Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Kevin and the animals

Kevin time again.

We rendez-voused this time chez the Wine Writer's abode in leafy Oxfordshire, a beautiful Sunday's outing to the countryside, complete with dogs, chickens, goats, sheep... and children.

Eight of them.

There were only six Kevinettes.

We were outnumbered.

This had not been the original plan.

Undeterred, we offloaded the minors on to WW's husband, the Resourceful Dentist, who nonchalantly proceeded to throw another batch of sausages under the grill to feed them all before taking them off on a very long walk with the dogs in tow.

Excellent stuff. We could proceed with what we do best: eating, drinking, and talking shop. And books, of course.


When it came to pudding there was a slight mishap, a Goldilocks moment.
Someone had got there before us!

something is ever-so-slightly lopsided here

Belfast Blonde thought it was merely an innovative designer cake tin at fault.
The Doctor of Psychology presumed otherwise.
Our Botanical Artist declared it "an interesting illustration" of a pear tart.
Tough Mudda declared she was too full to eat any more, thus immediately arousing suspicions.
LCM laughed - mainly because she, too, was overfed by this point and could hardly speak, let alone comment.

Our gracious host conceded that no, 'twas none of the above.
One of the dogs had decided to sample the baked wares... and the damage had been "cut off".

Cut off the cake, that is, not the dog.

Either way, it was delicious.

Three days on and we are all still fasting.

Who needs a diet when you have Kevin for company? Even the chooks were amused, as the Botanical Artist's 'Inktober' sketch illustrates.

Brownie the hen

Cooking, drawing, reading, eating, drinking. We're a talented bunch.
Even if we do divert somewhat from being a 'typical' book club.


Thursday, 1 October 2015

Oh what's occurrin' boyo?

Aside from new work ventures, partnerships, public speaking events, mentoring programmes, everything kicking off again now the school year has started, rugby training and festivals and refereeing underway, and trying to keep track of the offspring and OH's whereabouts, well nothing much.

Unless you count the Rugby World Cup, which, bar playing on loyalties in this Australian/Italian/Welsh household - with strong Kiwi/Irish/Scottish/English heritage to boot - has seen the LCM troops screaming the neighbourhood down (last Saturday) and ensuring that everyone joins in the national anthems.

Especially this one, which, regardless of which country you hail from, is certainly the most beautiful and by far the most moving, ever:

Blame OH. It's all his fault, of course (he's the Welsh contingent, in case it still had not dawned on you).

Right. Back to work now until the next kick-off.
As you were.


Tuesday, 15 September 2015


Undoubtedly the best way to celebrate twenty-five years (TWENTY-FIVE YEARS *shakes head in disbelief*) as a Londoner:

- don nun outfit (courtesy @peabee72 circa 2010, I've been waiting that long for the right occasion to wear it)
- enlist other Von Trapp family devotees (Liesl and Gretl who obediently stayed by my side; Captain Georg and Sister Bertha who ran off into the distance, tsk)
- join forces with some two and a half thousand other half marathoners
- majority of whom are also in fancy dress
- complete course - up hill and down vale - in ridiculously long time
- because there was lots of wine to taste
- at every feed station
- and dancing
- and laughing
- and singing
- including karaoke on demand (Elvis, Spice Girls, Abba... we ROCKED, I tell you)
- finish in one piece albeit with sore feet

that'd be two of the Von Trapp children
disappearing in the distance,
escaping Mother Superior

And just in case you doubted any of the above, here's a taster of what was going on en route:


So. Happy anniversary to me. 
Who would have thought it?
I only came for a couple of years...


Monday, 7 September 2015

What I have learnt since my return

  1. I can say "No." It won't kill me. Or the person asking, for that matter
  2. I can chase up contacts without the "I'm on holiday, call me back in September," excuse being levelled at me
  3. I can still hit the < delete > button with relish, and quite vigorously - and frequently - too
  4. If someone annoys me on Facebook, I can happily hide their posts
  5. If someone stalks me on Facebook, I can change what they can see of mine, ie virtually nothing
  6. Some things never change: people, perspectives, perceptions
  7. Some things do change: people, perspectives, perceptions
  8. Almost nothing surprises me anymore, ref points 4-7 above
  9. Doing absolutely bugger all exercise for three weeks takes willpower 
  10. Knowing that you have a half marathon approaching and are totally ill-prepared is not worth fretting about
  11. Because there will be wine
  12. And laughter
  13. And fancy dress
  14. And who said we would be running it anyway? Tsk.

yes, our theme - I will wearing a nun's habit


Sunday, 23 August 2015

Cut and paste (and a photo)

It is holiday time.
Loads of things going on, not all of them uplifting, but we are away nonetheless.
In a place I know well and have loved for many years.
Small mercies during trying times.

