Monday, April 30, 2007


Up, showered and almost awake, I made it to breakfast Sunday morning.

However, apparently the world was still spinning for one of our party.

The thought of the journey back to Manchester was filling her with more dread than even myself.

The lovely hotel agreed to delaying our check-out until 2pm.

In my case a couple of hours post breakfast dozing (sleep was too much to hope for), set me right enough to face picking up S's car from Woodborough Hall and then heading home.

My compadre fared slightly less well and I believe was still suffering this morning.

It will be that final Cosmopolitan that did it.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Wedding Weekend

Straight from the conference, I headed south to T&E’s wedding weekend.

Around 16 of the wedding party had similarly gathered for the Friday night at a hotel just outside Nottingham, all primed to get a weekend of food, drink and laughter underway early.

On Saturday, following a leisurely morning, we headed over to the church for one of the loveliest wedding ceremonies I’ve ever had the pleasure to witness.

It was emotional on so many fronts (sadness and joy intertwined), but for me perhaps the most unexpected part of that was the deep pride I felt seeing our Stuart in newly acquired clerical shirt and dog collar.

He wasn’t just up there doing the minister role, he so was the minister. Thinking of the journey that’s brought all that family to this juncture, fair made a buddy proud.

His sermon was charming, humorous, compassionate and at times gently profound. It was also suitably concise – the lad could go far.

Post ceremony we head to Woodborough Hall, where canapés and Buzz Fizz greet us as we start the reception on the manicured lawns in front of a charming wisteria covered mansion under the bluest of skies.

Inside for the wedding breakfast, the food is good, the décor beautiful, the speeches truly entertaining and the happy couple radiant.

The party continues long into the night and wine gives way to vodka, gives way to cocktails.

People roam from room to room and inside and out, laughter is everywhere, adults party and kids (and then adults) run riot and have their faces painted. It’s notable how much everyone is mingling. T&E are wonderfully social sorts and it seems their friends and family, from two continents, share similar temperaments. Usually I’m not a big fan of the wedding do, but people this was a blast! By the time the DJ (with pre-selected playlist – wise move), hits the Madchester medley, we’re truly having it.

Leaving the happy couple to it (three words: trampoline, whisky, wedding-dress), we take the mini-buses back to our hotel and the drinking continues.

Five images will stay with me to sum up this weekend: Stuart in his garb; the grins on T and E’s faces as they positively bounced to Sally Cinnamon whilst encircled by their friends and family for the last number of the night; friends who were strangers 24 hours previously, chilled out together in the residents' bar until all hours, N slowly drooping forward into unconsciousness, whilst simultaneously gently placing his beer on the floor without spilling a drop; creeping in to the hotel room I shared with oldest ‘favourite niece’ at some ungodly hour, turning on the bedside light and glancing across in the hope that ‘this time’ I wouldn’t wake her, to see her lying spark out in her PJs, but with a face covered in the now smudged remains of face painted pattern that matched her top.

Being a good room mate I didn’t take advantage and get the camera out, but with any luck the very wonderful L (who had travelled all the way from Canada to perform chief bridesmaid duties), should soon be posting a photo-story of her face paint's demise on Fresh Fish Daily. If this woman is half as cool and entertaining in her blog as she is in real life, I suggest you add it to your feed read now.

Friday, April 27, 2007


My apologies for the tardiness of these posts, truth is I’ve not been home a great deal of late and have been accumulating half written and draft posts on the laptop with no time to get on-line and finish them off.

Now I know some of my fellow blog-hobblings (term trademark of suburban mediocrity), will notify of impending absence in advance, but for me, given that any attempt at anonymity on-line is in part illusion, it’s always felt a bit too much like putting up a notice in the newsagent’s window notifying the local low-lifes that your house is about to be empty and the spare key’s under the doormat.

The downside to this precautionary attitude is that some of the lovelier of you, started to text me asking if everything was ok.

If I replied telling you that all was well and I was merely away at a conference and then a wedding weekend, you can be assured that I metaphorically trust you with the family silver*.

If I lied and implied I was at home, then clearly we have trust issues.

If I expanded that, to include passing reference to an upgrading of a security system and a rottweiler breeding programme, then let’s just say it’s unlikely I’ll be asking you to pop in and water the plants anytime soon.

