Sunday, 13 September 2020

How did that happen?

It dawned on me last week that tomorrow I 'celebrate' thirty years in London.

Let that just sink in for a moment.

T H I R T Y.

How in the name of all that is precious did time slip by so quickly?

And when I say 'celebrate', I am mindful that whilst there is so much to be grateful for, this country has also become a global embarassment that makes The Muppet Show characters look like better contenders for future politicians than any one of the current mob pretending to govern this nation.

It is tedious enough to have to explain to others not here - or attempt to excuse, which I am looooong beyond doing - what the fuck is actually going on at present (Brexshit disaster, check; Covid mishandling, check; corruption, check; incompetence, check; blatant law-breaking, check), so I instead focus on what has made me remain in this city for such a lengthy period of time:

London itself.

Whichever way you look at it, whatever your views or your opinions or your beliefs or your inclinations, there is somewhere for everyone and something to offer for all.

I think I can truly call London 'home' now.

Thursday, 19 March 2020

The mother of all clusterfucks

So there was 2016.
A bundle of laughs post referendum. Not.

Fracturing of friendships, an increase in overall nastiness, general intolerance and vitriolic diatribe in the name of - variously - 'sovereignty', 'patriotism', or (my favourite) 'spirit of the Blitz'.

Because nothing says "love thy neighbour" like telling them that they have no right to live here after twenty-odd years of contributions to society (tax, work input, voluntary time, et al) and insisting they apply for indefinite leave to remain so they can stay in their own house.

Welcome to Britain.

Then we had the years in-between.
I call them The Wilderness Years.

You occasionally thought things would be okay, the politicians would reclaim our faith, the world stage would actually come good, and the conglomerate of fuckwits that go variously by the names of Johnson, Farage, Trump, Morgan, Salvini and associates would finally locate that cliff edge and take a collective running jump.

Alas, not so.

And here we are.

The year of 2020 that has so far seen Britain somehow manage to 'serve time' on the EU and insist on exiting without a plan of any sort, beyond a blind 'belief' that if we squeeze our eyes shut and push hard enough, a polished turd will emerge that - incredibly - will be the envy of all other nations.

I can smell it already from here, but never mind.

In the meantime, to keep us all otherwise entertained, we have a pandemic - yay us!

Who'd have thought it? A true, life-threatening, highly contagious, untreatable virus to separate the real men from the wusses.

You know, the real men (I use the term liberally, don't take offence now please) who stockpile loo rolls, fight over the pot noodle selection and boxes of tea bags, deplete the aisles of bleach and detergents, and think nothing of queueing for seven hours so they can bulk buy at Costco because... well, everyone else is, innit?

I salute you all, you absolute genii.
The Spirit of the Blitz is truly alive and kicking.

We can survive leaving the EU - apparently - but heaven forbid we might have to self-isolate and look after and out for one another.

Because, of course, neither are related in terms of survival, are they?

What an absolute, disgraceful, cowardly demonstration of petty shallowness.

If this is an insight to the Britain that awaits us once Covid-19 has wreaked its havoc, then heaven help us all.

What a time to be alive.
Thank goodness for the NHS and all its staff.
Of every nationality.

Friday, 28 December 2018

And it's a... unicorn!

For someone who typically writes reams and reams of words as part and parcel of daily life - both when in paid employment as well as when not - it is ironic that 2018 has almost sapped all my energy where this blog is concerned.

There was a time not so long ago when verbal diarrhoea flowed on an almost hourly basis, punctured by sarcastic humour, a cynical take on life in general and the odd cartoon.

Now? Not so more.

I think it is fair to say that 2018 has been taxing, in more ways than one.

Certainly the world of work has shown itself to be decidedly ageist - not just with me but also with some other extremely talented colleagues. Lamenting this fact to an old friend in Italy, she was stunned.

"Here, you gain credibility only after the age of 50. Come back and be a consultant in this country!"

A good enough reason to return? Maybe.

Strong friendships, many of them newer ones, have formed. They are good, solid and supportive. Certainly the emergence of such a divided nation has put into the spotlight beliefs of other, older, friendships that I had either not noticed, nor deemed important previously.

Time to ditch the negativity? Maybe.

Ageing parents and other health scares affecting close family and offspring have further enforced my (rather intolerant) stance that those who 'cry wolf' in an effort to seek attention, deserve even less than before.

Life is short. Life can be cruel. Life can be unfair. It's nothing new. Deal with it or stand up and make a difference.

Too simplistic? Maybe.

So, here's to 2019.

May there be light at the end of this very dark and unpleasant tunnel.
May the unicorns fuck off over the horizon and take the likes of all Brexiteers with them.
May the light-hearted spirit of happiness, fun and laughter once more fill our days.

And may there be much more cycling. Of course.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

The sarcastic cynic. Or something like that

One of my favourite people on twitter put it perfectly today:

It is true.
I am exhausted by Brexit.
It has brought out the very worst in everything and everyone.

Those - like me - who clamour and campaign for Britain to remain in the EU, become obsessed with news stories and spin and propaganda and (hopefully not) false hope that it will, at some stage, just resolve itself, because those 'in charge' certainly are proving to be beyond incompetent.

I find myself wishing to wake up and discover it was all a bad dream.

The other side - and I have met and spoken with a few - who still hold on to (what they deem to be) perfectly rational arguments, and yet refuse to take off the rose-tinted glasses and spout the same propaganda nonsense that led them to vote leave in the first place.

No matter of facts, figures, statistics, reports, insight, knowledge, reading or discussion will persuade those convinced of their opinion to change it.

What happened to this country?
The joyous and incredible unison that everyone felt at the London 2012 Olympics?
Were there really so many unpleasant, deceitful, nasty and downright awful individuals already in our midst that we never noticed, and who have seized upon Brexit to cast off their masks?

