Monday, 28 December 2009

And here's one I bet you had not heard before

Florence Nightingale, according to Blossom, aged 5 1/2:

"Laurence Nightie-wear was really good and she went to England and got lots of cleaning things and made all the hostipals clean and nice and then she went around in the night time and looked at all the people that were there and gave them cups of tea. And that made them better."

Totally unprompted, might I add, albeit for a statue of said person which caught her attention en route to the ballet on Boxing day.

Lovely.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

The enduring saga of inappropriate gifts of years gone by

Day 30, one more to go.

As the day itself approaches, I would like to know what is the most peculiar/memorable/ridiculous present you have ever received at Xmas time.

Come on - roll on up and spill your tale.

My own account regarding an inappropriate present stems back to when heavily pregnant with Mr Man (he was an early January baby). Cue Xmas day, gifts exchanged under the tree, everyone ooh-ing and aah-ing, and I am handed a box by Other Half - looking very pleased with himself I might add (although this was probably more to do with having succeeded, yet again, to cram all his shopping into a Xmas eve two-hour frenzy).

I open the box. It is a scuba-diving watch. I do not dive. Neither does he, nor have we any plans to pick up this sport in the near future. Regardless, I put the huge thing on, thank him graciously, if a little perplexed, and manage to postpone querying his motives until later that evening.

"Why?" I asked, none too subtlely.

"I thought you would go swimming with the baby," he replies.

"What, and dive to 30m?"

We exchanged it for something more practical as soon as the shops re-opened.

So, what's yours?

Monday, 21 December 2009

Keeping mum

Day 29, two more days to go.


What do you do when you have a rather large present for a child that needs to be kept hidden from view until Xmas day? You put it somewhere it will not be found. 


I bet you can guess where this is going.


Other Half put said present - for Blossom, no less - in the bathroom of the guest bedroom. 
I thought this was a rather silly place and said as much, proposing the back garden where the children are highly unlikely to venture given current weather conditions. My proposal was summarily dismissed.


So the kids play hide-and-seek on Saturday morning and hey presto - guess what? Found it. Cue improvisation skills by Other Half. He tells Mr Man and Blossom that they have to keep a secret as it is a present for one of the neighbour's children and their daddy brought it round to hide it from her. They seemed to have bought this, although we cannot be sure as a) the neighbours are actually away (hence removing temptation), and b) Blossom's notion of keeping a secret is to tell only one person at a time.


So when Other Half returned from his Xmas shopping expedition yesterday and told the kids he had bought mummy's present, they demanded to see it. 


"I won't tell anyone," said Blossom.


"Was that wise?" I asked Other Half.


"Don't worry," he replied, "I showed her a can of deodorant that I bought in the 3 for 2 offer at Boots."


Which I guess begs the question of what I might expect under the tree this year.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

A bit of Xmas lateral thinking

Day 28 - are you counting down yet?

Right - LCM (aka Bah Humbug the Misery Guts of Xmas Doom) has actually given in. Yes, you have read correctly. I have given in. I blame the kids, personally. And the freezing temperatures. I mean even the local swings and slides have become the 'slips and slides', and there is only so much outdoors cold you can impose on young children before even they start to complain about the insides of their noses freezing.

So today (Dotterel, please take note) I have:
  • placed some pretty star lights around the entrance to the house (thank you IKEA, I knew they would come in handy some day)

  • made a seasonal front door wreath of sorts, complete with a touch of southern hemisphere (see if you can spot it)

  • bought a Xmas tree, and actually allowed the children to decorate it (even though I do admit to running a rations station with regard to baubles, tinsel and other paraphernalia so as to avoid having to re-do the entire thing once completed)
But - what I am most proud of was my own ingenuity when faced with facts. The facts being that a neglectful LCM had failed to remember that last year's fairy lights for the Xmas tree went to meet their maker once the decorations came down.

What to do? Traipse out to the shops in the hope of finding a spare set? Blossom's godmother put me right as she passed by the house to drop off her present. "You will never find any," she stated quite emphatically. So much for even starting to hunt some down.

Should I resort to dismantling my oh-so-wonderful front door star light adornment (too short anyway and they had grown on me by now)?

And then a stroke of genius (com'on, give me some credit here).

How about the garden lights we used during the summer that clipped on to the umbrella?

