Monday, January 31, 2005
Another eventful few days
During the latter part of last week, I met my new nephew. He didn't do much, just slept lots, went "elaaaa... elaaaa... elaaaa" from time to time and had a rubber-based (rather than flesh-based) teat inserted into his mouth which seemed to appease him for a time. What was encouraging was that he appears to have proper "Witho" dark hair, rather than the platinum blond of his brother which "bothers" me, for reasons I am not sure of.
Our sixth month of tenancy on this house has just passed, meaning that we can end the tenancy with just a month's notice. Add to this the fact that I now have a salary on which to base a mortgage and you have a perfect recipe for ... *drum roll*... househunting! It would have been rude not to...
On Saturday, we saw a house which is well within our budget and has everything we're looking for - i.e.:
- space and light (for me, these are the luxuries of any property, forget your "en-suite to master" taking up what little space was available in a poky little modern cardboard house...)
- a large, open living area, conducive to sociable living
- 3 bedrooms
- town house (rather than suburban)
- preferably Victorian (call me old-fashioned... well, Georgian's probably outside of our price range...)
- utility room (once you've had one of these blighters, it's hard to imagine life without it)
- garden with lawn (BF likes to walk barefoot on lawns in summer- just call him an ol' hippy...)
- close to school, station and town
I say everything *we* wanted - in truth, the Big Fella's list would have been more like:
- errr, a roof
- some rooms
- some grass
- oh yeah, a door...
Easily pleased, bless 'im - which is lucky for me!
In addition, BF had a bit of a chinwag with the lad who was in the house while we were viewing it. It turns out that he used to attend the school where BF now teaches. Being a nosey chap, the BF asked him his name, just out of interest. Imagine his surprise when the BF realises that only that morning he'd been reading a school text book in which that very name was written...
It may have been a sign. It may not have been. Either way, we now seem to have agreed to buy the house!
*is scared now*
I may not be a lady, but I'm "All England"
I have won the public ballot for a pair of tickets to Wimbledon! Before you rip your clothes off with excitement (I *know* that's what you were about to do, you cheeky little reader), what this means is that I have won the opportunity to purchase, at an extortionate price, a pair of tickets to Wimbledon. For a day which the Big Fella might not be able to make due to it being, literally, a "school night".
I ran 9.6 miles (that's 15.45 km) on Sunday. As a reward, the back of my knee is a bit achy. You know, maybe I *can* do a half marathon...
I think that's quite enough excitement for now, don't you?
Saturday, January 29, 2005
If you look at my sidebar, just above the photo of me and the Big Fella, there is a strange graphic. This is supposed to be the last image sent to my moblog. In truth, it *is* the last image which was (inadvertently) sent to my moblog.
"Witho, why would you send a strange graphic to your moblog? Is this some feeble attempt at being "arty" or something?"
No, reader, no. Hear me out.
You see, recently my current mobile provider has taken it upon itself to change the format of multimedia messaging, so that when I send a photo from my phone to an email address, rather than simply attaching the photo as a jpg file as it used to, it displays the photo within the message, surrounded by various logos advising the recipient of such fascinating and previously unknown facts, such as:
"You have received a Picture Message".
No, surely not! I *never* would have known that from the unread message in my inbox with a picture in it. Particularly when I sent the bloody thing myself. Gosh, I'm glad you're here to clear that one up for me!
An irritating side effect of this is that when I send the photo directly to my moblog, it displays all of the attached graphics as moblog entries as well. And whilst I have logged in to textamerica to remove the offending entries, unfortunately the "recent" link to the left has retained one of these infamous graphics for your delectation. Just try to ignore it...
The other issue with their new "régime" is saving the photo from the email. I right click on it, select "Save picture as" and am only given the option of saving it as a bitmap. Okay, I can then open the bitmap and save it as a jpg, but that's not the point. It's particularly irritating when I hover over the photo and the hover text is "[gobbledegook].jpg".
I raised this with the mobile network provider and their rather curt response informed me that this was a Microsoft issue and not one they could advise on. Let's just say my emailed response to this was considerably less civil than my original message...
