Tuesday, 29 December 2009
Here are some Sproglet Festive Season Facts:
- I ate almost an entire Terrys Chocolate Orange to myself on Boxing Day
- Every year mum and dad buy new wrapping paper, but they keep the old stuff. Wrapping paper at mum and dads house is either brand new or 5 years old. This has become so out of hand that it's facilitated the purchase of a wrapping paper 'organiser' which resembles a suitcase.
- Cracker jokes get worse every year
- Both Nicki and Dad's heads are too big for cracker-hats. They look ok from the front, but when you turn them round there's a massive rip.
- Books with silly pictures of animals are a staple...and made of win.
- No matter how old my sister and I get, we still have stockings. I turned 26 this year. They are, however, getting smaller and slightly more adult (not in a fishnet kind of way). When we were wee our stockings were roughly the same size as us, stocking shaped and all different colours etc. This year we had little sacks instead of stockings, cos that makes it more grown up.
This Christmas was good, if busy. I went out with Oggers on the day before Christmas Eve for her worky drinks, and Christmas Eve was spent flapping around Croydon in a bid to pick up those bits that I'd kept putting off, blindly stumbling closer to Christmas in the confidence that time would slow down and stop at some point, allowing me to wander round Selfridges at my leisure, pushing people over and putting them in funny positions.
Nanny and my aunt and uncle came over for Christmas dinner. Nanny seems to get smaller every year blesser!
Boxing day was chillout and the day after was my last zoo day! It won't sink in until 2 weeks time when I'm sat at home thinking...'I should be doing something now'. Jo, Choy, Lucy and I (the hardcore crowd) when out for drinkies. We left Camden at about 9, but in our eternal wisdom, Jo and I hit the local when we got back to the Stow..until closing....gah!!
Yesterday I saw my lovely Mark, he's moving out! Exciting exciting, we hit Sam Smiths...nom nom and cheapy cheapy. We feasted upon McCoys and beer and then made a relatively early (and almost sober) retreat. By this point I'm merely topping up the already high level of alcohols in my bloodstream, I'm not sure that I'm ever 100% sober at any point.
To come is Calendar Girls with the fambly, Party Piece, Vicky's bday and New Year.....
Thursday, 24 December 2009
In Ancient Rome, high ranking officials would give gifts to the Emperor around the winter solstice.
In the 17th century and earlier, parents would give their kids chocolate or fruit on St Nicholas's feast day.
In the Victorian era, the more prosperous would go out onto the streets and give food to the less fortunate.
Tomorrow we'll be giving our own gifts, but it's not all about the presents is it now? Though they are an added bonus. It's a time to appreciate having all your family and friends around.
I hope all of you have a wonderful christmas in your own individual ways, Wilf in Madrid, Lindar in Australia! I'll be at home with the fambly, auntie Pat, Uncle Roy and Nannoo are coming round which is unusual, we haven't had multiple guests for Christmas for a while.
So wherever you are in the world, have an awesome time, seasons greetings to everyone who has visited me over the past few months!!
Bada Din Mubarak Ho
Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia
Hristos se rodi!
Sawadee Pee Mai
I'D MIILAD SAID OUA SANA SAIDA
Vrolijk Kerstfeest en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar!
Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce a stastny Novy Rok
Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva i s Novim Godom
Mo'adim Lesimkha. Chena tova
Buone Feste Natalizie
Selamat Hari Natal
Wednesday, 23 December 2009
But I lubs it and it's mine not hers and she can poo off.
Tuesday, 22 December 2009
Monday, 21 December 2009
Sunday, 20 December 2009
I know you're all gagging for the pubcrawl blog, I shall endeavour get it up in the next few days...there are some classic pictures!
Friday, 18 December 2009
For the past 5 days I have spent my hours in one of 3 sets of four walls....the training room, my accomodation, and the 'dining room'. I'm finally home, no one is in, I have the place to myself....and I have no homework hanging over me. Is this what bliss feels like?
It would be apart from the massive caffeine withdrawal headache I have developing, I knew this would be a hazard of drinking all that tea to keep myself alive.
The exam was ok, but it's very difficult to assess whether you think you've passed or not. The questions are worded in such a way that you have to tease the answers out of them, and despite insisting they don't put any trick questions in, they do throw some curve balls at you. I'm reasonably confident, but I really just have to wait for the results to come through.
