Night hike / November

November 30, 2010

Tonight was our planned night hike for the Cubs.
I knew it would be cold - it's been freezing here for a week - but it was also snowing. The hike was across farmland where I walk Ludo. It's very, very muddy over there at the moment, so extremely slippery even without the snow. And there's at least three kissing gates, one stile and two gates to climb over.

I got a phone call and a text asking if we were still going. The answer was yes.

So, we're taking 34 under-10s for a 3 mile trek in a muddy, snow-covered field in the dark in temperatures of -5 degrees.

As you can imagine, it was bloody brilliant. I loved it! I love snow, I love kids, I love walks. And I would never, ever have gone out in it without a reason, so it was fantastic to have a good excuse. I only got hit by one or two snowballs...

This is the end of NaBloPoMo. It's been a lot easier this year, maybe because I was a bit more prepared, maybe because it's been a busy month with lots happening. In any case, I've quite enjoyed it :) I plan to keep up posting a few times a week now that I'm in the habit. Don't go away!

As per last year, here are my favourite posts from November:

Wash N Go
Eight-year-old boys (this month's finest hour, as I just know I'll re-read this in a year or two and laugh my head off all over again)
Foodie Q's

Thank you all for reading. Mwah! mwah!

Stats, stats and more stats

November 29, 2010

Tonight I discovered that my blog has stats! I never realised that Blogger apparently records all my visitors. Sadly it only records the last few months, but nevertheless I have more readers now than ever before. HELLO NEW READERS! WHO ARE YOU?! Why are you not posting comments, dammit?!

The answer is, it's probably just all my same old readers who are just looking a bit more often now that there's actually something to see. *sigh*

It also tells me where they're all coming from.

Cool stuff huh?

Um, that's it really. Sorry, that's a bit of a weak post but it's NEARLY the end of November and I'm running out of interesting things to say.

Foodie Q's

November 28, 2010

About a month ago I went to Leeds, and on the way home I was thinking about my New Year's Resolutions. I decided that in 2011 I would finally get round to sorting out my huge collection of food magazines. I wrote about this before but the situation hasn't improved in the interim.

Anyway, I decided that waiting until January to start was a ridiculous idea so I got cracking straight away. I catch the train to work two or three days a week, so I sorted a huge pile of them into date order, then took a relevant issue with me each day on the train. On my journey, I ripped out any recipes that I liked the look of, and when I got to work I recycled the rest of the magazine, whether I'd finished it or not. My train journey is only 15 minutes so it focusses the mind, shall we say!

I now have a huge pile of clippings and a slightly smaller pile of magazines. Although as Mattgreen points out, at least the clippings take less space.

Anyway, I was merrily ripping pages out the other day and I thought I'd have a go at answering some of the questions that Waitrose Food Illustrated ask celebrities on their back page. Without further ado:

What did you eat last night?
Roast chicken, roasted vegetables, chutney and a bread roll, followed by a glass of wine and some pretzels in front of the TV.
Which foods remind you of your childhood?
Calamansi soda. My mum's chocolate and nut lump cake. Wham! bars.
My dad used to bribe me to go and buy the Sunday Times for him by giving me an extra 10p for a Wham! bar. Thanks to that little habit, I have serious dental issues. Cheers Dad!
What's your most memorable meal?
When I was 19, I briefly dated a 40-year-old architect called Gerry who lived at Canary Wharf. I met him on the internet. It was probably hugely inappropriate, but I didn't care and neither did he. For my 2oth birthday, he took me to Quaglinos, which had been recently renovated by Sir Terence Conran and was BY FAR the poshest restaurant I'd ever stepped inside. I wore the fanciest clothes I had, which consisted of a Topshop dress and a feather boa (I kid you not)! That night he ordered a bottle of Sancerre, the first I'd ever tasted, and it's been my favourite ever since.
Have you ever eaten anything you hated, out of politeness?
Dry, fatty lamb chops at a relative's house. More recently, melon at a hotel breakfast. If I'd been with Mattgreen I would've spat it out, but as I was with a friend I choked it down. Vile.
What would your last meal be?
Cheese souffle from Le Gavroche as a starter. Lobster risotto as a main? Risotto is my favourite food, but somehow it doesn't seem dramatic enough for a last meal. I'm not sure about pudding either. I'd probably have crème brulée. I'd wash it all down with champagne, and have a glass of port or Amaretto to finish.


