Thursday, December 28, 2006

Life on the Mean Streets - Bah Humbug

Yes I am still here, and I am finally back up and running again. Santa brought me a wonderful new toy, a wireless notebook, so now I can do my blog in the bathroom if I want... don't panic I'm actually in my new sitting room in front of a roaring fire. Ah the joys of technology.. but enough about that, here's an update.

Well I am still working with the morally challenged and they are still coming up with new and interesting ways to amuse. Take the lead up to Christmas.

This is of course 'traditionally' the time of year when burglers are at their most active. All those lovely pressies stowed at the bottom of the tree, (unless you're in Albert Square, then you get a Pauline Fowler under your tree.. sorry to those of you who either don't or can't watch the soap Eastenders.. actually you are the lucky ones!), nicely wrapped and ready to go. There is nothing more festive than a tree laden with presents and promise.

And so it was decided that we too would have a tree in the reception area, to give all those nice little offenders a warm and fuzzy glow when visiting, ahh! Carols and Christmas songs were playing daily in the lead up to the big event, everyone was getting into the spirit. Well for some the spirit of choice was whiskey, Morrisons own brand the cheapest they could get their hands on. Excitement all the way.

Wrong! Now it is obvious that the aforementioned offenders are possibly somewhat lacking in the braincell department, how else would they have ended up on our doorstep? But for some this is taken to the extreme, for example the young couple who having both completed their appointments with us decided that they liked our tree so much they would like it to adorn their own little 'des res'. They were caught on camera in a corner of reception attempting to take the tree apart and stash it under their coats. A little naughty on our receptionists' part to allow them to complete their little task before putting out the following security announcement;

"Any available officers to the reception area please, the Christmas tree is attempting to make off with two of our devine little offenders... it's carnage!"

On entering the reception, which by the way had the best alert response that I have ever seen, we were confronted with the sight of two rather embarrassed young people who did indeed look as though they had been attacked by the tree, the young man had the 'trunk' stashed down his trouser legs the stand jammed down the back of them and a branch up either sleeve. The young woman had numerous branchs and ornaments stowed about her person. Needless to say after being where the sun doesn't venture to shine, another tree was acquired.

Sadly this tree was also destined to meet a sticky end. Yes that would include the mop and bucket again, actually several mops and buckets, (for anyone not acquainted with that last reference read the entries entitled Life on the Mean Streets). And so it went on until finally it was decided that something else would have to be done, the poor reception staff couldn't face wrestling with anymore tree rustlers. Then a cunning plan was hatched. What could you get the morally challenged for Christmas? Presents of course, lots and lots of lovely presents, all beautifully wrapped and laid at the foot of the tree. And that it how I whiled away my spare time in the lead up to Christmas, I wrapped for England, you name it I wrapped it.. old telephone directories, a box of paperclips, (the rusty ones from the back of the stationary cupboard), empty toilet rolls, oh and a couple of old used mop heads, don't worry I did leave them to dry out nice and crusty before I wrapped them.

Oh how those little darlings loved our pressies, every night we'd creep down and leave our little stash at the bottom of the tree and every morning their little faces would light up at the sight of all that plunder. Well I guess it must have worked because no one attempted to make off with the tree again and they must have liked our pressies, because no one has come back to complain.

A belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all my blogging friends.

Monday, August 21, 2006


Sorry I haven't been around for some time. We were into the final stages of completion on our new house, we should have been moving this weekend. Yes, that's right, should have been. Unfortunately the surveys and reports came back a couple of days ago. Only a couple of minor hiccups. Firstly there is mineworkings planned in the next year or so under the house, secondly it is built on a flood plain and has been flooded twice in the last ten years, they forgot to mention that little detail, and lastly it's built on landfill. Needless to say we have pulled out.

So we are back to househunting big time, as our lease on this house is running out soon. So I'm sorry but I will probably be out of action for some time to come. Just another week in St Jude's household.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

It's A Bit Serious!!

Well after todays events... for those who have been napping or getting to grips with nature, the critical level security warning and the problems at the airports. I think we should re-jig our security level warnings, because those we have at the moment are a tad boring, so here it is...
Lowest level - Urm it could be a bit serious.
Medium level - Serious
High level - Very Serious.
Maximum level - Very, very serious.
Top level - Ok, that's it, you're going to get a plastic bag now!!!

By the way they say that mummies carrying on baby milk have to test it, (ie taste it), in front of security. Excuse me but does this also apply to mummies who are breast feeding?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Catching Up...

Well I don't know how it happened but I appear to have been out in the old ether a little longer than I had intended. Just when you think you have all the time in the world everything piles up. So where do I begin?

Big Fat Greek Wedding.
It was great, everyone turned up, there was the International playboy and Cruella, (his latest girlfriend), JT and her family, us of course and oh, half the Greek community of London milling about either inside or outside the church. Sometimes, inside and outside. The ceremony was fun, we got to play party games like pin the ribbon on the bride and groom, and hide the ring, all coordinated by a rather surly chap who sang everything in a not too tuneful way whilst wearing some very dodgy headgear. It was great fun. The reception was lovely, lots of greek dancing, the old legs got in a bit of a knot when the music got faster, I nearly caused a pile up at one point but I recovered my poise just in time. All in all a lovely day.

Life on the Mean Streets.
What can I say... I have been working full time for the last week or so, hence the rather long sebatical from blogging. It's the holiday season and so a lot of people are enjoying a rest in far off exotic locations, such as Clacton and Brid. Even the morally challenged have decided they need a break, unfortunately not the sort of break that the rest of us have been having. I took a phone call the other morning:
"Hello St Jude speaking"

"Hello, I think I've done something stupid!" It was a rather flustered young man.

"Ok, I'm listening,"

"Well I was in A&E, and I was just getting it looked at,"


"I didn't mean to do it, honest, he was just getting a cuppa for me, so I just did it."

"Sorry, sweetie, can you give me your name?" I typed it in and brought up his record. "Urm where are you now?"

"I'm just heading up towards town. I don't know what to do, I haven't got any money and me arse is freezing,"

"All righty. By the way how are you making this call?" I asked hesitantly.

"I 'borrowed a mobile from some bloke in the hospital,"

It would appear that this particular young man was in actual fact an inmate, (make that previously an inmate), at a local Young Offenders Institution. He had been at A&E with an officer, who stupidly had left the aforementioned inmate unattended. So what did the little horace do, he upped and walked out... in the hospital gown. Panic hit and a nasty draft around the nethers, so he phoned 'home'. It all turned out well though, I told him to head to the nearest Police Station and turn himself in. I did phone them on his behalf though just to make sure that he had a reservation.

Then two days later I received a nice little note from Custody at another local establishment, informing me to kindly update my records. One of their inmates was no longer with them, he had transferred out. In actuality, he had absconded but as they are going through an audit, they didn't like to use that word.

And finally whilst in reception the other day one of morally challenged stopped me and asked if I could tell the Officer who was coming down to see him that he had just gone to take a pee. With that he waltzed past the toilet and headed out into the front doorway where he relieved himself. Later on checking his file I noted that he was N.F.A. (no fixed abode), it may not always be mean on the streets, but sometimes it is messy. Another mop and bucket job for me then.

