Sunday, 29 November 2009


Remember I told you about the glorious prize Mr Withay and I were awarded?  For our sterling efforts to introduce vegetable-based art to a wider audience? 

Yeah you do.

Anyway, here it is.  I ought to have provided a small red velvet cushion for it to rest on, and a series of artful, moody, backlit pictures by a professional photographer.  You will have to make do with the blurry amateur shots I have provided you with.  Hey, at least I didn't use my phone to take them. 

You're welcome.

Ooh, glitter!  All snowy and seasonal and beautiful!  But wait...what's that little object in the middle?  Wait for the swirling loveliness to subside.....

It's Belgium's most famous cultural artefact, of course, as befits a prize from Belgian Waffle.  Someone peeing.  In a glitter snowstorm.  Must be like being at a trippy 1960s music festival, in there. 

And there it is again, without the peeing.   Lovely.

Other news:  Went to see the family yesterday down at my lovely Mum's house.  We drove all the way through End of the World rain, which then kindly held off for much of the day, waiting only for us to begin our homeward trip. 

The floods!  The water running down the roads!  The spray on the motorway! 

It was all a bit scary, and once again I was glad I have a four by four with big chunky tyres.  Sod the enviroment.  When we drove through Salisbury at about 6pm, the water was gushing up through the roadside drains like fountains.  One particularly hardworking drain had a vertical surge of about 2 feet going on.  It would have been pretty if it hadn't been a sign of ground waterlogging, drain fullness and imminent flooding. 

We made it home safe and sound, although it took longer than usual, and there were several "spla-dooosh" moments.

Whilst down at Mum's, we went to the Christmas tree festival in her church.  They also had a temporary ice rink in there as part of the event.  The younger nieces and nephews flung themselves onto it with abandon.  It was great to see how they started off nervous, and gradually got more and more confident. 

Youngest Nephew was running at top speed round it on his skates after a few minutes.   Most entertaining. 

I liked the fact that the ice rink was sponsored.

And the church itself looked lovely.  Each tree was sponsored by a group or organisation, each one was decorated differently, and the individual and overall effect was impressive. 

These were taken on my phone, so apologies for the poor quality.  

Today I am mostly listening to music and keeping warm, as the weather is still shite.  Mr WithaY has ventured out in his Landrover, so hopefully will survive the floods, holes in the road and unexpected badger setts.  I once expressed concern at the size of the holes he was bumping through as we traversed a section of not-quite road.

"Please try to avoid the really big holes" I whined, fingers gripping the dashboard as my head richoched off the roof.

"I am!"

"No you aren't!  That one was HUGE!  It made me leave the seat entirely."

"No it wasn't....the really big ones are the ones that the whole truck fits in."

Apparently, in the past, people have been known to drive into what looks like a reasonable-sized crater, then the vehicle drops right into it and is effectively wedged into place and has to be dug and/or towed out.  Mr WithaY keeps an entrenching tool in the back of his Landrover for this very purpose.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Travellers' tales

I'm still afflicted with Lurgy.

Bloody London germs, with their sneaky infectious ways. In general, I am careful about avoiding people who are obviously know, covered in boils and scabs and oozing pustules.  Also about washing my hands before I eat anything, and not licking the handrails on the Underground escalators, but you can't be too careful, it seems.

It seems to be passing off a bit, but I had a high temperature for a couple of days (and nights) and a headache which has only just eased off. I feel wiped out, tired, weepy, listless and grumpy. I must be a joy to be around.

As I am feeling less pathetic than I have been since the weekend, here are some pictures of London. Mostly taken from high up in the London Eye, which was most impressive. It's a fantastic bit of engineering.

There were no creepy blokes clinging to the outside asking us if we wanted to go faster, which was disappointing.  I'd have thought they'd have at least spun the car around a few times to make us scream. 

I was intrigued by this sign:

I like to wonder how many times they had visitors plummeting past the security guards before they thought "We really must put a sign on those doors."