November 27, 2010

Well, I've avoided talking about X Factor on here so far, but I can't do it anymore.

If you haven't seen Stephen Fry talking about Wagner yet, you must watch this:


I thought his version of Creep was bloody fantastic tonight too. However, it is sort of beyond a joke now. It's time for him to go. I think people who are voting for him as a "two fingers up to Simon Cowell" gesture are a bit mad, since they are protesting by giving Simon money. And as we all know, Simon loves money, so it's a bit of a crap protest really.

Let's get rid of him and let someone with talent win instead. Except not Rebecca, because I don't like her. She is just too stiff and rigid and I hate the way she turns perfectly nice songs into hideous cabaret numbers. I'm going to have to fish out 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For' to play to Izzy to convince her it is actually quite good.

At the moment I still like most of the rest of the competitors, so I'm not really too worried about who wins. Matt Cardle is my favourite but I'm pretty sure he'll get a recording contract either way.

Royal Wedding

November 26, 2010

Today I was in Tesco and I saw this... I bought it.

Not quite channelling Kate.. and the Tesco version is considerably shorter (hence the jeans) and less nice than hers... but hey it was 20 times cheaper too!

Memory and memories

November 25, 2010

I ordered a book a few days ago that's been on my wishlist for months, called "Remind Me Who I Am, Again?"

It's about a woman whose mother is suffering from dementia, and it describes beautifully their interactions and the way she feels about her mother's gradual decline.

I wanted to read it because my grandmother had Alzheimers and I recall how much my mother was upset by it, and also because my mum is so scatty that she thinks she might end up "going doo-lally-tap" (her words). And I'm not the most with-it in the memory department either, so it's highly likely that one day I will "become a mentalist" (Mattgreen's words) too.

So forewarned is forearmed, and all that stuff. I've just started reading it today, and I'm already struck by the author's newfound interest in her family history, just at the point when there's nobody left who can remember it. I've always found family history rather dry and dull, and can only barely feign interest when my mother rattles on about random great-uncles. I wonder whether I will ever start to care about such things? I can't imagine it - I'd always rather think about the future than the past, and even my mum's recent excavation of various items from my childhood* has made me more uncomfortable than reminiscent or sentimental.

I kind of feel that all the bad stuff in my life is in the past, and I've really only been happy since I met Mattgreen. Things steadily improved from about 1998 onwards, and I could quite happily jettison all my memories from before that time without feeling like I was really losing anything.

Anyway, the book is going to be brilliant, I can tell because I keep trying to half-read it whilst cooking or in the three minutes before I have to go out the door. So if you'd like to borrow it when I'm done, send me an email.

* Such as loads of old photos, a ton of vinyl from unheard of 90's bands that's going to end up at the tip and two Great Universal catalogues from 1975, which Mattgreen has already ransacked for Geek Gold.


November 24, 2010

Our new next-door-neighbour came round at the weekend. She's very nice and I like her. She had the (I thought endearing, Mattgreen thought annoying) habit of referring to astrology in every day sentences, such as, "My ex-husband couldn't sit still - typical Sagittarius!" or "I'm not keen on clutter because I'm a Libra".

Today I was reading a website and this book was advertised at the foot of the page. How funny! Maybe I should get her a copy for Christmas :)

Christmas traditions, Green-style

November 23, 2010

Writing this post has rocked the anticipation up to ten! Roll on December!

Even the dog shouldn't have to listen to that drivel

November 22, 2010

Mattgreen and I are in the lounge. The TV is switched on but the sound is on mute. I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! has just started.

