Winning Reds and A Woman in Black

It has been a traumatic afternoon.  It has not quite equalled the overly emotional and absolutely draining evening in May 2005, when the mighty reds lifted their fifth European Cup (yes, that’s five!), but it has been an afternoon nonetheless of roller coaster emotions, intermittent outbursts of joy, mixed with more than a few exasperated gasps.

Liverpool Winners
That's a relief

But, as with 2005, it all turned out fine in the end.  I have no finger nails left, and as Louise attempted to talk to me during the final throes, I am probably going to find all my belongings on the lawn.  Watching a high-profile Liverpool game and holding a civil conversation are two tasks that I find to be mutually exclusive.  I become so engrossed and (as it is Liverpool) highly frustrated that I only have enough concentration for one thing at a time.

So a successful end to the weekend.

Last week flashed by for me.  Week two of the new place, and amazingly I retain the thin veneer of credibility, and may even make it to my first pay-day.  Louise’s week on the other hand experienced a whole different type of flash in the pan.  An infection of an unmentionable organ that starts with b and rhymes with vowel has meant most of the week off work, and a pretty rotten time.  Anyway, enough talking about someone else, let’s get back to more about me.

You may remember my bemoaning of my telephonic technology, having left my iPhone with all my angst, anger and bad memories of the old place.  The Nokia E5 was just fit for purpose, barely, but the amount of times I had my finger hovering over the Order button for a shiny iPhone 4S was many.  Anyway, last week I did order a new iPhone, but in a very unlikely act of generosity it wasn’t for me.

Emily’s contract had been up just before Christmas, but being destitute and unsure of employment plans, we had avoided the extra monthlies to get her onto an iPhone.  Now, with literally minutes of stable employment under my belt, it seemed right and proper to do the decent thing.  There you have the ultimate demonstration of unconditional love.  I have two children enjoying and iPhone 4s whilst I have a handset that may be better employed propping up an uneven table.

But wait, all is not lost.  Due to a long winding route, and some work we are doing with a popular fruit based phone company (alas, not THAT one) we have been sent some handsets to “test” with, and I have craftily nicked the best one, and adopted it as my own.  So, the star of the most recent Blackberry adverts is now mine to trial for a very long time.

It is a Blackberry 9900 Bold, and for someone who in the past just could not get on with a Blackberry it is pretty nice to be honest, and certainly good enough to prevent me from blowing a chunk of change getting the other fruit based handset….for now!!  Whatever drugs those at Apple are sneaking into the water, they appear to be working.

Going back to the start of the weekend, we spent Friday evening at the cinema.  I spent most of the film laughing at the girls jumping out of their seats at regular intervals.  You may have worked out that we were not watching The Muppets, but instead The Woman in Black.  I thought it was OK, and the girls enjoyed it but Louise was a little disappointed that it wasn’t more scary.  For a 12A I thought it punched above its weight scary wise, but Louise lives with me, so her scary thresholds have been set pretty high.  Seeing me strut around the bedroom in my thong style underwear pretty much makes any attempts at fear Daniel Radcliffe can throw at her meaningless.

woman in black

It did bring back memories of those Friday evenings in my childhood watching Hammer Horror films.  As expected Emily did not sleep at all on Friday night, which is pretty much what happens after every scary film she sees.  This makes you wonder why she enjoys watching them so much?

It may have been excitement rather than fear, as Saturday morning was all about One Direction.  I do find it odd that Emily is obsessed with them, as they fall way outside her usual compass of musical taste, but obsess about them she does.  By 8.45am, I was on the laptop with every known ticket website known to man open.  Louise and the girls had a phone number each and were ready with the redial button.

By 8.55 I was refreshing all the sites to find most had already ground to a halt under the enormous traffic levels, but one seemed to be not only up, but selling tickets even though it was still pre 9am.  As the girls got nowhere near getting through to anyone, I seemed to be moving effortlessly through the purchase process on Ticketline.  Thinking it too good to be true I kept quiet until the magic confirmation appeared, and I declared the tickets secured before 9am had struck.

I was briefly elevated to hero status.  It didn’t last of course.  So the girls just have thirteen months to wait now to go and see them.

A bit of dog walking, tidying, a haircut and a film or two aside that’s been events in the Williams house.  This is better than watching the news isn’t it??

Till the next time…..

