Can’t blog for blogging

March 18, 2009

I’ve been rather neglectful of my blog lately, I’m sorry about that and I’ll try to do better. I think that micro-blogging on Twitter and Facebook is getting in the way of “proper” blogging. I may have to resort to turning this blog into a log of all my other online activity!

However, before that happens, I’m posting this here meme that I invented 2 minutes ago 🙂 What, you ask, is the unique angle that this meme exploits and explores? Quite simply, I list 10 thing that are irking me or delighting me this week and you have to work which is which.

The “you work out which of these 10 things are irking or delighting me this week” meme.

1 My weight loss plan making a u-turn, see here

2 That I’ve been catching up on missed Desperate Housewives and have started to enjoy it again.

3 The stupid TUPE that didn’t happen on the 1st of Feb, was again delayed on 1st March and still hasn’t happened. WHO do I work for today?

4 Not being able to see “private” blog updates in my RSS feeds, you know who you are and you’re causing me extra mouse clicks 😉

5 My forthcoming 5 days all-inclusive in Torremolinos.

6 That there was no episode of Heroes this week and I’m going away so will have to catch up after everyone else.

7 That the weather is finally picking up, I went for a nice walk by the river at lunchtime today.

8 My Paul getting with it, joining Twitter and putting it on his iGoogle.

9 The idiots kids that are roaming the estate EVERY evening knocking the coping stones off of everyone’s walls.

10 That I didn’t really think this through and cant think of a 10th thing to list. Oh, scratch that and add something about how annoyingly addictive I’m finding FB Bejewelled Blitz.


Back to the future

March 1, 2009

It’s Sunday afternoon and I’m still fuming about something that happened more than 36 hours ago. Allow me to vent, if you will. On Friday night we had a “farewell” celebration, it’s complicated because around a third of the office are being made redundant. The remaining two thirds are being TUPE’d to another employer but doing the same job. I’m one of the “lucky” ones being TUPE’d.

The evening was great, we had a 70’s/80’s theme and everyone made the effort to dress up. Paul and myself were in matching outfits as we were meant to be members of a moderately successful 80’s boyband “Summer of Sunshine”. Will I post a picture here? Our silver jeans deserve a mention I suppose, ok here you go.

80sBoyband 003

We had the whole back-story going, how we’d shortened our name to Sunshine when the other 2 members split in ’86. How we’d been most recently going down a storm playing the clubs in Benidorm. How we’re hoping to appear on the next series of “Re-born in the USA” but can’t say too much about that. It was a lot of fun, during random songs I’d be like “OMG I love this one, do you remember, we covered this one on our third album!”

So anywho, back to this story. We had the “150 people allowed” room in the Pub to ourselves and you needed a ticket to get in. However, towards the end of the night a few colleagues turned up with friends in tow and they were allowed entry. One of said colleagues, a black guy of African descent, had brought along a blonde haired, blue eyed type that struck up conversation with me. Although a little worse for the numerous sex-on-the-beach cocktails, (what else would an ageing boyband member drink?), I started to feel uneasy about the conversation.

He is talking and seems a nice enough guy, I agree with him on several points about music and other random nonsense. Perhaps sensing my approval on these minor points he presses on to more important issues, immigrants, blacks and other things I cant even repeat here. First off, I’m asking myself if I’m hearing him right, next I’m convinced that I’m in a scene from This is England! I’ feel like I’m in the middle of a B N P training video 😦

Now, bearing in mind I’m stood with this guy on one side and on the other side of me is Paul and 2 very good friends and colleagues who happen to be Indian nationals, I’m getting annoyed. Really very annoyed. Not wanting any trouble I made some vague noises and go to chat to someone else that “I just have to talk to!”

Shortly afterwards I pay a visit to the toilets and find the the same white guy pacing up and down talking animatedly into his mobile phone, “get down here it’s gonna kick off” and other scarey words. He’s accompanied by a couple of mates, including the colleague I mentioned, strange that a black guy is hanging with them but who knows whats going on there.

I left the gents as quick as I could and went straight to my Indian mates, drunkenly trying to explain that we should leave now. One of said friends decided to nip to the loo to check it out and when he re-appeared, also agreed that we should leave now. Outside, we grabbed a passing black cab and dropped them off on the way to our house, so all ended well.

It annoys me that this happened. Perhaps, all the more because we were enjoying a 70s/80s night, a time when Race was a major issue. The harsh reality is that in 2009 it is still a major issue for some people.

I probably should have some sort of profound point to make here at the end but really I’m just ranting about an unfair situation.

I’m left with these questions.

My priority was to safeguard my friends, without causing confrontation, was that wrong?

