Monday, 30 November 2009

Although it's been a long day and the drive to Hampshire & back was bleedin' terrible due to the weather/traffic, I've actually had a lot of fun! 'Organisational Change' is my 'thing' so got chance to get a load of stuff raised that needed addressing and had some excellent company - two girls I used to work with years ago were there and we created a naughty corner by being our usual vocal and opinionated selves - I think we may possibly have hacked off the Consultants but I actually feel like I've done something worthwhile :o)

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Retail therapy - I think not!

Despite warnings from friends such as "Don't do it! Save your soul and shop on the net!!', now I get 25% discount at John Lewis I felt the need to brave Solihull & the posh Brum accents in an attempt to conquer the Xmas shopping. Fought my way through the hoards of people who obviously think that shopping is a leisure activity and potter slowly down the Mall in no particular direction; frustrated by Sales Assistants who can't be arsed to serve customers or shovel an expensive item of clothing into a carrier bag without firstly folding neatly in tissue; irritated by the fact that no one seems to be able to do stock control any more, and if I hear 'everything we've got's already out' in monotone again I may resort to violence....
Now absolutely knackered and think my arms about six inches longer from carrying so many bags! A marathon but successful trip.....need a spot of 'mother's ruin' to wipe away the trauma and deaden the pain from my poor feet!

Saturday, 28 November 2009

After a fairly hectic week I decided I needed to chill so settled down with coffee & the papers. Loads in there about the Dubai financial crisis & this clever cartoon of Palm Island with the letters 'DEBT' at the end of the fronds. Loads of mixed messages about what's going on with the bankruptcy and how Dubai World might be affected. My Middle Eastern 'source' reckons the Central Bank in Abu Dhabi will inject some cash and will probably pick and choose assets they like in Dubai’s cupboard such as the QE2 and possibly Emirates, they've also mentioned an interest in Emaar which owns the Mall & the Marina. Not sure what if any material effect it will have on my contact apart from the possibly the building on his new apartment grinding to a halt until things re-stablise. I guess with the level of excess out there this was bound to hit eventually.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

100 lines & a detention

Target Setting day at school so I have appointments for both sproglets bright & early this morning. Minor Mayhem is first so I will need to brace myself...pretty sure the teachers can't believe he is from the same household as the girls. Expecting lots of "bright but....", " too chatty", "needs to focus", "could do better", "plenty of opinions... which he can't keep to himself".
Would it be wrong to fortify oneself with a drop of 'Mothers Ruin' beforehand?

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

When it's time to go

it's time to I was copied into today...

"I’ve been made redundant. For those who can’t make my farewell drinks, I’ve put together a little FAQ:

Are you happy to be going? F*ck Yes! After you’ve been told that you’re going to be made redundant you go through 3 stages, grief (1 day), anger (1 week), and then euphoria (depends on your redundancy payout). I’m currently in the euphoria stage.

What will you miss the most? The people, and the apple crumble muffins from the coffee shop

What will you miss the least? The politics, the inefficiency, that fact that I get paid X but charged out at 5X, crappy IT, email waffle from management, the continual restructuring “to help us meet market expectations”, just the general Dilbert’ness of it all . "

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Insomnia reigns

So having reviewed & commented on the eldest's assignment "if racism is defined as politically or morally unacceptable, there must be a reasonable consensus about what it is...discuss"'d think I'd have slept soundly...unfortunately the insomnia is still ever present so the early hours of the morning found me wandering the house mulling over other aspects she could potentially feed into her assignment such as positive discrimination; mentally compiling my presentation for a meeting I am facilitating with the local high school governors next week; considering the childcare logistics for the coming fortnight which is decidedly packed; debating what to do for dinner the next day, whilst simultaneously "Fire" by Kasabian (my current favourite track), played the the background of my right frontal lobe and lights, similar to those you see on high-speed film of traffic at night, whizzed by somewhere else in my head :o/
.....Please let me sleep!!!!

