Saturday, 31 March 2007

Brilliant Idea

Current mood: creative

Was chatting to one of my lovely on-line mates yesterday and he was talking about going out to read the grafitti (for fun, of an evening, you know). These posh city types.

I remarked that there is very little grafitti to be seen round here. Unless you count the writing on bacon, of course. We agreed that the locals were missing out on a wonderful life experience, not having access to a varied selection of high-quality grafitti.
And then it came to me.

Mobile grafitti walls.....

Like a mobile library, a huge, highly grafittied wall on the back of a big old flatbed truck, touring the villages and hamlets of the area, giving the poor deprived locals a chance to see what the hip urban kids are up to. And it would change every few weeks to allow the provinces to keep abreast of fashion trends.

That's a vote winner for sure. If the local council adopt my idea I shall probably get some sort of civic award.

Currently Listening : AC/DC Live By AC/DC

Friday, 30 March 2007


Current mood: good

We have our mate Jim moving in with us this weekend. Just till he sorts out a place of his own, anyway. Should be interesting. I have no idea how much stuff he's bringing with him (Pocketful? Overnight bag? Carload? Removals truck?)or what he intends to do with his time while he's here. As long as he doesn't eat all the biscuits and take up all the sofa, I don't much mind.

I am feeling much more cheerful today, in part because I went along to an interesting meeting with a highly entertaining colleague, which was great.

And it's Friday. Hurrah.

No plans for the weekend beyond stocking up on logs and crumpets for Jim. He does enjoy the fire, and eating crumpets. And drinking tea. Better stock up on tea, too. And milk. And maybe some cake.

I tidied my study up yesterday and now it feels much more relaxing in here. Might need to get another chair though - there's only the one by my desk which is a bit antisocial. I might finish the skirt I started making months ago tomorrow. I can actually see it now I've cleared all the crap off my desk.

My new orrery-stylee windchime thingy looks great. Doesn't make any noise, so the name is a bit misleading.

Bedtime. Busy day tomorrow. Might go to the DIY store and buy green paint. If I can be arsed.

Currently Reading : Dilbert and the Way of the Weasel By Scott Adams Release date: By 03 October, 2003

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

More Top Lists (I like doing these)

At home, still feeling poorly. Gah. My optimism at the weekend was premature. I think I slept for about an hour last night, which was tiresome.

Anyhoo, I was thinking about music which cheers me up (seemed appropriate today). So, some top songs which make me feel better when I am sad:

The Smiths "What Difference Does It Make" - how can anyone not join in with the fantastic wail-along at the end?

James "Laid" See above

Proclaimers "Sunshine on Leith" What a great song.

Whitesnake "Child of Babylon" Not an especially happy song, but I can sing the shit out of it. Which cheers me up.

Show of Hands "I'll Put a Stake Through His Heart" A superb revenge song.

Anyway. I think it's time I had a nap so I can at least attempt to wake up in time for work tomorrow. Assuming they want me back.

Monday, 26 March 2007

Mirror, mirror

I only realised at the weekend that the MySpace blog I have is only accessible to other MySpace users. Which is a bit pants, frankly. So I set this one up in addition, and will copy over the story so far. Hopefully that will allow readers (viewers?) to look in without signing away their souls. Unless they want to, of course.


25 Mar 2007
Green Current mood: impressed
The overwhelming new colour in the WithaY boudoir is now pale green. And very nice it is too.
We've just watched Pan's Labrynth on DVD. Oh. My. Word. What an astonishing film. If you haven't already seen it, do so immediately. Not at all what I expected, incredibly dark, very sad, quite scary, and ultimately hugely impressive. I shall think about it for the next few days I expect. Luckily we also bought Casino Royale so I will leer unattractively at Daniel Craig a bit too. Just to cheer myself up, you understand.

9:21 PM

24 Mar 2007
High tea Current mood: satisfied
Just got back from town, after a jaunt to get my hair cut. I now have hair which is slightly shorter than it was when I started, and which is seriously tousled looking. I shall have to wash it and sleek it down later on.
We went and had high tea at the Red Lion in Salisbury. Bloody excllent. If you ever fancy a high tea, go there. It consisted of tea, lots of tasty little thin sandwiches (crusts cut off), a variety of morsel-sized delicious cakes, and scones with clotted cream jam and strawberries. All presented on one of those 3-tier silver stands. Fantastic. We sat on the big leather sofa and pretended we were guests at an Edwardian house party. And all for about 6 quid each. A splendid way to spend an hour on a Saturday afternoon.
It has also been a successful shopping day. No shoes, but I did get myself a great little leather case for my iPod, so I can stick it in my handbag without worrying it'll fracture. And I bought the most fabulous wind looks like a Renaissance orrery and I plan to put it in my sewing room (well, this room, where my sewing machine lives). If it turns out to be annoying, it can emigrate to the apple tree outside.
I need to go and get ready for the girls' night out in a minute. Well, I will walk over the road to my mate Jane's house for dinner. I am not planning on dressing up, but I think I will put a smarter top on - this one is a bit paint-spattered and now also covered in tiny bits of hair from where I had it cut.
Sooo much effort goes into my appearance. I should write a "How to" book.

