Thursday, September 30, 2004
In Somerset, people are not "old", they are "ode". Similarly, people are not "cold", but "code". What the 'ell is going on? Well, the "L" clearly *isn't* going on, apparently! (Do you see what I did there?)
I've heard (though not directly) that Bristolians will add an "L" sound to the end of various words where no "L" is in evidence. Maybe the people of Somerset are saving up all their "L"s and donating them to the Bristolians (they're only next door...), who clearly need all the "L"p they can get...
It reminds me somewhat of the French when they attempt to speak English. When pronouncing English words like "hospital" or "home", most of them willfully ignore the presence of any "h", let alone an aspirate one. Yet, when saying a word which has no h, like "own" or "old", they will suddenly acquire the ability to produce that small "huff" at the beginning of the word...
I once worked with a Spanish guy, who found it impossible to pronounce any word beginning with s + consonant without adding an "e" sound at the start. Thus, instead of saying "stainless steel", he would say: "estainless esteel". "Scaffolding" was pronounced "e-scaf-fold-ing" with the emphasis on "e" and "fold". He would also spout standard English phrases which he'd picked up from his East End and Essex colleagues, but said them with a thick, Spanish accent:
"To be hhhhhonest wid youuuu, at the end of the doooyyyyyy"
So amused was I by this, that I once attempted to covertly record him saying these things, so that my friends and I could ridicule him...
*reader butts in*
"Hang on, Witho, where are you going with all this?"
I suppose I'm just coming to realise how fascinated I am by language, accents and so on. I am a linguist. A good one (though not a cunning one, I leave that to (significant) others... well, someone was going to say it, weren't they?). I should be using these skills in my career, not letting them stagnate whilst I work as a secretary... not that I've anything against secretaries, I think they play a major role in quietly and modestly keeping many organisations afloat. But I need something different... I need to do my own "shit", not someone else's.
You see, I didn't get that job I was interviewed for, if you hadn't picked up on that from the previous post. It was a position as Office Administrator for a not-for-profit Educational Organisation. It sounded like an interesting job - essentially "running" a new regional office on the admin side, quite a niche-carving opportunity.
But, inevitably, I cocked up the interview. I "give good application", but the nerves always get the better of me at the interview stage and I can feel myself trembling, babbling and rushing my answers. At first, I was inconsolable when I was told I hadn't got the job. But the more I thought about it, the more I realised that I should be able to do "better" than that. By better, I mean I should have a profession, not just be in a supporting role. And this time, it should be something I'm passionate about...
I *need* to do something with languages this time around, and no, *not* programming languages!
Monday, September 27, 2004
It all started on Sunday night. I had an interview lined up for Monday morning in an out-of-town office park tailor made for private vehicular commuters and (thus) not well served by public transport. So, in a rare case of Witho being prepared in advance, I phoned up to book a taxi for the next morning. What could be a simpler procedure?
Open Yellow Pages to taxi numbers
Do the following until a taxi is booked:
Call Taxi Number
- If call is answered, request taxi for 08:30 Monday morning, chez Witho
- Else, find next taxi number
Establish if taxi is available at allotted time
- If so, book taxi
- Else, find next taxi Number
Now, this procedure had a bug; the analyst/programmer failed to recognize that there could be a scenario where absolutely no taxis were available in Taunton at that time...
For the first couple of calls, I just thought it was bad luck, but as the unchanging pattern developed, it started to look suspicious. When we asked why, we were told simply, firmly but rather enigmatically: "School run", as if on hearing these words we would nod sympathetically and say: "Ahh, well I'm so sorry that I would like to pay you a not insubstantial sum of money to be conveyed somewhere during a busy period, I shan't bother you again..."
"School run". What do they mean, "School run"? I didn't quite understand whether this referred to all the taxis being used for the school run (when there are surely plenty of Chelsea Tractors to perform that role) or whether the taxi drivers simply refused to take fares during that period, due to the traffic chaos which inevitably ensues between 8am and 9am in any town during term time. What was clear to me was that I was going to struggle to get to this interview. It appeared that my only choice would be to walk the 2 miles to the interview and arrive flustered and bedraggled.
All was not lost, though. By a stroke of luck I had, a couple of weeks previously, acquired a bus timetable for the region and managed to find a bus which went somewhere near the interview venue.
However, maybe the taxis were trying to tell me something. Something like: "Don't bother Witho, you won't get the job". Because they would have been spot on...
