Monday, 28 February 2011

Had a strapping leather-clad biker across my kitchen table this morning, most definitely not like that! A colleague and I felt we needed an off-site meeting in order to ensure we weren't interupted when going through some heavy business issues. Given the weather has been so lovely and Spring-like he decided to come up on his motorbike. Minor Mayhem was most impressed by the shiny black BMW on the drive when he came home from school albeit disappointed to find it wasn't Mum's...I am also pleased to report I had a reasonably productive day with no travel involved - yay!

Sunday, 27 February 2011

I have recently succumbed to an inappropriate pair of shoes beckoning to me , “buy me, I’m so beautiful”. I put it down to a mid-life crisis and have limited myself to photographing said shoes and matching bag as a memory to be preserved for posterity and will forthwith lovingly parcel them back up and take them to the post office to make their return journey to the great Kurt Geiger warehouse. I now know in the future when faced with exquisite but unfeasibly high footwear I will be strong and say, “yes, you are beautiful but you’d be lonely in a box in my cupboard, you need to go home with someone else.” ;o)

Friday, 25 February 2011

2 out of 3 aint bad

as Mr. Meatloaf once said. Successful day yesterday...managed to make two senior management appointments so feel pretty pleased with progress. To celebrate I went for dinner with the MD and BD Director before ending up at the Blue Bar in the Novotel Trade Centre listening to an excellent live band covering all manner of rock classics and a bit of Lebanese traditional music (eclectic or what!?!)... all of which accompanied by copious 'Charlie Parker' cocktails. Just reward :o)

I am pleased to report that appointment no. 3 is heading in the right direction...just needs 'converting' and I was on the case first thing this morning despite a muzzy head. I had hoped to grab an hour by the pool to chill and grab some rays but was thwarted by a handkerchief sized paddling pool on the 18th floor in the shade of the aforementioned unfinished tower blocks :o/
There's only so much hotel living you can do without getting 'Cabin Fever' so a bit of escapism/exploration was called for. I went for a wander round the local area this afternoon, there's cranes a go-go...still sooo much building going on, as well as loads of stuff finished but unoccupied...begs the question whether there are enough inhabitants to fill the place and is no surprise that the rental rates have gone through the floor.

Continuing the vein of living it up....tonight I'm dining à la room service and watching 'Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince' with Arabic subtitles...

Back to base tomorrow...

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Back in the UAE

again....Not quite sure how I got through the interviews today; major sleep deprivation... yesterday's flight was delayed, full of screaming babies, immigration queue at Dubai ridiculous, checked into hotel at 3.15am, next door neighbour snored so loudly I could hear him through the wall and then there was what sounded like an enthusiastic threesome going on above my head at 4.55am!!!!! View from window is half finished tower blocks, cranes and builders camp...

Monday, 21 February 2011

Legs 11

I wish I was one of those women that has legs up to their armpits, but alas I'm not. The pair I have are seriously flawed so in order to address this shortcoming I have become obsessed with hosiery...but not any old tights...they have to be coloured or patterned and preferably both and I am bordering on OCD about them matching my outfit. In fact it would be fair to say I have developed a total tight fetish as my overflowing tights drawer will bear witness. However, I was pulled up short yesterday when clad in outfit finished off with navy lace tights and my fave Doc Marten boots Miss Sensible chastised me for picking her up from the stables in inappropriate attire. My question is dear readers, at what stage does such legwear become unseeming for one of a certain age?
Answers on a postcard to....

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Ups & downs

UP > Had a fab night out with Paddy the auditor on Thursday. We'd both had a pretty 'pants' day so made an impromptu decision to go for dinner and ended up in a great Spanish restaurant eating Tapas and consuming reasonable quantities of Sangria. As a consequence the plan to review 56 CVs accompanied by room service in the hotel went out of the window...apologies to affected applicants.

