Thursday, September 23, 2010

Oh No!

We're going to get relegated now.

We ALWAYS get relegated when we do rather well in the League Cup.

And here's the even worse bit - my confession.

I was given a ticket - and I didn't use it.

Yes, for a host of reasons that seemed really good at the time - not least of which: "Why would I want to spend most of my day and plenty of my night, on a coach with a load of drunken men just to see us thumped 8-0?" I missed the biggest night for my club ever. Instead of being at Anfield I was stuck at home listening to the local radio commentators going crazy. By which I meant that the radio commentators were going crazy - but then again - I of course was going crazy too.

I am such an idiot.

Friday, August 20, 2010

I need friends by the way!

I'm Cobbler Jane on Facebook if you didn't already know.

So anyway

I finally had the job interview I mentioned in passing.

I happened to meet someone a few months ago and we got chatting. She worked for a private fostering agency and she mentioned that she thought there was a vacancy coming up in one of their offices which is relatively near where I live. She took my details and then proceeded to e-mail me on a regular basis to say there was a job coming up, and that I should apply for it. All very flattering of course, but let's bear in mind the fact that she didn't know anything about me except what we chatted about at our conference.

I honestly didn't know if I was interested but I think I gave in and applied so she'd shut up about it. I thought I'd just go along if they offered me an interview and see what it was all about. If nothing else I thought going through an interview process would be good for me.

The upshot of all this anyway is that unless my references are poor I will be leaving the County Council sometime in the next few months to join the sainted private sector. A hundred plus reasons to grab it with both hands, and a couple of misgivings on the other side of the equation.

The truth is that a combination of budget cuts and a ill conceived re-organisation have left me with no prospects to progress in my present role whatsoever. And when I add to that the fact that if I stay here there will be no pay rise for the next three years at least I know I have to give this opportunity a go.

So that's my news? How's things with you lot?

Monday, August 16, 2010


The most important thing about this story is what car he drove.

A variation on 'Woman, blonde, 39' I suppose.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I just have to say

Please read 'One Day' by David Nicholls, if you haven't already, and then tell me what you thought of it.

I had been unable to put it down, loved it from the first chapter and loved and recognised the two characters-Emma and Dexter (Em and Dex). I was laughing out loud at it.But then yesterday morning my sobbing woke Reidski up. Not just a silent tear but quite uncontrollable grief.

It's wonderful - but just one shocking and totally unexpected sentence is going to stay with me for a long long time.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Breakfast is served

So following on from the traumas (plural) of the journey to Ludlow we find ourselves in a lovely room overlooking a beautiful golf course. We had a much needed evening at an excellent pub , and the next morning we had a full English breakfast to look forward to.

Now I’ve never liked that moment when you first walk into a hotel restaurant of a morning. Everyone already in there looks at you and you don’t know where to sit so you hover near the door hoping that guidance will be provided as soon as possible so you can sink into the anonymity of your table for two. I know Reidski is the same. I know this because of the way he always, ever so politely, ensures I go through the door first.

We follow the directions for the dining room in a rather gorgeous Georgian house. I go through the door first (as always) and Oh The Horror! A huge table is laid out for all eight guests (maximum that can stay in the B&B accommodation there). Three seats on each side and one at each end. The end seats are both occupied, and one on each side. In other words, the two couples already installed at the table have put as much distance between the other couple as physically possible.

My first thought was that I would turn round to find that Reidski had done a runner. I know fully well how very much he was going to hate this situation. I selected a middle chair which at least meant he would only actually have one person (me) right next to him. And knowing it was entirely down to me I commenced with the small talk...or at least I tried to.

Couple the Elder were quite open to chat. TOO open to chat in Reidksi’s opinion. In fact within minutes of our acquaintance we had heard all about their crazy golf experience of Christmas Eve 2004 at Great Yarmouth. Couple the Younger however.....

It was the ‘He’ of Couple the Younger who was at the end seat and I turned to him to ask how long they had been staying at the Lodge. I swear to god he went purple and nearly choked before managing to stammer out the words ‘Just got here.’ Out of compassion – never mind out of embarrassment (mine) I decided not to give him a stroke by directing any further conversation in his direction. As for the ‘She’ of Couple the Younger: well she managed to keep her back to me the entire time we were there making it crystal clear she was not in any way whatsoever really have a communal breakfast experience with a bunch of strangers.

A fourth couple arrived. Nodded so quickly to us all that if you blinked you would have missed it, and sat down to whisper between themselves for the duration of the repast.

The owner of the place came through and said something directly to Reidski and I. Terrible moment because due to his accent I had not the faintest idea what he had asked us. At that point it was me who appeared to be without the power of speech. It turned out that he was asking us ‘Did we have a nice meal at the Unicorn?’ Reidski managed to answer him in spite of the fact that he thought the place we had eaten was called the Orchid.

Reidski who told me later he had mentally steeled himself to believe that it was possible to spend half an hour of his life in this horrendous social situation managed to contribute to the re-telling of the M5 story. He did however collapse on the bedroom floor with a panic attack when we finally made our escape. If I could have stopped laughing I would have been in a better state to administer first aid.

Should add that the breakfast itself was simply superb. Highly recommended if you are one of those rare people completely comfortable eating baked beans in front of people you have never met before in your life. But when I said to the (delightful) owners we would be back, Reidski was very clear with me as we came away that, ‘No, we would not.’

Monday, August 09, 2010

The road to Shropshire

is full of unexpected potholes.

Every word of what he writes is true - except that I did NOT flirt with the mechanic. Definitely NOT.

Monday, August 02, 2010

I am a neglectful blogger

I guess it is generally the case that unless one is Iain Dale (and who would want to be Iain Dale)that most of us bloggers run out of energy and/or inspiration after 'x' number of years churning this stuff out. There is only so many times I for example can report that Reidski and I had a great night together, before any readers out there make a sharp exit in the direction of someone writing something mildly original. Not that I want Reidski and I to have a dreadful night together in order to provide you with variety you understand......

So what is actually new?