Julian made me laugh during the exam, every now and again I'd look over to see his leg twitching manically under the table. Or, he'd put his head in his hands, then throw himself back in his seat and look at the ceiling before hunching back over the paper again. I'm sure I was also exhibiting all manner of stressed out behaviours unbeknownst to myself.
Having passed the foundation though, it means that I can study by myself and resit (and pay for) the Practitioners exam whenever I like...without having to go through that training again. So that's a bonus at least.
Only Mark and I needed to get the train and so we had a VERY rushed lunch in order to catch the transfer to the train station at 12:30, said our goodbyes and leapt onto the minibus. When we got to the train station...guess what....delays!
'We regret to inform you that the....11.06......first capital connect service to.....London Kings Cross....is delayed by approximately....1 hour and 20 minutes....due to....................snow'
However, one train was sufficiently delayed that it actually turned up almost when we needed it and so we leapt on. It was a slow train, but not too much slower than the normal one. In that regard we were lucky.
Not so lucky in terms of who we ended up sat next to.
I thought it would be the girls watching some comedy show or another loudly on their computer that would cause the hassle, but no. After a while it became evident that the chap sitting across the aisle to our left would become the bane.
Whether or not it was true I have no idea, but everyone who had the misfortune of sitting next to or across from him ended up being told about how:
- he'd just spent 2 years in prison
- his cellmate was serving 8 years "JUST for cuttin' someone up"
- anyone who hurt someone he loved would get "f*cked up" because he's not scared of going back
- he's going to visit his mum, which is good, but it's the reason he's drinking, because nothing ever pleases her.
THAT'LL please her
- the pearl in his ring calms him down when it touches his skin....ahem
He was drinking glasses of almost straight whiskey and was getting louder and louder and more and more pissed as the journey went on (bear in mind this is an hour-long journey...there was a distinct deterioration).
I was trying really hard to talk to and listen to Mark because we were chatting about how I could get involved in aid agencies and stuff, he fell into it about 15 years ago and it's an area I'm really interested in, but this guy was so distracting! The kind of bloke you try your hardest not to make eye contact with, because you know it'll end up with you embroiled in either conversation or a fight.
Anyway....WIN, this train stops at Finsbury Park, saves me going all the way into town and back out again.
So here I am. Tea to counter the caffeine headache....week old crumpets that I inspected for mould before deciding to risk my life with (in my mental business case the benefits of crumpet goodness far outweigh the risk I may throw up...bit of Prince2 humour for you there...I promise never to do that again).
In a few minutes I'm off out again to attend the work Christmas 'reception', and then I'll be at home for the weekend.
Looking forward to a relatively relaxing weekend, lets face it....anything is relaxing after the week I've just had.
Oh!! And that guys name was John! Thank you John :)
Thursday, 17 December 2009
Bloody nice it was too. Gammon, dauphinoise (sure I'm not spelling that right) potatoes, courgettes and mixed veg. Ice cream and fruit salad for afters.
So, today was all about preparing for the Practitioners exam that we're sitting tomorrow morning at 9am.
12 marks per question
55% to pass.
It doesn't sound like much, but believe me....iz scary
We went through a mock. The first two questions were the homework that I did this morning, I got a massive 14/24 for that....but it's a pass.
Overall I got 79/108 which isn't to be sniffed at, it's way past a pass.
Now....to recreate it tomorrow is the only feat left. There are a couple of subject areas that I'll have a read through tonight, but apart from that I think I'm just going to chill out.
Did I mention this is an open-book exam?
It's all well and good, but it's finding what you need in the book, you should see the textbooks tabbed to the hilt! I stole tabs off of Julian and now I know exactly where all my processes, themes and appendices are. Ironic seeing as I couldn't point out my own appendix if my life depended on it.
On the subject of the weather....I'm really starting to get paranoid that we'll be snowed in tomorrow. Not the exam, I'm not worried about that...it's getting my arse home!
It's been trying to snow all day, and at about 6pm it hit properly and started to settle. My journey to the accomodation isn't far, but I was in physical pain from the cold and wind when I arrived. At about 7:30 when I wandered back over for dinner the snow had stopped pretty much, but on emerging again an hour later, it was in full swing. I have a feeling it'll be working overtime tonight, ready for the morning and my long, cold, wet trudge over to be 'examined'.
I was very kindly given a lift back to my accomodation by someone I'm ashamed to say I still don't know the name of. Absolutely lovely guy though!! I'm so ashamed. This is because I sit at the back of the class you see, so everyones name places face away from me.