Currently Listening : Strangers in the Night By UFO Release date: By 10 August, 1999
7:53 PM

24 Mar 2007
Pubs, greatness of Current mood: drunk
Aha ha ha haaaaaaaaaaaaaa. Been over to the pub across the road for a drink. Feel much better this evening than I have done for the last few days. Was really sick yesterday, slept really badly last night (felt sick all night long), felt sick all morning today, gradually felt better as the afternoon wore on, and by 7pm was able to eat a decent meal and then consider going out to met some of our excellent friends and neighbours. As is traditional in the village on a Friday night. And very nice it was too. I love laughing for ages over stuff that you can't remember ten minutes later.
Other news on the domestic front - the clever rook has been back. It's amazing to watch it hauling the fat cage holder thingy up to the branch and then eat as much as he wants, while all the other, less talented, rooks sit underneath scarfing up the leftovers.
And I am off to get my hair cut tomorrow. Big exciting day for me! Might also buy some new shoes, but I'll see how I handle the wild thrill of the hairdressers first. Whenever I go to buy shoes I always end up coming back with a new pair very much like whichever shoes I wore to go shopping. So I must try and avoid that.
Apart from that, and a dinner party at a girlfriend's on Saturday night, the weekend is clear. Marvellous.

Currently Reading : The Chrysalids By John Wyndham Release date: By 30 November, 1969
4:00 AM -

22 Mar 2007
Gah! Current mood: sick
Feeling ropy today...have a nasty feeling I have picked up whatever it was that floored Mr WithaY earlier this week. I will keep drinking lots of water and hope for the best. I was hoping I'd got away with it but it seemed pretty optimistic to think I'd escape unscathed.

Have had a frustrating time at work today. I needed to track down an electronic document which apparently is "in the shared area" i.e. the central filing system on the computer network which our team uses for storing documents. I didn't know what the document was called or the exact date it was released, so I thought I'd try looking through the various folders to see if I could find it. 6000 document titles later, still none the wiser. And I can't search on probable date of release or author's name because the storage system automatically prints the name of the last person who looked at the document, and the date they did so in the file details.

So, if the administrator has recently been diligent and sorted out the files, their name and the date they did it is the only detail available to the viewer.

So our much-vaunted Data Storage system is the electronic equivalent of the cupboard under the stairs, crammed with stuff that no-one can find, and no way of indexing it to make it easier to access next time you need to go looking for anything. Hopeless.
5:20 PM

21 Mar 2007
Spring! Current mood: chipper
Has sprung.
To celebrate I am going to drive bloody miles to work and sit in a huge gloomy office all day. Huzzah!

8:48 AM -
20 Mar 2007
I have been mocked by three different people for only having 2 MySpace friends.
How humiliating.

9:56 PM -
Nursing skills, lack of Current mood: chipper
Well, poor Mr WithaY has a horrible, horrible stomach bug thing. He woke me up at 0500 on Monday morning, sounding like he was dying (he wasn't, in case you were worrying), and apparently spent the whole day projectile vomiting. Among other things. Poor sod. I had to go to London for my big presentation so left him in bed, with a supply of water, juice, rehydrate stuff and an apple.
Once again I realise that my natural nursing/nurturing abilities are weak. Almost as weak as Mr WithaY is today, in fact. Still, he's sitting up in bed, reading about WW2 submarine warfare, so is obviously feeling slightly less like death on a stick. He has an appointment later on, and I will drive him there as I think he's still far too wobbly to be allowed to take to the roads on his own.
The presentation went ok. Nobody threw anything, at least. There were some great questions, a couple of which I was able to answer, the rest were picked up by the other delegates, so I hope everyone felt that they got what they needed.
The next time I am asked to give an "informal, table top briefing" I will laugh sardonically. There were about 20 people, a huuuuuuuuge very shiny table (so yes, technically it was a table top briefing), and a giant plasma screen showing the Powerpoint slides. The other presenters stood at the front, next to the screen, but I elected to stay in my seat for mine. This was a good move because it meant that I was fairly relaxed, and the discussion flowed naturally, rather than it being an interrogation while I stood at the front, blinking wildly in the spotlight.
Anyway, hopefully it will be remembered as an interesting and informatve offering, rather than the bore-fest I feared it would be. And, most importantly, I met my lovely mate Richard beforehand for lunch and was able to catch up on his news, which was great. We don't see each other nearly often enough - we've been friends since before their children were born, and now the children are studying for GCSEs. Frightening.
Much as I dislike London, it did look beautiful yesterday. I'm going to suggest holding a meeting in one of the pods on the London Eye. It'll be short, at least.
It SNOWED as I left the house. In March! What happened to snow in January, hmm? It was just wet and cold in town, but on the way home the snow started again. I was half expecting to wake up to a winter wonderland, but it all looks green and springlike again this morning. Just as well, as we need to order another tank of oil soon, and if we need to keep the heating on all day it'll be sooner than expected.
Currently Reading : The Seeds of Time By John Wyndham Release date: By 28 June, 1973
9:48 AM -

