Thursday, 14 September 2017

Twenty-seven years

Time passes quickly - we all seem to say so at some point.

Twenty-seven years ago today I landed in this country, slightly adrift in terms of where and what I might be headed towards, and thus commenced a rollercoaster ride into full adulthood and beyond.

A couple of points worth noting:
  1. I never came to the UK seeking citizenship, I already had two other nationalities to my name, one of which enabled me to settle and work here without the need for a visa;
  2. I believed - correctly as it turned out - that any career I sought was best pursued in London given the opportunities, cosmopolitan mix, and proximity to Europe that it offered.
Now, close to three decades later, I approach this anniversary with mixed feelings.

With the Brexit vote last year I have found myself in a similar quandary to many others in my situation.

Do I remain in the country that I have called home for more than half my life?

The honest truth is I don't know. Given family, friends, work, social life, health, education and much more, there is too much at stake to make a rash decision. Ironic that OH - who is British - would happily decamp tomorrow to warmer climes Down Under.

So what would otherwise have been an occasion for celebration feels far more subdued now. The country I call home is feeling somewhat unwelcoming.

A nation divided? Definitely.

A nation defined now by tarnished ideals and lies? Absolutely.

Not sure that sits comfortably with the values I wish for me and my family any longer.

In the meantime, work and plan, work and plan, work and plan...



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Monday, 21 August 2017

Get a grip

Did I miss something?

Another disheartening and mindless attack on innocents, this time in Barcelona, hatred without rhyme nor reason. Cowardice on a grand scale by those who were, like most of us, fortunate enough to live in a democratic country that grants freedom of expression and movement.

I just cannot comprehend, whatever the explanations offered.

The jumped-up thin-skinned orange misogynist still in charge over the pond, spouting incoherent tweets and unable to spell even the shortest of words. Twice.
How so, America? Oh, wait, yes, something cryptic about making a country great again and an election that went way off track.


At least late night hosts are not holding back. A degree of sanity - and comedy - there. Even if reality makes me weep into my breakfast porridge.

Politicians in Australia feigning ignorance about their own origins, with the 'purebred' deeming themselves the sole ones fit to serve in office. Because - heaven forbid - any of us should have mixed parentage. Oh, the sacrilege! Hello immigration? Any chance you let 'other nationalities' into the great nation down under since the convicts? Hmmm? Sure they weren't just opportunists?

Cue endless face palming.

Idiots still pondering how much longer they can get away with not having a plan for Brexit... or coming up with such ridiculous alternatives as to be truly laughable.


Oh, the irony of it all. My porridge at this stage resembles floating oats in a sea of tears.

Then we had the UK health secretary telling a world-renowned physicist that, basically, the latter didn't know his sh*t. Of course. Because once a d*ckhead, always a d*ckhead, isn't that so Jeremy?

He's probably not listening anyway. He never is.

But finally, FINALLY, we had something to really make us stand up and pay attention.

Indeed, the Maybot is back from her shirt-dress outfitted holiday. And the first thing on her agenda was....

... *cue drum roll*...

Big Ben.

Yes. We live in a society that deems clock stoppage the most pressing issue. No less than three (yes, three) parliamentary committees are "looking into the matter" from various angles.

I would hope that at least one of them will report that we live in 2017, most people wear a watch or have access to the time on their mobile devices, and that there are, quite frankly, more important items to deal with.

Oh. Just saw a pig fly by.



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Thursday, 27 July 2017

Just me?

Something about a last-minute panic has hit.

Aside from thinking - mistakenly - that today was Friday (it isn't, it's still only Thursday) and that my bank balance is so far underwater that I dare not anticipate what my weekly text update from my provider will say in the morning when it pings my phone (aside from "Seriously? WTF?"), it has also dawned on me that for the first time ever the house will be minus two out of three children from Wednesday.

One with friends in Italy, another ditto but in Norway.

And Widget on a local RYA sailing course with his best mate to keep him busy.

What to do then, with all this free time?

Actually, free time my arse.
I'll be working.
But with less distractions.

And possibly a bit of cycling thrown in, just for good measure.

Work life balance and all that.
Although potentially with less phone calls from offspring asking where I am.

School holidays. Gotta love 'em.



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Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Analogies of a sort

Thankfully I spent the tail end of last week in a different country, taking part in another cycling event that was both exhilarating and exhausting, with my good friend (and fellow Kevinette) the Aussie Solicitor.

As we crossed the finish line there was much cheering and a man with a microphone ran up wanting to interview us. A bit of banter and a few laughs - especially when I mentioned that we had come this far to "escape the election" - and he signed off with a "Good luck with Brexit!"