I worry that I should have done more, confronted them about their attitudes but what would that have achieved and what would have happened?

Charity Shmarity

August 9, 2008

We had another one of those fake charity collection things through the door yesterday. Lets take a look……

This time they have even given up on using a picture of refugees and have gone with a couple of cute kittens! What is that supposed to mean? I think it means, “Don’t think too hard about the details on this leaflet, just look at the kittens, aahh cute aren’t they? Keep looking at them, that’s right, now go get a bag and fill it up, remember the kittens? That’s right, now put the bag outside your front door. Kittens are cute aren’t they?”

Here is the pitch…

Dear Householder, We will be grateful if you could kindly donate your unwanted Ladies, gents & Children’s Clothing, Blankets, Sheets, Shoes, Handbags, Curtains, Belts, Bath and Hand Towels, underwear, Cosmetics, Toiletries, Perfumes.

Sounds to me like they want items to put on a car boot sale!

SHC COLLECTIONS LTD is a collecting company which provide people in need in Eastern European countries with affordable clothes for them and their families. It provides jobs in Eastern European countries for those sorting the clothes for distribution. It also provides business for UK export transport companies as well as creating employment in the UK factories grading the clothes and those people collecting the bags door to door. SHC COLLECTIONS LTD, Company reg. 06437255 e-mail:

This is the bit that really rubs me up the wrong way. At first glance, I think, most people will think this is a charity, when in fact its nothing of the sort. One of the major giveaways is the inclusion of a company registration number instead of a registered charity number. Oh yeah and dont get me started on the email address, of course, all the reputable companies I know use Hotmail, errr no!

According to Companies House they have been running less than a year. (Coincidentally, being registered on my last birthday!)

Name & Registered Office:
N11 2JH
Company No. 06437255
Status: Active
Date of Incorporation: 26/11/2007
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Company Type: Private Limited Company

According to Google maps, the postcode is in the middle of a block of suburban houses.

So there we have it, after just a few minutes of thought and investigation, my suspicions about this company are confirmed. This is not a company that I have any confidence in!

Isn’t the Internet wonderful?

Pumping Petrol

July 27, 2008

The price of petrol is a pretty hot topic at the moment, fuel prices in general seem to be spiraling out of control. This isn’t worrying me to much, having just down-sized our car from a 2 ton, 2 litre, gas guzzling monster to a small but perfectly formed 1.4 litre Astra.

What does bother me at the pumps, is waste. That is to say, wasted time. Why do people still persist in filling their tank upto the exact pound that they want to spend? how much of their time is wasted each year by people squeezing that trigger bit by bit as it approaches the desired figure.

Now, I’m not saying I never did this. Oh no, of course I did, but there used to be a reason it. Remember when we all carried cash? If I had a tenner in my pocket to fill up the tank, then it wouldn’t do to go over even by a penny. Nowadays, we all carry plastic right? So who cares what the total comes to?

Well, its seems people still do. You can see them at the pumps, cursing when they mis-judge and hit £30.02. They can’t possibly just leave it there, so they start trying to squeeze a bit more in, edging up to £31.00. You can see them struggling against the auto cut-off thing, desperate to end up on a round number, as if the cashier is going to laugh at them for being so spazzy when they go in to pay.

Actually, the cashiers do seem a bit surprised when they read out the amount I need to pay for my fuel, “£46.32?”

I’m not entirley free of fuel pump OCD of course, I collect loyalty points which give me a point per litre bought. So after the auto cut-out thing on the pump kicks in, I check if I’m just under or over a round litre. If I’m just under, I squeeze a bit more in to get another Nectar point 🙂

Black Diamonds

July 23, 2008

NaBloPoMo July 08 Day 23

A couple of months ago, Lenor started airing a TV commercial for Black Diamond and Lotus Flower scented fabric conditioner.

I was all like, wtf is a black diamond, how can you smell a diamond? I even went as far as to Twitter about it.

So now, it seems I have an apology to make, just maybe since the Lenor bottle does show an actual (clear) Diamond, so maybe they don’t know either.

I give you, Black Diamonds……..

BlackDiamonds 001

….. yeah, they are a variety of Plum! Who knew?

Horsing around

July 9, 2008

No, its not todays food photo 😉 Though, I’m not adverse to trying horse meat, I’ve just not had the chance.

Horse&Cart 002

In 6 years we’ve lived in this house, this is the very first time I’ve ever seen a horse and cart on the street.

You can just make out that the driver chap is using his mobile phone. The fact that he actually pulled up to use it is, in my opinion, amazing. Despite the law saying that its not allowed to drive and use your mobile, this is something that most car drivers cannot manage to do. If asked to make one of those Mystic Meg predictions about my drive to work it would be, “You’ll be cut up on the roundabout by a Sales Rep or Dolly bird because they are too busy talking on their mobile to watch the road.”