All that (Honda) Jazz

tartan paint
Not even Amazon sell it

Being the new boy at work, the early parts of this week were spent having my head dunked in the toilets, being sent out to buy some tartan paint,and being told to go out for a long stand.  With it being all new, the working week has not been full of the usual soul-destroying dread that precedes every other day in recent times.

It has been quite interesting, trying to get to grips with new people, new things and not looking like a complete numpty all at the same time.  It is a very small company, so I have absolutely enjoyed the complete lack of politics that seemed to cripple the last place into incompetence and inaction, so I really hope that can remain so as we grow.

I am under no illusions that as I settle in, that feeling of impending doom may creep back into Sunday evenings, but for now I’d settle for a feeling of mild disappointment at the thought of work.  Imagine if you will, that feeling you get when your progress along the road is interrupted when a Honda Jazz pulls out in front of you and you know you won’t see any thing north of 24 miles per hour for the next few miles.  You get the picture?

In the meantime, I shall make the most of this feeling of newness, and hope that I live up to any expectations of me, or failing that quickly learn how to blag things well enough never to be rumbled.  I have based my entire “career” on that principle thus far, so I am hopeful I shall be able to continue.

There has been no progress on the “other opportunity” with a Mexican stand-off in full swing.  Ironically, the job does not involve Mexico at all.  I am not for budging on my position, and they are exploring other candidates who will work for the package they are offering.  Should they not be satisfactory then they may return to me.  Not that I want to be explored by anyone ay any time, but I think the chances of being so are now very slim indeed, and have consigned this to a burner so far back that I can’t even see it on the hob.

Now, I’m not one to moan!  When life gives me lemons I simply whinge that I wanted limes.  However, this week saw Louise’s car go into the garage for an MOT, Service and seemingly gold plating.  The level of remuneration given to the garage cannot be written here.  I tried, but my keyboard ran out of numbers half way through.  What was to be a one day stay turned into three, as it seems, they took it apart, rebuilt and/or replaced every single component with a new one, made of titanium and diamonds.  So the bill was painful plus labour and VAT.  Luckily, money is no object for us…oh no, wait, it is a very large object!

Still, on the bright side, things like having working brakes all four wheels should make Louise’s driving experience a lot smoother and safer.

Having all of our disposable income for the foreseeable future sat on our drive, the weekend hasn’t been full of wild and exciting activities.  It started well with Oli greeting us on Friday morning by depositing his insides all over our duvet.  That meant we got up nice and early in time for work, and helped keep the local dry cleaners in business.

Rebecca went to a party last night, which I have to be honest fills me with dread every time.  I of course want her to have lots of friends, an enjoyable social life, and to learn how to interact with people of all kinds.  On the other hand, I also want to lock her in her room until her early twenties until she meets a vicar and gets married.

As tends to happen, she emerged from her room after literally hours of prep looking nearer 24 than 14.  She was planning on sleeping out at a friend’s, but as often happens I got a text close to midnight asking if I was up and could I pick her up as she was tiered and wanted her own bed rather than her friend’s bedroom floor.  Luckily for her I was, and I have to admit I felt a whole lot better to have her home.  Especially as she regaled with me tales of the police arriving at the party, and everyone being sent home!!  You can imagine how delighted I was about that.

Today has seen the appearance of something not seen for a long time, and very welcome.  That is the sun.  Albeit still cold, the sun has shone today, reminding me that a time other than Winter exists, and making me look forward to the week’s worth of summer that we normally get in May.  Bring it on!  I took full advantage and Oli and I went out for a decent walk earlier, and it seems the mood has gripped the girls too, as Rebecca has also had him out, with Emily threatening to do the same very shortly.  The poor lad won’t have a clue what is going on.

Rebecca and Louise are now backing some scones, so it is a good job I walked off those 80 or so calories on my walk earlier!

honda jazzI’m off to watch some footy now.  Should my team not progress then I shall be feeling more upset than when a Honda Jazz pulls out in front of me.  It will be more like being cut up by a 51 reg Nissan Micra, that has a trilby and a box of tissues on the back shelf, whilst finding that every radio station on the dial is locked into some sort of Coldplay homage.

Till the next time….

A Brazillian With A Sword…Ouch!

So I am between jobs.  Albeit for 48 hours, but nevertheless, as intended I left the old place on Friday in a blaze of apathy, and am now having my loins girded for the enslaught of a new challenge tomorrow.

