Sunday, 31 August 2008


So. Job interview.

The day did not begin well. I got up nice and early, had a shower and washed my hair, as you do when you want to make a good impression. I was less than halfway through getting it dried when my hairdryer stopped going HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO and started going h-hoooo-Hooo-HOOOOO-h-h-h-ooooOOOOoooo.

There was an alarming smell of burning. I switched it on and off a few times. The burning smell got stronger. I consigned it to the bin, muttering "fuckfuckfuck" under my breath.

So, I had to try and towel-dry as much hair as possible, brush it through, put it up and hope for the best.

Not an auspicious start.

I got to the railway station much later than planned, thanks to the full-on West Wiltshire Slow Tractor Driver Of The Year victory procession I ended up taking part in. When I got there, the ticket machine was out of order so I had to buy one from the little man behind the desk. He was engaged in a long, complex discussion with a woman who was insisting that she could buy a season ticket between Bath and London from him.

He was very polite, far more so than I would have been in his shoes*. His response was along the lines of "I'm terribly sorry, madam, but Bath Spa is on a different rail network. We can't sell you a ticket from Bath. You need to go to Bath for that."

He repeated that statement, varying it slightly with each telling, about four times before she flounced off.

I bought my train ticket, and the car park ticket, then had to run** to the car, dump the ticket, then run back to jump on the train. And, because I was paying for the ticket, I didn't go First Class. Ugh.

Anyhoo. FInally arrived at Waterloo, and succesfully navigated the Tube to Victoria (two trains! No confusion!), then realised I had left my A to Z at home. Arse.

I ended up asking two geezers where the street I was looking for was, and eventually saw the building where the interview was being held. I scampered along, having to do a quick sidestep to avoid a cross-looking woman who came out of the shop on the corner.

As I did so, I failed to notice the huge dip in the tarmac, stepped down the hole and almost fell over, only saving myself by doing one of those flailing arm staggers for 50 yards along the pavement. I stopped, checked for sprained ankles (none) and dignity (none), then looked back at the woman who had come out of the shop.

She lit a fag, looked at me coldly and said in a French accent "You are not wearing senseeble shoes." Bitch.

I was, too.

Anyway, by the time I got the actual office and told the receptionist I had arrived, I was bit flustered. Luckily I had allowed plenty of time, so was half an hour early. She said "I will ring them and tell them to come and collect you."

Excellent. I would sit and wait to be collected. I sat. I waited. And waited. And waited.

When there were 5 minutes to go before my interview was due to start, I went back to the receptionist and asked when they were coming to get me.

"Oh" she said "They weren't there when I called, I'll give them another ring."

Yes, do that, you dozy cow, or I will be sitting here for the rest of my life. Did she think they'd know I was there through some magical sixth sense? Fer feck's sake, she'd been sitting there for 25 minutes watching me pace around and check the time. Fuckwit.

The interview did not go well, I think. I blithered on like a fool for 45 minutes, they looked at me pityingly, we all shook hands, I left. I didn't bang my head on the wall outside, which was probably a good thing, but I felt like it.

I find out this week if they want me. I am not holding my breath.

*I hope she was psychic, and heard me saying "Oh FUCK OFF you halfwitted bint," in my head.

**Slowly, much like a diplodocus.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Things that make you go "hmmm"

So, remember how I was whinging on about being fed up with my job? And that I was going to stick a couple of job applications in just to see what happened?

Well, guess who has an interview in London on Friday?

Yay me.

Luckily it's really short notice so I don't have time to get too nervous* but I do have to prepare a 4 minute presentation on how great I am** before then.

Other news: Went to see Hellboy 2 on Monday afternoon. Loud, loud, loud. But entertaining, especially the elves. And the Troll Market. Marvellous.

I did keep thinking "Oh yeah, Neverwhere", or "ooh, Fifth Element" or "Ha, Star Wars" and of course "Brrrrr, Pan's Labrynth" but it was worth watching.

Bloody Salisbury Bloody Cinema though. Sort out the seats in Screen's a disgrace. I am NOT giving them 8 quid of my money again till they have replaced the world's least comfortable cinema seats.

I mean, you're stuck in them for anything up to 3 hours, and if they make your bum, back and legs hurt, they are really not doing their job.

Right. Bedtime. Early start tomorrow.

*Lies, all lies.

