Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Mental merry-go-rounds

As per my last post, it never rains but pours.

On the work front, after a year of networking, meetings, discussions, proposals, more meetings, more networking, more discussions (repeat times fifty), things are looking a little more promising.
Out of fear of jinxing matters, I will say no more, aside from waiting to quietly 'high five' myself and my fabulous business associates if things run their course over the coming weeks.

On the governor front, the overwhelming amount of process and paperwork, revising, rewriting, cross-checking and reviewing details that go with the search for a new headteacher has - for the time being - been dealt with. We now move to the next stage of formulating and scoping out the interview process and timetable for prospective candidates. Don't all jump up in excitement now. At least I have the good fortune of working with some amazing and talented (and very knowledgeable) fellow governors who are incredibly able and helpful guides in this sea of bureaucracy. They also have fantastic senses of humour, a necessity in such times, believe me.

And on the rugby front, it is all guns blazing in the run up to the club's annual Minis Festival. This year, after announcing that I would be stepping down as Vice Chair at the end of the season, I found myself subsequently agreeing to stay on (I blame the Chairman's tweets) as well as resuming the task of finding sponsors and supporters for the festival programme. In a nutshell, we appear to have blown last year's target achieved out of the water. What can I say? Once a salesperson, always a salesperson. Alternatively, "You can take the girl off the trading floor, but you cannot change her tactics!"
Again, great teamwork and some brilliant results.

how to get my attention: sarcasm works wonders

One thing however that is amusing me no end.

The rugby club - for those of you who still have not cottoned on - is London Welsh. Being party to a number of emails between the Chairman of the professional club and the Minis Chair, reading through the editorials for the programme, and observing other Welsh-isms, got me thinking.

How does Google translate pronounce words with more consonants than vowels?

Yup. Interesting. And endless time-wasting.

Hwyl a bendith i pawb. Mwynhewch y dydd, mwynhewch y rygbi.

(bet you are all going to give it a go now) 


Sunday, 15 February 2015

Things I have learnt over the past week

  • nothing ever comes in half measures: work, rugby, governorship, meetings...
  • except training which falls slightly by the wayside
  • or gets relegated to the bottom of the priority list
  • there are only so many iterations of the same document you can read in one sitting before your eyes glaze over
  • about seventeen
  • maybe eighteen
  • FB is a very bad distraction when you should be writing
  • especially when friends post random photos
  • that always get about one hundred and thirty plus 'likes'
  • which make me wonder what their friends are actually doing with their time
  • probably stalking
  • shopping for groceries never gets any sexier
  • even if you prance around a supermarket still in your training kit
  • because FB distracted you again when you should have had a shower
  • doing just your own laundry is a positive option
  • and is much more satisfying
  • and takes a fraction of the time
  • however the message about the Laundry Fairy being on permanent strike takes longer to filter through to the rest of the family
  • about four weeks
  • better late than never
  • writing client proposals when the offspring are in the house is not productive
  • yet watching silly videos with them on YouTube is very entertaining
  • but still not a good use of valuable time
  • taking time out on weekends is the best way to distract yourself
  • long bike rides in particular
  • although lots of hills and lack of feeding stations can lead to more swearing than usual

it's a long way to the finish, with no food in sight
unless you like foliage


Sunday, 8 February 2015

LCM's CBB (celebrity bashing bunfight)

Four years ago I wrote this. It still holds water. My opinions have not changed (funny that).

However, I am increasingly annoyed with respected online newspapers being hijacked by stupid stories that serve no purpose other than to make you a) click on the link just to see what the fuss is all about, or b) waste time reading total tat. I guess that's the point though, right?

So I thought I would add an updated 2015 version of 'Celebrity Bashing' to my earlier list. Do feel free to join in and post your own, the more the merrier.

Here we go.

My top five celebrities I would happily slap around the head with a damp wetsuit, part deux.

In fifth position: Ed Miliband.
(Yes, yes, I know he's a politician, but it's my list and my rules)

There is one reason I am leader of the Labour party,
and it is uhmm, err... damn, what was it?