Anyway, I digress; the point is I was away at this conference thing and I’ve gotten very behind with the blog writing.

Then again, given we worked morning noon and night, there’s not that much to tell you about, given a desire to refrain from commenting much on work matters (that being general blog wisdom, but also a particular mercy to you all given my profession).

Suffice to say, it was all very good, we all learnt a lot and the Merikan contingent were charming and in one case in particular, took the news that his name effectively translated in the colloquial English to “H0rny L@dy G@rden”, extremely well. Still if you share a surname with the current POTUS, you, more than anyone, should avoid calling your child Rand0lphe…

*actually that more accurately should be: “metaphorically trust you with the metaphorical family silver”, since the only heirloom in my clan appears to be a strange shaped vase that is worthless, but apparently reminiscent of a hill in Cornwall that my grandmother saw from her childhood window, prior to the relocation to London.

But anyway, that’s at my parents’ house…who coincidentally never go away and have a state of the art security system covering both the house and all the rottweiler runs…

Monday, April 23, 2007

Enough already

So card from bessie mates P&S arrives in post.

So the people who know me best are apparently all trying to tell me the same thing (although may I say again, I was not the person who bought more than one pair of shoes on Saturday).

OK that does it.

I clearly need to change my ways.

Starting from now.

From here on, I will try very hard to reduce to a more sensible level the amount I talk about shoes on this blog.

What? You thought I meant I'd cut down on the purchasing of said items. Yeah right!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The One that Got Away

Of course this rather wonderful shoe, would have been even more fabulous for K's 'Groovyfest' presentation:

But maybe £85 is a little steep (by about £80) for a once off thing, no?

Saturday, April 21, 2007


The upcoming Eurovision party, seems more than enough opportunity to have a vague celebration of a passing year and so I'd given scant thought to birthday celebrations.

Casual conversations earlier in the week however, produced perfect low key plans.

Accordingly, last night the entire Dog Collar and Rabbit Corpses household took me out to the Punjab.

I was permitted to open my cards and present en-route.

The present has already found a home in my lounge and is looking forward to making it outside for the Eurovision barbecue. He can be seen here hiding amongst the amaryllis.

If it is unclear to you, as to why a giant red rabbit is a very funny present to receive from this lot, then trust me, you don’t want to spare the amount of time it would take to explain.

Let’s instead concentrate on more important matters

In addition to the card from S&K, each of the girls (plus boyfriend in one case) had got me individual birthday cards.

There seems to be a theme. Can you spot what it is?

From S&K:

From the three girls (and U):

A top night out.

Then this morning, K and I met for a wonderful girlie day of shopping, lunch and more shopping.

My outfit (black and white skirt, with black top) and shoes (posh black heels with white trim - get me and the colour co-ordination!) for next week's wedding are sorted, but I need either a white scarf (doesn't sound very me does it?), piece of silver jewellery or 'something' to brighten the planned black top.

K is the perfect shopping buddy, she makes me consider things I wouldn't normally.

It's a long haul, but eventually we find the perfect silver disc on a black cord and a white cotton jacket (why didn't we think of that before?). We also find the perfect shoes for Karen's outfit, but do they have her size in the appropriate colour? Anywhere in Greater Manchester? Of course they don't.

However, I would like it recorded that someone went home with more than one pair of shoes...and it wasn't me...

Anyway, time for lunch.

"Have you been to a Nando's before?"

Well at least they recognise how baffling it all is for the first timer. Doesn't stop me feeling old and out of it, too many vegetarian friends to have ever made a chicken outlet a first choice.

Still it was very nice and we had an excellent chat and watched the world go by under the rather nice, glass roofed, new part of the Arndale (nice? Arndale? now there's two words I never thought I'd put together in a sentence without the word 'not' hanging around somewhere close).

Refreshed we pushed on and eventually found a cheap shoe shop that not only offered up the perfect orange pumps that I'd been looking for all day (always the last shop you try...) and for K, a pair of glitzy silver strappy heels that will be perfect for her upcoming "groovyfest" presentation at college.

So ok I didn't find the Ted Baker tote bag I was after, but other than that I think we can call it a successful day. Not least because days like this are really about spending time with the best of buddies, not what you carry home in a carrier.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

the Hamster Powered Shredder

Sadly this product is just conceptual, otherwise I'd be recommending it for a certain person's office.