Mrs Beeton.
She has been having a little rest over the last couple of days. Over the latter part of last week her daughter, my sister in law came to visit with my neice and her beau. On Friday night we decided it would be nice to catch up with said s.i.l. so we arranged to go out for a meal, just the three of us as the kids were attending a wedding and Mrs Beeton normally retires at 9pm. However upon hearing of our plans, she decided that she would like to accompany us. Just one slight issue, we were going to a Cantonese restaurant! What's the problem with that you may be asking? Well you see the Fat Controller was a strictly meat and two veg man, he would not even remotely entertain anything that did not conform to this, and so neither could Mrs Beeton.

So with some trepidation we sat down to eat. The starters arrived and we showed Mrs Beeton the mechanics of chopsticks. She was game and after having deposited several won tons and a spare rib on the table opposite, she managed to come to an arrangement with her chopsticks. They also work rather well when used in the fashion of knitting needles. She had created her own version of chopstick kebabs. The king prawns were another new experience for her and after declaring her liking for them she happily sat back and demolished the entire plate of them that had been intended for the four of us. Her hunger now sated, she announced that she was rather tired and that we should be getting home so that she could retire, it was 8.40pm, we sat down to eat at 8.20pm. After several attempts at negotiating an extension of her bedtime, we managed to agree that we would leave at 9pm. So in a flurry of chopsticks and much to the amused interest of the surrounding tables we ploughed through our meal in record breaking time. We did manage to get her home by 9.15pm and she was soundly asleep by 9.30pm. We on the other hand spent the entire night tossing and turning with volcanic indigestion.

Monday, July 24, 2006

He, He, He...

As I have been working today, her ladyship was appointed honorary shopping chaperone to Mrs Beeton in my absence. I have received three phone calls so far.

Call number one;
"Mum, where's the pomegranate juice kept?"

"Urm, aisle two I think sweetie, who's that for, it's not on my list, and Grandma doesn't drink it does she?"

"No, an old guy just asked me where it was. Thanks. Bye."

Call number two;

"Mum, mum she's got the trolley, I'm sorry she just took it while I wasn't looking. Gran, GRAN, don't..!" Click.

Call number three;

"Ok, if you ever offer my services again, I'll put myself up for adoption or I'll call childline."

"Oh come on sweetie, just remember you are your mother's daughter, and by the way, nobody wants to adopt 22 year olds they're too expensive, and I don't think childline will be interested either."

"It's no joke mum, do you know what she did to me?"

Stiffling the urge to giggle, "No, what?"

"Are you laughing at me?"

"No, no darling I would never,"

"She made me hold her hand when we were crossing the road,"

Excuse me while I go and pour myself another tall cool drink... it's a dirty job but someone has to do it. ;0)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Pre Big Fat Greek Wedding

Next weekend I shall be attending a big fat Greek wedding. It is my nephews wedding to be exact. He is not the Greek in question, none of our side of the family are in actuality Greek. His fiances family are though. The service will be at a Greek Orthodox Cathedral in London, followed by a reception at the Hyatt Regency in Portman Square.

Everyone will be there, His Lordship and I, JT and her husband, and the international playboy, my brother, the grooms father. He will be flying in from Moscow where he currently lives with his latest girlfriend. Well I assume she will be in tow unless he has traded her in for the newest model. The women in his life are somewhat akin to his taste in cars, sleek and racy. They rarely survive past the MOT stage. The Captain sadly will not be able to attend, the travelling would be too much. But we will report back in full and with glossy photos and he has of course been party to our research, mainly in the form of watching 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' and 'Zorba the Greek' whilst snacking on copious amounts of Greek food downed with ouzo. So everything is running along tickety boo?

NO! I have just discovered that I haven't a thing to wear... no really I mean it, I have nothing to wear. You see in the packing frenzy of just a couple of months ago I put all of my dresses into storage, even my beloved 1950s designer numbers, the girls are currently languishing in a storage facility heavens knows where, in the dark, alone and unloved. Sniff. So today I will hit the shops in an attempt to find something befitting the occasion. It's an absolute nightmare, not only do I have to find something that I like, but it also has to be co-ordinated with JT's outfit.

You see the problem is that we do look very much alike, we have been mistaken for each other on numerous occasions. Slightly distressing for her taking into account some of my more recent shopping excursions! So in order to avoid the whole 'peas in a pod' reaction I asked her the other day what she would be wearing. She hasn't decided yet! My lovely sister is the Queen of indecisiveness, but only when shopping. A shopping trip with JT is a marathon of hope and despair. Hope that we will actually buy anything that she has picked up, tried on or mused over. Despair that when she does manage to get to the till with it, you know that you will probably be returning the following week to said till with the same item to be returned. I have however managed to narrow down the colours that she may, or may not, be wearing.

So wish me luck in my little quest, I have no doubts whatsoever that as on past occassions, we will manage to turn up in very similar outfits. One or both of us will have a last minute change of outfit, what can I say we're sisters.

Shopping Trip Update
Well there I was laden with prospective little candidates for my wedding adventure. I had just entered the fitting room and was standing in my undies sifting through the prospects when CRASH! the lights flickered for an instant and then went out. One of the many thunder storms we have had today managed to take out the electricity to the entire mall.

Have you ever tried to find your own clothes in the pitch dark in a fitting room full of clothes. When the assistant finally managed to locate a torch and lead us out onto the shop floor, I felt positively relieved with my make shift ensemble, ok so none of it matched and only one item of clothing was in actual fact my own, but one poor woman emerged with a pair of trousers that were two sizes two small so they were not fastened and a T-shirt that was on back to front and inside out.

However the worst part was being forced to leave the shopping centre and stand in the car park. We did get some rather funny looks. Not least because we were coralled together by the security gaurds, just in case any of us should have any naughty thoughts of making off. I have to say that I don't think any of us would have gone anywhere. The lady with the tiny trousers and big bottom was'nt going anywhere fast, and the rest of us would have made excellent stand ins for the dummies in a charity shop display.

Ah well better luck tommorow.


Just as an additional note, has anyone else been having problems uploading images to blogger. I have tried on several occasions of late and although it says it's done it the images are not appearing?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A Little Cultural Exercise - Batteries Not Included

Now before I go any further I have to point out that the content of this post is of an adult nature, if you are easily offended then may I suggest that you don't read on. Those who know me will obviously vouch for the fact that this is not the normal content for my posts. However you will be pleased to know that I have throughout retained my saintly persona.

It was a post by my friend kim over on her blog that got me thinking about this one, thanks Kim. We have certain laws that protect consumers, one in particular which states that an item must be fit for the purpose for which it is sold. Simply put it should basically do what it says it will do or perform as it says it will perform. If it does not them you are entitled to return it and either get a replacement or a refund. Simple. However it occurred to me does this law also apply to sex toys? So in the interests of consumer knowledge I set off to the high street and our local Ann Summers store.

Now although this is a 'sex shop' it does have the ability to carry itself with integrity in high streets and malls thoughout the country. Therefore one would assume that as it has shaken off the sleazy mantle that most of it's kind previously had it should offer the consumer the same protection as other high street stores.

