Sunday, May 30, 2004

Another photo

As seen on my moblog - a view of Docklands, as seen from our block of flats. As you walk around the balcony, you can see from the Dome to the London Eye and beyond... and look, someone's spray-painted my 32nd birthday on the side of that house! Posted by Hello

In other news

This weekend has been quiet and contemplative. Without the BF around, it reminds me of some of the weekends I used to have when I was a singleton. I'd get to the end of the weekend and realise that I'd hardly spoken to anyone for days - only people in shops etc. In some ways, it's nice to just do your own thing. The downside is that it can mean that you think too much...

Anyway, throughout this weekend, I've had the following conversations:

Note: these "conversations" do not include any discussions I may have had with myself or with "fellow" drivers or pedestrians who get in my way or annoy me as I go about my daily business...

And now for something completely different...

Having finally worked out how to get photos off my digital camera (it was really quite easy!), I present the Clifton Suspension bridge (Bristol), as viewed from the hotel we stayed in a few weeks ago... Now I have to work out how to get rid of that date... Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 29, 2004


Okay, I can't sleep - I can't sleep because my eyes are heavy with tears, my nose is heavy with snot (nice image, huh?) and I'm on my own. I need to write this. It's not fluffy, pink, nice, or lighthearted, but it's the truth about me.

I went to a funeral today.

Last Friday my aunt died after a not-particularly-long but bravely-and-tirelessly-fought battle with breast cancer. About five years earlier, she had watched her sister (who was, incidentally, about five years her senior) go through the same thing.

Her sister was my mother.

My mother was 59 years old when she died. She has two grandchildren who she has never seen. She also never got to see her youngest daughter finally find a wonderful man who would make her happy.

My father died, of Hodgkins disease (another form of cancer), when I was three years old. I have no memory of him.

Have you ever noticed how I don't join in those "Parents, eh? Who'd 'ave 'em" type conversations which seem quite a regular occurrence in Blogland? Probably not... Well I guess this is why...

The other day, at work, my colleague (the one who calls me "Tarty Flarty") asked me where my parents lived. The phone rang at that point, so I answered it just a fraction more promptly than normal. By the time I'd dealt with the caller, my colleague had forgotten that she'd asked the question. I was relieved.

There are many people I consider to be close friends who don't know about this part of my life. The subject just hasn't arisen. If they ask the question, I'm not going to lie, but I don't proffer the information unprompted, because it makes people uncomfortable. It makes them say they're sorry, and gush. It kills any conversation.

Luckily, I am blessed with three elder siblings. I think that, if I ever do get married, it is they - all of them - who will walk me up the "aisle" (in whatever form that may take). Without them, I'm not sure I would have made it through the last few years...

I guess this wasn't the best weekend for the Big Fella to have gone away...

Friday, May 28, 2004


I would post, but I've got to go and watch the last episode of Friends, even though I didn't see the first or hardly any of the ones in the middle. I guess that makes me a bit of a fairweather "Friend" friend or something....

BF's gone away for a stag weekend. Maybe I should start calling him Housse now that he's got a blog and all - that is his proper nickname after all. He's only called BF in the land of Blog - my fault for referring to him as that one day and then it stuck...

So, I'm not going to post anything for now...

*can't help thinking there's something not quite right about this non-post*

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Received yesterday from Greenwich Council

Mr B Fella
[insert number and name of block]
[insert name of road]
That London
[insert postcode]

Dear Mr Fella

Re: Proposed Works at [insert name of block] – [insert name of road]

Thank you for sending your observations for the above mentioned contract.

It has become apparent due to further audit checks that an error was made in allocating relevant work and costs to the block. The identified works are replacement timber front doors and the rewiring to flats. A revised block cost is enclosed.

Your revised rechargeable block cost is £168,881.32.

[insert some bumph about how our contribution is calculated which I would insert if I knew how to do tables in HTML ;)]

Your contribution towards these works is therefore £8,450.19. You will also be charged a supervision fee of 6.5% and a management fee of 10% giving you a total estimated contribution of £9,844.47…

That’s the upshot – the estimate has been almost halved because someone c*cked up the original spreadsheet. I kind of suspected as much…

Other highlights include their response to my point:

"The fact that you are having to carry out works costing the best part of a million pounds rather suggests that the property has been neglected over the years, despite Leaseholders paying significant service and maintenance charges – supposedly for its upkeep."