Because, just, zzzzzzzz. And now that a former PM has stated that he "will do what it takes" to help him win the general election, well, what more can I add? Aside from thinking that David Cameron must be jumping around his kitchen shouting hallelujah and thanking his own lucky stars. Talk about a 'gift from heaven'... Oh, yes. And the Wallace likeness. Hmmm.

peas in a pod

In fourth place: Katie Hopkins.

Never heard of me? Really? Lucky break!

In all honesty I have no idea what she is saying - aside from it being rather a lot, most of it obnoxious or offensive to someone - as I only ever came across her in series three of The Apprentice. Possibly her one redeeming feature (which I discovered whilst researching this incredibly well thought-out and highly intellectual blog post) has been calling that piece of vapourware that occupies third place, "A nobody with a pair of tits." Talk about stating the obvious.
But she otherwise clogs up the airwaves (read: serious news) and that in itself deserves a place on the podium of shame.

At number three: Katie Price.

A pink unicorn. Because that's
what I want to be when I grow up

Honestly? Still here? How tedious to have to live your entire life yo-yo-ing between the tabloids with tales of sex, plastic surgery, foul-mouthed tirades, more sex, more plastic surgery, absurd names for offspring, feuds with ex husbands, ex boyfriends, ex friends, ex anything.... ex-hausting. Can someone please adopt her and dispatch her mind-numbing fakeness to, oh, I don't know, Siberia? One way ticket please, thank you.

Runner up: Kim Kardashian.

Waaaah! They said I was too stupid to have a Twitter account

In a nutshell, I just don't 'get it'. Or maybe I just live in a parallel universe and fail to appreciate the intrinsic value of someone who thinks posing naked, doused in baby oil, in an effort to 'break the internet' is akin to finding a cure for ebola or ending the crisis in Syria. Hah! Silly me.

And in first place: Russell Brand.

nothing of note to say

Total twat. No more to add. Aside possibly from three words: waste of space.


Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Return of the doctor

(c) Schultz
After a lengthy break - too much work people, too much work - the esteemed Doctor LCM is back once more to deal with the needy, the downtrodden, the confused and the downright pain-in-the-arse individuals requiring helpful and insightful advice to deal with their mundane first-world problems.

Yes, the BADASS clinic is once more up and running.

Without further ado, let's get down to business and negotiate this week's conundrum from a troubled reader.

"Dear Doctor LCM,

I am a really good headhunter (because my mum says so) and I love my job. I like to talk to people and make them smile. If they are really nice I can sometimes find them work. This is so much fun!

Recently I met a very scary candidate. She was old enough to be my gran. Well, older than my mum, that's for sure. Anyway, I was really nervous about interviewing her as she knew more than I did about business and the world and work and like, well, it was quite scary so I just smiled a lot and I think I talked too much. 
I thought she had some cracking skills and when I said that to her she looked at me really strangely, like she wanted to hit me or something. When she asked me what would happen next I told her that it was definitely not a 'no' and she looked at me even worse and I thought she was going to go mental or start screaming but she didn't LOL.

She has now emailed me twice to ask what is happening and what are the next steps. I'm not sure what she means or how to reply. What do you think I should do?

Lots of love,
Rupert xx"

Doctor LCM replies:

"Dear Rupert

Seriously? How old are you? Twelve?

Get a grip man. This woman should be your new MD. I cannot believe you are interviewing her. It should be the other way round, although the options for your own career then would be either a) paper boy, or b) fired.

Afraid you do not stand a chance with such talent until you mature by, say, about thirty years. Facts, dear boy, facts. They come with maturity which sadly you appear to be lacking.

Suggest you finish your work experience before taking on such challenges again. Call the woman back and ask if she will be your mentor. Trust me, it's your best bet.

You're welcome,


If you too have a pressing business-related matter that you would like answered or on which to receive valuable advice, please submit to the Doctor and wait patiently in line.