On entering the shop I was greeted by a very pleasant young woman who kindly offered me a basket and a leaflet with their latest special offers. As I glanced through the leaflet I pondered in what shape the 50% extra free came!! I meandered through the racks of lingerie with their frills, feathers, leather, PVC, peek a boos and open crotches then on further into the depths here they kept the dressing up clothes, nurses, schoolgirls, catwoman, bunny girl, clown... clown! I'm sorry chaps but have I missed something here? Eventually I stumbled upon the 'toyshop', hurray my quest begins.

After a brief recky I discovered that there are quite literally hundreds to choose from, handbag sized, pocket sized, small, medium, large, superdooper, king kong, pink, red, luminous lime green, in case it's dark, five speed gear box, hydraulic breaking, sorry just kidding. So without further ado I began to select a variety for my basket. I chose what I considered to be a reasonable cross section of what was on offer. In the interests of fair play you understand. With my basket of goodies I headed for the till. I smiled my most innocent smile,

"Do you have a returns policy?" I enquired

"What do you mean?" The sales assistant asked cautiously.

"Well I assume I can return them if they are not 'right',"

"Not.. right. In what way?"

"Well until I've tried them out I won't know if they, well you know dear, work!"

She blushed furiously, "We, we couldn't possibly accept them back if, well I mean in the event, they've been used madam,"

"But how will I know if they 'work'?

"Work!" She stammered.

"Well if I were buying lingerie, you would let me try them on wouldn't you to see if they fit properly?"

"That's different madam, you see we have fitting rooms,"

"Oh, I hadn't seen those dear, can you direct me to them?" I asked.

Suddenly I had the feeling that old sinking feeling, as a door just to the right of the till burst open and out walked the Manageress. Suffice to say that she had at some point in her past had a humour bypass and was in no mood to discuss the matter further. Even when I did point out that as a consumer I have rights. Fit for the purpose, performs as it is supposed to perform etc. And so I was left to venture home with my little bag of goodies and no hope of returning them, as apparently in relation to dildos and vibrators there are in actual fact rather hazy performance criteria. Ah hem not wishing to be indelicate, but is it a case of hmm, that was nice, fancy a cuppa, or at the other end of the scale Meg Ryan's cafe scene and then some!! Obviously as a saint dear readers I am unable to comment. All was not lost however on my shopping trip, in their special offer sheet they were offering three packs of rechargable batteries for the price of two!

This is St Jude Mmr, Cjd, Nut, Dip Py, until my next assignment, signing off.

...and finally for the gentlemen reading this, I can unequivocally reassure you that size does not matter. Speed settings on the other hand... ;0)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Life on the Mean Streets - Air 'Con'

When I arrived in my new job, they were just completing the installation of air conditioning throughout the building. There are several floors and it had been a mammouth effort apparently to get the work done in time for the summer. That was in May.

The air conditioning units are located at the back of the building, a large bank of them. During my first week there I watched as they erected a high metal fence around them with spikes on the top. No body was going to get into those little babies. Then two weeks later I noticed that the fence men were back. I watched with intrigue this time as they began to put a series of flat metal bars directly over the spikes, and then a few days later a roof over the entire area. I watched with some incredulity as the fence men clambered up the side of the fence and hoisted themselves onto the roof. Giving the occasional wave to those people inside the first floor offices.

Hmm, there is something not quite right with this scenario, even more so when you take into account the work that we do and the people that we work with. Safety is paramount. It would also appear that the safety of the morally challenged when going about their business is paramount. Some bright young Herbert apparently felt that the nasty spikes could cause injury to one of the aforementioned MC's if they were attempting to get into the air conditioning units. So as this is government and health and safety not to mention the abject fear of being sued, is all important, the 'top brass' decided it should be made ultra safe. Now they can't hurt themselves on the nasty mean spikes anymore and they can't fall into the units as there is now a roof.

I wonder if the same bright Herbert considered that the MC's can however now access the windows to our first floor offices thanks to the lovely ladder and platform that has been provided!! Under a barrage of protests from the first floor, an email was sent out which informed them that they are now barred from opening the office windows at the back, for 'health and safety' reasons.

It's alright though I hear you cry, they have air conditioning now and so they don't need to open their windows anymore. WRONG!! this is a government department. It would seem that nobody enquired to see if the electricity supply is up to the new task. It isn't. So by a stroke of genius, some one, possibly the same young Herbert on the fence front, has come up with the 'ideal' solution. We have the air conditioning on a rota basis. Last week it was our turn, this week it is the fourth floor, and so on, it will be the second week in August before we get to play with it again. Until then, in temperatures today of over 35 degrees, the poor devils on the first floor couldn't even open their windows, unlike the rest of us who do not reside on the fourth floor. But there is hope, the electriciy supplier has said that they should be able to get the upgraded cabling done in September!! Thanks chaps, roll on the second week in August then.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Senior Shopping.

Yesterday I had to do the shopping thing with Mrs Beeton. She enjoys shopping, grocery shopping that is. For years it has been the highlight of her day, and she and the Fat Controller would take off to their various haunts stalking the bargains, 50% extra free, buy one get one free, three for two, they were skilled hunters. The fact that a lot of what they purchased is still languishing in the garden shed is beside the point. For them it was the thrill of the chase and the occasional fight with the other hunters to get there first and snaffle the last three cans of aerosol dairy cream, that stuff wouldn't know a dairy if it jumped up and bit it on the bum. However since the demise of the Fat Controller this little task has fallen to me.

So yesterday after yet another day sitting in a training room, I steeled myself for the role of supervising pensioner shopping. On arrival at her house we had to do the 'pre-flight' checks, reading glasses, check, shopping list, check, purse, check, toilet... several minutes later, check, cardigan, check, oh come on it was only 25 degrees outside. So after much manouvering she was safely belted into the car and we were on our way.

"Are you sure you don't mind taking me, you've been at work all day?" Mrs Beeton ventured as we backed out of the drive.

"No, no it's fine," I reassured her.

"I don't mind if you want to go another time, I don't want to put you out,"

"No it's ok honestly,"

"Are you sure?"


There was a silence for a few moments.

"We always liked to go mid afternoon, that's when you get the best bargains. Everyone will have gone from work now and they'll have got there first," she announced. Have I mentioned that Mrs Beeton likes to get her own way!

"Well unfortunately I can't take you during the afternoon. I'm sure they won't have run out of milk or bread, or anything else on your list." I reassured her.

"I need dog food,"

"You don't have a dog!"

"No but I like to have some in. Just in case."

At this point I decided that my mind would be better utilised concentrating on the rush hour traffic. Pulling into the supermarket car park my heart sank. There were obviously a lot of people doing their shopping. This meant that we would have to park some distance from the door. We would have a bit of walk. Mrs Beeton has two speeds when walking, doddery old lady, and infuriatingly slow old lady. Today she chose the later. By the time we reached the trolley pick up there was a traffic jam as far as the main road.

Mrs Beeton stood to one side waiting for me to bring her a trolley. Having taken care to select one that had all four wheels in tact and pointing in the same direction I handed it over to her. Now I don't know about anyone else, but I remember when certain supermarkets used to provide miniature trolleys that had huge poles with brightly coloured flags on them, for children. The flags warned other shoppers to watch out for them. Well I suggest the same rule be applied to pensioners when given charge of trolleys, in particular Mrs Beeton. So several deep breathing exercises later we entered the affray.