Mattgreen: Alicey, turn off the TV. If you leave it on you're encouraging them by giving them ratings!
Alicey: Oh yeah. Sorry. I feel the same way about Chris Moyles, I won't even let the dog listen to his show in the mornings. She deserves better.

Nine years of cake

November 21, 2010

I keep meaning to write a long and intelligent post, but sadly I'm always too busy and/or knackered. Tonight is no different, so instead I've got a cake retrospective for you:

First birthday - not the best photo but it's a chocolate number one shape:

Second birthday: Chocolate hedgehog.

Third birthday and into princesses: the classic Barbie cake.

Not bored of princesses yet, so this year: The crown.

Yeah. Princesses at age five - the castle cake.

Finally outgrown princesses - for her sixth we had jellybean invitations and party bags so the cake matched.

On her seventh, we'd just moved so all she had was a single friend round for tea. The pair of them demolished the gingerbread house:

Hallowe'en spooky castle cake:

This year's animal-themed party:


November 20, 2010

Some of Matt's gamer friends are visiting today. They like some board games, but they're also into table-top games (the ones with grass and little figures you move around) and also roleplaying games (I think this is where one person tells a story and all the rest pretend to be characters. Sometimes there is dice-rolling involved).

It's all a bit furry boots for me.
(Years ago when I played Magic, we went to Gen Con and there were all these guys dressed as warriors in furry cloaks and boots and carrying spears and shit, in the lift with the normal people, it was DISTURBING and SCARRED ME FOR LIFE. Ever since then I've referred to hardcore gamer-type activities as "furry boots").

Anyway, earlier one of the guys came in the kitchen and said,
"Hey Alice, are you going to play...?" and I said, "Yes!" thinking he was referring to board games and then he finished, "...swords and mullets later?"


I laughed nervously and he said, "There's always some fiery female gnome character!"

Holy crapola, what have I let myself in for? If I don't post tomorrow, send out a rescue party.

Lab rat

November 19, 2010

Today I did a taste testing session at Leatherhead Food Research, a nutrition/consumer lab. I volunteered because I'm really interested in Food Science - in fact one day I'd quite like a career in that area - and I thought it would be fun.

The testing took place in a large, light, airy room in silence. People weren't allowed to mess with their mobiles or talk so they had to just read a book or stare into space between the trials. I'd taken some sewing I need to do for Cubs that I've been putting off for ages, and it was perfect because as I had no other choice, I just got on with it and got loads done. Periodically a young lady would bring over a sample of food to try.

The first thing was a lemon tart, followed by two kinds of sausages. After that we moved on to several different kinds of spring rolls, and finally a fish pie to die for. We were only analysing the fish, but the chef had made it up into the most gorgeous fish pie. After each sample, you had to fill in half a dozen questions, and that was it. Nothing tasted really horrible, I didn't need to eat anything for lunch and the whole experience was really serene. And as a nice bonus, at the end they paid me £12!

Another food-related organisation that I really want to get involved with is FareShare, but unfortunately volunteering with them doesn't fit in terribly well with my complicated array of children, dogs, work and other volunteering at the moment. I'm sure it will happen eventually though because I think what they do is bloody brilliant.


November 18, 2010

I found this really cool online tool called Wordle that makes 'word clouds' out of webpages or other random text. It shows which words you use the most... and the answer is MATTGREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEN! No surprise there :)

Here's the word cloud for this blog, as of today:

The other day I found the archive from the blog I kept for several years before this one. It was held on this weird old system called Pmachine and when I finished up there, I got my brother to download all the archives. It makes hilarious reading now, for instance this:

Fri Jul 30 18:36:34 2004
funny things my daughter has done lately

1. i am talking to my neighbour in the garden. isabel goes into the house, brings out her potty and dumps it on the lawn. my neighbour sees this and laughs, "nothing like going alfresco!" then isabel pulls down her pants and takes a piss right there. errrr.... time to excuse ourselves!

2. isabel and i go to the post office in the morning. hours later we are sitting in a cafe, when out of nowhere isabel announces, "cashier number three, please!" i die of laughter.