Well my garden pond is new! I am very happy about this, although I do wish I had cut the hedge before taking the photo. The pond was previously a potato patch in which potatoes never grew (they tend to need to be planted first in order to subsequently grow), but in which weeds flourished. It now looks much prettier believe me. And I have fish! Actually the main motivator for me getting this pond was the knowledge that Reidski may soon be moving from his flat where he has a pond and fish - and I was worried about those fish getting neglected. I plan to transfer them at such time as he moves out. (Although his fish would appear to have survived perfectly well on many years of neglect - we didn't know there were any fish in his pond until he'd been there over a year!)(The water could not be described as crystal clear.)

Having fish should be relaxing really, but I do have trouble chilling out by my pond until all five of my present brood have been accounted for each time I visit. I live in constant fear of abduction. The accounting for them bit isn't so easy either. They don't answer when I call them, they don't all emerge from underneath the lily pads at the same time, and they are difficult to tell apart. So it appears that I am stuck with " sitting there by the side of the pond until such time as the fish make themselves visible, independently and simultaneously" and this is no ideal solution: today it took eleven minutes. Still - it beats working.

In other news we have been to Paris. I think Reidksi has just about recovered from the nine euros for a pint of lager incident. Lucky that I am a qualified first aider.

We managed to go to places we had not explored before which was mainly great - the beautiful Jardin du Luxembourg, the opulent Versailles, and the enormous Pere Lachaise cemetery. Traveller's tip: Do not go to this cemetery without purchasing a map. We did not purchase a map. La Grande Mistake. Mausoleums can all start to look alike after the first two hours of searching for dear Oscar. Not so great was the familiarity we gained with the exit of the Abbesses Metro Station which was as far as our trip to Montmartre got. The rain - the like of which we had never seen before - was so bad that after having spent god knows how long not leaving the metro station we ended up agreeing that killing over four hours in the Gard du Nord before our train was due was actually a better option than going out in that rain. (Having taken the over four hours at the Gard du Nord option, I'm not entirely sure if we were right but never mind.)

In other news we are going to Shropshire later this week. This is actually a mistake, because if I had known when booking our hotel that Ludlow (Shropshire) was not in fact Ledbury (Herefordshire) we would be going to Herefordshire. Herefordshire is where we were supposed to be going - but Ludlow looks very nice anyway.

I am sure in the immortal words of Mr Bennett that I have by now 'Delighted you long enough', so will over and out.

Coming soon (I suspect), the episode in which Jane makes a complete idiot of herself at a job interview.

Someone's been telling porkies

As some of us

suspected quite some time ago.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

See if you can guess which gym chain I belong to.

My gym is celebrating the birthdays of a couple of great men this month with events aiming to raise money for charity.

One of those men is Nelson Mandela.

And the other is Richard Branson.

And no I am not making this up!

Friday, July 02, 2010

I do love local newspapers

'Probably Chinese lanterns'.

But that's no reason not to fill some space up with a little bit of harmless nonsense anyway.

Monday, June 28, 2010


1. We got further than the French.

2. Reidski's happy.

3. There is no 3.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

In which Reidski goes Gaga for Gaga.

OK – well he really didn’t want to be there. Originally I had bought two tickets for this gig for me to take my daughter and we should have gone in March. However, Lady G then rearranged some tour dates including ours, and the new date clashed with a 16th birthday party for one of my daughter’s very best friends. Agonising was agonised over, and she eventually came down on the side of the party. I call in the First Reserve, one Reidksi, very occasional blogger of London Town. He wasn’t wildly keen but after I promised him various sexual favours (and when that failed offered alcohol) he agreed to make the trip to Sheffield last Friday to see the pop phenomenon known variously as Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, or Lady GaGa for commercial purposes.

The crowd was somewhat mixed. Most importantly for me, I wasn’t the oldest there, and most importantly for him, he wasn’t the only straight man. There was a range of GaGa style alikes from the “Wow! She/he looks amazing!” – to the “OHMYGOODGOD – WHAT DOES SHE* THINK SHE LOOKS LIKE!!!!” kind of range.

(*Unfortunately when men do GaGa they seemed to get away with it, whilst the female of the species sometimes falls somewhat short.)

There were also quite a few kids looking no older than 10 who were along with their parents. Know I DO know what some of those parents had to say after the support band had been and (thankfully) gone because I was in the toilet queue later with some of them but exactly how I am going to relate the performance that was Semi Precious Weapons I’m really not too sure.

“ Semi Precious Weapons? Are they a boy band?” asked Reidski. I had no idea but it transpired that A Boy Band They Are Not.

“Is that Lady GaGa?” was Reidksi’s next question when the band appeared to the sound of booming base and the sight of a guitarist performing backward summersaults on the stage plus a six foot something blonde in massively high heels and a dress that scarcely covered her arse. No. On closer inspection the six foot something blonde in massively high heels and a dress that scarcely covered her arse turned out to be a he, not a she. And that would have been fine, had he demonstrated just a modicum of talent. Instead he chose to demonstrate that he wasn’t wearing anything under his dress...and the sight thus revealed did not demonstrate much talent I can tell you. He also chose to address us incessantly as a bunch of mother fuckers, although to be fair I think he was using the term in its loving and caring sense. (?) And he also learnt that the only way he was ever going to get a cheer that evening (being as how the band were so utterly and quite jaw droppingly shite) was to keep yelling out how we would soon be seeing “LAID - EEE - FUCK – KING – GA – GA!!!!” Guaranteed a cheer every time (even after the 150th yelling of “LAID - EEE - FUCK – KING – GA – GA!!!!”)

I can’t even start to describe just how bad Semi Precious Weapons actually were, but they describe themselves thus: “ We play our own "Filthy Glamour" brand of rock music and espouse a "Dirty Showbiz" philosophy.”

That apparently includes stripping stark bollock naked on stage.

As I mentioned before I do know what the parents of some of the younger children thought of this particular band and let’s just say the answer is along the lines of ‘Not Much.’

And so I turn in relief to the main event.

When I first started to become aware of Lady Gaga (through the tabloids, not through her music) I was quite sure that she was of no more interest than Kerry Katona. This view prevailed until I caught her performance at Glastonbury where she came on stage at 6.30 and produced what this article described as the best Glastonbury performance of a decade. I was sold.

So its probably true to say that I was expecting more from the evening than Reidksi was, but I still wasn’t expecting what we got which was over two hours of spectacular, ludicrous, fabulous, camp, burlesque, art house pop at its best performed by a young woman of only 24 with quite incredible charisma. Someone else described the set as a cross between The Wanderers and The Wizard of Oz and that is as good a description as you might get of something that encompassed a piano on fire, harps, a subway train and a smashed up Rolls Royce, fountains of blood, green vomit and a giant (fame) monster. As for her costumes....

