Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tempting, but no thanks

Or at least I hope that will be the reaction of fans of Michael Jackson who spent a ridiculous amount of money on a ticket for a show that ain't going to happen, to this 'once in a lifetime' offer.

"For the price of a ticket to see a show you can have a ticket NOT to see a show." FF's S.

Friday, June 26, 2009

You know that

something seriously weird is going on in the world when you hear the words:

"We interrupt this news broadcast to bring you the thoughts of Uri Geller."

I did not dream that. It genuinely did happen on a Radio 5 late night programme that was clearly struggling with the fact that a major news story had broken when they were totally unprepared to deal with it.

I remember hearing the first news of Elvis's death which on News at Ten was initially reported thus: "We have just heard that Elvis Presley is dead. Erhh, no he's not. Erhh. we have unconfirmed reports that Elvis Presley is dead." So that really cleared that up for the listening public.

And when in future years I am asked "Where were you Jane when you heard about the death of Michael Jackson?" I will instantly recall that I was attempting to have a wee in peace and quiet but failed due to my daughter's hysterical reaction upon learning of the news the modern way - via Facebook.

MJ is (was) only a few months older than me. I can still remember exactly how sweet he was singing about how 'Ben' had a friend in him. I wonder how many true friends he ever had in his lifetime?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Those of you

who have been kind enough to have stuck with me over several years of blogging may recall that I got myself into all sorts of nasty brown stuff when I wrote about a certain ex-friend who works for a company that distributes what we will refer to here as Portable Rubbish Disposal Units. Therefore I have thought long and hard about whether to mention this, and find I am unable to resist.

What does it say about the madness that is Middle England when on the first day of this 'campaign' before the morning was out they had had over 300 comments about said Portable Rubbish Disposal Units? Mind you - it is all quite shocking. Do you know that some poor women are forced to push their PRDU's over a distance of literally YARDS from the backs of their houses to enable those nasty smelly council disposal men to empty them? (Not quite on the same scale as walking miles to fetch the water is it?)

Councils are apparently 'ignoring protests, petitions and marches' in their haste to issue households with these monstrosities. What? Run that past me again? Protest, petitions and marches? WHO in their right mind bothers to take part in an anti- PRDU march? Does anyone know of one that has been organised as I would have to go along - it sounds hilarious.

If you feel life is probably too short to bother with the entire article (or indeed to go on an anti - PRDU march) I will just highlight this particular gem for you:

Politicians and celebrities are joining the fight. Shadow Local Government Minister Bob Neill said: 'Households up and down the country are being hit by the curse of PDRU's - an obsession of bin bureaucrats. Obsessed bin bureaucrats! They sound like fun people. I want to meet one of them too! (Are we really shortly to be electing a government made up of people who genuinely believe in the existance of obsessed bin bureacrats?)

But here is in fairness a good point: And without plastic bins, (Richmond) locals are free to enjoy their front gardens or walk down the pavement without bumping into a bin. Though having acknowledged in true liberal fashion that that is such a good point I would mention that I have the things (two of them) but still find that as a general rule I am capable of walking down the pavement without bumping into one - but then may be I tend to do that old fashioned thing of looking where I am going? I also manage to feel fairly free to enjoy my front garden.....except for that sodding bindweed of course.

Anyway, how about a campaign for the return of the good old days when we used black bin bags? They were great weren't they, especially when they tended to spilt sending rubbish blowing about all over the road. Our local rats will be joining this campaign forthwith.

(Please don't mention W.B's here! google is all powerful - and don't I have good reaosn to know it!)

Monday, June 22, 2009

An 'Oh my God' moment

As you know I live in the sticks. Therefore it is not every day that I am at the same house party as a comedy legend. Last Saturday however....

Reidski and I were at a party in Kentish Town. We had been there long enough to have knocked back more that one glass of champagne so my defences were not at their sharpest when I saw this man walk into the kitchen. You know when you look at someone and just know that you know them, but you can not place them? I had that moment - and was smiling in welcome at this familiar face approaching me and smiling back with what I now recognise must be a 'This is how I smile at complete strangers when they know who I am' sort of smile. It took me a little while for my brain to process the information that I was smiling at TRIGGER!!!!

I did talk to him later but as the subject was the difficulty of using a knife and fork to eat whilst standing up at a party I fear I may have failed to dazzle him with my own brand of wit and repartee.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I thought

this was funny.

And if school sports days I have been to are anything to go by, John Lewis are going to be inundated.


Well it has been a while hasn't it?

What glamorous holiday have I been on this time you may ask?

Well I have been down to New Cross in South East London since I was last in touch for one night, but I have been further than that actually because I have been back in time.

Back to that long distant era when workers used old fashioned implements like pens and paper to work with.

Basically a week last Thursday a virus was let loose on the computer systems where I work and had the effect of knocking out an entire network of some 5,000 machines for an entire week.

Technology is bloody marvellous isn't?

Or at least it is when it works.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Monday, June 08, 2009

Great quote

from David Blunkett:

"I know the public are furious with politicians, but I didn't realise the anger has spread to Britain's cow population, too."

It is

65 years since countless young men lost their lives on D-Day, defending Europe against the Nazis. Ironic then that on the weekend of that anniversary we send a couple of Nazis along to represent our country in the European Parliament.