Fantastic idea, very environmentally friendly, in a self-sufficient micro-system sort of way.

Mind you, I never have trusted those rodents; I wouldn't put it past one of them to piece together your credit card statement details and be off placing bulk orders for sunflower seeds on the net...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

What are they trying to say

The very lovely Dog Collar and Rabbit Corpses household brought me back gifts from their highland holiday.

Parcel number one, contained some wonderful Arbroath Smokies. Parcel number two contained this:

What do you think is their point?

Blog Story

I keep forgeting to link to this...the excellent Shaun noticed how the Blog Links in my side-bar seemed to suggest a story.

Read for yourselves here.

It does work remarkably well and surely is a good an argument as any for not being organised and alphabetising the list.

Monday, April 16, 2007


I probably should have spent the time before the meeting catching lots of vital conversations with people, but tired of always having to dart off and hence missing any chance to just catch up with people, it’s a total delight to be able to disappear round the corner for a drink with the ever so lovely Jude and Em.

Lots to cover in the meeting, it’s that time of year I guess. Unfortunately, it means that I have to excuse myself midway through the last agenda item in order to catch that last train back to Manchester. More unfortunately still it happens to be an item that I’m supposed to be presenting, ah well.

Fortunately this month the tube is running well and I get back to Euston comfortably in time to board the train before it leaves.

On some levels, these monthly meetings have become second nature, but there is still a part of me that finds it so weird that I can be in Warrington in the morning, back in Manchester after lunch, down in London just over two hours later and then back to Manchester to sleep.

Turning my phone on post-meeting I find a pile of messages. One from the lovely Steve is urging me to join him, Jude and Pip for a Brick Lane curry. I would so love to, but, whilst staying over is always such a tempting option, it means taking a whole rather than a half day’s annual leave and I just can’t spare that.

Happily to stop me dwelling on what I’m missing I catch up by phone with the lovely t’other Jude as we both sit on our respective home-bound trains. Then Sally is there at the other end of the phone for me as ever, bearing with the ‘ooops tunnel’ moments and helping the first half of the journey fly by. I love our tradition of chatting as I head home from Management Group.

Then, after a bit of work, I turn on the iPod and gently doze my way back north.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sun and Boules

S has work this morning, but given it includes the church’s AGM, the rest of us are excused.

I miss breakfast, but emerge to find P, A and K sitting in the glorious sunshine around a still smouldering fire pit.

Once S is home, we head out and walk to West Park and enjoy a lunch at the café, where everything is toasted a perfect golden brown. P brave soul that he is purchases a bottle of Diet Coke Citrus Zest – I do try to warn him…

K and A head off to catch their train home and S, P and myself wander around the park and enjoy the plant house and various sculptures and installations.

At this point the downside of ‘new shoes’ becomes apparent. Despite having worn my black canvas pumps with ankle straps a number of times previously and having walked good distances in them without problem, today they decide to rub the skin off my heels and ankles. I would post the photo I took of my heels (bizarrely the one that didn’t hurt is actually by far the worst), but it’s truly grim and some of you may be eating.

I make it back to the house where S (bless her), finds me a Compeed plaster.

The sun is still shining and P&S suggest I stay on, how can I resist?

After a gorgeous afternoon, which sees us laid out on parental cast-off sun loungers, stirring ourselves only for a game of rough terrain boules and an attempt to build S’s plastic greenhouse (which buggeration of buggerations I manage to break), we head to the shops to replenish supplies, then light the barbecue and encourage the fire pit back to life.

It’s hard to tear myself away, it’s just so comfortable being there with them, but it’s work tomorrow and so I reluctantly head home.

I haven’t even left the city before I hit a police road closure (that’ll be what all the sirens we heard were about then…) and have to divert around (giving thanks for a decent sense of direction coupled with a sat nav). Then as I head down the slip road to the motorway I see stationary traffic ahead and fear I may be about to repeat K&S’s experience of the previous night. Happily though I manage to make it out to the outside lane and I’m soon past the problem and barring the odd bit of contraflow, I have a reasonable journey back. Just time to sort myself out for tomorrow before I hit the sack.

An excellent weekend, filled with my favourite people.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


After a day in which nothing much got done, but it seemed to take a long time to do, I headed down the M6 to P&S’s house.

