Friday, April 28, 2006
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Well I went for my 'meeting' with the nice young woman from the agency. I was interviewed, tested and assessed to within an inch of my life. The only thing they don't have on file is my cup size. I'm pleased to report back that 'professionally' I am in tip top condition. So all of the nitty gritty out of the way she explained what the job entailed. It was everything I was looking for in terms of hours, pay, holidays and what's more it transpires that it will be a very interesting position. The catch in her view is the 'client base', it's working with ex-cons and some who are still being a bit naughty. In my view it sounds just up my street, I am after all the patron saint of lost causes, what more could they want?
I have an interview with the company tommorow morning. So wish me luck.
Ad posse ad esse!
Monday, April 24, 2006
I have been a very busy bunny over the last few days. Yes I know... me! Wait for it, I have decided to join the 'working classes', I am getting a job. After a moment of madness on Friday I decided to dip my toe back in the water and see what bites. I didn't think there would be much on offer, after all lets be honest I'm not exactly young free and single, but I thought they may be able to find me an opening as a tea lady perhaps.
So I dug out my CV and after dusting off the cobwebs from this venerable tome, I did a little re-jigging and zapped it through the ether to a couple of agencies. Then off to the shops with JT for a little light relief. I have to say I didn't hold out much hope, I had been rather specific on what I was and was not prepared to do. Part time only, no full days, I do have other interests, nothing dull or boring, oh and it must be well paid. So imagine my surprise when on my return home there were two messages on my answer machine.
The first was from a very nice young woman from the 'slaves R us' agency, she was as you would expect very, very, bright and enthusiastic, so much so that I have to be honest and say that after five minutes on the phone with her I was exhausted. Anyway I agreed to go in and see her and have a chat. One of us will definetly need some chill out sweeties before we meet, anyway that's later in the week. Before I dared call the next one back I thought I had better prepare myself, so I made myself a very large Earl Grey and headed for the phone.
The young woman who answered was again enthusiastic, but not quite so animated as the previous character, thankfully, at least she didn't talk eighty words to the minute and I could get a word in edgeways. After confirming the details of my CV, a little tricky as I didn't actually have a copy of the aforementioned fiction in front of me, she announced with great satisfaction that she had a position that would be ideal. WHAT! It is part time? Tick. Interesting? Tick. Well paid? Tick. And what's more there is 28 days holiday a year, plus stats. So what's the catch? I'm meeting up with her at 3pm this afternoon, so I'll let you know when I find out.
If you would like to join the Gasbaggers then follow this link.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
There has over the last week or so been a number of references to anonymity amongst the blogging fraternity on a variety of blogs that I have visited. It started me thinking of why, exactly, did I take that route. It's taken some mulling, let me tell you!
My own reasons for taking the path of concealment were simple, to begin with. I was unsure if I would be able to make a blog work, and rather than unveil myself to the world as a potential failure, I decided to create my quasi-character. Nothing earth shattering there, I am simply being honest, I would rather fall on my backside in privacy, thank you, than in public. I assume most of you are the same?
Another reason for choosing anonymity was to allow me to have an 'uncluttered' arena for my writing. That is to say, I could if I wish write on any subject I like without the constraints of having to consider the opinions or reactions of people who know me. Yes I know the Captain and my sister JT do read this blog, but they know me well enough by now, I hope, to have a good idea of where I stand on most things. But that last point also leads onto another reason. I also chose to maintain anonymity for my family. Quite simply they did not sign up for this blog as I did, they are here by association and as such have a right to remain anonymous. It is for that reason that I would never use their real names or include their photographs.
