Monday, September 29, 2008

Incompetent idiots

Following the mishap with the orange juice and the family laptop (deceased) I was strongly advised by the guy who wrote the laptop off on behalf of my insurers to buy a Dell. Firstly he said they were reliable and spare parts were readily available, and also he said that I could get a better machine than the one I had lost for over a £100 less, and whilst that would still leave me out of pocket due to the insurance excess payment, it would not leave me so much out of pocket. I took his advice.

I ordered on line and was told the laptop would be delivered on or before the 6th October (two weeks from my order). I was therefore happy to get a phone call (albeit from a speaking machine) to say it would be delivered last Thursday morning.

I was able to keep track of where the order had got to online and so I checked that when at 3.00 on the Thursday afternoon it had not arrived. I tried to google the despatch company to get a phone number and that was when I knew I could have a problem. This was the first entry for Walsh Western. As you will see, if you can be bothered: Just the 59 complaints about their total inability to deliver laptops on behalf of Dell.

I won’t bore you with the details. Enough to say it inexplicably took the company until Saturday to get my laptop from Wellingborough to my house. This is a distance of less than 10 miles. Just the 48 hours later plus more irate phone calls to premium line numbers than I have energy to recall.

The laptop is very shiny. I fully expect that one day in the next five months I may even have the opportunity to use the thing if I get up early enough. My kids have lots of Facebook catch up to do first.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sunderland v Northampton Town

I didn’t go to this match. I knew fully well we wouldn’t win. Lightening doesn’t strike twice and we had already beaten Premiership Bolton to then get Sunderland in the League Cup. Furthermore, our league form has been nothing short of woeful so why on earth would I want to travel 220 miles there and 220 miles back on a Tuesday night to see us get hammered by a premiership team?

My son went though. He had to leave town at 1.15pm to get there and he got home at 3.00am – that is dedication or madness. Maybe both.

And as I knew fully well would happen we did indeed get beaten. Only that wasn’t the full story.

Reidski came up to see me last night. I know it is appallingly rude to have a mobile phone switched on when you are with someone but he understood that I needed mine to hand last night just to keep up to date with just how many we were losing by.

20 minutes in and we were 1 nil up. This did not disturb me as we have frequently these past weeks gone one up and have still contrived to throw the lead away – and that against the likes of Tranmere and Huddersfield so what chance did we have against Sunderland? I was though told we were playing Sunderland off the pitch. All that meant though was that Roy Keane would give all his players a bollocking at half time and they would destroy us in the second half .

80 minutes in and another text arrived. I fully expected to read we were now behind but instead I learnt we had just gone 2 up. Still I maintained we would lose, but at that moment I did have secret delusions of another great cup upset. I know! Stupid or what?

5 minutes later and Sunderland have pulled one back. By now we are in the car with the radio on . There was three minutes of injury time to be played…..and we conceded again in the third of those flaming three minutes. Extra time beckoned.

In extra time we dominated but could not score and so the match was decided on penalties. One day I just know the side I want to win will win a match on penalties. If I live long enough that is. Yesterday was not that day. I was nearly in tears when with the tally standing at 4-3 after they had taken 5 penalties we had our last one saved. God knows why I was so upset as it isn’t often I have the chance to say “I was right!” I knew, as already mentioned more than once, that we would not win at Sunderland.

But everyone who was at that match – including Roy Keane and, going by what I have read, all the Sunderland fans too – said we were robbed.

There is something about a love for a football team. At my level you get let down by the team over and again. You think to yourself “Sod them. It’s over between us! I will NOT be getting another season ticket in 2000/2001/2002/ (insert any old year - the same will always have been said)” Then something like last night happens and the love affair is well and truly rekindled and you suddenly just know that a turning point has been reached and your side is now going to make that charge to the top of the table.

(Bet now on the dead certainty that Brighton and Hove Albion will win at Northampton this coming Saturday.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Catch 22

When just recently I completed this thing about books I had read I said I had read Catch 22 and that was true, but I had struggled to read it. In fact I had struggled more than once. I know several people who tell me this is the best book ever written and it made me feel a bit stupid having to admit that I had never quite got its greatness. Anyway, doing that list prompted me to read it again and hooray! This time I really did appreciate it and understood nearly all of it…though I will never ever understand the maths which meant that Milo could buy eggs in Malta for 7 cents apiece and sell them for five cents and yet still make a profit on them. I must have read that passage in the book a dozen times and still don’t get it. (Capitalism is never a concept I can get my head around. Short selling of shares for example.… WTF? )

