Sunday, September 30, 2007

Good times

I came down to London again on Friday. Reisdki and I had a night in on Friday - him mainly watching rugby and me mainly messing around with You Tube and having far too much to drink. Talking of You Tube, to save my loved one future embarrassment - Pete Wylie is to be seen after 2 minutes and 50 seconds of this video of The Farm singing Altogether Now (and if you don't know why he really needs to know that I refer you to this post, aptly entitled 'What a twat.')

Saturday morning was spent sleeping off the too much to drink of the night before and then I did a bit of gardening. Reidski has a garden that was obviously once upon a time very much loved and cared for, but for many recent years has been totally neglected.I think that is rather sad and have been hacking away at it in the past few months. I am very proud that one can now see to the end of the garden - believe me - that is a good start. We were surprised after a month or two to find a pond in his garden- even more surprised that fish survived in the hidden pond. And no - the garden isn't any bigger than a standard early 20th century London terraced house garden.

We went to Marylebone High Street in the evening. What a lovely area that is. It feels like a village, but it is only just off Oxford Street. We visited a couple of bars - Reidski made friends with some Italians in one pub where we watched the Scotland v Italy rugby match. The friendship lasted at least until this final score. Then we had a really nice meal at Strada, which is part of (as I now know but didn't at the time) a chain of Italian restaurants...and is highly recommended by me if not by this fat bloke. The shops round there looked very tempting too - I will return.

We managed to get back to his place on public transport without him single handedly taking on three drunken racists (verbally - not fisticuffs) which was both a relief and more than we managed a couple of weeks ago. ( I thought we would get knifed and was completely useless in the situation we found ourselves.) (I was still proud of him though - racist bastards that they were.)

Back home now until Tuesday when my team (you all know who they are - the Mighty Cobblers) take on his team (Millwall) at his place. That could make disagreements over when British Summer Time ends appear somewhat trivial in comparison!

We had a disagreement!

Me and Reidski had our first ever fall out. This may seem hard to believe as Reidski has been accused of being a little 'confrontational' on occasions by certain other bloggers, but in 20 months of being together we had never had a fall out.

The fact that I didn't know we had had a fall out is immaterial to this post as he had to text me and tell me he owed me a huge apology. I rang at once - what the hell had he done? The apology was that I was right and he was wrong about when British Summer Time ends. Well - I KNEW that anyway! He said it was always late September. I said it was always late October. I totally missed the fact that my conviction that I was right had really pissed him off because he was so convinced HE was right. From memory our conversation as to when British Summer Time ends lasted all of two minutes, but anyway, I now know that apparently we had our first ever fall out.

Making up was nice though!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

If one

is going to fall over ones step at the gym in mid class I think one should always endeavour to do so right in front of the glass doors where a crowd of people is waiting to come into the following class. How else after all can one best add to the gaiety of the local Virgin Active membership?

I have a scrapped* and swollen knee. But my pride is injured much more deeply.

* Yes - thank you everyone for pointing out my error! I have now officially suffered enough over that one....surely???

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Oh yes

I remember this dilemma even though mine are all long past that stage now.

Monday, September 24, 2007


as I was otherwise engaged this weekend my lads turned on the style and won according to both my son, and the score line, very convincingly. Apparently the Huddersfield manager told his team before kick off that we were relegation fodder. I wonder what he said to them after their 3-0 thrashing by said relegation fodder?

And the answer


Spoiler alert!!!!

I now know that there are two major inaccuracies in the song sang in The Wizard of Oz when they declare that the Wicked Witch is Dead, in that she wasn't wicked, and nor was she dead.

She runs off with the Scarecrow!

Anyway, quite good fun as a show. Clever plot. The woman who plays the witch who isn't wicked at all has a hell of a voice. Amazing sets. And yes, if you have teenage girls with you it is pretty much guaranteed to be a successful night out - unless one of them happens to be a 14 year old Goth and pretty much determined NOT to enjoy it at all. The Goth in our little group did eventually concede under intense questioning that it was 'Alright' which as a recommendation is probably on a par with 'Sensational!' says Heat Magazine.

Lots of women there, and lots of 'Friends of Dorothy' there. Hetro men were noticable only by their absence. Anyway, in view of the above, and the fact that the Apollo, Victoria has 2574 seats of which approx two thirds are in the circle, a question for you: What is the total number of toilets available in the circle at the Apollo Victoria for women to use? I will pop the answer in the comments of the next post, but do have a guess without cheating. I'm sure no one has anything better to do :-)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Just had a bit of a surprise

I looked at reviews of the musical I am going to see tomorrow night. Knowing that my friend's 12 year old daughter has seen Wicked four times already, I had a certain preconception of what it was going to be like, but whaddya know? The reviews are really good.