By the end of the first aisle, she had managed to cripple two people and left them hopping for cover, and place half of the items she had selected into several 'unattended' trolleys, none of which were hers, with me in stealth mode attempting to retrieve the items before the trolley owners were any the wiser. I did unfortunately get rumbled on the last occasion much to the chagrin of the aforementioned owner, who happened to be a burly six foot chap with tattoos covering most of his exposed arms. After withering under his glare, I hot footed it to the bakery section. Too late, Mrs Beeton was up to her waist in Warburtons finest. Loaves littered the floor, other shoppers could only stare in disbelief as the store assistants frantically tried to clear a path for the sweet little old dear now ploughing her way through them in the direction of the cake section, oblivious it would seem to the carnage she had just caused.

After several attempts to wrestle the trolley from her grasp, without success, I decided I had, had enough and so I headed to the book section for some respite. I had barely had time to read the blurb on a couple of jackets before a tannoy announcement tore my thoughts back into focus.

"Clean up required in aisle's 3, 5, and 8... just a minute, make that 10 as well."

Hesitantly I emmerged from my refuge and went in search of Mrs Beeton. I didn't have to look far as another casualty hopped into view from the direction of the freezer aisle. As I passed aisle 10 the clean up party was in full swing, an entire centre display of cream cakes now lay battered under an upturned table. I finally caught up with Mrs Beeton as she was being escorted to the checkout by the store manager and a security guard. For one moment I thought about escaping and running for the car, unfortunately the sight of her looking rather flustered and not a bit peeked at the indignity of being 'helped' out made me change my mind. Several more 'sorrys' and a promise not to leave her unattended or to let her push the trolley in future secured our re-admission for our next senior shopping trip. Oh goody I can't wait.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Fangs For The Memory.

When I was a girl, and no that was not in the days of gas lamps and horses and carts thank you, I enrolled on a pre-nursing course. This involved part of my time at college and part working in a hospital. The idea was to give us some experience of nursing and to allow us to complete some of the academic work required before we reached eighteen at which age we could apply to train as nurses.

I was placed at a hospital in the next city to ours on the male medical ward. It was, as many still were in those days, a very large sprawling old Victorian hospital with gothic arches and turrets. The wards were still then very much as they had been in Victorian times, large, long rooms with very high windows and ceilings and wooden floors. Each ward had about twenty beds running down either side. At the entrance to each ward there was a sluice room to one side and a kitchen to the other, then there would be the store room and opposite Sister's office. The nurses had a work table in the centre of the ward. This was in the days when Sister ruled the ward and Matron ruled the hospital.

As the 'baby' on the ward I was assigned the tasks that were befitting my station in life. Flower arranging, taking temperatures, help with feeding, bedpans and bottles and last but by now means least the dreaded ritual of the nightly cleaning of the false teeth. Oh how I relished that task. In the evening just before I was due to finish and it was lights out, I would go around the ward with my little trolley and collect the pots from the bedside cabinets with the false teeth in them. Then it was off to the sluice room to give them all a lovely brush and polish so that everyone would have nice shiny gnashers ready for doctors rounds the following morning.

Well that is how it was supposed to happen. It was nearing Christmas and I had arranged to meet my new beau, his Lordship, we were both seventeen and of course we were both the only thing on each others minds back then. So as the clocked ticked ever closer to 7pm and the end of my day, my mind began to wander. I was in a hurry and so I dashed from bed to bed collecting the little pots of goodies and stacking them onto the trolley. We had a lot of toothless chaps on the ward back then and there were a lot of pots. My mission complete I raced back up the ward, trying to hurry but without directly running, Sister would have had my guts for garters if she had caught me running on her ward.

It was now 6.30 and as I stared at the mound of pots , the realisation dawned on me that I was going to be late. How was I going to get them all brushed and polished and back in time to leave at 7.00. Then I had an idea! Back in those days we didn't have disposable bedpans, they were metal, we did however have a whizzy bedpan washing machine. It consisted of a sink with nozzles all around that sent high power jets of boiling water into the pan. Hurray, my salvation. And so without further ado I set about emptying the contents of the twenty nine little pots I had acquired into the bedpan washer. With a satisfied smile I put down the lid and turned it on. A few minutes later I lifted the lid to find lovely gleaming teeth. A quick polish with a cloth and they were all safely popped back into their pots. Happily I skipped back down the ward delivering them back to their owners bedside. Now I think I should at this stage point out that I was a mere child, who in those carefree days of youth knew very little about false teeth, they all looked very much the same to me.

His Lordship and I had a lovely evening together and with a warm glow that only young love can give I meandered into college the following morning. I was greeted with a note on my locker telling me that I should report at once to the Senior Nursing Tutor. So as the dutiful student that I was I made my way to her office. I knocked and was summoned to enter. At once I could see that she was flustered, the red face and hand wringing might have given the game away. She told me that she had received a telephone call from Sister, it appeared that none of the patients ate their breakfast, they were all experiencing problems with their teeth. I was flabbergasted, I assured her that I had cleaned them properly, in fact I was so impressed with my ingenuity that I explained the new and time efficient way I had discovered to clean the patients teeth.

Suffice to say that neither she nor Sister were as impressed with my problem solving abilities. Apparently it took several days of swapping and testing to match the right teeth to the right owners. One old boy had a permanent grin for three days until another patient's wife realised that he was wearing her husbands teeth. I left the course shortly after that and decided that both nursing and I would be better suited on different paths. It was the right decision, I would never have experienced the wonderful variety of work that I have if I had taken the time to brush false teeth instead of using a little lateral thinking.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Life on the Mean Streets - Heatwave.

It is official, we are in the grip of a heatwave. Those nice people on the BBC have said so. Yes two consecutive days with temperatures over 30 degrees constitutes a heatwave here in good old blighty!

So it was with this in mind that I donned my body armour before entering work today. You see the heat has a decidedly nasty effect on the morally challenged. They become increasingly more irritable, increasingly more drunk and increasingly more dangerous. The heat brings out the worst in them. Ok so I accept that we can all get a little irritable when we are hot, but remember that these people already live on the dark side of society.

So I headed down to reception with not a little trepidation, but hey ho, I'm a grown woman I can handle this. As the lift opened I just knew that this was not going to be a good day. Two young men had already succumbed to the heady delights of too much sun and alcohol, it was 10.00am. They were laid face down in the foyer. Don't worry, I checked, they were ok, so I stepped over them and headed through into reception.

"Did you know you have a couple of bodies in the foyer?" I asked Betty the receptionist.

She stood up and leaned over the counter, sighing, she nodded. Yes, she knew as well as I that today was going to be fun.

"Still breathing?" she enquired as she sat back down.

"Still breathing." I replied.

I looked around the seating area, the usual array of shady characters, each trying not to make eye contact, checking out the detritus under their fingernails, contemplating their navels, picking their noses. Armed with the trusty swipe I let myself into the reception office. The phones were ringing off the hook. Always happy to help I picked up the phone nearest me.

"Hello how can I help you?"

Thirty five minutes later and several cancelled appointments with miscellaneous excuses ranging from mum not leaving the bus fare, ah bless, to not being able to get their backside out of bed, and the absolute top of the league,

'I woz out wi me mates last night when some bloke broke me nose', hmm, the bloke in question broke the aforesaid nose whilst being head butted by the nose owner!!

