Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The shame

So anyway, I went to work today and felt much better after a roast dinner (did I mention I get a hot meal for free every day? Woo!). Since the Other Half gave me a lift in this morning, and Fun Colleague (not Rupert-Bear-lady - I've found another one!) gave me a lift home, I decided to cycle to Tesco. For some exercise. And some wine. Ahem.

On the way home I cycled along a bit of pavement that technically isn't a cycle path. Where we live, there are miles and miles of cycle paths but since I am inept to the point of collapse at the art of navigation, I've never managed to find the bit that goes to the little supermarket just up the road. I prefer to, rather than risk the enormous buses and chavved up Saxos that populate the local roads, run the gauntlet of disapproving pedestrians. Which is all fine*, generally.

Pedalling along a particularly narrow stretch of pavement, I noticed a teenage couple up ahead. They were all tracksuits and disdain, and I suffer from low self-esteem around teenagers, so I was rather hoping they would hear my approach over the sound of their snogging-in-public-with-tongues and let me past.

It was all going rather well, so far.

As I neared them, the sulky hooligans young people heard me approach. They moved to one side. Excellent.

And as I passed them, the plastic packet of mince in the carrier bag dangling from my right handlebar swung up against the spokes of my front wheel and emitted a large farting noise, of the sort that cannot easily be ignored. Exacerbating my humiliation by blurting an inadvertent, rather campy cry of "ooh, hello!", I cycled frantically homewards, feigning ignorance of the raucous adolescent laughter trailing in my wake.


* I know. Whatever. Write to your MP. I'm over it.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Send dry toast and lemonade.

And somebody sort out daytime fucking tv, for the sake of my sanity. If I see one more show about Butlins Redcoats, or people painting their kitchens, or a man in a boiler suit up to his shoulder in an overflowing sewer, I'm going to start biting people.

I love Airport though, me. Airport can stay.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


From the personal ads in the Times, Saturday 23rd September, 2006:

CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALIST, protestant, seeks tall white lady, 50-70+, not into trousers, drinking, dancing, entertaining. Marriage only. Anywhere. Call me now on *****6805.

Where to begin?

I'm not entirely sure what the person placing this ad was thinking when considering the best angle to approach the murky waters of the personals. Which part of the above is the unique selling point? The fundamentalist part? The protestant part? The point where it all spirals into madness and a preference for more ladylike attire is a bonus? And what of those confusing commas? Is Miss Right supposed to possess, in addition to an air of haughty disdain regarding trousers, an aversion to drinking, dancing and entertaining? Or is a small sherry and a quick turn of the Gay Gordons acceptable, subject to lower-body clothing?

It makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Three things

1. Surely the point of paying someone to clean your house is that they clean your house? I'm sure the nice lady at the agency is going to have a perfectly reasonable explanation for why I came home from work and hoovered the whole house and swept and washed the kitchen floor. IMMEDIATE UPDATE: The nice lady from the agency is currently grovelling helplessly to the Other Half concerning the total failure of her staff to do the the job they are being paid for. Apparently one of the ladies "wasn't very well" so they cut back on the cleaning. The nice lady did brightly suggest that it was all ok though as they'd done "half a job" but that didn't soften the Other Half's stony heart any and we're getting a refund next week. Hurray!

2. The people I share an office with are very, very dull. My best bet for having any fun is, sadly, snorty Rupert-Bear lady in Acounts. She told the photocopier to fuck off today. The other two are a bit nothingy, and talk very very quietly. As a result I spend most of my day saying "eh?" like some demented old tramp*.

3. A cat has vomited on our patio. We do not have a cat. I am torn between not wanting to look at other-people's-cat vomit, and not wanting to clean up vomit left by other people's cats.

* shut up.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Can I get you a tissue?

So we had a three-hour-long induction meeting today.

I can only assume that the girl from the Accounts department who sat next to me had a cold. I also assume that she was never taught as a child that snorting great gobs of phlegm down your throat at twenty second intervals is DISGUSTING. It was all I could do to stop myself either telling her to shut up, or vomiting quietly and helplessly down my front.

That aside, the new job is great. In that I actually have things that occupy me for the time I have to spend there. Aspects of it are slightly unnerving, but compared with the soul-destroying torpor of my last job, it's fucking brilliant. The busy part of it means I don't have a leisurely eight-hour window in which to compose a witty, succinct blog post on a daily basis but bear with me. We all just need to settle into our new routine.

In other news, if you want to see what I did yesterday, go and have a look here. Wheeee!!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Seriously. Never try and blog after two days in a new job.

My brain is suffering serious information overload, my nerves are shot to pieces and I'm only letting the neighbours (on the other side, not the consistently fucking noisy ones) off the loud music as it's Life Thru a Lens, which I am currently listening to through the wall.

I have a million things to think about, a thousand things to do and over three blog posts in pre-production. But, do you know, I really can't see me putting anything together before Friday. Tomorrow is yet more work (and to think I complained about having nothing to do in my last job), on Thursday I'm off to Milton Keynes to flash my boobs at watch Robbie Williams in concert, and on Friday all sorts of complicated schemes involving trains, buses, hire cars and the gods of transport will hopefully conspire to deliver me home safely and with the last vestiges of sanity intact.