Friday, September 24, 2004
- George Michael officially* sounds like Simon Cowell (or vice versa if you prefer)
- I now have a link on my sidebar to Nutty Cow
- Yes, Nutty Cow
- That's N-U-T-T-Y C-O-W
- Am I forgiven now, Nutty?
*"officially" in the context of this blog means "in Witho's humble opinion"
A couple of tips for my colleagues:
- Speak clearly into the dictaphone. Then there won't be any dispute about whether you said "mother" or "grandmother", "Lloyds Bank" or "Hoares Bank" , "will" or "would". This will save paper, time and, of course, money.
- Start speaking (clearly) into the dictaphone *after* you've pressed the record button
- I'm a temporary Audio typist, not a mind reader. You say it, I type it, but I have to hear it first...
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
... jobs comin' out of 'er ear'oles!
Jobs, it seems to me, are like buses. You stand there at the bus stop in the freezing cold, waiting. Waiting and wondering if there's a non-smoking equivalent of the "cigarette trick"* to lure a bus into view. You've even opened your mind to other buses - buses that you wouldn't normally take, but that will get you somewhere at least... Then, just when you start to lose both the will to live and the sensations in your hands, along they come. Always "they", always a plurality of buses...
So, after weeks of waiting at the employment "bus stop", it appears that I have performed some manner of cigarette trick. Not only am I currently working - although at this *precise* moment I'm blogging, but there's actually no work for me to do at the moment, so I don't feel *too* bad - I had a phone call yesterday inviting me to interview for a *proper* job and another phone call this morning from a different agency about a job which will start straight after this one.
Witho is in demand!
*If you light a cigarette at the bus stop, the bus is virtually guaranteed to come before the second drag. Fact.
Monday, September 20, 2004
It's quite simple, really (I *always* type "simply" instead of "simple" and have to correct it...). My régime, that is. It involves an accessory, which I have named the "Now Playing Easel". It's a cheap item, available for a couple of quid from Ikea. This, of course, doesn't include the price of the mental anguish of actually driving there, queuing up to get in and finding a parking space. Nor does the price include the inevitable extra items which "fall" into your yellow bag as you go around the showroom, or the superfluous goods which launch themselves into your trolley as you proceed around the Marketplace. Nor does it include the inevitable meatballs which, with no thought of their own safety, propel themselves onto your plate in the canteen. But, if there were a way of buying Ikea products without visiting Ikea, it *would* cost you a couple of quid. Anyway, all of that is hardly relevant now, is it dear reader?
The "Now Playing Easel" does exactly what it would say on its tin, if it had one. It indicates to the listener the CD which is currently residing in the adjacent CD player. On espying the "Now Playing Easel", the listener can decide whether to simply press "Play" or to immediately remove the CD, place it carefully back in its case and return it to the rack from whence it came in favour of a different selection of music.
Below is the "Now Playing Easel" as presented to me this morning, as I approached the CD player:
Pink Floyd - Wish you were here
(NB: Readers, just so you know, this post is not an invitation for your to jeer at my musical tastes. I make no apologies for possessing this CD.)
So, I think to myself: "Yes, a bit of Pink Floyd whilst I'm doing the washing up, why not?".
This is where the system falls down. As I await the gentle prog-rock intro to "Shine on you Crazy Diamond", I am instead greeted with the howling, prating guitars of "Rust in Peace" by Megadeth.
Saturday, September 18, 2004
Yep, another agency has been putting me through my paces. Their system was a bit less hi-tech than the last. A blank Microsoft Word document, a copy holder containing some dreary text about something or other and a kitchen timer. I start typing, the consultant starts the timer and leaves me to it.
*type frantically for five minutes*
*hear bleeping sound followed by rapid footsteps*
The consultant bursts in:
She checks the screen for any red, wobbly underlining (i.e. spelling mistakes - there were none) and checks the numbers down the side of the document I was copying to see how far I'd got in five minutes (and thus, how quickly I was typing).
As I was doing the test, I realised that this system was open to abuse. Prior to me sitting down at the desk, the previous test-ee's (*snigger*) typing was still on the screen. The consultant selected and deleted it. Now, I could have just gone to Edit/Undo as soon as she'd gone out of the door and carried on where this last candidate had left off, thus ending up being dubbed "the fastest fingers in the West (Country)!" But no, our Witho is as honest as the day is long (hmmm, so according to that logic, I'm much more honest in the summer months then... interesting...).