Heading back to the lift I was pleased to note that the foyer ornaments had managed to crawl away somewhere less conspicuous. Unfortunately one of them had left a rather yukky deposit before departing. Once again I headed back to reception, now half full, and the bucket cupboard. Copious amounts of lovely lemon scented detergent was the order of the day for this little job. Just as I finishing up my Mrs mop routine, I felt a shadow fall silently across the foyer. Turning I saw a huge giant of a man looming large in the doorway. I smiled nervously.

"Hello," he said smiling benignly.

"Hello. Reception is through those doors," I motioned with my marigolded mit.

"Are you the cleaning lady?"

"Well at the moment it would appear so wouldn't it." I collected up my assorted cloths and bucket and went back into the reception office. Betty looked up, distracted again by the phone. Back in the foyer waiting for the lift, I noted the familiar shadow once again.

"Hello nice lady."

"Hello there," I replied

"Where are you going now?"



"I work upstairs. You need to go and check in with reception dear, and I need to be getting back to work." I hit the lift call again.

Oh goody, I'm having a conversation with rainman's best friend.

Suddenly the shadow was a presence, rather too close for my liking. I stepped to the side a little, I felt arms length was in order.

"I'm not supposed to talk to ladies," he announced suddenly

gulp, "well then maybe you should go and sit down and wait for your officer to come and get you,"

"I don't want to, I want to talk to you... you're nice aren't you."

I could hear the lift coming, I could also hear the words of my Manager ringing in my ears, 'don't let anyone you don't know into the lift, gunman, rapist...' I decided the lift might not be the best idea. So once again I turned toward reception, rainman's pal following. I looked over to Betty for a little moral support, no joy she was deep in discussion with a rather inebriated young woman. Who, despite her condition and the situation, brought out the Grandma in me, I pushed a hankie in front of her, and motioned that she might want to wipe away the milk moustache she had acquired while trying to sober herself up a little before her appointment. Giggling she swatted her lip, Betty glowered, the girl must have been no more than seventeen.

I turned and headed to the door leading to the back stairwell, Rainman's pal a few paces behind. As I reached the door I could feel his breath on the back of my neck.

"Where you going now nice lady?"

"I've told you dear, I have to go back to work. Now go and sit on a chair and wait for your officer. You'll get into a lot of trouble if you don't behave yourself."

"I'm not supposed to talk to ladies. They make me feel funny. I like feeling funny." At that his hand descended to the depths of his trousers.

Alrighty, a new tack was definitely in order, "Right, plonk your arse down on that chair now or you'll be in BIG trouble, do you hear me," I ordered.

His eyes hit the floor and he scuttled away to the nearest chair. Out of my eye corner I could see a young man frantically re-engage his nose in a picking frenzy,

"and you stop picking your bloody nose, your head will cave in one day."

With that I bustled out into the stairwell with the reassuring clunk of the door as it locked behind me. As the day proceeded to heat up so did the tempers of those in reception, only a minor riot, a couple of broken chairs and a lot of shouting and door slamming. I suddenly discovered that I have a new respect for Betty the receptionist, her cool, seemingly offhand manner, her lack of engagement with the 'clients'. We all have to learn the tactics that will protect us, they may be physical, verbal, or when you are on the front line emotional.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Lest We Forget.

This year is the 90th anniversary of the battle of the Somme.
It began on the 1st of July 1916.
There are a handful of survivors through whom this battle still lives and breathes. Soon their words will be consigned to the pages of history too.

'As the 11 British divisions walked towards the German lines, the machine guns started and the slaughter began. Although a few units managed to reach German trenches, they could not exploit their gains and were driven back. By the end of the day, the British had suffered 60,000 casualties, of whom 20,000 were dead: their largest single loss. Sixty per cent of all officers involved on the first day were killed.'

Can you imagine 20,000 people, men and boys. If not then the next time you are in town, at a shopping mall, or walking through the city, take a look around you. Imagine everyone of those people that you see just disappearing, it still won't be 20,000! Now imagine them lying on the ground, dead, bloodied from the machine gun rounds that have shattered their bodies and torn them apart, imagine you are clambering over them to get to where you need to be, some of them you have known all of your life, your brothers, cousins, uncles, father, sons, friends, neighbours and work colleagues.
Can you imagine it now?
Then read on.
'It was a baptism of fire for Britain's new volunteer armies. Many 'Pals' Battalions, comprising men from the same town, had enlisted together to serve together. They suffered catastrophic losses: whole units died together and for weeks after the initial assault, local newspapers would be filled with lists of dead, wounded and missing.'

When Kitchener's recruiters arrived then the 'volunteers' poured in. They were sold on the idea of a jolly jaunt to a foreign land, heroic and patriotic endeavours. They were sold the idea that they would be home for Christmas. They were sold down the river, without a paddle, a prayer or a care. As their Mothers, Wives, and Sweethearts bid them farewell it was with a sense of pride in their menfolk, pride that they were going to fight for their country, defend the honour of a nation and a way of life. They would roust the Hun and be victorious. Too soon that pride turned to grief, as those same menfolk they had cheered on their way were cut down in a matter of hours.

Whole villages and communities found themselves without men, the men who had supported them. There was no state assistance in those days. The women had to fend for themselves. It wasn't just the women who suffered. When I lived in Kent, I lived near a small wood that had for centuries been coppiced and worked. Then the men of the village joined up to their local pals battalion. They never returned. The wood fell into disuse and became overgrown. Not only were there not the people to work the wood, but in their passing they took with them the knowledge of how to manage the woodland. It was only after decades of research that the generations that followed discovered some of that knowledge and again, in their honour' began to work the wood again. I spent many hours there, wandering among the trees that they had planted and cared for, walking the ditches they had dug to soak the young branches. As I walked I felt their prescence and thought of them often.

Before Action

By all the glories of the day and the cool evening’s benison.
By that last sunset touch that lay upon the hills when day was done.
By beauty lavishly outpoured and blessings carelessly received.
By all the days that I have lived make me a soldier, Lord.

By all of all man’s hopes and fears, and all the wonders poets sing.
The laughter of unclouded years, and every sad and lovely thing.
By the romantic ages stored with high endeavour that was his.
By all his mad catastrophes make me a man, O Lord.

I, that on my familiar hill saw with uncomprehending eyes.
A hundred of thy sunsets spill their fresh and sanguine sacrifice.
Ere the sun swings his noonday sword must say good-bye to all of this.
By all delights that I shall miss, help me to die, O Lord.

Noel Hodgson

(A member of the Leeds Pals who died just two days after this poem was published in July 1916)

Just take a moment from your day, and think of them and the families they left behind.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Busy, Busy, Busy.

I apologise for the rather sporadic posting of late, I have been caught up in a whirlwind of training, house hunting, training, dogs & vets, more training, oh and some work. By the time I have actually managed to sit down of an evening my brain has been so addled that the only thoughts worth acting on have been those of my lovely cosy bed.

However I have been giving my next little cultural experiment, by the way thank you for the suggestions, some thought. I will be reporting back on that in the not too distant future.

Friday, June 09, 2006


I've just been looking at the weird things people put into searchs. The following are the top searchs that have found my humble little place!!! Should I be worried?