**I paraphrase slightly.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Horror story (PG)

We've been busy here today. Mr WithaY came home a day early from his dive trip to Plymouth so was at a bit of a loose end. And what does one do on a Sunday afternoon, when one is at a loose end?



In response to Jaywalker's impassioned plea, he got busy.

I married a genius. A warped, disturbing genius, but a genius nonetheless.

And, because a stolen good idea is far better than having to go to all the bother of coming up with your own, a little photostory for you:

Tralalalalaaaaaaaaaa...happy little fishies out for a pleasant swim in tropical waters, enjoying the sunshine.


And hey, here are the guys! Guys! Hi! You're all out for a swim too? Excellent! Let's all mosey along together. Tralalalalalaaaaaaaaaaaa etcetera.


Tum te tum te tum....happy as can be, not a care in the wor.....uh-oh. Anyone else feel something really big swim by?


No? Must have been my imagination. Heh. Wow, what a great swim....what?? No! Fuck! Aieeeeee! Swim for it lads! Swim for your lives! Save yourselves!


Damn it! We never leave a man behind! Oh dear lord, look at it's TEETH! It's devouring Dave! Too late for me, but you can get away! Swim, lad, SWIIIIIIIM!!!


Bwahahahahaaaaaaaaa. My evil broccoli lure worked like a charm. Nom nom nom nom.


Thank you.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Conspiracy theory

Well, I have sent in a couple of job applications to the jobs in London. We shall see what happens. I do feel a bit better about things this week, possibly because there is a huge high-level crucial meeting (HHLCM) planned for early September which will finally sort out my project.

We'll either get funded and be able to continue, or we won't, in which case my team will disband and we will find other stuff to do. Either one works for me, and at least we'll have a clear idea of what we are doing.

This week I have mostly been drafting briefing material for the HHLCM meeting.

I was in the Bristol office yesterday, which was interesting. The majority of the larger team are based there, so it was nice to put some faces to names. I also nicked a handful of the corporate branded gear to give to the team back here, so we have the same stuff as the rest of the team.

A colleague who lives a couple of villages away gave me a lift, so I was at her house by 7.30, and we had an enjoyable drive, sharing strategic vision* and planning the way ahead**.

Other news: The mole is still there. Mr WithaY and I are now being driven mad by the sonic mole-repeller thingy, but the mole seems to be either deaf or a trance music fan.

Heard an interesting theory on badger culling the other day. A colleague believes that it is already happening on a widespread scale, but those responsible are leaving the dead badgers at the side of the road "to make it look like an accident".


*Talking about our colleagues
**Discussing who we'd rather work for

Monday, 18 August 2008


Ok, due to popular demand*, I need to explain how the fantastic "Barbecue Carnage" diorama was created...

The torso and limbs are made from dried nectarine. Delicious and nutricious. The head is a grape, with pine nuts for eyes. Disturbingly, when you pushed one eye in, the other one bulged out. It was like watching a hideous low-budget horror flick.

The hair, which I am especially pleased with, is a prune. Mr WithaY came up with that. He was watching me assemble my masterpiece on the sitting room table (we don't get out much) and exclaimed "A prune wig! You could make a prune wig!"

We laughed out loud with glee.

We need to get out a lot more.

The mouth is a sliver of dried cherry. The rest of the cherry was delicious, by the way.

The scattered currants represent the barbecue coals, blown clean out of the barbecue by the force of the fatal explosion, caused by a can of lighter fuel, dropped into the flames by accident.

I like how the tomato puree gore clearly shows the terrible effect of the explosion.

I might sell instructions so you can try it yourself in the privacy of your own homes.

My favourite part of the whole event was after I had put all the bits back in the kitchen, and Mr WithaY waddled** in there to find a snack.

He came out crucnhing something, looking faintly dismayed. He held up the latter half of whatever it was he'd been eating, and glared at me. "This is an uncooked prawn cracker, isn't it?" he asked me, waving it about accusingly.

It's not my fault if the raw materials of genius are left innocently in the kitchen.

I mean, dried fruit, yes. Grapes, yes. Pine nuts, yes. Raw prawn crackers, no. They look like mother-of-pearl and smell of prawns. That, to me, is not appetising.

Not when there are prunes nearby, at least.

*One slightly bewildered email

**His legs are still sore from the sponsored walk. He's walking like a gorilla, a low crouching shuffle, making "ooh ooh ooh" noises as he goes. I have to leave the room to laugh.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Village Fete Competition

I have created an entry for the fantastic on-line Village Fete , taking place on your computer over the summer.