Well in truth, it being ‘one of those days’ when I was all at sixes and sevens, what I actually did was drive for 20 minutes, panic that I’d left the bathroom window open, head all the way back, find window closed (of course), berate myself for occasional evidence of OCD tendencies and set back off again.

Arriving in Wolverhampton, I join a small but select crowd gathered to celebrate 10 years of S&P being married and 40 years of P ‘being’ (old bugger that he is).

In keeping with P’s general pyromaniac tendencies, the main form of celebration involves flames; a lovely barbecue, followed by a monster bonfire.

Good food, free flowing cocktails, excellent company – a fine night.

A, K and myself are staying over, but S, K and the two younger Radlets have decided they need to head home (we won’t mention that K’s decision appeared to focus on not leaving the dog alone too long and temporarily forgot the oldest radlet who was at home completing coursework…).

Leaving at 11.30pm and not making it home until gone 3am, due to a two hours wait in stationary traffic on the M6, I think they came to regret that decision.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Back to the Pool

A relief to be feeling well enough to start back at the gym.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

T-rex Protein

According to this news story, scientists have been able to extract soft tissue from a fossilised T-Rex bone.

Apparently these are by far the oldest such molecules ever extracted from a fossil.

Analysis of the protein has, we're told, shown marked similarities with protein from your modern day poultry.

The suggestion is that the scientists are excited about this as it further supports evolutionary theories linking birds and dinosaurs.

Personally however I suspect it's just a set-up, so that when they come to clone a T-Rex and then inevitably someone suggests that there looks like there might be 'good eating' on a beast that size, at the resulting barbecue, some wag will be able to say "hmmm tastes a bit like chicken".

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Days out on site, can be tiring, but often they are also some of the best bits of the job.

Much of today was spent in a meeting in the estate offices (aka manor house) of a famous family on the W1rral (no names, but they made their money in soap…). This is old school stuff. The villages are picture postcard quaint and managed in that Victorian philanthropist industrialist mould.

Post meeting, we complete a tour of the area, with bright blue skies and the sun beating down, what better way to be spending the working day then tracing a small stream though its woodland setting as the birds sing and the wild flowers delight.

Even the fact that we’re looking for sept1c t@nk outfa11s and evidence of environmenta1 impact such as sew@ge fungus or that distinctive odour, can’t take the shine off the day (though I do get this image of myself as some sort of eng1neering version of a truffle pig).

It’s all I can do to drag myself back to the office and the desk full of work I know will be found there.

Working late to catch up, I also manage to grab a chat with ‘senior boss’. I let him know that I’ve made the difficult decision that needed to be made. Not a pleasant one to have to make, I've avoided it for over a year now, but there’s a limit to how long I can cover things for, a limit to how long I can keep compensating.

Reluctantly I’m facing up to the only decision I can make, things have to change. Not a great way to end a long day, but it had to be done.

Back home and a little down, my mood is broken by a phone call from the lovely Jude.

She enquires “Is it wrong that I’m downing Sloe Gin whilst cooking tea?”. To which I reply definitely not, but in turn confess “does the fact I’ve bought 4 pairs of shoes in that past 24 hours make me a bad person?”.

It is of course possible that we’re altogether too ready to forgive each other’s excesses, but what more can you ask of a friend than the fact she totally understands that it would be criminal to walk away from Ted Baker shoes reduced to £6?

And I need a pair of red shoes for T&E's wedding, but I couldn't decide which ones would go best. Still given one pair were only £10 (don't you just love outlet malls?), best to play safe eh?

And the Roos were under half price, so really it wasn't so much excess as thrift. Plus it's quite a reserved way of celebrating my modest annual bonus.

Yes, you're right, it's mainly myself I'm trying to convince here...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Don’t tell me the ending!

Heading home tonight the motorways are gridlocked and so I take it as a sign that I should divert off the motorway and choose instead a route that just so happens to take me past some shops (it would have been rude not to stop).

After getting home and sorting some tea, it’s about half nine, by the time I sit down to watch the finale of Life on Mars (the joys of chase record on a PVR means real time watching is a thing of the past).

Just after ten, Sally phones.

“You’ve just watched Life on Mars, haven’t you?” I ask, guessing the timing of her call is no coincidence.

“Ooh yes, but I don’t know what to think of the ending, I…”

“La, la, la – don’t tell me!” I interrupt “I’m only half way through!”.

