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Sunday, April 24th, 2011
12:33 pm - Welcome Arthur
Two weeks from walk to posting again - this is becoming a bad habit. Though in this case my reason for neglecting to upload was that on the way home I got a phone call about a sofabed I was saving up for which had been found half price about 120 miles away. In sorting out payment and getting the sofabed here and the old sofa expunged everything else went out of my head for a day or two. Anyway, yay new sofabed! I've named it Arthur (in honour of very cute Doctor Who actor Arthur Darvill) and got it some nice cushions so it'll feel loved in spite of spending most of its time with my bum parked on it.

Walk 5 - Religion and Retailing in Birmingham: a walk from the Bull Ring to St. Chad's

The weather was utterly glorious and I had cash in hand too, so sue me for choosing a path that would bring me back right into the heart of the shops :-) This walk started well but having passed the Children's Hospital it went a bit grim to be honest. Slightly lost my way around the bit heading down to St. Chad's and wasn't that impressed by the recommended route to get back up to Snow Hill under Big Grey Scary Underpass. I must be getting weak-minded in my old age, never had this problem striding around London at night! Still don't have the confidence in Birmingham that I have in London, in fact I'm thinking of taking a week out to revisit my old haunts later this year.

Religion and Retailing Flickr

When I got home, my trusty pedometer said I’d done this many steps: 11163

NB - can't leave this post without giving my own cheesey mention to the hellishly sad passing this week of Elisabeth Sladen, lovely Sarah Jane Smith as millions knew her. The web has been vibrating with more posts and tributes from fans of all ages than I can remember seeing for anyone - some of the posts from children have been heartbreaking. I'm glad Ms Sladen made her decision not to say anything of her illness though - bravery and dignity to the fore, she focused on doing as much as she could to entertain her audience as long as she could, and that's a wonderful thing. Absolutely no apologies for quoting Garth Brooks here - 'I'm glad I didn't know the way it all would end, the way it all would go; Our lives are better left to chance - I could've missed the pain, but I'd have had to miss the dance.' RIP Mistress...

current mood: lazy

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Sunday, April 3rd, 2011
1:52 pm - What I did 2 weeks ago...
...and have no good reason to have delayed so long uploading other than I forgot to put my pictures onto Flickr. And another chest infection (that's 2 this year).

Walk 6 - Industry and Transport: a Walk along Birmingham's Canals

This was one of the most interesting rambles I've done, simply because I don't get to the canals very often, and this went well off the beaten track to places I didn't even know existed in the city in which I was born. After a nice sit down in Starbucks it was a really pleasant wander on a beautiful day. Biggest surprise - the peace garden; I hadn't even known there had been a church in the vicinity, much less that it had been turned into an oasis in the city centre.

Canals Flickr

When I got home, my trusty pedometer said I’d done this many steps: 13891

current mood: mellow

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Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011
10:41 pm
Am coughing again - the cold I had a couple of weeks back has returned on the throat and it's worryingly reminiscent of the chest infection I got just over a year ago. Presently mainlining Covonia, antiseptic/ anaesthetic lozenges, cold water and sweet drinks which are helping to keep it bearable. Not sore so much as just hacking up stuff that looks like a rerun of 'The Green Death'.

Speaking of which, flicking through the BBC News website this morning in an idle moment I caught the front page headline of the passing of Nicholas Courtney. The early Pertwee era with UNIT plastered over every story is my favourite of the classic series and the Brigadier was the friendly soldier uncle, still love him to bits. Met the man himself a couple of times, real gentleman, and one of the characters it had never really occurred to me would disappear. If such things as angels exist (not the weeping variety), he's a Chap With Wings. I know that sounds cheesey but I don't care.

current mood: nostalgic

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Sunday, January 16th, 2011
9:18 pm - Trusty pedometer rides again!!

Although I still walk regularly, it’s been a while since I did a ‘programmed’ walk - a route someone else put together. In truth it’s been tricky trying to get routes that are manageable for Sundays (the one day I’m pretty much guaranteed to have to myself each week), and which I can get to on public transport. In getting back into the exploring habit I’ve been scouring travel books and even joined the Ramblers, though only to get the magazine and free book, the pictures of the local Rambler groups were frankly a bit scary. But anyway - now have a more local walks guide in hand:

Wilks, John. Walks through history: Birmingham. Derby: Breedon Books Publishing, 2008. ISBN 978-1-85983-611-8

And this morning I headed off to do the first, and least appetising, route in the book...