18 Mar 2007
Presenting skills, lack of Current mood: anxious
I made poor Mr WithaY sit and listen to me going through my presentation last night. The one I am going to London tomorrow to give to a group of Really Quite Senior and Important People. It was shite.
The slides are fine, factually accurate and all, but I just blathered on, being both boring and annoying (a rare and highly valued skill). So I will sit down today and write a few more cogent thoughts on each slide so I can at least add some value.
Otherwise they might as well just read the slides while I sit there eating chopped fruit from a bowl and peeling bananas with my feet.
Well, I have sorted my head out about tomorrow and feel much better for it. And as a reward I will play Second Life for a bit. Completely addicted to it.
Currently Listening : This Is Spinal Tap By Spinal Tap Release date: By 29 August, 2000
11:54 AM -

16 Mar 2007
Top Current mood: cheerful
I was thinking about a few Top Lists. So I will write them down, and then look at them in a few weeks and think "Nah, none of those should be there".
Top 5 Films I would willingly watch more than once in a week, in no particular order:
(1) School of Rock. Bloody excellent, and sadly enough, I can play some of the band's songs now. Hurrah. (Plus I am secretly in love with Spider, the replacement lead guitarist. Sigh).
(2) Galaxy Quest. Maybe my innate geekiness emerging, but I love this film. And of course Alan Rickman. Genius.
(3) Shrek 2. Gotta love that cat.
(4) The Castle. Horribly under-rated Australian comedy, with a superb cast, great story and some truly hilarious lines ("tell him he's dreaming").
(5) Animal House. I know, I know, a huge cliche, but can anyone not adore D-Day?
Top 5 songs I would be happy to have on a repeating loop on a long car trip:
(1) Lynyrd Skynyrd "Simple Kind of Man"
(2) Counting Crows "Mr Jones"
(3) Dandy Warhols "Bohemian Like You"
(4) Blue Oyster Cult "Last Days of May"
(5) Rush "Working Man"
And those lists will be completely different next time I look at them, I bet.
Later, that same day. These lists are compulsive once you start thinking about them.
Top 5 things I would eat every day if it were phyisically possible to do so without dying of lard-induced trauma:
(1) Chocolate. Obviously. Montezuma's or Green and Black's if you were thinking of getting me any.
(2) Lychees. My favourite fruit, but not the tinned sort. Have to be fresh. Which reminds me of a colleague who, when offered a lychee, refused in disgust, watched me prepare and eat one, then said " peel them first..." Classic.
(3) Soup. Home made, not the sort with bits in, the sort that's been pulverised with a hand-held blender for ages. Swirl a bit of cream on it, sprinkle black pepper, and voila....soup. With cream. Bloody great.
(4) Cake. And not bloody fruit cake, either. A nice bit of Madeira cake, or a carway seed cake (home made for preference). Or maybe a sticky ginger cake, the kind where the paper wrapper is almost edible once you've unglued it from the cake itself. Mmmm.
(5) Cheese. Squishier the better.
7:01 PM -