After our chat I finish watching and like Sally I’m not too convinced by the ending, but perhaps not as dissatisfied.

Certainly I wasn’t as disappointed as Laura over at You Can’t Control the Message (warning contains serious spoilers!), though I agree with her that Jon Wilde's son’s theory on the Guardian website (this was speculation in advance of the final episode ie no spoilers!) is infinitely neater. Basically his theory was: "Tyler hasn't gone back in time at all. His experiences of 1973 are all too real. In the final episode, it will be revealed that he slipped into a coma in '73 and has been unconscious ever since. When he wakes up in the present day, he finds he's a middle-aged man whose knowledge of the present has been culled from the conversations that have been going on around him."

Whether it would have worked in the medium of television is perhaps not so clear, but in terms of plot alone, it strikes me as a far stronger resolution.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter Monday

With the beautiful weather of the weekend having given way to overcast skies and vague on off drizzle, we decide that an indoor pursuit is in order.

I suggest (and I can scarcely believe I’m doing so, I've so been sucked into this sci-fi nonsense), the Doctor Who exhibition at the Museum of Science and Industry.
Unfortunately, having picked P&S up from the station we arrive to find this notice:

The closest we get therefore is an Ood wandering around the queuing area and decide instead to head up to the top floor where you get to play with the exhibits.

However, this too has a long queue, comprising one presumes lots of unhappy children who have also failed to get into the Doctor Who exhibition. One can only presume that in 10 years time the scientific and eg1neering industries will be awash with new recruits who can trace back their interest to the day they failed to see a Dalek.

We sit things out in the coffee shop and whilst it’s not exactly what we planned it’s just so lovely to catch up with P&S. P’s job situation at long last seems to be resolved (his organisation have had a major restructure in which his current role will shortly disappear) and it’s nice to see him less stressed and enthused about the new role he’ll be taking on.

A little later the queue has gone and we get in touch with our playful, inquisitive selves amongst the interactive displays. The sight of the strange dancing P developed to play the harp in the ‘light beams’ section was truly a sight to behold (when I say behold, I obviously really mean ‘ideally capture on video phone and use as blackmail material at a later date’).

Escaping the ubiquitous gift shop, we head outside and given the weather is a little dryer, stretch our legs with a short walk around the Castlefield basin. After weeks away from the gym due to illness, some exercise feels very welcome.

Before such worthy healthy lifestyle behaviour can take hold, we head to the Tai Won for an all you can eat Chinese buffet (decent nosh and a complimentary drink for the all day bank holiday price of £8.50 – bargain!).

Not being remiss of my duties to my TV-less compadres, I have been dutifully recording the latest series of Doctor Who and so we finish the day back at mine, deciding what we think of the new assistant.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Downs and Ups

Here’s a tip for you, if you’re feeling down because you’ve been stuck in for days, if you’re suffering with PMT and missing your best mates more than at any time since they moved; don’t flick on the telly and start watching 100 Greatest Tearjerkers.

It’s really not a good combination, but if you do stupidly stumble into this combination of events, be prepared stand back and watch your mood plummet in a spiral of despair.

Fortunately S chooses just this point to ring and what I might call coincidence if I wasn’t aware quite how good she can be at reading me, she suggests that she and P come to visit tomorrow.

Spiral reversed. Mood improved.

Time to ditch the TV (let's not take the chance of a relapse eh?) and shove in a DVD I think. Ooooh Casino Royale, Daniel Craig in swimming trucks – that ought to do it.

Easter Sunday

Barring a visit to S’s new place last time I stayed, I can’t remember the last time I darkened the doorstep of a church. Today however, I felt prompted for some reason to do some God Bothering in a more traditional manner and ventured forth to my nearest CofE.

The building is beautiful, the priest seemed lovely enough, the service generally pretty good (though I’d have preferred a bit more meditative ‘space’ and the gender exclusive language in the intercessions wasn’t a thrill, but that was perhaps down to the seemingly rather pompous individual concerned) and there was clear warmth between the good sized congregation. Heck there were even hot-crossed-cookies that the junior church had baked, passed round.

But (and you knew there was one coming right?), whilst it would horrify me to be pounced on and interrogated as is the habit in some places, is a smile of welcome, or a simple hello too much to hope for?

