Saturday, 28 November 2009

Lazy Day

I'm having a very lazy day today, as of now, I'm still in bed having got up once for breakfast and a cup of tea.

I've played Civ, read some Prince2 Project Management training stuff.....oh the jargon, and now I'm back on the interwebz faffing like a faffer.

I've been on ICHC and I just have to ask you this Mornington???!!

Now we know what that yowling was last week...keep her away from those goats.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Slap on the electrodes, strap me in and spin me till I vom!!

I don't know....the things I do in the name of education!
It's that time of year again at work, time for the Barany Chair practical. In brief, this practical demonstrates how the fluid of the inner ear behaves whilst a subject is being spun, and its involvement in our sense of balance. Apparently the Barany chair is used extensively in training student pilots and also in motion sickness therapy.....I can believe that last one.

Normally I would help Bruce out during the practical, but I'm away on a course during the week it's running, so he has recruited a new victim, one of our colleagues Nick. Today was the runthrough for the practical, two people are needed to run the practical and as Nick was being briefed on the equipment for the first time, guess who got to be the 'subject'.



Behold the instruments of my torture:

The Barany chair itself. This beauty is permanently installed in one of our lecture theatres. I wish I'd been there during the pre-project phase of the refurb:

'Ok, well, I think we've got this almost wrapped up, is there anything you'd like to add? Any special requirements'

'Well...there is one, 'special' requirement'

'That's fine, let's talk about it, what do you need?'

'It's a chair'

'This is a lecture theatre, don't you have enough chairs already?'

'A dentists chair'

'.............a dentists chair?'


'Okaaay, I'll ask th-'

'We're not has to spin round and round like an egg beater on crack!'

'I er-'

'And it needs a seatbelt....cos of the spinning you see'

I also wonder what everyone thinks, when they come to the theatre for a maths or chemistry lesson, of the instrument of torture lurking in the corner, fascinating and yet infusing you with an intangible terror.

Check these babies out, an array like this would strike fear into the heart of the bravest man.

I would like to begin by pointing out that the bottle is NOT lube, thanks for that, put your tiny minds back in the gutter!! We have:

Electrode gel

Alcohol wipes

Sticky electrodes


Micropore tape

Some dodgy looking wires

and instructions for 'Connecting the Subject'

That's me that is....and so we begin.

Nick starts to gel me up with electrodes *winky winky*, one on the outside left eyesocket and one on the outside right eyesocket. Taping me up, plugging me in and sitting me down, until I look something like this:

You can't see this very well, but what I have hanging there round my neck is a transmitter with 2 9V batteries sellotaped to the outside. The electrodes hanging out of it are micropored almost to my eyeballs. It's just as well I was about to be strapped firmly into a spinning chair, walking down the corridor and onto the streets of London looking like this would very soon have me attacked I have no doubt! Plenty of excuse for a stop and search going on right here

This array of materials transmits my eye movements to the laptop Bruce has set up on the other end of the room. If you hadn't already been firmly seatbelted into the rather odd-looking furnishing then the initial phase of the practical would lull you into believing that maybe this practical is nowt but a glorified eye exam:

'Look straight ahead please'

'Now look to your left'

'and now to your right'

'and back straight ahead'

I followed Nicks instructions to the very letter. I was silently congratulating myself on knowing left from right when all of a sudden the mechanical beastie beneath me hummed into life and I was spun into action. The chair was the eggbeater...and I was the egg. It doesn't look very fast when you watch it, but when you're strapped in there you can feel the G's around your feet, feeling like they want to detach themselves from the rest of you.

As I was spinning, the little doohickey round my neck transmitted my eye movemnets to a computer set-up Bruce had on the other side of the room, displayed as a rapid up and down line on the projected screen.

This is SCIENCE baby!

I won't go into any more detail than that for fear of boring you to death. Suffice to say that I managed not to bring up the massive sausage and mash I'd just had for lunch...much to Nicks relief. Actually, for a while I became quite relaxed...that was after they blindfolded me and spun me round until I almost fell into a coma.

Here he is, looking so sweet and innocent, orchestrator of my nightmare.

It's alright for him....the electrodes had been put away by now!! He couldn't resist a little whirl in the chair though :D

Thank you Wiki

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Mini Sprogs Blog! be an inspiration!

My ickle sister...well, not so ickle anymore at 23...has begun her own bloggage. Some of her texts have sent me into hysterics in the past so I'm muchly looking forward to updates on this little gem!!

Night all x

What are you thankful for?

Today is Thanksgiving in the US of A, celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. I'm afraid I missed Canada's Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October...and for that I sincerely apologise!

I realised that, despite considering myself quite an intelligent and worldy wise human being....I know absolutely bugger all about Thanksgiving, apart from the fact that you must eat turkey until you feel you might burst. So I thought I'd do a bit of research:

- Thanksgiving is a harvest festival. It's the traditional time of year to give thanks for the harvest and to express gratitude in general.

We used to have Harvest Festivals at school, I guess this would have been around the same time of year. If I remember correctly we all used to bring a food item in from home and put them into baskets to take around to the old peoples home. I bet they loved that...screaming brats running around lobbing tins of SPAM at them. A kindness they could well do without.

- The First Thanksgiving according to American folklore is believed to have been performed by the Plymouth Colony at the Plymouth Plantation in 1621. It was in order to give thanks to God for a successful harvest and for seeing the pilgrims through a harsh winter. The feast lasted for 3 days and fed 53 pilgrims and 90 indians.

- Although Thanksgiving has religious roots, it's now considered a secular festival....WIN!

I suppose this is similar to Easter, try sitting todays child down and talking about the true meaning of Easter:

'Now, Tommy, do you know about how Jesus died on the cross for you?'

'I didun't DO it!'

'No, I know Tommy, he did it for ALL of us'

'I don't know no Jesus! And WHARRS MY CHOKLIT EGG???'

Eventually all festivals will become secular, not for the right reasons, but through the sheer idiocy of those bringing up children.

- I'm ecstatic to have learned about the National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation. Every Thanksgiving, the National Turkey Federation presents the US President with two dressed turkeys and one live one. The live turkey is pardoned and sent away to a peaceful farm where it eventually dies happily, presumably of old age. Barak Obama honoured the tradition this year by pardoning a turkey named Courage for 26th November. Apparently in recent years, there have been 2 live turkeys presented, incase one unexpectedly become unavailable for Presidential pardoning. You know, a very important conference call or something.

I love that, I love that so much. I hope they all go to the same farm where they can swap stories about Presidents. I imagine poor overworked farm hands slaving over spoilt, mollycoddled Diva-turkeys wearing Gucci sunglasses.

- American Football is a Thanksgiving tradition, with professional games being played on Thanksgiving day. The National Football League has hosted games every year since it was founded...barring the WW2 years.

Another tradition is to think about what you're thankful for:

My amazing friends and family, special thanks to Nicki and Jobie

The fact that I'm in a job that I actually really enjoy

That I'm in a position to be able to organise and fund perspective-altering travels next year

The roof over my head

That I haven't felt sad enough to cry in a VERY long time

What are you thankful for today?