So, to sum up, I got nothing. Talk amongst yourselves.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Of happiness and clapping

Today was the christening of my sister Fifi's Smallest Minx, and it was lovely.

Around the time that this photo of me was taken, my parents had me christened. I still have no idea why. My stepfather wasn't a churchgoer (what with the violent alcohol-fuelled bullying taking up most of his spare time), and my mother, as far as I can tell, doesn't care about anything very much so I can't see Jesus being high on her agenda. Despite this, my stepsister and I went to Sunday school, and in order to facilitate this, I had the old cross-on-the-forehead routine at the age of about three.

I think it had more to do with my parents' social ambitions than any desire to lead the pair of us in the way of the Lord. For a period of about ten months, my stepsister and I spent Sunday mornings in the church hall, colouring in pamphlets about Jesus and singing songs about letting our little burning lights shine. All that good stuff. Once the weekend cocktail party routine with the neighbours was established, we stopped going, although I remember attending church on a couple of endless, fidgety occasions, and once burning my fingers fairly badly on the heater under the pew. That was pretty much the extent of the church's influence on me - I learned that if you touch a heater, it hurts quite a lot. The whole religious aspect of it pretty much passed me by. The concept of a friendly, avuncular man in the sky (a bit like Terry Wogan, but with a beard) was a bit odd in itself (weren't people who talked to people that nobody else could see a bit, well, mad, like the patients on a pass from the local mental hospital that we used to see in the town on Saturday trips to the off-licence), but throw in giant crosses, men kissing other men and all that talk of love, and it was all a bit overwhelming.

And my view, I discovered this morning, is pretty much unchanged. I just don't understand why anyone would believe all that stuff. I know, I know - that's why they call it faith. It just doesn't work for me. It's a nice enough concept, I suppose - if you're a good person and help others and pray and stuff then you get to go to heaven when you finally pop your clogs, and sit on clouds with your dead granny, and eat crumpets and ambrosia rice pudding and lovely things like that. It just seems a bit...tenuous. I mean, nobody can prove to me categorically that investing an hour of my Sunday in singing songs to an invisible person is going to pay off. I'm just not convinced the odds are good enough, plus I have enough guilt without worrying about sin on top of everything else.

In a weird way, though, I'm slightly envious of people who have a religion. It must be comforting to think that, at the end of everything, it's all sort of taken care of. Or if you're having a bad day, you can have a little word in private and then look forward to it all getting a bit better soon. It just doesn't work for me.

Besides, all that drinking from a cup that loads of other people have drunk from doesn't seem that hygienic to me. I can think of better ways of contracting herpes.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

In which I talk about me some more

So anyway, I invited loads of people to my leaving do this Friday. As you do.

I trod carefully though – walked the line between friendship and nonchalance. I mean, nobody wants what our last marketing manager had for his night out – him and four slightly uncomfortable colleagues (two of whom were myself and the Other Half*) all sitting in an over-bright bar making stilted small talk. I seem to recall making up a hitherto-forgotten appointment and ducking out after an hour. Excruciating.


Having sent my painstakingly crafted email (come for a drink! It’ll be fun! I don’t care if you don’t turn up!) I sat back and watched the replies trickle in. Most people were up for it, a couple couldn’t make it and one or two simply ignored the invitation**. The result being that somewhere upwards of thirty people will be attempting to gain collective entry to pubs in town this Friday night. Bagsy first to the bar.

I was a bit surprised at one of the non-responses. We get on quite well, you see, despite him depressing me with the news that I am technically old enough to be his mother. Quite a few people from his department were coming out, so I thought he’d be up for it and didn’t want to leave him out. He was duly invited, but didn’t get back to me. Oh well, I thought, perhaps he’s just a bit shy of being surrounded by loads of raucously drunk colleagues in a place where his mates might see him. Can’t blame the boy, really. Only, yesterday, on my way for my ninety-millionth wee*** of the day, our paths crossed. Hello [person I invited that never responded], said I. Hello, [not Surly’s real name but Surly’s assistant’s name], replied he.


So, what do you think I did next?

Did I do the sensible thing; laugh a bit (but not unkindly) and say oh dear, you seem to have us confused! I am [my real name]! The other lady is [assistant]! I suppose this means you didn’t realise the invitation for Friday was from me! Would you like to come?

Did I bollocks. Crippled by some unnameable and completely pointless social phobia, I simply smiled and carried on walking. Why? What’s wrong with me? What was so difficult about telling someone my name?

I think I was worried about making him feel bad. It’s always been the same with me, ever since I watched that episode of the Kids from Fame where it was Mrs Berg’s birthday and she invited loads of people to her party only they all (somehow) got the wrong day and nobody showed up and the final shot was of poor Mrs Berg’s old, confused face as she stood surrounded by bunting in an empty room and I cried.

For fuck’s sake.

* I am not at all confident about the grammar in this sentence****

** Note to my ex-manager – if a person has their email program set to ask for a read receipt, that person can tell when you delete their emails without reading them. You short-arsed, unpopular twat. I only asked you because I felt sorry for you.

