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.