The other thing is that there was no lip synching, her voice is amazing and when you learn afterwards that she has been playing the piano since she was 4 then that explains how bloody good she is at that too. She talks a lot too, and if it had gone on much longer I would have come away truly believing she loved me as much as she kept telling me she did.

And what of Reidski? Did he remain coolly aloof from all this nonsense? Not at all. He loved it too. And to her rather plaintive question to the audience as to whether or not we thought she was sexy his answer was an unequivocal ‘Yes’.

That was when we fell out ;-)

Good quality footage of 'Bad Romance' here....

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Now this

Is truly remarkable.

Wow! What an amazing response by over a thousand schools all falling over themselves to apply for Academy Status.

Even more remarkable given that the letters from Michael Gove didn't go out until Wednesday 26th May, therefore if posted first class arriving on Thursday, which was precisely one whole day before schools across the country broke up for half term.

Now, as a school governor I can't help but think that if we were invited to apply for Academy Status we would (call me old fashioned) discuss it as governors first. Are we to believe that so many schools not only managed to convene a governor's meeting that took place either Thursday or Friday last week (most of us are quite busty* people you know - some notice is usually appreciated)and still leave enough time to reach the major decision to apply - not to mention making the application itself?

Yes right.

Pull the other one Michael Gove.

* Ooops! Not corrected at Lisa's request :-)

Poor man!

How ever will he manage?

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Hello Steve!

Well in answer to your question I am right here - but have been suffering from a severe case of Bloggers Block. NOT that that is any excuse for not writing anything here so in no particular order here's a little round up of recent events.

1. Can not fucking believe it. This time last year I was immersed in a profound and prolonged sulk that the Cobblers were now in the same division as Dagenham and Bloody Redbridge. Well now we're not. Owing to the fact that Dagenham and Bloody Redbridge have gone up and we haven't. How rubbish (how cobblers) is that?

2. Also could not fucking believe it when lightning - that is not supposed to strike twice - struck twice. I related some time ago, whether it was here or in the other place I can't quite be bothered to check that out, that I had my car broken into and my make up got stolen. That resulted in the embarrassment of having to relate to my insurers just how much I spend on the old slap. Ever since then I have meticulously hidden everything out of sight in my car when I leave it. Much good did it do me. A couple of weeks ago Reidski and I had a drink in town and left the car for less than an hour, to return to find a smashed window, a ransacked inside of a car, and a missing make up bag. I have a lead to my radio that allows me to play my i-pod in the car. The other end of the lead had slipped down by the side of a seat and I think that what ever low life did this, thought (do they actually think these people?) there was an i-pod on the end of the lead. There was not. All they took was my make up bag so I have had to suffer the increased embarrassment of making a further claim from my insurers. That experience was not enhanced by hearing the tone of utter disbelief in the voice of the woman I spoke to when I gave her a rough estimate of the replacement value of the stuff I had lost. She clearly thought I was trying to pull a fast one. Bobbi Brown does not come cheap you know!

I've lost a stone since Christmas people - mainly through exercising. Feel much better for it and no longer have to breathe in to get my jeans on, but the reason I am mentioning it here is that apart from Reidski and a woman I see at the gym absolutely NO ONE has noticed!!! What I need to know though is - does this mean I am condemned to a minimum of four hours on the spinning bike every week for the rest of my life because that is how I've lost the weight, and I don't want it going back on again. Four bloody hours every week!!!??? What a prospect to look forward to.

As for politics....what on earth can one say?

Sadly David Laws life's goal to put people on the dole has been thwarted. Luckily there are no shortage of inexperienced MP's to give that role to and welcome to this weeks Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander. Five years ago our Dan was Press Secretary for the Cairngorn Mountain Park. Today he is Chief Job Slasher. He joins Gideon, our Chancellor of the Exchequer who as this article points out also has no economic experience whatsoever. "This is as opportune a moment as any to run through George Osborne's economic experience in full: he doesn't have any. And to enumerate the number of jobs he's had in business/the City/finance: none. And his relevant educational qualifications? Zero."

But that's all OK anyway because all Danny and Gideon have to understand is 'Private Sector = Good, Public Sector = Bad.' Personally I am simply delighted to have the opportunity of (at best) a wage freeze for the next two years as my part towards sorting out the mess made by - umm - the banks (part of the private sector as I seem to recall).

Oh and can I just say in passing that Liberal Democrats are a bunch of power grabbing unscrupulous bastards?

Thank you for that opportunity.

Funny that I seem to recall someone (Nick Clegg now I come to think about it) saying that a vote for Labour risked putting the Tories in. I'd be laughing like a drain if I was one of the idiots who actually fell for that one. Anyway - that comment was no doubt was SO last month.

And I'll just end by telling you this - as no way will HE tell you himself.

Reidski and I are seeing Lady GaGa on Friday!

OK - the ticket wasn't for him in the first place but it came available and he's just overjoyed about that as you may imagine. Still - a weekend in Sheffield beckons for us and we will have fun, fun, fun.

I won't leave this so long next time.

Over and out for now.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Customer Service

Don't you just love it?

I was DETERMINED that this year there would be no repeat of

last year, and that no matter what I would not go and see Dancing on Ice Live again. I did however know that the subject would arise - on a daily basis. And so it did.

After some weeks of negotiation/argument, a compromise was reached whereby my sister and I would take our daughters to Birmingham and then leave them to see the show whilst we went off to go shopping/get pissed. But then I had another strop and refused to purchase the tickets because they HAD to be ordered through Ticket Master - and each ticket, on top of the face value of £40.25 carried a so called 'administration' charge of £5.00. WHAT THE FUCK FOR???? The tickets are ordered on line and dispatched. Does that in any way justify a charge of £5.00 per ticket? I think I can assume most people may think 'Not'. I did try to buy them direct from the venue but to no avail. They had to be bought through Ticket Master - only I refused to do that. Luckily for the girls my principles were upheld whilst my sister paid for the tickets - plus 'administration' charge. For further info - that purchase was made via my e-mail address, and using my home address for delivery of the tickets, on 28th March. The event itself is on Monday coming.

