Monday, June 30, 2008

Praise where praise is due.

"It would be wicked to give it a zero because it does show some very basic skills we are looking for - like conveying some meaning and some spelling."

From the BBC web site:

An exam board is to review its marking guidance after one of its top examiners gave marks for a script which contained only a two-word sexual expletive.

The Times reported that Assessment and Qualifications Alliance chief examiner Peter Buckroyd gave a pupil two marks out of 27 for an English GCSE paper.

He is quoted as saying the candidate had demonstrated more skills than one "who doesn't write anything at all".

AQA said this was not in line with its guidelines, which would be clarified.

The pupil is reported to have written "fuck off", and would have had another mark for adding an exclamation point.
Mr Buckroyd is quoted by the Times as saying: "It would be wicked to give it a zero because it does show some very basic skills we are looking for - like conveying some meaning and some spelling."

An AQA spokeswoman said examiners were instructed to contact the board's offices where they would be advised in accordance with the guidelines of the Joint Council for Qualifications, which represents exam boards.

She said: "As a result, an obscenity should either be disregarded, or action will be taken against the candidate, depending on the seriousness of the case.

"The example cited was unique in the experience of the senior examiner concerned and was used in a pre-training session to emphasise the importance of adhering to the mark scheme: i.e. if a candidate makes any sort of response to a question then it must be at least given consideration to be awarded a mark.

"We do not condone the use of obscenities in scripts: in the light of this incident we will be reviewing our instructions to examiners which will include reiterating the procedure to be followed when encountering obscenities in scripts."

I would blog more regularly

if I wasn’t so knackered half the time.

I don’t suffer with insomnia it is just that sometimes the entire universe conspires against me and I do not get a good night’s sleep.

Last Friday night to pick an evening entirely at random, I had been out till about midnight and as soon as I got in I went up to bed and was pretty rapidly asleep – for about an hour. I was awoken by one of my cats leaping on top of me and then bounding off the other side of the bed at top speed. “Fuck’s sake” says I. The cat continues to annoy by being very noisy and active. “You are going out right now!” says I in grumpy manner directed at cat. I put the light on and am mildly surprised to see a young fledgling of some description (think it was a baby grouse but not sure) sitting in the middle of the rug, looking amazingly alive and in one piece. So part one of the middle of the night operation involved removing the cat from the scene and part two involved capturing the bird (mercifully easily) and taking it outside where I attempted to find a safe place to deposit it back into the wild.

Then back to bed and sleep…though not for long. The phone rings. It is 2.30 according to my clock. It is middle son slurring a message along the lines of “Not coming home tonight mum. Couldn’t remember if I had told you.” “You had. Thank you and good night.”

I get all of an hour and a half’s undisturbed slumber until 4 when someone (who turned out to be eldest son who went out and forgot his key) is hammering at the back door.

I was asleep again within minutes and drifted into what was developing into a really very interesting (and erotic) dream involving another blogger (no prizes for guessing which one) only to be awoken YET AGAIN just as the dream reached a critical moment by the sodding smoke alarm, the battery having picked that of all nights to malfunction. I have very high ceilings which was how I came to find myself at the top of a set of step ladders at 4.45 on Saturday morning.

In the light of the following it was maybe not so surprising that when my middle son rang and woke me up at 8.00 to ask if I would come and pick him up he got very short shift in response.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Water, water nowhere!!

As if it is not enough to have to panic over petrol shortages we the good folk of Northampton are now faced with another crisis. Our water has been poisoned! When this news broke this morning the supermarkets were immediately besieged by anxious residents making sure they did not have to go to all the inconvenience of boiling a kettle of water and by 10.30 this was the result.

But we can console ourselves that this little local difficulty has led to our town being recognised by that outstanding blog
The Khmer Rouge Strippergram!

P.S. Actually I was feeling a little smug as my village is thankfully unaffected (although work is) but I just thought of something really serious. What about when I go to the pub and want ice in my gin and tonic???? We are being warned it could be weeks before the water is safe again. Hell's bell's. I am now panicing with the rest of them! Whaddya mean 'Only thinking of herself!' ????