  1. Bury St Jude in Back Yard - Baltimore (any advice from my friends across the pond?)
  2. Wife Swapping in England - New Delhi (Slightly worrying,)
  3. Man eats pooh - Manchester (They are from the wrong side of the Pennines!)
  4. Boobs Experiments - Czech Republic (Say no more.)

Talking of experiments, I think it is time for another little cultural experiment, if you don't know what on earth I'm talking about check this out.

Any suggestions??


Widescreenboy - Go into a large sports shop and ask, (in an American accent), for a 'fanny pack'.

Nikki -HA! I've got one. It does however, entail another trip to the butcher.Instead of asking for rump roast, ask for a lump of cow butt.

Kate - You could go up to one of those scarey women on a department store beauty counter and ask whose toilet the toilet water comes from.

One Ear - Ask your local crack dealer for an ounce of "happiness." hmm, thanks for that one, let me think about it...

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

I Like Riding in my Car.

Today I decided to go to work on the bus. The sun was shining and it was a lovely hazy morning, so I thought it would be the ideal day to try out the local bus service. So I set off early just to make sure that I had plenty of time, I wasn't sure of the bus times. Actually I wasn't sure of the numbers or in fact the route!

There is a bus stop a short walk from where we are living, so a couple of minutes later I was standing at the stop. Hmm, it was 8.45am and I was alone at the bus stop, that was the first clue. Children were on their way to the local high school and as one group of teenage girls passed me there were a couple of remarks made behind the safety of their hands to each other, then sniggers as they looked in my direction. Clue number two. After checking that my skirt wasn't tucked into the back of my knickers and that nothing else was 'hanging' out that shouldn't be, I realised that they knew something I didn't!

Fifteen minutes later and I was still at the bus stop, still alone at the bus stop. Then a lady walking her dog approached me.

"Excuse me dear," she said shyly, "but are you waiting for the bus?"

Yes, I did resist the temptation to point to the huge bus stop sign and shelter and utter Duh!!

"Erm yes, but I've been here a while and I'm not sure about how regular they run," I replied politely.

"Oh they are regular dear,"

"Great, how often do they run then?"

"Three times," she replied confidently.

"Three times an hour, oh good that means there must be one due, I must have just missed the last one,"

Her face dropped. "Actually dear it's three times a day, 8.30, 12.30 and 3.30. But they are as regular as clockwork!" With that she obviously noticed the dark look on my face and decided to cut and run.

There I stood hands in the air, "but, but, butting" like a demented lawnmower. This is one of the biggest cities in the country. They are constantly wittering that people should make use of public transport in order to prevent congestion and environmental damage. I have just moved from a small village in Kent, there we had four buses a day. I am absolutely gobsmacked.

As it turns out, if I walk three quarters of a mile up the road there are buses every fifteen minutes into the city. So that's what I did. What the driver didn't tell me, when I asked for a ticket to the nearest stop to the station was that the nearest stop to the station is a mile away. So on my way to work this morning I managed to do a small workout by walking one and three quarter miles.

I got a taxi home, yes call me a wus, but I didn't fancy the idea of another mini hike. Oh ok I'll be honest, it's been gloriously sunny today and I just didn't fancy being trapped on a hot bus with a load of 'sweaty bettys'. For the foreseeable future I shall drive to work, pay the exorbitant parking fees and sit in the jams. I shall however be reclined in a comfy leather seat, singing along to the radio in air conditioned comfort.

Forget the lectures on the environment, I recycle everything I possibly can, I even have a wormary in my kitchen, I use energy saving bulbs, I use water from the washing up etc to water my plants and I collect rain water in a water butt, (this was essential in Kent as they've had less rain than the Kalahari dessert last year). But until buses run regularly without the need for a hike, with air conditioning and dare I mention deodorant dispensers for those who either forgot theirs or can't afford it, I shall continue to rebel and use my car.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


There I was minding my own business sitting in the morning sunshine enjoying a nice cup of tea, when zap, some thug of a wasp decided to attack me. The nasty little blighter went and stung me without any provocation.

I've been stung before and ok it hurt for a while but no real damage. This time however the offender must have been on steroids or something. It took most of yesterday for the swelling to subside and it is still painful this morning. That, I could have taken in my stride had it not been for the constant shivering and palpitations it kept causing throughout the day. Maybe next time I'll just enjoy the sunshine from the kitchen window.

Our Trumpeter this week is Kate. Take a trip over to her place to read her wonderful review of Spielbergs' War of the Worlds.
If you would like to read previous reviews then head on over here.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Life on the Mean Streets - Shooters.

Remember a couple of posts back when I mentioned that I wasn't allowed to let anyone into the lift at work.. in case they had a gun, were a mad rapist or whatever?

WELL... today the gunmen turned up! But it's ok I didn't let them in the lift I kept tight hold of my trusty swipe card, armed and sightly miffable if cornered. In fact it all took place out on the street. No staff involved, just the morally challenged, sorting things out in their own way.

Arguments in reception are a regular occurance, sometimes they even get their handbags out, (punch ups to my friends across the pond). But this is an entirely different league. Oh well another day another crust!!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Estate Agent - A Different Language.

As some of you will know his Lordship and I are again house hunting. This time for our permanent abode. So far we have searched over Dale and down valley for this elusive beast. The beast in question is by nature quite secretive and solitary, occasionally found in small groups. Unlike the city dwelling type, which likes to congregate in large herds and enjoys proximity with it's neighbours.

Now you can call me picky, but I prefer to have a little space to myself, I can't honestly get on with this whole estate living thing. We spent last weekend looking at new build homes, we thought in the interests of fairness that we would give them a go. So armed with brochures, maps, wellies and umbrellas, this is England remember and it was raining, we set off. The brochures have lovely pictures of each of the house styles, plus little maps of the siteplans. They wax lyrical about the 'lifestyle', the quality, the furnishings, etc. What they all forget to mention is that although you may fall in love with one of their houses, you most certainly will not fall in love with the garden, or should I say lack of one. And you had better hope that you love your neighbours, believe me you'll get to know them pretty well. Not one of the houses we saw had any garden to speak of. In all fairness I do have to say that some of the houses we saw were lovely and very spacious. But why the hell build a large family home and then give it fifteen feet of garden?

So fairplay over, we gave it a look and decided it is not for us. Now we are back on the trail. However we are now armed with the Estate Agents dictionary;

Neat gardens - don't turn around with your arms ourstretched, you'll scrape your knuckles on the fence.

Neat enclosed rear garden - it is completely overlooked by the neighbouring houses or the neighbours have planted a nice conifer hedge which is now twenty feet high. Scraped knuckles and absolutely no privacy,

Low maintainance garden - it's a back yard completely concreted.

Deceptively spacious accomodation - deception is the correct term. It's so deceptive it's completely hidden.

Characterful - the present owners have done their own house 'make over', look out for country cottage meets victorian gothic with plenty of personal little touches, ahh!

Cottage retaining period features, but updated with a contemporary twist - they've ripped the heart out of the place painted it white, put in a belfast sink and hey presto... boring.

Far reaching views - of the derelict pub, the chippy, or you have to lean out of the bedroom window and twist round the corner of the neighbouring house so that you can see the old gasworks.

Rarely does a property of this nature come onto the market - that's because it would usually have a sign outside with the word 'condemned' on it.