It is especially pleasing that DO NOT is underlined for added emphasis.  Is that in case you aren't sure why they are telling you not to lean on the doors as you slowly rise hundreds of feet above the river?  And, I note,  the sign is only in English.  Is that because other nationalities are less likely to lean on the door? Or do the London Eye health and safety team simply not care about non-English speakers? 

We must know.

Anyhoo, we were bloody high up.  Look:

That's Waterloo station, from a million feet up.

Houses of Parliament.  If you look carefully you can see the police raiding MPs' offices for evidence to pass to the CPS.

We also went to the Aquarium, which I enjoyed far more than I expected to.  I even managed to do the Shark Walk.  No, not a dance where you wriggle on the floor and bite the furniture.  It was a suspended platform with a glass floor that you walk across, above this:

It's a bit blurry because NO FLASH.  But that's a shark in there.  Yep, a shark.  There were several others too.  And I walked over their heads.  Ha!

I was very taken with the Ray Pool, too.  Look:

They* were playing tranquil music, and we stood and watched the fish in there for ages. 

Some of them stuck their noses up out of the water, which was interesting to see. People leant in and petted them, despite the many signs saying "Do not pet the fish."  I didn't. 

It was a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours.

The Natural History Museum was a zoo, ironically. 

We sped through the minerals gallery and looked unsuccessfully for the giant tree thingy, but eventually the hordes of proles with squealing howler monkey offspring drove us back out into the rain.  Bastards. 

I tell you what though, I couldn't live there.  London is great to visit but the traffic!  The crowds!  The sheer balls-ache of trying to get anywhere if you aren't near a Tube station.  Gah.  Sod that. 

I'd rather be here, where even though you get stuck behind tractors and run off the road by combine harvesters and delayed by herds of cows, you can at least get from A to B without having to reverse the entire length of a street because there isn't room for two cars to pass**.

*The Aquarium people, not the fish.  I'd have paid extra to watch the fish playing ambient chillout music. 

**Although to be fair sometimes you have to reverse all the way back down a little windy lane to let a big oil tanker truck get past. 

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Fancy London ways

So, the weekend in London. Away from home, and out in the big city and all that. How was it? What did we do? What did we think of it? Was it fun?

Well, I jotted down a few points to bear in mind for the future:

1) Taxis are not cheap. Even for short journeys. Seriously. You will need far more cash than you think you will.

2) When booking a hotel online, do NOT be fooled by the short-looking distance it is from Waterloo on the map. It will in fact be fucking miles away and cost you a fortune in taxis. (See point 1.) Remember, London is much, much bigger than you think, so places can be a long way apart and yet, strangely, still be in London. It's not like Wiltshire, where there are large swathes of greenery to let you know when one place ends and another begins.

3) Check the location of Tube stations relative to the hotel. If there are no Tube stations within quarter of a mile, stay somewhere else, or Point 1 will apply. Do NOT imagine that you will walk everywhere. You don't know the area, or the way to where you are going, and anyway it will rain.

4) London is crowded. Expect this. Do not give in to the desire to fling slow-walking tourists off Westminster Bridge into the river when they impede your progress. By all means imagine doing it, and add hilarious sound effects at the same time. Do not, however, allow this to become reality.

5) If it starts raining, and it will, the Natural History Museum will be full of families trying to avoid getting wet. Do not allow this to provoke you into unbecoming displays of outrage as the children shriek and gibber like howler monkeys around the dinosaur skeletons.

6) When you tell the taxi driver (see point 1) where you want to go, and he then takes you somewhere completely different, many miles away, do not get out of the cab. Simply reiterate where you want to go, as you told him at the start of your marathon cross-London journey. Give him the exact postcode to programme into his SatNav system, then sit in silence in the back till you arrive at the correct destination. Pay him a reasonable amount and make a mental note not to use that cab firm again. A magical white London cab* will appear at the right moment to take you home. Yes it will. You just have to believe it will.