Oggers and I went along to a new, and very local, open mike comedy show last night at the Rose and Crown on good old Hoe Street, GLEE17

The Rose and Crown is an awesome pub that always seems to have something going on, be it theatre, comedy, live music, and even art installations I believe. It's a little known fact that E17 is actually an artistic haven, despite the unfortunate association with a certain boy band. Just check out these guys for a taster of what it has to offer.

Anywhoo! It seems that E17 and the surrounding areas are also a hotbed of aspiring comedy talent, clearly I already knew this, care of the lovely Oggers, but it was really excellent to see so many people turning out for the opening of a new night. There were plenty of acts, but more importantly there was also plenty of audience. I've been to quite a few nights where, at least at the start of the evening, acts outnumber the audience...and even a couple of nights where the night was cancelled due to no audience whatsoever, which is a shame for the acts who've travelled out to perform. These evenings usually end up very drunken....why waste a good evening in a pub eh?

Jo did absolutely famously with her brother set at this gig, she stormed the night as far as I, and a few others whom I'll come onto later, were concerned. I've noticed a pattern, Jo does really well when she faffs around with the set a bit and ad-libs in front of alien audiences. I mean, new audience, not an audience of aliens, because that would just be weird. Take Monkey Business, Giggling Gibbon, and last night. All nights Jo has never done or doesn't do often, chances are they've never seen the set and she blows them away. I think with nights like Party Piece it can be a bit foreboding because you're wondering just how many people have seen this set before, how can I make it a bit different, and also, a sense of complacency can set in, it's too familiar.

From my point of view it was great because she threw bits in that I hadn't seen before, Linda pissed herself laughing and the audience really enjoyed it, especially the Guinness banter!


Now, when we'd originally walked into the pub, Jo elbowed me and whispered 'Did you see Billy from Eastenders is in the pub?!'

I hadn't, for I am blind, but when we came back down into the pub proper I saw him with his mates, chilling with some drinks. No one was bothering him, but you could see people clocking him and doing a double take. We perched on a table nearby and stole glances every now and again, trying to be cool and subtle like everyone knows we are.

As the time for comedy approached more people started wandering upstairs to take their seats and...lo and behold, Billy (as we knew him at this point) and Co. got up to take their seats in the comedy audience.

Jo was playing to celebrity....Oh Em Gee

As I've already described, Jo stormed it, and during the break as we wandered past, 'Billy' grabbed her attention and started telling her how fantastic her set had been and that he'd peed himself laughing (actual words? Not sure). He then introduced Jo and I to his mates, shook our hands and introduced himself as Perry, which was a relief, I didn't want to accidentally call him Billy like the lameass I am.

The more Guinness I drank, I started to refer to him as Perry Mason...only to Jo thank gawd. It's clearly the only Perry reference I have stored away in my brain, and these things do tend to just pop out of the memory banks at inappropriate moments.

During the second half I was afforded the dubious pleasure of being invited onstage to punch a large comedian in the stomach, which I did with relish and glee. He'd dropped his codpiece earlier in the set and was clearly paranoid that I was going to miss and mash his testicles. I could see the fear in his eyes. If I was being given this opportunity I was going to make the most of it, so I didn't pull my punches (get it?). There was an audible 'oooooooh' from the audience as I walloped the fine fellow, and let me tell you, that gut was made of rock, my hand actually hurt a little bit afterwards.

After the show Jo and I faffed around a while, and as the night wore on and there were less and less people around, Perry and Co. invited us over to sit with them. I'm ashamed to admit that I have forgotten the lovely lady's name, though I seem to recall Julie or Julia maybe? I'm awful with names, that's clearly wrong, but I'm reasonably certain that his best mates name was Phil. Thus began a long, slightly drunken conversation about comedy, with the group lavishing Jo with the utmost praise and adoration. Jo's a bit like me in that she doesn't accept compliments well, and at some points she looked completely embarrassed which was very sweet.

I spent most of this time eyeing up a biscuit that was sitting on the table.

I resisted...just.

I also managed to resist asking for a picture to put on my blog. After we'd been so cool about the situation and managed not to mention Eastenders ONCE, I didn't feel I could turn around and expose myself for a gibbering star-struck FOOL of a woman who wanted to put what would probably be a rather poor photo of him up on tinterwebs.

I should have taken a photo of the biscuit!

We have pride...we managed to get home before we celebrated our new status as 'celeb' friends. Fab evening, and we learned that not all telly actors are vain knobends, Perry was the sweetest bloke!

Who ever knew basking in Jo's reflected glory could be so much fun?

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Birthday of Guinness

I don't know, woolly shennanigans and I STILL thought I deserved a party/drinkup. Talk about have your cake and eat it!

Jo and I made it in one piece, without any knitting needles embedded anywhere upon our person, and only slightly late, to Waxy O'Conners where I'd booked a little area to fill with all my favourite people on my birthday.

As we bimbled down the stairs we met the Steve who had been hanging around for at least half an hour already, and we made our way over to the little booked area where a couple of guys I didn't know sat looking sheepish.

I'd been quite anxious to get there on time, when you book an area you never know how long the establishment will wait for the first guest to turn up before they lose faith and open it up to the 'ugh' general public. You KNOW that as the person who booked it, you have to be there somewhat on time because your guests don't want to be the first people to arrive.

Turn up 20 minutes late and what you'll find is clusters of your friends hovering around the periphery of the 'booked zone', as if there's some kind of inpenetrable forcefield surrounding it.

So Jo and I dragged Stevie through the forcefield and plonked ourselves down, the two interlopers left pretty soon, they could probably feel the force radiating off of me as I prepared to ask them to scarper. The next people to turn up were Wilf and his mate Beck, and Norm.

I tell a wee lie, we knew that Kyle was somewhere in the building, he had been deflected even further by the aforementioned the point where we couldn't actually locate him! Not entirely our fault, this place is labyrinthine and when I went looking I soon lost all faith in my meagre sense of direction and returned, tail between legs, to wait for him to find us. Find us he did and we had a little crowd forming.

Vicky and her blokie Dan turned up next. As you probably guessed, the buying of drinks had started immediately upon arrival, and from the word go I was never without a pint in hand and another ready on the table! So when Dan asked if I'd like another drink and I indicated my next pint ready to go, he asked if I'd like a short. I didn't want to be rude now did I?? I asked for a shot....I can deal with that. Fine.

By the end of the evening I'd had 5 sambuca (3 care of Dan and 2 care of some lovely ladies I'll mention in a minute) and one shot of of Clara). How am I still alive?

Then Kayleigh and Tom arrived, gagging for some foodage, they both ordered chicken burgers. They took a while to arrive, but when they did! I don't think I've seen a burger that huge in my entire life!!