Security System - They've put an extra bolt on the back door.

Quiet Aspect - it faces the cemetary.

Friendly Neighbours - they're into wifeswapping.

Split level garden sweeping down to the river - the garden is actually falling into the river, but it's ok, in five years time you'll have the same fifteen feet that everyone else has.

Occasional water feature - the garden is subject to flooding when it rains hard.

And my personal favourite:

May require some minor cosmetic work -

The Sunday Trumpet.

Here is this weeks offering a wonderful review of An American Haunting by Tera. A really dire 'scary' film starring Donald Sutherland. Enjoy.

Yes I know that my Sunday Trumpet posts are always on a Monday, but that's because most of the trumpeters are on the other side of the pond, which means that they tend to post after my bedtime!

If you would like to join the Gasbags and write your own review of a film, TV programme, book, etc that really stinks then follow this link.

If you would like to catch up on previous reviews then go here.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Me and Urn!

The Fat Controller has finally been collected. For those of you who have no idea what on earth I'm talking about, read this post. If you want to know who I'm talking about read this post. Now I have to warn those of you with a sensitive nature that this post may not be to your liking, however this is 'life' so get on with it. Yes I am a saint but that doesn't stop me from being a little irreverent, sometimes you have to give life a poke in the eye.

Mrs Beeton, (my mother in law), has not been coping too well since the Fat Controller departed. Not well at all. Understandable in the main as they were together for seventy years. Still it is hard to deal with an eighty five year old juvenile at times. Especially as she is hell bent on carrying on without the slightest acknowledgement that anyone other than herself has recently been bereaved.

Throughout their marriage and particularly in the later years the Fat Controller took charge of the finances, decisions and just about anything that carried any responsibility. Mrs Beeton on the other hand took care of the shopping list and cooking. However shopping was a joint affair as she never left the house without the Fat Controller, never!! She was completely dependent on him, she doesn't drive, she never had to make any decisions other than where to do the shopping or what to wear each day. The full extent of her dependence has only come to light in the aftermath of the Fat Controllers demise.

Caring for Mrs Beeton has, it has to be said, been a strain. She has substituted his Lordship and I for the Fat Controller. She refuses to make any decisions whatsoever, if pressed she simply looks the other way and changes the subject. I am the chauffeur, appointment maker, shopping companion and general dogsbody. His Lordship now commands the finances and official matters, that's because he's a man, and no he and I did not choose these roles, they have been bestowed by Mrs Beeton. Myself and the other family members are not permitted to take care of anything arriving in a brown envelope. We tried, when his Lordship was working away for a week, but she started to hide the mail only to produce it on his return. He has now resigned himself to this duty.

And so I return to my original statement, the Fat Controller has finally been collected. After much digressing. It has been almost three months, three months that he has been sitting on a shelf, I assume, at the funeral directors' waiting patiently for someone to collect him. The hold up has of course been Mrs Beeton, another decision discarded and blanked. Sorry I forgot to point out that it is his ashes that I am talking about, 'he' hasn't been sitting on a shelf for three months... ugh!! So taking matters into my own hands I decided it was time to go and get him.

With no direction from Mrs Beeton I decided the best thing would be to bring him back to our house and take it from there. Just one slight concern however, I wasn't sure how he would be 'packaged'. Ok so I don't have a great deal of experience in these matters. You see when the subject was raised whilst arranging the funeral, Mrs Beeton went into hysterics at the mention of ashes, urns etc, so the subject was put on hold... indefinitely. So it was with some trepidation that I arranged to have him dropped off at the Captain's house. Whilst waiting for him to arrive, my sister, the Captain and I were discussing the 'packaging' options. Wooden box! Plastic bag! I didn't fancy the idea of a plastic bag, but the Captain helpfully suggested tuppaware if that were the case. However on reflection we all agreed that it might not be the best solution. What with moves afoot soon and all the packing/unpacking confusion I may loose track of him, which could result in him being served up in a cake if he ends up in the wrong cupboard!

Our meanderings of the mind were cut short when the door bell rang. Standing on the doorstep 'hugging' the Fat Controller was the funeral director, he wouldn't have minded as the funeral director is actually a very nice young woman, and I was immediately relieved to note that he was not in a jiffy bag, or shrink wrapped. He was in a sturdy green plastic tub contained in a very nice purple velvet bag. Phew. The nice young funeral director carefully held onto him as she explained the options we had for what to do with him next.

"You could store him until Mrs Beeton is ready to join him,"
Hmm, a matching pair for the mantelpiece, I like symmetry.

"You can scatter him somewhere he liked, but you must get permission from the land owner first," I'm not sure that Morrisons supermarket would be too taken with us scattering him up the b.o.g.o.f.f. aisle.

"You can have him interred in a family burial plot, you'll need permission again and a certificate from the crematorium."
I discovered that's to prevent someone from burying naughty substances etc for later use. I don't think anyone would get very high snorting the Fat Controller though. Having once had a faceful of my friends late husband, it was a windy day but that's another story, it didn't do anything for me.

"You can of course bury him in your own garden, but if you move and someone else is living there it could be a bit disconcerting if they discover him in among the roses."
I'll say.

"One suggestion that a lot of people seem to like to do is to bury them in a large plant pot. Then you can take them with you wherever you go. Put a nice plant on top."
That sounds great, shove him in a nice big ornamental urn and plant him up with some nice crysanthes, or herbs, actually maybe not the herbs. When the time comes we could have a matching pair, one either side of the door!

Until that time however, as Mrs Beeton is not ready to make any decision on his future and she is definitely not ready to join him just yet, I will have to find an alternative to the above. So far he has made a wonderful hat stand, been used as added weight when gluing a drawer front back onto the drawer, weighted down the bin lid to stop the dogs rummaging and he makes a damn fine door stop to boot.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Life on the Mean Streets. + Addendum

I started my new job today. It was fun. I arrived at the allotted time and was sent up to the office of my new line manager. She's very nice and so we had a little chat by way of introduction and induction rolled into one. I have to say that it was the shortest induction I've ever had, they certainly expect you to hit the ground running. Everything was going well until she started to talk about security...

"I'll get you issued with a swipe card so that you can access the lift and the gate at the bottom of the stairs," she said, "you'll get your photo id by the end of the week."

"Ok" I nodded.

"Now there are a couple of little things for you to remember. If someone should try to get into the lift with you, make sure they are wearing a photo id. If not politely explain that you can't let them in as you don't know them."

I nodded.

"It's very important that you don't allow anyone unauthorised anywhere in the building other than the reception area. That's their area. I mean you don't want to find yourself in the lift with a rapist or someone pulling a gun on you."

"WHAT"? The colour was quickly draining from my face as I stammered, "nobody mentioned guns, no I'd remember if they had mentioned guns, and rapists, I mean I think I would have made a mental note of rapist," I was beginning to ramble.

"Well dear, you are working with... shall I say the 'underclass' of society, these people don't think twice about carrying guns and knives, and they don't think twice about using them."

"Yes, yes I know, but why on earth don't you employ security guards, what's wrong with a couple of meaty blokes on the door checking that no one is carrying anything they shouldn't? It sounds perfectly reasonable to me." I was definitely rambling.