Now one might suppose that having paid an extortionate 'administration' charge that that would at least guarantee that the tickets would be sent in good time but one would be wrong. One MIGHT suppose that having paid an extortionate 'administration' charge that that would at least guarantee one could ring up and speak to someone about the non-appearance of said tickets but sadly one would be wrong again. In fact they won't accept calls until there is less than five days remaining before the event, if the tickets have not by then arrived. I imagine it is pretty obvious to anyone who is still with me at this point that no tickets have as yet arrived.

I rang yesterday. It was a rather one sided conversation in which I pressed various buttons and then a computer generated voice told me the tickets had been dispatched, and yet today - Still No Tickets. I ring again. I press more buttons. I listen to a computer generated voice. I fight on. I press further buttons, and then still further buttons until - rejoice! - I speak to a person........

who promptly tells me she can't talk to me about this matter because my sister paid for the tickets. But then...........

She asked me if there was anything further she could help me with!!!!!

You couldn't make it up.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Shape of things to come?

Question from my 13 year old niece.

“How do they know who won the election? Is it like on X Factor?”

Let’s see now.

"Nick Griffin.....Crawl back under that stone where you came from."

“Nick Clegg...... It’s not you.” (Cue for Nick to wipe away the tears and tell us what an amazing journey it's been.)

“Gordon Brown...... It could be you.”

“Posh Boy...... God help us but it could be you.”

“All will be revealed after this commercial break.....”

Now that we have an election campaign entirely based upon how well the party leaders do in the televised debates it's probably only a matter of time before the results will be announced that way.

Update 30th April 2010: Seems I am not alone on this one.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

That was the Big Society that was.

Apparently it’s time for change. Change being something to do with going back to the good old days when we were ruled by the old Etonians and we all knew our place, and the upper classes were free to enjoy the spectacle of hound dogs ripping stags and foxes to pieces.

I expect it is something to do with the standard of education I received but I’ve been struggling to understand what our would be leader is on about when he talks about the Big Society.

"The What Society?" You may well ask, but I distinctly remember that as long ago as a week last Tuesday it was the Tories Big Idea.

Yet in the leaders debate an entire two days later Cameron never mentioned the concept. (Although he did share with us that he met a 40 year old black man in Plymouth who’d been in the navy for 30 years. ...since he was ten???) Cameron subsequently explained he didn’t mention his Big Society then due to the subjecty subjects that came up during that debate. Clearly they learn a different vocabulary to the rest of us at those posh fee paying schools.

I kind of gathered that this Big Society thingy involved parents having the right to set up and run their own schools, never mind that half of our local schools can’t even find sufficient volunteers to be school governors and attend a meeting once every six weeks, let alone to establish and run an entire school in their spare time. But now I find out – a whole eight days after the Tory manifesto launch that actually there is in fact No such thing as the big society’* according to senior Conservatives including one who says:

"The 'big society' is bollocks. It is boiled vegetables that have been cooked for three minutes too long. It tastes of nothing. What is it?" Answers please on a back of a postcard to Tory Central Office.

So anyways up. Now that we have all apparently fallen for Nick Clegg and are going to vote for him on the basis that we now know who he is, Cameron has a new message to sell but again is not being entirely clear what the bloody hell he actually means. Today we have him declaring that :

"We Brits have an electoral system "that really works".... not one minute after hammering the "Vote Clegg, get Brown" drum again. As my namesake puts it so succinctly in today’s Guardian: How anyone with even pretensions to intellectual adequacy can continue to hold both positions is a mystery, but if 7 May finds a third-place-finishing Labour forming a government, one trusts Cameron will continue to sing the system's praises at every opportunity.

I would add that it is a mystery to me how someone with this level of intellectual inadequacy could be standing in a parish council election let alone standing to be Prime Minister. Although George W Bush did just come to mind.

* A variation on a previous quote by some other senior Tory whose name escapes me that 'There is no such thing as society'.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Put them in the longboat till they're sober

Driving on the M1 last Friday afternoon I found myself in the fast lane overtaking a lorry, when over and above the sound of King Adora (the band I was en route to see) I became aware of a Very Loud Noise. ‘WTF?’ I asked myself. I hoped it was the lorry. I got past the lorry but the noise was still there. As I moved in front of the lorry it flashed me. When the guy who had been overtaking the lorry behind me pulled into the middle lane and also started pointing at my car I knew I was in trouble. I pulled onto the hard shoulder, took a deep breath to steal myself against whatever it was I was about to face, got out, and saw the puncture.

I have only ever felt anything but pity for the poor sods you see stranded on the hard shoulder with car problems. Now I found myself as one such poor sod myself I therefore felt justified in feeling great self pity at that moment. And yes – I KNOW I should know how to change a tyre but....

I didn’t know what to do. In fact I was in such a state that it wasn’t till later that I realised the reason I couldn’t get through to Reidski on my phone to tell him I was going to be late and to pray for me, was that it was on Bluetooth, but I wasn’t wearing my ear piece. At the time I just thought that was one more thing sent to try me ‘Now the bloody phone won’t work either!’ sort of thing. Who is one supposed to ring? The only number I know for the police is 999, and even I had to accept this incident couldn’t really be classed as an emergency.

I was right at the point where traffic joined the M1 at Junction 12. ‘Why?’ I thought to myself, ‘Could this not have happened just before the exit to junction 12?’ But as I thought that I also thought, ‘If I’m at the point where traffic comes onto the motorway at Junction 12, that means I am practically at Toddington Services.’ I looked up and there was, not a third of a mile away, the service station. Now whether or not it was the right thing to do or not I have no idea, but what I decided to do was to limp along the hard shoulder to the service station and see if I could ask someone to help me change the tyre (for which read do it for me).

I think this is the moment when I should mention that the time of this mishap was half past four in the afternoon. I mention this because at half past four in the afternoon one would not normally expect to encounter what I encountered next.

I pulled up round the back of the petrol station area next to a rather dilapidated looking coach, but not before I had run the gauntlet of a group of around 8 or 9 young men. All of them were dressed in either pirate costume or in sailor gear. All of them were drinking. One of them was urinating in the middle of the forecourt. I had been planning to ask if they could help me, but decided that wasn’t such a great idea.