What can I say? Ta-da! I give you the LCM indoor/outdoor Xmas tree special. At least there is now a touch of lightheartedness about the whole thing.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Here come the girls. I think.

Day 27, and the final countdown is on.

Finally the weekend. I feel like I have been back on the commuter treadmill for aaaaaaages now, despite it being only a mere 3 weeks since I was launched back into the workforce with such speed.

However, I think it is also fair to note that my training regime (note - I have a countdown ticker to the triathlon on the blog in case you had not been paying attention) has suffered a serious setback as a consequence. This is something not lost on Other Half - cue a few sarcastic remarks - and Brazilian Babe girlfriend (BB) who is my training partner.

So I am aiming to amend the situation. No waiting for the new year and associated resolutions, there is a need here and now to up the ante and increase the frequence of training sessions. Think I am kidding? The mere notion that I last did some exercise (a short run) over two weeks ago has become my own personal guilt trip. Sad, no?

Anyway, kick start today with a Ten Pilates session (date of last attendance November 26, I think) with BB. Am all pumped up and ready to go. A phone call. Do I have some laundry powder/tablets/liquid I can bring round to her place before we head off to the class (she lives 30 seconds from my front door)? Yes, of course, I reply. I have run out, she says, and have some stuff in the machine that seriously needs washing.

And my brain starts to tick over. What could possibly be so urgent that it cannot wait until the shops open? Mud? Make-up? Vomit? Dog poo?

I quiz her before she can even greet me (bear in mind I have not seen her either since work commenced). "What cannot wait?" I ask, making a beeline for her washing machine to inspect (yes, I am that charming a friend).
"Oh, you know, just stuff," she replies.
"What, did you have a roll in fox shit or something that makes it smell so bad?"
"No, I have been painting the walls and sorting out the wooden flooring, and all the dirty rags and pieces of clothing are in there and I ran out of detergent".
"No smelly training kit?"
"No. I have become increasingly unfit since you started work again. Did you think you were the only one?"

What can I say? Strength in numbers.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Time for another list (because I know you love these, especially Mwa)

Day 26 of the daily post - where have the days gone?


Right, since this blog is supposedly now 'by invite only' - although PFE has means and ways of intruding, of that I am sure and the sitemeter below can certainly assist in confirming any suspicions - I figure I should be able to shed some light on the shenanigans that have been going on in the background, if for no other reason than to lighten up your day with some tongue-in-cheek entertainment.


And of course, via the best means to an end, ie a list.


So, here goes. LCM's up-to-date latest all-singing all-dancing fancy-pants light-flashing bell-ringing Xmas countdown list. With elves. 

  • Number of presents bought for immediate family: 7
  • Number of presents bought for immediate family which are for children: 5
  • Number of presents bought for immediate family which are for LCM: 1 (impulse buy this morning)
  • Number of extortionately expensive presents bought for immediate family which are for Other Half who "only wanted a gift voucher" towards next gadget: 1 (how did this happen, remind me?)
  • Status of Xmas tree: non-existent (unless you count sorry version in pot in back garden which is staying there and no arguing about it)
  • Change of status of Xmas tree: possibly this weekend (am debating how long I can get away with not having one... getting increased amounts of grief from children persuading me to give in)
  • Number of wreaths on front door: 0 (I'll get round to it at some stage... like Dec 24th or something)
  • Number of Xmas cards received: no idea, lots but less than last year (to date, there is always a last minute flurry)
  • Number of Xmas cards received by children: masses, they spew out of their bookbags every evening like some sort of living multiplier
  • Number of Xmas cards sent: 0 (I did warn about this in various previous posts and comments on other blogging sites, don't expect links as I cannot be a*sed)
  • Number of highly intimidating/threatening/libelous/slander-inducing/"Disgusted, Tunbridge Wells" letters from PFE to LCM's solicitor: 1
  • Number of replies to aforementioned letter by LCM's solicitor telling them to shove it where the sun don't shine and get a life a grip on reality a sense of humour a realistic interpretation of employment law: 1
  • Number of replies to reply to aforementioned letter: 0 (although am sure this will change shortly)
  • Number of accusations thrown my way by sad b*stards at PFE for their own personal failings to win new business deals: 1 that I know of, but undoubtedly many more that I can think of
  • Sum of money still on the table (because I was deemed a "valued employee"... err, you made me redundant remember?) provided I sign away all my rights to think/say/write/do anything that PFE might deem damaging in any way or form: pathetic (let's put it this way, it is by no means life-changing so I would rather keep my conscience clear and forfeit the guilt money)
  • Number of former colleagues who have resigned/are in process of resigning/awaiting formal job offers: too many to mention
  • Parties/pre-Xmas events still to attend (not related - yet - to the above last point): 2
  • Presents still to buy: no idea, am letting impulse drive me at this stage
  • Planning for Xmas lunch: have not got that far yet
  • Days until Xmas: OMG it's next FRIDAY!
  • State of mind: surprisingly at ease - am sure this will all change come Dec 24th
Does anyone have something to add?