One lie after another, after another, after another...

And still no plan (was there ever?).

But hey, guess what now? 
Apparently there is a Brexit dividend on its way.

It will come via the rectum of a unicorn who has supped on the leaves of the magic money tree.
And it will be embossed with the initials of the Maybot and served up at the table of Lord Hypocrisy of Rees-Mogg and his chums. With a dose of Banks and Oakeshott for good measure. Oiled by IDS and other inane wannabes past their sell-by date.

In the meantime, I'm off on my bike again.


Sunday, 15 April 2018


Something has been irritating me all week.

An itch I just could not scratch.

It nagged me in the background, a pesky whistle that would not cease, constantly calling for my attention yet never justifying why it was of any importance when I took the time to look.

A group WhatsApp conversation.
So petty.
So silly.
So infantile.

A suggestion to celebrate some forty years of friendship escalated into a cast of thousands - okay, slightly less, but still, one hundred and twenty-eight at last count - descending on a venue in a couple of months with a distinctive throwback to the early 80s, to mix and mingle and reconnect and have an evening of fun together.


The lads took over and almost immediately the conversations reverted to ones I had long forgotten: infantile, bragging, sexist and verging on misogynistic. Recollections of teenage memories and misdemeanours were imbued with talk by grown men who now appear to be permanently stuck in mid-life crises.

I watched the exchanges for a few days.
I did not participate.
I wondered whether I honestly wanted to take part in such a celebration.

The last time I was in situ, some of these very same individuals could not find time to meet up for drinks or dinner because it was too much effort to get off their arses and step outside the front door. There were either lame excuses or echoing silences.
This despite some six weeks' notice.
Maybe it was just me. Who knows.

You know who your real friends are in times of need, they say.

I had no need then when last there, I was just in town to visit one of my best friends. I extended the invitation to catch up with them too.
But the insular narrow-mindedness of these 'old time friends' struck a chord.
It would have been nice to see them.
But they could not be bothered.
Maybe it was just me. Who knows.

So now, it's my choice.

I left the WhatsApp group. I doubt they'll even notice.

And, quite frankly, neither will I.
Selectivity is a good thing.

Itch, scratched.


Friday, 16 February 2018

Kevin does the care home

It was all going so well.

We caught up, we laughed, we gasped ("the youth of today, tsk!"), we drank, we ate, we talked books.
And then one of the Kevinettes - Belfast Blonde - raised a toast.

"To the first meeting of the new year!"

"No it's not!" piped up Aussie Solicitor. "It's our second one, we saw each other back in January!"

The Botanical Artist and I nodded sagely. Yes, of course, how could we not remember?
Silly, silly, silly, to be so forgetful.

And we tucked into our food. And more drink. And quite a vivacious discussion about one of the authors and how ahead of her time she was with regard to this particular piece of writing, given that it was published in 1907.

The Lovely Radiographer and I were frustrated however by the style and did not enjoy it.
Our Doctor of Psychology suggested that maybe an audiobook might have resolved this dilemma: someone else to read it to you. Preferably while you sit back with a nice glass of wine and some nibbles, no doubt.

"I can vouch for audiobooks, they are brilliant," I proffered, and proceeded to rattle off a number of titles I had 'read' in this manner whilst driving to and from work some years ago.

Wolf Hall.
The thousand autumns of Jacob de Zoet.
Midnight in the garden of good and evil.

"And that one was excellent and narrated by the actor who looks like someone else..."

Ah yes. That one. The fellow whose face I could picture, alongside his duplicate who was better known but, alas, whose name I could not recall either.

Just as well my fellow Kevinettes are so understanding.

We moved on and voted for the books to read next time.
Seven books to choose from.
Two votes each. Majority wins.
Host gets to choose one additional book from the selection.
Simple, right?


La Diplomat called out our host for voting three times.

"Terrible!" we muttered in unison.

Lovely Radiographer's husband made an appearance (she was hosting).

"You lot sound like old ladies in a care home!" he commented. "Cackling away and passing judgement on all matter, like you've lost your marbles..."

Oh, how we laughed.

As we wrote our comments (about the tomes most recently read) in the Big Black Book before departing for the night, I looked at the date of the last meeting.

It was December 2017.
At Aussie Solicitor's home.
Silly, silly, silly, to be so forgetful.

classic case of 'spot the difference' - who's who? 


Thursday, 18 January 2018

And here we go again

What? Already more than half way through January? How did that happen?

Bearing in mind I spent the whole of Tuesday this week convinced the next day was Thursday (yes, I know, I know, I confused myself as well as everyone else, no mean feat either), I have now put my skates on - figuratively speaking - as I have month end in sight and a raft of meetings and networking events to attend in the interim.

And a few cycling trips to look forward to as well.

It was while I was trying to find the most appropriate manner of telling OH about these that I relished the upside of honesty.

Telling the truth - even when it involves sorties with cycling buddies over long weekends and not necessarily in this country - goes a long way towards avoiding confrontation or tying yourself in knots.

Unlike some other individuals who just cannot stop themselves it would seem. I came across this and lost the will to live about two months' in.

Good grief. Another three years still? It is beyond 'the new normal' even for someone with my level of innate sarcasm.

On another note, there is something to look forward to on Sunday morning (and I am not talking rugby or refereeing in the pouring rain):

Fortunately it takes place before rugby training beckons, so I may just have the opportunity to hear another privileged toss-pot speak very slowly to maximise their airtime, and throw in some Latin for good measure, in an attempt to illustrate how ignorant we Remainers all are.

Thank goodness for those who fight our corner in the public eye, stand up for true facts, and have brains to debate and argue a righteous cause without resorting to insults.

And on that note, I'm on my bike.


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