Walk 1 - Digbeth: the early beginnings of modern Birmingham

Now. There are few places I’ve been where I don’t feel comfortable on my own (and bearing in mind I’ve lived and worked in a few pretty rough bits of London including discovering I was literally around the corner from an IRA bomb depository just as I was about to move to the other side of the City. I don’t like Digbeth and very rarely venture far down that way unaccompanied - I can skip happily around the Sing Fat Chinese supermarket gathering armfuls of ramen noodles but that’s about my limit. So it wasn’t with the happiest of hearts that I set off down Digbeth with new Canon Ixus in my pocket and guidebook in my bag. Not wanting to advertise my tourist status I memorised as much of the route as possible in one go so I only had to drag the map out a few times. It was a good move since I found myself incongruous amongst a crowd of blokes heading for the pub before the football, and it was about halfway round and heading back towards the city before I managed to shake myself free of the crowd.

Very strange how one can find oneself isolated in a back street yet in full sight of the city centre. Once I’d turned off Fazeley Street onto Andover Street, I didn’t see another soul until I was almost at Millennium Point.

Interesting fact - my iMac is now so old even Flickr no longer wants to play and upload my images to LiveJournal. So rather than put some lovely photos in here I’m having to resort to putting the relevant images in a set page so the things that caught my eye can at least be seen by someone else’s should they feel like looking.

Digbeth Flickr

When I got home, my trusty pedometer said I’d done this many steps: 10411

current mood: A bit stiff to be honest

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Saturday, January 8th, 2011
10:23 pm - It's been a while (slight understatement)
Saw The King's Speech today - dashed to the cinema after work and the place was packed with people who were probably all old enough to have heard the real thing at the time it was originally broadcast. It's a thing of beauty and one of those movies that will run and run on BBC 4 until we're all screaming for release.

One of my team at work has a sore ear and a rash. The ear is pretty swollen and looks like she went five rounds with Mike Tyson - we were all very sympathetic when she had to go and get lots of special creams to try and reduce the swelling. The rash is an allergic reaction, very very painful, and again we were most sympathetic. Until the inevitable question.

'What are you allergic to that causes that?'

She sighed and said, 'Hot tubs.'

Apparently it's the chemicals her Dad puts in the one at his house - but you could sense the sympathy draining out of the room. Oh how she must suffer - and yes, we did ask why, if she's allergic, she keeps getting in the damn thing. But it's a hot tub. Who wouldn't?

Postscript to the conversation was a heartfelt 'Oh why can't I be allergic to something people wouldn't make fun of - like peanuts, or asbestos?'

About 100% of the population are probably already allergic to asbestos - or at least intolerant given the horrendous outcome of even a small amount of exposure. Whilst asbestos isn't funny, I just love that she couldn't think of any other allergy that might get her a bit of an 'awwww' to go with her 'owwww'.

current mood: energetic

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Saturday, November 28th, 2009
9:47 pm - So things have been a bit mad as of late...
And where in heck have I been exactly? Not far really. Life in general is split between work, couch (which covers basically TV, writing a little each night, finding something to eat) and sleep - seriously. With a restructure and a refurb going on at the same time I seem to be using half my work hours travelling between meetings and the other half catching up with all the things I'm missing whilst I'm travelling between meetings. Life in the bus lane. I love it - the worry is the refurb finishes in about 2 months and the restructure a couple of months after that. What am I going to do with myself when it's all done?

All caught up with me this week though, I must have been overdoing it. About 3 weeks ago I had a cold - not a major thing, I got away with 1 day off work and some sniffing on the sofa (not literally on the sofa, I did have some tissues to hand, wasn't blowing my nose on my pants or anything). Was left with a slight cough, nothing to worry about, until about 10 days ago when I woke up in the middle of the night thinking someone had set fire to my throat. 3 days of a painful throat later, I took 1 day off to rest and then went back to work on Tuesday. At lunchtime on Tuesday I was brought back home by a colleague spent the morning telling me how bad he thought I looked (gee thanks), and despite several attempts I haven't been back since.