And because whilst on leave I am also doing some writing and editing work (yes, really) for which I will be paid (yes, really, again), I am blatantly 'copying with pride' something an old family friend sent me last week, because it made me laugh, and laughter is the best medicine. Always.

  1. Innovative

  2. Preliminary

  3. Proliferation

  4. Cinnamon

  5. Indubitably

  1. Specificity

  2. Anti-constitutionalistically

  3. Passive-aggressive disorder

  4. Transubstantiate

  1. No thanks, I’m married.
  2. Nope, no more booze for me!

  3. Sorry, but you’re not really my type
  4. No thanks, I’m not hungry
  5. I’m not interested in fighting you
  6. Thank you, but I won’t make any attempt to dance. I have no coordination and would hate to look like a real fool!
  7. Oh no, I must be going home now as I have to work in the morning

In case that fails to put a smile on your face, here's a nice photo, which always puts a smile on mine.
Unless I am the one kite-surfing. And face-planting.
In which case I am grinning like a fool.


Friday, 14 August 2015

Kevin's (lack of) taste

Now the Kevinettes are renown for their love of food and drink. Not for nothing are we called 'the troughers' by our various partners who have put up with Kevin's antics over the many years since the bookclub first started (fifteen and counting, in case you were unaware).

This Monday it was no exception, although we were more excited than children in a sweet shop - or readers in a book shop, for that matter - as we had a NEW VENUE to explore.

Yes, the Botanical Artist and family have moved to greener and more spacious pastures. Nothing to do with the racket we have made over the years at her past abode, upsetting the neighbours and staying way past our welcome, drinking everything on offer because none of us had to drive, cackling and laughing loudly into the summer nights in her small front garden, or indeed anything similar.

Well, that's what she told us in any case and we're sticking with that story.

Anyway. We were all there bar La Diplomat (living it up in the south of France), and even the elusive Wine Writer showed up after retuning from Norfolk early so she would not miss out. True dedication if there ever was some.

So we all topped our glasses to raise a celebratory cheer to the new home and all who follow in our worthy footsteps (we were the first guests, hopefully not the last though given past performances as per the note above).

"To your house!" chimed the Lovely Radiographer.
"To Kevin!" toasted the rest of us.
"Ew!" spluttered Tough Mudda.

We looked at her in alarm.

"Oh, don't mind me," she explained. " I just poured myself a glass of balsamic vinegar..."

And THAT is what happens when you are having such a good time you fail to distinguish between all the bottles on the table. Before you've even eaten. Or discussed books.



Monday, 10 August 2015

Facebook vs LinkedIn - a common dilemma

This may be a more serious sort of post.

Joke. It most definitely is not. Well, depends on your point of view, I suppose.

Anyway, to my dilemma: I wrote a short post last week about the importance of first impressions.
It was slightly tongue-in-cheek, as is my wont, and aimed at all those 'social pervers' who look at your profile on LinkedIn and then either skive off somewhere unreachable or send you an invitation to 'LinkIn' without so much as a preamble or even a casual "Hello!" as a by-the-by.

You would think people might take the (subtle) hint, right?


Just today I get yet another request from some person whom I have never heard of, never met, never come across in my many years in business.

The best thing? Not even an automated message. Indeed, the brain-dead function that deprives all my wannabe connections from stringing a sentence together of their own concoction had totally eluded this individual.

All he gave me was a phone number and an email for ME to contact HIM.

Yessir. Because that's the *new* way of doing business, you see?
If you really, really, really want it, then you gotta make the effort to contact them and say, "Hey buddy, how'd I ever manage without you? Please can you bestow me the honour of being a valuable connection of yours? I will be forever grateful!"

There was also one other flaw.

His photo.

Bless him. I think he must be all of twenty years' old. The beard does not make him look more experienced and he has just started out in recruitment. He states he is "always keen to hear from industry professionals who may be interested in his services."


But I do have an excellent book I can recommend him.

And just for the record: no, I did not accept his 'invitation'.
But I did send him a reprimanding email. 
Couldn't help it.

(the Facebook comparison being - I hope - an obvious one: you can choose your friends!)


Yadda yadda yadda...