However as time has gone on and my experience of this 'blogging' community has grown, I have begun to establish new reasons for remaining anonymous. I have, before I go any further, to point out that on whole I have 'met' a lot of people whose' company I have enjoyed and still enjoy, and although I have only known them for a short time, I consider them friends. Still, it is never as it seems this 'other' world. I cannot dictate who has access to my blog, so far I have chosen to allow free comments to anyone who cares to drop by. Yet this is still strange and somewhat unnerving at times. My 'door' is always open and I am always here to listen to what you have to say, whether I would actually like to hear it or not. Not so in the real world, but here in lies the paradox;
Why then can I still be hurt, offended or 'intimidated' by comments in a box, or in another persons blog? They are not physical, the person doing this has no contact with me other than their imagined context. I am merely an aging photograph attached to a screen name. No, I am a person behind the mask of anonymity, who despite all of her misgivings, albeit in a lighter vein, under the guise of superficialdom and fluff, shares her life, thoughts and perhaps one day her dreams. I have discovered that I am no less exposed than those of you who choose to share your true identities.
Monday, April 17, 2006
If you would like to join the Gasbag Roundtable, then follow this link. The more the merrier. If you would like to catch up with the previous posts then follow the links below.
Admiral Pooper Scooper -
Rhonda - Artificial Intelligence
OneEar - What To Expect Misses Expectations
St Jude - Tall Poppies
Sunday, April 16, 2006
Thursday, April 13, 2006
There's lots of it, but on the whole they are harmless. Oh yes you could get a nasty tickle from a jimmy spinner, Crane fly,
Or bumped on the bonce by an out of control bumble bee. I love to watch people flapping about when one of these things approaches.
You may even manage to raise a nasty stare from a squirrel...
But on the whole, the natives are really quite sedate in their day to day lives.
Then that last statement got me thinking again... twice in one day. Because you see that cute little chap above, the squirrel, not poopie, is not actually a native, he arrived in the mid 19th Century. This is our native squirrel;
Unfortunately this little chap is now under serious threat of extinction, for two main reasons, it's habitat is under threat from us and the grey squirrel, giving the evils above, although not aggressive to the red squirrel, is better at competing for food, it has a wider diet and can eat seeds and nuts before they are fully ripe, unlike the red squirrel.
When I moved South to Kent a decade ago, our garden was home to hundreds of common frogs.
During late March they would descend on our pond and we would hear the deafening cacophony of the frogs chorus throughout the evenings, heralding the onset of spring. A few days later the pond would be a seething mass of frogspawn. I had no need for slug control, the frogs were my slug soldiers, my plants flourished. Then four years ago the chorus began to wane, as did the frogspawn. The following year a mere handful of frogs arrived. My little soldiers were losing their battle. Not against the slugs, who were happily munching their way through my now unprotected plants, but against a terrible virus that was imported with fish intended for garden ponds from Israel and the States. My little friends had no immunity to this terrible virus. The following year only two frogs arrived. This year there were none. They are now being replaced by another import, the bull frog, courtesy of another garden centre craze that went wrong, when so many of them escaped or were released when children got bored with them.
So here we go, I'm on for a hat trick of thoughts. Talking of natives and endangered species, when, if ever does an imported species become native? Is the Bull frog, now a native of this island, in terms of, it has settled in and is happily living here and breeding here? Is the Grey squirrel a native, by virtue of the fact that it now populates every corner of the island and has been in habitation here for almost two centuries. Or is the absolute winner in this contest the Roman snail.
It was introduced here by the Romans, so it's had plenty of time to settle in then, and it now has the double whammy of being on the list of species that is in danger of becoming extinct here, so we accept it's right to be here enough to want to protect it from disappearing from our shores. And why are these little 'suckers' so endangered... escargot, yummy garlic flavoured snot in a shell!!
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
The packing fairies have been visiting this weekend. It's been great catching up with them. As we are suffering from a bad dose of April showers at the moment, we decided to take a trip to Tropical World, just down the road from us. Indoors, warm and most importantly dry. The day before, on their journey up from Kent, the packing fairies had decided to call Mrs Beeton and ask her if she would like to accompany us. She had said yes.
Shortly before we were due to set off, the telephone rang;
"Hello." I answered, as you would.
"Oh hello, it's only me, (Mrs Beeton), I was just thinking, would you prefer to go to the garden centre instead, they have animals there you know."
Now I should point out at this stage that Mrs Beeton is not the best explorer, she tends to prefer familiar ground, which for her is the local supermarket or the garden centre, and she likes to get her own way.