A lorry driver came to my aid. A further nasty moment was experienced when the wrench he needed to get the wheel off was missing from where it was supposed to be, but thankfully we did eventually find that under my car’s back seat. But in the meantime more and more drunken sailors were appearing – men and women – and things were getting somewhat out of hand.

One pirate captain came over, three quarters empty bottle of what looked like nasty cheap sherry in his hand. ‘What’ he slurred ‘seems to be the problem?’ With this he sat down on the edge of my boot, which was open where we’d removed the spare tyre. And then he fell backwards into my boot, whereupon he appeared to pass out. I don’t think that the lorry driver who had been kind enough to help me could ever have imagined that his assistance would extend to physically evicting a drunken pirate from my boot, but that is what he ended up doing.

By the time the wheel was changed the scene around my car was beginning to resemble Sodom and Gomorrah. Two couples were all but shagging at the side of the coach (I imagine their coach driver may well have been refusing to take them any further), a stark bollock naked man was wandering round my car, whilst another two were modest enough to have only stripped to their boxers. Another was by now down to his fish net body suit, which in my opinion as a keen observer of fashion was not a good choice. Someone else was throwing up over some poor sods car, and another thought it was amusing to stand in front of a lorry attempting to get to the fuel and make out as if he was pushing it backwards. Where security was, remained an open and unanswered question.

I now know how people who live in places like Majorca and Ibiza must feel when they are exposed to the Brits Abroad..... Absolutely bloody disgusted.

The lorry driver was a star though.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

April already

Time for a bit of a round up of recent weeks.

Reidski and I had a couple of nights in Brighton. This was risky. Brighton and me = terrible weather. The last time we went there it was during the summer of 2006 which strange to relate was an absolutely scorching hot summer. The day we set off for Brighton the sun was up, the sky was a vivid blue and it was already hot at 8 in the morning. Car windows down all the way there, and looking forward to a lazy day sunbathing. Except that as we passed the sign welcoming us to Brighton we had to put the car windows up - being as how it had turned cold and grey and wet. Sunny and hot outside Brighton, freezing cold inside Brighton. And that was not the first time I had put a climate curse on the place.

The other week we again travelled down in beautiful sunshine, stopping en route at the very lovely Sheffield Park gardens

(please note the blue sky) and the equally lovely in a different way Griffin Inn nearby.

This time we get into Brighton in bright sunshine but this abnormality is corrected by the time we get to our sea front hotel and our room with a sea view that hasn't actually GOT a sea view owing to the thick sea mist. It was terrible. We were forced to go to another pub to drown our sorrows.

In fact for the rest of our time in Brighton the weather was fine and we had a great time hanging out. Can especially recommend Cuckmere Haven for a great walk down to the coast and the first of the Seven Sisters cliffs.

Oh - and the Basketmakers Arms obviously - a tremendous proper pub.

Last Wednesday night I was with my daughter and we were just walking up a flight of stairs as you do, when we passed Elton John going in the opposite direction, as you generally don't. If I said I completely and utterly kept my cool at this 'Oh my God! ELTON JOHN!' moment I would be lying. In fact I tripped up over the next stair but hopefully everyone else was too busy thinking 'Oh my God! ELTON JOHN!!!!' to have noticed.

In fact, much as I would love to say I am in the habit of being in the same place at the same time as ELTON JOHN, it wasn't - on reflection - so very surprising he was where I was last Wednesday. I have mentioned before that my daughter is the biggest fan of Billy Elliot the Musical in the world (if you exclude the weirdo single men who have seen practically every performance of it - and what's all that about anyway????) and last Wednesday was the 5th Birthday of the show. An event we Could Not Miss. At least - not if I wanted my daughter to love me for ever. Elton John wrote the music.

Last night she and I went to the theatre again - this time in Northampton and to see 'The Woman in Black' which is currently touring the UK and can also be seen in the West End. My daughter had seen it in the West End with her school and really wanted me to see it too. Me who can't even watch a corny Christopher Lee vampire movie. I don't do scary. Anyway , briefly my daughter said the West End production was scarier - but all I can say is thank god I didn't see that then. Last night's was quite frightening enough thank you very much.

Oh - and the rather large lady behind me broke her chair. Poor woman.

Had a great walk round St James on Good Friday with Reidski seeing where the rich people shop. £200 for a shaving brush anyone? Or a shirt for £400? How about a pair of made especially to fit your feet shoes for price unspecified - if you have to ask you can't afford it.

We also finally saw 'An Education'. Loved it. Loved her. Hated him.

I loved the new Dr Who Matt Smith too. Likely to be the most famous person ever to come from Northampton. And no - that's NOT the only reason I liked him so much!

And finally - football. Will we? Won't we? Make the Play Offs that is.

Not if yesterday's lack lustre nil nil against the mighty Torquay is anything to go by. Losing our best player to injury wasn't very helpful for the cause either...... :-(

I have gone on far too long people.

Over and out.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Stuff and Nonsense

I’m not very new age. In fact I am deeply cynical.

Regardless of that though – I like having a foot massage as much as the next person and have twice in my life had reflexology. Very nice too, and I have to admit, quite fascinating in that both times the therapists were able to tell me all about my little aches and pains just through feeling my foot. In fact a friend of mine who has been trained in this showed me how my ankle has a bump which is the link from my foot to my womb, but she has in the same place a dip – having had a hysterectomy some years ago. Strange huh?

Anyway, all that is by the by because where I work they have something called Make the Most of Mondays, and at lunchtimes we get the chance to participate in what are usually fitness based sessions like yoga or Pilates. I’ve never bothered before but a few weeks ago the notification that came round mentioned reflexology so I applied, and to my delight I was offered a place for it.

The session was on Monday just gone. I went along but what a blow! It was immediately apparent that I was not after all going to get my foot massage, but was there to learn how to do someone else.

It was fairly clear from a quick reading of the body language of the other women there that I was not the only one under the false impression that had brought me there.

Now, I have no objection to massaging the feet of my nearest and dearest, even though a particular Scotsman of my close acquaintance can’t cope with it for more than about ten seconds at a time (shame), but did I want to get my hands on the foot of a complete stranger? I rather thought ‘not’.