Monday, 23 November 2009

Pheasant pie

Chap at work told me an amusing incident...he'd been driving home when the car in front of him hit a pheasant. Both cars stopped and the guy in front said to him "there's a law which says if you kill a pheasant you can't pick it up as road kill, so much as I love pheasant I can't have it. Do you fancy it?" So he picks it up and puts it in the boot thinking he'll pluck it & stick it in the oven when he gets home. Deciding he needs some extra ingredients he parks up in Ledbury (a genteel market town) and opens the boot to be greeted by this frantically flapping & squawking bird...apparently previously only stunned (obviously not as in The Dead Parrot Sketch), now risen like Lazarus! Unsure what to do and concerned it is going to run amok he decides his only option is to break its neck which he duly does....and then hears a thud as the tweed-clad woman about to get in the car parked next to him passes out cold!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

A woman scorned

The Middle Eastern Correspondent collects copious amounts of F1 'stuff' to adorn his home & has just bought a Ferrari nose cone. Apparently a woman put it on Ebay, very cheaply, so much so he thought it was a fake. His sister went to buy it and was told that the woman's husband had bought it at a charity auction at the Royal Albert Hall but they're getting divorced so while he was away she sold it !!!
Turns out it is actually Schumacher's car's nose cone complete with serial numbers. Being a mostly decent & honest chap my friend thanked her and she responded that she knew it was worth far more but she really didn't care .....good morale boosting move on the woman's part, plus sends a clear message to all they say 'a women scorned'...

Minor Mayhem's Muffins

In view of the fact we are shortly going to need an Ark to leave the house we set to work preparing food...this morning has consisted of making enough leek, potato & stilton soup to feed the population of our road whilst the youngest baked blueberry, apple & cinnamon muffins. At least if we are stranded we will not run short.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Trolley Dollies

aka Alex and Tom the Year in Industry students dressed up complete with toilet-roll boobs, and badgered the staff to buy cakes (probably not what they imagined they'd be doing when they joined)...what with that and the surreal sight of the local sixth form wearing PJs for school, obviously Children in Need :o)

Thursday, 19 November 2009

It's been one of those days...

when things just get to you...

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

How long's a piece of string?

…at the risk of sounding 'sad' I quite enjoyed Horizon tonight…quite philosophical as well as scientific. I was really chuffed with myself for picking up on how Plato related to it and could understand Schrödinger’s cat ‘cos of work but the best bit was the constant look of bewilderment/confusion on Alan Davies' face all the way through the he wished he'd just got a ruler.

Years ago when I managed the Corporate graduate attraction and recruitment we did an advertising campaign based all around famous scientists and engineers…we did T shirts with logos including; ‘No, no, no Galileo’, ‘Put Pythagoras in a corner’, ‘F*ck Freud’, ‘Burn Bunsen Burn’, ‘Have you seen Schrödinger’s pussy’ & ‘Pavlov’s my b*tch’ It was a really creative, off-the-wall campaign...loved the idea of playing on words and possible double entendre for such a seemingly stuffy subject. We had a game on the company website called ‘Find Einstein’s Relatives’ (viral marketing - definitely the thing for students!)… I remember having to present it to the grey-suited, middle-aged Board and them being completely shocked and ‘anti’ the approach initially until we showed them the research we’d done with the target group and they finally, grudgingly relented. It was a bold move from the Civil Service mentality…such a good campaign which won quite a few recruitment advertising awards…. miss the chance to be creative…

Monday, 16 November 2009

Dancing round my handbag

well, my kitchen actually. Listening to Arrow Rock as per most evenings....plays such a fantastic mix of rock from the 60s to date. Before you start guessing my age from that statement, I must point out that my clubbing/party period was firmly in the early 80s Synth Britannia days...Depeche Mode, Japan, New Order, Duran Duran and early Spandau Ballet, however I was somewhat influenced by someone older, so thanks to the Middle Eastern Correspondent I'm also heavily into The Kinks, Small Faces, The Who, Mott the Hoople, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeplin, The Ramones etc much to the embarrassment of my kids ;o)
Arrow's a DAB radio station and also easy to pick up on your PC if you're so inclined.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

If in doubt cook

or make soup has always been my motto...2 banana and maple syrup loaves lovingly prepared for Minor Mayhem and the office...always a thereputic exercise and method of winning friends and influencing ;-) plus a large pan of roasted red pepper & sweet potato soup to sustain the Frosty family.