- 5 years' No Claims Discount - CONFIRMED
- Verbal reference from [insert company name] - RECEIVED
- Washing machine leakage issue - UNRESOLVED
Thursday, January 27, 2005
Wet carpet under washing machine leaves Witho in a lather
Whilst traipsing around barefoot in the utility room, Witho noted that the flooring was damp immediately in front of the washing machine. She performed diagnostic tests by pulling the machine out, filling and draining the machine to see if the hoses were leaking. They weren't. "I can only assume the water is coming from within the machine itself" she said, in a statement today. Experts will be called to the scene to diagnose the problem.
Witho's wrath in insurance company "fault claim" row
Witho finally lashed out at her insurance company in the latest débacle concerning the accident which occurred in August. On starting a new policy for her new car, she contacted the insurance company to confirm that her 4 years' no claims bonus could be applied to the new policy. She was told over the phone that she only had 2 years due to the claim in August being a "fault claim". She immediately wrote a long letter to the Managing Director of the company explaining that "never in a million years" was it a fault claim, demanded that the 4 years' no claims discount was reinstated with immediate effect and went on to elaborate on the overall shoddy treatment she had received as a so-called customer of theirs.
She is still awaiting their response.
[insert old company name] in Witho reference "sham"
Witho's old company have refused to give Witho's new company a reference, other than a confirmation from Personnel that Witho was an employee. "I just wanted to speak to someone who knew Witho" said Witho's new boss.
Witho, in a tearful statement, said "One year ago, they were begging me to stay. Now it's like I never existed..."
A representative of [insert company name] stated "It is company policy not to give personal references".
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
Wet carpet under washing machine leaves Witho in a lather.
Witho's wrath in insurance company "fault claim" row.
[insert old company name] in Witho reference "sham".
This was supposed to be a week off!
Monday, January 24, 2005
Now, I usually make a rule not to post pictures of my family without their permission. The thing is, no-one's going to think "Hang on, I know that little guy. I saw him walking down the street the other day!" or "He works in the same office as me". He's a baby - he looks like many other babies and will do for some time to come (though I'm sure his mother thinks otherwise!)
Me and babies - a weird one. In my twenties, most of which was spent in two serious relationships, I knew I wanted children. With T, they would be half-British-born Pakistani, bilingual in English and Punjabi. With F, they would be half-French, bilingual in English and French. We would probably be living in France so it would be up to me to ensure that their English was up to scratch. What was never in doubt was that they would "be".
As I approached my thirties, reluctantly single, desperation began to set in. I was running out of time. I even got back together with F and the biological urge was as strong as ever... he cast me aside for the second time and that time I finally realised what a w*nker he was...
Then my thirties came. People around me started to have babies and I saw what happened to their lives. Yes, I also saw the rewards they experienced from parenthood, but mostly I saw how the child took over their existence and dictated their lives. I've taken a few wrong turns in my life. I'm not where I want to be, yet. I'm not ready for children. I met the BF at 31 and realised that I want time with him, just the two of us. Luckily, he feels the same.
By the time I decide that I am ready for children, it might be too late. That thought doesn't scare me anymore...
Meanwhile, in Witho's childless universe, meet the new addition to the family:
Hmmm, she's very red. Probably too red, if what you really want is black (la Witho always wants black). But everything else about her was right, I didn't have a lot of time to search, and she drew me in. Well, it's got to be an improvement on the old one which was, to put it kindly, "metallic mustard"...
Friday, January 21, 2005
Walking into work this morning on my last day, I didn't see the usual suspects.
I didn't see the cyclist with the eighties "Lady Di" hairstyle labouring up what appears only to be a small incline on "G" street.
I didn't see the mother and daughter "combo" as I turned into the main road; the sullen teenager lurking several deliberate paces behind her mother as if to deny their connection, but both wearing their trousers a couple of inches too short so that they flap around their ankles ("jack-ups" as we used to call this phenomenon at school).
I didn't see the little yellow S-reg Renault Clio that reminded me of the time when I had a little yellow S-reg Renault Clio.
I truly believe that it's a luxury to be able to walk to one's place of work - a luxury which I will no longer have after today. We have managed without a car for 4.5 months and, had I not got this job, would have managed for longer. It's a shame that public transport is so lamentable down here. The nearest train station is a good 5 miles away from my new workplace, there are no useful buses and I'm too scared to cycle. I've even considered running as I can run 5 miles reasonably comfortably these days. But twice a day! Even *I'm* not that much of an enthusiast...