3. isabel points at a tiny cut on my foot where my shoes have rubbed. she says, "mummy, have you hurt your foot?" i reply, "yes, a little bit". she replies, deadly seriously, "let's go to hospital".

4. there is a single red rose growing in our garden, which just flowered yesterday. i said to izzy, "look! there's a pretty flower!" isabel replied, "mummy. it's a rose."

So I took the entire archive, July 2002 to November 2004 and pasted it into Wordle.

This is the result (you can click to make it larger):

Fascinating stuff huh? The "Comments" and "URL" are because every post had those words embedded, but the basic topics of my life have hardly changed at all.

Paranoia gnomes on the loose

November 17, 2010

Alicey: Mattgreen! I can't sleep! I've got something preying on my mind!
Mattgreen: Nngh.
Alicey: It's really important!
Mattgreen: [sleepily] I bet it's not.
Alicey: No, Mattgreeeen, it IS! You have to listen! Wake UP!
Mattgreen: OK, OK.
Alicey: Well, it's just about... [bursts into fits of giggles]
Mattgreen: What?
Alicey: It's the... [fits of giggles]
Mattgreen: You've woken me up now..
Alicey: OK, OK, I'll tell you! It's, it's, [sniggers]'s about the jar the jar I keep the porridge in.
Mattgreen: [makes sound of a shotgun loading]
Alicey: [in hysterics] it's just too... [laughing so hard she can't breathe]
Mattgreen: BOOM! BOOM!
Alicey: No, it's really important! [gasps for breath] ...It's too small to keep all the porridge oats in, I think I need a bigger one...
Mattgreen: It's worse than I feared.

Beautiful Sussex

November 16, 2010

All pictures were taken this morning. Just stunning.

Eight year old boys

November 15, 2010

There is a boy in Izzy's class, let's call him Billy, who makes me laugh a lot.

A few months ago the school was consulting parents about sex education and Billy's mother was telling me that she hoped they postponed it until the following year so that Billy would be a bit more mature.

When I asked why, she said that Billy had recently learned the word "vagina" and liked to mention it loudly and frequently. So for example, in town he would hold up a skirt and say, "Mum, you could wear this over your VAGINA" or greet her as she came out of the bathroom with the words, "Here comes Mum and her great big VAGINA!" The worst part was his four-year-old sister had cottoned on and started joining in too.

I must admit, dear reader, that I laughed. A lot. It's easy to see the funny side when it's not your little darling humiliating you :)

This weekend was Isabel's birthday party and Billy was one of the invitees.

The first time Billy came to my attention was when he won a slinky in the pass-the-parcel. He got it out of the box, held it to his groin and allowed it to bounce up and down, grinning from ear to ear. I giggled.

Later, we're about to play Wink Assassin . I come into the room to find Billy teaching the others to say "ASS-assin". I laugh. Billy shouts, "ASS!" at the top of his voice. I give him a look and he whispers "...assin".

Another game played at the party was "make the longest chain of paperclips you can in one minute". Billy insists on carrying his chain around with him, waving it from his groin and shouting, "Look at my dangly bits!"

I thought it was bloody hilarious. Mattgreen, not so much.


November 14, 2010

I don't think I've talked about it on here, but a few months ago I started helping out at Cubs. I've now decided to become a full leader and it's made me think a bit more about a few things which I thought I'd already made my mind up on.

For a start, my stance on Christianity. I've never been terribly interested in religion but since I started working with Cubs I've realised that it's very important to respect the beliefs of others. I'm not about to become a born-again Christian or anything but I could certainly attend a service without being openly hostile these days, and I think I'm less sarcastic about those who choose to believe than perhaps I used to be.

Secondly, patriotism. I'm quite patriotic anyway - it comes from having lived abroad as a child. It made me very aware of my roots and proud to be British, and appreciate all the good things about living in England. But having to promise to honour the Queen makes me a little more serious about it and I'm definitely more inclined to support the monarchy than I once was.

