Friday, November 30, 2007

Mother's Milk

It may be terribly illiberal of me, but must you really breast-feed your three year old toddler at the curry buffet. Must you really?

Still it's not just me, as Stuart so succinctly sums it up "if it's old enough to have teeth, it's too old".

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mister Pip - Lloyd Jones

A bit too poorly sick to make it to Book Group tonight, but I did finish the designated novel, whilst pouring my woes into an Ultra-balm Kleenex.

It was a promising start, but either it rather lost its way in the second half or I did.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Props Weekend

At what seems to be becoming known as the Props weekend, the Greenbelt Festival Operations Team and Programming Group met for a review and planning weekend.

It felt like a productive time and hopefully good things will grow out of it. As ever I'm awed by the roomful of people that just blow my socks off with what they do and what they bring to the show.

The lovely folk at the Oblate Centre look after us beautifully and Sally does a great job of organising all the accommodation and socialising and it's nice to see her finally sit down and relax when a few of us find the time on Sunday afternoon to grab a posh high tea at Crewe Hall.

It's the kind of place that is just perfect for Christmas decoration.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

On your doorstop

Sometimes I forget that despite working in a town that I may not exactly love, on an employment park nestled between the uninspiring town centre and a chemical works, there are perks.

Corporate membership of the gym next door, easy reach of one of the best second hand book shops I've ever come across and nestled in the middle of what many mistake for a giant roundabout, a hidden lake.

It's easy to let yet another week go by when you're just too busy to take a lunchtime stroll. The other day I made the effort though and it reminded me that I need to do it more often.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Mixed Use

"Motorway Cycle Route" - hmmmm doesn't sound like the best idea.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


It all started with R and V giving K a gorgeous set of tapas bowls. Somehow the idea was born that K and I should cook up a storm and host a tapas evening, for a group of friends.

When you're catering for eleven people, even 'small dishes' are effectively a meal each. Accordingly, perhaps we were a little over ambitious, but this is the first time K has experimented with this cuisine, so there's a desire to try everything.

After early nibbles of olives, hummus, pita bread for dipping, the dishes prepared (from memory) included: cod and tuna chunks in lemon and spice marinade, tangy spare ribs, lamb skewers, meatballs in tomato sauce, patatas bravas, chicken in honey and mustard, aubergine fritters topped with tomato and cream cheese, ciabata topped with black pudding and onion chutney, toasted french bread with Serrano ham and Manchego cheese, chorizo cooked in red wine with shallots and cherry tomatoes, field mushrooms stuffed with stilton and breadcrumb, roasted Mediterranean vegetables, slices of mozarella and beef tomatoes dressed with olive oil and basil and numerous others that I can't recall.

The sangria flowed (very) freely and a good time was had by all.

Almost worth the full day of planning, shopping, chopping, preparation and cooking.

Now I don't want to worry anyone, but we got through the best part of a litre of finest olive oil...

Monday, November 12, 2007


An excellent morning of mother and daughter, doing what comes oh so naturally.

Shop, chat, have lunch, drink wine, try on silly hats, repack purchases into fewer bags so as to reduce appearances of excess...that kind of thing.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


After September's return to Dartmoor, it's time for the other half of the deal, time for a long 'girlie weekend' with Mum.

After getting the train south last night, we're up early to head across to Wakehurst Place, Kew's 'country garden'. Being generous souls we even let dad join us.

It's crisp and bright - a perfect autumn day for a walk around the grounds.

Friday, November 09, 2007


Whereas some people's work tends to take them to exciting glamorous destinations, my profession is inherently more 'earthy'.

I know my way around the north west of England one pollution problem at a time.

So it's a pleasant change for once to get away to a conference located in the sort of city that is more usually associated with city breaks for sight seeing tourists.

Obviously I'm mainly seeing the inside of the Hilton hotel, but the evenings provide the odd spare hour which can be used for exploring.

Looking out my hotel room window I can just see the famous tower stretching up above the surrounding district.

If the conference finishes promptly, maybe I'll find time to get up the tower myself.

Or maybe a ride on a donkey?

Saturday, November 03, 2007


Difficult issues usually make for difficult meetings, but other factors play their part.

In an atmosphere of trust and honesty, tricky conversations can in fact be productive and positive.

Conversely, in an atmosphere of spin and lack of trust, suspicion is fostered and the results are decidedly less palatable.

Today is a meeting of two halves. The challenge, to transform the latter into the former.

Friday, November 02, 2007


In advance of tomorrow’s meeting, Manchester tonight is playing host to a gathered party from across the country.

Accordingly a curry with assorted folk from the region is convened.

Readers of Sally’s blog, will no doubt be able to predict which party had us all waiting...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Is there a Chiro shaped hole in your life?

Tonight is my follow-up consultation with the chiropractor at which he comes to the shock conclusion that for a not so small sum of money he can help me achieve a healthy spine and nervous system.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of time for the theory he espouses and I know first-hand that conventional medicine has its limitations and downsides (having found myself in the vicious cycle of analgesic headaches, he’s preaching to the choir on that one), but do I really need to adopt the doctrine of chiropractic practice wholesale, in order to receive treatment?

Call me a post-modernist, but you can’t ask me to be cynical about one meta-narrative only to expect me to replace it blindly and completely with another.

Yes, I’ll agree that stuffing your body full of chemicals is not a totally good idea, so why do you then expect me to unquestioningly adopt your recommended supplement regime of high dose Vitamin C, Vitamin B12, Omega 3 and Glucosamene Sulphate?

With a website that even most evangelical Christians would find a bit ‘preachy’, a CD book of his deep wisdom that I must study and an earnest delivery style that just makes me want to giggle, I’m starting to wonder if this is all a good idea.

Underlying all this, is a deep-rooted lack of comfort with health care being coupled with financial gain. His message that remedial care alone only results in repeat problems, whereas ongoing care and change in causal factors is required for long-term resolution, makes perfect sense, but somehow the use of a graph and arrows pointing to ‘decision time’ makes it all seem a bit like double-glazing sales.

Still, I guess you want a practitioner that believes in what he’s doing (and boy does he) and he seems to be well qualified and knows his stuff. He also comes highly recommended. So I decide that as long as my lack of fervent conversion doesn’t stand in the way of treatment, I’m prepared to bite back on the innate reaction to the proselytising and keep sight of the good stuff. I just need to nod sweetly along as he goes for the hard sell.

Then the bastard starts hitting me in the back, wrenching my neck until it pops and twisting my arms in ways they really aren’t designed to go.

I think he smells the rat of agnosticism…