So, tomorrow I pick up my new car.
I've taken next week off to recharge my batteries and check out the latest addition to the Witho clan.
Thursday, January 20, 2005
In the space of one week, I have acquired:
- One new job
- One new car
- One new nephew
Hmmm, maybe I should get some new clothes... Just to keep the pattern going, you understand!
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
I naïvely thought that the operation of an internal mail envelope was quite simple. Both sides of the envelope are divided into boxes of equal size, each one capable of containing a name, department and location. Scribble out the last used box and fill in the next, so I thought. However, having worked here at the NHS for a few months, it appears that the process is considerably more complicated than I had originally suspected.
Sometimes it is, apparently, necessary to stick a label (which is bigger than the box) in a "transverse" style covering several boxes at once.
In certain, no doubt mysterious, circumstances, it can also be necessary to stick two pieces of sellotape in a criss-cross formation over the hole in the envelope.
Of course, then there are those special people who are allowed to seal the flap with sellotape or a stapler, even though the flap itself advises against it.
Evidently, I am too junior a member of staff to understand the intricacies of the system.
Saturday, January 15, 2005
- This is a train
- A Virgin Train
- Yes, it is in service
- No, we didn't just get on an empty train bound for the depot
- Yes, that character peering over the seat in the style of those eighties "chads" is the Big Fella, probably thinking to himself "Wot, no overcrowding?"...
- Yes, we were the only passengers in that carriage for the length of the journey
- No, I can't quite believe it either...
Thursday, January 13, 2005
The best way for me to eat fruit is to put it on my desk at work and graze on it during the day. I usually bring in enough to keep me going all week long. At the moment, I have 3 bananas, 5 clementines, 1 apple and a bunch of grapes. I will probably have consumed most of this by the end of the week. (Except I forgot about that I had yesterday off for the interview, so there will probably be a banana surplus...)
People who walk past my desk seem endlessly fascinated by the fruit and are compelled to comment on it, usually in an inane way:
"Blimey, that's a lot of fruit!"
"Ha ha! Are you trying to do five-a-day or something?"
"Are you on some kind of fruit diet?"
"New year's resolution?"
Similarly, I often bring in a bag of salad in to have with my lunch. Note, "with", not "for", I will have a sandwich or a jacket potato with it. But when people see me with a plate of salad, they are guaranteed (yes, guaranteed) to make similarly inane remarks along the lines of "Oooh, that's a bit healthy, isn't it?".
Interestingly, as I type, the Chief Executive has literally just commented:
"Gosh, you're into your five-a-day in here, aren't you? Must be those school nurses..."
I wish I could just say to them:
"No, it's not the school nurses, no, I'm not detoxing, no, I'm not on a diet and no, it's not a new year's resolution. I just try to eat healthily. Every day, not just for a few days after new year. Is that okay with you?"
Instead, I just smile, nod, say "yeah" and go back to my work.
No news on the job yet...
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
I received the details for my second interview which is happening on Wednesday, including a timetable which mentioned the other three candidates' names. One of whom used to work on a contract basis at [insert company name]. For me. Well, in the sense that he was a programmer on a project where I was lead designer.
The other candidates are all men.
Those are the facts. Anything else would be pure speculation.
Tuesday morning's iPod "shuffle" to work
Yellow - Coldplay
King of Pain - Police
Just can't get enough - Depeche Mode
The way I am - Eminem
Random work conversation
Colleague A: What group was Rick Wakeman in?
Other colleagues: Hmmmm...
Witho: Oh, some prog rock band, I'll look it up on the Internet
Colleague B: Was he in Moody Blues?
Colleague C: Nah, it was Genesis
Witho (having checked on the internet): He was in Yes and the Strawbs (thinking that this would be an end to the conversation)
Colleague A: No, I'm sure he was in Moody Blues
Witho: *wonders if she's invisible or inaudible* He was in Yes and the Strawbs
Colleague D (after phoning her daughter to check): He was in Minder
*laughs to self*
Witho: No, that's Denis Waterman. Rick Wakeman was in Yes and the Strawbs, as well as having a solo career
Colleague B: I still think he was in Moody Blues...