So ladies and gents, please keep your fingers crossed and wish Julian, Chris, Mark, Brian, Brian, Andrew, Hiten, Jaz, Alex, Ed, myself......and especially those whose names I've forgotten....luck for tomorrow morning.
And a round of applause to Mark Percy for putting up with us for 5 days!!
I bid you adieu xx
Turns out it was nothing interesting, that's just boring!! He had on a lovely flowery shirt today, left his beanie at home (which he'll regret when he ventures out this evening....owie), vegetarian as he can't digest meat (collective 'ahhhhhhhhhhh').
Smells slightly of....pickled onions and beer. Nice bum.
You can give me that £5 tomorrow Julian, I won't usually say people smell of pickled onions and beer, it doesn't come cheap.
I'll be back a bit later on with the catch-up on Day 5. I can almost feel your anticipation. We've been released early today because it's the Practitioners exam tomorrow and we need to revise.....ahem.
The catch-up will come later because we haven't had dinner yet and I have to regale you with tales of the culinary delights. Apparently it's gammon, dauphinoise potatoes and courgettes......or veggie curry.
I'll have a quick sniff and a poke of the gammon before I decide.
Wednesday, 16 December 2009
I felt betrayed.
Two mocks....and the questions in the paper were nothing like those in the mocks. I mean...I didn't expect the questions to come up again, but these questions weren't even in the same kind of format. Completely different.
I'd completed the mocks in less than the allotted hour, with time to check, and then go out and grab tea and coffee to wait for the end. THIS time I was there scribbling right till the end.
Yes...this is a multiple choice. One of those jobbies where you have an answer sheet with circles that you block out so someone can stick a grid over the top and mark...or push them through a computer which will count them. What you don't take into account is how long it takes you to fill in those silly circles with the stoopid mechanical pencil they give you!!
We all left the room at the end. With the foundation, the trainer marks them there and then and you get the results half an hour later.
Stood around in the coffee room, it was clear that everyone felt the same way as me. No one came out of that exam in a positive frame of mind. Arms crossed, fingers and feet tapping, moaning, groaning, staring at the ceiling. It was possibly one of the worst 25 minutes of my life. I've never had the experience of having to wait for the results of a pregnancy test....but I imagine it'd feel the same way.
We were called back in, and given our results on the back of little post-it notes. I was given my post-it note.
Becki....it said on the front....I held it between the palsm of my warm little mittens for a while before summoning up the guts to turn it over and look at my result:
Thank Frack for that......phew.....
The highest mark was 68, and only one guy failed, we all felt for him. He has to retake tomorrow morning before doing the practitioners exam on Friday....shitehouses.
Afterwards we were given our homework for tonight, and in true Becki style, I decided a trip to the bar was in order instead. I dragged Brian along with me...he didn't need much persuasion in all honesty.
We were soon joined by Andrew, then Chris and Mark...etc etc, until we had a little crowd going. Then Alex turned up and bought me another. 2 pints and I haven't had any since Sunday...that's a long time for me.
And now I'm back in my room...post-beer fug, blogging and thinking...I should do some homework. I think what I'll do now is....drink lot's of water and get up early tomorrow to do my homework. The past few days I've been getting up at 7am, having brekkie and in the training room by 8am (training doesn't start till 9), but seeing as someone is doing their exam we can't get in till 9.
Up drinking beer and doing homework in the morning.
Becki is back on form ladies and gents...
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
Today was apparently one of the most intense days of the course, there was no weekend before it and tomorrow is supposed to be more relaxing, ending at about 6pm after a 'little exam'. Restful my arse.
There was still much caffeine intake, but I was regulating it today and had a blueberry and apple tea during the mock....oh yes, well done me. A packet of walkers ready salted and a packet of mini cheddars were my evils, but with all the brain juice we're sapping I'll forgive myself.
I personally didn't find today as bad as yesterday. That 6 hour stint in the afternoon is still a killer though. It appears that I don't have a throat infection *crosses fingers*, it's much better today. I think it must have been my body giving me a warning shot across the bows, I haven't been treating it very nicely lately.
Mock Number 2! I got 53 out of 75!! Oh yes. Oh yes!!
I had assumed that I was one of the crapper people in the class seeing as most of my compadrés seem to be consultants 'between contracts' (unemployed) at the moment. However, having a listen out at dinner it seems I'm not. Scores bandied around ranged between 32 and 58, so I'm not doing too badly.
That doesn't mean I won't be doing any reading tonight though. What was it Tony taught me?