Thursday, 17 December 2009

Acknowledging the elephant in the room

Day 25 yadda yadda yadda


Before my old outfit was bought up by PFE (if you still have trouble remembering acronyms, here is the link) and a variety of great people were laid off shown the door given a magnanimous shove, my ultimate reporting line was to a terrific man who, for all his foibles and doggedness, was a consummate professional. For the sake of anonymity I will call him Hammer-man. 


I learnt pretty quickly that provided you were honest and up-front with this person, he would treat you with the respect and trust that went with your position. Even if your revenues were going down the pan, your staff working on non-billable projects, and your pipeline deals falling by the wayside, if you were able to explain the reasons for this clearly, have a plan of action in place, and show that you were being constructive in your next steps for the business, he pretty much left you to get on with the show and keep him updated on a regular basis. 


What never changed, however, was his penchant for metaphors. No matter what was being discussed, how diabolical the comparison, or even how insignificant the event, he always had the appropriate metaphor. My favourite was about the elephant in the room.


A client wanted X (ie everything plus the kitchen sink), but only had budget for Y (a teaspoon). The negotiations went back and forth over a period of weeks, which dragged in to months. Eventually Hammer-man stepped in and said that the problem was that the client had to acknowledge the elephant in the room. They either changed their requirements or came up with more money. Plain and simple.


Except: the number of stakeholders now meant the project was far greater than originally envisioned, plus the original budget was based on very high level first estimates, which were now obsolete.


"So what do we do about the elephant?" I asked.


"Easy," he replied, "they either opt for a smaller animal or get the taxidermist in."


No idea if this actually answered the problem, but I loved it.










Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Getting into the Xmas spirit - my way

Day 24 - on the home straight now of the daily post (tell me, you will miss this regular rant session, won't you? WON'T YOU?)


Anyway, tube journey in this morning and I end up with the weirdo next to me. It always happens, doesn't it? You see them from a distance and you say to yourself, "Not me please, not me, please do not sit/stand/hover next to me". But they do. It is definitely a homing device implanted somewhere on my being that results in a large beckoning halo of welcome over my head. One that says, in neon lights, "Sucker for punishment, I will give you directions/answer your pleas/feed your children/put up with your antics/tolerate your TOO LOUD MUSIC/smelly food/body odour/etc etc etc".


Of course that all changes as soon as I bite their head off in a fit of transport rage, but I digress.


Weirdo man is wearing a business suit, carrying his laptop in a bag, and wearing a full body length waterproof coat, ie all the way down to his ankles, complete with zipped up hood (which, of course, is covering his head so just his eyes and nose are visible and can furthermore be zipped all the way up so none of his features are showing). Now bear in mind the tube was packed, and despite the arctic conditions outside was quite, well toasty by this time, you would think that at the very least he would take his hood down?
No, he zipped it up further. And stood a little too close for comfort.


What to do? The obvious of course. Tell him in no uncertain terms that you are recovering from swine flu, and such proximity may not be a good idea.


He got off at the next stop.



Tuesday, 15 December 2009

The look of love - or not

Day 23... sorry, just let me check..... yes, 23 indeed. 


You know when someone does or says something and your whole perception of them changes? Yes, like when David Beckham first opened his mouth to talk and you thought "OMG, the man has no testicles!" Or when Renee Zell-wotsit played Bridget Jones in the movie and you realised that she was, actually, very good and pulled the whole persona off better than you had thought possible?


Hey, well, I have just had a similar experience. Except this time the boot was on the other foot, as in I was the recipient of changed perception.


