I will point out now that the above title may well be the one and only time I shall refer to my youngest daughter as anything other than Rebecca. I use it today for the sole purpose of creating a title for this post, as Rebecca sounds nothing like Pet, and frankly even Becks is a push! Friends and even teachers use Becky and/or Becks, however, I stand firm, and use her given name!
I write this with a daughter in Germany. Wednesday morning saw Louise and I waving Rebecca off, in a dirty, and mechanically suspect mini bus. The hour or so prior to this were the usual pre holiday panic of case cramming, essential checking, make up applying and hair straightening. I was not involved in the last two of those.
Rebecca was quite nervous I think, as she is staying with a family she has never met before, who of course don’t speak English as their first language. As previously documented, Rebecca speaks not one word of German, so to her credit she did get several key phrases off of the internet before she left.
As usual of course, to the perpetual shame of the UK, the German family all speak good enough English to communicate so she should be OK. Rebecca’s fine as long as she wants some black forest gateaux as I have coached her well there.
She has updated us via text and a quick phone call that she arrived safe and sound, despite being left on the final train with one other boy, as the doors closed before she could get off. Thankfully, they had the sense to travel to the next stop, get off, and somehow manage to find their way onto the right train to get back. Not bad for a thirteen year old, in a foreign country I must say. Perhaps the teachers should have been last off the train? Just a suggestion!!
Earlier this week, I endured a trip to Harrow. With all due respect to Harrowians, I have had better days. The town itself was of course fine, but the journey to and from was frankly as horrific as I had expected. Travelling down only took the four hours, without interruption from anything more major than a tinkle around Watford Gap (which I must point out is absolutely nowhere near Watford!).
My habit of being early stood me in good stead to
- Find a car park
- Find the Costa in which my colleagues were waiting
- Find the venue of the meeting
The meeting was fairly unremarkable, and took the form of a workshop for a fairly large retailer/convenience store, comprising us, two competitors, and the great and good of the retail organisation. With that sort of crowd it turned into a bit of a willy waving do between the three suppliers, and I happened to be sat next to one of them, who used the in the air punctuation mark sign with his hands so many times, that there was more of his contributions inside of virtual punctuation marks than out of them. I had a special name for him, which did not require those in the air punctuation signs, from about ten minutes in, when my tosser radar went off. It is remarkably accurate.
Finishing the meeting around 4.30pm meant that after a quick post meeting debrief with colleagues, I was back in the Mondeo at around 5pm, and trusting the sat nav to get me out of the gridlocked town centre and somewhere near a motorway as soon as possible. Once on the M1, things were nice and easy until Newport Pagnall Services, where around two minutes before I arrived, a few drivers had decided to abandon all common sense and driving ability, and come together in a carriageway closing extravaganza.
An hour I sat there, just far enough past the services slip road that I couldn’t pull off, but close enough to be able to smell the stale Ginsters and over priced chicken wraps, as my stomach growled its complaints.
The growling was quelled a little further up the motorway with an overpriced sandwich, over sized bag of crisps, and under whelming bar of Milka chocolate that I was blatantly upsold to at checkout. The remnants of said meal are still in my foot well, and may taste better now than they did at the time of consumption. That lot will be going on the expenses I can assure you!
So with all that I eventually arrived home at around 9.40pm, feeling brain and bottom dead. I’m not sure which affected me more!
Louise had her “back to work” meeting, and is indeed due to go to back to work next week. However, as it now turns out she may need another “procedure” to fix other issues (not for discussion on here by a male!!) the debate now is whether they can fit her in pre xmas or if she has to go back to work and then get it sorted around February time. It also turns out that the doctor she saw this week was amazed the other doctor/surgeon didn’t sort it all out in one go, but of course this would have been all too simple.
In what seems a strange move, when my frame expandeth in all the wrong directions, I have cancelled my gym membership. With the new job, rubbish traffic, cold weather and general apathy, I am just not getting any use of the silly sums of money being given over to the gym. I shall welcome the cash saving, but fear for the extra funds required to equip me with a wardrobe of clothes large enough to accommodate my expanding girth. I MUST cut down on the stuff going in.