Monday, January 10, 2005
Colleague's comment regarding the new permanent secretary who has just been recruited:
"Well, I hope she can make tea"
Whilst searching for a document in the filing "system" (such as it is), I come across a series of documents entitled "Ac hod meetings". Now, I know what a hod is, but I'm not sure about the "Ac" bit - Athletics Club? What this has to do with Primary Care Nursing, I'm yet to discover...
Dear "Very experienced secretary"
If you type "Page 2/cont'd" at the top of the main page of a Word document, and then insert some more text on page 1, your "helpful" page numbering system will go awry. Get to know your word processor. Sometimes, it can make things easier for you!
Dear sleep "gland"
I ran 6.6 miles yesterday. That's 10.62 kilometres. I know that because of this site, which is quite handy for conversions. This is by far the longest distance I have ever run. Hence, or otherwise, when I lay my head upon my pillow at 11pm, I expect to be able to sleep like a log. In actual fact, I slept like a baby, in that I woke up every couple of hours, filled a nappy and cried for milk. Possibly. Well, the first part, anyway.
I had a call from a confused interview candidate on Friday, checking where her interview was being held. On the letter she'd received from recruitment, it was stated that the interview was at Head Office, whilst in passing, someone had mentioned that it was being held at a different venue. Colleague X (the interviewer) had told recruitment the wrong venue. Shambles.
Thursday, January 06, 2005
... from watching Kerrang:
- Metallica's "One" video disturbs me. That patient with the mask obscuring his face - my imagination works overtime wondering what's going on under that mask. The thought of it sends shivers down my spine. Apparently the footage comes from this film. Not a film I could comfortably sit through, methinks...
- QOTSA's "No one knows" reminds me of the theme tune to Weekend World (a Sunday politics show which I remember from my childhood, hosted by Brian Walden I do believe... I retain the most random information). Great song (putting it into iTunes right now actually) and a very amusing video to boot! Listen to an excerpt here, courtesy of Amazon. And if you click on this one, scroll down to Weekend World and click on the link, you get to hear the theme - I challenge anyone who was around in Britain in the late 70s/early 80s not to recognise that tune. It's damned good too! The BF came scampering in from the kitchen to hear it! Bonus fact - the song is "Nantucket Sleighride" by "Mountain" (no, I've never heard of them either, but the BF claims he has...).
And that, my friends, is what the hinterwebnet is for. Apart from the porn, of course. And shopping. And blogs. And booking holidays. And....
*wanders off, mentally enumerating myriad other uses for the internet*
One of my fascinating tasks at work is filling in the board to say who is in and out of the office. This involves writing either "IN" or "OUT" on a whiteboard depending on whether the person is in or out. Do you follow? I know, it's complicated stuff.
Hence, or otherwise, I found myself singing "Okey Cokey" for most of this morning in a gruff, cockney accented voice.
Tuesday, January 04, 2005
... master of none
I turn my hand to a lot of different things and only ever achieve mediocrity. Oh, I'm not talking about work here, although there is an element of that too. I'm talking about the little things I'd like to be really good at. Playing the guitar, writing, cooking, running, playing tennis, drawing, painting, being sociable, being clever. Interestingly, it's usually when I'm trying (and failing) to play tennis that the subject arises, but evidently it's not just about the tennis.
Take this blog. It's mediocre, vanilla, middle of the road. It's written clearly and (I hope) accurately, but is lacking in wit and any literary skill. I read others' blogs and feel inferior. Their lives and the way they write about them are infinitely more interesting and entertaining. Some are living lives that, once upon a time, I thought I would live and that sometimes makes me feel wistful. Everyone else is better informed, has an opinion and can argue their point intelligently. Not I. I have instincts about things, but not the confidence to state my point and back it up. I always lurk on the fence, not wishing to stick my neck out because I don't feel intelligent enough to follow my ideas through. Not about the big stuff anyway, only the trivia. On the petty annoyances of daily life, I can spout endlessly.
I want to be memorable.
Sunday, January 02, 2005
Despite the fact that I've lived here for 5 months, I still have some boxes of indescribable miscellany which have yet to be "filed away" from their means of transportation, one item of which is replicated below for your delectation.
Written in the late 70s (at a guess), I like to think of it as an early blog post. It's probably about as interesting as anything else on Dear Witho and what it lacks in punctuation (though I did get the apostrophe right) and scientific accuracy, it probably makes up for in girlish charm. Bless.
(Click on it to enlarge it for easier reading).