"I'm not sure that Bizziebot, (grandchild #1), would fully appreciate the garden centre, she is sort of looking forward to seeing the insects etc at Tropical World." I replied.
"Hmm, well you don't really need me there do you I'll be alright here on my own."
"It's not a case of 'needing' you there so much as they would like you to be there." I was trying to stay polite. Mrs Beeton has a way of making steam appear from places you didn't know existed.
"Well this weather is so awful, it doesn't seem fair to take the little ones out in it. You could come round here if you like. If it were me I wouldn't take them out in this rain but then I suppose times change, don't they."
Yes they bloody well do, we don't use Shanksies pony anymore, we have cars. No we are not going to the garden centre, or to your house, we are going to Tropical World, with or without you.
"Yes I suppose they have. You don't have to worry about the children, they are well wrapped up and we will be in the car and then inside when we get there. So shall we pick you up, they will be disappointed if you don't come?" I said, calmly.
In her best 'feeble' voice she answered yes. What was I thinking, I should have known better.
So having packed everything bar the kitchen sink for our expedition we set off in convoy. As we approached Tropical World the clouds darkened and the heavens opened in a torrential downpour. But as it was only a short dash to the entrance we decided to brave the elements. The packing fairies were already prepared, they were out of the car, Benjamin Bunny, (grandchild #2), safely tucked inside his Dad's coat and they had cleared the barrier before his Lordship and Bizziebot had made it halfway across the car park. That only left Mrs Beeton and me... great. Ok so she is 84yrs old, but I have to say a very spritely 84yr old, believe me if you've ever seen her muscling her way into the mark downs at the supermarket, you wouldn't mess with her. But today she was not going to play, so, it took us almost ten minutes to cross the now flooded car park. Feet soaking, hair drenched and dripping we entered the ticket office.
We started our tour of with the insects, Madagascan hissing cockroaches, locusts, millipedes, spiders, all good stuff, Bizziebot was suitably grossed out, as was Mrs Beeton. (No I wasn't gloating, I was too busy trying to de-mist my glasses.) Then we entered the butterfly room and as we stepped inside the heat hit us. Steam began to rise from my sodden clothes, and a mist descended all around us. I took my coat off and slid it under my arm, ah relief. The butterflies were flying everywhere, so many different sorts it was an amazing spectacle. As we meandered through the paths they would flutter past and occasionally land nearby allowing closer inspection. But there's always one.
As I neared the exit a rather larger than average butterfly was for some reason completely mesmerised by my nose, the damn thing kept trying to land on it. Ok so it might look like something from the last iceage, my nose, not the butterfly. I am I have to say not normally taken to panic with insects, however when something the size of crow decides to land on your noggin, it is a natural reaction to try and deter it. I thought a gentle nudge with my hand would do the trick. Unfortunately the combined force of it's determination to land and mine to bat it away resulted in a very dazed and confused butterfly flapping about on the floor. Ah... well I could hardly leave it flapping about where someone might stand on it, so I opted for plan b. There was a hand rail next to the path, so I scooped the aforementioned flapper up and placed it gently on the the lower rail. Safe. As I began to step away I suddenly noticed that beneath the path there was a pond, a pond full of the most enormous carp I have ever seen in my life. Before I could retrieve the now recovering flapper from the rail, it managed to wriggle to the edge and gracefully float down into the wide open mouth of one of the waiting enormous carp. Gulp!
I looked around quickly to see if anyone else had witnessed what had just occurred. A small boy stood a couple of feet away staring open mouthed, remarkably similar to the carp in fact. I gave him a smile and lifted my finger to my lips tipping him a wink. He returned my smile, then at the top of his voice yelled, "Mummy, that lady... Before he had time to finish I had dashed for the exit and was mingling furiously with the crowd in the nocturnal habitat. I managed to catch up with the packing fairies and his Lordship in the desert room. As we stood watching the meerkats it suddenly dawned on us that one of our party was missing. We had lost Mrs Beeton somewhere in the jungle.
