Friday, 30 April 2010

Never a dull moment

nowadays...political situation is deteriorating in Nepal. Loads of Maoists have assembled in Kathmandu and are parading around the city. It's a pretty tense situation so we've been compelled to close down the office over there which brings a whole set of complications.

Meeting such fascinating people with this job. Today I was with an ex SAS trainer who was telling me all about survival techniques, I met an American who had been a helicopter gunner in the Vietnam war, and interviewed a Fijian who'd been awarded the Gallantry Cross for effectively saving three colleagues lives in the height of the war in Afghanistan...all of them modest about what they'd done...and then I had the wannabe, a Night Club Doorman from Bognor who wanted to move into Close Protection work…. when asked about the most hostile environment he had experienced he proceeded to tell me all about a group of blokes from London who'd invaded his Club and were about to kick a guys head in.....hmmm, not quite on the same scale.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Woken by the pitter patter of tiny feet

bl**dy squirrels running across the roof at 4.10am! After moaning about it this morning one of the guys from Iraq has been telling me how to catch & cook them!?! Not something you see in your average Delia Smith recipe book!

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Change of plan

had been due to fly out to Iraq via Dubai but we now have a new flight policy. Apparently the airline were were using from Dubai to Baghdad have a decidedly suspect safety standing, so much so we're not allowed to use them any more due the terms of our company insurance policy. It's caused complete chaos for our poor travel department who are having to cancel & re-book the significant number of staff who fly in and out of the country either on brief business trips or basic rotation (terms for Ex-pats tend to be 9wks on & 3wks off)!

Looks like I'll be going out via Istanbul...always fancied a weekend there :o)

Wonder if I'll manage to squeeze in a trip to the Blue Mosque..?

Monday, 26 April 2010

Thirteen burly tattooed blokes

greeted me in reception when I arrived this morning all in to be deployed out to Iraq & Afghanistan. Slight bizarre finding them plus a mound of kit bags strewn across what's ostensibly an admin office. They spend half half the morning signing all kinds of forms, then loitering whilst we sort out all of the travel documentation, visas etc. before they amble off to Heathrow and on to their destination. Nothing like any other recruitment I've ever done before...the same point illustrated again in the afternoon when I had an interesting meeting with a company who supply NATO cleared security, logistics & infrastructure personnel predominantly from the Balkan states. Could be very useful if we win some of the major contracts we're bidding for as we'll need a larger source of candidates. Need to do a bit more scrutiny on the supply chain so may have to go out to Romania to verify a few things....

Thursday, 22 April 2010

'Warning Order' familiarization visit Head of Resourcing ETA May

an email of that title has just been sent around re. my visit to Iraq including a highly detailed itinerary which doesn't even seem to allow time for one to powder one's nose, so it looks like it's all on! Should be a really useful trip as they've planned for me to visit all of the main locations and projects which will be hugely beneficial in terms of more fully understanding the business. Still getting to grips with the various elements and sometimes still floored by simple stuff e.g. the Military lingo... got 2 sides of A4 full of TLAs to help me long as the don't test me I'll be ok! We have stacks of business in Iraq another contract about to be signed which will mean a big increase in work. The local management will need to recruit significant numbers of Iraqi nationals (need to check they're prepared for that!), the London team will select the Ex-Pat roles and we need Nepalese Gurkas as mid-ranks so co-ordination with Nepal will be required. Speaking of Nepal, found some classic stuff going through the audit...the Emergency Contact form has to have an additional Next of Kin since it is normal (& legal) for men to have more than one wife!!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010


managed to finalise the policy I'd been writing relating to the mental health evaluation of new recruits and existing employees involved in high-risk, high-stress security or para-military employment....Never done one of those before, talk about testing my knowledge of psychological assessment!!!

..definitely different this job ;o)

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Insomnia's back

Was up at 4am this morning watching TV programmes I'd missed on BBC I-Player. I did go back to bed eventually and managed to get a couple more hours sleep. End up going through spells like this when my brain gets overloaded. Work situation is a bit overly full-on & pressurised at the moment due to sheer volume of recruitment, the fact that none of the basics are in place plus a pretty heavyweight audit. End result, my brain's slightly fried! That's not to say I'm not enjoying it...the business is really interesting, plus it's great being so busy and having a variety of new challenges to deal with. Way different to what I've done to date. Just found out about another potential piece of work... in Yemen! That was after Angola & Madagascar earlier in the week...think I'm slowly working my way through the A-Z of definitely going to have to invest in a globe or world map for the office.... maybe even with flags like one of the old war films ;o)

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Took the smaller sproglets to see 'Alice in Wonderland' as we all like Johnny Depp & Tim Burton films. It was very dark and Burton-esque in parts which is predictable but also slightly Disneyfied too...bit of a weird combination making it even more surreal than I'd expected. Quite enjoyed it but nothing to write home about really. Does make you realise how 'barking' Lewis Carroll must have been & of course Edward Lear with his nonsense rhymes ...convinced they'd both been partaking of way too many doses of Opium!