You're welcome.

We went on the London Eye (so high!  So many short, squat,  loud Northern women pointing out the restaurant where they had lunch yesterday, just there, just off the edge of Trafalgar Square, look, there, see it?). 

We went to the Aquarium (sharks!  So many fish of many different colours!  So many dark corridors and small children to fall over as they blunder about, their parents transfixed by the fish.) 

We went to the Natural History Museum, where we saw the ice rink out the front and admired the huge collection of sparkly, sparkly stones (so many Christmas present ideas!)

We went for a splendid dinner on Friday night at China Boulevard, overlooking the river, with a huge screen showing Celine Dion live in Las Vegas behind us.  That was odd, but we put up with it because the food was great.  Except for the chicken curry dish.  That was weird and a bit crap, frankly, but everything else was excellent. 

We had booze!  At lunchtime! Unheard of, when you usually have to drive everywhere.  Marvellous. 

I took photos, oh so many photos, and will post some up here when I am feeling less feverish and rubbish. Because, yes! I have picked up a fancy big city Lurgy of some sort. Spent most of last night alternating between sweating profusely (usually I don't sweat much for a fat lass), and shivering as if I was in a homemade hut in the Arctic tundra, with Ray Mears mocking me from his cosy warm three bedroom semi-detached moss-lined palace.

So bollocks to London germs.

Other than that, a splendid time was had by all. The blogger/Twitter party thing on Saturday was fun. Met many lovely people, ate a million bits of chicken, drank a lot of not half bad fizz and laughed a lot. We could have done with little name badges though.

It was a bit disheartening to introduce myself to people and then watch them school their expression of "Who? I've never read a single word you've written," into "Ah yes, how charming to meet you at last."

Oh, and we got prizes! For one of the entries we submitted to the virtual Village Fete. Sadly, I have no idea which one was deemed worthy of a prize, but hey, we got a lovely** trophy and some posh Belgian chocs, so yay for us.   It might even have been for this, but I doubt it.  Or maybe this.

We need to get out more.  Lordy.   

*They are like the unicorns of the city, and only appear to the pure of heart. Mr WithaY can whistle them up like nobody's business.

**I will post a picture so all may admire its loveliness.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Town mice

We're on holiday! In London! It's very exciting.

Mr WithaY and I are in exotic Wandsworth, enjoying the glamour and thrills. Today we are heading all the way (and it's a bloody long way) back to the centre because we plan a trip on the London Eye. The Aquarium is getting a visit too, we may pop over to Chinatown, Covent Garden or maybe trawl through a museum.

The day is our own. How marvellous.

Oh, and we found a superb Chinese restaurant last night.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Hidden agenda

There's been a lot of fuss* in the press this week about a shocking survey which claims that most working mothers only have nine recipes in their regular repertoire. 

Even more dreadful, they sometimes cook the same meal on the same night of the week.  How do these people live with themselves?  Their families must be rending their garments and crying in the wilderness at the pain and woe caused by having the same meal on the same night of the week.

But hang on a minute.

Let's have a think.  How do they define "meal" anyway?  One of the press pieces I saw covering this scandal listed the "Top Ten Meals." The list included things like "Curry", and "Meat and Two Veg" and "Roast Dinner".

If I was in a restaurant and the menu said "Roast Dinner" I think I'd be asking a few questions.  What exactly did you roast?  Is it chicken?  Pork?  Beef?  Snake?  Cat?  A bit more detail would be welcome there, thanks. 

The same with Meat and Two Veg.  That, to me, covers about four hundred different meals.  Especially if you include sausages. Which I do.

Curry.  Just look at a menu in any half decent Indian restaurant.  If there was just the one entry - Curry -  they wouldn't get too many people coming back for a second visit.  Unless that one dish was incredibly fantastic, I suppose.