My working time at the old place fizzled out predictably, reflecting my appropriate levels of enthusiasm for the place.  The “leaving do” was a cosy lunch for three at the local Beefeater, where indeed I ate beef.  Luckily one of the three was my boss, and so as work etiquette dictates, those that earn the most pay the bill.  Being a Beefeater we did of course have the option of their set menu, that being –

Prawn Cocktail


Black Forest Gateaux

However, time was against us, so one course it was, as I had to get back to the office to do some more browsing of the internet to make sure it was all correct.  It wasn’t.

The evening saw me out on the tiles in Manchester for the first time in…well…ever.  This was not my leaving do I hasten to add.  I was driving as my attendance was a last minute decision.  Several colleagues from former employees were out and about, and I decided to tag along, mainly on the promise of a Rusholme curry.

Again, I was thwarted, as by the time we (one other colleague from present place was also going) had set off, the plans had changed, and we were going to eat in central Manchester at three times the price and half the enthusiasm.  Anyway, we started in some aircraft hangar like post modern bar in Piccaddilly (Kro Bar I think…do you get it??) and I willingly handed over the best part of a tenner for a pint of Fosters and a coke.  Colleagues arrived, we chatted, moved on to other bars, I drank more coke, and basically just counted down the minutes until food.  Slightly unfair that as it was good to catch up with folks I hadn’t seen in quite a while.

It turns out we were to be treated to a Brazillian.  I’m all for being neat and tidy but I fear this to be overkill!!

We also ate at a place called Bem Brasil.

bem brasil
With an s not a z

For those familiar with the Floridian equivalent of Texas De Brazil, you will be aware of the idea behind this restaurant.  You pay a set price that you expect to include a week’s accomodation, fill yourself up on cheap salad and soup and then watch blokes walk round with their swords out.

To be fair, it was very nice.  As I was eating with eight drunken blokes, it did turn into an episode of Man Vs Food very quickly, with the last to turn their coaster from green to red deemed the winner.  I counted myself the winner, despite not even bothering the scorers with my volume of food intake,  as shortly after getting to full, I threw (a lot of) some notes onto the table said my goodbyes, and then went to give a nearby car park my next mortgage payment.  There ended my leaving day!  The others I fear went on to who knows what and a large headache!

My one pint of Guinness and all that protein have stayed with me throughout the weekend, but I shall not elaborate on that here.

The other major event linked to my leaving is the lack of IT in the house.  Having handed back my state of the art (ahem) Dell laptop, and my iPhone, the house is bereft of decent devices with which to interact with the internet.  I am typing these words up in the converted loft, on a three year old PC, that has taken all of Saturday to catch up with the world, by way of installing updates for everything on it, and a few for things we don’t have.  We don’t use it a lot these days, and it shows.

We do have other laptops and computers shoved into various cupboards, but they are so old that the porn on them involves not a plumber coming to fix a fridge, but a blacksmith coming round to sort a horse out with his anvil.  I think I might copyright that film idea right there.

So until I turn up tomorrow we have had to endure the loft PC, and I am using Rebecca’s old phone, a Nokia E5.  I’m sure it is fit for purpose and all that, but let me tell you it is crap!!  It still has a good few months to run on the contract, but the chances of me sticking with it for all of those is pretty slim I must say.

For those who can remember as far back as last week, I had been cryptically referring to another job opportunity.  Well, it still exists, and negotiations have been ongoing over the weekend between my people (me) and their people (expensive recruitment agent).  Alas, as we stand we are some way apart on the valuation of me, and amazingly it is I who think I am worth more than they currently offer.  The reason for the oddness of this opportunity is it would involve me working overseas.

So, the compensation for doing so has to be huge, and right now, it isn’t huge enough, so it rests on the back burner and will remain so unless they come back with a number very close to the one I sent back in the last email, with more than a hint of disdain for their offer.  This all sounds very high powered business doesn’t it.  If I had hair, I’d slick it back, put some red braces on and shout agressively into a phone the size of a house brick.  Well, that Nokia E5 is pretty much as much use as one.

Until the opportunity is either finally buried or definitely on, I won’t bore you with any further details, which I’m sure is a blessing all round.

So what has been a very stressful time is hopefully coming to an end.  I just want to know what job I am doing, so I can commit to it, and deal with the relative ups and downs of whichever one it is.  I’m sure I’ll get this “closure” in the next day or so which will be a relief, not least for you dear reader, who is no doubt bored stupid hearing of it, on a blog where I keep saying I don’t do work stuff!!