On arrival, I walked in the door and couldn’t at first see where I was supposed to head. Anxious of the potential top-of-the-escalator phenomena with people coming in behind me, I spotted a table with the service sheets and books on, which had been obscured by two women with their backs to the door. I made my way across and after a slightly awkward moment, was handed a set of books, but little in the way of acknowledgement or greeting.

During the exchanging of the Peace, those immediately around me shook my hand (though in some cases without eye contact), but then I stood like a lemon as the rest of the church milled around for 5 minutes or so greeting each other enthusiastically. Outside of the priest and one other person, I was universally ignored as people passed this way and that to reach each other.

Similarly after the service, no one spoke to me and after a few minutes of loitering by the notice boards I decided to escape. It’s a very strange feeling to be in the midst of a friendly crowd and feel so completely separated from it.

I don’t think I’ll be rushing back to St Cliquey’s anytime soon.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Consumer Testing

Those lovely folk at Ocado continue to impress with another perfect delivery, all carried into the kitchen in colour coded bags (purple cupboards, red fridge, green freezer). For anyone who like myself packs in that manner at the supermarket (hey it helps keep the relevant items cold and enables their quick transfer to fridge/freezer once home. Go on, call me anal I dare you!), this is just bliss. Plus, given I tend to use 'bag for life' reusable bags when I go to the supermarket, a few old fashioned plastic bags from an occasional home delivery shop are actually quite useful around the house.

Another thing Ocado seem to do, is occasionally throw in a small unexpected free gift (on top of the regular £10 off, free book, free bottle of wine style email offers).

Generally a sample of a new product (from washing powder to chocolate brownies), these freebies are never of much value, but are a pleasant little extra (well unless you've virtuously ordered the most healthy shop imaginable of fruit and veg etc and then they go and shove the temptation of chocolicious Gu Pudz in one of your bags.

Anyway, today's freebie offering is a mini can of this:

Now my theory on such matters is well known: Diet Coke is a sign of loving, benevolent God who gives us all good things. And Diet Coke with Lemon is a reminder that humankind can f*** it up every single time.

Anyone who has witnessed my displeasure at the slice of lemon added to my vodka Diet Coke in a bar, or (worse still) has attempted to offer me Diet Coke with Lemon as a suitable alternative to the real, pure form, will know the strength of my feelings on this front.

Don't be putting lemon anywhere near my DC or risk my wrath.

Bizarrely though, I think lime (either a segment thrown in the glass, or the less common flavoured bottles) works ok.

So...what to make of this new Diet Coke with Citrus Zest?

I've been staring at it for a while now. Do you think it's safe?

Ok, in the interests of blogentific research, I'm going in...

Oh sweet baby Jesus that's foul.

Forgive them Lord, they know not what they do.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Guilty Pleasures

Still not 100% after the illness from hell the other week, I guess it's not too surprising that having spent a day in a room with someone with a bad cold, my weakened immune system said "hell yeah, bring it on!".

By Tuesday mid afternoon, I'm sneezing and snorting like a good 'un. How to be popular in an office eh? As the shivers increase and my nose streams and streams, I give in and head home early.

I so don't need to be ill again.

Sadly we don't always get what we want and my body seems to be lacking the strength to fight this off. The next two days are spent in bed with one of those 3 boxes of man size tissues a day type colds.

A particular low point has to be when, sat on the edge of my bed, I blew my nose so hard it went through to my ears, leaving me so completely dizzy that I fell off the bed.

Needless to say, I didn't make it to Book Group this week.

I did stare at the first page of Ian McEwan's Saturday for a while, but when you're ill you need comfort reading, so I confess I swapped it for a bit of Austen and dug out a copy of Pride and Prejudice. If you have to be stuck under a duvet, being stuck under there with Mr Darcy is the way to do it.

Happily today, I'm starting to feel a little better and popped out for 10 minutes today to get a paper etc.

Still need those guilty pleasures though. Maybe tomorrow I'll feel up to a trip to the shops to get Casino Royale on DVD...

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Phone Rant

A few weeks ago, my usually lovely Sony K800i mobile phone attempted to do a software upgrade. Usually these updates seem to fix the odd bug or make small improvements to the menu system. No biggie.

This time however, it had the slightly less helpful effect of killing my phone.

Despite doing all the things Orange and Sony advised, all I could get on switching on was a constant white screen.