Wilf and Beck sidled off after one drink, I can't say I blame them, they'd been out wandering in the rain and had come from a nice quiet restaurant into a loud blaring bar full of loud blaring people. Thank you guys very much for coming if you're reading this, it was great to see you there :)

The music in the place I must say was excellent, very poppy/rocky and very easy to dance to, just my thing!! Just as well, if I hadn't been dancing I think those shots would have knocked me right out. Everyone else turned up at almost the same time at about ten o'clock or maybe a bit later. I'd just said hi to Mark, Clara and Leney when Nicki tapped me on the shoulder, she'd arrived with Helen and Harry...and most BIRTHDAY CAKE! There was a stir of excitement as she placed it on the table and went to remove the cover:

Oh yes...just what we need in an Irish pub :D. I managed to mutilate it before we did the whole candle-blowing-out thing, much to Nicki's was blimmin delicious! Sponge and jam, nom nom nom!!!! What a fab icing job though eh people?

Of course, you always get your characters on a night out. We had the 2 drunken Irish 'Party Police' as they called themselves, who harrassed us at various points in the evening. I threw them out when one came onto Nicki, but they came back later after I'd invited a gaggle of girlies into the area. They'd been standing and dancing outside of the forcefield and they seemed a laugh so I invited them in. By this point in the evening the rest of the bar was packed and my mates and I were enjoying an oasis of relative peace and calm in the centre, so I thought they'd benefit too. These were the lovely ladies who bought me 2 sambucas in thanks for letting them in. Bless! I invited them to join in the blowing out of candles and singing happy birthday seeing as they were also celebrating 2 birthdays.

The picture takers of the evening were Steevie, and the 'official' photographer Norman :). I've yet to see Norms pics, and I'll add some here when I do, but as you can see from Steves pics.....they witnessed some fun and games as the evening wore on!

When we got thrown out of the place at midnight most people went home, Jo and I carried on briefly to a bar somewhere (I canny remember the name) where we had a few more drinks and talked to innocent victims about knitting. We then proceeded to sleep all the way home on the nightbus and then attack Western Fried Chicken at about was a good night, oh yes.
Thank you to absolutely everyone who came along and made my birthday drinks so wicked, love to you all :o)

Monday, 23 November 2009

Crafts of Yarn

You might be wondering, what could possibly top my pre-birthday wonderment eh?

I'll tell you what could top it, forget the drinks with all my best mates and my sis that I'd arranged for later in the day, forget that.

I was going wool shopping....oh yes. Teasels Yarncrafts, the last refuge of the over 70's, because church is soo last year.

We walked in....agog.........there were OTHER PEOPLE in the shop. We had expected tumbleweed and a pride of feral cats. It was actually relatively busy. As we wandered, dazed and confused through the aisle of yarnz, a helpful chap approached.

'Hello, can I help you?'

*glazed look* 'We're...uh....looking for wool'

*subtle (but not enough) roll of the eyes* 'yes, well, we have lots of that, now what type of wool are you after?'

We just looked at each other in a vaguely 'we should have prepared ourselves more thoroughly' kind of way and shrugged our shoulders, at which point he took on the 'I'm talking to a pair of infants' voice and led us over to the wool section.

'Ok, so, are you looking for something you can wash in the machine, sponge wash, dry clean?'

We were still reeling from the 'what type?' question.


'Okkkkk, what are you making?'


You could almost see him sigh internally with relief, praise the lord, thank gawd they're not attempting anything harder than a scarf.

'Ok, so, we have our extra chunky, quite chunky, a bit chunky......chunky......not so chunky, less chunky, not very chunky at all.....and cotton'.

'Um, quite chunky please'


'Yes, quite chunky is good fo.........'


He gave me the wool.

The best part was when he asked in a very grave manner, 'Now, have either of you knitted before??'

He asked this question like someone asking an overenthusiastic 5 year-old cliff jumper, 'have you done this before?'. Knitting is clearly a serious business and fraught with danger, I mean, you could take an eye out if you're not careful. Jo took great joy and pride in showing him her scarf that she's just finished, and even greater pleasure in telling him it took her 3 years to complete *pride*.

When Jo asked for some help 'casting on', we were shooed towards the resident knitter lady, she looked like a proper knitting pro she did, someone you could trust to steer you steady down the white water rapids of yarncraft.

'Ooooh, no....I don't know the thumb method'


'Ohhhhh, no, my three knitters are'll have to come back, yes'
'Er, ok'

'Well....I could show you the two needle method......left-handed'

'We'll come back, thanks'

Bloody useless knitting numpty.

Thus....we spent almost the rest of our free time before going out trying to learn casting on from videos on's the most helpful case you ever find yourself in need of handy knitting know who I'm talking to, Wilfred, there's even hints on how to 'knit like a man'.

I say we, Jo is in fact the one doing all of the work, I just shout at the people in TY. I say try because by this point we'd had nigh on 3 pints of beer, and it's amazing how this can impair the delicate manipulation of wool and needles that is required to bring about 'casting on', it also impairs your ability to effectively focus upon the youtube video teaching you how to perform such a feat. Needless to say, we failed miserably. It preyed visibly on Jo's mind for the rest of the evening.

Learning casting on from a man on tinterwebz

In case you were wondering, I don't think I've explained myself fully, the reason for this glorious birthday trip to Teasels Yarncraft was to buy wool for the scarf Jo is knitting me for Birthmas. The wool I picked was lovely, all Autumn colours which will create stripes in the scarf.

The scarf was begun successfully the following morning after the 'casting on' method was carefully processed within the intoxicated minds of drunks overnight. I'm reliably informed that it's about a foot long already, huzzah!!

Jo and my scarf are clearly made of WIN.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Birthdays, Amaretto, FISH and Oz

You can tell when I can't think of a clever blog post title can't you.
I was toying with 'IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!!' but I dismissed it as unnecessarily self-indulgent.


:D That's better

Yesterday was fantastically awesome!! Lunchtime came and went in the form of the following:

Bottle of Peroni

Macaroni cheese and another bottle of peroni


Free sambuca care of the landlord


Then....just as I thought I may be able to escape the seemingly neverending beseigement (real word...I checked) of lunchtime alcohol, the landlord wandered outside with the now-familiar bottle of Disaronno Amaretto....and promptly poured me a double.

Woooo!!! Luckily amaretto is a liqueur and not a spirit.

The Wilf was taking Linda and I out for dinner later...would I make it? Or would I be a crumpled heap of lame rubbishness?

The saving grace was that we were dining relatively early as Linda needed to get home and do some packing for her big adventure, and so I didn't have too long to wait.

More drinkies were had before we headed off to LiveBait.

Incidentally, the shennanigans picking a restaurant were quite interesting, emails flying back and forth:

Wilf: Couple of fish restaurants here *linky* *linky*

Linda: I don't mind, you pick, you know best


Wilf: Here's another one *linky*

Linda: I'm not choosing, I shall not decide!!


Wilf: Here's one closer to home *linky*

Linda: *silence*

Becki: LiveBait, Livebait!

You wouldn't guess at my mastery of the English language if you were merely confronted with a couple of my emails.