So, after she and her colleagues have spent about 5 minutes admiring my passport photo (?), we sit down, the consultant and me, and discuss possible opportunities. I note that she is attempting to break the world record for "Number of times I can say Witho's name in any given sentence":
"Well, Witho, I can see from your cv, Witho, that you have a lot of expertise, Witho, in IT, Witho, but from what you say, Witho, you want to move away from that kind of work, Witho. Is that right, Witho?"
"You talkin' to me?"
The upshot is that she's putting me forward for a couple of short-term jobs and will keep an eye out for permanent opportunities. So there.
*I *may* have belched during the test...
Thursday, September 16, 2004
*goes to register with temping agency*
*proves that typing speed cited on cv was not a lie and, in fact, was a slight under-estimation*
*secures job immediately*
Don't get all excited. It's a week long temporary assignment, starting next Tuesday, for which I will be remunerated, metaphorically speaking, with "the edible, nutlike, oily seeds of the Arachis hypogaea, used for food and as a source of oil".*
*that's peanuts to you and me...
More reasons *not* to shop at Morrisons
Risotto rice. That's all I want. Arborio, Carnaroli, Vialone Nano - any of those will do. I quite like that Gallo brand with the chicken motif, but if they haven't got that, own brand will be fine.
So off I go to the rice aisle. American long grain, basmati, Thai jasmine, Batchelor's Savoury, (it must be around here somewhere), boil in the bag American long grain, easy cook American long grain, boil in the bag basmati, (hmmm, can't see it anywhere), Mediterranean style basmati, organic, easy cook "white" rice, (Maybe they've sold out; I'll check the empty spaces...) easy cook basmati, "wild" basmati....
Can this be true?
Morrisons (ex-Safeway) in Taunton... don't... stock... *any*... risotto... rice...
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
....an ickle Witho
Note the already stygian eyes, though the raven hair was not yet in evidence. Note also the no doubt polyester mauve dress and the beginnings of the "cheer-up-love-might-never-'appen"-inducing glower which would become a feature of Witho's innocent wanderings around Walthamstow as a teenager and young adult.
But I didn't bring you here to gaze upon my youthful visage, dear reader. Oh no, it is with anecdotes that I wish to ply you. You see, depicted above, clutched in Witho's chubby little hands, is a toy. A toy with a past.
This toy was of a rubbery plastic construction, formed in the shape of a cat. Ever the non-conformist, Witho ignored this feature, and named the item a "teddy". But not any normal teddy, ah no. This so-called "teddy" exuded sounds from its fundament when squeezed. It was, dear reader, a "squeaky teddy". *Was* would come to be the operative word. For Witho had a big brother and what, do you suppose, is the principal function of a big brother? I'll tell you: to spoil, maim and massacre the games of girls. Spray-painted dolls, fighting dolls, cuddly monkeys dangling perilously from the washing line, dolls with drawing pins poked into their ears (yes, there were lots of dolls in our house - I have two sisters...). The most common phrase to be heard chez the Withos in the seventies was: "Mum, [insert brother's name] is spoiling our game".
Plasticine. Or modelling clay if you're a Blue Peter presenter. Plasticine inserted into Squeaky teddy's posterior. The squeak, dear readers, was no more. From that day forth, the cat-shaped rubbery plastic figurine would be known as "Squeaky-not teddy"...
*wipes solitary tear from cheek*
I won't even tell you what he did to the Holly Hobbie General Store...
It's funny, you never know which posts will be comment-worthy. I thought the mobile phone one would draw in the remarks: "Ooh, Witho, you should've got a such-and-such", or "Oh, I hate those customer 'service' lines that keep you on hold", or (adopt hoarse "40 a day" voice): "'ardest game in the world, the old mobile phone. I was with Vodafone for 25 years, man and boy... " but no, just a couple of comments ensued. Then I post about a bit of cellophane on an aubergine (eggplant) and you're like a bunch of vultures, drawn to the smell of death, swooping down towards the rotting carcass of my post to feed on its bloody sinews. You crazy bunch!
Anyway, this week I'm being a bit more proactive on the job front. I've applied for a job in Education - a senior administrative position in a not-for-profit organisation. I've also sent my cv to various agencies, some of which have already called me in for a registration chat, and I'm off to the job centre today. I spotted some ads in the newspaper for training to be a voice over artist... I think I might be too common though. I've got quite a posh telephone voice, but after a while I lapse into Cockney... Although these days, it's more acceptable to have a regional accent in the media. I do like the idea of being a voiceover though...