I call it "Barbecue Carnage".

It belongs in the Vegetable Carving Category.



Thank you.


I have recovered just about enough of my normal sunny disposition to feel up to posting on here today. I know how dull it is to read all about someone else's grumpiness, but I have been quite low this week, one way and another.

I think it's primarily work-related. I know, I know, it isn't real life. I know it should stop being in my head once I get home. I know that my job does not entail saving lives or making the world a better place, particularly. I know all that. But I have worked bloody hard to be where I am now, and it is painful to think that actually I am not very good at what I do.

So I made a decision this week, that rather than just spend the next 20 years* being sad and feeling like a rank underachiever, I will look for another job in a different kind of business area.

Accordingly, this weekend I have found a job advert I will be replying to. The job is in London, as most of them seem to be these days, but I will be looking to negotiate at least a 2-days-a-week working at home deal. I can't see it being that hard, what with the interweb and phones and all that high tech stuff.

It takes about 2 and a half hours to get from my house to the centre of London. I could do that 3 days a week. If the money was right. Which, on this advert, it is.

So, we shall see. If nothing else, it makes me feel like I am doing something about the situation, and not just grumbling.

Other news: Mr WithaY completed his 30 mile walk across Salisbury Plain in his scuba gear. It took him about 10 hours, and he was completely exhausted afterwards, as you might expect.

His feet were a bit of a mess. There was a bit of sterilised needle deployment to deal with blisters once we got his boots off, but it wasn't too bad. Apparently the worst thing today is the pain in his knees and calves** so he is limping around like he's a hundred years old. Which he isn't. Yet.

We're having a quiet day at home today. He has his head buried in his OU studies***, I've been ironing and clearing up the house a bit. When I'm not wasting my life on the internet, of course.

Apparently our neighbours with the chickens are going to downsize them to bantams. Too much poo, apparently.

What a great idea. If it catches on, what's to stop people doing it with other things? Too much poo from the children? Get a fishtank instead.


**on his legs, not in the dairy farm down the road

***Nano technology today. Maybe my life will be like Star Trek someday soon, after all.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Walk on by

So. Work has been a bit shite this week. To make a great week even better, I had a nosebleed this afternoon. Which was nice.

At least it didn't rain today, which made the trip down to see Mr WithaY's dad in hospital this evening slightly nicer than it might have been. He's been told he'll be in for at least another 5 weeks, which was a disappointment, but he was in better spirits than you might expect.

There was a poor old chap in the bed opposite who was trying to explain to the nurse that he had to take 2 tablets a day, one in the morning, one at night, and that the doctor had told him to do that himself with the tablets he'd brought from home. The nurse was not only not listening to him, she was talking over the top of him before he even finished his sentences, getting louder each time, telling him what to do.

I couldn't decide if it was funny, upsetting or just annoying.

Anyway. We had a nice chat with pa-in-law WithaY, then scooted back home, calling in at the huge Tesco in Shaftesbury on the way to buy something for dinner.

£125. Bloody big dinner.

I'm in the office again tomorrow, then am spending most of Saturday manning (personing?) the phones as the emergency response unit to support Mr WithaY's frankly mental plan.

The Plan:

He is doing a sponsored walk of about 30 miles around Salisbury Plain. In his scuba gear.

Not, and I am still very disappointed by this, however, in his flippers. No, he is wearing proper boots. And a wetsuit. And a BCD. And he is talking about taking one of his tanks*. I am trying to persuade him that he will have more than enough to carry without a bloody huge metal cylinder.

We shall see.

So. He's doing this bloody long walk to raise money to help pay for his shark-tagging expedition to Mexico in October. I'll tell you about that when I am less tired, and can see straight.

*The sort you fill with air, not the fun sort you drive around Salisbury Plain in.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Water on the brain

I can't believe it's still raining. I am sick and tired of this bloody weather. Time to emigrate somewhere with blue skies, warm sunshine and friendly simple people. Like, oh, the summer of 1976.

Drove home from work tonight through some incredible Wrath Of God rain, some of which may in fact have been hail.

Discovered in the course of the journey that my windscreen wipers are buggered, so need to get some new blades pronto.

We had a pretty quiet weekend, hence the slight blog hiatus. I sat down a couple of times to do a posting but couldn't think of anything even halfway interesting, so didn't bother. What a slacker.

Trouble is, as soon as I start to try and think of stuff to post, my mind goes blank.