P.P.S. Have just heard that the bacteria that is in our water causes a severe attack of the runs which usually continues for up to three weeks. The only way to deal with this as the man from Anglia Water told us is to drink lots of - erh - water. I can see a slight problem there can't you?

Monday, June 23, 2008

In which I honestly did get lost


Reidski was playing in a football match representing the head office for the organisation he works for against another team made up of others in his organisation and as Reidski and his fellow team members had travelled up from London to play, they were rewarded with an over night stop in a very nice Nottingham hotel - and partners were also invited. Reidski's employers are ace. I had said I would see him at the football ground where they were playing, and I honestly did set off in plenty of time armed with my directions. Unfortunately what I completely failed to spot until it was too late was that the directions were from Multi Map* - who have previous in the Getting Jane Hopelessly Lost Department.

It was raining all morning in Northampton and I have to admit the thought of standing by a football pitch in the rain wasn't ever so appealing, but I am a loyal person, and I had said I would be there so off I went northwards. It rained all the way. I got the occasional message assuring me it was not raining in Nottingham. I did not believe any of them.

With half an hour to spare before kick off I was in west Nottingham - it was raining. I was aiming for north east of the city. I followed the instructions which said 'Follow ring road in the direction of Mansfield until you reach junction with A60 and there you turn right.' I did as I was told. Although when I reached the city centre rather than the northern outskirts of the city I turned round. I got out my road map and found the right road without the piss take that was Multi Map, but then getting closer to the ground it was then necessary to refer back to the piece of fiction that was the Multi Map directions. 'At mini roundabout go straight ahead'. Simple. Except that at the mini roundabout concerned one could go left and one could go right but one could not go straight ahead. However as I was headed for the area that was signposted one way that was the route I picked. Wrong, wrong, wrong. I drove round and round going further and further wrong - and all the time it continued to rain. Anyway, no thanks to the entirely and utterly hopeless directions provided by Multi Map, when I eventually arrived at the ground (I am still not sure how I ever found it) I was not exactly surprised, although not too happy either, to find what appeared to be a completely and utterly deserted football ground.

I parked the car and wondered what to do next. I knew that I was very very late by now, but I also knew that I hadn't a clue where the hotel we were staying at was. I turned the radio off as it was getting on my (frayed) nerves. It was then that I distinctly heard some male with a Scottish accent that sounded somewhat familiar yell out the immortal words 'You stupid fucking cunt!' Hidden away behind the main stand was another pitch. I had got to the match as promised. And the rain had stopped. And five minutes after I arrived so had play.

Course, Reidski didn't believe for one minute that I had got lost. I think he thought it was somewhat fortuitous because as a general rule I am very good at NOT getting lost - so long as I never ever take any notice of sodding useless Multi Map. (Has anyone happened to notice that I don't think much of Multi Map?)

You don't want to know about how long it took us to get to the hotel, but suffice to say that there was a car load of five people, all of whom are now very familiar with the Nottingham city centre one way system, having gone round it so many times early on Saturday evening.Lisa - you very nearly received an SOS call then to come and rescue us but we were aware that as it was nearly time for Doctor Who you may not have been most delighted!

It WAS worthwhile. The hotel was one of the best I have ever stayed in. The football was great (I refer obviously to Holland v Russia ). And a group of us had a lovely Turkish meal here where the owner seemed to inexplicably take a shine to us and gave us lots of freebies including various liquors. And Reidksi and I enjoyed each other

's company ;-)

* A web site that specialises in giving crap directions. I do not advise that you go there.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Simply irresistable.

A friend of mine received this and was kind enough to pass it on. As he said of it:

My enjoyment came not from reading the detail on the curriculum vitae, but from savouring the carefully crafted e-mail message this agent had painstakingly put together as encouragement for me to seek further information on the candidate instantly.

All the highlighting is Adam's own work.