When you look at the actual survey results and the accompanying press release, it transpires that the whole thing emanated from Uncle Ben's.

It seems to be ok to have a small repertoire of meals, as long as some of them include ready-made sauces.

I quote:  

"Nutritionist, Juliette Kellow said: ''Parents should feel reassured that kitchen shortcuts like ready-made sauces are the perfect solution to expanding your repertoire with exciting and nutritious meals all the family will love.'' "

But where, oh where can I find a selection of ready-made sauces?   Tell me, Uncle Ben! 


Other news: We have a gardener! Yes, the Servant Question became more complicated today, as we added him to the long list** of people we pay to come and do stuff for us.

He is a very nice chap, and is going to give our poor old gnarly apple tree in the back garden a good hard pruning. He looked at my horrible weedy overgrown flower beds, at the ivy-infested hedge encroaching out across the mossy lawn, at the sad excuse for a vegetable patch, then asked me, "Shall I just come in and do what needs doing when I have time?"

God, yes. Yes. Come over whenever you can, and make my garden look nice. PLEASE. 

We've been putting off doing any kind of serious work on the garden because we want to get all the hard landscaping torn up and re-laid, so spending ages on the plants seemed like a waste of time. However, the gradual decline of the garden into a dank, frog-infested, weedy, mossy wilderness has become too depressing, so the very nice gardener is going to help us fix it.

I'm quite excited actually.

We've been living in this house almost 8 years (I think) and have been gradually getting all the serious stuff done - electrics, roof fixing, central heating, replacement windows and doors, bathroom, kitchen, all that, but now the house is more or less finished, so we can turn our attention to the extensive grounds***.

Next Spring could be very lovely. And boy, it's nice having something so pleasant to look forward to after this, The Year of Unmitigated Shit.

On that note, for those of you who have been bored witless by us talking about the SSFH****, we have had an apology.  And we are being deleted from the databases.  I should fucking well think so. 

Maybe one day when I find it all less horrific, traumatic and heartbreaking I will talk about it on here.  For now, though, we are trying to move on. 

In the meantime, life goes on and we will have flowers in the Spring.   

*I've seen two articles

**The hilarious and brilliant cleaners. And I suppose Kevin the Decorator.

***Front and Back gardens. Oh, and the bit on the side. Fnar.

****Shit Storm From Hades

Monday, 16 November 2009

Less is more

Still alive, not having been electrocuted by the wild sparking power line of doom over the weekend!  Hurrah! 

We drove up to see our lovely mates in Gloucester on Saturday morning, rather than on Friday night, as originally planned.  Apparently there were trees down all over the place, and floods, and all sorts.  We decided that trying to navigate all that lot in the dark was a bad idea, and it was more sensible to wait till daylight.  Saturday and Sunday were spent in the company of great friends, fine food and the rugby.  Marvellous.

Today, as is traditional these days, I was up in London for work.  After a refreshing four hours sleep, waking at 3.30am, then dozing, waking up with a start to look at the time, dozing some more, and finally getting up ten minutes before the alarm went off, I was shagged* by the time I got to the office.  A long day of meetings, climaxing in a load of complicated emails to write and send before I went home meant that I was in tip-top sparkling form for the train journey. 

The woman sat next to me was making notes on some industrial tribunal case (I gathered this from the bits I read sneakily while she wasn't looking), so if you are taking your boss to court after being a whistleblower, you might want to ask your legal team if they are in the habit of  doing their homework on the train of a night.

But that's not what I wanted to talk about today.  Oh no.  Much more serious matters are filling my head this evening.

A conversation in the pub on Friday night about grammatical errors on supermarket signs, specifically "Ten Items or Less" caused one of our mates to start frothing with righteous indignation at the appalling standard of grammar taught in schools today.  And presumably also in supermarkets.