"Well you had her last, where did you leave her?" his Lordship asked accusingly.
"She's not the flipping telly remote you know." I rounded, "if we all split up and take a section each we'll track her down. We'll meet back here in fifteen minutes."
I decided to backtrack through the nocturnal habitat. It was dark, obviously, with only the thin red gleam of the low level lighting. I scanned the bodies huddled in front of the exhibits, all too tall, or too young, then out of my eye corner I spotted the cotton tufts of white hair glinting from beneath the hat. I headed over and took her arm.
"Where have you been? We've been worried sick about you." I demanded. The arm pulled away only to be replaced by another much stronger arm on my shoulder.
"Ere, what the ell are you doin. Get yer ands off me Gran." Came the gruff reply.
Same height, same hat, same hair. Wrong old lady. Apologies spluttered, I headed back into the Butterfly room, past the scene of my earlier 'incident', through the insect room and back out into the ticket office. There sitting by the ticket desk, cup of tea in hand was Mrs Beeton along with another lady. It appeared that she had just sat down for a moment whilst we were looking at the butterflies and got talking to the other old lady now sitting next to her. When she had got up to follow we had gone. After yet more apologies to the nice young man on the ticket desk, who told me that this sort of thing happens all the time, but we really should keep a closer eye on them, Mrs Beeton and I headed back to where the rest were waiting for us.
From then on Bizziebot took it upon herself to look after Mrs Beeton, hand held tight they 'oohed', squirmed and giggled their way to the end. I on the other hand kept my hands firmly in my pockets and stuck to the middle of the path head bowed. Just another day in the Yorkshire Tropics!!
Sunday, April 09, 2006
It's that time of week again when we are entertained by another gassy review. This time it is Meg's turn, so get on over there and check out her review of 'The Truth about Diamonds' by Nicole Richie.
If you would like to join the Gasbag Roundtable, then follow this link. The more the merrier. If you would like to catch up with the previous posts then follow the links below.
Admiral Pooper Scooper - Roll Me Over Royce In My Rolls Royce
Rhonda - Artificial Intelligence
OneEar - What To Expect Misses Expectations
St Jude - Tall Poppies
Thursday, April 06, 2006
It all started yesterday. Well actually a week ago today. If you have a minute.
As I have moved house I needed to sign on with a new GP, so I looked up the local GPs on the internet and found the one in my area. I telephoned them;
"Good morning, Just Down the Road Medical Centre!" The dragon receptionist answered.
"Good morning, I've just moved to the area and I would like to register with the Doctor please." I replied.
"If you would like to drop in and complete a registration form, we'll pass it to Doctor and see if they will take you on."
"WHAT, what do you mean if they will take me on?"
"Well under the new legislation they are under no obligation to take patients just because they are local, so if you would like to complete your registration form and drop it in we'll see if they are willing to take you." A hint of smugness had crept into the dragon's voice.
So I toddled off to the Just Down the Road Medical Centre and requested my form. After filling out the hundred and one questions re; my medical history, I approached the final leg, two more questions and then I was done. Do you smoke? Urm, ah, well, sort of, maybe, were not options, it was either yes or no and if yes how many? Busted. So in the spirit of honesty I completed the question. Yes.
I crept back to the dragon at reception and slid my form under the glass screen. Reading through it briefly to check that I hadn't omitted anything she came to the last but one question. Peering at me over the rim of her glasses she sucked in her breath and with a slight shake of her head she placed the form into the Doctor's tray.
"If you call tomorrow we'll let you know the 'verdict'." The old smug tone had reappeared.
Head down I slinked out of the now packed waiting room.
The following day I telephoned, a new dragon answered, younger more chirpy.
"Good morning, Just Down the Road Medical Centre."
"Good morning, I completed a registration form yesterday, can you tell me if if has been accepted?" I replied.
"Hmm," piped music, I was on hold, "No."
"But, but why?"
"No, Doctor hasn't had chance to look at it yet. Doctor is a very busy person you know. (No I didn't know, I assumed Doctor was sitting on their hands all day.) Call back on Monday."