On Wednesday I (a) turned 42 and (b) spent most of the early hours in the bathroom coughin' up greenies. It wasn't until Friday when things actually got worse that I capitulated to the nagging of my family and went to the doctor's. What was most embarrassing to realise was that, having needed a lift to the surgery from my mother so I could make the only appointment they had, I then found myself in with a doctor I'd never met being nagged by both him and my mother for not having looked after myself properly. I left with a prescription for multiple meds, and earrache which has persisted through every family member doing the old 'I told you so's. Grr cough.

So for my birthday I got a halogen oven, some cash and a chest infection. Still, off to Devon next weekend if I can shake some of this, for the first part of Christmas celebrations.

As I haven't updated for quite a while, here's a few extracts from the potted recent history of me:

- Made it to London for a day to meet with a couple of ex-colleagues - the weather was glorious so we spent much of the time wandering slowly down the South Bank and taking in the sights. Walked everywhere, didn't get on a tube until heading back from Tower Bridge, grand total of about 28500 steps on my super-accurate and quite expensive pedometer. Which at least helped to get rid of the calories from the several lattes and nice food we consumed! Had to bite my lip when Frank Skinner walked past us on a corner of Leicester Square, easily the most recognisable 'face' I've seen in public for years. Wanted to say something but didn't think he'd appreciate having attention drawn to him, he was on his way to something far more important than a trio of librarians I imagine.

- We're onto buying lots of furniture in the refurb now, so I'm having fun looking at colour swatches to find what colours clash most horribly and saying 'that one'll do'.

- The mp3 player in my DAB/mp3 has died - I tried reformatting it but now it won't let me save anything to it so now only the radio works. Which is OK, I bought it for the DAB in the first place but it's just annoying not to have the extra function. I've promised myself a giant iPod when I upgrade my iMac in the new year, but until then I'm going to have to get a cheap mp3 to keep me going.

- Off to Devon this week as mentioned previously, in another couple of weeks Maria is coming down from Edinburgh to discover the delights of Birmingham and Worcester. It'll be the weekend before Christmas so I aim to get her completely wassailed and to find ourselves carol singing in the fountain in Chamberlain Square at 3 in the morning.

- My niece managed to run up her family's phone bill by (cough) hundred quid through dialling mobile numbers every time she claimed to be phoning her friends on landlines. We considered selling her into slavery as my sister's family live on a low income and there was no way they could afford to cover this additional amount. So in order to ensure they can continue to have a phone line, guess who's ended up paying it off for them? That's no sweeties for me for a couple of months either. Of course I reminded my sister - after she'd spend a happy evening screaming at her teenage angel - of her own misspent youth when she regularly picked the lock Dad had placed on our old dial phone to stop her spending hours a day on the phone...

- And I've got to buy a new bed. Spending so much time every night waking up to cough and then lying staring at the ceiling has made me very aware I've had my Sealy divan for over 10 years. It's also granted me lots of time to write a list of lots of other things I want to buy - looks as though 2010 is going to be an expensive year!

current mood: sick

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Sunday, July 26th, 2009
7:52 pm - Goodness
It's been a busy few weeks - refurb at work is under way so I've been running round sorting out changes to building programmes and how these link in with electrical and IT work. It's a lot of fun but leaves me tired, so probably not the best week to have been out late two weeknights in a row for Harry Potter (Tues) and a meal out with a new colleague (Wed)! At home I'm generally either watching one of my Who new series boxsets (up to about haflway through Series 4 now), writing (friended one of my favourite fantasy writers today - Barbara Hambly - having not realised before that she had an LJ - odd thing is I've been rereading bits of the Windrose Chronicles recently, despite my concerns that age is turning me into Seldes Katne rather than the character I'd most like to be, and apparently there's the possibility of a new Antryg Windrose short story online at some point - just a possibility is very exciting, it's only been about 9,000 years since the last book), and generally recovering from the day.