Like now.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Mrs Fixit

Oh great.

My car is in a reasonably low tax bracket, I get about 40mpg and it is a low emissions vehicle (according to the garage which MoT'd it). Yet it still gets lumped into the "evil gas guzzling Chelsea Tractor" bracket by people.


So anyway. Teenagers. They sleep a lot, don't they? And they don't say much, do they?

When I think back (a long, long way back) to when I was 14, I remember being cheerful and outgoing, chatty and sociable, sunny in nature and willing, if not eager, to help out around the house. The rest of my family might remember me differently, but they're all wrong.

Eldest Niece and Mr WithaY went to Bournemouth yesterday to check out the Aquarium*. Apparently it was a bit disappointing, but there was plenty of wildlife on the beach, by all accounts. And they had a nice lunch in an Italian restaurant, so it wasn't a wasted trip.

Eldest Niece came home with a temporary tattoo, a present from her doting uncle.

I had to go to work, which entailed a 70 mile round trip in the car to the office for a morning meeting, driving back past the house, then an hour train ride in the opposite direction to the Bristol office for another meeting in the afternoon. I was exhausted when I got home.

Still, off work today and Monday, so a nice long weekend. If the weather picks up a bit we might have a barbecue or something.

My plans for today involve trying to replace a fuse in the plug of my clothes dryer thingy. Not a tumble dryer, one of those clothes rail things that gets warm so you can hang stuff on it when it's too wet to put outside on the line.

We've only had it 12 years. Tch. Already broken.

The mole is still there, incidentally. He keeps going quiet so we think he's gone, but then the next day we see loads of fresh tunnels all over the lawn.


Our next door neighbours had a mole in their back garden, so I asked them how they got rid of it.

They tried poison (no luck), smoke grenades(unsuccessful), traps (failed) and the sonic repeller (disappointing). I asked how they finally got rid of the little blighter.

Apparently, they waited very quietly by a molehill till they saw movement and then dispatched it with a garden fork.

So, maybe Mr WithaY's low-tech longbow arrow might be the best solution after all.

*Like I said, she's having the time of her life with us.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008


So, I've been to Bath today.



We thought about going to have a giant teacake there but we ate our own weight in chicken at Wagamama's for lunch, so were too full on the way back to the car. Maybe next time.

It was rainy and warm, a nightmare combination, because you're wearing a coat to stop you getting wet, then you're far too hot. Because you're wearing a big raincoat.

Why aren't scientists fixing stuff like that? Tch.

Bath is having some sort of pigfest . We spotted several.







I particularly like "Piggles" at the end there.

The one with the bandage had a little sign saying "I have been to hospital, please DO NOT sit on me." Maybe I was seeing things, but he had a worried look in his eye.

I have a lovely picture in my head of 25 foreign* tourists all piling on his back and trying to take an amusing photo, with hilarious consequences.

Other news: Remember my glorious raffle victory from the weekend? Yeah you do. When I played my guitar with the band. Did I mention that already?

Well, check this out, all you sad unlucky non-raffle winners:



How great is that, eh?

Also. Been shopping for anti-mole hardware.

The problem:



Bastards have dug trenches all over the front garden, and are now making mole hills. So, I took Eldest Niece into town to the ironmongers** where we both eyed up the handsome young man behind the counter while I asked his advice. I bought this:


It's been installed:


Having a top-of-the-range sonic disrupter in the garden hasn't stopped Mr WithaY jabbing the ground with his longbow arrow, muttering furiously.

Tomorrow we're off to Salisbury, to the cinema if we can all agree on a film. I want to see the X Files, but as I am the only geek in the house, I may get outvoted.

We are definitely going to the Thai restaurant to eat, and I expect we'll look at eye makeup for a few hours. Eldest Niece is a bit of an expert. I haven't used so much makeup since I was testing the new camo range at the AGC open day.

Oh yes. Bought some hair straighteners. Managed not to set my hair alight. A proud day. My hair looked pretty much the same, but lacking the interesting waves and curls which make it look a bit special. So. Money well spent there.

I am going to give Eldest Niece ringlets*** at some point. What larks. It's fun being a girl. I forget sometimes.

*Italian, probably

**She's having the time of her life.

***She asked me to, it's not a punishment.

Sunday, 3 August 2008


I did it. Last night I played a song on my guitar in public, with a proper band. And it was bloody excellent fun.