From: Adam T%
Sent: 19 June 2008 08:06
To: Paul
Subject: First class graduate accounts assistant

Afternoon Paul, hope all is well

Just to make you aware of an exceptional Accounts assistant whom I am working exclusively at the moment.
She has just graduated with a 1st class degree in accounting but also has a years work experience that had been self arranged for an international entertainment group working with their treasury accounts. In this role she was providing all round financial support with the ledgers and journals and is technically and commercially astute having worked with reconciliations of errors in a large business environment and being put into a position where she can provide meaningful management information to seniors.

This candidate is wonderfully presented, intelligent, articulate, has bags of enthusiasm and is an example of a top tier graduate candidate. I like her for her genuine 'get up and go' to come on to the market this early to find the best possible role. She also displays the qualities as someone who is serious about investing in their career and future having taken a year to do a placement - this type of course is available to only a few universities and from there having to interview against other graduates expressing an interest in the role
Described by her peers as a superstar that will go far she is immediately available and looking for a role where she can add genuine value to the team and assist with as much as possible
Please let me know your thoughts on her details Paul and weather there is provision for someone of this calibre to 'Your company' it would be much appreciated.

Adam T%
C I Consulting


0207 123 4567


Accountability *Enjoyment * Knowledge *Innovation * Partnership

I'm not sure which part I enjoyed most but as I don't think I've ever met anyone who has "bags of enthusiasm" I suggested Paul gives her a job and lets me know if she is completely insufferable.

Friday, June 20, 2008


really is an arrogant little tosser isn't he?

Much as I like Ferguson's threat to leave him sitting on the bench for the season, I think a loan spell to see what life is really like for the vast majority of football professionals would do him no end of good. I suggest a spell at Northampton Town would do the trick.

This is a purely altruistic suggestion of course. Personally I can't stand the boy and would obviously suffer watching him score winning goals for us week in week out against the likes of Scunthorpe, Hereford and Milton Keynes Dons.


Having read this he can rot in hell instead.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Do you ever have the feeling you have forgotten something?

I’m not at my best in the mornings. OK – afternoons aren’t so good either, or evenings, and as I crash out earlier and earlier these days you couldn’t call me a night owl either but I am worst in the mornings. Therefore, even though I have in theory always been aware that I could go to the gym before work as opposed to afterwards that had always remained one of those theories that one simply knows will never be put into practice.

Until a couple of weeks ago that is. My thinking was that I have been really good about using the gym regularly this past six months, but as soon as summer comes I always without fail stop going for weeks at a time, preferring to go and sit outside in the sun with a glass of wine somewhere, than to go and work out in a bloody gym. So my options were either to accept the inevitable and know that when (if) it does get hot this year my gym usage will immediately grind to a total stop, after which it will be really hard getting back into again, or to try and go there in the mornings.

Am I waffling on quite enough here I ask myself? Answer – far too much. Get to the bloody point woman.

OK – so anyway, I have started going to the gym before work. The first time left me completely disorientated for the entire day it being so out of kilter with anything I have ever done before. However, as I got there this morning I was inwardly congratulating myself of having got sufficiently sorted to say that I Can Do This.

It was therefore a shame that post work out as I emerged from the shower I realised I had left my skirt at home.

Yes. I was late for work.

I really and truly am not at my best in the mornings.

Monday, June 16, 2008

How was it for you?

I hope you all enjoyed your weekend more than Reidski did.

I went up to Castle Donnington on Saturday to rescue him from the hell which was the Heavy Metal Festival for the afternoon. I was due to get there at 12, but he chose to stand by the side of a road from before half 11 rather than spend any more time within the festival fences than he absolutely had to. Very forlorn he looked too when I arrived, as the heavens had opened and he hadn’t got a jacket with him.