"I hate to be a nuisance, but I need a repeat prescription, pretty urgently. I run out of my meds next week." I persisted.
"Call back Monday, we'll see what we can do." The phone went dead.
So the following Monday I called again. Doctor still hadn't seen my form. I was advised to call again on Tuesday. I called at lunchtime, they were closed for staff training for the rest of the day. Oh joy. So as time was fast running out now, I called first thing yesterday morning. I enquired as to whether my form had been seen. This time it was dippy dragon who answered:
"Good morning, Jus.."
"Yes, yes, I know who you are, I just called you, remember," Calm down St Jude, possibly not the best approach.
"Yes madam?" she enquired.
"I am enquiring... (you know how it goes now, after three, all together now)." More piped music.
"I'm sorry but we don't have any forms for a person by that name." dippy dragon replied at length.
"You must have I completed it last Thursday,"
"Oh. Are you sure you remembered to bring it back in?"
"I completed it there and handed it straight back in," The now frustrated 'three year old' replied.
Dippy dragon placed me on hold again, only to be replaced by the original 'horn rimmed' dragon. Who informed me that I should come in and complete another form, which would be handed to Doctor... hold on a minute! So once again I explained my predicament. Alright, she relinquished, as they had misplaced my original form they would 'fastrack' me. So once more I toddled off to the Just Down the Road Medical Centre, and completed another form. On handing it back I again reaffirmed my need to see the Doctor asap. They could fit me in with the nurse an hour later and I could be 'squeezed' in to see Doctor after that. Result.
So off I toddled home again. Then back again to the JDtRMC. The nurse called me in, a friendly lady, all bustle and ruddy cheeks, I felt safe with her, she had obviously been doing this from the year dot. She briskly checked my form, and double checked what meds I was on and why. Then she checked my blood pressure. It was high, very high.
"What did you say your medication was for again?" Nurse Bustle asked.
"High blood pressure," I squirmed. "It's normally alright, I haven't had any problems before." I asserted.
"When was it last checked?"
"Urm, six months ago."
I was ushered back into the waiting room and told to sit 'calmly' amidst the snotty children and the wailing babies waiting for the baby clinic. Think happy thoughts St Jude, beautiful meadows, waves crashing on a shingle beach. Half hour up I was back with Nurse Bustle. Still high. Staring at my form she traced her finger down the answers to the questions. It stopped abruptly at the last but one.
"You've answered yes,"
I nodded. The three year old was back.
"Doctor doesn't want any more smokers." she said slowly.
There was no need to check my blood pressure anymore, I could feel the steam rising myself. I skulked out of Nurse Bustle's room and headed towards the waiting room once more, just in time to hear my name being called for my appointment with the Doctor. Despondently I walked into her room.
"Good morning. Nurse Bustle tells me your blood pressure is up. We need to keep an eye on that. I'm glad to hear you've decided to quit smoking, you know it makes sense. Nurse Bustle tells me you are going to be attending her 'smokers' clinic." The Doctor said cheerily.
I nodded meekly. So that is how 'I' decided to quit smoking.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Also very worthy of a look see, (I am doing my saintly duty here), have a look at this too.
Monday, April 03, 2006
- Close up shots of footballers clearing their nasal passages or re-arranging their 'tackle'.
- Garlic breath.
- Intimate details of your sex life. I have my own thanks, (unless it's a funny story).
- Used hankies, especially when it's to clean your glasses.
- Other people's farts.
- Your car, with your teenage children. It will always be returned promptly when the tank needs filling, and have little mementoes of all the fast food chains they've visited.
- Off hand remarks, they may be off hand but they are never off the record. They are guaranteed to come back to haunt you.
- Pubic hair, especially when found in the bath in a hotel.
- Your opinion on someone else's fashion sense. The person you're talking to is going to be either their mother, sister or best friend. There is never a big hole when you need one.
- False teeth.
Any other submissions for the list?
Sunday, April 02, 2006
Ok so I am only a week late. But here is my offering for the Sporadic Gasbag Roundtable as requested.