Service charge provisions are used for maintaining the building on a regular basis and not for major works purposes. The major works carried out on buildings are purely for maintaining the building and not for adding value. However, a well-maintained building may add value.

Whilst I appreciate the almost chiasmic chiastic nature of the first two sentences, I’m not quite sure what their point is, but what’s clear is that they don’t seem to have answered mine.

They also apologised for any "inconvenience" their error had caused. I hope they also wrote to all the other Leaseholders pointing out the error of their ways.

This should make it easier to sell the flat. We did get offer x, where x = a - b (where b = asking price and c = £16,000). So we'll ask the agent to go back to the potential buyer with the revised figures and see what they come up with... I think we'll accept the first "decent" offer which comes along (where "decent" = "decent"...)

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

No introduction needed

Thanks Kev, I'm lovin' it, lovin' it, lovin' it!

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

My weekend in Southamton Southampton

This weekend it was my freinds friend's birthday in Southampton so I went down there and on the way I dropped BF off at his friend's house because they wanted to watch the cup final because they like Manchester United and I know they both live in the South but they are both from Manchester so they are allowed to support them so there and I watched the match in a pub in Southampton with my friends J and K (L, M and N couldn't come - ha ha ha - NOT!) and the pub had little televisions in the walls of the toilets which were way cool and we watched the match (not in the toilets though as you'd have to stand up and it might smell of wee wee or poo poo) and then I went to J's for a cup of tea and then I went to S's whose birthday it was and she lives in the flat next door to the one I used to own and while I was there she was showing me the painting she'd done in her bedroom and I looked out of her bedroom window as from there you can just about see into my old flat and I wanted to see what the man had done to it and as I was looking I saw a lady in the living room of the flat downstairs from my friend’s and she didn’t have any clothes on and she was sitting on a man and he had his hands on her boobies and I don’t know what they were doing but it looked a bit naughty so I looked away and then we went for a curry and I had my silly little pink shoes on and I couldn’t walk in them and they gave me blisters but the curry was nice.

*deep breath*

Monday, May 24, 2004


During the course of my blogging "career" (if one can call it that), I've mentioned Swiss Tony a fair few times.

Swiss was one of the people who helped keep me sane when I was working at [insert company name]. Armed only with a cup of “latte macchiato” coffee (and, in the early days, a cigarette), we would put the world to rights in our own, let’s say unconventional, way…

Well, Swiss has had a blog for longer than I have, but let’s just say that “prolific” is not a word one would use to describe his blogging habits… Recently, though, he’s put a couple of corkers on his blog – check this out (in case the so-called permalink doesn’t work, which I suspect it doesn’t, it’s the post from Thursday May 20th…)

It reminded me of one of the things I miss about [insert company name] – there aren’t many...

Friday, May 21, 2004

Word Processing gaffe of the day

Dear candidate

There's this thing in Word called "Header/Footer" which allows you to have something repeated at the top or bottom of each page. This means that you don't have to retype your so-called heading at each page break...

Love Witho

Telephone gaffe of the day

Dear Witho

When phoning someone up, it's best not to stuff half an apple in your mouth as this can make it difficult to speak clearly when the person answers the phone.

Love Witho

In other news

My colleague at work calls me "Tarty Flarty" - which endlessly amuses me.

We received an acknowledgement from Greenwich Council for our observations vis-à-vis the proposed works at BF's block of flats

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Basil Faulty?

 Posted by Hello

I'm sure it's all within the order of nature, but I wasn't expecting to see flowers on my basil plant. I've had it for ages - and have made many a batch of pesto from its fleshy, fragrant leaves, but flowers? What could it mean? Is it still safe to eat the leaves? If it gets pollenated by a passing bee (or whatever), will it start to produce "basil fruit" in the autumn?