I didn't forget where I had to come in at the beginning, or where I had to shut up in the middle 8, or when I had to start up again for the big finish. I got all the chords right. I even managed to sing along and remember all the words.

Maybe if I get to do it again I'll have a mic as well as an amp.

The event they were playing at was in the local pub, in aid of Help for Heroes and the NABD , and apparently raised over £300.

My Youngest Sis, her boyfriend and my Eldest Niece were all there too which was lovely. Apparently (and she'll kill me for this), Youngest Sis got all teary-eyed and emotional.

I assume with pride, rather than at my playing.

We had a fantastic success rate on the raffle there too. I am now the proud owner of a funky new crash helmet*, and Mr WithaY has been given a splendid new bike jacket which Youngest Sis won. Not bad for 4 quid's worth of raffle tickets.

I actually won two prizes but decide to keep quiet and not go up to claim the second one as I already had what I thought was the top prize.

I am so going straight to Heaven.

There were some right scary looking "too cool for school" biker types there, which was entertaining. There was also a good sprinkling of mates from the village, so it felt like a friendly crowd all night.

I think the cider might have helped me with my "everyone is lovely and friendly" outlook, in retrospect.

Anyway, Eldest Niece is here to stay for the week, we are going to take a few day trips out and about. Planning to go to Bath tomorrow, so I am hoping it stops raining, or we'll have to spend the whole day in shops. Nightmare.

I think we might be buying some hair straighteners.

I have never straightened my hair, so if it looks especially fantastic I might take a picture. Also, if I set it alight and have to have my head shaved, I will let you know.

*Now I have to get another bike, really.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Moles, hills

The mole's back.

We thought he had been run over, as we found a very squashed, slightly dessicated corpse in the road outside the house. It was either a mole or a young rat on his way to watch a major sporting event, wearing two of those giant foam hands.


The front garden has an ever-increasing tunnel network developing, which is ruining the pristine loveliness of the velvet lawns.*

Mr WithaY, in an alarming echo of the grand old Jasper Carrott Mole Story, has taken to stamping furiously on the mole tunnel tracks, particularly where it looks like a molehill might be developing. He thinks this will annoy the moles to such an extent that they will go and live somewhere else.

Never mind the moles, I'm beginning to think that way.

This evening, apparently, he has been outside watching the ground, and when he saw movement, he jabbed down through the disturbed earth with one of his longbow arrows, trying to maim or destroy the little invaders.

Once again, I wish I was making this stuff up.

The moles must be thinking "Fuck, civilisation's crumbled....they've reverted to traditional weapons up there."

I might sneak out to Mole Valley Farmers and buy a trap over the weekend.

If I don't get a trap, I might just stock up on sheep ointment. And a new scythe. And some farmer-wear clothing. And a huge industrial-sized box of washing powder. And a ham. I love that shop.

Other news: Got stuck in the middle of a military convoy on my way to work this morning. I pulled out of a junction in the middle of Salisbury Plain and found myself sandwiched between about 7 huge trucks in front, and another 5 or so behind.

It was slow, slow going. I think the top speed we managed was about 35 mph. Going up the hills, we were down to a grindingly frustrating 15mph, plus I got to enjoy the choking fumes as the truck in front struggled to make it all the way up to the top.

Despite the bendy, hilly, high-hedged nature of most of the roads, some idiots did suicidal overtaking manoeuvres, causing the oncoming traffic to swerve and flash their lights. I always half hope to find the fuckwits in question upside down in a ditch around the next bend.

On the bright side, the police were out in force again with their "for your safety**" speed traps. If there's any justice, a certain silver Mercedes is getting a nasty letter through the post soon.

I feel a bit less grouchy about work too. I've decided to get a lot more assertive with people, and to simply get on with my job. To this end, I emailed one of the external organisations I deal with and told them "As from next month, I will no longer represent my organisation at your meetings. I have passed your requirements to our central strategic team, they will be in touch to let you know who can help you."

I copied the email to the strategic people (who I had already spoken to) and my new boss. By doing that, I free myself up at least 1 day a month in London, which also saves my office £100 quid in train tickets.

Also, as I am out of the office on holiday most of next week, I emailed my team with a list of stuff I want them to do while I'm away. They're a good team, and more than capable of getting on with stuff, but I feel better about having left them with my expectations.

But. Next week. On holiday for most of it. Yay!

*I told you, in my head I have a garden like Hampton Court Palace.

**my arse