Finally, the armed forces. The Akela in our Cub group is ex-army and ex-TA, as are many of the others I've met in Scouting. They take Remembrance Day very seriously. I've never quite understood it, but this year I've paid more attention than normal. I've learned that 11 November isn't Remembrance Day, it's Armistice Day, and that the Sunday after 11/11 is Remembrance Sunday. Today I watched the ceremony at the Cenotaph on TV and found it all quite humbling and significant. Despite not exactly agreeing with war and definitely not wishing to join the Armed Forces under any circumstances, I think that that commemorating the sacrifices of others is quite important. Bloody hell, here I go again, becoming a grown-up at last. Who knew?


November 13, 2010

Isabel, on opening a bottle of perfume she received for her birthday,

"Yay! I smell better than I was! Now I don't have to bath so often!"


Blind you with bollocks

November 12, 2010

At work the other day, I was trying to find out the phone number for a local company. I looked up their website and found the most wonderful piece of corporate bullshit I've seen for a long time.

Our Secret
It all lies in our attitude to our key policy of 'Seven S's' which we believe is the seven wonders of XXX Ltd – Strategy, Structure, and System. Staff, Style, Skills and finally Superordinate goals.

I didn't even know what Superordinate goals were. I had to look it up. I am not feeling particularly enlightened even now. Maybe when I ring up I should ask them how they are putting their superordinate goal policies into practice ;-)

Years ago when I worked at the OU, I found a website called the Bullshit Detector. You fed in bits of crappy corporate-marketing-speak like the above, and it gave you a Bullshit Percentage. I can't seem to find it online any more which is a shame, but it was brilliant!

Appetite for destruction

November 11, 2010

Yesterday, I came home from work and discovered a man in my garden. He'd moved my garden table and my washing line. Another man, halfway up a tree in next door's garden was hacking off huge branches with a chainsaw and they were crashing down into ours, perilously close to my quince tree.

I frowned.

Then I opened the back door. Ludo rushed out, barking and growling and I held her back by the collar as she tried to rush at the man. He looked slightly peturbed by this. I gave him my coldest look and told him that my quince tree was my pride and joy and he better not be dropping branches on it.

He promised he would not, then said, "Did you know we were here today?"
I said, "No".
He said, "Your neighbour was supposed to tell you".
No shit, Sherlock. Ah well. No harm done I suppose.

I went back indoors and the men finished hacking bits of the tree. My quince survived unharmed, which was good. Ludo barked a lot, which was good. And now next door haven't got a tree dropping leaves in our garden any more.

Um. It was quite exciting at the time, but it doesn't seem to be a very exciting story any more, but I am knackered and so it will have to do. Sorry!

The time is now 22.36

November 10, 2010

So. Mattgreen leaves for Newbury in a hire car for work at 5.45am this morning.
He asked if I minded if he went straight to a work leaving do in town afterwards and I said fine.

I rang him this afternoon to ask if he knew anything about the men wielding implements of destruction in our garden (more on this some other time) and his phone was switched off. I presumed he was busy in meetings.

I texted him at 9.10pm with the simple message, "Dead or not dead?"

I rang him just now, at 10.20pm, but his phone was switched off.

When do you think it's OK to start worrying? Is nearly seventeen hours long enough?
Mattgreen is the WORST for this and then he makes me feel bad for worrying and makes out that I'm being paranoid.

I have no contact numbers for anyone from his work so if he is lying dead in a gutter I have no way of finding out until the morning.

I'm so glad Matt doesn't travel all the time for his job any more because this sort of crap used to be a daily occurrence. I'll let you know tomorrow whether he's dead or not.

Wash n Go

November 09, 2010

Yesterday Mattgreen took Ludo for a walk in the pouring rain. When he got back, Ludo was totally soaked so I dried her off and left her to evaporate while I went to work.

When I got home she was really soft and fluffy. I commented to Mattgreen, "Well, she needed a bath anyway! You should've put some shampoo on before you took her out".

Mattgreen commented that small children would run screaming as a giant, foaming dog rampaged through the park.

This morning, I was on my way out. It was pouring with rain. I said, "Ugh, look at the weather," and Mattgreen responded with, "Shampoo?"