For my little critique I have chosen Tall Poppies by Louise Bagshaw. Yes for my sins I have actually read this precocious excuse for a book. I should have known better and run for the hills when I read the blurb on the cover;
'They call it the tall poppy syndrome. If you are too successful, you must be cut down to size.
Nina and Elizabeth are tall poppies. One a poor Jewish girl from Brooklyn who becomes a top-flight business woman, the other an English public schoolgirl who not only succeeds at business but also establishes herself as an Olympic skier. (What!)
As both women make their mark, there are enemies hell-bent on destroying their careers.'
So there you have it... the bod in the marketing department can probably write better fiction than Ms Bagshawe in their sleep. Even before I enter the realms of the 'storyline' you have two clues as to why this book is such a load of codswallop.
a) I have never met an English public schoolgirl who had any ability to redeem themselves academically.
b) An English Olympic skier. Oh for heavens sake behave yourself woman. What on earth possessed her to chose that, why not crown green bowls, or curling.
The characters are introduced within the first few paragraphs, personally I don't know why she bothered, they are the usual gross caricatures of their 'type'. Nina Roth the feisty, (her words not mine), Brooklyn girl whose parents marriage has broken down, drunk mother, disinterested father who slobs around in his vest all day, who rely on their daughter to keep the family business from going under. Elizabeth, Lady Caerhaven, whose mother died when she was little, and whose father is a bully named Tony Savage, the thirtieth Earl of Caerhaven. Ok so which titled aristocrat is going to christen any of their little offspring, let alone the heir, Tony. Good old Tony is a tycoon, who owns masses of land has a mouse for a second wife, and thinks that women should be seen and not heard. No stereotype there then.
So having established that the characters are based on the sort of fictional scribblings you would have produced in your playtime at primary school, we'll move onto what is laughingly called the plot. The story starts when both girls are seventeen years old, Nina gets herself pregnant by the rich boy from the other side of the tracks, he doesn't want to know, (why am I not even interested, let alone surprised). Lady Elizabeth, (as her friends like to call her), is such a little rebel, she actually refuses to attend her own 'coming out' party... shock, horror, she is packed off to finishing school in Switzerland. Nina climbs the corporate ladder with her feisty determination and incredible ability to learn everything there is to know about everything in ten seconds flat. (By the way the baby is conveniently 'lost', early on, just in case we weren't being sympathetic to one of our heroines.) She ends up working for, guess who? Good old Tony. Actually in more ways than one. Meanwhile back at finishing school, Lady Elizabeth attends a talk by a very old, very famous ex Olympic skier and hey presto, she becomes an Olympic skier in line for Gold. Eventually good old Tony p****s them both off so much by taking everything away from them, they decide to get their own back, become best friends and ruin him.
Hold on, lets just back track a moment, did I say British Olympic Gold medalist in Skiing... yes I did. Ms Bagshawe, YOU CAN WRITE FICTION. Ah but this is not the best bit, my favourite part of this whole gigglefest is the location of the British Olympic skiers training camp. Tunbridge Wells in Kent, where of course the mountains are filled with snow all year round. Which planet is our dear Ms Bagshawe from? Having lived a short hop, skip and a pirouette, from T-Wells for the last ten years I have to inform you that she could not have chosen a more ridiculous place. It is in the main inhabited by the retired, blue rinse brigade. The only slopes are those from the pavement to the road for the wheelchair users. Of course none of this matters in the least as poor old Lady Elizabeth never wins her dream gold, in the final run she has an horrific accident putting an end to her skiing ambitions, and thankfully putting us out of our misery too. This book has more formulas than a maths text book.
A note on the author taken from the book: Elizabeth - with her natural beauty and long blonde hair - bears a marked resemblance to Louise Bagshawe herself. 'It is not just our looks,' Louise confesses. 'In fact I went to school with many girls like Elizabeth and grew up with them. (I rest my case for point a) above.)
It should have been Oneear's reveiw this Sunday, but he decided he couldn't wait and so posted his review last Tuesday. I thank him, for taking the heat off me. However you can catch the re-run here .