"Oh no, no dear," she replied shaking her head, "we need to make them feel 'safe', they need to know that they are welcomed here." She said earnestly. For heaven's sake, she actually meant it!

"Right," I mumbled. "I understand, I'll smile respectfully and make them feel welcome."

"That's the ticket dear, I'm glad you understand." She beamed

Too flaming right I understand, these people can terrorise society, live outside the normal constraints and morals, but still we have to respect their right to be treated in the same way that any 'regular' member of society would want to be treated. Never mind that they don't understand or wish to comply with the usual 'rules'. But of course I do have to remember that I should be safe in the knowledge that I am armed in the face of guns, knives, and other offensive weapons, not to mention rapists and child molesters... I am of course armed with my trusty swipe card. No need for my black belt in judo then, phew!!

23rd May - Addendum

Today I had to complete my emergency contact details.

Ques 4. Is there anything else that you wish to be taken into account should you become ill, have an accident or be taken hostage whilst at work?

Yes... I would like a change of underwear a.s.a.p. should I be taken hostage!!!!

I bet you want to know what the heck my new job is now don't you. Sorry I'm honestly not allowed to tell. Nor will I be talking about specifics of events / clients. However, work colleagues might be another matter ;o)

Sophia's Trumpeting about Madonna!

It's the turn of our friend Sophia to blow her trumpet this week. Check out her wonderful review of Madonna's latest album. I have to be honest I'm not a huge fan, of Madonna that is, I am a huge fan of Sophia. Her analysis of the lyrics is so funny.

Why don't you blow your trumpet about some dismal book, film, music, TV that has really 'missed' the spot. If you fancy becoming a Gasbag then sign up here, we'd love to hear from you.

For previous reviews check them out here.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

House Hunting.

We are going house hunting today. I've packed the old shotgun and binoculars. I'll let you know if we manage to bag any.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Thank You Kim.

The day before yesterday I merrily clicked my little icon for my blog. I sat and waited as it loaded. Only it didn't. I was looking at a blank white screen. Ok I thought, it's just a gliche. No such luck. After several attempts to load it I checked my stat meter, no one was visiting. Horror hit me. I hadn't a clue what to do.

Then I checked my emails. And there it was, a miracle, I am allowed to talk in terms of miracles, I'm a Saint, this particular miracle came in the guise of Kim Ayres. He'd noticed that I was missing and emailed me to see what the problem was. He even had an answer to my problem. It worked.

So I owe a huge thank you to my friend Kim for being so patient and helping me out. I really could not have sorted this problem out by my self. I am a novice when it comes to such things.

Please bear with me as I am still tweeking and all my former links will be re-instated as soon as possible. Thank you to those of you who took the time to email, me I appreciate your concern.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

New Blogs.

I just thought I would give the heads up to some new blogs I am reading and thought you might like to investigate yourselves. The first is another Yorkshire blogger called 'The Birdman'. The other two are 'newbies', they are The Pure Collector, and Widescreenboy. So if you have a bit of spare time why not drop by, have a read and say hello.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Mother & Child - Addendum.

Let Me Keep My Baby: Pregnant 12-Year-Old

A young girl of 12 is about to have a baby. Social Services are concerned and have explained that she may not be able to leave hospital with the baby. It would appear from the report that this is not because they are concerned over her ability, but it is because she shares a house with her mother and five brothers and sisters and they feel it is too small. Alongside of this the house does not meet their requirements decoratively. Yes, apparently it needs re-decorating.

Now maybe I am missing something and of course we only have this particular journalists slant on this story, but there are a couple of issues that concern me here.

There is already a single mother with six children living in this house. One of which is about to become Britains youngest mother. I would be more concerned about the parenting abilities in this home rather than the decor. By that I mean my concern lies with a mother who is raising six children on her own, clearly it's a struggle, but obviously not so much that she is willing to turn her back on her daughter and grandchild. Given that this young mother so desperately wants to keep her baby, yes I appreciate that she is barely past the playing with dolls stage, and her mother is willing to take it on as well, then why aren't social services providing support to this family. Instead of worrying about the size of the house and the decor, what about finding a suitable alternative or trying to remedy the immediate situation. What about parenting skills training and support in this area.

I am sure that there will be others out there with a different view, but I just feel that in this day and age it is wrong to take a baby from a home where although not perfect by any means has people who want to take care of it and love it.

"The news that the youngster is to become the UK's youngest mum sparked outrage yesterday from the Catholic Church."

Who the hell keeps asking the 'Catholic Church' to comment on everything. Shut up, grow up and start acting like you belong in the 21st Century rather than wittering on and condemning everything in your path. Try using some of that compassion you're always spouting we should have, by we read mere mortals, and maybe even a bit of that cash mountain you have stashed to help them out. Outrage does not solve this problem. Access to birth control and better understanding of social issues within certain communities does.

Yes I am advocating giving access to birth control to underage young people, this of course already happens, but they have to know how to access it. No I am not advocating in any way shape or form that underage sex is a good idea or ok, however I have been on this planet long enough to understand that there are no simple remedies to this situation. This is not just a problem of the twentieth or twenty first centuries, it is as perenial as the seasons. Better sex education has had no effect, withdrawing sex education to the younger age range only compounded the situation. Perhaps 'moral' education is the way to go, I honestly don't know and my concern with 'moral' education is precisely whose morals will be the standard and how far would it go. I don't have all of the answers to this one, no-one person does, but it is such a difficult subject to raise and discuss rationally without emotions and morals clouding the issue.

Sorry my sincere apologies to any mere mortals of the Catholic persuasion, my argument is not with you, I just feel the fat men in dresses living in their Italian ivory tower are wasting everyone's oxygen and my time.

The old halo has definitely taken a fall this time.


Addendum: Wednesday 17th May

There are a couple of other points however that I should now make and avail you with the reported 'facts'.
1. The girl's mother is a heroin addict.
2. The girl has cut down her smoking from 30 roll ups a day to 20. She started at age nine.
3. She got pregnant as as the result of a one night stand whilst drunk. She said 'it was my first time, I didn't know you could get pregnant the first time'. Famous last words, how many times have we heard this.

4. The 'father' aged fifteen years, is reportedly being charged with statutory rape. The law has changed here. Men can be charged for rape if a woman is considered too drunk to know what she is doing, even if she says yes to sex!!
5. The family live in a very small council flat.

What is your view now?

Friday, May 12, 2006

Thank You Gentlemen.


Those nice gentlemen from Drains Aid, they contract for Yorkshire Water, were here before we were even out of bed this morning, and bless them they were trying to tip toe around so that they wouldn't wake us. They were brilliant and everything was sorted by early afternoon. Smelling all wonderful and Pine fresh and they didn't just put the garden back as it was, it's even better.

So my heartfelt thanks to you gentlemen, you really have done a great job, not just in restoring my drains to working order, or my garden back to a beautiful oasis, but much more than that you carried out your work with a great deal of empathy, curtesy and above all determined efficiency. Not something you get very often these days. No tea breaks, although the large glasses of juice were gratefully accepted and drunk whilst working. So you have also restored my faith in British workman.

I'm sorry gang for harping on, but all too often we tend to give 'feedback' on the negatives and have a rant about things that don't work, or people who have given us bad service. But how often do we applaud a job well done or even worse forget to say thank you?
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