“Surely” I asked him, “At least Motorhead were kind of fun to see?” he told me he thought they may have been, but as he got cornered by the most boring man in the universe, who had successfully spotted Reidski to be a fellow sad dad, he didn’t even get to listen to the Ace of Spades due to the MBMITU telling him how his birthday was in July 1964. “Is it REALLY?? What a fascinating fact,” as Reidski did not reply.

“Well what about Kiss?” I persisted. Kiss it transpired had been amusing to look at for the first five minutes after which time they were totally boring. Furthermore – the young folks were very noisy at night, AND he was missing loads of football.

I would at this moment go off subject and tell you about the occasion when I won a Kiss L.P. but as it involved me being tricked into doing something that looked rather obscene with a magnum bottle of champagne and the former D.J. Peter Powell who was dressed in a Union Jack jumpsuit at the time, I think I will move swiftly on instead.

Anyway, hopefully his weekend was enhanced by the time we spent at a lovely country pub in a great location with its own brewery and excellent food, so I could hardly have done more to cheer him up – not in broad daylight anyway ;-)

I felt quite guilty when I dropped him back at the festival where he did not wish to be, but not guilty enough to agree to stay there with him. And besides, he really liked one whole band (Biffy Clyro) during the following 36 hours so it can’t have been that bad can it?

Reidski assures me it could indeed have been THAT bad.

Friday, June 13, 2008

At the gym

the other day I was listening in to The Weakest Link.

Anne asked some guy which cartoon rodent was shown when BBC television resumed transmission after the second world war. He thought about this before giving his considered answer..."Roland Rat."

I nearly fell off the treadclimber.

One of my best friends won the Weakest Link once. We are very proud of her.

N.B. On June 7, 1946, the BBC Television Service re-opened with another official ceremony, followed by Margot Fonteyn dancing, David Low drawing, and Leslie Mitchell introducing a variety show. That same Mickey Mouse cartoon, which had so suddenly closed down television on the eve of the war, was shown again. And viewers were taken over for a preview from the cameras already stationed on the Mall in readiness for the next day’s great procession.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Yes I know

that I bring items from the Daily Mail website too frequently for my own good, however I am unable to resist articles where a commentator manages to blame 'NuLabour' because a teacher has a mental episode and strips to his shirt in a classroom!

The unsuspecting city of Brussels

is at this moment blissfully unaware that Reidski and colleagues are headed its way for a cultural day out / mass booze up (delete as appropriate).

Tomorrow therefore it is pretty much guaranteed that Reidski will be suffering with the hang over from hell. So rather poor timing that he will be spending tomorrow listening to the refined sounds of the likes of Motorhead and Judas Priest at this three day festival..

Strange that he seems to have neglected to mention on his blog that he was going to The Monsters Of Rock Festival for three whole days :-)

(At great personal cost, and I am not just talking financial here, he is taking his son and his son's mate. And there was me thinking I made a great sacrifice when I took my lot to Alton Towers for a day.)

Let he who is without sin...

As the Daily Mail notes in this article, the really rather gorgeous Lee, who last night won the Apprentice, lied on his C.V, and also made spelling mistakes on it. The following comes directly from the web article concerned:

Deborah Fernon, an advisor at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) said: "There's a whole range of issues here. Number one what are you doing letting spelling mistakes through. It's not sending the write message to me. The CV represents you.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Now then!

As they say up north as an alternative to 'How are you doing?'

So what's been going on? (Marvin Gaye.)

Well I had a great weekend. I met an ex boyfriend on Saturday and he spoilt me rotten which was great. Later we met Reidski. And no, Reidski didn't object to me spending half the day with my ex, knowing as he does that Ian would be far more likely to make a pass at him than at me. It has taken me many years but I think I am finally coming to terms with the fact that my first true love is in fact gay.

The three of us had another few drinks before Reidski and I went to a party where he knew loads of people and I knew him. I was a bit scared in case they all thought I was a complete idiot - which as we know I am, but I tend to try and disguise this fact until people know me well enough to make allowances. Fortunately for me everyone was very friendly and I had a good time, though I am glad that I didn't know one person I was talking to about assorted nonsense, was an economic lecturer at Oxford until after my inane chat as I would have been extremely intimidated had I known what he did at the time.