'Previous Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance'
Or something along those lines. I just hope that the stuff being shoved in one ear isn't pushing stuff straight out of the other, cos that's how it feels sometimes.
I'd make some funnies, but I haz nothing funny to talk about :(. Oh!! On the way back to my room I had such massive wind I thought I might poo myself...so I had to run.
I didn't poo myself. I wonder if this is a side-effect of all the caffeine?
Monday, 14 December 2009
Tea, Pepsi Max, Irn Bru and Aero are what kept me awake, I hit a wall at about 3:30pm, (with 54.5 hours to go), I had no choice!! I had the worst nights sleep last night, and I hope that my excessive caffeine consumption won't cause the same tonight. I stopped drinking tea at about 6:30pm so fingers crossed.
I also suspect I'm coming down with a throat infection. So that's nice.
10 hours of Project Management today, processes and themes and principles. It all blurs into one after a while, and I'm just grateful that everyone else in the room has the same moans and groans as I do when we're finally released back into the world:
'Why does he have to go so fast?'
'Did you get that bit about 'tailoring' the project?'
'Yeah I got question 8 wrong too.....bastards!!'
And some of them have MUCH more experience of project management than I do.
(We had a mock exam today, and we've only learned a third of the material. Pass mark is 38/75 and I got 40. Everyone else got much higher I think...but I'm pretty happy with that!!)
Norm brought up a valid point in his comment, which I copied below for you, save you searching around:
"Sounds like fun. I'm a bit of a sceptic about things like this. I've not yet come across a course of this nature that I thought I learned anything from. The theory's always fine - it's when you get into the real world that you run into trouble. You know, Yvonne has to leave at four pm on Thursdays for choir practice. Steve and Alex don't like each other and won't co-operate. Kev is utterly useless but cannot be fired. Stuff like that tends to gum up the works and somehow these fantastic theories never take these little difficulties into account."
I think that this will/would be an incredibly useful tool for me when I go back to work IF I get the opportunity to apply it properly and often enough. However, I expect you're correct.
I doubt that if I were asked to run a project, that I would be given any resources. A Project Manager acting alone does not a Project make. I'd at least need a Project Board, but the problem is that they would need to know what their reponsibilities are under the Prince2 framework. As you say, you also need a team who are going to work well together.
What I'm going to gain from this course is essentially a way to organise such projects as I am given. In my current position I'm never going to be given a huge project, the chances may be that I'm the only person working on the project. Hence, Prince2 will give me the ability to be able to monitor my own progress and make sure I'm not rushing off in a random direction and being distracted from the project goals, so that I can deliver the 'product' withing budget and on time...etc etc etc.
I can only hope that I'm given the opportunity often enough to practice this so that when the day comes when I am give a larger project to run...I can still do it!
On a lighter note....the food was better today, garlic chicken and boiled potatoes. Yesterday was a leathery turkey steak that we all had trouble trying to swallow. The consensus seems to be that the veggie option is far prefereable. We'll all have turned veggie by the end of the week.
Tune in tomorrow for Day 3
Sunday, 13 December 2009
I was absolutely cacking it earlier at Kings Cross Station, and on the train on the way to St Neots Station. I've always been quite confident on courses and doing exams etc, because I've always known that deep down somewhere I know my stuff. This however, is something completely different!
Looking through the pre-reading, it struck me that the conecpts of Project Management themselves aren't that difficult to grasp....if only you can fight your way through the jargon they present it in!! It's basically a course in a foreign language. This is what I'll have trouble with.
Anywhoo, I arrived at St Neots, and after the initial disappointment of finding that the elusive 'shuttle' to the centre didn't exist, sharing a taxi with a Thai lady who spoke VERY little english (she was meeting her boyfriend....who sounded in his 60's when she thrust the mobile phone at me to talk to him), getting to the Willow Centre to find I was staying in a another part and traipsing around for about 15 minutes in the cold and dark trying to find my accomodation.....after all that, it actually turned out pretty cool.
6pm was orientation time and I left very early incase I got lost....I didn't and only succeeded in getting there very early. So had a few others and there weren't too many seats left, so I grabbed one with two relatively friendly looking gents. Julian turns out to be a star, he's lovely and he's on my course too, quite a feat considering there were probably about 80 people in the room and only 15 on my course. The other guy flew in from Uruguay of all places!
We figured...orientation at 6, dinner at 7 and early night/revision in preparation for tomorrow.