Pleased to see that my upbringing is rubbing off on the kids. The starving student has recently been known to ring me from the supermarket, provide me with a potential list of heavily discounted foodstuffs and ask for a suitable recipe á la 'Ready Steady Cook"...nothing like being put on the spot.

Minor Mayhem shows a keen interest in food mostly on the consumption side but occasionally assisting in the kitchen particularly if the opportunity to lick out bowls is on offer. However to my chagrin he is obviously a second generation Northerner as can be seen from his choice of ingredients for the savoury scones he is baking at school tomorrow....ham, cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. Don't know if you have read it, but Stuart Marconie's book 'Pies & Prejudice' starts with him remarking that he knew he had crossed the north/south divide when he had the sundried tomatoes and a cappuccino maker in his kitchen!

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Had hoped to take the kids to see ‘the Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus’. Really like Terry Gilliam’s films (particularly The Fisher King, Twelve Monkeys & Time Bandits) and this latest has the added advantage of Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Heath Ledger….too young for me, but nice to look at ;-) Although it’s been heavily advertised as being out from 16th Oct it’s still not in any of the local cinemas as yet :o/

Settling for a dvd - 'A matter of loaf & death' accompanied by copious amounts of popcorn and toasted marshmallows in front of an open fire :o)

Friday, 13 November 2009

West End Girls

Did a spot of shopping in the West End. The Xmas windows in Liberty and Selfridges are fab - the latter are based around Pantomimes but with a risqué edge - very clever. The 'Look Out He's Behind You' in particular made me probably get the gist ;o) Love the buzz of the shops over the build up to Xmas and sometimes think wistfully back to my days in retail management especially when I ventured into Top Shop - that really brought back some happy memories. Didn't manage to do any major retail therapy as I had a train to catch but picked up a couple of bits for the girls Xmas pressies.

Trip to the big City

Attended the first of a series of modules on Workforce Planning which was really interesting. Nice bunch of delegates and the tutor was very informative. May be a bit 'sad' to say this but I thoroughly enjoyed it. What was even better was the view from the conference room which was on the 7th floor of a lovely swish office block - almost panoramic views taking in the Gerkin, Monument, the Tower of London, London Bridge and the Thames.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

And the votes are in for most popular employee

and the winner is...Bernard!
a local cat who strolls around the site, sneaking into buildings when someone swipes in and then making himself very much at home. We’ve nicknamed him Bernard after the building we’re in. Although today he was manning the reception desk there is no need to contact the RSPCA about potential exploitation - one of the PAs keeps a box of cat food in her desk to make sure he’s provided with sustenance, and he's always assured of plenty of fuss. Hardly surprising he comes back so frequently, like most males he knows when he’s onto a good thing.

Who moved the Hills?

Fog & low cloud today :o(
the view from the office is nowhere near as pleasant as usual of those days where you start to feel the need to hibernate

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

It's been a long, long, dull, dull day

doing process mapping with a view to streamlining/outsourcing some of the HR function...a fun-filled day which will make me distinctly popular with my HR colleagues, not.