14 Mar 2007
Hump day (apparently) Current mood: tired
Wednesday is apparently "hump day" I have been reliably informed. I assume that is not an instruction. I left work a bit early to do some reading at home as it was getting noisier and noisier in the office. This week has been one meeting after another, and I feel like I have achieved nothing other than tell people what I am doing (which I'm not because I am in bloody meetings). Ah well.
Off to a funeral tomorrow, which will be tough.
The weather has been fantastic so far this week - spring flowers are here, including a glorious white hyacinth, which I can smell as I walk up the path to the house. Might start rescuing the flower beds this weekend, and trying to make a start on the great log mountain in the shed. It needs to be moved around and sorted out so we can get to it without log-valanches threatening our lives every time.
I have a guitar lesson later, which I hope will be as succesful as the last one I had, 2 weeks ago. Found the chords to Kansas' "Carry on my Wayward Son" which is great (apart from a bloody B flat which is a sod to play). I hate barre chords. Even when I get them right think they still sound shite.
Went to see "Hot Fuzz" at the weekend. It was amusing, if a bit weak towards the end. Cast of thousands. Well, dozens, mostly British comedy actors and comedians. And Bill Nighy. A fun evening out, anyway. Meant a late night though as the film was 2 hours long then we went to get dinner before flogging all the way home again.
The only things I miss about living in town are:
(a) the cinema
(b) a bigger choice of restaurants and take-aways
(c) popping out quickly to Waitrose when I forgot to buy something
Other than that, I prefer village life. Just as well, as we'd never be able to afford to move back into town now.
Currently Listening : Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap By AC/DC Release date: By 18 February, 2003

11 Mar 2007
Clever birds
I've just been watching a really clever rook in the garden. We have many different bird feeders in the back garden, as well as a bird bath. As a result, dozens of different birds come and fill up, have a wash, chat amongst themselves, do bird stuff. Generally it is small birds, what we refer to a LBBs (little brown birds). Today, however, a feckin' huge rook landed in the tree and priceeded to wrench open the cage thingy with a block of fat in. The block of fat fell onto the lawn, the rook hopped over and tucked in, making huge inroads into it.
Mr WithaY went out and put the block of fat back in the cage, then wired the cage shut and hung it on quite a long bit of string from the tree - too far for a rook to reach from the branch. We watched from the kitchen window as the rook flew back in, realised it couldn't reach the fat, so hauled on the string till the cage was within pecking distance and tucked in. We decided he'd earned his lunch. He sat there on the branch for ages, gripping the string in his claw while he ate what he wanted. Incredible.
2:29 PM -

09 Mar 2007
Home on the range Current mood: energetic
Just arrived home from my course. Three hour drive but not too stressful. Even the M3 was pretty good, so I am in a relaxed frame of mind for the weekend.
We had an incredible session this morning with a sports psychologist chap (he is flying to Italy this afternoon to work with the Welsh rugby team, and had lots of interesting stories about his experiences with various sportsmen and women). Everyone was really energized by his talk, we learned about visualisation, the physiological reactions of people to stress (whether it be lions or deadlines) and how to manage our own lifestyles to keep ourselves healthy. It was brilliant, and as a result I have decided to lose a stone between now and the next training course in June. With the stuff he showed us today I believe I will do it.
The course was very interesting, but I am absolutely exhausted now. I think I will spend a lot of the weekend catching up on my sleep and all the domestic stuff I didn't do last weekend (because I was having a great time with my mates!)
I really REALLY missed playing my guitar. I am going to have a long goblet of rock raising session later on, once I have stopped seeing motorway unrolling on front of me.
And iPods. Bloody great. One of my lovely mates has suggested I learn a Metallica song so I will download it from iTunes and see if it sounds learnable.
The weather all week has been glorious. I might prune my roses this weekend, as they have suddently started growing madly; could try to fix the shed roof; could make bread; could make a start on Vicki's stained glass I promised her; could finish making the blue embroidered skirt I have half made in here. So many opportunities. Brilliant.
Or I could spend ages catching up with mates, drinking over the pub and watching the rugby on tv.
I had over 100 hits on my blog yesterday. A bit odd, don't you think? Is there an obsessed single reader out there, or a whole load of them all checking up on my dull life. Who knows?
Currently Listening : Flirtin' with Disaster By Molly Hatchet Release date: By 14 August, 2001
4:28 PM -

08 Mar 2007
I am on my management training course in Hertfordshire. It is the most beautiful location, a huge ancient house with manicured grounds, woods, a deer park, and the weather so far has been glorious. The rooms are comfortable, the food is excellent and the ambience is like a very relaxed country house hotel. I would recommend it to anyone with a lot of surplus money who needs to have some management training.
Just as well as we spent yesterday afternoon outside, doing a series of "challenges". One of them involved swinging on a rope from one side of a "ravine" to the other. I was unable to do it, due to my crap level of physical fitness and my inability to control my own fear of falling. I can stand on the edge of a cliff and look down, tall buildings don't phase me, hot air balloons are fine, but ask me to stand on a chair and my legs go all wobbly.
Anyway, time to get going. More later.
8:32 AM -