So, a couple of guinness were sunk before we waddled over to LiveBait fun and games in Covent garden.

We arrived and I had a quick looksee down into the restaurant and then Linda and I had a giggle about the fact that we'd booked when the place seemed to be essentially empty. Though, in their defence, they're a theatre-based restaurant and so hoardes of people had just left for a performance.

This sympathy soon dissipated when they asked us to wait in the bar while she checked *something mumbled under her breath*. Whilst she left us in the bar, presumably to buy drinks (pointed out to me by Linda..I'm a sucker for these scams....DRINK!!), some other people were taken straight in. So Wilf had a convo along these lines (we'd been in the bar quite a long time by this point):

'Why have we been left waiting in the bar when other people have been taken straight through?'

'I wasn't here'

'I don't think it matters that you weren't here, you all operate in the same place right?'

'They have booked'

'WE'RE booked!'

'Er.....would you like to come through Sir?'

'Tee hee!!'

Ok...that last line probably isn't true, if it is then he did it silently in his head, along with the invisible jig of victory we all secretly perform within the confines of our brain.

Dinner was partly a birfday celebrations for me, and partly good lucks for Linda, though we're doing a pub crawl on the 11th Dec too which is Lindas main doo. In case I haven't mentioned here already, in about 4 weeks Linda is off to Oz to do a masters in Environmental Science. This is part of the reason I'm spending a week in Sydney after my travels. I've conveniently managed to time it right over her exam period....but we'll figure it all out somehow. I'm sure there'll be a Linda and Oz-dedicated blog post up and coming soon, mostly detailing the spiraling craziness that's likely to occur over the next few weeks, followed by the dead calm...the kind of calm you get just before you go into an exam and you reaslise there's nothing more you can do. Adventure!!

It was all very civilised, Wilfy was a perfik gent and even ordered for all of us. A far cry from the usual, sachets of ketchup being thrown at me roughly from the other side of a booth in Burger King, and thats the guys that even bother taking me out.

I ordered crab cakes for starters and cornish sardines for mains. As is my usual style, I forgot to take a picture of my crab cakes and dove in like a starving gannet. I must get out of this habit before I begin to wander SE Asia, I'll have no records of all the weird and wonderful dishes I consume. I DID however, manage to photograph my sardines before they disappeared down the gullet of DOOM!

As you can see, the sardines didn't last very long!! They were bloody delicious, if a little bony! Bony little bastards. Om nom nom. I shall be barbecuing sardines this summer.

Wilfred had steamed seabass, and Linda had roasted salmon. By all accounts, all food was delicious! One curious little thing they has was anchovy butter in the breadbasket, I quite enjoyed that, very salty, but gooood :)

As you can see, satisfaction was had all round.

Check out the beard...he can't deny it's him!

Thank you Linda and Wilfy for a fabulous pre-birthday day, and thank you so much for a delicious meal Wilfy :D Hopefully see you both tonight for a wee drinky or two xxx

Image cred

Friday, 20 November 2009

Sheer Class and Elegance II

It's important to note that when we got to Ogg's place, we only drank 2 out of 4 cans!!



Ogger's made us dinner rather than us ordering Domino's


We're practically athletes......and yet, the fact that we felt the need to point these facts out suggests that we may be falling short of our potential.

Ho Hum

Sheer Class and Elegance

Oggers and I left the pub after 2 pints yesterday (I KNOW!), knowing we had some beers back at Jo's place.


There were 3 beers

2 of us....and 3 beers, it's an odd number...never good.

So, we bought this:

Tinny in a brown paper bag.......oh yes.....oh yes. All we need is a coupla fags, velour tracksuits, gold hoop earrings and a buggy pushed by a small child wearing a grubby vest.

'2 straws and 2 cigarettes a whole much for 2?

60p??!!.......How about one? We'll share.'

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Glen and Graham

I'm sure I've mentioned these two cuties before, I have, haven't I?

They were at Kayleighs party on Friday, almost got locked in the cupboard for keeping us up with their frolicking during the night...and in the morning we put them in the bath to play together.

They're gerbils...incase you were wondering!

When I was younger we had some gerbils as class pets, Rommel and Monty. I was accused of murdering them!! Well, I guess it was more an accusation of neglect than murder. Apparently I was the last one to look in on them and I left the wire off the top of their cage....maybe I did, but to this day I'm sure I didn't!!

Needless to say they escaped, I don't quite recall what happened to the first, we either found him alive and then he died soon after, or we just found him dead. The other one just disappeared into thin trace.

Then, one day, we were sitting in story corner when someone detected a strange whiff coming from the papier maché tree they were sat next to. When the tree was hacked away at, inside we found the tiny corpse of a berbil :( Poor thing.

School pets, they're DOOMED. 200 eager but underqualified and overenthusiastic never works out well does it? Kayleigh would do well not to let me look after the boys, what with my track record:

- Rommel and Monty died a horrible death apparently at my hands

- George the school guinea pig found himself wedged inside a had to cut it off with pliers.

- Nicki and I fed her hamster so many treats that he couldn't fit in his house anymore and died when he fell over and couldn't get back up.

- Mornington developed a sexy dredlock one time I looked after her, now she's taken to pooping on the carpet.

The morning after the party Kayleigh put the boys, along with their toys, in the corner bath of her new flat. It's an ingenious idea, they can't climb up the sides and have freedom to roam about as they wish. It's also a great opportunity for gerbil-view photography. Unfortunately the little rodents are bloody fast, and my camera (though one of my favourite possessions) doesn't have very very close up a few of these shots are slightly, or very, blurred.

Kayles put a dish of dust/sand down for them, they're desert rodents, just like chinchillas and so they enjoy a good dust bath. The boy's hadn't really figured out what they were supposed to do with this dust yet, but as I watched, Glen (the cleverer one), smooshed himself flat in the sand and then flicked it over himself. We really hoped he's do it again because Kayles had missed it and that's just like missing your kids first steps! Then Graham wandered into the sand and rolled so it flicked all over his back. It was very cool!

Graham in his sand bath!

Keep tuned for more friends-pets-related posts!! I'm off to attack Mr Neelix and Lillie soon, their human is called Vicky.

In other news, my Jo is back from Rome!! Welcome home Jobie xxx

The Number 7 Weirdest Crush


I have a crush on him too...he should have been Number 1 as far as I'm concerned!! Michael McIntyre is the man I'm talking about, and the competition is Heat Magazines top 25 weirdest crushes...Number 7 my arse, look at that lovely shiny floppy hair!

Weird crushes FTW :D

Nicki and I booked half days for yesterday, Nicki booked AAAGGGES ago back in August for us to see Michael McIntyre at the O2 for my birthday, and we decided for the sake of our nerves and stress levels that we would book into a nearby hotel overnight after the concert. So we took off at 1pm from our independent locations.....and I EVENTUALLY met her at Bank after a horrible round-the-houses detour care of someone under a train at Kings Cross :(

2 x DLR later and we find ourselves at the 'Custom House for ExCeL' stop. Strange name for a station stop, but this is the DLR, running solely on the whim of a bored-looking man with a key and a well-thumbed copy of 'Lesbian Dwarf Porn' monthly sticking out of his back pocket.