The stereotypical hippy type woman who was there to instruct us in the ancient art of reflexology launched in with a list of contra-indications for reflexology. She probably didn’t need to tell me that verrucas and athlete’s foot were two of those, but she did. In fact she kept mentioning them and I was feeling increasingly squeamish. Then she got us together in a group of three all set to start manhandling each others feet, and none of us looking too chuffed at the prospect. Whether our vibes were strong, or whether it would have been bleeding obvious to anyone our instructor thankfully did get the message and announced that whilst not as effective it is possible to do reflexology on hands – and even better – one can do it on one’s own hand. “Would you” she enquired, “prefer to try it that way?” A collective sigh of relief was the only reply necessary.

So on to the next stage and she was showing us how to move our fingers across various parts of our hand that allegedly correspond with another body part. She was quick to suggest we didn’t press too hard on the colon part. She told us that when a reflexologist locates a potential problem area they will feel a little lump almost like a grain of salt, or a piece of bubble wrap. Now I have had a problem area for several weeks now – the left hand side of my neck has been really stiff and has actually been waking me up in the night. Very annoying. Having ascertained that the part of my hand that corresponds to my neck is the bottom of my thumb I set about locating said grain of salt or piece of bubble wrap. Did I find it? Course I did not. But I did keep rubbing the bottom of my thumb more through lack of interest in any of the rest of what Hippy Lady had to say than through any expectation of locating my problem neck via my hand – if that makes sense.

As I came away I sent Reidski a text to say the session had been a complete waste of time.

It was only some hours later that I noticed something was missing. That something was the pain in my neck. And as we all know, not having a pain in the neck is A Good Thing.

And I haven’t had a pain in the neck since.

Very, very odd.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Some great news!

Front page of the Metro paper in Friday morning, and a journalist who one supposes is paid for her writing ability tells us:

'Women who took the contraceptive (pill) are 12 per cent less likely to die compared to those who have never taken it.'

I'm 12% less likely to die! Superb!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I could really do with a bit of help on this one....

I have very reluctantly been dragged into the current neurosis of my sister’s (soon to be ex) boyfriend. I became involved because I learnt that he was continually sending my 12 year old niece messages and texts in which he kept asking her not to tell her mum, but he had various things he wanted to say to my niece, or to ask her about. Not surprisingly she was distressed by these and didn’t know what she should do, but then he sent a message to my daughter who immediately told me. I then spoke to my niece and subsequently told my sister’s STBEB to back off and stop sending these messages. That was about six weeks ago. I told my niece to tell me if she got any more. I said nothing to my sister at the time hoping that the issue was resolved. That was a mistake.

A couple of days ago my niece told me she had received another message and she copied it to me. The gist of this message was ‘Please stop telling your friends I’m a pervert.’ She strenuously denied having ever said such a thing and I relayed that message to the STBEB who then said he had sent me a message via Facebook.

In fact he sent me way more than one message, and I could not believe what I was seeing. First of all he sent me word for word of a MSN conversation my niece had had with a school friend telling him that the STBEB had seen her getting out the shower. I knew from my talk with her before about that, and was as confident as I could be that it was purely accidental and embarrassing and difficult for them both. She never used the word ‘pervert’ but obviously at that point I could see why he was concerned, but what I could NOT understand was how the hell he came to have the transcript of this conversation so I asked him. This word for word was his first response:

The laptop which she uses, gets spyware notifications which keep happening in Msn chat ... when it shows the scan it points to where it is so you can remove it from the pc.... it was within her logs in between convo's....but you have to scroll down to remove where they come in...very techy ...

I hadn’t a clue what he meant. And then he sent me MORE transcripts of conversations my niece has had, but these were Facebook supposedly private chats. I was speechless by this time and not because of what I was reading. I asked him if my sister had asked him to monitor my niece’s use of the internet to which he replied:

No, it hasn’t been monitored at all. i was just clearing the spyware again using avg ... like last year, so it hasn't been monitored at all... this stuff only appeared whilst cleaning up the folders again about 3 weeks ago

At this point I cut off communicating with him, wondered what the hell I was supposed to do, and knew that of course I had to speak to my sister about the fact that her STBEB was as far as I could see spying on her daughter.

I spoke with her last night. I thought she would explode with anger, but in the event I can only describe her reaction as one of pure shock. I said to her though that she had to prevent her STBEB having any access to her computer and she said he doesn’t have any. But I knew he had done ‘fixing’ jobs on it before and said that he must have done something about three weeks ago – he’d told me as much himself. She said that in fact he had, but she had been sitting next to him at the time, and that it was impossible for him to have gone into any of this stuff, let alone copied it because she was right there all the time. However, the fact remains that a conversation he copied to me was dated 10th February this year.

Now neither my sister nor I have the tiniest bit of knowledge about how computers actually work but it seems to me that somehow he has gained access to my sister’s computer. Is there anyone reading this who might know how on earth he could have done this, and most importantly, how can we ensure that any access he has got is stopped? If anyone can help me I would be massively grateful if you could either explain it in the comments here, or e-mail me on

And as a matter of interest do people think we should tell the police?

Monday, March 08, 2010

Last Tuesday

I was set on a leisurely start to my day. No need to rush into the office and so a nice soak in the bath seemed in order.

The bath was run and awaited me with lots of lovely scented bubbles making it especially inviting. I was just about to jump in when the phone rang..... My eldest son to say he had had a car crash.

All that matters in this story is that he was fine. He skidded on black ice on a country road and a tree stump that got hit took its revenge by ensuring his car was a write off. I repeat - he was fine.

Somehow he was able to drive the car home. When I saw him coming up the drive I thought it didn't look too bad - but I was wrong. Up close it was very bad indeed.

My bath had gone cold by this time so I gave up on that as a bad job and got ready for work, but not before getting the washing out the machine to start drying it. A tissue had gone in the wash too. It was clearly one of those days.

It was also my sodding birthday :-(

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Michael Foot

A great tribute from Gordon Brown:

Michael Foot was a man of deep principle and passionate idealism and one of the most eloquent speakers Britain has ever heard.

He was an indomitable figure who always stood up for his beliefs and whether people agreed with him or not they admired his character and his steadfastness.

The respect he earned over a long life of service means that across our country today people, no matter their political views, will mourn the passing of a great and compassionate man.

All his life, Michael campaigned and fought for the ideals he believed in. I remember fondly my time with him and Jill Craigie, the love of his life - they both inspired me with their passion and kindness. They leave behind so many people whose grief overwhelms us today.