05 Mar 2007
Packing, not doing Current mood: busy
I am supposed to be packing my stuff for the forthcoming management-fest, but it is too depressing. I have the least co-ordinated wardrobe of anyone I know, and even when everything is clean and ironed it still all looks shite. At least I have great socks.
In between ironing, sighing wearily and putting stuff in and out of my bag, I have been uploading cds onto the laptop so I can stick them onto my iPod. I feel that I have begun to master the technology, after spending several days being totally crap at it. I look forward to being able to listen to familiar music while I'm away. Not taking my guitar now, too much hassle and luggage. My lovely teacher will tell me off for not having practiced enough. However, I looked at the website of the management place earlier and all the rooms have WiFi access, so with a bit of luck I'll be able to check out my email at least while I am away. Hence me deciding to take the laptop, hence the guitar being left here.
I love technology. Sadly I am very bad at it, and being reasonably articulate, people expect me to know how stuff works. Actually, I think it's less "being reasonably articulate" and more "being a mouthy know-it-all control freak who always knows best", to be honest. Scott Adams does a section in one of his books about "why life is not like Star Trek". I feel cheated that my daily encounters with technology in no way reflect those of the crew of the Starship Enterprise. You never see Jean Luc Picard on the phone to tech support going:
"It just went dead - no, even when I switch it off and on again...what? No. Yes, all the cables are connected. I don't know. How soon can you get someone over to fix it? Four hours? But I need to print this off now!"
Doesn't happen.
And how do the tech guys in Star Trek always know how long something will take to fix? They get asked what the problem is, they spout reams of technobabble, and when asked how soon they can repair it say "six and a half hours". Even if it's a problem no-one has ever encountered before! So why, when you get a plumber round to fix a leaking pipe, he never knows how long he will be? And he must fix pipes all day every day. It's not right.
Went to Bath on Saturday with my girlie mates. We went on the train. Mmmm. public transport. People who live in cities with an integrated public transport infrastructure are very fortunate. We spent 40 minutes on a tiny little 2-carriage train, packed to the gunnells (do trains have gunnells?), people standing in all the corridors, packed between the seats, squashed into the luggage racks, the heating on full blast just in case the discomfort level dropped at any time. Nightmare. And standing at Bath Spa station was a train with 8 (we counted them in outraged disbelief) carriages, not going anywhere. Why? Does it cost more to add carriages to a train which is running anyway? If anyone can enlighten me, I'd be grateful.
Bath. It is beautiful. It is very popular. It has some fine tea shops. We went to the Sally Lunn shop and had Sally Lunn Buns with jam/lemon curd/cinnamon butter and lashings of (frozen - why?) clotted cream. This was after our trip on the open topped bus to see the sights, so we were freezing, hence the urgent need for tea and buns.
We had planned to visit the costume museum, and when we bought tickets (almost 7 quid each, mind) we discussed at length whether to get the joint Museum/Roman Baths ticket, deciding eventually that we wouldn't have time to do both. We'd all been there before and knew it takes at least 2 hours to get round. All this in full earshot of the lady behind the counter, who sold us the tickets. We also got handed a voucher each for a free drink in the tea shop, which we thought was very civil of them.
So, down some stairs, following the signs saying "to the Museum", round a very small exhibition of clothes from Nuereyev's collection, a couple of cases with Victorian frocks and shoes, a large room with some stuff chucked in it "to try on" which was more like a badly-attended jumble sale than anything else, and then..... nothing. No more galleries, no access to any of the rest of the exhibits. We mungoed about a while, wondering if we'd missed a sign, or a door or something, but finally went back upstairs to ask the lady at the ticket desk how to get to the rest of the museum.
"It's closed for refurbishment" she told us. "That's all you can see at the moment." So. Seven quid for a 10 minute shufti at some kit, the chance to try on a corset and possibly an amusing hat, and a free (pah!) cup of tea. Had she said at the start "There's only one gallery open, it will take you under 15 minutes to walk through it rather than the 2 hours you were discussing spending here" we might have decided to come back another day. Not impressed. We plan a trip to the V&A later in the year as a consolation.
Right - time to pack.