The day Alicey turned Tory

November 08, 2010

OK, first of all yes that is a slight exaggeration of a title, especially given my previous post! Over my dead body!!!

However I thought this was an interesting comment on my previous post, especially as today I want to talk about the government's new scheme to make the unemployed volunteer (without the volunteering):

I guess the problem comes from the fact that we now live in a society where living on benefits has become more a chosen way of life than a safety net for a large proportion of society... which pisses a lot of people off. How to reach the best solution? I have no idea...

I think (almost) everyone agrees that scroungers shouldn't be allowed to just sit around on the dole doing nothing all day. However, in my opinion, not everyone on the dole is a scrounger. In fact I myself was on Jobseeker's Allowance only two years ago! We had recently moved and I had had to give up my job. I was in the process of looking for a new job in Sussex and Lee-Anne told me that I'd be entitled to it as I had paid enough National Insurance to qualify.

In fact, I got a job after only two months so I wasn't on there for long enough to be given a work placement. But had I been given one, I would have jumped at the chance. It would've been an opportunity to try something new, meet new people, get to know the area. In fact I considered taking a job working in a shop or restaurant, just because it would've been a brand new skill set and really fun to do something different for a little while. I probably would have really enjoyed a work placement! But even for people who won't enjoy it, I think it's a brilliant idea. I think the routine of working is really important, I think it will give practical experience and I think it stops taxpayers from moaning that the unemployed are a waste of space, a criticism which I think is unfair in a sizeable proportion of cases.

The only downside really is that this means I'm agreeing with the Conservatives. Again. For the second day in a row. I'm trying to convince myself that their policies are becoming more liberal rather than me becoming more Tory. And even the Guardian sort of agrees.

Facebook Rant II

November 07, 2010

I have held off on this for a long time, but posting about Facebook reminded me, and enough time has passed so oh well!

In the UK, there's a universal benefit called Child Benefit. Everyone who has a child is entitled to £80 a month. Jonathan Ross gets it, Wayne Rooney gets it, Katie Price gets it (assuming they claim it of course).

Recently, the government decided to start means-testing Child Benefit. They decided that people earning over £44,000 per year shouldn't get it any more.

Seems fair enough, right? After all, people earning £44k don't need a helping hand. They can afford to go on holiday every year, have a decent car, enjoy a few luxuries.

Hmm. Here's what one of my friends posted:

I don't wish to be rude, so suffice to say that I disagree with her point of view.
I think that Child Benefit should be given to those who really need it, and that's people who are living on the breadline and struggling to get by. When Izzy was little, I relied on Child Benefit to buy food and shoes for her. It was really, really tough.

If you've never been there, it's probably hard to imagine what it's like. I'd sacrifice our benefit in a second if it helped prevent the poorest people in society from losing theirs. Why yes, I am an old socialist hippy.


November 06, 2010

Ahh, Facebook. Torn between a desire to be nosey and a desire to give nothing away, Facebook is the bane of my life.

I threaten to quit on a regular basis. I frequently have a mass cull or mess around with my privacy settings so they are super-secret. I often delete things I've said, other people's comments on my stuff, and photos I've posted in a fit of paranoia.

I also get very, very cross at things other people say, and have stompy little rants about it, but never actually comment on there.

Mattgreen, who doesn't have Facebook, just rolls his eyes.

The problem is, I like to know what's going on. I can't BEAR the thought of missing out on a party invite or a good bit of gossip just because I deleted myself. Also, it's a great way of staying (vaguely) in touch with people who you like but hardly ever see, and also for seeing pics of what's going on with them.

So I keep it, locked down tighter than a nun's chastity belt, and hardly ever post anything. For now, anyway. Maybe tomorrow I'll delete it....


November 05, 2010

Yesterday, my parents sold their house.

They bought it when I was 11 years old. I lived in it for years and grew up visiting them there.

They're not moving far, and I know it's the right call because the house has a huge garden and as they get older it will be hassle. My grandparents stayed in a house with a garden that was too big and that turned into a wilderness.