In what is turning out to be a busy week in retrospect, on Monday (and why am I outlining events of the week in reverse order??) my brother celebrated his birthday, so I popped round with a card and pressie to be entertained by George, my four year old nephew, who ran through his repertoire of every song from the Johnny Depp Willy Wonka film. Truly impressive stuff, especially whilst wearing his Woody from Toy Story pyjamas….George that is, not my brother, as at 46 that would be silly.
I know many of you will have been awake night after night, scouring the internet, consulting with experts and haranguing HTC themselves to solve my bluetooth issues with my phone. Fear not, I have found a solution!
That solution was to get a different (note that word does not say new) phone from the IT boys at work. Found somewhere in the darkest corner of the dustiest cupboard, I have been presented with a HTC HD2. If you seen a film on iMax recently, the screen is a similar size. It is a Windows phone (for those who know or care), but alas not one of the new ones currently advertised on the telly, it is a 6.5 thing, and works OK, crucially in terms of bluetooth, but the Marketplace, where you go to get apps for these Windows phones is about as full as Gillian McKeith’s bookings diary for next year.
The choice of apps is pitiful, and I mourn the loss of critical apps such as Angry Birds, which I used purely as research for my job in the mobile industry.
The screen is so large that if anyone phones me in the car whilst it is dark, it lights up the car, three surrounding streets, and causes several low flying aircraft to land on the M60, confusing the lights for the runway at Manchester airport. Hopefully, the bugger will break soon and I can get a real one.
The weekend arrived like a long-lost relative, but one that you actually like, perhaps one that is at death’s door with a favourable will. We then proceeded to insult it, by taking on a challenge greater than anything thrown at those jungle folk, and I almost fainted at the prospect.
With Christmas shopping in full swing, we “had to” go shopping for some stuff for the house. Fine, thought I, we’ll nip into Bolton, do the deed, and be back in a few hours. This was until Louise announced that we HAD TO go to Warrington! I repeated the word WARRINGTON in a similar style to the well known Peter Kay Garlic Bread catchphrase. Why Warrington? No offense to folk living there.
It turned out that the holy trinity of retail worship, Ikea, M&S and Next all had large shops there, and would have (and I quote) “Lots more choice than Bolton”. Remember that.
We arrived at Gemini Retail Park, and first popped into Porcelanosa, which is a bathroom shop. With an ensuite to fit out in the coming weeks, we popped in to see what our options are. In that shop, it turned out that our options were to get out before we were ejected on the grounds of my pitiful earnings. They had some lovely stuff, and we can only hope B&Q have similar versions somewhat closer to our budget.
With that behind us we did M&S and Next, neither having anything we were looking for (a rug, and some lamp shades) so we entered the devil’s lair, Ikea. I always feel like one of those lab rats in Ikea, forced to navigate the maze and find the exit. The way in which you are forced through the store in that one way system brings out my deeply hidden rebellious side, and I always end up saying at least once, “How the hell do you get out!”
So, for all that driving and walking, we returned to our car with a pack of spotlights (one had gone in the kitchen), and on the wrong end of one of the worst cappucinnos in the history of mankind. Let it be recorded, here, that I was indeed right and Louise was wrong. We headed back to Bolton, and to cut what is becoming a long story short, we ended up buying a rug in a shop about seven minutes from our house!! Sigh!
Last night, with Rebecca in the Fatherland, and Emily sleeping out at a friends, we had the unusual occurrence of being home alone. With this in mind we decided to go out for a meal at our local Italian restaurant. Don’t let the local tag fool you into thinking we’re regulars. I think last night was our second ever visit, and having been overwhelmed by the total averageness of the food, that may well be our last.
Full up, we headed home to make the most of our time alone, and of course, this manifested itself in Louise falling asleep on the couch by 9pm, and me flicking through endless channels trying to find a TV show that didn’t include people voting for something!
Tomorrow sees work actually start on this garage thing. It seems I have been on about it for weeks, so it will be good to actually have stuff happen. Snow permitting, the chaps are quite confident that they will be done before Christmas, leaving us to decorate etc. We should be in by early to mid January, depending on our ability to paint.
For me, next week nothing earth shattering is on the cards, and the best I can hope for is a downfall of snow so severe that I can work from home for a few days. Rebecca is home next Friday, and to be honest it can’t come soon enough.
Till the next time….