That was the week that was…bobbins.

I have to confess to not really being in the mood for my usual jovial glance back at the week just gone.

We’ve had a tough one, starting literally with the week, when Louise’s Mum called us early on Monday morning to say “she wasn’t feeling very well”.  I’m not going to go into loads of detail, but Louise hasn’t stopped all week, backwards and forwards to hospital, after two admissions in the week.  The diagnosis is still quite unclear, ranging from some sort of stroke to meningitis and although she is out of hospital, much the better for the medication, she’s far from right to be honest.

Louise’s Mum stayed with us here one night, in between admissions, and she’s now recuperating with another family member until everyone, including her, feel she is more ready to be home alone.

Add to all this that two other folk I know, one virtually, and one originally virtually but now also in real life, have also had pretty rotten weeks too.  It isn’t my place to outline their events, or even really comment, but the sooner the week is over the better all round I think.  Many of you will know who they are I’m sure.

Other events over the last week then pale into insignificance, and therefore I’ll refrain from rambling on about them here.  Not even a pleasing week of football results can rescue it from the bottom of the league table of weeks.  I can summarise events in one sentence.  Work, waney lap repair success and walking the dog.  To lighten the tone of this post, here is my mate Oli, now six months old, and becoming a very handsome young man, pictured on Saturday morning.

Oli six months
My mate

This may of course lead to a very short entry here, and me feeling that I’m short-changing anyone that cares.  Imagining that anyone does care, and may well be feeling short-changed of anything, I have posted a new article over at The WDW Dads website.  So please head on over there, and have a read by clicking this here link.  It deals with the oft discussed topic of what age is the best to first take your kids to WDW.  Consider it an attempt to inject some magic into a week bereft of any.

So with a respectful nod to friends with crappy news this past week, and a wish for Mary’s return to full health, I give this last week a two-fingered salute and one of my stares.

Onwards and upwards into a new week which will hopefully deliver closure on which bloody job I’ll be doing, and some improvements all round.

Till the next time….


Britain’s Got Nothing Better To Do?

It’s been a right old week.  As much as it is nice (and welcome) to be popular, this multiple job thing is a toughie.

So I’m working really hard at trying to look busy at the old place, smiling at all the right things, feigning the appropriate level of concern at others, and above all else trying to keep up the thin charade that I really give a rat’s ass.  On top of that, I’ve been to see my new place a couple of times, and despite not getting paid by them for some weeks, I’ve picked some work from there, which is hampered mainly by the fact that I haven’t got a clue what I’m doing in new world yet.

Add to all of that a week of second and third interviews, and ridiculous psychometric tests at my other “opportunity”, and all the brain power needed to think about which job I’d take where I to get both, I’ve certainly had less stressful weeks.  With me, stress does not deliver handy side benefits like not eating so that I emerge some weeks later with the body of Russell Brand.  No, stress for me represents itself in the form of binge eating and acne!!  Yes, acne!!  So despite turning up for these interviews looking like some plague ridden fatty, somehow I managed to get myself a second job offer.

That really put the cat amongst the pigeons.  However, after due consideration, I stuck with my original offer, and politely turned the second one down.  Financially both were similar, but the second one, frankly, sounded really hard, and so, like the big girl’s blouse that I am, I opted for what appears to be the path of least resistance.

You’d think having two offers was more than enough for anyone in these tough times, and believe me I have no clue how this has happened.  For many weeks prior to this employers were literally making a point of not urinating on me despite being metaphorically on fire.  Then, of course, to continue the overuse of metaphors, three come along at once.

What’s that?  Three you say?  Well nearly.  I have one last iron in the fire which won’t come to fruition for a couple of weeks, and this one truly is a game changer in many ways, not least salary wise, but also in lots of other ways which I won’t bore anyone with until (and if) it becomes relevant.  I suspect it won’t!

This hectic week was rounded off back in the office on Friday, where the normally fairly quiet and peaceful vistas of Salford Quays were overrun with badly dressed disillusioned Jeremy Kylers, as Ant ‘n’ Dec had brought the Britain’s Got Talent juggernaut to my offices.  I work in a seven storey building right opposite the Lowry Theatre, and in reception is a “function room” which had for the day been converted into a holding pen for the intellectually challenged folks trying to get Cowell’s attention by passing coat hangers through their nasal cavity or similar.  After being kept waiting in this corporate wasteland for several hours they were then escorted across the plaza into the theatre itself to perform.


As much as this made any lunch time outings an assault course, it did mean that the three-hour sales meeting in the morning had a welcome distraction, as I could giggle at the seemingly endless hordes of no hopers willing to stand in the absolutely persistent rain that did not let up for one second.

This made the meeting go quite quickly if I’m honest.  I will admit that me taking photos out of the window may have given the game away that I wasn’t giving the subject at hand all my attention, but hey, what are they gonna do, sack me?

At lunch time I did venture out, and the entire area was like a cross between some scene from The Lord of The Rings and a Jerry Springer marathon.  Some “acts” had animals with them, some family were pushing some huge “thing” up the side of the theatre, with two young kids, obviously wearing some spangly affair under the coats.  Lord knows what they would be doing.  Hopefully it was some sort of Weapon of Mass Destruction to be unleashed on Cowell whenever he deigned to appear later into the day.