Back to Catch 22 and I loved the piece where Colonel Cathcart is looking to the chaplain to provide a prayer to offer up before the flying missions. “I don’t want anything heavy or sad. I’d like you to keep it light and snappy, something that will send the boys out feeling pretty good. I don’t want any of this Kingdom of God or Valley of Death stuff. That’s all too negative. ……. I’d like to keep away from the subject of religion altogether if we can.” The exchange concludes with the chaplain saying “I’m sorry, sir, but just about all the prayers I know are rather sombre in tone and make at least some passing reference to God. “

But the last word here has to be given to Yossarian. The psychiatrist tells him “You have a morbid aversion to dying. You probably resent the fact that you’re at war and might get your head blown off any second.” Yossarian replies “I more than resent it, sir. I’m absolutely incensed.”

P.S. I have been trying to think what that last line reminded me of and I have finally realised. It seems that some writer for Not the Nine O'Clock News may at one time have read Catch 22.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Anyone would think

What with this being my third post of the day that I have finally got access to a P.C after 10 days without such a luxury.

So anyway. Art. What is this Art of which we speak?

Last week we saw this at the Tate Gallery. In amongst your Gainsborough's and your Turner's and your Hockney's was Work No 850 which according to the blurb:

Work No. 850 centres on a simple idea: that a person will run as fast as they can every thirty seconds through the gallery. Each run is followed by an equivalent pause, like a musical rest, during which the grand Neoclassical gallery is empty.
This work celebrates physicality and the human spirit. (Martin) Creed has instructed the runners to sprint as if their lives depended on it. Bringing together people from different backgrounds from all over London, Work No. 850 presents the beauty of human movement in its purest form, a recurring yet infinitely variable line drawn between two points.

Yes, the piece consists of people running very fast through a long gallery at intervals of 30 seconds. And we loved it. Quirky and fun though obviously totally and utterly bonkers.

We looked at joggers in quite a different light for the rest of the week. Whilst previously we had just thought they were woman/man out for a run we now know they actually represent 'Art', and in the case of the large gentleman running in his suit 'Art as comedy.'

Why is it

That everytime a man does this someone says something along these lines.....

Paul Timberlake, a friend of Mr Cass said he was stunned about what had happened. “You would never have thought this of him,” he said. “He was such a nice bloke, he’d do anything for anyone and was very helpful and he absolutely loved his children.


Absolutely loved his children????

Evil, controlling, selfish bastard - yes.

Nice and loved his children - I really don't think so.

Wednesday's Guardian asksthe same question.

Reidski's fish pond

When Reidski moved into his flat about 18 months ago the garden resembled a jungle and we were quite surprised to find there was a pond hidden away amongst the undergrowth. We worked to clear the garden and the pond was now visible but the water in it was so filthy it was impossible to see if anything lived within it. After a few months however we realised there were a couple of fish somehow surviving against all odds and at that point we actually started feeding them. We also started a slow process of topping up with clearer water. This policy resulted earlier this year in a further surprise as we found out there were not two fish but three. We (or to be more honest – me as I was rather obsessed with these fish) kept on about what tough fish they were to have survived all this time in this filthy and neglected pond. The last but one time I was down at his place the fish were clearly visible and it was lovely watching them.

I was with Reidski last week. I went out to see the fish. I could only see one fish but wasn’t too worried as given that they had been invisible for so long before, I had no doubt they were in there somewhere. The week went on though, and still I could only see one fish at any one time.

It was when Reidski’s neighbour happened to mention he had seen a heron sitting on the fence studying the pond that I was forced to acknowledge the truth. Not only could we see the fish due to our work on the pond improvements – so could the heron.

I am really rather sad about this :-(

Friday, September 12, 2008

I now have something in common

with Lisa, and I am not just talking huge intellect, great taste and good looks here ( ;-) ). No, I refer to a lack of a home computer.

I came down the stairs first thing this morning to an unusual sight: My daughter moving at speed. She ran through to the kitchen from the living room and back again carrying a cloth which gave me a clue that there had been a spill of some description, although at that point I was n't aware just exactly how pricey a spill this particular spill would turn out to be.

Orange juice all over the laptop.

And surprise, surprise - orange juice + laptop = knackered laptop.

Strange but in spite of the times beyond number that I have told my kids off for eating and drinking whilst using the laptop I couldn't bring myself to be cross with her as she was so distraught. Anyway, I didn't need to get cross as both my sons were livid enough with her to provide more than sufficient anger to make up for the lack of it coming from my direction.