Workaday blues

Anyway, I wanted to write a post today about work - specifically, how I'm working consistently longer hours in this so-called "stop gap" job than I did when I had a "so-called" career, how the big boss is an absolute shambles and I am stunned at the way she conducts herself, coming in after 1pm, fannying about with cakes and idle chatter for a couple of hours, then producing urgent work for us in the post 4pm timeframe when the rest of us who've been there since 9am (or earlier) are just starting to wind down for the afternoon and hum "show me the way to go home"... It's exasperating me, particularly when I think of how inefficient their systems and procedures are. Forgive me for putting my "IT developer" hat on after many months of it gathering dust, but the place is just crying out for a workflow system - it's just oozing with duplication of effort, lack of communication and antiquated paper-based systems...


I then wanted to move on to the firewall thing. How one of my tasks at work is answering the phone. Oh yes, dear reader, it's one of those old fashioned places where they don't have direct lines, so muggins here (that'll be me) has to "screen" calls coming in. *Shudder*

One particular candidate keeps phoning up to nag nice boss about an application for a job we made on her behalf. We quite clearly told her that as soon as we had any news, we would be in touch, but she insists on calling every day. My instructions are to deal with telephone queries as far as I can, only passing the call over to the boss when I really can't answer their questions - but for the most part, their questions are "have you received my email?", "have you had any news from [insert name of client] on my application?", "I've seen a vacancy on your website, can you give me more information?". These, I can answer - there is no need for me to pass the call over to nice boss, so I don't, even if they ask for her or her mother (which, I might add, they *always* do...).

So disgruntled was this particular candidate at never getting to speak to nice boss, she decided to send an email. Little did she realise that, like with the telephone, all the emails go into one big inbox (yes, I agree that this is utterly ridiculous) and are also filtered by, well, m'good self. And it is there, dear readers, that I found a message which read as follows:

"Dear [nice boss]

I've been trying to speak to you on the telephone for the last few days, but have been unable to get through your "firewall". Could you please call me?


[Annoying candidate]"

How we laughed?

The irritating thing about all this is that on all our job adverts, we put at the bottom: "please call asap to discuss" - yet usually there is nothing further to tell, and the recruiters will refuse to speak to them anyway...


Then I was going to write about mine and the BF's latest obsession (other than Sex and the City of course - we're part way through Season 2 at the moment by the way...):

Benenden Sauce

But I just don't have the time, so I won't... oh hang on, I think I just did...

Monday, May 17, 2004

What *should* have been posted yesterday, if I hadn't been so *rudely* interrupted by a malfunctioning C drive...

When the sun comes out, so do Witho's toe rings! Posted by Hello

Greatstone Beach, Kent, where we spent Sunday morning - this was followed by Fish 'n' chips for lunch (well, I had a chip roll (or "chip barm" if you're a Northern-UKer) Posted by Hello

The Big Fella, chilling on the beach... after lunch, we went on the Romney/Hythe/Dymchurch miniature railway. I was a bit concerned that we wouldn't fit into the carriages, since the pair of us could be described as "hulkers", but needn't have worried... Posted by Hello

When the BF suggested we go for a picnic, I was envisaging sitting on a rug in the local park eating a soggy old sandwich - when what he had in mind was something quite different - to whit, the above...

I was quite surprised - it only took us about an hour to get down to the coast, and the beach was lovely (as per photo above).


Now, before you say "B-b-but Witho, I thought your PC wasn't working", I've reverted to the BF's laptop (or should I say the school's laptop...). It's all very complicated. Between the BF and myself, we have no less than 4 PCs, all of which have some sort of "issue", the details of which I shall now divulge, dear reader:
  1. My PC. A desktop. Quite old, extensively fiddled about with "upgraded" by my dear brother and handed down when he bought himself a decent nice new one. It's got a nice TFT screen (provided by myself) but the USB ports don't work.
  2. BF's PC. Modem doesn't work, so we can't use it for interwebbing, but it is connected to our laser printer so is used for BF's school work which he wants to print out at home (or my job applications, letters to councils etc....)
  3. BF's school laptop. A great little machine, except we don't have a USB printer lead to attach it to the laser printer yet, so can't print from it, and plus it doesn't belong to us, so we can't become too attached to it.
  4. BF's Mac - one of the schools he worked at was Mac'd up to the hilt, so he decided to comply. It's one of those old ones with the teenie screen.