The first seven or eight hours seems to be run by hundreds of “Crew” who had an average age of around fourteen, but all had headsets and earnest expressions as they herded Albert the Spoon Playing Albino Dwarf across the slippery concrete expanse outside the Lowry Theatre.  That’s showbiz.

Even as I left (which to be honest, was a little earlier than I should have), it was still ram packed all around, with the surrounding restaurants doing a roaring trade.  It will take them days to sweep up all the glitter from those dance troops though.

I will say that the mechanics of it all it very impressive, and how they get a rabble like that into any sort of order to milk hours of TV out of it, I’ll never know.  It may be crass, intelligence insulting bilge, but it is well organised crass, intelligence insulting bilge.

I wonder how many of today’s true global superstars can say their careers started off in a drizzly, windy and cold Salford under an umbrella.


Still, just think, these auditions may uncover a new star, maybe the next Coldplay?  I rest my case!!

Till the next time…..


Wake me up when it’s over!

They say that the most stressful things in life are divorce, changing jobs and moving house.   Never ones to do things by half, it would appear we’re attempting two of those three at the same time.  I shall leave you to guess which two.  Depending on how these two go, we may end up with a full house anyway!!

It has been a badly veiled secret that I have not been in love with my job for some time, and without overtly stating it here, it will have been obvious to everyone and anyone that I’ve been assessing my options!  Having been at this whole assessing lark since late November I have established the following truths –

1.  Most recruitment agents are absolute teapot du chocolat style wastages of air. (For balance I have come across a couple who are also outstanding, professional, knowledgable and very well-connected, and I thank them!!)

2.  Searching for a new job is a full-time job.

3.  I am sick to death of talking about myself endlessly in a bid to convince someone to give me lots of money.

resignHowever, after all this effort, some fool has agreed to pay me money to turn up at their offices, and their offer is more attractive to me than my current one, which to be honest didn’t take a lot.  So last  week I resigned.  It felt goooooood.

I have been sworn to secrecy until work can come up with a plan of how to communicate this to the troops, and have some sort of plan in place for the future.  Having had to bite my tongue all last week, and keep up the (very thin) charade of giving a toss, I’m bored now, and should some work related folks stumble across this here blog then so be it.

Having badly broken my promise of not doing work stuff in this blog, I won’t go into details of who I’ll be working for.  Firstly, no-one really cares, but also selfishly, I have some other irons in the fire over the next week or so which may result in me having a choice, so I don’t want to jump any guns until the plump lady has cleared her throat for a rendition of  “You can shove your job up your arse!”

Last Friday saw the last few folks affected by the recent redundancies that started my job hunt, leave the business, and I am really chuffed that they have nearly all found alternate/better employment.  There are a couple still looking, and it can only be a matter of time as they are excellent at what they do!

So, amidst all the rigmarole of trying to find employment elsewhere, Louise and I have come to the conclusion that we need to move house.  I would dearly love to do just that, and pick our house up and put it where we want to move to, but alas, that is not possible.  We need to be only a mile or so down the road, nearer to schools and parents for lots of logistical reasons, so it looks like we will have to endure the horrors of moving house.

for sale signWe have been valued (again, as we’ve tried this before), and today has been a solid twelve hours of cleansing, clearing and preening the house ready for the photos to be taken tomorrow.  This must be like being Peter Andre, and having OK round snapping your house.  The only difference is that he uses someone else’s house that has been professionally cleaned!! Plus of course I have a better physique!

I am now of course on first name terms with the high vis guy at the local tip who tells everyone which container to shove stuff, and Louise hasn’t stopped today. Even now I can hear the distant hum of the Dyson, as she removes evidence of the house ever being lived in.

So there we go, that is how we have come to undertake two of the most stressful things in life at the same time.  We have a track record in this regard, as many years ago, it all came to a head (literally) as Rebecca was born three days before we moved, so that was a calm relaxed time too!

Having moaned, I must say that me not changing my job would have been stressful in a different way, so I’m not complaining about that bit.  I will complain lots about every aspect of moving house as I hate it with a passion.  However, it is a necessary evil, and in the end it will simplify and de-stress our day-to-day lives if we can get somewhere suitable within walking distance of school, and as close as possible to our parents, so that we can look after them, as required in years to come, and in the meantime they can help with the kids and the dog!  Seems like a fair trade to me.

It seems not eighteen months since you last had to endure me working my notice, and I apologise that you must go through that again so soon.  On the bright side, I need only work one month of notice this time rather than three, so that should give us all a decent chance of getting through it with our mental health intact.  Let us hope that we need never speak of such things again for quite some time once this is done.

So having already today, painted, visited the tip, been to Tesco, taken Emily to take some more photos for her coursework, made the tea (a fine Sunday roast even if I say so myself), arranged a babysitter for Oli tomorrow so he doesn’t eat the estate agent, tidied a bit and written this, I still have stuff to do so I must leave you.