*** Seriously. Is there really any health benefit to be gained from drinking two litres of water a day if you simply wee it out all day long like an organic perpetual motion machine?

**** I am fairly confident, however, that the part of a sentence in parentheses (brackets? Parentheses? Help! Grammar minefield!) is not called a sentence*****

***** Shutting up now. Really.

Monday, September 04, 2006

[your cliche here]

I tried really hard not to post about this today. I mean really hard. But, you know, it just couldn't be helped.

I'd like to start by saying that of course, it's a terrible thing that someone is a widow tonight, and that two small children have lost their father. But, really, can't the media response be tempered, just a little bit? The main offenders, naturally, were GMTV. As far as television's favourite tabloid news programme was concerned, this story was clearly an absolute gift. There was no other news this morning as far as they were concerned. The problem was, they really couldn't decide what angle they were coming at it from.

Should they focus on Steve the family man? Brave conservationist, friend of the animals, Australia's favourite son? Well yes, and for a minute they did. He was altruistic, outspoken, a true ambassador for his cause. Then it was off for a frenzy of Daily Mail-shock how-could-he photo montages of Steve Irwin variously poking snakes with a stick, baiting large lizards and waving his month-old son at a crocodile. He was irresponsible, egotistical and blinded by the reflected glare of his own fame. Yes! That was it! Except, oh...hang on! Here comes a random third-rate celebrity to talk about how only the good are taken so young....and bang! We've segued into a lovely, heartwarming piece about how Gloria Hunniford's widowed son-in-law is getting married again and how Gloria's all fine with that. Restores your faith in human nature, doesn't it?

GMTV were also at the forefront of the "at least he died doing something he loved" brigade. Now this, I don't buy. He might well have been having a lovely time, swimming around with deadly misunderstood stingrays, but since the net result was travelling home in a box I'm pretty sure he'd rather have spent the morning going over his tax return, or doing the grocery shopping, or something.

As for the grief tourists, well. They're out in force. The BBC news site started a comments page for "tributes", and is currently running to thirty six pages! Thirty six! It's a little bit beyond me, that's all. On the other hand, maybe it's in no better taste to lean the other way.

I'll leave you with pasty, pragmatic Ray Mears' take on the whole thing*. Ray doesn't have many friends, I don't think. I can sort of see why. Not content with opining that "the incident served as a warning that some things in nature should be left alone", he felt moved to add that

".....he clearly took a lot of risks and television encouraged him to do that," Mr Mears said. "The voyeurism we are seeing on television has a cost and it's that cost Steve Irwin's family are paying today."

Thanks Ray, for those kind words. I'm sure the family take great comfort.

* Ray whittled this response into a piece of solid oak that he had hewn from the living trunk using a saw fashioned from flint, hazel twigs and his own semen. Ray Mears currently lives alone. In a ditch. In Slough.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Thoughts on beginning my last week at work...

As part of the leaving-my-job process, I've spent the week attempting to clear the mountains of crap that have been cluttering up my desk for the best part of four years.

It hasn't been easy. I am, apparently, a compulsive hoarder*.

I've ditched all those memos I never actioned, the requests I ignored, the appraisals I lied at. I've tidied away the budgets, the forecasts and the schedules - all that stuff I never understood anyway. I ruefully sorted through a folder full of ideas and reports that were all ignored by anyone I suggested them to...most of them have since been implemented anyway, but only when New Boss suggested them. I'm not bitter though. No.

I also came across a huge pile of personal paperwork that I had presumably kept at work in order to shred it. I finally sorted through it on Friday, and it was like looking into someone else's life. Except it was my life - how it used to be before I met the Other Half and things took a dramatic turn for the better. I found bank statements from the joint account I had with the Ex. Old mobile phone bills without the Other Half's number on them anywhere. The confirmation of the cancellation of the holiday that we were supposed to go on in November 2004, that had to be ditched when I came back from a work trip in the August and pulled the rug out from under the Ex's life by telling him I was leaving. The whole process was a weird little wander through how things used to be, and underlined just how much my life has changed since I started this job back in October 2002. Back then, I was married. I had pretty much accepted that this was as good as my life was going to get. I thought I was settled, but I now realise that I couldn't have been further from the truth. That whole part of my life seems distant to me, as if I watched it happen to someone else. In a way, that's exactly what I did.

I start my new job on Monday of next week. I'm not the same person any more, and I couldn't be happier about it. I truly am more settled now than I have ever been. The Ex and I have remembered how it is to be friends with one another. Small Person is a joy, and the Other Half brings me more happiness and stability than I ever thought I would know. For once, it's all good.

In other news, ooh, aren't the nights starting to draw in?

* Isn't this just a nice way of saying "lazy bastard who can't be arsed to throw anything away, like that Mr Trebus off of A Life of Grime that I spent four hours watching on UKTV People today"? I mean, I haven't got a collection of rusty bedframes and old mopeds and carrier bags with poo in them or anything, but I am fucking rubbish at filing my paperwork or folding up clothes and putting them away. In which case, "compulsive hoarder" sounds a bit strong.! I know! I am a collector. Yes.

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