So, off it goes to Sony's agents to get looked and comes back all fixed and lovely. Freepost both ways, efficient service, only slight gripe being I asked them to return to my office not home address, but that was a customer service step too far obviously.

Good to have it back though, it's not until you take a step back to an old handset that you appreciate how much better your current phone is.

Sadly, the return of a fully functioning mobile was obviously the cue my landline needed to pack up completely.

BT promise to look into it by the 10th (as I feared nothing's going to happen this side of the Easter break) and in the meantime divert my calls to my mobile for me. In terms of recompense apparently if I apply in writing, with hard copy proof of expenditure (great so I'll have to wait a month for my (on-line only) mobile bill, print-out a copy, argue the case of inclusive vs extra minutes in a letter etc) I can claim money back for incurred costs (yeah right that's going to be worth the time and effort). As for standard compensation apparently after 24 hours I'll then be entitled to a days rental fee back for every 'working day' that the problem lasts.

So to summarise, I'll get no compensation for losing a residential phone line for the four-day weekend.

Sarcastically I suggest that by that logic perhaps I shouldn't pay my line rental for weekends and bank holidays, given they apparently don't count.

I mean where's the logic? In terms of loss of service I'm not interested in 'working days' (though I reasonably appreciate why there will be a delay in it getting it fixed), this is after all a residential line, not a business account.

Surely no service, should mean no associated payment. Or is that just too weird a concept?

I would argue this point, but I'm stuffed up with cold and the call is costing me who-knows-what via my mobile, so I think I'll just get incensed on my own time eh?

My mobile just peeped to ask if I want it to look for software upgrades. I'm thinking "no", what d'you reckon?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Given that 'apparently', I'm not allowed to adopt some otters or even a polar bear cub, I guess I'd better satisfy myself with one of the following.

Trouble is I can't decide which.

So, take your time to get to know them, move your cursor around them, repeat click, click and drag etc on them to discover what the do, click more to give them a feed and then cast your vote.

adopt your own virtual pet!

Which pet should 1iz adopt:?
Punki the Penguin
Gerald the Monkey
Arnold the Hedgehog
Benji the Tiger
Free polls from

Btw they have rabbits (live not corpses) and hamsters that might interest certain readers...

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Cute Overload

Oh the things you stumble upon on youtube.

Warning the following video is sickeningly cute, especially about 1 minute 20 seconds in:

Can I keep them as pets, can I, can I?

ETA the otters I mean, not the 'how adorable' viewers

Monday, April 02, 2007

Baby Remember My Pain...

With nostalgia of leg warmers in the fore-front of our minds, K, V and myself take three youngsters to see Fame at the Manchester Opera House.

Definitely a performance of two halves, the second half comes to life and starts to (just about) earn it's keep, though with a few notable exceptions the vocals are still less than impressive and the ensemble dance pieces less than polished. The first half however struggled to even reach mediocrity, the plot is weak, the characterisation flimsy and the performance as thin and cheap as the red rah-rah skirt worn by one of the leads.

Save your money and get the Alan Parker film out on DVD.

I told you it was evil...

My opinions on celery are probably nearly as well known as my thoughts on coffee (both being foodstuffs that are clearly of the devil).

I'm happy to say that the satanic properties of this vegtable are clearly becoming more widely accepted as the packaging on my M&S vegtable mousaka is witness:

Ok so google tells me that some people have an allergy to celery akin to the whole peanut thing, but I prefer to think that it's primarily our mortal souls that the food manufacturers are caring about here.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Be careful what you say

I hadn't checked my 'referrals' for a while, but in an idle moment the other day I had a quick scan.

How strane think I, that someone would google on so specific a phrase as: "The lead singer and driving force behind Cherry Ghost, looks like a better looking (let's face it, it's not hard) Mark E Smith, the bassist like Bob Dylan's twelve year old nephew and the guitarist like Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's younger brother".

Intrigued I click the second google return where my words, for yes I fear I did write the above, appear in their entirety. Imagine my surprise on discovering that it's the My Space page of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstalls' younger brother himself, aka guitarist Jim Rhodes.

A pertinent reminder perhaps that we never know who reads these blogs.

Still the fact that Jim has taken my words (from a less than entirely flattering gig review) and used them as his bi-line, suggests he's taken it in good spirit.

Those Fearnley-Whittingstalls lads are true gents...