Friday, 16 April 2010

Vote now!

The live debate last night has sparked an interest in politics in the Frosty household. I could hardly believe the discussion on policies over lunch. Both Ms. Sensible & Minor Mayhem had followed the whole thing really closely and proffered strong opinions on what was being proposed by each of the parties as well as commenting on the style & body language of the party leaders. As if that weren't gobsmacking enough, this was followed by a discussion on the shift in position/approach between Labour & Liberals since David Lloyd George! Not only was I amazed at what'd actually been absorbed from history lessons but delighted to see that they're unlikely to be apathetic voters :o)

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Steel City drop-off

again. Getting to the stage where I can almost find my way round Sheffield blindfold. Drove over via the supermarket to ensure fully re-stocked cupboards. Little did we know what we were about to be faced with. On opening the front door a somewhat unpleasant aroma greeted us. The smell permeated from the unspeakably filthy kitchen...never seen anything quite so bad in my life. Didn't feel I could just turn on my heel & leave her to it so donned on the rubber gloves and got stuck in nearly heaving in the process! Someone had left some veg at the bottom of the fridge a fortnight ago and it has disintegrated into the most revolting stinky, slimy mess. Add to that an un-emptied bin and a pile of festering, mould encrusted dishes strewn in the sink, across work-surfaces and in the lounge, and start you get the general picture. Should have taken out shares in cleaning products before I through loads of the stuff but at least now it's something like hygienic. Ah the joys of a shared house....

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Back to work

yesterday...we had four guys into the London office to be deployed to Afghanistan, worked out the logistics for mental health evaluation of personnel in Iraq, sorted out the staffing issues for the new Dubai office, did an on-line meeting relating to the implementation of a new job portal, then looked at budget requirements ... and that was all before lunch time!!! Come to the conclusion that job title means nothing 'cos the lines are so blurred plus the boss is on hols. Always seems to be stacks of random stuff to sort out but it certainly keeps things interesting

Been happily ensconced in my ‘Billy-no-mates’ office today ploughing through emails and sorting out paperwork. Got down to 53 outstanding but seems as fast as I get through them the in-box fills up again :o/ Had company in the next office as one of my colleagues from HR is up here today & tomorrow so not quite as quiet as usual. Decided that the approach of a couple of days in London full-on dealing with issues and meetings, followed by a couple of days in my base office playing catch up works pretty well. Starting to feel like I’ve settled in a bit now and the travel has become pretty routine, although much as I quite like being in London, I still hate the tube journey. Tore a shoulder muscle last week strap hanging in rush hour :o/

Still school hols…Minor Mayhem's been at the Gadget Show Live today in Brum with friends (came back with all manner of new gizmos/techie bits) whilst the girls have been doing course/homework and chilling out. That’ll mean I’m on document review duty later for Strident Student so far this vacation I have fed-back comments on whether utilitarianism advocates slavery, as well as a debate about whether porn as a medium for female subordination...Heavy stuff! Fortunately have a get out of jail card for Miss Sensible’s Maths as I’m so rubbish. Can’t help on the science side either as I was 'pants' at that too…just hope she goes for Arts subjects at 'A' Level or I’ll be no help whatsoever.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

The following day

the long suffering Strident Student's boyfriend transported the sprogs back to base whilst I took my Dad to the hospital for his biopsy. I had to leave him at the hospital whilst they kept him in for observation in case his lungs deflated or there were any other complications. To take my mind off things I did a bit of a nostalgia trip around St.Helens, checked out the old haunts, re-visited my old school, went back to look at the first house house I bought when I had the baby Strident Student...only a 2up, 2down but I loved it...felt I'd really achieved something when I bought it. It was so run down and dilapidated but everyone pulled to in order to get it habitable. I was donated furniture, carpets, cooker and even an old bathroom suite. I've never forgotten people's kindness or the hours friends put in plastering & decorating. Despite the circumstances we had a great laugh and loved living there.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010


started off with the ubiquitous Easter Egg hunt albeit indoors due to the inclement weather. Miss Sensible clearly demonstrates that some of the hiding places were less accessible than others ;o)

The rest of the holiday was spent doing the rounds of the family & amassing the European Union Easter Egg Mountain. I think we can safely say that we can all have a multitude of mega chocolate frenzies without running short this side of Xmas!

Had a brief sojourn to the Ribble Valley for my friend Smelen's wedding which was absolutely great... a chance for everyone to get together and celebrate the fact they've finally formalised things. So pleased that she's met someone who's such a good match & quite obviously thinks the world of both her & Elizabeth. What made it so special was the heartfelt speech Elizabeth made about her Mum & Des which left everyone with tears in their eyes.

Some comment has to be made about the costume changing, cross-dressing DJ for the evening 'do' who managed to get everyone up on the dance-floor but was very nearly over-shadowed by my 12yr old whom he got on the stage to demonstrate the 'moves'...

A postscript is required as a warning to would-be brides...don't go down the route of hold-ups for the big day...this is a true life illustration of the dangers ;o)