned him a night in the Spare Room. When we left the pub, he was lurching off to be sick, having spent ten minutes lying on a bench seat with his sweaty head in his girlfriend's lap, as she listened helplessly to Older Colleague filling her in on the basics of project management....

So, a good time was had by all, and the Other Half and I snuggled up in bed at about 11.30, keen to head off to dreamland. Except that apparently, Stephen Hawking lives in a different time zone to me, despite being in the adjoining flat. I've previously left a couple of polite notes asking for a reduction in volume after 11pm, which I don't think is unreasonable. It's not vague telly noise, it's like being at the cinema wearing one of those things advertised in the Sunday supplements that let you listen in to other people's conversations (as if the giant headphones and massive transmitter on your belt wouldn't alert them...). At 12.15am I retreated to Small Person's room (she's at her Dad's). Nope - could still hear every word of dialogue. So at 12.30am, I found myself once more sleeping in my own living room, squished onto a two-seater sofa with Small Person's duvet. The Other Half, who could happily sleep standing up on a busy airport runway, snoozed on in the bedroom. I rejoined him at 3.30am when I could no longer stand the sofa, and was relieved to find that Mr H had given up and switched the fucking thing off. So today I am tired, grumpy and have a back and neck ache.

Which makes this the perfect mood for me to compose note #3. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


For those who haven't been there yet, go and have a look at PostSecret (see my links section). It was set up as an art project, but it seems to have become more of an online therapy service. The secrets posted range from the lighthearted to the seemingly life-threatening, and cover every emotion in between. New secrets are posted every Sunday, and it's the first place I go on a Monday morning. I have no doubts whatsoever that some visitors may mutter about strength of character and wonder why these people don't just tell someone and move on. But I see it differently. Maybe there are some things that are just too difficult to share, paradoxically especially so with the people who might be able to help. Perhaps some of these people are so deeply, intrinsically ashamed of either their past or current behaviour that the simple act of creating an anonymous postcard and sending it off to someone they've never met could be a cathartic experience, and maybe the first step on a road to recovery, or at the very least some sort of peace.

Now, where did I leave my scissors? And that picture of the singer from Showaddywaddy?

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Down boy

At Small Person's school, there's a programme in place which sponsors a boy in India to enable him to complete his education. This is highly commendable, and an example of how the oft-spouted but seldom proved theory of my childhood which held that if you didn't clear your plate you were somehow contributing to the misery and downfall of remote, faceless children in a part of the world you had no frame of reference for, has evolved in order to actually make a difference in a valid, measurable way. At my primary school, which was elitist and snobbish in the extreme, the nearest we were allowed to get to "poor" people was a scheme in which we wrote, collectively, to children at a school on Fair Isle. As far as my memory serves, this is somewhere north of Scotland and they had an awful lot of brown crayons, judging by the pictures we were sent. Maybe they knitted their own? This enforced and slightly bewildering pen-pal programme gave rise to another of my hideous faux-pas, involving a carol service, a fellow pupil with a heart condition, and an ill-judged yet accidental reference to her possible early demise. My primary school was, on reflection, a fairly odd place. With only one hundred and thirty pupils it had a cosy, insular atmosphere, which was excacerbated by the fact that the headmaster and his wife ran the place, and lived in the connecting property. My needlework classes (I was utterly rubbish and ended up with a motley collection of wrinkled, stained, poorly-sewn offerings over the three years I was forced to attempt it) were held in their sitting room, and my mum once had to climb through this window during a meeting with the headmistress when Sheena Rowsell catapulted me over the short handle of the see-saw during a particularly spirited round of bumps. The other thing contributing to this uncomfortably familiar atmosphere was the School Dog. He was an, ahem, intact male golden labrador named Charlie, who by turns charmed and terrified each of us during our formative years. He was a constant, marauding presence, famous for endless barking jags and mine-sweeping during bring and buy sales. He had the run of the (thankfully) asphalt playground, and the headmaster was often witnessed wearing an enormous pair of rubber gauntlets and carrying a rusting shovel, scooping up Charlie's number twos and flushing them down the staff toilet. I also have a vivid, possibly damaging memory of said headmaster, clutching a handful of kitchen paper, chasing Charlie round the back of the assembly hall as the poor dog legged it (presumably having eaten a long piece of string) with what looked like a three-foot shitty rope hanging out of his backside and trailing behind him. As if this weren't bad enough, Charlie had all those natural urges that boy dogs have, and would periodically mount an unsuspecting, leapfrog playing six-year-old, humping madly away until his victim was rescued and led off, boater askew, to be comforted with soft digestive biscuits and a go on the lunchtime bell. In today's safety-conscious, Daily-Mail-soaked society, with its attendant fears and nannying, a School Dog would not be tolerated lest pale, asthmatic children suffered irreversible lung damage, or thuggish seven year olds poked it with a stick on a hot day with predictable results. On the one hand, maybe a certain element of rough-and-tumble would be missed by kids with no pets of their own. On the other hand, at least their teachers won't have to stutter their way through a child-friendly explanation of what that pink thing is, Miss after a particularly vigorous leapfrog game.