While Michael was a brilliant thinker – a first rate journalist and a celebrated biographer – he always knew that for the people and causes he had entered politics to represent, the Commons was not simply a forum for debate but the theatre of change.

As Leader of the Labour Party in the most difficult circumstances he was a respected and unifying figure who sought to steer it through turbulent times. And his record as a Labour minister and champion of working men and women will always be a tribute to his convictions and a source of pride - leading through Parliament the Health and Safety at Work Act.

He served the communities of Plymouth and Ebbw Vale with distinction. But Michael wasn't just a great parliamentarian - a historian, a journalist and an author, he showed the same skill as one of the youngest editors of a national newspaper in his twenties as he did when writing articles and books well into his nineties.

A founder member of CND, he is often remembered for being a self-proclaimed "inveterate peace-monger" although his determination to break the rise of Fascism in Europe in the 1940s was demonstrated in his hugely influential book, "Guilty Men".

A lifelong Plymouth Argyle fan who continued attending Home Park well into his 90s, his love of his football club mirrored his love of the Labour Party: sticking by the Pilgrims through thick and thin, no one could ever doubt his loyalty and determination to see them reach the summit of success.

We will never forget his good humour, his passion and above all his enduring values and determination to fight for them - as, one of his favourite poets, Shelley proclaims "Ye are many — they are few".

Michael Foot was a genuine British radical - one who possessed a powerful sense of community, a pride in our progressive past and faith in our country's potential for a radical future.

Monday, March 01, 2010

You what?

Reidski has an on going problem with MY hearing. My hearing isn't as sharp as what it used to be, and that added to the occasional complication of a Scottish accent can lead to me being rather irritating, what with my inability at times to hear what on earth he is saying.

Anyway, on Saturday morning I happened to say to him that my ear felt (not for the first time recently once I had thought about it) like it needed popping. He instructed me in the art of blowing down my nose to pop my ear - but that made not a scrap of difference. I forgot about my ear and we went out for the day. In fact we went to Paradise, by way of a location in West London, but that's getting away from the Tale of J'J's ear, which I am sure has you all riveted to your seats. (Whaddya mean 'No!'??)

The following morning and the two of us are having breakfast. I happened to touch my ear and felt something actually inside my ear. I thought one of my earrings must have come out and jammed in my ear so I fiddled around with the item in my ear before producing - not the biggest lump of ear wax ever seen as Reidski not unnaturally assumed he was looking at when I first brandished the item in his face but - an olive stone.

Now if anyone has any suggestions whatsoever as to how on earth I did at some point in my life manage to get an olive stone in my ear I would be delighted to hear it. Not that I could have heard it whilst the olive stone was lodged in my ear of course.

And how long has it bloody well been there?????

Totally and utterly inexplicable.

No wonder I have been having trouble with my hearing.

Friday, February 26, 2010

A question of geography

Listening to late night radio the other day, I heard an extract from the American "Celebrity" edition of the show "So you think you're smarter than a fifth-grader" (better known in the UK as "So you think you're smarter than a ten year old"). The celebrity in question, Miss X who had, I understand, recently come third in America's version of "The X factor", was asked the question "Of which country in Budapest the capital?". Her thought process in attempting an answer, ran as follows:

"I think they speak French there. (pause) I'm gonna say France. (pause) Is France a country?"

I may be mistaken, but I believe she is from Iowa.

The following day, again on the radio, was a discussion about Sarah Palin, discussing whether she may re-emerge as a serious future Presidential candidate. In discussing her fitness for office the following facts were revealed:

She had no idea that there was a North Korea and a South Korea.
She thought Africa was a country.
She believes gay people can (and should) be "cured".
She has inspired a country music song........

.... part of which they played and which was such a bag of sychophantic horse-shite that it would have been vomit-inducing even if it had not been presented in the country format.

The first question to arise from all of this: Is geography a subject not particularly valued in the States? I have caught some of series 4 of the Wire which is based around the education system, but I can not recollect seeing a geography class at all. Or in High School Musical.

The second question: Given that America is a super-power and given the fact of globalisation, is it acceptable that, for the purposes of choosing it's leader, it has adopted a system in which a/ Miss X has a vote and b/ Sarah Palin may be a candidate?

Would it not be preferable to adopt a new system to elect American Presidents, one in which all the citizens of the world who can demonstrate they are likely to be affected by decisions made in America had a vote so long as firstly, they can name at least three continents with no mistakes and, secondly, they think broadly the same as I do about all other matters?

The new world order system could be rolled out to all emerging superpowers (China next, I think) in order to maintain stability and good sense.

I have today written to my own Member of Parliament to ask him whether he is aware that Africa is a continent.

Otherwise for the benefit of Miss X:

Budapest is the capital of Hungary and is not to be confused with Bucharest, the capital of Romania.
France is, indeed, a country.
The capital of France is Paris.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Nightmare Before Christmas

That which I could not mention has now been resolved, although I am still fuming that this particular piece of nonsense took seven weeks to sort out.

My son, D, works as a trainee manager for a well known supermarket chain. By all accounts he is highly thought of and popular with customers and staff alike. He had also met the love of his life through working in his particular store as she also works there part time. Since he met her he has not so far as I am aware looked twice at another female – and has in fact been known to row with his younger brother if in his opinion his brother was being too friendly with another female because his brother is also in a long term relationship and D is firmly of the opinion that you must never flirt with anyone else when you have a Significant Other.

So therefore it was, to say the least, something of a shock to us all when D, was suspended from work two days before Christmas (a Wednesday) due to two young girls alleging he had sexually harassed them.

On the Tuesday evening D had been working and these two girls were supposed to have been stacking some shelves. Over the course of the evening, D kept having to speak to them about their complete lack of progress. I gather they did not take kindly to being told their work was not acceptable.

The next day D went to work as usual, but was summoned to the office and told serious allegations had been made against him. He was suspended on full pay until a hearing set for 6th January.

Naturally he was absolutely distraught, but his major fear at first was not that he might loose his job, but that he might loose his girlfriend. Luckily she knew him well enough to know at once that it was all lies, and an attempt to get back at him for the words that were exchanged on the previous night.