Yes, readers, I can hear you screaming "consolidate", and consolidate we will, preferably before we move down to Taunton - hence buying a new PC which can do all that we need it to...

Coming soon to a Dear Witho near you...


Witho returns from weekend eager to blog about her activities and upload her pics using her lovely BloggerBot, switches on PC, sees the following:

Error reading from drive C:
Abort, Retry, Fail?

Now, I'm no expert, but that sounds bad....

There may be an interrupted service to Witho's blogging until the situation is restored (i.e. until Witho buys a brand new laptop - pah, we needed a new one anyway...)

Friday, May 14, 2004

Here's the leaf from that tree. After a bit of detective work, the BF and I suspect it to be a Swedish Whitebeam (sorbus intermedia) - what do you reckon?  Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Mutter mutter new fangled email posting mutter....

Trying desperately to keep up with the times, I posted via email last night, and had a quick look and on first glance it looked okay, plus I was impressed that it appeared almost immediately. Only this morning I look again and find that, as a result of the email post:

  1. The font size of all previous posts was reduced to what can only be described as "weenie", whilst the emailed post font size was "normal"
  2. My sidebar had disappeared down to the bottom of the page

Hence, or otherwise, I won't be using that facility for the time being.

I also downloaded "Hello Bloggerbot" - I've no real idea what it is and, at the moment, don't really have time to investigate, but it seems to mean that I can post pictures to my blog without having to "steal bandwidth" from text@meric@ (as I am apparently doing at the moment....). Being a common thief hardly fits in with my being the (quote) nicest person on the internet (unquote) (according to Ray that is, though Kev described me as a fascist - is it possible to be a nice fascist?) now does it? So when I've got a mo', I'll check it out...

Other internet thingies

We ordered our food shopping from ocado the other day. I noted several advantages of this service over Sainsbury's online service:

On the downside:

Runner's angst

I haven't been for a run since Saturday morning...

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Tree hugging

I've thought of myself as a bit of a tree hugger for some time (and have the permanently overflowing crate of recycling to prove it), but only now has this phenomenon manifested itself literally. I think I've fallen in love - with this:

I first noticed this tree a few weeks ago when the foliage appeared, and it has continued to captivate me since then. Now it has blossom, and it looks so perfect. It looks like the sort of tree a child would draw. The shape of it, so regular, so full, Like a big green afro! Every time I see it, it makes me smile....

By the way, does anyone know what variety of tree it is? (I may love trees, but I'm still largely ignorant of them...)


Talking of which, there's this game on the marvellous Playstation compendium known as "Hyper Bishi Bashi" called "Perm", where you have to copy the rhythm of the beat by pressing the X button. Each time you successfully beat out the rhythm, your brightly coloured afro grows:

If you play the game perfectly, your afro takes over the entire screen. It is one of the goofiest games I've ever played - plus I can beat BF's ass on it! (Ooh, I sound kind of American there...) Just buy it, man!

Sex and the City

Recently, the BF and I have acquired the first "season" of Sex and the City on DVD (when did "series" turn into "season" by the way? Or is it just American shows which have seasons...). Anyway, having recently watched season 4 in its entirety, the evolution of the programme is quite evident. In Season 1, there is much more voiceover narration, a number of addresses to the camera, and all these "vox pops", as if Carrie is going out on the street doing research for her column. And there is an almost constant flow of background music. It really is quite different. The characters are much more one dimensional - Miranda is a real tough cookie with her sharp pinstripe suits and ties, and Samantha is just a caricature, whereas by Season 4 their characters are much more multi-faceted and interesting... Plus, we meet many more of Carrie's friends outside of the circle - like Skipper - I wonder what happens to him?

I think that's enough for now - have you seen the time by the way? Early bird blogging - let's see how that works out. My guess is, it won't last....