I say, “Good on yer, horsey driver man!”

An open letter to the NSPCC.

June 4, 2008


Thanks for your letter dated May 2008, you really didn’t need to write to thank me for my donation. Oh, I see, you didn’t write for that reason alone, but rather to ask for more money. You’ll remember that I began making my monthly donation in response to one of your Television appeal broadcasts. If I recall correctly you said, “We need you to donate this small amount and to keep on donating this small amount each month.”

Now, it seems, this small amount isn’t enough and you’ve quite regularly been sending these letters asking for more money. I do appreciate that ending cruelty to children is going to take a lot of time, effort and money. I also appreciate you keeping me informed of “Chloe’s” story via the enclosed booklet.

You may find this mean-spirited of me, but I don’t care and I’m going to ask anyway. How much did it cost you to send me this letter?

I mean really, how much? Lets see, postage of initial envelope, 2 sheets of A4, a freepost return envelope and a booklet of 4 pages on 5″x7″ card. I’m guessing that with bulk discounts for printing, design and postage it probably still comes in around 40 pence.

Now I’m wondering how much of my monthly donation is spent on sending out letters. Letters asking for more money from people that are probably already giving what they feel they can afford. How much of my monthly donation is left over to be used to help stop child cruelty?

I have to tell you, receiving these letters on a regular basis usually make me question the value of making my donation in the first place. I’m sure you’ll be horrified to learn that the letters actually make me think about completely cancelling my donation. Oh course I don’t, something inside always says, “think of the children!”

So look guys, you have my email address, why not use that instead? You can send me and all the emails you like. It’s basically free, and you could still send me nice booklets and stories in PDF format or similar and we all win!

How about it?


PS, Don’t get me wrong, I still believe you do a great job and are a very worth cause, that’s why I’m putting this link here so that anyone reading this has an easy way to check out your donation options 🙂

Towel trouble.

June 3, 2008

I looked over over our fence into the neighbours garden the other day. Can you imagine my horror when I spotted this display?

Towels 006

I mean really, I know the new neighbours are straight, but please!

I could forgive them any of these colours if they had actually made a choice and they were all the same chosen colour. In fact, I’d probably applaud their bold choice of, for example, orange or yellow.

As it is, this collection of mis-matched garish-ness would be more at home on a set of prayer flags strung out across the high peaks of the Himalayas.

I do hope that you, dear reader, dont have any similar crimes against interior design lurking in your airing cupboards!

Penny for t’ Guy

November 4, 2007

I went to a bonfire party last night, great fun, we had lots of fireworks and nice food that the guests brought along. Homemade Chili by Angela’s Mum was particularly good, as was the Chicken liver pate that Rob’s Mum made. I also drank a little too much and was asleep by the time the taxi picked us up!

Not so good news, this morning I couldn’t find my mobile phone, I called it a few times, it rang out and went to voice mail. Then around mid-day it stopped ringing out and just went to voice mail, so I know someone has turned it off. It probably fell out of my pocket in the taxi and the next customer took it. Ah well, the sim is locked and so is the phone so without my code they can’t easily use it. I’ll call and get it blocked by the network tomorrow once I’m sure its not going to turn up at the party house.

Anyway back to the bonfire thing, we arrived a little late and missed the burning of the Guy. I had a little rant about the trick or treat thing earlier, so I suppose I should come clean about our home grown tradition of begging at this time of year.

What happens is this, firstly the kids make an effigy of Guy Fawkes. Usually this entails stuffing an old pair of trousers and a sweater with newspaper, attach a football with a mask for a head, position a pair of old shoes at the feet. Next, take Guy and stand outside local shops asking shoppers for a “penny for the guy.”

Now, back in my day the idea was that the money collected was used to buy fireworks for the communal bonfire that would be organised on that bit of wasteland at the end of the street.

These days I’m afraid this is all lost, the money now surely goes towards crack or skunk or whatever it is kids do these days. So, y’know, sorry USA , it’s not ALL your fault 🙂

Trick or, eerr trick!

October 31, 2007

Anyone else been sitting in the dark for the last hour?  Of course you have, its Halloween.

USA you have a lot to answer for, “trick or treat” in this case. WHY!

Of course, its different over here where it just seems to be packs of teenagers, roaming the streets without even having tried to dress up properly. If you do answer the door most of them are really wanting cash, not candy anyway. Not really in the spirit of things in my opinion.

Well, its gone quiet for now so I think its mostly over, I might even venture into the kitchen for another can of Beer 🙂