It is going to be a girly weekend for me and my daughter. Shame it doesn't start a bit earlier - like half an hour ago, for this evening, far from a girly night, I find my house invaded by numerous teenage boys bearing beer.

Bad timing too this weekend because Jim of TNR blog is down from Ayrshire with his wife at Reidski's for the weekend and I shall miss them.

Was at Reidski's last night and we went for a superb meal at a Turkish restaurant near London Bridge. I was at a conference today. Luckily he was starting work late and took me to the venue. I say luckily because it was in such an out of the way spot that without his help I feel I would be searching for it still. Not, now I come to think about it, that that would have been so terrible, because I would then have been saved from listening to an egotist drone on all day about how wonderful she is - but then if she has been reading reviews like these I guess it could go to one's head. Me? I thought she was rubbish and the book to be unreadable, but each to their own. Lunch was good though.

Back to the girly weekend which will comprise 5 adults, 5 teenagers,all of whom will be going on the trip mentioned previously to South Africa in a month's time. OHMIGOD!!!!!!!!! I AM GOING TO SOUTH AFRICA!!!!!!!!!(Sorry, just got a bit excited there.) We are going to a very glamorous clothes shop. I think I shall look really cool out on safari in my army surplus gear and I shall continue to think that until some one shows me the photos afterwards. Then we are going Up West, and shall catch the show afore mentioned. It will be fun...but am still sorry I shan't see Jim.

Back though to the Here and Now.

I do hope no one throws up in my house tonight.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Memory Lane

It was Wednesday 20th September. I was expecting my first baby on Friday 13th October. As if that date wasn't bad enough, it also happens to be the birthday of Margaret Thatcher and Edwina Currie and everyone in my family had girls which was a bit of a worry but I did know first babies are nearly always late.

I went to the hospital ante natal unit that morning - just for a routine check up, but they decided they would have me in on 1st October to induce the baby as he/she appeared to be a big un. I was quite happy about that. At least now I could start planning, buy the baby things etc.

That afternoon I went to my regular Wednesday afternoon ante natal class. Of all the bizarre things I have ever done in my life, they are right up there. That afternoon we got to practice 'pushing'. I was obviously a little over enthusiastic because much to my mortification, as I pushed I felt a dribble 'down below'. "Sod it!" Amidst all the indignities of late pregnancy, I had thus far avoided incontinence - until it appeared that moment - AND to make matters worse I was wearing white trousers. I excused myself from the exercise and tried to make my huge self inconspicuous for the rest of the class.

Home and I was knackered. I had a bit of a lie down, but was still bothered by the dribbling 'down below'. Some hours later I decided to investigate somewhat closer and collected a sample (something women are quite skilled at by the 8th month of pregnancy). *Thinks* " wee doesn't look like that." I rang the hospital and was a bit put out to be told I had better come in and see them. As I was driving there I remember wondering if I would be back home in time to see a particularly promising episode of Brookside which was on at 8.00pm that night.

I never did get to see Brookside. Although I wasn't in labour I had developed a leak. Nothing dramatic which is what I always assumed happened when your waters broke, but a slow leak. Nevertheless, as the midwife informed me after the most cursory of examinations, I couldn't go home as I was going to have a baby in the next 48 hours. And far from being prepared I didn't even have so much as a toothbrush with me, let alone anything for a baby.

But have a baby I did. Just before midnight the following day. And I bucked the family trend and had a boy. 8lbs 6ozs so I guess he would have pretty big if I had gone to my dates, but he was long - 58 cms long, hence the leak - poor child hadn't got room to stretch and basically put his foot through his too cosy accommodation. And tomorrow my baby is old enough to vote. And today he is 6 foot 4 inches long.

I have seen this week in blog land that Ally, who became pregnant towards the very end of an assessment to adopt a child, and also Salvadore have both had baby boys this week. I wish them the happiness my son has given me, but warn them that in 18 years time they too will be wondering as I am now, "How on earth did that happen so fast?"

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

This is where I am going wrong

in my unstinting efforts to get this blog published and onto the shelves at WH Smith.

I am not tragic enough*...unlike these lot as seen today in Milton Keynes!

For fuck's sake - how many miserable childhoods do the reading population need?????

The really sharp eyed amongst you might notice that one of the books on the bottom shelve amongst very many 'Tragic Life Stories' is Alistair Campbell's biography, 'The Blair Years'. Whether placed there in error or not I really could not decide.