Currently Listening : Born On A Pirate Ship [ENHANCED CD] By Barenaked Ladies Release date: By 19 March, 1996
11:48 AM -

04 Mar 2007
Enough, already Current mood: worried
Today has been difficult.
5:06 PM -

28 Feb 2007
Dog, sick as a Current mood: happy
Spent the day at home after a rather unpleasant very early morning episode of throwing up. No idea why, I didn't eat anything weird, or obviously rancid. I suspect it may be stress related as I have been giving work way too much of my attention whilst at home. One of the downsides of working at home is that when I'm at home, I think about work a lot more than I used to, even when I'm not supposed to.
Aaaaaaaaanyway, apart from the projectile vomiting, the day has been ok. Kevin the builder has painted the ceiling in the study (white, if you were wondering) and the walls are now a vivid and striking shade of yellow. It all looks really positive and cheerful, and tomorrow he plans to paint the woodwork, so with any luck it will be finished by Friday. Just as well, as I have 2 girlfriends coming over for the weekend and one of them will be sleeping in there. If there's a small space clear of dust and crud so much the better.
I am away all next week, off for my first bout of senior management training. I can't decide if I'm nervous or excited about it. I will be taking my guitar for company (haven't decided on the electric or the acoustic yet - hell, maybe both.) Maybe I'll be sent home in disgrace for keeping everyone awake. Be an experience.
One of our lovely mates is coming over tomorrow to have dinner, drink beer, talk about conservation and ecology and sleep in the spare room. What larks. He wants dropping off at the station EARLY on Friday so it will encourage us all not to drink too much.
I am very pleased - had a guitar lesson tonight and can now play Ziggy Stardust (well, the intro and chords anyway). Also did a fab 10 minute jam with my teacher around Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Simple Kind of Man". Bloody excellent. He does the clever lead guitar stuff, I do rhythm and vocals. And we sound pretty good, too.
Can also now play Oasis' "Wonderwall" - I shall go and busk in Metz, where I believe it is traditional.
We were mocked by a game bird today. No sooner does the shooting season end, but our garden is awash with huge fat pheasants, striding about, laughing at us through the kitchen windows. Bastards.
I have been very excitedly downloading music from iTunes today. I think I spent about 50 quid on songs, most of which I probably already have on CD somewhere. I really need to try harder to be more clever about things. In general, really. I will work out how to get the songs I have paid for onto my new iPod, and then try to understand how to listen to them. By next Christmas I should have got it all up and running. I am CRAP at technology.
At least I have managed to get this written without crashing, catching fire or being rendered obsolete.

Currently Listening : The Eleventh Hour! By Magnum Release date: By 03 November, 2005
10:23 PM -

26 Feb 2007
Too late... Current mood: creative
I was chatting to one of my lovely on-line mates about music earlier, and we were discussing the relative merits of various heavy rock bands. It got me thinking, what happens to old rockers? Do they turn into ordinary people and just blend into the background? Apart from the varous gnarly old biker guys you see around in the summer, where are the rockers of today?
Did they all sell their bikes, buy sensible cars, leave off the leathers and swap to fleeces and trainers? I hope not. I mean, I know I did, but I want all the sexy guys who I used to adore from afar to be out there, riding around on badly customised motorcycles, still looking cool and unattainable. A girl can dream.
I've been playing Pretenders songs on my guitar and trying to sound like Chrissie Hynde. I don't, but it's close enough (in my head, anyway). And I have finally mastered the E blues stuff so can do some passable sliding and bending. Hurrah.
I went and got a cable to set up my laptop with a modem so I could stop using our wireless network. Finally managed to get it up and running but now Mr WithaY's PC is unable to connect to the router. I suspect I will need to get a seperate phone line in here and use that for my web access. Ah well, at least I'll have a phone so if anyone rings when I'm working at home, I can answer without having to scamper down the stairs and risk breaking my neck.
Was driving into work this morning thinking about magpies (there are loads around at the moment) and I remembered the bit in Sarah Grand's "The Beth Book" where the child Beth's pet jackdaw is stoned to death by her superstitious neighbour. She responds by cursing him eloquently and at great length, putting a great fear into him. It's a superb book but so sad that I can't bear to read it too often. Every stage of her life is full of a different type of loss and loneliness, and sometimes it is almost unbearable. I love Victorian novels.
Well, bedtime, I think.
I have had almost a hundred hits on my blog. Who???

Currently Listening : The Singles By The Pretenders Release date: By 25 October, 1990
10:28 PM -

25 Feb 2007
Sunday, bloody Sunday Current mood: calm
Been awake for about an hour after a surprisingly good night's sleep, despite my irrational werewolf-related fears. It's nice to have friends who can help out with these things.
I am still thinking about the cockup at work, which more than likely is the reason for a rather stressy evening yesterday. I will be very good today and do lots of practical stuff so I think about things differently.
Thankfully it has stopped raining - the river is really high again which is slightly worrying. All our neighbours say it's never flooded in the last 30/40/50 years, but things change so much. New buildings go up, old trees come down, water tables change, and before you know it you're fishing sofas out of the weir. Still, short of building a line of flood defences across the village, there's not a lot we can do about it. And the sun is shining today, which makes the river look beautiful, despite the size and speed of it at the moment.