Sunday, May 09, 2004

My very frist first blogmeet

Yesterday I was very excited because I was going to a blogmeet which is where you meet people that you know but that you don't know I know that sounds funny but that is sort of what it is and I had to get the train and I drove to the train station and when I got to the station there was nowhere to park well there was one space but I drove past it because I thought there would be another but there wasn't another and someone went in the space I should have gone in in the first place so then I didn't know what to do so I drove to the next station on the line and there was a space there but my train came just as I was driving into the station car park so I just parked and waited and it was raining and my hair went frizzy and then I got the train and then I got to Charing Cross and I bought a bottle of water which was way cool because it had a belt clip which meant I didn't have to carry it I could clip it on my belt and then I walked up past Trafalgar Square and up Charing Cross Road and through Soho and then I found the pub and I was all nervous and trembly and I didn't really know why but I couldn't control it and I walked in and saw Ray and he was nodding and smiling knowingly and then I saw Fluffy and I gave her a hug and she had curly hair and then I saw Minnow who was just sitting there looking cool and I looked round the table and saw Hans and I said "you're Hans" and I was told off for calling him Hans because that's not his real name and then I recognized Diann and I said something stupid like "you're from America" and Ian I recognised and said "Wibble" (as one does) and then I recognised Em and then I saw a tall man and thought "I don't know who that is" and then I said "Where's Leggy?" and it turned out he was the tall man and I couldn't believe it because he looked so different to that photo on the blogmeet site and he was all "London" and I thought he was going to be all posh and Ray was all "Merseyside" and I thought he was going to be all posh and then someone came in with Tilesey and Mav and I thought "I don't know who he is" and he came up to me and said "you must be Witho" and I said "yes" and he said "I'm Kev" and I said "Oooh" (as you do) and he told me off for not wearing the pink hair streak and he wasn't how I imagined although I didn't know how I imagined him.

*takes exaggerated deep breath*
*advises readers to do same*

So, after the initial excitement, back to the ordered world of Witho. Here are some learning points I took away from the blogmeet:

*fears she has probably offended someone by not mentioning them*

Friday, May 07, 2004


The Big Fella is not coming to the blogmeet. He hasn't been feeling well for most of this week and, whilst he's feeling considerably better now, will need to spend the weekend catching up on schoolwork ("Dedication, oooh dedication, dedication, that's what you need..." - Recordbreakers theme tune, mid 1980s). So that means a trip "up town" is out of the question for him... but not for me of course. I'll be there, with the proverbial "bells" on...

Keeping tabs on it...

Little did I realise how widely tabs were still being used in the realm of word processing (see post and comments below). I've even been asked to do a post on the use of tables as opposed to tabs. I'd like to, but must find a way to pitch it at the right level without being patronising and without preaching. I know that we all build up our own ways of doing things, and I don't want to alienate people by saying their way is rubbish - even if it so clearly is.... ;) - but I really believe that tables are so much more efficient and in the spirit of electronic, *ahem* "living" documents which will be distributed, edited, redistributed and re-edited a number of times.

Tabs are a throwback to typewriters, whose function was to produce a hard copy. Once printed, the process by which it came to be will be lost. Additionally, the typewriter treats the document as a series of lines, produced one at a time. In this context, tabs are obviously a handy way of lining up items in each line to produce a neat-looking tabular format.

Now, word processors on the other hand treat the document as a whole and, as such, are not restricted to the "line by line" approach.

Consider a simple example - a cv (and, for the record, I'm talking about Microsoft Word here...).
Say you have two addresses - a permanent address and an address for correspondence.
You want to show these addresses side by side on the document.

In the olden days, you'd have used tabs to achieve this - setting a tab stop halfway along the document, and typing as follows:

[first line of address one] *tab*
[first line of address two] *carriage return*

[second line of address one] *tab*
[second line of address two] *carriage return*

and so on.

Surely it's more "natural" to type in each address in its entirety? A table will allow this:

[first line of address one] *carriage return*
[second line of address one] *carriage return*

*tab* (the tab key will take you to the next "cell" along the table, or if you're at the last one on the right, will create a new row automatically)

[first line of address two] *carriage return*
[second line of address two] *carriage return*

This is the main point I'm trying to make - word processors allow you to treat the document as a "whole" rather than as a series of lines, and tables are to word processors what tabs are to typewriters (tab presumably comes from "tabular" anyway).

End of lecture

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Word processing

Before you say anything - yes, I am blogging from work. Didn't take me long did it? I've been working at one of the internet PCs all day, and the urge was too great, I'm afraid...