The next morning Reidski was saying to me how good the party was and how he really likes do's like that where you don't have to spend the time talking to people you don't know. "Like I had to last night?" I asked. But I had a good time anyway.

Nothing much else to report except for the shock of finding out my 14 year old daughter can't do a tacking stitch. This came to light when she threw a major strop last night over her design homework in front of many of my other relations. I refused to believe at first that she genuinely couldn't do a a tacking stitch to hold two pieces of material together, but the evidence as presented in the form of a total dog's dinner of a sewing homework assignment did seem to suggest she wasn't making it up. She made such a fuss whilst at the same time refusing to let me show her I then got annoyed and announced that my mum had taught me to sew when I was only about six,and further that when I was 11 my needlework teacher said I had 'The best chain stitch she had ever seen from a child my age.' (It does say something about my lack of successes in my life that I still so clearly recall a compliment from nearly 40 years ago.) "Well" shouts my beloved daughter, "this is all your fault then cos you never taught me like grandma taught you!" And as she was absolutely right I had to acknowledge this profound failing in my parental duties. I am officially a useless mother :-(

I have however taught her to make a mean gin and tonic and surely that will prove more useful to her in the long term than being able to sew - and when she ever gets round to forgiving me for yesterday I am sure she will make one for me again which will be nice.

What a difference

five days can make.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Andy Murray

has an autobiography.


Little Venice

in rural Northants.

The first photo is of the bridge that leads from my house to the road.

The second one is of my 'Road'.

Must get off for work now - earlier than usual, but then again - my car is parked a good ten minute walk away.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

There are some things

that are just too painful to dwell upon in this blog.

Like exams for example.

So I have tried not to mention that for the third year in succession this is the time in my household where very important exams are taking place, but without any indication whatsoever that any preparation has taken place in advance of said revision for example???

I don't get their laid back attitude but then again I was a right little swot at their age. As an aside I found out something at the funeral the other week which I never knew at the time. A former school friend pointed an accusing finger at me and said "YOU were the reason we couldn't get our English A Level papers remarked!" It seems that I was the only one who actually passed English A Level that year and some others thought there must have been an error with the marking, but apparently they were told that as I got an A grade that illustrated the marking must have been fair and therefore they did not need to look again at the papers of anyone else. And he at least has borne a grudge these past 30 years...oh dear!

Back to the present and right now Eldest Son is doing A Levels and Second Son is doing AS Levels.

Second Son has been arguing on and off all year with me about why he should drop one of his four subjects, but miraculously at this present time he is still doing four subjects. And as he said to me on Sunday "I'm glad I didn't drop one of my subjects." "Hooray!" thinks I, "My words of wisdom had an effect on him!" "Yes" he continues, "Doing four means I can afford to fail two." "Well that's one way of looking at it I suppose" I said as I mentally prepared myself for the horror to come on results day.

Monday, June 02, 2008

A public service post from Jane

Believe me - I am doing you a favour by writing about this place.

Reidski had been raving about a fantastic Pakistani restaurant he went to recently and he took me there last Friday. It is in Whitechapel. You would not think as you walk down the road where it is hidden away that there could be anything of interest down this particular very ordinary back street. You would be wrong.

There was a hint that this was not your ordinary curry house in the queue that we joined at 7.00pm, and I guess we waited for a table for about half an hour. The woman next to me in the queue was telling me that having been there, she no longer wanted to ever have a curry anywhere else.

Having now eaten there myself I know exactly what she means. The food to be had here at Tayyabs is simply devine, and I can not recommend it enough. Nor can this guy by the look of it.

It is 'bring your own' booze so our bill was for food alone, but £20.20 for poppadums, a shared starter, two curries, one rice and one naan bread.....well, it wasn't surprising with food of this quality and this value that by the time we left they were literally queuing round the block for a table at Tayyabs.

Their wait would have been worthwhile.