We get off, have a glance around and Nicki announces:

'I don't know where the hotel is from here you know'

**glare** 'are you serious?'

**embarrassed look**

'Do you at least know the name?'

' House Hotel?'

'Ok, so it shouldn't be DICK!!'

'Look...a map! I think it's on this road...this one here......aherm'





And there it was, visible from the very platform we were standing on. I felt relieved, Nicki felt suitably justified in her appalling organisational skills (haw haw..she'll kill me for that) and we wandered over to the hotel.

We immediately, of course, noticed the pub next door. The plan was to check in, dump our stuff, have a pub lunch and then fill some time faffing around before heading off to the O2.

We headed towards 'PUB' after dumping said stuff only to be told it didn't open till 5.


What about the lunchtime trade?? FINE!! We'll go to the one over the road don't want your stinky 'Café' or 'Chinese Restaurant'. Pub food was had....and rather nice, although my onion gravy didn't have anything discernable as onion in it. Nicki spent most of the time threatening to attack the bar person with her half a grilled beef tomato which she had asked them to leave off, but had dished up anyway...apparently 'it comes on the side, you can take it off yourself'.

After being suitably sated and trawling the entite ExCeL Centre for a Costa that had cream (unsuccessfully), Nicki and I returned to the hotel with sweet treats and hot drinks, whereupon, despite carefully laid plans to do some interesting things....we laid and watched 'The Biggest Loser USA', 'How Clean is Your House?', 'Friends' and 'Scrubs' for a few hours.

We finally dragged ourselves out to get to the O2 Centre for about 7pm. Clearly, the most important thing was to make sure we were sustained throughout the show, so we bought some over-priced O2 hotdogs...clearly laced with gold...and 2 pints of Becks Vier, the O2 standard lager!

I'm pretty sure were were only charged for one beer, so IN YOUR FACE O2!! That was only going to happen we made sure we enjoyed those beers.

Thoroughly excited, we found our level and our entrance and bimbled down to find an angel directing us to our seating. Ok, so he wasn't actually an angel, I think he was of African descent and he had cool hair and really nice eyes and DIMPLES! We were sat quite close to him, so he was my amusement until the man himself came on! Nicki and I were verily excited, the O2 is incredibly huge and slightly overwhelming, the sheer number of people they can fit in is amazing. More and more people streamed in, and then the lights went down and everyone started clapping, the little intro sequence started playing and the tiny, shiny haired, pink-shirted, camp little man bounced out skipping onto the stage!

I tell you what, I feel sorry for the camera and lighting men who have to chase Michael all over the stage for the duration of his performance, he doesn't seem to ever stop moving. I guess you can't blame him, it would be a shame to be given a stage that huge and waste it. Waste it he did not!

As I expected, the show was fantastic, his bit on naked guys in the gym changing room was hilarious, and the observational stuff on Christmas was the kind of stuff that has you nodding and crying along in recognition. I love the fact that he uses his family, in particular, his wife, so much in his set. This might be because I once saw him and his family at London Zoo together, and it brings it home that he is actually a real person, and it seems to me, one of the only comedians who is 'normal'. It's a long running joke that all comedians are screwed up in some way or another, extremely attention seeking/anxious/alcoholic/depressed/insert appropriate adjective. It's refreshing to see one so (apparently) settled and happy with himself and his situation.

We got another beer during the interval....

We bimbled home straight after the show, and Nicki decided it was time for another one in the pub before bed...I've created a monster!

So, a pint of Guinness and a Peroni (I think) and a couple of packets of crisps (so much for the diet yesterday), and we were sitting chatting in the pub when a rather intoxicated gentleman approaches us, speaking in a strong Welsh accent. He goes round to chat to Nicki and a younger (late 30's early 40's) bloke comes up and tells us it's his uncle Ken. Lovely.

After talking to the younger chap for roughly 2 minutes I'm pretty convinced he sent his drunk uncle over as an excuse to get talking to us. I'd rather be talking to drunk uncle to be honest!!

Anyway, drunk uncle Ken leaves eventually and we're left talking to Mark. He turns out not to be so bad. One of those high-earning guys who lacks the ability to really talk to women and resorts to talking about his business and his property etc etc etc. After our pints we bid him adieu and headed off to bed.

The day was a fantastic one, thank you so much Nicki for buying tickets to see the Master of Comedy and skipping, I really enjoyed the day yesterday :D

I'm off home to release Sage and 5 Spice...

Monday, 16 November 2009

Weekend of Music and Mayhem

What a fabulous weekend I just had! Busy and knackering, but fantastic all the same.


The weekend started with Gerbilarium and Toms housewarming party in Wood Green. I was staying over and had forgotten to fetch my small sleeping bag from my parents house, so I had to trek over with this MONSTER sleeping bag. I can quite describe how large this thing is and I got more than a few strange glances. The strangest being when I wandered into Costcutters to get beer, I tied the sleeping bag to my other bag and carried the beer around the shop.

I think I resembled some kind of odd, alcoholic gypsy.

The party was wicked, the guys had been worried that the weather would prevent them being able to use their roof terrace, but for most of the evening the rain held off, though it was a tad blustery I must say! The next day when we went for a brekkie we walked past all the blown-down building detritus from the roadworks, it was like a scene from 28 days later. Despite never having met any of their guests, everyone got on really well, much beer was drunk, much wine was spilt by Kayleigh and many snacks were eaten.

People began to leave at about midnight at which point Kayles and I found anything we could to dip in the remaining....dips. There were 2 slice of bread...they went first. Then do you dip peanuts in dips you may ask. Very messily I would answer.

At about 1am Kayles, Hayley and I went out for FRICKEN!! The things you witness in Fricken shops. We're pretty sure a bird dragged some guy into the bathroom to pleasure him in certain ways...and Kayles woke up a bloke who was quite clearly dead drunk, only to then be propositioned by him. At this point we made our exit whilst he staggered up the road after us. Luckily, he seemed to come to his sense and stopped at the bus stop.

I fell in love with their flat, it's small, but perfectly formed with dark wood beams, their own bathroom with a corner bath, a little walk in cupboard and a ROOF TERRACE! Did I mention that before? It's a personal roof terrace too! They share a kitchen, but that's doable, it's the bathroom that's a faff to share. Gorgeous!

The next morning involved mainly playing with the gerbils in the bath and BREAKFAST!! Oh yum, oh yum yum yum!!


Once I got home...started with a 2 hour nap and then the zoo rota...hardly thrilling!

Linda and I have been trying to see Kylie (Del) and his band Bricktop play for AGES, and we finally managed to get a date out of him that both of us could get to, we weren't gonna miss it!

I got to Linda's at about 6:30pm and we sat down for a couple of beers and ordered some Dominos pizza!! NOM!!