Tomorrow we re-open after two closed weeks, with more closures to come and promote - I confess to being slightly concerned at the knowledge that no matter how hard we've worked to get the condensed library looking clean, ordered and lovely, lots of people will not be happy at having to go upstairs to access everything. I've put together a one-way traffic system for the lift to try and reduce bottlenecking, and the builders have kindly whitewashed interior glass panels to eliminate rubbernecking. It's for less than a month before we move everything back downstairs but will people be happy to bear with us in the meantime?

Swine flu finally struck us this week too - one of my team went off on Tuesday and had the lurgy confirmed on Thursday after the GP wouldn't let them into the surgery. We're more affected by needing to send staffing to other libraries to cover for their illnesses but there's a hope that we won't be hit too hard by this.

current mood: mellow

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Monday, July 6th, 2009
10:37 pm - View from the plinth
So today Gormley's Fourth Plinth project gets underway in Trafalgar Square - watching the first people to get up there, I have to admit I feel envy... And yet I was a contender, for a short time. How come? Because I got selected in the draw for places in August, much to my amazement - the slot being an early morning one on a Sunday (you don't get a choice with when you get to stand up there). I wanted to be up there, I was thrilled I got a slot - and it happened to be one of the few days I couldn't get there.

I don't know how many other people are in this position - having won a place but having to turn it down. Am still quite cross about it. Arse. Arse arse arse arse arse. It doesn't mean I won't get another chance, I'm still in the draw for September and October and my feeling is, if I'm meant to be up there, I'll be up there. A mate has promised to put me up in the city so I can get up when the time comes, if, indeed, it comes again.

What would I plan to do up there for an hour? Not sure. I might want to take some pics. I might take a chair and sit and write for an hour. Or take my mp3 player up with me and just listen to a mix of all the chunes I love from the time when London belonged to me and I to London. Maybe all three...

Meanwhile, work is mental so time at home for anything is limited, I'm focusing on relaxing and keeping the brain in gear. Yahoo Messenger has upgraded and won't let me in unless I go through the website (arse again). And I've got so many photos to upload from my recent holiday, with neither time nor inclination to go through them. Ah me. And arse.

current mood: lethargic

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Sunday, May 31st, 2009
9:28 pm
I have been very mobile again today, and have the blisters to prove it. Had a lot to do this morning so I was out and about in the lovely sunshine which to be honest gets on my tits after several unremitting hours. And that's with the iced latte and cold water I had on the way.

Made it home by 2 with less hair than I had this morning, bearing several tons of fruit (OK, fruit prepared, sliced up and prepackaged by someone else because I'm too bone idle to handle a mango by myself) - just in time for this to turn up as I was finishing putting my stuff away - it was all very exciting:

Air Ambulance on my doorstep!

Their arrival cleared the field - then out came all the neighours. I just got this one shot from the rear, what I wish I'd got was the crowd all pointing cameras to film the helicopter when it took off - there were a lot more than you see here!

There's a problem with the time of year - as we move into summer I'm finding it harder and harder to convince my brain when it's an appropriate bedtime, which means most evenings I'm around watching stuff, reading or writing until 11 or later, then awake again before 5 raring to go. Which in turn means by 9am I'm raring to go back to bed. Maybe I should take long walks of an evening but my idea of an evening walk is to the local supermarket to look lovingly on the Haagen-Dazs and reassure the little ones Mummy will be back for them another day.

current mood: hot

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Wednesday, May 27th, 2009
9:05 pm
Had a luuuurvely weekend - Nicky and Barry came up from Devon and we went out to play for 2 days.

Though I have to say, there was a time when 'going out to play' meant bouncing around drinking a lot, seeing several films in a row, doing *very* naughty things in large public galleries (take *that* Rachel Whiteread) and eating more food than can be considered humanly possible in one sitting in super Chinese, Thai and pizza eateries around London. These days it's a long but gentle stroll around lots and lots of shops with a sit-down for coffee roughly once every 50 steps. We talked about the weather, and trees (hard not to, three quarters of the population of Worcestershire is wooden), and spent two evenings in a row sharing a bottle of lager in front of a nice DVD on the telly.

Saturday was Worcester - we walked part-way into town and lunched at a little deli in the old side of the city, where I parted with a silly amount of cash for some wonderful white tea - it looks like wee but tastes like wheee. On Sunday we went into Birmingham, a city neither Barry nor Nicky had ever visited before. And we decided to walk down to Digbeth to see where the Custard Factory is.