Anyway, part of my job here is "doctoring" people's cvs to send them on to our clients. By this I mean removing any details of how to contact the candidate. This ensures that our clients cannot cut "us" (the recruitment consultant) out of the loop by contacting the candidate directly. Common sense.

This means editing other people's badly formatted Word documents, a process which has proven to be highly annoying for a Witho, especially when people:

And other things which I can't think of right now but which are equally annoying...

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Non-liquorice allsorts

Well, that's what Bassett's will have us believe, with their so-called fruity allsorts - I'll none of them! (To borrow a phrase from me old mate and fellow 23rd April-er, Shakey).

So, here is the news from Withodom:


I'm still working at the same place, but doing 9 - 6 instead of 10 - 6. Hey, I'm paid by the hour, so that's more money for me! Although I was enjoying driving to work when no-one else was driving to work, and getting up at a rather civilised hour, and blogging a bit before work. But at least I can listen to Johnny Vaughan on the way to work...

I was described by the MD as a "godsend" the other day - little do they know I was sent by the devil. Mwah ha ha ha ha!

Today the MD threw up in the office - Witho ran away (Witho always runs away when people throw up - it's a real phobia. Not handy when you have to watch your mum go through chemotherapy, but that's probably another story...). Well, I just hid for a while, then I came back...

All in all though, I'm getting on fine. The job is not rocket science (which is handy, because unlike Tilesey, I'm not actually a rocket scientist - but *he* is you know!) but it keeps me busy and they seem to think I'm doing a good job.


Due to the job, I've been neglecting my blogroll. I'm also aware that I'm being visited by some new people and have yet to really properly check their blogs out. I feel bad. But this job - it's not like my old job, where having several Internet Explorer windows up at any given time (as long as you had at least one "work" screen to flick to as appropriate) was part of the office culture. In this job, I work all day - yes, really. I don't have a personal email account there, I work on different PCs depending on what I'm doing - it just doesn't feel right to blog from there. I must admit to having snuck out to a couple of blogs this morning, but it won't happen often (she says now...)

So blogging has to happen in the evenings - but so does Big-Fella-ing - and the latter is more important than the former, so I try to keep the former to a minimum. Sorry... But he's watching Chelsea v Monaco at the moment, so I'm allowed to play for a bit...


We stayed in a hotel at the weekend, overlooking the Avon Gorge. The hotel has an appropriate name for its location, which I'll leave you to guess...

Anyway, it was quite expensive (by Bargain-Witho's standards), but I was surprised to note that guests were required to make their own toast at breakfast. Yes, you had to stand around a central bank of toasters (2 six-slotters, in a Dualit style, but clearly not Dualits otherwise Witho's drooling would have shorted them out...) waiting for your toast to pop up. And whilst this methodology will ensure the freshest, hottest toast, I'm not sure it's in the spirit of luxury hotel catering...

That's all for now. Got hair to wash and Big Fellas to "amuse"...

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Blog, interrupted

Right, either my PC isn't working properly, or my blog isn't working properly. I can't view it from here. I was able to view it from work earlier on, but don't want to make a habit of work-based blogging - it's just not that sort of workplace...

I've set up my PC instead of the laptop as BF needed to take it into school (well, I suppose it does belong to them after all...) and it was fine yesterday, but today I haven't been able to see it.... *sigh*

So, on to the post

Have a break...

Want to annoy people around you? I frequently do... Here's a good 'un.
Get a Kit-Kat - now this is important, not a Kit Kat Chunky, it *must* be a multi-fingered Kit-Kat - for best effect, only a four-finger Kit-Kat will do.

Now, ensure that you can be seen clearly by at least one friend/colleague/acquaintance/independent witness. Unwrap the Kit-Kat, ensuring that you maintain its multi-fingered integrity. Then, take a large bite across all of the fingers (assuming your mouth is wide enough).

This is virtually guaranteed to raise, at the very least, an eyebrow, if not an insurrection.

For some reason, people wince and grimace at this act, as if you are upturning everything they've ever believed in. For them, the Kit-Kat *must* be eaten finger by finger. People just can't bear to see the subversion of the Kit-Kat.


Evil Witho

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