UP & DOWN > Despite me raising concerns about the feasibility of the bid we've been doing for a Russian company, the top dog has signed it off, so if we win it, it looks like I might need to apply for a visa and head off to Moscow next month. On the one hand I'm excited...always wanted to go there...and on the other, I know it's going to be a complete & utter nightmare of a job.

UP > The last bunch of Fijians now have visas so I can breath a sigh of relief that they're not going to be stranded in the UAE and go on the razz in Dubai, and Iraq will finally have all the resources they need to mobilise the project next week. Yay! Success!!

DOWN > A further group of personnel at my last workplace have been put at risk of redundancy. I know a lot of these guys personally as they worked for me when I was a Project Manager years ago and, without exception, they're highly competent individuals. The new management have ripped the heart out of that business...makes me sad on so many levels.

DOWN, DOWN, DEEPER & DOWN (bit of Quo) > Didn't get in from London until 10.40pm last night...some numpty had stolen the signalling cables near Evesham so I was stuck on the train in the middle of the Cotswolds for a couple of hours...not the bestest end to the week...

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

How did we ever manage without

I am a total an absolute convert. Fragmented telephone calls, long-distance reverberating echos are now a thing of the past.

Until I installed the programme I'd struggled to keep in touch with the sproglets whilst I was in the Middle East other than via Facebook (yep, I know it's the comms medium for teenagers but...). Mobile phone signals over there are precarious to say the least and it's not ideal having to stand in the middle of open spaces in Basra!

On the work front it's meant it's way more straight-forward to reach a massively geographically dispersed candidate pool. Today I've conducted interviews with people in Iraq, Australia and both coasts of the US without having to leave the comfort of home. Plus it's free!

The only possible negative is the video capability...means I can't stay in my PJs ;o)

Monday, 14 February 2011

I confess

that yesterday I knowingly did contribute to the profitability of John Lewis via the purchase of two new dresses. My excuse m'laud is that I need something suitable to wear whilst conducting interviews in hot climes, and that in providing said additional revenue I have also directly positively influenced the bonus of the eldest...which in effect lessens the negative impact on one's coffers.... ;o)

Just noticed previous post...I seem to be developing a somewhat schizophrenic wardrobe.....!

Saturday, 12 February 2011

The team network is coming in most handy...I've just been presented with a pair of regulation HM Army issue boots for my next trip to Iraq/Afghanistan, courtesy of the Grenadier Guards...I jest not. My Team Manager took pity on me following my tales of woe re. the quagmire at Baghdad Airport base when it rained, and had set his Forces contacts a challenge; to get a pair of suitable boots that would fit a girlie. When I got into the office yesterday there was a large parcel awaiting me containing a brand spanking new pair of exceptionally robust footwear <-

Said network has also produced an invite to visit the Household Cavalry stables with Miss Sensible in a couple of about perks of the job :o)

PS. Don't tell Queenie

Thursday, 10 February 2011

It's not all been work

I did manage to catch up with a couple of friends on the way back through Dubai. The fabulous Rallyman came and rescued me from the relentless interviewing & confines of the hotel and took me for a swift G&T and a good old natter. I also met with Obi Wan Kenobi who was on his way back in from Kuwait. Charming, & handsome as he is (spitting image of Ewan McGregor), I didn't go anywhere near his light sabre...I've heard plenty of tales and know where it's been ;o)

Over the two flights I did my usual cram of films...managed 7 this time...out of that portfolio my personal recommendations are; 'Let me in' and 'Never let me go'...both well worth a watch. Which reminds me, may I take this opportunity to apologise profusely to the passengers sitting next to me who witnessed my quiet weeping during certain films...softie at heart, just don't tell anyone.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Part of the entertainment this job provides is finding all kinds of random airlines to travel with and yesterday was no exception...Global.

The fun and games starts at Baghdad airport where the check-in desk is not opened until the last possible moment and naturally locals are seen to first so I end up allocated literally & metaphorically the last seat on the aircraft (the safest I'm reliably informed). I head through to the departure lounge and, as usual, am the only western female so subject to much scrutiny.