Custard Factory, Birmingham
It was closed.

Nice picture though - the weather being so beautiful I could have pointed my camera at a turd and it would have looked smashing. There being almost no people around, there was nothing between me and this gorgeous creature.

So there was nothing to do but head back to the Bull Ring and shop shop shop shop shop etc. Nicky spent about three times as much money as she was planning to, Barry managed to dig two shirts of a slightly different pattern to the 60-odd he already owns out of TK Maxx and I got a pretty thing to put my travel pass in. We ate at a noodle bar in the Chinese Quarter, mmm chicken with honey and chilli. I may possibly have bought some sweets too - they aren't here any more so I can't really be sure.

Catching the train back, we realised we were in the presence of greatness on the opposite platform:
Thunderbirds Are Go!

Does this mean Birmingham New St is the real life secret hideout for the Tracy family? Thunderbirds Are Go - when the signalman says it's time.

current mood: happy

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Monday, May 4th, 2009
8:34 pm
Thought I'd try this out as an excuse to get myself down to London for a short trip:

one and other
The Fourth Plinth - Take Your Place!

It has, to be honest, been a rather dull bank holiday weekend. Wanted to go out but the weather wasn't really up to it so instead it's been DVDs and an attempt to drink all the alcohol in the flat, which frankly wasn't much.

current mood: bored

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Sunday, April 26th, 2009
7:45 pm
Oh, and it occurs to me, whilst spending the last hour or so going over recollections of this and that, I've hardly been out in the last few weeks - which is very unlike me. Most of my free weekends are spent doing the obligatory family thang on Saturdays and parking butt on the sofa on Sundays with tapes and DVDs, CDs, books. Yea verily, even when the weather is good. I think it's because I've been writing a lot more again - A4 notebook almost permanently by my side at the moment. The last draft from some time ago has now been stripped back and transferred to electronic copy, and most days I find myself scribbling something new in front of some intelligent TV. Hell's Kitchen probably. Since I moved offices again at work (I'm now back in the Queen's Chamber which is bright and airy at the front of the building, and private which is nice), I've got a small framed photo of Marco Pierre White from about 10 years ago in a place only I can see from my desk :-)

And about that contact I made with someone a few weeks back - I didn't hear back, but it's OK. I get the feeling I'll get something back eventually on that one. Curiosity makes me do silly things sometimes and I have no shame! As I suspect my CD and DVD collection will prove.

current mood: working

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6:15 pm
Heard on the late news last night about the passing of Bea Arthur. I remember watching The Golden Girls on Channel 4 whilst I was at Uni and she was always the outstanding character, mainly, I suppose, because she was such an unusual and arresting woman. I just thought she'd be this major Hollywood ego though - which meant it was even more of a surprise to meet her and find her engaging, funny and welcoming to everyone who wanted a brief word or an autograph.

I was helping out at Shop Assistance, a Terrance Higgins Trust event in Covent Garden in 1992 (Septemberish if I remember rightly) - in between being Felicity Kendall's minder and hanging out in the rest area at the Theatre Museum (my main memory of which is making a complete tit of myself in front of David Thewlis who'd turned up in his costume from Naked which must have been filming around that time - he was very nice to me and I was a complete mess in fangirl mode), I got to go around and see lots of famous people. Bea Arthur was the one I most wanted to see because my Mum loved The Golden Girls - I got her autograph, we had a little chat and I went back to the Theatre Museum, to be told when we got back that someone needed to go and escort her back so she didn't get mobbed. My abiding memory of her is of a group of us standing around in the foyer debating who would go and pick her up - whilst we were doing so she strolled in by herself having made her way back across the piazza completely undisturbed and wondering what all our fuss was about. I loved her. Wherever she is now, I hope it's whatever she would want it to be.

Have just remembered my other favourite memory from the day - Todd Carty had to climb out the back window of a shop because he wouldn't have made it through the crowds at the front alive.

current mood: sad

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Saturday, April 18th, 2009
9:13 pm
Hello - is that the Society for Suspension of Disbelief?

I've just been made to sit through Dragonball Evolution. I think it would be the toughest challenge you've ever faced.