Erm, other than that, contracts have been exchanged on the Big Fella's flat in London and a completion date has been set. That'll be a load off our minds...
God, that was dull. Don't worry, I'll stop now...
Monday, September 13, 2004
Yesterday afternoon, a "housewife" from Somerset unwittingly discovered an evil régime of torture in her local supermarket. Innocent vegetable products were being suffocated in cellophane in order to perpetuate checkout efficiency.
Previously, the products were allowed to breathe, but this meant that the checkout operative had to waste, literally, seconds looking up the code number and thus precious moments of the impatient shopper's time would be lost.
The housewife, identifying herself only by the codename "Witho", took a secret camera into the "torture chamber" to photograph these atrocities.
"I couldn't believe my own eyes" she said. "They didn't even attempt to hide it, they were just there - on display". Not only were the items shrink-wrapped, they were also marked with an identification sticker containing a bar code - to further humiliate them and infringe on their vegetal rights. "I just wanted to make their plight public, so that people can see the cruelty which exists in the very heart of our communities..."
But seriously, is there really any need to wrap a fruit/vegetable in cellophane? Surely it's not too much trouble for the checkout operator to look it up on one of those handy, revolving aide-mémoires? Will those extra seconds really make such a difference to the impatient shopper? It's the waste that worries me. That piece of cellophane will go straight in the bin. On some products, it may be necessary for reasons of hygeine, but fruit and veg? Needless waste...
*the pedants among us will know that the items depicted are, botanically speaking, fruits and not vegetables, but they are generally *thought of* as vegetables so that it what I shall name them here. So nerr.
Sunday, September 12, 2004
Telephone conversation with O2:
*dial customer service number*
*press appropriate buttons*
30 minutes later
Operative: Blah blah O2 customer services blah blah my name is blah how can I help you?
Witho: Yes, I'd like a PAC code please
Operative: Can I take your mobile number please
Witho: Yes, it's blah blah blah blah blah, blah blah blah, blah blah blah
Operative: Can you confirm your name, address and postcode please?
Witho: Yes, the name is Witho, the address is chez Witho & Housse, Taunton, Somerset blah blah blah, blah blah blah
Operative: And your date of birth?
Witho: Twenty-third of the fourth, seventy-two
Operative: Okay, so you'd like a PAC code - I assume this means you're leaving O2?
Operative: Can I ask why?
Witho: Well, for a start I've been on hold for 30 minutes before anyone would speak to me. Other than that, you won't let me upgrade to the phone I want, even though I've seen that it's available free on O2 contracts on the internet
Operative: Which phone was it that you wanted?
Witho: This one
Operative: Yes, we don't do that one
Witho: So can I have the PAC code then?
Operative: It will be sent to you within four working days. Blah blah blah blah blah...
What is it with mobile phone companies that they couldn't care less if they retain customers? The idea of customer loyalty is alien to them. I've gradually worked my way through the four main networks in the UK, simply because new customers are given much better deals than existing customers. I liked Orange - my first mobile network. But when I was told I had to pay £50 to upgrade to a phone I could get for free on T-Mobile, and this after about 3 years of customer loyalty, I took action. I haven't looked back since and I've never once changed my mobile number or paid for a handset.
So, I went into Phones 4U and said: "I want the Nokia 7200 on a contract and I don't want to pay for it. Can you help me?" They both could and did. I was very impressed... Vodafone here I come...
Saturday, September 11, 2004
P.S. When attempting to type "rejection" in predictive text, the first suggestion was "selection". Well, I found it interesting...
Friday, September 10, 2004
Now that the Big Fella is back at school, this leaves the Witho ample time on her own to indulge in one of her favourite activities. Before you start licking your lips in anticipation of lashings of lasciviousness, calm down - this isn't that kind of blog... not sure what kind it *is*, but not that... No my dears, I'm talking about "flakiness" - one of the Witho staples.
Yesterday, I was reading a selection of blog posts and their associated comments which made me feel thick. This can be the negative side of blogging for me - realising how ignorant and ill-informed I am. Add to this the following ingredients:
- despair over my inability to identify this seemingly mythical job that will bring me fulfilment, satisfaction and joy
- lack of "local" friends and therefore being almost totally reliant on BF for "entertainment"
And there you have it! A flaky Witho...