* Doesn't supporting a rubbish football team for nearly 40 years count?

Friday, September 14, 2007

It;s going to be a great weekend

cos I get to spend it with him.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I'm not a detective

I am so full of surprises aren't I?

No, I am definitely not a detective, but yesterday an educated respectable middle class man came to see me and my supervisor at the office and lied to us. I can fully understand, in view of what he was lying about, that he wouldn't have wanted us to know the truth. But anyway, he lied and we both knew within the first two minutes that he was lying. He kept contradicting himself. He said he had no memory of something really major that had happened to him less than two years ago. He was sweating. His body language alone screamed out how uncomfortable he was. And much as I would love to relate the whole story which is so ridiculous, if it hadn't caused hurt to an Innocent person it would be funny, I can't because of reasons related to why my first blog ended. The only reason I mention it at all is because it was blindingly obvious he was lying.

You probably all know where this is leading, and it is of course the point where I finally fail in my determination not to mention the Madeleine McCann story here...even though like much of the rest of the population I am transfixed by the story which is without doubt the most astonishing and compelling real life drama I can ever remember. I saw yesterday that some reporters covering the story are refusing to speak to other reporters who hold a different view to them about the innocence or otherwise of Kate and Gerry McCann. I can identify with that having come close to throwing my eldest out the house due to his declaration from Day 1 that it was 'the parents what done it.'

As tales of more and more DNA 'evidence' is splashed across the news every day this is probably not the wisest moment to declare that I am simply unable to conceive that Kate or Gerry McCann could have had anything to do with the disappearance of their daughter beyond the undisputed fact that they had left their children alone. They have to live with that for the rest of their lives.

My reasons for this are by no means original and have undoubtedly been expressed by thousands of others who like me can not believe we have all been taken in for so long by what would amount to the most large scale callous confidence trick played on the entire public in recent history.

Not of course that now I have started I am going to refrain from giving my reasons for my belief that Madeleine's parents did not kill her and then conceal her body.

We are asked to believe that 1) They killed their beautiful daughter, conceived by IVF which suggests that they were not forced reluctantly into parenthood, but instead struggled to achieve that status.
2) Having killed her, presumably even their most virulent critics would accept probably accidentally, instead of responding with total and utter hysteria, they made a joint agreement to hide her, and concoct a story about her being snatched in her sleep. One assumes such a decision would not have been a quick five minutes chat, but nevertheless they then
3) Manage to take her out of the flat without anyone seeing them and somehow, in a country they have never visited before, find such a good hiding place that finger tip searches of the locality do not reveal her whereabouts.Then they went for a meal with you would.
4)They then lauch a massive campaign to keep their daughter in the public consciousness. Was there anyone in the UK, not to mention many other places, who did not see the McCann's on our TV screens? So huge is the campaign that they are followed every moment by the entire world's media. If they wanted to be low key and hope people wouldn't recognise them I would suggest visiting the pope alongside TV cameras was somewhat ill advised.
5)Then in spite of being watched everywhere they went and being probably about as unrecognisable as Princess Di was in her day, they manage to remove her body from Hiding Place A, and dispose of it in Hiding Place B without any one noticing, incluidng the police who were it seems at that stage monitoring their every telephone call.

Well if they did pull the above of they will have to rewrite the book on Master Criminals.

Going back to the beginning, lies are detectable. We watch, we listen, and we weigh up the available facts as they are known to us. I just can not accept that two individuals could lie for so long and so consistently about something of the unimaginable scale of killing your three year old daughter, to everyone watching on their televisions, anxious as we were to hear news of the missing child.

There. Now I have said that I expect we can expect the two of them to make a full confession sometime later today.

So convinced am I of their innocence it is only THEN I would think they were lying.

Just to add to what I said earlier, I saw this news report, and just to highlight this bit -

Mrs McCann was frequently seen writing her diary in private moments after Madeleine went missing from the family's holiday apartment more than four months ago.


But no one noticed a thing when she popped out to move her daughter's body?

Oh come on!!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I don't understand this.

Boardroom pay at the UK's top companies soared 37% last year as full-time directors were rewarded with inflation-busting increases in basic salaries, big cash bonuses and substantial payouts from share schemes.

The surge in pay, which takes the average total pay for a chief executive to £2,875,000, is more than 11 times the increase in average earnings and nearly 20 times the rate of inflation as measured by the consumer price index.