I will admit this was a funny film, but for all the wrong reasons. File under 'so cheesy I can't watch it without crackers'.

current mood: indescribable

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Saturday, March 28th, 2009
9:35 am
So... Yesterday's planned shenanigans were postponed owing to lurgy (not mine), but as it turned out this was a good thing since I ended up spending the day with family members sorting out how to deal with the problems I mentioned previously. All the paperwork had arrived from the employer, and basically there were some serious porkies in there. However, it's conveniently a case of one's word against another's and we could see what the likely result was going to be. The real worry wasn't losing the job (we'd all agreed none of us would go back to a job where this had happened) but having a reference that wouldn't help in getting further employment.

Thus a trip to the JobCentre to check advice with them re: what to do in the event of the job being terminated one way or another (and I have to say the chap we spoke with deserves an award for customer service, I'd employ him in a flash). Then back to mine for a couple of hours on the phone to ACAS, the employer's HR and the JobCentre again to set up an appointment - job has been resigned with immediate effect, HR will provide reference which will be fine, and meeting set up with JobCentre. Smiles all round instead of stressy weekend - and it transpires that having done budget calculations this week expecting to be unemployed with no prospects relative can actually afford to take some time off and then work part-time, which was a plan before but one they never had time to carry out. So effectively the boss who was trying to screw them has done them a big favour!

After all this we were too knackered to do anything much so went out for lunch and some light shopping before I got back home, more shopping on the Internet - I'm suddenly in a CD buying phase despite not having bought any for months and often not playing the ones I've bought for months after I've bought them - which is a bit of a bummer if they turn out to have anything wrong with them. Then... went food shopping and came back with lots of cleaning/ toiletry stuff but very little food apart from stuff for a casserole for my Dad (and several bottles of fruit cider which I'm sure must count towards my 5 a day). Casserole stuff went in the slow cooker overnight and I woke up to the whole flat smelling of dinner. Very nice dinner it has to be said but not quite what one wants at 7:30am. Now just lounging around with some nice healthy soya milk - ok, chocolate soya milk - trying to decide what to have for breakfast as the choice seems to be cider or malt loaf.

What the heck :-)

current mood: accomplished

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Monday, March 23rd, 2009
9:58 pm - Excuse me whilst I bang my head against this wall for a bit
A member of my family will, quite probably, be fired from their job by the end of this week. The employer in question has a list of misdemeanours which includes one that could potentially be enough on its own for the action to become final. The rest are either unjustified (not turning up for work on a day additional to their normal work pattern and about which they had not been informed they were expected to turn up, just asked about the possibility with the query not being followed up), or downright silly. I've directed them to the CAB and stuffed my hand in my mouth to prevent myself screaming because it's just such a ridiculous situation and they, frankly, are not blameless and should definitely have known better. If they were working for my employer this would be a warning, but they're not.


Other than this it's just a matter of waiting for the probably inevitable.

current mood: annoyed

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Friday, March 20th, 2009
9:30 pm
One of the really astonishingly annoying aspects of working for my current employer is the length of time it takes to achieve clearances for new staff to start work - the absolute minimum for everything including CRB has been three weeks, but more than one of my team had to wait three months to get the requisites. So now I'm onto HR yet again with a little gentle persuasion so we can get the rest of our new bunch on board - highly frustrating.

Apart from that though, it's been a pretty decent week, all told. I had a couple of days off in the middle, one of which was largely spent assisting my (just) three-year-old nephew in expanding his vocabulary (no rude words - not from me anyway), the other meeting up with my ex-boss for civilised tea and more tea and gossip before getting home to greet the electrician come to fit the permanent shower switch to replace the temporary one which replaced the manky fishy one that was trying to do away with me all those months ago. Have sorted a new lease on the flat too, it's not a palace but it's got lots of space and apart from being on the ground floor so I can't do stuff with the curtains open and lights on at night without making a complete exhibition of myself it'll do me for now. Drafted the local action plan for my library (yay) and have pushed it at my team for comments with the proviso that they don't add another page to it, otherwise I'll either have to kill them or withhold chocolate (the latter would frankly cause far more distress).