Now of course D is my son, and I love him dearly, and we all hear mothers of vile men announce to the world at large that they know their son and he would not do whatever it happens to be that he stands accused of. I would always defend him even when I might fear he had done wrong. In this instance though I did not for a single second consider there could be any truth in this at all and I never doubted that that would be proven to be the case. I was however incandescent with rage that such allegations had been made, although I understood why the store had to suspend him pending investigation of the claims.

What I suspect is that the girls aim was to cause trouble between D and his girlfriend. This suspicion was somewhat enhanced when the first thing one of them did was to contact D’s girlfriend via Facebook to detail in gory detail what D had been doing to her. I don’t think they had the faintest idea that their accusations would lead to a major investigation which would eventually lead to practically every member of staff being interviewed by Head Office employees.

I told D to just treat it as unexpected paid holiday over Christmas, and to try and put it to the back of his mind. Easy for me to say of course, but we did succeed in having a good time over the Festive Season, whilst mentally crossing off the days till 6th January when all would be resolved.

Expect that on the 6th January we had snow. We had so much snow the guy charged with doing the investigation could not get to the store to see D and the meeting was cancelled.

I will not go into detail about what caused further delays but they included sickness, incompetence and holidays. Finally – this Wednesday just gone -D was told that he was completely exonerated, not a scrap of evidence having been unearthed to show that he had done the things they alleged, or even that any other colleagues considered him capable of acting in such a manner.

It might be supposed that as the investigation dragged on and on I might have had second thoughts about whether there was in fact a shred of truth in what they said D got up to but I never did. Partly I never did because I know D, but a major part of why I never doubted him was because of the words of the girls themselves.

In written statements and in their Facebook exchanges with his girlfriend they declared that there was a pattern to his behaviour and that the sexual harassment which began about last September always occurred on a Tuesday.

The Tuesday of the dispute over the shelf stacking was the only Tuesday D had worked for the past six months.

Oh, and on Wednesday but before he had heard that he was fully cleared, he had a call from the manager of another store who had heard what had been going on (what price confidentiality eh?), but thought it was a load of shit, and asked D if he would consider coming to work as his deputy (ie, a promotion from his current role) and with better shifts that he has been working at his store. Not surprisingly, D has accepted his offer.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Suggestions for Valentine's Day.

Moving on to the subject of romance - what with it being in the air and all that, if you are really lost for an original Valentine's Day gesture, how about wining and dining her at the Northampton/Aldershot match for a mere £99.00 for the two of you? If you think that sounds a bit expensive do keep in mind that it includes a cash bar in the price - generous huh?

But if you think that's bad, Reidski is threatening to get me a brick.

He received this tempting offer from Celtic:

Hello Reidski from Celtic Football Club
Are you looking for an unusual gift for yourself or your loved one?
If the answer is yes, then look no further! Celtic Football Club are offering you the chance to buy a limited edition porcelain brick in the tunnel!
A unique gift that lasts for years and that any Celtic fan will be proud to own. Very limited, very exclusive and very memorable. Be with the Bhoys as they stand shoulder to shoulder readying themselves to take on the best of the rest.
As part of your limited edition brick package you will receive a free adult tour ticket with a full paying adult tour ticket to enable you to see your brick once it is up.

AND ONLY £120!!!!
I haven’t mentioned football much recently. As you may recall I did not buy a season ticket this year and have only actually attended two games this season – both of which were entirely dreadful. I’ve actually quite enjoyed the sensation of not having the majority of my life organised around the necessity of going to the football.

I was far from being the only person who did not renew their season ticket after the debacle that was The Cobblers 2008-2009 season, but of course a club needs its season ticket holders to underpin all its financial planning and to give credit where it’s due, it does seem some time and imagination has been spent by the club wondering how it may win us disillusioned fans back.

I have received this from the club.

If I purchase a season ticket before 31st March I get a free holiday. Flights not included but nevertheless a week’s self catering in Tenerife or Spain could be mine just for the outlay on the ticket.

There has to be a catch I thought to myself. And of course there is the fairly obvious one......

You have to watch the Cobblers play 23 times next season :-)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Genuine extracts

from a file I am working on written between 1960 and 1962:

"Mrs M (foster carer) is very depressed because she is trying to get her weight down, and after a month on a Swedish Milk diet, instead of a minimum weight loss of 7 lbs as they advertise, she has actually gained 12lbs and is now over 15 stone for the first time in her life."

"Mrs C had been spending a great deal of time at the hospital recently as Trevor (son aged 4) drank a bottle of turpentine last week."

"Gill M went for the money last Saturday and went back and told her mother that Sharon was doing the lodgers bedrooms, dressed only in panties and bra and a short dressing gown without any fastenings, Mrs M said sourly if that’s how she was earning her money she could afford to pay more for Mickey (foster child)."

"She started all over again to tell me what a greatly wronged woman she is, but just then two detectives arrived to see her so I left."

Hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Technical hitch

I can't actually access my own blog from the computer I use most of the time anymore. I don't know if it was my reference to a vibrator wot dun it, but whilst I can post things to it(at least I think I can - will soon find out) I can't reply to comments, and browsing all your blogs is problematic too.


Anyway, just wanted to say that the matter which should have been resolved on 6th January still hasn't been settled due to a quite extraordinary mixture of snow, illness and incompetence. Enough to say by the time it is settled an enormous rant will be appearing from me on the subject.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Anyone interested in a second 'hand' rabbit at all?

Is this the strangest list of stolen items ever?

The charge sheet alleges that the accused, one Fabrizio Martino, having entered as a trespasser a dwelling, stole therein food, drink, eggs, a bag of crisps, bin bag full of assorted children's toys, Lego building blocks and plastic toys. Bob the Builder toy, soft toys. Linen basket containing unwashed clothes . . . light bulb, grey broom, keys to flat and shed, scales, curtain pole,with dark brown leaf pattern.

After describing in detail four sex toys allegedly stolen by Martino, believed to be worth in excess of £100, the list then goes on: "Yellow JCB digger, jigsaw piece*, yellow quad bike toy of value unknown."

* Just the one! How very annoying.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Just my bad luck

Been stuck here since New Year's Eve.

Sheer hell.

So wish I was back at work instead but what with being surrounded by 7 foot snow drifts what can one do but turn to (yet more) drink?

Happy Two Thousand and Ten (as I have decided it definitely is to be called).