The day's entertainment was provided by a pair of Consultants fluent in management bollox who thrived on encouraging the attendees to wallpaper the conference room in various shades of 'post-it' notes. If I heard one more "let's brainstorm that", "park that thought", "it's a win:win scenario", "how do you feel about that" or "I think we're making progress people" I think I would have had to shoot them to put us all out of our misery...
problem is I've got another five days of this over the next three weeks...deep joy :o/


on why certain students I could mention are so '' with their assignments...
after a hard day's work, ferrying to & from rugby then saxophone, followed by preparing a sumptuous feast of Goulash, I have just reviewed a second draft of 'Gorgias' & 'the Ecomium of Helen' and am now giving myself a bit of light relief before pouring through a spot of 'Plato' in order to meet the prescribed deadline! Oh to have a life.....
Maybe I'll get awarded an honorary degree in heaven ;-)
...At least I shouldn't have any problems sleeping tonight :o)

Friday, 6 November 2009

Stand well back

One of the guys who’s leaving as a compulsory redundancy today wandered into the office and said “I’m clearing my office what shall I do with this?” and put an anti-personnel mine on the desk! Turns out he’s been using this thing as a doorstop for years despite the fact he wasn’t sure if it had been decommissioned! Mass panic ensued until it was cleared as being safe and transported away by security. Wonder how many other weapons are squirreled away in the mad scientists offices!?! ... it’s like working in a madhouse…

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Gunpowder, treason & the mutt's lost the plot

Something terribly British about standing round muffled up in the cold, sulphur tinged air, with the glow of the fire warming your cheeks whilst your toes feel like they're about to drop off with frostbite...or is that just my masochistic tendencies coming out ;-) Won't be able to take the mutt for a walk tonight as he'll be too nervous with all the noise. He's pretty good about most things but this completely freaks him out. Same way as a pair of pumpkins outside a local house spooked him to such an extent he diverted across the road!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Reasons for the watershed

Namely to give parents a bit of breathing time...I naïvely agreed Minor Mayhem could watch "Spooks' that way we could all view in peace & quiet...theoretically. First time he's been allowed to stay up to watch it so he decided he needed to gen himself up. He spent ages watching old episodes on YouTube and asking six million questions about the characters, plots etc. felt like I'd inadvertently entered Mastermind! As if that weren't bad enough I had a constant stream of questions about Uranium and explanations on counter-espionage, bluff/double bluff, technical gubbins and terrorism throughout the episode...that'll teach me.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Make Love not War

Panda who works for Thales was at a grad recruitment fair in the Steel City today so scheduled coffee and a catch up with the starving student :o) They had a bit of fun trying to meet up ‘cos there were Anti War protestors outside & on the roof of the venue. You’d think they might realise the defence companies don’t actually instigate wars and I can’t help wondering if they think those oganisations are really less moral than other commercial companies eg Nestle or the big mining corporations. Have they really considered the ramifications of having no defence industry say in terms of terrorists or even basic stuff like employment or freedom of speech etc. Then there's the other angle like the technology that these firms develop being used in everyday items such as mobile phones, foetal heart monitors, airport radar and car/plane engines etc...hmm, maybe not...

Monday, 2 November 2009


for the Frosty family tonight...for the uninitiated according to Wikipedia it is "a common meal in working class Liverpool (so that's putting me in my place then). This culinary delight (a thick stew usually of lamb with vegetables slow cooked in a pan to make cheap cuts of meat more palatable) takes its name from the Norwegian 'lapskaus'."

Wiki also goes on to say "Inhabitants of Liverpool are called Liverpudlians but are more often described by the colloquialism 'Scousers'"...despite living all over the place, and inadvertently having my accent toned down, I reckon you can take the girl out of Liverpool but you can't stop her being/making Scouse ;o)

Sunday, 1 November 2009


The Halloween party Miss Sensible went to included a stint of trick or treating. One house they visited were staunch Christians who tried to instruct a group of teenagers about paganism and the occult then gave each of them booklets about Jesus!
Maybe that's marginally preferable to one of the guys at work who bought a big box of Ferrero Rocher, carefully unwrapped & ate them, then re-used the wrappers on sprouts, which he replaced in the box and handed out to the unsuspecting children telling them they were special treats so they should save them until they got home!