I've copied the above from this article. It is a long article so here is another extract:

Mr (Brendan) Barber(TUC General Secretary) said: "It is impossible to believe that top directors have become so much more productive than the rest of their staff over the last year. This growing gap is not just morally offensive but hits workforce morale, feeds through into house price inflation and threatens social cohesion. Britain's boardrooms are slowly losing touch with reality."

Miles Templeman, director general at the Institute of Directors, said "exceptional performance should be rewarded" and pointed out that pension funds would also benefit from a rising stock market.
Like this guy for example? Lord Browne, the former chief executive of BP, received £11m. He was forced to step down earlier this year after it was revealed he had lied in court.

The thing that puzzles me though is I keep hearing about the need for wage restraint. So why does this only appear to apply to the public sector? Why are city institutions, whose massive bonus's must surely fuel inflation, excluded from this necessity?

As a local government worker I was offered a 2% pay rise back in April. Seeing as how inflation then was running at 4.6% we weren't best impressed. The Unions are still arguing with the employers (without any sign of success) that 2% is derisory and has to be increased. Yesterday talking at the TUC Conference Gordon Brown said he would not budge on the below inflation pay rises throughout the public sector, and furthermore, threatened to do the same again over the next two years. Today the talk in the media is about the irresponsibility of the Unions for threatening co-ordinated industrial action over the issue of pay. I wonder how many of those pontificating earn less than the £21,000 50% of the population are expected to make ends meet on?

Why isn't there a national outcry about the wage packets in the City when poorly paid workers are attacked for so much as a hint they may take action over below inflation pay offers?

I only ask because I genuinely don't get it.

Someone else expresses it better than I could...but I expect he got his idea for his article from here.

"Nurse! She is delusional again!"

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Bit of civic pride

Friday brought with it two good reasons for me to proud of my home town.

It was Heritage Weekend around Britain and with the opportunity to see the only house in England with an interior designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh for free I went to this place which has recently been restored to its former glory and it was absolutely stunning. Apparently when the trust who were behind the project went cap in hand to request Lottery Funding they were sent away to scale down their plans on the grounds that no one was interested in anything Northampton had to offer. Well they kept fighting and did eventually get the money they needed, and OK - Northampton may not have a huge amount to offer, but should you ever find yourself stuck in this town - go to 78 Derngate. It is something special. And it reminded me of when I wrote about other places in my town which really aren't too bad at all.

Then in the evening, whilst Reidski travelled to Brighton to watch (from a distance...see my previous comments on how far from the pitch away fans are at Brighton) Millwall lose 3-0, I went to see my team put in a committed and passionate display of football resulting - quite rightly - in our first league win of the season.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

I keep hearing

(as in at this exact moment I am listening to some woman talking about evil social workers who are poised to snatch her baby from her arms) that 2,000 babies were taken from parents last year for adoption into other families, and that that is a massive increase over the past ten years. The news media suggests that this is because social services are given financial incentives to place more children for adoption.


Actually social workers operate within the Children's Act 1989 which states as its founding principle - children are best off within their own family. Therefore social workers end up supporting families in attempts to prevent the necessity to remove the children. What this means is that children stay in unsafe situations for much longer than they should as parents who are never ever going to be capable of caring for their children properly are left to damage the children more. In a minority of cases what happens next is that a child is taken away, and may be placed with an adoptive family.

My recent experiences at work has made me very anxious about this whole process as what we then see some time down the line is adopted parents coming back to say their adopted child is out of control and what do they do with them? Research suggests that this is because their child was so badly emotionally damaged by their pre-adoption experiences that they were always likely to suffer from an inability to trust and bond with other adults. (A child is best off in the family of their birth? Discuss.) So common are the calls I take along these lines that I have questioned whether in fact adoption as a concept is intrinsically flawed. Are children too wrecked by their early life experiences to ever learn to be part of a brand new Forever Family?

But what I forget is that I see the cases where problems have developed, but never hear a word from those adoptive families who are perfectly well balanced and happy, which is why I am glad I spent today entertaining a group of 5 five year olds, all adopted, and all a total delight to be with. Knowing their pre-adoption histories as I do, it has restored my faith in adoption as a positive alternative for children who need the stability and love offered by caring parents.

Going back to my opening lines, there are no financial incentives for placing 'x' number of children for adoption. If it is the case that many more young children are being taken away from their families and placed in new ones well may be, just may be, it is because there are too many children born to parents like the one Cookie mentions here, who frankly should not be allowed anywhere near any child ever, let alone be left in peace to drag a child up in their own home.

Friday, September 07, 2007


can only get better today. One hopes.

I reminded myself why it is I tell the kids not to go outside with bare feet.