In other news, myself and the Other Half had a fabulous Friday night out, which involved dinner, beer and a heavy metal jukebox in one of our favourite pubs. Guinness drinkers will be familiar with the practice (which I never got the hang of when doing bar work) of putting a shamrock (shillelagh? what's the difference?) in the head of a pint with the slow-pouring tap. Well, in a pub frequented by pale, misunderstood sociology students and ageing rockers who really ought to know better, the Other Half was delighted to receive a pint with a pentagram on the top.

Who says goths have no sense of humour?

Friday, August 05, 2005


I received the following in an email today, with twelve other people copied in....

"Locked your keys in your car? Try this. If you lock your keys in the car and the spare keys are at home, call someone on your cell phone. Hold your cell phone about a foot from your car door and have the other person at your home press the unlock button ofyour key fob (clicker), holding it near the phone on their end. Your car doors will unlock. Saves someone from having to drive your keys to you. Distance is no object. You could be hundreds of miles away, and if you can reach someone who has the other "remote" for your car, you can unlock the doors (or the trunk!).

Note * It works fine! We tried it out, and it unlocked our car over a cell phone!)

Mike's Note *I locked the car had my youngest daughter call me while I was far away from the car. I clicked open into the phone andI could hear the car doors unlock through her cell phone. My daughter confirmed that sure enough the doors opened. Pass this one on to your friends..."

I have no words.

Apart from "barking"......

Thursday, August 04, 2005


I sometimes wonder exactly where my propensity for saying really stupid things comes from. Apart from Fifi and the "quim" incident (as detailed in the "Family Ties" post in the April archive. I really am going to learn how to do that clever linking thing but it will have to wait til Donna gets back from a blissful week in a static caravan in Norfolk. With six kids), nobody else seems to make an arse of themselves with such unerring regularity. The other week at work we were discussing a colleague and I noted with surprise that he didn't drink at the Summer Ball. "What's wrong with some people?!" I bellowed. "He's a recovering alcoholic." came the response. Ah. So anyway, yesterday I had an appointment at a medical centre I haven't visited for about three years. It's a specialist medical centre which also provides out-of-hours emergency treatment for non-hospital cases, and as such needs extra security. After a couple of futile attempts at opening the door, I noticed the intercom box to my left. I pressed the buzzer and gave my name, and was admitted on the basis that I had an appointment. The Other Half was parking the car at this point. I presented myself at the Reception desk, and was asked to take a seat. I was slightly concerned that the Other Half might have a problem with admittance, as he was merely accompanying me and didn't actually have an appointment. Remembering the words "high resolution camera" which were printed in bold letters on the intercom box, I said "My partner is parking the car. Will you let him in when he buzzes? He's got a beard".

Her expression, which was a combination of puzzlement and vague fear, was a surprise to me. Until I realised that they probably don't need the camera when its broad daylight and they know exactly who's turning up......

In other news, we're shortly having a desk inspection to make sure we aren't harbouring illicit cutlery. Bonkers.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Self-penned externalisation of daily occurences

Among my list of things to avoid doing this afternoon (bare minimum only, thank you), is the pompous, management-speakily titled "Healthwise Workstation Assessment". This basically means I'm expected to devote forty five minutes of my time (which frankly could be better spent trolling the blogosphere dropping comments into other people's blogs much to their futile annoyance) going through a patronising online exercise devised in order that the HR department can tick a box marked "Is everybody's chair comfortable?" and therefore avoid litigation should one of us inadvertently snap our spine because we haven't got a wrist rest. This makes me cross for a number of reasons, which I won't rant about here as it'll only alert the firewall to my sneaky attempts to blog from work, and that's just plain irritating. The main one, though, is that I did the exact same exercise last year, and I still have the same chair, desk, pc etc. So, with my permission, can't the HR department and I be complicit in them ticking the box and me not suing them when my leg falls off (due to my mouse being incorrectly aligned)?

And why do I have "Angelo" by the Brotherhood of Man playing on a loop in my head?

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