I feel quite sad about it though. I'm sad that I won't be able to take Ludo over to the park where we built bonfires when I was a teenager, and I won't be able to go the corner shop where I first used to buy underage alcohol, and that they won't live round the corner from where I used to live anymore.

Awww. Only I could get sentimental about somebody else's house *rolls eyes*

This is where the party ends/I can't stand here listening to you

November 04, 2010

Last night we went out with our American friend Oberion and his lovely wife. Oberion often comes to the UK on business and his company sorts out his hotel accommodation, but this time he'd booked it himself.

He was telling us an anecdote about the hotel he'd booked, which was in King's Cross, and which turned out to be rather less salubrious than the hotels he was accustomed to.

Mattgreen and I said that lots of London was like that, but that he'd only been in the nice bits. Then I piped up, "What about Brixton? That's scary! I can remember being on the tube to Brixton and as you got closer, all the white people got off, and by the time I got there I was the only white person left and felt genuinely scared".

It didn't really occur to me as I was saying it, but afterwards I thought, bloody hell that sounds incredibly racist.

Now, I haven't been to Brixton in years - the main purpose of going there was to go to gigs at Brixton Academy, so the times when I was scared I was probably a lone 17-year-old girl in a mini skirt and slutty red lipstick, so I probably wouldn't be that worried any more. But it's been bothering me all day. Why did being the only white person on a train scare me?

I guess it's like turning up to a male friend's birthday at the pub and finding you're the only woman there and feeling nervous that you're going to get hassled by leery pissed blokes. Or maybe it's like people getting nervous after 7/7 when they saw people with big rucksacks on the tube. Or like getting into a taxi alone late at night and finding yourself going a very strange route to your destination. You know you shouldn't be worried, but you can't help it that you are.

Working at home

November 03, 2010

I'm really lucky to have a job which is incredibly flexible. I'm allowed to work from home sometimes, I can work extra days to gain time off in lieu and I can switch my days around.

The other day I was talking with my boss about how I always sit on the sofa when I'm working at home. I like to be able to spread out all my papers and find the dining room too restrictive, and unfortunately we don't have a home office. (Maybe when Mattgreen finishes building the East wing).

Then I remembered I'd taken a photo of the monumental clutter that hits our lounge when I work at home. I fished it out to show her. Her response?

"Looks like a perfect working environment to me!"

Some days, I really love my job.

There's no business like...

November 02, 2010

Over the last couple of months I'd noticed that there's loads of sloes in the hedgerows where I walk the dog. I looked up the fabulously-named website and found out how to make sloe gin and figured I might as well have a go.

You're meant to wait until after the first frost so I deemed this weekend to be a suitable time. Lots of people had already picked the low down ones so I took my trusty aluminium ladder, an ice-cream tub, two dogs (we have a temporary extra one), Mattgreen to hold the dogs and Isabel to hold the ladder.

Off we went, in the rain, to the fields. I was a bit nervous about climbing up the slippery ladder and standing on the very top, on boggy ground, especially when Mattgreen and Izzy abandoned me to take the dogs for a walk. But it was fine, and I managed to pick loads of lovely sloes - too many in fact, and I ended up having to buy a second bottle of gin to use them all up.

What a shame ;-) Cheers!


November 01, 2010

Hello! Yes, this is it, I am officially Back with a capital B for November.

Here's something I heard on the radio at the weekend. I wasn't really listening (I was driving and I had it on to keep me awake). HONEST!

The girl band 'The Saturdays' were on Radio One, and the interviewer asked which of them was the least intelligent (charming)! Anyway, they unanimously agreed it was Frankie (even more charming!) and when asked for an example of why, this is what they said.

Apparently the band were reading Heat magazine and they had Barack Obama as Torso of the Week. (A peculiar decision in itself...)
Anyway Frankie was reading it and she commented, "Who does he play for?"

The girls cracked up and Frankie spluttered, without a trace of irony, "But how was I meant to know? They usually have footballers in there, not the Prime Minister!"

The mind boggles.

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