"It's "Ten Items or FEWER"  not "Less"....Less is just WRONG!"  She was most insistent.  And oddly, the more we teased her about it, the more insistent she became.  Her fantastic, grammatically-correct rant culminated with a promise to find out the name and address of the Chief Executive of Morrison's and send him (or her) a scathing letter explaining how very, very wrong they are, and demanding that they amend all their signs IMMEDIATELY. 

I look forward to the reply.

It started me thinking about the whole Ten Items or Less** concept though.  If, for example, you picked up a Two For The Price Of One offer, say two boxes of cornflakes, would you technically be buying one, or two items? 

In theory, you could take 20 items through the Ten Items or Less*** aisle because you are actually only buying ten.  The other ten are free. 

Also, if you took one of the Buy One Get One Free items out of the shop without paying for it, are you stealing?  You could say that you are taking the Get One Free one, and leaving the Buy One in the shop.

Legal clarification would be helpful, before I go to the shops next.

*And not in a fun way.

**Heh, sorry Sarah

**I'm not going to stop doing it

Friday, 13 November 2009


Every year, about this time, I start looking contemplatively at the books in the big bookcase in our sitting room. 

How many of them will I read again?  Can I bear to part with those that I won't?  Where could they all go, other than in here?  Could any of my friends be trusted with them if they wanted to borrow any of them*?

Mostly on a day like today, though, I think "How quickly could I get most of those books upstairs and away from any floodwaters as they engulf the house?"  Obviously, the books get saved after the guitars are all stashed away in comfort.  Oh, and the amp. 

It's been like the End of the World today.  High winds and lashing rain, dark at 4pm (well, nearly), the whole house shaking as cold gusts force themselves down the chimney and up our trouser legs.  Brrrr.

I went into the kitchen earlier on, and looked out into the blackness of the back garden.  There was a brilliant white flash, and I thought perhaps Wiltshire's finest** had stuck a portable speed camera on the main road that I was seeing through the trees. 

I kept watching, and sure enough, a few moments later there was another flash.  And a cloud of smoke, or possibly steam, and a huge shower of white sparks.  Not from the main road, either.   At first I thought it was a firework.

"What on Earth are next door doing with fireworks in this weather?" I thought.  It was, after all, pissing with rain and blowing a gale.

I was mistaken.

The flashes and sparks were coming from the power lines stretching across to the wooden pole in next door's back garden.

I assume that a tree branch was smacking into the lines as the wind blew, making it short out.  That, or a line had broken and was snaking about wildly, shorting out on the ground.  The sodden, saturated, ground.

It's too dark to see from the house, and I am buggered if I am going out to take a closer look.  The weather out there is bad enough, but the possibility of being slammed full of a billion trillion volts of electricity is even less appealing.

I'll have a look tomorrow.  From a safe distance.

*Answer:  None.  I don't lend books.  Not after losing my entire collection of Leonard Cohen novels to a friend when I was at school.  It still rankles.


Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Can't see the wood...

Remember I said we'd been to the Wood Fair? Ages ago? Yeah you do.
In the absence of anything much making me smile today, I thought I'd tell you all about that instead.

It was held at the Larmer Tree Gardens, where we also recently went to the End of the Road festival, and had a mighty fine time.  The Larmer Tree Gardens are home to:


and (I think) Macaws:

Look closely - they're perched up on a branch in the middle there.  Boy do they make a racket.

The Gardens themselves were designed in the nineteenth century as a formal pleasure garden, and there are follies and strange little buildings scatted throughout.

This one has the name Pitt Rivers, of archaelogical fame, engraved over the door.  I have no idea why. I daresay if you check out the link above to the Gardens website it will tell you, because I certainly can't.  Sorry. 

This one makes me think of Bavarian beer, for some reason.  Or possibly sausages.  And gingerbread.

This one's my favourite.  It's a teeny little stage with an incongruous tropical backdrop.  Why?  Ask the Pitt Rivers'.

This is the Pitt Rivers one again, from further away.  I know all the technical photography terms, me.