Initial enquiries suggest the chances of an economically viable repair are nil and so I will be well out of pocket due to the excess on my contents insurance having shot up so much due to my series of fairly recent unfortunate events (handbag stolen, car broken in to, cooker hob broken, fire in kitchen).

So basically - bugger it. I shall be getting a new laptop this weekend.

When you are in a rut

You gotta get out of it, out of it, out of it as The Ruts did used to tell us circa 1979.

And this gadget to my right, the love child of Caroline Smailes, seems to do the trick by taking us to new and previously unread blogs. It's not recommended if you actually have other things you need to be doing though as it should come with a user warning....

'Highly Addictive'.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


This post contains reference to an item many men prefer to know nothing about.

Body combat always used to be my favourite gym class - great for getting rid of that pent up aggression - but my current gym only started putting these classes on this week. I booked myself in for a lunch time class and went along to see if it was as good as I remembered.

Obviously I was not the only one keen to do the class as the studio was packed. All of us save for one brave bloke were female.

Anyway, for those who don't know what one of these classes is all about there is a lot of kung fu style kicking, leaping and punching to high energy music. Unfortunately it seems that someone must have put far too much into one of her kicks as suddenly I became aware that there was a tampon on the floor and it wasn't (how can I put this delicately?) in pristine condition. Now it could have been worse - from the condition point of view that is - but all the same it was not surprising that no one was in a hurry to reclaim their lost property. So what did we all do? We carried on with our leaps and our kicks, but made damn sure that when in that area of the studio we jumped just that bit higher to avoid skidding on the damn thing.

Any injury caused by said item would have made for a slightly unusual insurance claim.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Who says miracles never happen?

I thought Croatia were going to destroy us tonight.


One shouldn't laugh.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Believe the hype

Glasvegas are brilliant.

How not to treat your friend on her birthday

I have known my friend Julie for about five years since the time we got chatting at the gym. I had always been under the impression she was six months older than me and I was therefore concerned to learn she would be spending her birthday working and had nothing at all planned to mark her birthday. This was after all a significant birthday and it didn’t seem right that anyone should do absolutely nothing on it so I suggested she came out last night for a drink with me and Reidski.

I got her a card – not a nasty in your face ‘You are 50!’ type card but a nice tasteful one for me to write my own message in. I wrote ‘Happy (50th!!) Birthday (surely some mistake)’. My brackets – and most unfortunately - my horrendously embarrassing mistake too.

Julie is not, as it swiftly transpired, six months older than me – au contraire.

Will she ever forgive me I wonder?

Monday, September 08, 2008

Contrasting nights out.

Catch up time now. Last Monday my daughter, sister and niece saw Hairspray, The Musical in London. What a great feel good show it was. Everyone coming out of the theatre afterwards had great big smiles on their faces. No wonder it has won so many awards. I had got reduced priced tickets which were probably available because the night we went four of the main parts were taken by understudies, but all I can say about that is that god alone knows how good the usual actors must be because their understudies were superb. For anyone in need of cheering up this is highly recommended as a cure.

Before we went there we had a meal at a restaurant in Covent Garden. Three of our meals were really good but my sister said hers was ‘very ordinary’. When it was time to pay my sister was other wise occupied in the loo but to my surprise the manager arrived at our table and announced he was conducting a customer survey into our food. I told him that three of the four meals had been very good but that my sister had said hers was ‘very ordinary’. He immediately struck her meal off the bill without any argument and I was very impressed. He disappeared and my sister reappeared just as I was paying. “Stop!” she demanded. Then she told me she had complained about her meal en route to the loo so it did seem that the manager’s survey was not quite what it had appeared to be at the time, but regardless of that – well done to Brown’s in Covent Garden for their response to a complaint.

And now to the contrasting evening out in London: On Thursday Reidski and I saw this exhibition of skeletons at the Wellcome Collection and very thought provoking it was too. Looking at the mortal remains of previous residents of London is not exactly guaranteed to make one feel good but it was fascinating and a sharp reminder of our own mortality. There are 26 people featured in glass coffins and by each there is information about who they were, where they lived and what their bones tell us about the kind of lives they must have led whether in poverty, opulence, sheltered or violent. There were many skeletons with signs of fractured bones which suggested London has always been a bit on the rough side! There are maps showing where the various bones were discovered. One former graveyard is now a Pizza Hut. Not so many people were coming out of that with big smiles on their faces.