We hit The Standard just after 8pm and immediately ran into Kylie who was kind enough to buy us a now I was on the Guinness...oh dear!

Bricktop were supporting the main act of the night, Bootleg Blondie, a Blondie Tribute band. The great thing about Bricktop is that, as well as slinging in a couple of sing-along crowd pleasers, they write and perform their own stuff, not constrained in the way tribute bands are. For a 3-piece they were bastard loud and had everyone bouncing along, it was fantabulous. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed seeing live music. It ended too soon for my liking, here's a taste!

Bootleg Blondie were cool, the lead singer looked remarkably like Debbie Harry with the cat-like eyes. There were 3 costumes, each top/dress getting slightly, slightly shorter. The last one was basically a long t-shirt and there was a massive flash of ass every time she turned around!

At one point whilst we were outside a guy came up...clearly pissed off his tits! He started chatting to us and asked us where we lived..


'REALLY?'.....looking at Linda 'I'm from Walthamstow! We should swap numbers and hook up'

'No......we shouldn't'

'Oh? Why?'

'Cos I'm leaving, for Australia. No offence, it's been planned for a while, I didn't just decide!'

At which point another dude came over, having heard the word Australia, he was half Ozzie half South African...interesting accent.

The drunk guy now came into his own by exposing possibly the only redeeming things about him, a couple of awesome tattoos. On his left upper arm he had an amazingly intricate tattoo of a monster from the Alien movies. On his right shoulder he had the Predator, again, fantastic quality! Everyone seemed to be oohing over the Alien, but I liked the Predator better....but then I've always had a thing for guys with dreds.

I had 3 pints of Guinness whilst there and they didn't even seem to touch the sides. After an excellent night out listening to music and bopping at the back of the bar, I made it home relatively sober and before midnight.

What a bloody excellent evening, check out Bricktop!!

Thursday, 12 November 2009

100 Post Milestone!

This is my 100th post! So I thought I'd give myself a cake...because I'm on a diet and no one else is going to give me one!! Have a bite!

I'm pretty happy with how the old bloggage is going so far, I'm sure the Crap Blog Detective will be along at some point to correct me and reduce me to a jibbering idiot in the corner, but ho hum, I won't be the first and I surely shan't be the last.

Since I added the StatCounter a few weeks ago I've been hooked, hooked and intrigued. I was most excited when I got my first non-UK hit, now I've had hits from every continent except the Arctic and Antarctica.....which, of course, I fully intend to visit purely so I can log in and get the full set. Ok ok, only one from both South America and Africa, but I'm working on it, ok? And, just because I'm that it is, my recent visitors map:

If you've ever visited before then one of those little pins is you. I know it's tiny, but this is the best I can do, sorry!

There are lots of you out there, do feel free to leave a comment every now and again, it's not polite to lurk you know! :D Maybe you can tell me which dot belongs to you....unless you live in London...I doubt you could decipher which is yours!

I'm off to have a cup of dodgy Spanish Earl Grey in celebration. You didn't expect an epic for my 100th did you? All this blog posting has knackered me right out.

I know how to do it in style.....Rock and Roll


If you're a morning person you get to see some funny stuff.

As I left my house this morning and turned left as per normal I was confronted with this sight:

This humungous lorry was parked at the end of my road outside the allotments, for seemingly no reason whatsoever. There were 2 guys just sat in the cab, no evidence of off-loading. Evene if they WERE where? I'm pretty sure I've never seen 'HORNY!' in the Co-op. Maybe one of the small newspaper shops is trying out the 'sex-sells' angle? After all it does 'Macht lust auf mehr', which BabelFish reliably informs me translates roughly to 'makes more desire'.

What's next? Sexy girls washing the windows in their bikinis?

I guess anything is worth a shot in todays economic climate.


The second funny thing that I.....and 3/4 of London saw is this.

For those of you who don't fancy following the link, basically, an ex-astronaut drove 1000 miles across the US from Houston to Orlando to launch an attack on a love rival.

Feasible...however, the part that this link doesn't mention, is that she was dressed in a wig and a nappy at the time. It seems she had the sense to cover up with a trenchcoat though.

Ah, all pre 8am....I wonder what other treats the day has in store for me?!

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Money Makes the World Go Round


I witnessed something that made my heart sink a little bit yesterday.

Jo and I were on our way to Party Piece when we stopped across the road for some money outside Morrisons. As we approached the cash machines there was a guy with a pram and a coupla littluns drawing out some money. His daughter, who I guess was about 4 years old was faffing around on the other machine pretending to draw money out. Cute. far....

The guy finished his transaction and removed the little girl for us so that we could use the machine. He then handed the kid a ten pound note.

She held it in the air to check the watermark, waved it around a bit like it was some kind of 'golden ticket', and then she kissed it.

She KISSED the money.

It wasn't just the kiss, it was the way she did it...almost as if she worshipped the stuff.

What are kids being taught to value nowadays? Does she know you have to work for money, or does she think she can just take it from a machine, in the same way that so many kids from 'superpower' nations believe that milk comes from a cardboard cow? Super in what way exactly?

I think I'm going to go home tonight and try for a proper clearout, that really sickened me and I know I have an attachment to far too many material things.

Let's cleanse the soul and get rid! Although in all liklihood I'll get in tonight, decide I'm too tired, faff around on my computer and fall asleep in my comfy bed surrounded by the 26 years worth of detritus that I hold so dear...


Image Cred

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Gargh!! The Update's done and dusted!

I wasn't too beetrooty or flustered because I'd done so much preparation and I pretty much knew what I wanted to say. I lost my track in the middle when a cleaner wandered into the room and faffed around at the back retrieving a phone he had left to charge....dinkus, however, I used my mindmap and recovered from that. In general it went ok. I was still bricking it, but not in as obvious a way as normal!

I tried to escape to my seat as soon as I'd finished the presentation and was duly reprimanded for seeking sanctuary, so I stood and answered some questions.

Then it was time for feedback...oh dear god!

I was asked, 'so, how do you think that went?'. My babbling answer was basically along the lines of 'I know it was far from perfect, but by my standards it went rather well thank you!'

Apparently....and I breathed a small sigh of relief at this...I'm not as bad at presenting as I think I am. I have good mastery of deciding what I should talk about, marshalling ideas and corralling concepts. I'd clearly prepared thoroughly given my visual aid.

Then he pointed out that this should all mean that I'm confident talking in front of people...and given that I'm not, the only reason can be is that I'm worried about how I come across. Thinking about it, it's very true. I had little self-confidence whilst I was growing up, and I definitely have more now.

However, how much of that is real self confidence, and how much is an act I put on to mask the lack of self confidence?

I think all the vestiges of insecurity I still have are manifest in my fear of public speaking. If I can overcome this and move forward to become confident talking in front of a crowd, I think it'll be a huge achievement for me. I'm quite looking forward to seeing if I can do it.