Currently Listening : This Perfect World By Freedy Johnston Release date: By 28 June, 1994
10:13 AM -

23 Feb 2007
Friday on my mind Current mood: disappointed
Another week over. Bloody awful afternoon at work...and it had all seemed to be going so well. Finished my draft presentation yesterday, emailed it to work from home, logged in this morning, no email from home. Arse. So I did it all again in double quick time (lucky for me I'd spent so long on it and could remember it). Anyhoo, showed my boss and colleague who both said it was fine (with a bit of minor tweaking), showed it to another colleague who horrified me by saying he'd already presented most of that material to the same meeting I am going to, and that I was supposed to be covering a very different issue. I made goldfish faces for a bit, then made the changes my boss had suggested and went home. We can sort it on Monday. Gaaah.
As a result, I got home late with only 15 minutes before my guitar lesson, got changed, set up the guitar and amp and had a nice cup of tea before my lovely teacher arrived. We then spent a happy hour playing all kinds of stuff and it cheered me up no end. I can now play Rainbow's "Since You've Been Gone", although not with power chords.
And I have the whole weekend ahead of me. Yahoo. I plan a soup making session tomorrow. A domestic goddess, me. Maybe an evil one.

Currently Listening : The Definitive Collection By Whitesnake Release date: By 07 February, 2006
10:47 PM -

22 Feb 2007
Rain. Gah. Current mood: stressed
Well, after yesterday's glorous weather, February has returned with a vengeance once more. On the plus side, it means that the very helpful builder has turned up to do our stuff as he can't work outside today. So I am at home again (the team must think I've given up full time work in the office), giving helpful advice and suggestions to Kevin the builder. Which he's enjoying so much he's gone to sit outside in his van.
My big presentation is giving me nightmares. It's ridiculous, I know. I'll be talking about a subject I am familar with, to an audience who have ASKED me to be there, and I only have to talk for 10 minutes. But it matters, and I need to get it right, hence the nightmares. I will have a decent draft ready by the end of the day and Mr WithaY has kindly agreed to go over it for obvious flaws and omissions. And my colleague will do the same tomorrow, so it's not like I'm doing it all alone.
I have a guitar lesson tonight as well to look forward to, so things ain't so bad.
Later, that same day.
Guitar lesson got cancelled, so I am a bit grouchy now. My fault, as we had to go out and buy paint (for the builders) hence wouldn't be back in time. And my gorgeous teacher is coming tomorrow instead. I want to go and see his band on Saturday at a local pub.
I was NOT successful in the work arena. My slides are still only in a very rough state, and I am disappointed in myself. I will have to put in a huge effort tomorrow (after my big meeting) to get them together. It's my own fault, so I can't complain. Not that it'll stop me.
I think I'll try and get an early night and will maybe feel better in the morning.
On a brighter note, it looks like one of our mates is moving in with us for a couple of months, which will be fun. I hope so, anyway. Last mate we had to live here for "a few weeks" was here for 6 months, but I really enjoyed having him here.

Currently Listening : Freedom By Neil Young Release date: By 20 September, 1989

21 Feb 2007
Sunshine of my life Current mood: cheerful
Woke up today to brilliant sunlight for the first time in months, it seems. All very lovely, but now I can hardly see my screen so will have to relocate to a different room to get any work done.
Am very excited today. Had a call last night from the man who's coming to fit a landline in my study and he might be here on Thursday. Tomorrow. I might have a decent internet connection up and running by the weekend. Which should be a massive improvement. He's also going to do some painting and decorating so now we have to shift everything out of Mr WithaY's study so it can be cleaned up and made gorgeous. I foresee a weekend of furniture logistical complications, followed by a few days of unbearable chaos, followed by huge satisfaction and smugness once it's all finished. It will be great. And then there's are only a couple of rooms left to do, and the house is completely redecorated.
Well, when I say "redecorated" I mean "partially demolished, stripped down to the bare bones, new heating system, new windows, repaired roof, new electrics, new bathroom, new kitchen AND redecorated". I wish we'd taken more pictures of the place before we made it so nice. It's easy to forget how awful it used to be, and just see the minor things which need fixing now.
Anyway. Once the house is finished we shall move on to the garden, and get the old broken patio taken up and a lovely new one built instead. I have big plans, but they can wait a while, till we find a garden design/builder we like (and have saved up the money to pay them!) Once we start on that, I think the drive and all the paths will have to be replaced as well, and it will be a huge job. So best to get everything else fixed first.
Well, better get on with my powerpoint presentation. It's what they pay me for, after all, and without that, nothing will get done on the house EVER again.