On board I am accosted by the Colombian purser who demands to know what I've been doing in Iraq and strikes up quite a conversation resulting in him explaining to me he has a business he runs as a side-line specialising in the import of Colombian goods into Dubai and he's sure he could help my company...I dread to think what this might include. So there I am trapped on this aircraft with a mad smuggler and due to extreme turbulence feeling highly likely to throw up. Furthermore half an hour after I check into the hotel I'm interviewing a prospective Director....Some days they simply don't pay me enough!

Goodbye my trusty companions

until the next time...

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Today's been eventful...started like something out of a sitcom as I managed to lock myself out of my bedroom wearing only my PJs! I was rescued by a young, 6'2" ex Marine wielding a screwdriver! It's been quite some time since a chap's tried to break into my bedroom!!!

That was shortly followed by the experience of interviewing a prospective H.R Director close to an Iraqi check point wearing a flack jacket. Yet another first!

The night has ended on a high as the guys made me a fab lasagne with salad and fresh bread before ensconcing me in a villa in the Green Zone complete with en suite...pure luxury in comparison with the norm accommodation here.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Relocated from the boudoir due to the fact that there's a bleedin' great plate glass window which was highlighted as a risk factor should any 'devices' be activated! New room slight more sedate but bed not the most comfortable, plus every time the power goes off (pretty regular occurrence), the system bleeps loudly before the generator kicks in, and to cap the maximum sleep deprivation, I was woken by call to prayer from the local Mosque at some unearthly hour :o/

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Someone's looking out for me

I got upgraded to Business without about customer service! I love Emirates :o)

I had a couple of hours in Dubai but although the company had provided a hotel room, and I physically got into bed, I didn't manage to drop off. I think it was a case of worrying I wouldn’t wake up for the second leg. So wish I could master the art of power napping!

T2 Dubai was as mad as ever. Total and utter chaos. They didn’t call or advertise my flight so I was sat waiting like a lemon until they tannoyed me. Didn’t make any difference as the flight was 50 mins late taking off anyway...bit of a different kettle of fish to the first journey. Anyway I can add to my list of carriers I've flown with - Jupiter I hadn't heard of them either...hardly instills confidence.

A PSD team collected me from the airport and kitted me out with flack jacket and helmet before whisking me away to our villa in Al Mansur where they have given me the most hideously kitsch bedroom you've ever seen...enough to give you nightmares. In the upside they have provided a fabulous fruit bowl and lunch has just arrived...toasties made with last night's living in a student abode all over again ;o)

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Barmy/balmy Baghdad here I come

Packed (congratulating oneself at how one's packing skills have improved - you'd be amazed at how much I can cram into a carry on case!), passport, visa & tickets checked, ipod re-stocked, $ and AED at the ready.

House spic & span, bills paid and bank account balanced.

The Sproglets have been given strict instructions to be good for their father, and warned that if anything happens to me they need to do their best in life or I'll haunt them ;o)

Right...I'm off again; BHX -> DXB, DXB -> BGW...glad I opted against the travel dept's advice to transit Jordan on the way out...

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Spent last night in the company of the first male permitted into my bedroom and on whose dulcet tones I've always hung.

Ever since I first heard 'Virginia Plain' donkeys years ago I've been a confirmed 'Roxy' girl. Bryan and the boys are part of my staple listening and had a major influence on my dress sense. I loved the whole 'glam rock/art house look' as Frosty photo albums will attest.

So last night I abandoned the sproglets and mutt to spend a couple of hours mesmerised by a 60+ year old lounge lizard and his crew at Birmingham's LP Arena. They performed loads of their back catalogue bringing back memories places I'd been, friends of old, young romance etc...really evocative stuff... Spot on in terms of musical performance, and smooth, suave and sophisticated as ever....simply brilliant :o)