One thing I've learnt is that preparation is key! The 7 P's:

Previous Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance

Ok...I'm off to talk to myself in a mirror

Monday, 9 November 2009


I have a stinky presentation to give tomorrow and I don't wanna!

It's pathetic really, it's 5 one person...and I'm doing it specifically because he knows I have a problem with public speaking, so I'm guessing he's not expecting me to be any good.

I'm not sure what this problem is that I have with public speaking. When I was a kid I was terminally shy. I mean REALLY shy, not that you'd know it now. These days I can approach strangers and start conversations, I can even go up to people in the fish and chip shop and order something (never would have as a kid). Yet I have this massive public speaking hangover

Red, flustered and stuttery. A flustered, stuttery beetroot. Reduced to a vegetable.

So....I've been running through what I'll say, I inflicted a stunted version upon my mother yesterday and Wilfy helped me by printing my garish visual aid out in A2 today. I'm hoping the bright colours will distract him from the piss-poor content of my presentation.

I'm going to get an early night and get up early tomorrow morning, trudge into work and run through a couple more times before I meet him at 9am.....

Wish me luck guys, I'll report back on my progress.

One thing is for sure, I'll be needing Party Piece tomorrow night!

Img Cred


Oggers and I went on a little Comedy Road Trip last night to The LOL Show in High Wycome. I could tell Jo was a little anxious about the whole thing....for a start...we were leaving over 2 hours before we needed to be there! Unprecedented!! UNPRECEDENTED.

I was impressed!

Mr Cee, the compére and promotor..I think...had offered Jo the gig after she helped out a few nights at the Comedy School during the graduations and stuff. It may have been partly a little test....'Do you really want it?' It's not the kind of venue Jo normally plays, would she be willing to go out of her way and take a risk?

She did....I was impressed! And I could tell she was a bit nervous about it. Especially after he said 'bring your tightest and most polished 10 minutes'.

Jo being her normal self-deprecating self, responded 'No Pressure then??','ve seen what I've got mate! The fact is though, he offered her the gig having seen what she'd got, and that tells you something. I think quite often that Jo doesn't give herself enough credit for her comeday, everyone has their off nights, but I've personally seen her storm the place with a few different sets. Contrary to popular belief...the beer alone isn't enough to keep me going to see her.

So, we'll ignore the car journey that started well and ended in some angst. Jo realised too late that when you put a road atlas on my's LITERALLY there just for show. I was concentrating more on the written out directions she had given me...and I even got those wrong. All those junctions, roundabout, numbers and letters. They mean nothing to me!!

Get me a bastard A-Z and I'll find us a way out ok?!!

We finally arrive at the venue, The Littentree. It's unlike any other comedy venue I've been to, in that it's just in the bar, not a room upstairs. As an audience member I found it offputting that there was a massive railing around the stage. Clearly, this is because it's usually used as a dancefloor, and the railing is to prevent drunkards falling off and cracking their skulls open. It puts a barrier between you and the act though...I wasn't keen.

You could tell from the way the room was filling up that this wasn't your standard London comedy venue/set out. There were some people who were sat around tall tables with their backs to the act (although to give them their due, I think they swivelled when acts were on). I got the impression that there would be quite a bit of chatter and activity going on whilst the comedy was in full swing. I wasn't sure if all the people who were there had actually come for the comedy, or just a night out, and comedy happened to be there.....would they know comedy ettiquette? WOULD THEY? Or was I going to spend the whole evening arms crossed with a grumpy look on my face...shooting acid glances at anyone daring to start a conversation? As it happens, Mr Cee did remind people at various intervals of Comedy Ettiqeutte, which I thought was cool.

I was nervous for Jo, Mr Cee had arrived late (through no fault of his own I believe) and as a result the show started an hour late, which is always a bad start, makes people restless. I've heard great things about Mr Cee, but even he struggled with this audience. He admitted he was slightly off the ball, but the audience was quite unresponsive and really wasn't helping him along at up to my expectations...grrrrr.

I must just add here that I'm one of those audience members who I guess comedians either love or hate. Unless the set is REALLY awful I will always sit there and laugh, whoop, clap and smile. Sometimes it's so awful even I can't manage that..but those are rare occasions. If you're the kind of comedian who thrives on constructive criticism I'm not your girl, but if you just like to see a smiley face....just one smiley face in the audience...that's me. I consider it polite!

Anywhoo, Jo went on first, to an audience that had already proved their slight lack of enthusiasm. But she totally went for it! Knowing her set back to front and having discussed bits and bobs with her beforehand, I could tell she made a couple of mistakes....mostly due to the stony-faced cow in the front row who refused to crack a smile....but they wouldn't have been discernible to the first-time listener. She was projecting, dynamic and confident I thought. Even when she forgot where she was for a second, she recovered quickly.

Most importantly, there were people laughing....we like it when people laugh.

Whilst I was sitting there watching, it struck me how incredibly brave it is of her to go up there and do that. Totally out of her comfort zone, strange venue, strange audience, new show. I've often told people how crap-in-my-knickers scared I get when I have to do any form of public speaking...I'm crapping myself at having to do a 5-minute presentation to ONE person tomorrow...but to do it in that situation? You wouldn't see me for dust.

I imagine that there are milestones and learning experiences for every comedian and I think that was an awesome one for Jo, she'll be tougher and more confident at new venues, and she'll be able to look back and say....'Well, they weren't as bad as that lot I played to at the Littentree in November '09!!' (Apparently it's not normally that bad in there....just a disclaimer, I wouldn't want to put anyone off!! Comedy is WIN!)

Big respect to Jo and any and all who have the balls to go out and do it.

I surely don't!!

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Backpackers Packing List

Some of you know that I'm planning on spending April, May and June next year travelling around South East Asia.

I say plan because although I've booked the time off work, I haven't yet organised my flights and have just lost my passport!! I fully intend on getting there, but one doesn't want to tempt fate.

So, I've been thinking about what to pack and I've been looking at a number of websites that purport to advise you on what to take. It seems that the rule of thumb is as follows:

Make a list of the minimum you're happy to take and decide how much money you think you'll need. Then...when it comes to packing, halve the amount of stuff you intended on taking and double the amount of money.


I'm planning on taking a relatively small bag, 35 litre maximum. Apart from the fact that it's been recommended by most people I've spoken to, I KNOW how grumpy I get when I have to hump luggage around everywhere with me, and it's best to avoid that. This means I'll have to pack savvy. A large amount of stuff I could pick up when I arrive in Bangkok, and much cheaper than I could buy it here, but there are things I must have before I leave.

Here's a list of stuff I have in mind to take with me, it needs honing and if any world travellers come across this somehow I'd really value your input!

2 vests
2 long sleeved shirts (pick uppable in Bangkok?)
One long skirt and one pair of convertible lightweight trousers
2 pairs of lightweight trousers
4 pairs of undies
3 or 4 pairs of socks
Bikini/Swimmy cozzy
Poncho/Rain Mac
TEVA shoes (I'm getting for xmas....wew hew)

Silk sleeping bag liner
Microfibre towel
Mossie Net
Mossie Repellent
Duct Tape
Notebook and pen (prittstick?)
Sewing kit
Sandwich bags/ziplock bags

First Aid Kit:
Micropore Tape

Universal cleanser
Dental floss

And also all the necessary paperwork of course! Passport, tickets, insurance and vaccination details, cash and bank card. Photocopies of everything.