Thursday, September 09, 2004
(Don't worry, this won't be another long, drawn out story about how I got together with the Big Fella...)
... I published this:
"Must... resist... blogging...
Hmmm, it was only a matter of time I suppose. I've been reading other people's blogs for several months, thoughts oscillating between "this is great, I want to do this!" and "this person's spelling/grammar is appalling!" (pedant that I am...).
The reason I've started this one is that I already have a blog of sorts at work. My colleagues and I send instant messages to eachother via our antiquated green screen e-mail system, and recently mine have taken on a "Bridget Jones' diary"-esque nature. A friend suggested that I should publish my various ramblings as he enjoyed reading them. Admittedly, this particular friend is a complete nutjob, but as Max Ehrmann once said:
"listen to others, even the dull and ignorant, they too have their story"
So I did, and here I am. Expect nonsense - lots of it..."
Yes, my first ever post, bless me!
A year ago today, I was just embarking on a new relationship, I was living in Southampton while the Big Fella was living in London - we saw each other only at weekends - God, that seems like a long time ago. I was in a job which was slowing sucking the life blood out of me...
For several months, a colleague of mine, Steve "Neveratoss", had been touting his own blog around the office. At first, I thought: "how arrogant, to think that anyone would want to read a website all about oneself!" but at the same time, a part of me wanted to tell my story too. Steve had links to other blogs - as I explored his blogroll, the ones which really captured my imagination were the now defunct Coopblog (a 31 year old single woman getting by in the city - this sounded familiar - when I started reading it, I was single too...) and the legendary Billyworld...
Thanks to Swiss, I discovered how easy it was to set up a blog of my own and, though it took me a while to pluck up the courage, I finally published my first post on 9th September 2003. I didn't tell anyone at first, but a couple of days later, I got an email from Tilesey, another work colleague, addressed to me and Steve, with a link to his new blog. I replied, and attached a link to my own...
Why blog? As I said earlier, I think we all (yes, even the dull and ignorant) have a story to tell, and we go through life wanting to tell that story and wanting to read other people's stories - some of which are spookily similar to our own, some of which are so far removed that we can barely imagine what it must be like to live that life.
To begin with, blogging was my way of passing the time at work. I'm not proud of that - I think the amount of time I was prepared to spend blogging helped me to realise that the fire had really gone out in my so-called career and I had to move on. Trouble is, once you start blogging at that level, it becomes an addiction. I still feel that guilt when I realise how much time I spend staring at the screen, how reliant I am on the validation one can gain from blogging.
Despite the part that my blog now plays in my life, there are people very important to me who are unaware of its existence. My siblings, my closest friends - I've never told them about it. I'm not sure why - nothing I've written on here could upset or hurt them, but something stops me from telling them about it. The Big Fella knows about it, of course. When he first read it, he said "It's just like you talking" and the essence of this blog, I think, is that it is just very me. Whatever's on my mind, however trivial, stupid or muddled, this is my way of trying to make sense of the world in which I live...
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
There's a stat for you. Not only that, it's my first blogday on Thursday - but let's not deal with that for the moment...
On with the usual drivel for now. It may be somewhat of a milestone post, but the content will, I assure you, be as dull as you've come to expect.
Yesterday, I attended an interview for the post of "Environmental Administrator" with a Waste Management company based in Taunton. The role involves taking raw data analysing the environmental impacts of landfill sites, collating and assembling this data so that it becomes useful information and transforming it into reports to be filed with the Environment Agency and other external parties. This is a subject that actually interests me. For example, did you know that some landfill sites are used to create renewable energy? The methane gas given off is harnessed to generate electricity.
The interview went very well. The interviewers were in no doubt that I had all the skills necessary to do the job, but were concerned that I wouldn't like the salary which wasn't quoted on the job advert. I guess I had a ball-park figure in mind for the position, given that they were asking for graduates with experience. The salary did not meet my expectation. In fact, it's less than the salary I started on at [insert company name] six years ago, which more than doubled whilst I was there. I think they saw my face drop and I was honest with them - I hadn't expected it to be so low and, if they did offer me the job, I would have to think about it very carefully. They were very apologetic and said they had wanted to put the salary on the advert. I have to ask myself the question: would I have applied for the job if they'd quoted the salary on the advert? The answer: I just don't know...