Saturday, 24 January 2015

Kevin's way with words

Unbelievably, Kevin is now in his fifteenth year.

A teenager.

And in true teenage style, this week the Kevinettes wined, dined, laughed and chatted about all and everything, including the books - one which we all hated (facts, facts, more facts, names, more names, names that were referenced then not mentioned again until seven chapters later, more names, more factszzzz I have lost track... you get the picture), and one which only LCM loathed (blame it on the time of year, it just bugged the hell out of me even though the others loved it). We had some very lively conversations going.

It was almost a full house with only the Wine Writer absent. We all blame her husband, not the fact that she lives out in the sticks and has a good one hour commute each way to attend Kevin's rendezvous unless hosting them herself. Tsk. Totally inconsiderate.

Anyway, amidst all the banter - and the food and the wine, of which there were copious amounts of course, we are a serious bookclub after all - there was a sudden change in topic as the Kevinettes started announcing random English words they love which are not frequently used.

"Conundrum!" said the Botanical Artist.
"Inertia!" declared the Doctor of Psychology.
"Conniption!" stated the Lovely Radiographer.
"Nonplussed!" offered the Aussie Solicitor.
"Cantankerous!" countered Tough Mudda.
"Paraphernalia!" shouted LCM (necessary, it was getting very rowdy).
"Parasol!" said La Diplomat.
"Parapluie!" opined Belfast Blonde, our host for the evening.

The room went silent.

"That's French!" we all said in unison.

"Oh," answered Belfast Blonde. "I just liked it! What does it mean?"

"Umbrella," we replied, again in unison.

And then promptly moved on to more important matters by asking what was for dessert (lemon polenta cake, delicious btw).

By the time we finally took our leave, it was raining.

No correlation at all, I am sure.

(c) Schultz


Friday, 16 January 2015

The right to the right of freedom of speech

Warning: rant alert.

I read one of the most articulate articles this week about the post-Charlie Hebdo fall-out. 

Suzanne Moore puts it so succinctly when she states: 

"Critique is not blasphemy. Texts can be reinterpreted. Tolerance has to be reciprocal or it is not tolerance at all. We should at least be honest now. Those who don't believe in any god have as many rights as those who do."

Hear hear, I say. Enough of the hypocrisy and concern about individuals being offended if what you state - intentionally or not - is unpalatable to them.

I have been scolded in past years about my cynical posts depicting unsuspecting members of the general public and poking fun - with sarcastic commentary - about their attire.

"Someone might take offence," I was told (by a Facebook 'friend' no less, who has since been purged from my circle for double standards), as if I were a naughty child who had scribbled rude words on the classroom wall. I cannot believe I subsequently added a disclaimer to appease this individual (it's still there, see for yourself).

An aeon ago when this blog first started, I had a Paranoid Former Employer who took offence at anything and everything ever posted, claiming (indirectly, never to my face, out of fear of upsetting me no doubt) it must be about them, and threatening libel, slander and the proverbial kitchen sink. Anonymity did not cut it (nor did the fact that the posts were entertaining) but the PFE was seriously unpleasant. Interesting how they are now under investigation by the SFO for fraud.

I can think of at least half a dozen cases recently where I have been chastised (nicely, of course, because no one wants to offend me either) about proposed measures or discussions that need to take place within my own working and community environment. I put appropriately worded texts together, send them to a reviewing party and get replies that inevitably make me bang my head on the table.

Why? That old chestnut again. The need to "tread carefully". Not wanting to "upset anybody". Needing to "keep the calm". In effect the unwillingness to call a spade a spade, or even a fucking shovel despite the situation demanding it. 

It's okay. I get it. I understand, I can see beyond my own limited power of observation the need to take other people's concerns into account. It drives me insane and I could waste endless hours thinking about it. I don't. I have far more pressing matters to deal with.

But now the Pope - the Pope, for crying out loud - wades into the debate with his stance on the matter, stating that, "One cannot provoke; one cannot insult other people's faith; one cannot make fun of faith."