Currently Listening : Absolution By Muse Release date: By 23 March, 2004
9:20 AM -

19 Feb 2007
Monday Monday Current mood: tired
It is far too late to be sitting up doing this - I should be in bed by now. Still, another Monday over after a very nice weekend. Work was less tiresome than I had anticipated, given that it was an all-day management accountancy training session.
As it's half term, the roads were remarkably clear, allowing a nice swift journey home from work tonight, followed by half a dozen phone calls and a lot of catching up on line.
And now it's time to go to sleep.
Currently Listening : A Farewell to Kings By Rush Release date: By 06 May, 1997
11:16 PM -

18 Feb 2007
Weekend stuff Current mood: cheerful
Been hosting my lovely mum all weekend, and helping her celebrate her birthday. It's been great having some time to spend together - we don't see enough of one another. I'll take her home later today, and am then staying over at a great mate's house till tomorrow which saves me a big chunk of driving (plus I get to see my mate, which is very nice).
It's been a quiet few days, although Friday was hectic at work. I seemed to spend all day in meetings which were unscheduled, so didn't manage to clear many of the items off my "to do" list. I plan to work at home on Tuesday to help me clear the backlog a bit. Once the team gets settled in the new floorplate we're all going to have to work at home more regularly as there are 12 of us and only 9 desks. Progress. Marvellous. I have an all-day acountancy training session on Monday. Be still my beating heart.
Events of note over the weekend so far:
Made a fantastic steak and kidney pie. Hurrah for my domestic goddess-like abilities.
Managed to play the riff for Sweet Home Alabama properly so it actually sounded like it ought to.
Remembered how to play the E Blues scale and did a bit of messing about with that, which I enjoyed. Slid up and down the strings till my fingers went numb. So rock and roll.
Had a bit of a disaster this morning. Was trying out the gorgeous sparkly body powder my sister gave me for my birthday - one of those little pots with a puff in it you use to dab it all over yourself like a 1950s film star. Anyway....I couldn't seem to get much powder on the puff so pressed it into the box *slightly* harder than I should have. There was a brief moment where I though "oops", a sensation of release as the inner bit of the box gave way, then eveything went white and sparkly.
Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING was covered. Me (I looked like an Eightenth Century French courtesan), my freshly-washed hair, the floor, the bed, the walls....everything. So, I washed myself off, vacuumed, brushed, and succeeded in getting most of it up, but when the sun shines into the bedroom it looks a bit like a fairy princess' boudoir - all twinkly.
Looking forward to a week of triumph and delight. And now it's the Year of the Pig, apparently. With twinkles.

Currently Reading : The Dilbert Future: Thriving on Business Stupidity in the 21st Century By Scott Adams Release date: By 01 November, 1998
1:56 PM -

14 Feb 2007
Happenstance Current mood: tired
Well, today has been constructive, if a bit tiring. Had a poor night's sleep but was able to lie in bed a little later than usual as I didn't have to flog all the way to the office.
Made loads of useful calls all morning, Had the bloke come round to look at the building work we're having done, arranged to get the drain man here tomorrow. And managed to get the cleaning done AND make a cracking start on my big presentation.
So hurrah for me, and my successful (if domestic) day.
And now I am playing my guitar, trying to improve my E Blues scale and riffs.
Currently Listening : Chase the Dragon By Magnum Release date: By 03 November, 2005
9:15 PM -

13 Feb 2007
First post, as opposed to the last one Current mood: tired
I always thought people who wrote blogs were saddoes, with no lives. And now I know. They are. And I'm one of them.
Today has been unremittingly grey, rainy, dull, warm, oddly for early February. Another polar bear bites the dust. Work was productive even though I still have a bad back and make distressing "oof" noises when standing or sitting. My colleagues showed their support by taking the piss and mocking the afflicted.
I still feel stressed about a few work issues but nothing serious, and I have arranged to work at home tomorrow to give me some thinking space. Plus it means I can eat lovely home made soup for lunch and wear my slippers all day. Marvellous.
I am so middle aged it's not true. Hurrah.
Currently Listening : Unplugged By Eric Clapton Release date: By 25 August, 1992