Straight into the classroom at half 6. I'm the only girl. I manage not to blush when introducing myself which is unusual, I'm clearly growing.
Straight into the jargon:
'Managing a stage boundary'
'Configuration Management Strategy'
'Project Initiation Document'
I'm SO glad I did some pre-reading, I'd be a jibbering wreck by now. I was quite pleased that at some points, when the instructor was asking question of us....I managed to shout out the answers to a couple....correctly...oh yes!!
We had dinner at about 19:45, a bit of tough old turkey and some nice roasties, followed by apple and rhubarb crumble. Nom.
Oh. I almost forgot to tell you what our daily schedule is!
Breakfast between 7-9am
Morning Session 9am-1:15pm
Afternoon Session...check this....2-8pm!!
Back in classroom to review 9pm
WTF? They've got a health club and driving range here, like anyone has the time or inclination!
And with that, I think I should shoot off and read about stage boundaries. I'll report again tomorrow if I live :)
Thursday, 10 December 2009
Here is my tiny baby net browser
Complete with a ruler for scale there...a very sexy yellow ruler. In case it's not clear, that's a 12 inch ruler, it's not THAT small!
Anywhoo, this is the little companion that I have to get to grips with before I go travelling. I either have to become a more skilled typist....or shrink the size of my fingertips before I go. It may come down to plastic surgery.
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
I saw this video about a year ago now, if not longer, but in light of the UN Climate Change Conference taking place in Copenhagen, I thought I'd post this video for your perusal. On Youtube it's entitled 'The Most Terrifying Video You'll Ever See', and if you're in any way concerned about the future of this planet then I'm inclined to agree:
In a similar vein, Oggs and I watched 'Bang Goes the Theory, Human Power Station' on the BBC last Thursday. In brief, the experiment involved a family of four in a house being unhooked from the mains, and instead powered solely by pedal power. In a warehouse next door there was an army of cyclists ready to supply all their electricity needs using dynamo's attached to the back wheels of their bikes. It was essentially an example of just how much energy the average family uses (and wastes) day to day, painfully illustrated by the blood sweat and tears being shed by these poor cyclists.
If you didn't catch it then I urge you to check it out on iPlayer...I've certainly been turning more lights off.
Monday, 7 December 2009
Just a little something for the laydeeez ;)
Saturday, 5 December 2009
It's more than slightly frustrating I must confess. The keyboard is tiny! The screen is about 5 inches across.
Ironically....blogger is working, but it doesn't seem to want to show me my email!!
Some practice is required prior to travel for sure. I'll be back soon with more fun stuff....promise xx
Friday, 4 December 2009
Thursday, 3 December 2009
When the urge comes upon you at work, you'd like to wait until you get home...but it's not going to happen. You mentally run through the locations of all the toilets, which one is likely to be the least frequented? What time is it? Half past the hour, ideal, no sudden outflux from a lecture.
You don't want to be disturbed after all.
I don't know what you're all thinking, but I'm thinking bowel movements.
So you pootle along to the toilet, your heart sinks, there's someone in the other cubicle.
But you've come all this way, you take the chance that maybe they're nearly finished and that you coming in and faffing around next door will drive them away.
You sit down, listening for the telltale rumble of the loo roll that indicates the end.
This could be awkward, you need a poop, not a pee pee, you have only very little pee pee. But you try anyway, otherwise what you have is two very awkward people sitting on the pan with nowt but a plastic wall between them, listening for each others bodily functions.
It takes about a minute for you to summon anything, anything at all, I do believe it's called 'Performance Anxiety', and then, the most embarrassingly small volume of pee in the world. Performance anxiety over, you're now merely ashamed. It's an emotional rollercoaster!
Next door, still silence. They were here before you! Surely they should have the good manners to leave and let you get on with it. By now they know what you're up to, killing time with your tiny pee pee. No one comes to the loo for a performance like that, you're waiting for something more substantial!
But no, they'll just.....sit tight, listen to you flounder like a dying fish until you finally give up.
And that's what you do. Resigned....you leave the cubicle (having pulled your kecks up, and hopefully to find no one else waiting for the toilet with a silent grin on their face), then wash and dry your hands as quickly as you possibly can so whoever the demon is sitting in that other cubicle doesn't come out and see your face.
If they saw your face you'd have to kill them, no one wants blood on their hands.
Bitch...I bet she's in there having a nice poo now.
I'll go back in ten minutes
Wednesday, 2 December 2009
Funny how thereare more pics of FunnyMan on his camera than anyone elses!!