People always say take a travel belt, but I'm umming and ahhing about this. First off, unless you get a super-swishy one they're likely to be hot and annoying against your skin in warm weather. Secondly, if you're targeted by a thief, chances are they'll know you're likely to have one and will take or slash it. My plan is to take a daysack and sew pockets into either that or the rucksack and put my passport etcinto those. So even if someone comes along and slashes the bottom of your bag, they don't fall out.

It may seem quite a bit, but a lot of the items are very small and others pack down quite small.

Optional extras would include:

Washing Line
Alarm Clock
Guide Book
Eating/drinking utensils

I'm also CONSIDERING buying a netbook to take with me, but it adds weight...and there's also the risk of theft. I'd make sure it was insured!! The benefits are that I can take advantage of the wi-fi I know is prevalent (except in the very remote places), keep in touch with people, and blog my heart out!

There are things I'm bound to have forgotten, as well as stuff I haven't even thought about. Any suggestions/advice/criticism (of the constructive variety) would be very welcome. Also, any suggestions for brand/model of backpack!

Thank you very muchness ladies and gents.

Friday, 6 November 2009


Doughnuts are sabotaging me!

Or is it the people who keep buying them?

Greggle, Linda, Wilfy and I have this thing going on with morning teabreak. We often buy Krispy Kremes for special occassions, the obligatory 'birthday' doughnuts, the 'PAYDAY!!' doughnuts.

Recently a worrying pattern, or rather...non-pattern has begun to emerge. Since when has anyone heard of 'welcome back from your long weekend' doughnuts, or 'I feel like a doughnut today' doughtnuts?

Or, god forbid......'it's Wednesday' doughnuts.

This is the way it's been going recently.

Yesterday we indulged in 'Becki's back from holiday and I fancy a doughnut' Krispy Kremes, bought by the lovely Greggle. Or rather....paid for by the lovely Greggle who sent me out to get them along with his Ploughmans lunch Meal Deal for £2 from Tesco. I've been meaning to get back on the dieting wagon for some time, and I'd thought I could be good today after yesterdays Krispy Kreme based excesses.

I forgot about the coffee morning.

I walk into the Starling Room only to be confronted by four massive plates of doughnuts. They weren't Krispy Kremes, but they were soft, floury goodness filled with jam or topped with chocolate!


They told us we couldn't have one until 11am! It was 10:50am. How dare they do this to us! Two huge plates of doughnuts were placed directly in front of our faces, and we were explicitly ordered not to touch them for ten minutes!

As Linda suggested...cruel and unusual punishment...we must have done something truely evil in our past lives.

Of course as soon as the doughnut distributors walked out of the room, after we had promised to guard the doughnuts with our lives, Greg dove in. He then spent most of the next minute and a half trying to consume the thing as quickly as possible, paranoid that the doughnut people would come back to check on the situation.

Pre-11am, we staged a countdown, paper plates at the ready. We were truely a sight to behold.

They were delicious I must say...and not too stingy on the jam, which is always the main concern of a discerning doughnut connoisseur.

As more people turned up the doughnuts did start to disappear slowly. One thing we noticed is that people seem relatively calm whilst there are 5 or more doughnuts still on the plate. This changes once the all important fifth doughnut is taken away.

Beads of perspiration start to appear on upper lips, eye's dart nervously between unguarded doughnuts, empty paper plate and possibly sources of competition around the room, feet shuffle. And then it happens, three, four, or......sadly....five people simultaneously make a dash for the plate. Inevitably someone is crushed in the ensuing mayhem, one person, in their state of heightened doughnut lust, steals two, and flees the room pursued by a baying crowd of angry academics on a sugar-high.

Ok....that last part only happened once..but I can't let it go, it was too funny.

In summation, ladies and gentlemen...don't eat too many doughnuts, they're bad for your health.

p.s...don't bother trying to suggest that I may use my extensive self-control to NOT EAT doughnuts when they're put in front of me. That's just silly talk.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Barcelona Bloggage

I've got some nice stuff up for you to read and look at now :)



Treading the fine line

I just sent an email to our Facilities people asking for some lab floors to be stripped and sealed. The guys in the lab are a little concerned about some sensitive lasers and microscopes in the lab and don't want the janitors to be bashing great big floor polishers into them...fair enough! So they're planning on putting up warning signs on the very sensitive bits.

Most of the janitors that work here are South American and so speak Spanish and Portugese. We've had a couple of instances in the past where they've had trouble understanding stupid wordy signs that people have left up for them (I may have been a can tell which ones are mine by the silly smily faces I put all over them).

When I emailed the helpdesk I put in a line saying 'they're planning on putting warning signs up on the very sensitive equipment. Would English suffice or would your operatives prefer Spanish/Portugese?' Then I deleted it...then I put it back in again....then I deleted it.

First off, I was worried that I was somehow insinuating that the janitors wouldn't be clever enough to just be careful having been told by their manager that they should be careful, that we must also put up signs to remind them.

Secondly, I was worried that I was somehow insinuating that, just because they choose to chat to each other in their native tongue, they don't have a firm enough grasp on the english language to understand a warning sign.

When really, all I'm trying to do is make sure the users equipment doesn't get damaged, and that the janitors know where they're at in terms of what they need to avoid.

Political, social and cultural correctness makes my brain turn to mush....I'll just carry on being nice.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

I'm baaaaaaaaack!! Did you miss me?

I know you need to confirm. I'll take any lack of commentage as an affirmative, thankyouplease :o)

Well, most of you probably know of the initial debacle of the holiday, I shan't go on about it again, as all the details have already been ranted through here on my travel/holiday bloggage. I'll link again once I've started to blog the wonderful time Nicki and I had after the pickpocketing bonanza!!

I've only been back a few hours if you consider Nicki and I got back at about midnight last night, so I haven't had much time to do anything too embarrassing or stupid to blog for you yet I'm afraid. I'm sure it won't take long and that by this afternoon or tomorrow I shall be brimming with yet more excitement, exciting things from my world that I simply must share with you.
For now, I'll leave you with a few of my favourite snaps from the last 5 days :o) xx

(incidentally, in real time, I've just escaped from my room for fear that the bloke working in the loft will actually come through my ceiling! I've never heard such a rackett! I'll let you know how that goes)

La Seu Cathedral in Barcelonas Gothic region

The 'Cascada' in Parc de la Ciutadella

Arc de Triomf - yes, Barcelona has one too!

Amazing sculptures on the roof terrace of Gaudi's 'La Pedrera'

Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia - and cranes

Parc de Montjuic at dusk

Gaudi's Parc Guell - reminds me of the gingerbread house!