There I was, putting out the washing bare foot. I stepped backwards and felt something particularly unpleasant underfoot. The unpleasant thing looked like this....

....only it was BIGGER.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


This brings back memories of this....

As we failed in the penalties that emotional night I wept. And hearing Pavarotti sing as the credits rolled made me cry more.

Apparently, at exactly the same time Reidski was running up and down the hallway punching the air and shouting 'Yes, Yes, Yes!'

It is probably fortunate we didn't know each other then.

P.S. That photo brings it home to me just how long ago 1990 really was. Gazza looks in good shape!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

And something that made me feel better

I was still so cross about the incident at Orient yesterday morning that I wrote to their stadium manager about it.

I got the following e-mail in response this morning...

Dear Jane,

Firstly many thanks for your letter regarding the incident on Saturday when you were confronted by stewards. I apologise sincerely for any distress this may have caused you and will indeed be having words with those concerned. Whilst there is a need for vigilance with regard to weapons being brought into the ground this is absolutely ludicrous and a case of over zealous stewarding and a severe lack of any common sense. The stewards are always instructed to perform random searches and to use common sense but obviously these two failed to listen clearly to any briefing they are also advised to be courteous and polite and to make away fans feel welcome so again words will be had.

I do hope this will not deter you from attending games here in the future and I hope you went on to enjoy the very entertaining game which was a fantastic advert for League One I am sure you will agree.

Please accept my apologies once again and good luck for the rest of the season.


Orient are here by forgiven.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Things that piss me off Part 532.

Being treated like a potentially violent hooligan when I go to a football match.

I really hate it when stewards insist on 'just having a look' in my handbag before I go in to a ground. OK, in these days of heightened security I do accept the need for searches - IF it is carried out on everyone. But do these stewards search men's pockets? Answer - No they don't. I suspect they get some kind of perverted kick out of looking in women's handbags, because clearly they can't be expecting to find anything more dangerous than a girly purse in there. Or so I always thought......
Yesterday Reidski and I arrived at the match at Leyton Orient, and two stewards asked to 'just have a look' in my bag. Reidski made some comment about how they could never be too careful. But oh dear - what did they find but a Dangerous Object. SO Dangerous that they were telling me they were going to have to take care of it during the match for the protection of other supporters.

Time for one of Jane's Occasional Multiple Choice Questions.

Was the Dangerous Object:

a) A stanley knife

b) A razor blade fixed to the handle of a hair brush

c) A bottle of perfume

Yes, in fact when I had pinched myself to check I was not in fact dreaming, these two jobsworths were really telling me that I couldn't go into a football ground in possession of a bottle of perfume. I honestly thought they were joking as did Reidksi, but then it dawned on me as they were explaining where I would need to collect my dangerous bottle of perfume from after the match that they were seriously telling me they intended to confiscate my bloody perfume. It took me approximately 30 seconds to come to an "Over my dead body" situation. I asked somewhat incredulously if there had ever been a recorded incident of a bottle of perfume being used in anger at a football match. "Oh yes, it happens at lower league matches you know," says Jobsworth One. (LOWER LEAGUE MATCHES??? Erh, we weren't clear if that meant our level or lower still.)
If anyone knows of any such incident do please let me know and I will offer a public apology to Leyton Orient but in the meantime I intend to say what I think of them.


Anyway, suddenly not even caring if I have travelled 70 odd miles to go to this match I found myself saying to Reidski "If I can't take the perfume in with me, they aren't getting a penny of my money. We will go home." (Yes sure - as he pointed out later, what we would actually have done was gone back to the car, put the perfume in it, and sneaked back to the ground but I digress.)

By this time what passes for a crowd of fellow supporters were listening to this exchange with disbelief (OK - I think there were two others), which was when I, bizarrely in view of the fact that I never admit to my age, announced to all and sundry "For Christ sake, I am 48. Do you seriously think there is the remotest chance I am going to throw my perfume at anyone?" (Even if only because the damn stuff is bloody expensive!) And I was too annoyed to notice but Reidski says it was at that stage that the stweards started to look vaguely embarrassed and did in fact up bending the rules to allow me into the ground in possession of a bottle of perfume.

Very glad we did go in. It was a great game of football. It took my stomach a good half an hour after the final whistle to stop churning. It had been that exciting. And Reidski is officially now a Cobblers fan as he definitely said 'We' when talking about the match afterwards.

But I tell you what. The referee was so fucking awful that had my aim been any better, he would have found himself floored by a bottle of Knowing by Estee Lauder!