Indeed.

Talk about a car crash.

I had jokingly said this was Ms May's election to lose, not Corbyn's to win, but hardly expected my words to be quite so prophetic.

Not being known to mince my words, and having already endured friendship fallouts from the lamentable referendum of last June, I decided to focus instead on one of the books we were set to read for Kevin's next rendezvous.

Now possibly because I was so put out by a trust fund hypocrite being re-elected to my local constituency - by a mere forty-five votes, no less - my take on this book was, ermm, let's just say less than favourable.

Aussie Solicitor, who has (perhaps wisely) not read it yet, asked me what I thought.

"An absolute pile of shit."

Like I said, no word-mincing.

And a perfect analogy for other events too.

where to even start...


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Friday, 2 June 2017

Schlepping it over to the continent

Good grief, another month gone by already.

Amongst other things (work, mainly... and cycling) I have been rather taken in the lead up to this:



When I have more hours in the day, I will post the full version.

Suffice to say it was an incredible event with some truly fabulous people.
And all for a common and very worthy cause: children and education.

Yay us.


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Monday, 1 May 2017

Dinner is served, badly

It is election season.

Obviously we didn't have quite enough excitement last year, so what we were categorically told would not happen in the UK is actually happening and it is only a matter of time before the proverbial starts hitting the fan once more, everyone goes for the jugular and we split the nation even further.

Just as well we are all "coming together", as Ms May would have us believe.

Except for Westminster, apparently.

Not sure where she gets her stats from, but I am guessing the same source as The Donald. Listen to those voices in your head and sooner or later you believe the alternative reality is the truth.

Ho hum.

However my current favourite take on the dire situation - and delusion - of the incumbent PM (and her band of incompetents) is the most recent, involving her dinner with the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.

The report by Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAZ) is solely in German, in hard copy print edition, with no English translation, and is summarised brilliantly by the Berlin bureau chief at The Economist via a series of tweets.

The event can best be described as a total clusterf*ck.

Oh to have been a fly on the wall.



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Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Kevin's numbers

Another rendezvous, another venue, another mad-hatter-teaparty-of-sorts-with-lots-of-noise-food-wine-and-chatter.

Very loud chatter.

So loud, in fact, that Belfast Blonde's new husband had been forewarned and told he might - possibly - require ear muffs. He was 'in residence', you see, a reward for Kevin's past good behaviour so that we could finally meet this man who had snared one of our own.

He cooked and fed us all, so he definitely got the thumbs up.

One thing about being a bookclub now into its seventeenth year is that aside from us having become great friends and spent an inordinate amount of time drinking wine and eating copious quantities of food, we also appear to have become somewhat deaf.

Yes, deaf.

Especially when it comes to numbers.

"How many books have we read in all over the years?"
"When?"
"As Kevin..."
"Two per meeting, about eight meetings a year..."
"How many per meeting?"
"Two."
"Is it two?"
"I just said that."
"Oh. So how many meetings?"
"About eight?"
"But how many weeks between meetings?"
"Six?"
"Six? I thought seven?"
"How many weeks in a year?"
"Fifty-two..."

*brief pause while seven normally intelligent women do some mental maths*

"So about one hundred and seventy books then!"
"Yes, about two hundred odd!"
"How many? Two hundred and fifty?"
"Who has kept a record?"
"The black book..."
"It's blue now."
"Which book? Is that new?"
"About one hundred and seventy."
"What is?"
"I have a tally of all the books!"
"Which ones?"

(I actually did a proper calculation: the correct answer is two hundred and twenty-nine...ish)

And then it came down to deciding which books to select for the next meeting.

"How many have we got to choose from?"
"Six, you can all vote for your favourite."
"But we have two votes!"
"We vote twice for each book?"
"No, we vote twice for separate books."
"With the same vote? Does that count twice?"
"One vote per book."
"That's six votes!"
"Six votes each?"
"Two votes each!"
"One of the books is the third in a series. Have we read the previous two?"
"No. But we could add those..."
"We could read the first one first though..."
"So how many books?"
"I'm replacing the third in the series with the first in the series..."
"Do we vote on that one too?"
"I'm voting twice."
"How many votes?"
"Do we put our hands up?"
"Who's counting? Anyone have a pen?"

Anyway. We cast votes. Some Kevinettes may have cheated.
Who cares?

We laughed. We ate. We drank. We toasted the new husband and his gorgeous wife's good health.

And we chose two new books to read.

I think we've all agreed on the same ones.
I might have mis-heard.



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