Anyway, it being October, I took some pictures of the trees and shrubs. Here they are:

I know the last one is an oak tree, but have no idea about the rest.  This is not really an educational post, is it? 

Anyway, the actual Wood Events were varied and mildly entertaining. We bought a bee house, which is supposed to give bumble bees somewhere safe to live over the winter. We chatted to a charcoal maker, and bought a bag of this:

I sniggered unattractively at this, and had to take a sneaky photo while the charming old gent manning the stall's back was turned:

I like the idea that it is specifically for the Hampshire pimps. None of those flashy London types. Or even the New York ones. No, just Hampshire.

The climax of the day, though, was the didgeridoo workshop. I recorded a few minutes of it but can't upload it on here, as it's not a video. However, if you look at the pictures, I daresay you'll be able to imagine just how impressive it sounded.

Twenty or so people, adults and children, all trying to make noises like kangaroos hopping, or snakes slithering, or dingoes barking, through twenty or so didgeridoos, while the loud, cheerful chap running the workshop scampered about from person to person, encouraging them and playing his own didgeridoo to show them how it was done.

When they were doing the dingo barking part, every dog within earshot started barking too. I almost choked, I was laughing so hard.

Feel the power of the didge.....

Saturday, 7 November 2009

What to do, what to do....

Mr WithaY is off out for the day tomorrow, weather permitting. I am wondering what to do with myself, home alone all day. I could get up to all kinds of mischief.

I toyed with the idea of going to Bath on the train to gawp at the redevelopment of the city centre, but then I remembered I spend fucking HOURS on the train every week anyway, so rejected that idea.

I could drive there, but parking in Bath is like a punishment for transgressions in a former life. I bet even people on their 50th incarnation, one small step away from Nirvana, still struggle to find a decent parking space in Bath on a Saturday. Unless they get there at 7am. Which they probably do, smug Karmic bastards.

But. But. Bath has some great shops.

Long Tall Sally for one. I always find lovely things in there, and buy them in a sort of deprived-villager shopping frenzy, having learned from painful experience that they will NOT be there next time I pop in. There always seems to be a sale on, with stuff on the rails in my size (that I admired but didn't buy at full price) reduced to eight quid. Who could resist?

Not me, matey.

Also, Lush. Now I am having a moral dilemma about Lush at the moment. They have taken a stance on an issue which I think is wrong; they are, of course, entitled to their opinion.

They are donating a percentage of the profits of a particular product to the hunt saboteurs association. I don't hunt, nor do I think I know anyone who does, but I feel quite strongly that the hunt saboteurs' methods should not be encouraged.

So, do I stop buying Lush products completely, to make a point? Or, do I continue to buy their other products, not the one which they are donating the profit from, as I am completely in support of their organic, environmentally-friendly, non-animal-tested, minimal-packaging, fantastic products?

Does the good that they do in terms of enviromental impact outweigh what I consider to be a bad decision to offer financial support to a group which I think shouldn't be encouraged?

Tough call. So many italics.

There are also some fine jewellery shops, but I am not really able to afford to buy myself a pair of huge solitaire diamond earrings this month. So. Arse.

I expect I'll just pop out get the papers, maybe watch a dvd as there is seldom anything worth watching on TV, play my guitar for a bit, faff about on the Internets, and drink tea. It's not a bad way to spend a day, especially if it's peeing down with rain, as the forecast is promising.

What Would Captain Kirk Do*?

*Other than teach alien women how to love, and get his shirt artfully ripped in a fist fight.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Gunpowder, treason and plot

I was at the Houses of Parliament earlier this week, for a work-related thing.  I'd never been there before so it was all terribly exciting.

The instructions they sent me said "allow AT LEAST 45 minutes to get through security".  So I obediently got there an hour before my meeting was due to start, expecting to be queueing in the rain for ages.


There was no queue.