Till the next time…..


Waney Lap…whoever he is.

As I settle down to write this week’s blog, you may be intrigued to learn that I’m very stiff.  Before your minds run away with you, and my female readers implode in a frenzy of mental images and hot sweats, this is because this weekend I have done my first bit of exercise for many a month.

This onslaught was brought on of course by the excess of Christmas, but it was brought into sharp focus this week, when I had to wear a tie for the first time in about four years.  Ties have long since been surplus to requirements as part of my working life, but I had to go somewhere this week that required one.  This formal occasion was sort of work related, and will hopefully expedite my escape from the morale and sanity sapping existence I endure Monday to Friday right now.

So having spent the usual few minutes getting showered and dressed in preparation, it then took about another half hour to actually fasten my top button!  Once I’d woken from the blood loss induced coma, I then struggled through the day without turning my head!  This episode sort of brought it home that I need to shed a few pounds…probably a couple of dozen.  So, even though I hate being part of the cliché that is a new year diet regime, I’m in it, and I’ve eaten just a little bit less.  With a workout on Saturday and a long walk with Oli today, the scales are showing a slightly lower number than last week, so that’s a relief.  A long, long way to go though.

So I’ve continued to work on my escape plan, and although I always say I don’t do work stuff here, it will be no surprise to you that I’m exploring opportunities elsewhere, and hope to have positive news shortly.

The first week back at work, as horrific as it was, was softened by it only being for four days, and having traffic on the roads that would be very tolerable were that to be the norm.  Add to that the progress made with a couple of escape routes, and it could have been a lot worse.  The girls have been off all week too, and this has added to the gentle introduction to the new working year.  Not having to wrench them from their pits at a silly hour means the early morning routine is much less stressful.  With them at home, it also means I don’t have to walk the dog before work, as in theory they are at home to walk him.  That theory sometimes needs a little encouragement!

Tomorrow may well be a shock to their systems as the last time they did not wake up of their own volition was December the 23rd!

It was my Dad’s birthday this week, and I do feel sorry for him, as it tends to get a little lost in the end of Xmas, decoration removing, diet starting apocalypse.  I popped round with his customary golf related gift and card, pleased to see he’s more or less recovered from his proper man flu that besmirched his New Year.

We’ve had quite a relaxing weekend, which you could translate to, we don’t have any cash to do anything exciting.  As a result of the excessive wind of late, we were missing  a panel of fencing in the back garden.  I have since birth (or shortly afterwards) understood this type of fencing to be called Waney Lat.  It is only the writing of this blog entry that has taken me to google to find out how to spell it properly, and it would appear that the correct technical term is Waney Lap.  Now that makes no sense whatsoever, but I sit, stiffly corrected.

Waney Lap Fence
Yes of course this is our garden!

My first job today was to effect a repair otherwise Oli would be leaving deposits in next door’s garden, and with the size of him now, they don’t want that.  It takes two people to clear them up!

I think they could introduce this activity into the Olympics this summer.  I’m sure had any of the neighbours been watching from a window, they would have been highly entertained as I attempted to slot the bugger back into place all on my own.  Imagine if you will, a portly bald fella holding a fencing panel across his body, waddling around the garden at the behest of every breath of wind, trying desperately to lift it high enough to slot it into the grooves on either side.  Now, imagine every swear word you have ever known, and them being shouted loudly as it falls back to the ground for the sixth time.

Should it become an Olympic event, it shall be yet another sport at which I have not been naturally blessed.  I returned to the warmth of the house some many minutes later, with grazed knuckles, dirty pants (yes, soiled, but not in a bad way), and muddy shoes.  Oli had spent this time exploring next door for the last time before his escape route was cruelly shut off.

With that one job off my task list, it barely made a dent in the long list of stuff that is currently either slightly or totally broken in our house.  We have a temperamental shower, a fridge with a door averse to shutting, a broken lamp, several bulbs that need replacing and Louise’s car is in for a service/Mot/Highway robbery in a couple of weeks with a list of minor issues to investigate.

So having missed all of Dancing on Ice by writing this, I consider that job done.  Now, on our telly, I’m watching two vacuous effeminate chaps trying to groom three women into looking like Beyonce.Yes, that’s correct they have commissioned such a programme.  The three contenders look like Beyonce about as much as I do, and of the three frankly I have the nicest bum.  The programme appears to be called Bigger than Beyonce and I can confirm that indeed all the contestants are, by quite some margin.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again….TV will eat itself, and judging by these hopefuls, it is about the only thing they haven’t yet eaten.  I appreciate I sit within a very glass house in that respect, but I am not flouting myself on national TV in some sort of looky likey travesty.  If I were, then maybe Bigger than Brian Glover may be more appropriate?  Go on, Google him.  Although Louise always says I look like Gok Wan.  If that isn’t grounds for divorce then I don’t know what is.

Till the next time…..


2011 in review – thanks to all who came along.

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for my blog.  Silly numbers, and I thank everyone who bothered to come and read this stuff.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 44,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 16 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.