So I shall leave you now, as Rebecca and I are home alone this evening.  Emily is out at a friends having pizza, sweets and DVDs, which is an odd meal in anyone’s book, and Louise is out at a friend from work’s wedding.  Yes Sunday is an odd day for a wedding, but the bride is up the duff and I suppose time is of the essence!  Either that or Louise is out at Dem Brasil with Dr Kildare from work, admiring the swords on show.

As an aside, for technical reasons that are beyond me, the spell check feature on this here WordPress blog thingy, does not work on this crappy PC, so I apologise now for any glaring errors you have just waded through.

Till the next time…..

Seven Tears, Two Trains and Too many tweets.

I fear that I may have been over active on the media of Twitter and Facebook, especially on Thursday.  I’m afraid this is what happens when you trap me in a steel tube for four hours with only the internet for amusement.  Due to these over frequent updates, you will no doubt have gathered that I was in the capital this week for a “meeting” regarding an “opportunity”.  The existence of those speech marks is probably irrelevant.

There is nothing secret about this opportunity, as I have as you also know already resigned and am preparing to start my new job next week.  However, I just don’t want to jinx anything by talking about it before it is anywhere close to being in the same vicinity as my bag, never mind in that bag.  I will say that the meeting seemed to go OK, and I have just heard that I am through to the next stage of the process next week, again in frickin London, so location aside, that’s pleasing.  This opportunity is quite different to the job I have accepted in many ways, and it would make a significant difference to us as a family in all sorts of ways.  First priority is to get the offer, then decide if it is the thing to do.

Regular readers will know that I am not a fan of these trips to the capital.  By some quirk of the ticket web site I had managed to secure First Class tickets for pence more than standard, so it was slightly more bearable.  Your ticket involves food and WiFi access.  Having done the bare minimum amount of work in the first few moments of the journey down, I was then in the unusual situation of having spare time and the internet.  Usually, whenever I’m on the internet I’m “doing something”, like work, writing stuff for here or the WDW Dads, or looking stuff up.

Having all that time, and all of the internet at my disposal I was a bit lost to be honest.  Discounting all those web sites that men have been known to visit when alone, as this was probably not suitable for the carriage, I found my way to Youtube.  Alas, the internet access was pants, and I spent about two hours buffering.  Now, as I said, I avoided those web sites that usually involve any sort of “buffering”, and doing that for two hours would improbable and impressive in equal measure, so I do mean that the videos were taking an age to load and then freezing half way through.  Very frustrating, as I could easily have busied myself for hours looking at all the sad 80’s bands that I used to love.

You’d be amazed at how many Goombay Dance Band videos you can find!  There simply isn’t enough fire eating in pop these days.

If you do watch that video clip, what a superb week that was in the charts.  So many iconic 80’s songs in the Top Ten in one week.  Most were crap of course, but still iconic.  Haircut One Hundred, The Associates, Tight Fit, ABC…..all songs that are still known and played today.  All topped off of course by the permed fire eating power house that led the Dancers of Goombay.

I shall leave you to ponder which of those songs and artists I actually do like, and which I offer in jest!

In other more important news, Louise’s Mum is on the mend.  She is something close to her old self now, but we are not kidding ourselves that she is out of the woods, so we continue to keep a very close eye on her.  This typically takes the form of Louise spending long periods of time on the phone with her, being told the same tale seventeen times, and then fighting the urge to stick a sharp object in her own eye afterwards.

The week ended with the annual disabling of the entire country by a few flakes of snow.  As well as earning every weather person and reporter invaluable overtime as they stand outside some random location, delivering tales of chaos and calamity, it also introduced Oli to the white stuff for the first time.  He is obsessed!!  He’s spent nearly every waking minute in the back garden, charging around, rolling in it and shoving his nose into it.

Oli snow nose
He nose it's snowing

There are hours of endless fun available now by watching him charge around, slipping and sliding his way from one pile of snow to another, a bit like Frankie Cocozza on a night out I suppose.

So I shall leave you to dig yourselves out of the snow, should you have it, as we are going out tonight.  Due to the complete absence of cash since all this job nonsense started back in November we haven’t been out in ages.  So the plan, Louise tells me, is to go and have some tea somewhere and then the cinema.  We did have a minor disagreement when she came out with the statement “Cos then we won’t need sweets for the cinema”.  I countered with the only phrase that was apt in the face of such lunacy, “Are you out of your mind?”.

I shall be a picking and a mixing tonight.

Till the next time….