There was a helpful security lady dishing out lanyard clippy pass-holder things outside, so that once I got in there all I had to do was clip the newly-aquired photo pass to it and hang it round my neck. 

Through the security checks, into the main body of the building.  Pause to gawp at fabulous architecture like the potato-headed yokel that I am, then continue through to ask another security chap where the room that my meeting is in is.  Get given vague "down that way" directions.  Nod sagely. 

Ask if it's ok to take photos.

Yes it is, but only "down there".  I go "down there" and take a couple of pictures on my iPhone (it does everything.) 

After that point, no more photography, sadly. 

I found where I was supposed to be, and asked the stern security lady if I could go in, bearing in mind I was over 30 minutes early (security being so much more efficient than we had been led to believe.)

She said No.

Go and wait Over There.

I went Over There and waited, admiring the beautiful painted panels on the walls.  Gradually, more and more people arrived, walked through to the scary security lady, were told the same thing, and perched meekly on the leather benches to wait for the call.  A cheery looking chap opposite me caught my eye and smiled.  I smiled back.  He came and sat next to me and struck up an amusing conversation about what would happen if we all headed for the meeting room*.

He asked me if I was going to "this thing", waving vaguely in the direction of the meeting room.  I said yes, I was.  Well, it was true.

The crowd of people waiting had grown, so we headed into the lobby area to be sure to hear when we got the call to go into the meeting room. It was rather exciting**.

Finally, FINALLY, with 2 minutes to go, we were told it was ok to go through to the meeting room. In the confusion I lost sight of my new buddy, but followed everyone else, hung my coat up in a v posh coat cupboard, and went into the meeting room.


What's this?

Lots of information about security systems? Posters for a variety of specialist Universities? Not a soul here I recognise? How odd.

But look....there are cakes! And tea! And nice friendly staff who want me to have some!

So I had a glass of fizzy water, and stood there like a lemon, hoping someone I knew would walk in. After a few minutes, it was clear that nobody I knew was going to walk in. In fact, I was the only woman in the room, which is unusual at meetings these days.


I was in the wrong meeting. I could have stuck around and enlarged my woefully thin knowledge of high-tech security systems, but I thought I might have been thrown in the Thames as spy, and decided I ought to leave.

Muttering "fuckfuckfuckfuck" to myself I slunk out, sweating at the thought of wandering the Houses of Parliament like a lost soul, bleating and panicking.

Fortunately, MY meeting was in the room next door, and it was a big, informal standy-uppy affair, so I could sidle in, grab a cup of tea and pretend I had been there all the time.

The walk back to Waterloo provided a couple of nice photo opportunities:

Please note the moon this time.

This is a profile view.

I thought it was rather nice to have been where Guy Fawkes was this week, all those years ago. Well, in the same approximate location, at least.

*We agreed that it would certainly end in a machine-gunning, and decided to stay put.

**I don't get out much

Monday, 2 November 2009

Slow on the uptake

I just discovered a handy feature on my iPhone. If you double tap the main button while you're listening to music, it brings up a mini iPod control panel on top of whatever else you're doing.

Playing Scrabble. Reading blogs. Checking Facebook. Following the progress of your train on-line rather than just waiting to see what the next station is.

Which is handy.

At least the train home is on time so far. Apparently this morning's delay was caused by "poor adhesion" which sounds like a modern way of saying "leaves on the line" to me.

Anyway, the problem was all West of Salisbury, so I look forward to that part of the trip. If I post from the train after 9pm, come and find me please. And bring gin.

Money well spent

My train was 15 minutes late this morning, leaving a crowd of shivering pale commuters huddling in their coats on the platform. We were all clearly thinking "I could still be in bed."

Once the train arrived, and we'd all settled into our seats it became apparent why the people already on the train looked so miserable. The carriage stinks like a festival toilet on a Sunday afternoon.

So. I got up before 6am to wait in the cold for a train that smells of shit. And I'm paying just under five grand a year to do it.

Fucking great.