Wrong. You can. You can make the choice not to, and you can err on the side of politeness and what is deemed to be 'good manners', but you can. And in secular societies you certainly should be able to voice an opinion without being gunned down. 

As another commentator * has stated, "... it is not normal to punch someone who insults you [...] Verbal provocation is never an excuse for violence - that's the wife-beater's defence."

So, what's the point? The point is - or mine at least, for fear of 'offending' anyone, heaven forbid - that the 'right to freedom of speech' is one that we are all entitled to.

However the right to tell anyone, ANYONE, what you can or cannot say is something no one has in today's day and age. What you hear or read may be unpalatable to you. It may offend you. It may amuse you. It may go against everything you hold dear. 

But. It does not give you the right to tell the person perpetrating that view that they have no right to do so. 

Deal with it. Or answer with sarcasm. It's a wonderful tool.

And it's free.

* just in case you think I have a bias for a particular newspaper, given the articles quoted in this post, worry not, I read widely. I wouldn't want to offend anyone.


Tuesday, 13 January 2015

The mysterious case of the disappearing toe covers

You may have guessed that this post is about cycling.
If you hadn't, guess what? This post is about cycling.

Well, cycling and how things that you can have on or about your person for some four hours then mysteriously disappear when you suddenly recall not having seen them for a while.

Familiarity breeding absentmindedness, perhaps? I have no idea. You be the judge.

So, in a bid to 'up' our cycling prowess to the same levels as the Wine Writer and the Aussie Solicitor - a rather fearsome task - LCM and Tough Mudda (also a fellow Kevinette, as are the other two, we live very sheltered lives you see within restricted social circles) decided to partake in an organised event on Sunday.

We even featured - albeit from a distance - in one of the organiser's official photos, proof that we were there I suppose:

Elegantly wheeling their bikes to the starting line, the ladies ponder whether
anyone will notice if they bunk off for a croissant and hot chocolate

Anyway. It was freezing. The thermometer said +2C. We pulled on leg warmers, arm warmers, under layers, thermals, socks, tops, bottoms, fleeces, beanies, jackets, full gloves and windproof protection.

I then pulled on overshoes - essentially a wetsuit-style neoprene cover for cleated cycling shoes - which although not particularly sightly, are very effective (my toes were still frozen until about the 47km mark, but never mind).

so elegant... sadly neither the legs nor the bike are mine

Tough Mudda got second dibs on the goodies and had to make do with toe covers, which are, funnily enough, just that: covers that go over the toes of your cycling shoes. Some respite from the cold but not enough (her toes also froze until the halfway mark when we realised her shoes were overtightened and hence restricting circulation... *sigh*).

much more fetching, yet not quite as warm as full PVC

But we finished. Some 66km later, the longest bike ride ever completed by Tough Mudda, in one piece albeit with *ahem* a few sore 'bits'.

Back to the car, racking of bikes, peeling off leg warmers, arm warmers, under layers, thermals, socks, tops, bottoms, fleeces, beanies, jackets, full gloves and windproof protection. And overshoes and toe covers.

Home to tea and pancakes. Bliss.

Two days later and I am suddenly aware of some missing items in the garage cycle-kit-storage-area-that-doubles-as-a-Halfords-showroom.

Yup. Missing toe covers. Vanished into thin air. (And yes, I did check around and on top of the car before leaving the cycling venue, have learnt that from past experience...)

Which in itself is no big deal. Except that they weren't strictly mine to lose as both they and the overshoes belong to someone else.

No one less than BB. Erstwhile training partner on her (rapid) way back from injury.

Uh oh. I haven't told her yet. Although she probably knows now if she reads this.

*practices happy apologetic smile*

I'll just blame Tough Mudda. She wore them last.

And she also lost one of her gloves. Just one, mind you, not both. So I think the toe covers are keeping the 'gant perdu' company somewhere in the wilderness of the A4 corridor. Or on eBay.

Now, where's that website for buying replacement cycling kit? I might need a tougher helmet as well.

(c) Doug Savage


Yadda yadda yadda...