Working again tomorrow so trying to keep to an early bedtime tonight - not before I've uploaded the latest update for my MP3 player though. The new Annie Lennox retrospective has got my 80s juices flowing so it's going to be mainly Eurythmics for the next month it seems. As you can tell by what I'm listening to on iTunes ce soir.

current mood: peaceful

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Sunday, March 8th, 2009
9:34 pm
Nearly fit again - despite coughing most of today and having the added bonus of having dropped a broken drawer on my left big toe this morning (a toe which has twice before lost its nail due to having things dropped on it). Toenail is now a bit blue so I imagine will be very attractive again for the next few months. Took advantage of the blue skies to skip into Worcester and skipped back smartish when it started to rain heavily.

Made it into work yesterday and had a surprisingly good day, it's amazing what marching around a large public building ranting at the customers can achieve. Interesting encounter with a young lad who had somehow decided that the correct response on discovering someone was in our public toilet was to (a) attempt to kick down the door before (b) getting out a key and picking the lock by using the key as a screwdriver. Luckily the 2 people inside were doing their hair and not actually on the loo (which would have been tricky as there's only 1 loo in there). He had tried to persuade them that this was actually his loo - he was 14 and it was frankly weird behaviour. What was quite disturbing was he couldn't see what he had done wrong and was very upset at being told to leave and informed we'd get the police in if he tried it again, his only concern was that he wasn't going to be allowed to use the computers for a few days because someone had told us what he'd done.

Speaking of public loos:

Society today?
I saw this in the Ladies' loos at Snow Hill Station in Birmingham a week or so back - having never seen one in all my years in London! I was quite nonplussed - especially since everyone else in the loos at that time was over 80 and probably wouldn't have been mainlining anything stronger than Sanatogen.

current mood: uncomfortable

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Friday, March 6th, 2009
9:09 pm - Pay rise
I forgot to mention (must have been the excitement), we got word this week of the result of the ACAS arbitration over public sector pay rises - interesting to see how many people have opted to interpret the 2.75% as being additional to what was awarded towards the end of last year, when it's actually a total of 2.75% including the 2.45% last year and an additional 0.3% now. Which won't actually cover the 2 days' salary lost by those who went out on strike - and you can bet some cuts will be made somewhere to cover the extra costs.

It's not a victory for anyone. If you work in the public sector (as I do) it's not much of a rise, especially if you're at the top of your pay scale. Outside the public sector lots of people view this kind of rise as unfair because they don't get cost of living (especially those in self employment). Others get whackingly huge rises each year plus bonuses.

I appreciate fully that the general view of the public sector is of bean counters in offices working 9-5 Mon-Fri with every weekend off. A lot of the office public sector folk I know work very long hours trying to do things that make other people's lives more bearable. My own team are mostly overqualified and all well experienced, work long hours doing often very physical tasks, are involved in developmental and strategic planning, consultation, in contact most of every day with the public and if they don't know the answer to an obscure question they do need to have a good idea of where to go to try and find the answer. Our colleagues may be care home workers, trainers, countryside officers. We're not all bean counters by any means.

See - I can't bore people vocally at the moment so I have to resort to LJ for my brainless ranting...


current mood: bored

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8:49 pm - Not alright, still...
After 4 days this is getting annoying. I made it into work yesterday but didn't last out the day - there's something about virtually everyone one encounters saying 'ooh, you don't look well' that has a habit of reversing any improvements in health one may have been feeling. On top of which sleep is a no-no most nights because of the continuous cough cough cough hack which I'm convinced is waking all the neighbours at regular intervals. Mind you, after waking at 4.30 this morning for the latest ectoplasm generation exercise I reached for the heavy painkillers with caffeine, thinking I'd have no chance of more sleep but they might at least soothe things a bit, swallowed the meds and woke up 3 hours later feeling no twinge whatsoever.

Until I got out of bed anyway, when the coughing started up again. Bet if I try that again tonight it won't work.

Ah, work. I'm making another assault on managing a full day tomorrow - whatever happens I've got the following day off so I shall be brave. And drink about 93 lattes and lots of proper honey and lemon since they do make the throat feel a little better. Theoretically Saturday night is cinema night but I doubt I shall be gracing the pictures this week - not unless I want people throwing things at me for choking over the key bits of dialogue anyway.

current mood: cough cough cough hack cough wheeze

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