The winning candidate for Yorkshire and Humberside Andrew Brons (A former leader of the National Front with a 40-year history in far-right politics) said that “Despite the misrepresentation, we have managed to win through.” However Nick Griffin, another winning candidate, and leader of the BNP says "We are not a racist party."

I would therefore say "In spite of the misrepresentation the Nazi scum have managed to win through."

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Don't you just love your annual appraisal?

One of the special joys for me is asking my colleagues to provide me with a 360 degree appraisal form - ie, ask everyone from the Head of Service to the caretaker what they think of me and my work. It is always so embarrassing to read so much praise about moi, moi, moi. And obviously I love the opportunity to complete them on behalf of my much valued colleagues: "So and so is a skiving toss bag."

And it's appraisal time again folks. (Yes, so soon after with much sighing of 'Thank god that shite is over for another year' we finished the last ones.)

But wait! What is this that comes down to us from the new powers that be? It is our new 360 degree appraisal form! Hark for what is this I hear?

The excitement!

The consternation?

The howls of derision.

SO last year is responding to whether or not our various team members:

1. Always do what they say they will

2. take responsibility

3. learn from their mistakes

4. strive for excellence

5. act on facts

6. treat people fairly.

Not for this go ahead organisation matey boy - oh no.

Instead we are invited to mark each other on a scale to 1-4 under the following (mystifying) headings:

1. Get on the bus / Lets go faster. (The first bus out of town?)

2. Treat people as human / Team N------shire (Treat people as human? That's a new one on me.)

3. Make Staff future proof / Golden Roller Skate ( Botox us? And Golden Roller Skate? That's crystal clear what they are asking there isn't it? (Any suggestions gratefully received as I am going to have to work with this.) )

4. Taste the Small Red Fruit* (The Times may say that but I couldn't possibly comment.)

5. Deliver on promises / Deliver, deliver, deliver (Do they want us to deliver perchance?)

6. Face it / Tackle wicked issues ( In the modern or traditional sense of the word 'wicked'?)

7. Do your job /Job plus (They want us to do our job??? What will they want next - blood?)

8. Develop a toolkit / Nimble and savvy (This one has totally defeated me. I have absolutely no idea what they are asking here. More suggestions anyone? )

It's Management Speak gone mad I tell ya!

In fact I would go further and say it is management gone mad. Does it not occur to them upstairs that the ordinary employee has not the first idea how we are supposed to use those headings as any kind of a basis for a meaningful appraisal system? Does it also not occur to them that the reaction of the ordinary employee to such headings will inevitably be along the lines of "What a load of bollocks."

* Rhymes with Law and is a berry. Just being aware of google searches here.

P.S. The power of google led me to discover ours is not the only rebranding going on. See here for the unfortunate result of paying vast sums of money to a London design company. I like the article's heading: 'UK Office of Government Commerce cracks one off.'

Monday, June 01, 2009

Who might he have in mind I wonder?

When Max Clifford says people in Boyle's situation "need people around them to understand how the business works."

When Reidski

has blogged more recently than I have I know just how remiss I have been attending to this place.

I do so have an excuse, and it isn't that I have sod all to talk about. On the contrary, I could sit here and write all day on the subject of why Northampton So Called 'University' is the crappiest teaching organisation in Britain (I don't want to think there is anywhere worse), but I will spare you that rant and just say that it would have been nice to have had more than two days notice that in addition to my assignment there was a little matter of an evidence grid to submit, which ran to 18 pages by the time I had finally finished the thing.

That evidence grid was all the more difficult to complete because last week whilst I was physically here in Northampton, my mind was very much still wishing I was eleswhere as I couldn't get how lovely Pembrokeshire was out of my head.

We stayed here. I cannot recommend this place highly enough, and the fact that it only cost us £99 each for a four night stay is practically day light robbery for that standard of accommodation.

I had never been to this area of Wales before and I just fell in love with the place. We were lucky with the weather, only getting soaked to the skin briefly the twice. (For the benefit of Joe in Las Vegas, that definitely counts as being lucky for any break taken in Britain in mid May.) For the rest of the time, deep blue sky and sunshine ruled, although granted the suntans we both came back with may have owed more to the wind than to the heat of the sun.

I think it is arguably quite good if the last day of any given break/holiday is the worst day as that makes it easier to return home. Our last day was I think our best. Coming home was shite! Anyway, on that particular day we went across to the St David's peninsular. Wow, wow and thrice wow! It was completely stunning, with an absolute profusion of wild flowers simply covering the cliffs all the way down to the rocks at the bottom. And as I had temporarily morphed into a twitcher whilst I was in Wales - we saw SO many different birds - if only I knew what on earth they all were that would have been good - this day was a real highlight. We took a boat trip around Ramsey Island where there were literally thousands of nesting sea birds on the cliffs, as well as flying in each and every direction around us. And they weren't nasty old sea gulls either. They were pretty! As was the island itself as hopefully this second photo will illustrate.

We saw seals too, and choughs, which are apparently some of the rarest birds to be found in Britain and who nest on Ramsey Island.

The perfect day (almost)ended with the perfect seaside food - fish and chips with mushy peas, from a fabulous chip shop in Tenby listed here at No. 5 in the best fish and chip list according to the Independent. (Just noticed Reidski and I have also visited the one at No. 9. This could become my next mission - to visit each of the ones listed.)

As to what the perfect day really did end with, I leave that to your imagination. But believe me when I say that that was pretty much perfect too.