Had a weekend of not watching football. Our game scheduled against Stockport was cancelled due to the number of players Stockport had out on international duty. Bizarre but true.I do not have Setanta so missed the internationals too though I am not sure I care about that. I also missed the tennis yesterday as I had an allergic reaction to dust during the day and was worn out with sneezing so had an early night. (I have always maintained housework is bad for me.) But that Andy Murray eh? I have always of course been his number one fan. He is British don’t you know?

Friday, September 05, 2008

Where were you?

I got this from Counago and Spaves.

Princess Diana's death - 31st August 1997

The day before this we had been on a family holiday in Devon and had been packing up in torrential rain. My mum rang me very early the next morning and asked me if I had heard the news. “What news?” I asked. “Just go and turn on the tele” she said. As I went to turn on the tele I was guessing that where we had just been on holiday had flooded. It hadn’t. Or if it had it was with tears. Strange times. And I have to admit my first thought was “How very convenient for the Royals.” I feel I now have to add to that “How very convenient for the Royals that she was killed in a crashed car driven recklessly by a drunk driver” in case anyone thinks I am a nutter.

Margaret Thatcher's Resignation - 22nd November 1990

We had just moved house and there were boxes everywhere. Nothing got put away that morning though. I had been glued to the TV all week as those where the days when politics was so exciting. Who can ever forget John Sergeant’s encounter with Thatcher outside the Paris Embassy when she had declared her intention to fight to win the week before. I rang everyone I knew and some I had never met before (wrong numbers dialled in my haste) to spread the glad tidings. The wicked witch was finally out of Downing Street.

Attack on the twin towers - 11 September 2001

I was in the staff room at the gym where I was working at the time. There were four of us in there and there was a TV on the corner. It cut to live footage of a tower in flames. It happened that one of the people I was with was a former fire fighter and he started talking about how impossible a job it was going to be to extinguish that fire. As he spoke a plane flew into the other tower. We saw it happen and still didn’t believe what we had just seen. The newscaster couldn’t grasp what he had just seen either. I will never forget that surreal and dreadful moment.

England's World Cup Semi Final against Germany - 4 July 1990

In my old house with my first born and husband. Had been a nervous wreck ever since we got through to the semi’s. Nothing seemed important except the forth coming match. Thinking about it had been keeping me awake at night imagining that this time – at last – we would get through to the Final.

I cried. I do remember feeling such pride though. Not something I have felt much recently whilst watching England matches.

It is a very good thing I did not know Reidski at that time.

President Kennedy's Assassination - 22 November 1963

I don’t have a memory of the news breaking as I was only 4 but I do clearly remember seeing footage of little John at the funeral and understanding that something very sad had happened. I guess that must be one of my earliest memories of watching something on the television.

Anyone else want to give this one a go?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Until just now

I had no opinion either way about Kate Thornton. In fact as I don't watch the X Factor I wouldn't have known her if I passed her in the street. I think I would know her now though having just seen this truly bizarre article. If I did see her now I would be inclined to give the girl a great big hug and tell her not to let the bastards get her down and that she is bloody gorgeous.

One wonders just exactly HOW perfect any woman would have to appear NOT to get slagged off for looking 'frumpy' by that well known paper aimed at female readers - The Daily Mail.

Wednesday: Today it is Elle McPherson's knees which are causing the Mail angst. Last week they did the nation a service by drawing our collective attention to Victoria Beckham's dirty ear.

What will tomorrow bring?

Don't know what nonsense they chose to highlight yesterday but today they feature Tilda Swinton's bunion for reasons known only to the Mail's editorial team.

I have new neighbours

The house next door has been empty since February. The landlords had trouble renting it out probably due to the extortionate rent they were asking (£150 a month more than I pay for the twin semi). Anyway - it is let and the couple that have moved in seem perfctly nice but I am not too happy.

Our first neighbour here had two large dogs. Now I like dogs - always have done - grew up with them - would have one if I didn't go out to work. The problem with that first neighbour having dogs was that we have no border between the two houses and she would let her dogs come over my side and do what dogs must do - but what annoyed me was that she never played the responsible owner and seemed more than OK with me cleaning up after her animals. As a result of that experience my first choice neighbours would not have dogs.

My new neighbours have dogs.

They have two dogs.

To be precise they have two Rottweilers.

And the sodding great big things bark their fucking heads off every time one of us has the temerity to step foot outside our own back door.

I repeat: I am not happy.

Why does anyone wish to keep two dogs of that size and breed locked up in a small semi detached house all day long?

Am I being unfair to Rottweilers as a breed by tarring them all with the 'Can never be fully trusted' brush?