Cactus survives removal trauma:
Umberto sprouts new leaves where previous ones had fallen off:
Monday, September 06, 2004
Erm, some hills and that...
"What, pray, were you doing in the Lake District, Witho?" I might hear you cry, if you were actually interested... Well, I was at Swiss Toni's wedding in Kendal. The wedding was lovely - the short-but-sweet civil ceremony contrasting greatly with the last (Catholic) wedding service we attended with its endless droning hymns and muttered prayers, stand up, sit down, stand up, shake it all about etc.
As an added bonus, Toni's wedding included a post-wedding-day blow-the-cobwebs-away excursion on a vintage double decker bus with open-top. We stopped off at Ambleside to check out some waterfalls, at Grasmere to eat our own body weight in Homity pies and toured along the scenic route past Thirlmere (above) to Keswick and back to Kendal. Most unusual to find a wedding which provides this kind of entertainment - I think it should be encouraged! Weddings can be so formulaic - why not introduce something a bit different, so that yours will be a day that people really remember?
As a singleton, I used to hate weddings (or "smugness parades" as I used to call them...) Oooh, come and watch a smug couple be even more smug, provide them with luxury homewares from a large department store (while I have to furnish my own home, thank you very much...) and watch other people get drunk and fall over. Not the Witho's favourite... And they can be so expensive to attend! Often, these days, people have to travel far and wide to a wedding, shelling out for transport and accommodation, an outfit, plus the aforementioned wedding gifts which, I believe, are no longer relevant to our society. Not to mention if you're invited to a stag or hen do, which are becoming more and more elaborate (and thus expensive) as the years go by...
But I enjoyed Swiss's wedding. It was different, a welcome break from the norm. Thanks Toni and Suzanne!
Thursday, September 02, 2004
I am incredulous. I've just watched a TV programme hosted by Rebecca Loos*. I'm loathe to even type her name for fear of giving her even more publicity, but I feel that she is symptomatic of the seemingly interminable decline of British television presenters. Okay, the programme was on Channel Five - I couldn't really expect high quality programming - but still. I mean, not even Beckham's publicity hungry, grinning, talentless coathanger of a wife has had the audacity to become a TV presenter and, whilst it sickens me to even think this, I would probably rather put up with La Beckham than Loos.
To my mind, there are several issues here. Firstly, the hypocrisy of the media who, on the one hand, criticise these pathetic z-list celebrities and on the other, continue to photograph and publicise their every move. I would like the journalists to have the guts to just ignore these pathetic creatures. I used to dream of a day when "Vicky" Beckham would turn up at some event in all her finery, pout at the ready, only to find that the photographers would all, quietly but obviously, lower their cameras and remain silent. Then maybe she would just f**k off. I know, it's a pipe dream...
Secondly, it is clear to me that television presenting is a highly skilled profession. I've come to realise this only because so many of today's presenters are clearly so poor. Look at RI:SE. Well, you can't look at it, because it was so bad, it was taken off air. Twice. What riles me is that there are journalists who have studied for years and worked their way up who would kill for the opportunity to get on screen. People with personalities, charisma and the ability to string a sentence together. Why should talentless wannabes like Loos be allowed to "jump the queue" because of some dubious claim to fame?
Even some of those who have come through the journalism route have proved themselves to be utterly unprofessional and, in some cases, incomprehensible. It seems that the blondeness of the hair, the sleekness of the thigh (in the case of women) or the messiness of the hair and trendiness of the clothes (in the case of men) are the selection criteria used. No matter that the presenter sounds permanently drunk (I'm thinking here of June Sarpong - she may share my home town, but really, what is she all about?), stupid (Lawler, Caprice, Brook - the list could go on forever) or utterly self-obsessed and arrogant (Vernon Kaye being one of many) as long as they look the part.
I'm struggling, in the present climate, to think of a decent presenter, though they must exist. Maybe that's because the better the presenter, the less you actually notice them. The good presenters are inconspicuous because they know that what they are presenting is more important than they believe themselves to be...
Don't even get me started on nepotism... or sportsmen/women who become presenters... or sportsmen/women who do TV adverts... (apart from Jonny Wilkinson, whose Boots adverts rule) or...
* If you don't know who Rebecca Loos is, well done! I congratulate you - it's probably better that way. However, I know that some Americans read this and may be curious, so for them: she's a stupid bint who claims to have had an affair with British soccer superstar, David Beckham. The end.