Picture this: am leaving to go home, I get my bag and coat (sounds like the first line to a song, doesn't it? Or am I confusing it with 'Leaving on a jet plane'? ... never mind). A new colleague comments about my range of jackets, stating that he has never seen such a variety (sheltered life, what can I say). I joke about the one I am wearing on this occasion. 
"It is my roadkill sample," I say, gesturing at the fur collar. 


"Is is real?" he asks incredulously.


"Of course," I say, and we proceed to examine the labels inside said garment to determine what animal sacrificed its life to adorn my neck. Marmot, in case you were wondering.


Cue look of horror from another fellow worker sitting at adjacent desk. He is a vegetarian. We had all been out to get lunch together and he was very chatty and quite friendly.


He has not even said hello to me since.


But the punch line belongs to the aforementioned colleague.


"My grandfather was a pelt trader," he concluded. "He always said classy women wore fur."



Monday, 14 December 2009

Return to the fore

Day 22 - gaining momentum again now, I think.


So, back again after a weekend free of children and laundry. I actually came home to scenes of relative domesticity: fridge and cupboards stocked (albeit with some rather peculiar choices), tidy kitchen (I won't comment on the way the dishwasher was stacked), and even clean sheets on the bed. 


Well, clean bottom sheet and pillow cases.


"What happened about the duvet cover?" I asked.


"I got distracted," Other Half replied. "Too many things to do."


Mmmm, yes, I know the feeling well.


p.s. I have tried wherever possible to include all followers and other friends in the 'invitees' list so they can still access the blog. If you know of anyone who would like to continue reading the daily rants and is unable to access them, drop me a line at londoncitymum@gmail.com so I can add them to this very exclusive club (cough cough). Am still hopeful this will be a temporary measure and that PFE will cease and desist shortly from being, well, paranoid I guess.





Sunday, 13 December 2009

On the road again, or was that a pig flying past my window?

Day 21 of the daily post... and I should just make it in time.



Once more on board the Crappy-air flight home. A lovely weekend catching up with friends and family, enjoying great food and good company. And learning things about people whom you have known since teenage years which still surprise you. Or maybe - more importantly - make you re-evaluate your opinions of individuals formed during the 'superficial' years of your life (I say this recognising that I was not particularly profound as a teenager, and easily influenced by what was cool and fashionable).


For example: discovering that a motorbike-mad friend is hugely knowledgeable about Irish folk music, despite never having lived there or even dated someone hailing from the Emerald Isle. Or learning that another friend is a full-time triathlete whose true profession (law) is now a 'hobby'. Or even that someone you believed to be totally aloof and living in a parallel universe somewhere, is actually highly reliable and has a heart of gold.


It is the small things that make you appreciate people and realise why you care about certain individuals, what makes them special. I have no doubt that in times of strife I can count on some friends to drop everything and come to my assistance, as I would do for them.


Of course there is also the other extreme. The time when I gave a girlfriend a week's notice of my impending trip for work to her home city, only to be told that she was going to the gym the particular evening I proposed to meet up for dinner. But, she replied, we could meet afterwards for a drink. At 10.30pm. Hmmm, let me think. Long day with clients, early start again next morning. Er, no thanks. Funnily enough we are no longer in touch.


So, the point about pigs flying, as per the title of this blog post. I think it just goes to say that you should never be surprised by things that, well, are surprising, but in the nicest possible way. It is life-enriching.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Observations from the upper deck (that'd be my brain then, not the bus)

Day 20 - OMG, only 10 days to go? [I do hope you have noted that I am posting 2 sequential blogs to make up for the 'shortfall' due to time difference (cough cough), I am that conscientious...]


Following on from the previous day's post. So I am 'elsewhere' this weekend. I thought I should reminisce a moment about the last Mummys' night which took place on Thursday and was hosted by the gorgeous Canadian Mummy (CM). A total of 15 lovely ladies eating, drinking, catching up, gossiping, laughing and partaking in a Secret Santa.


No, this is not some subversive sexual game involving the reindeer and the keys to the big man's grotto. For those not in the know: all names are put into a hat prior to the event, you then draw one out and buy a (secret) present for that person, maximum spend £10. You then bring said present (wrapped and labeled), along with a plate of food and a bottle of wine, to the hostess's venue and enjoy the proceedings. The aim is to not know - or try to find out - who bought what for whom.


I must say some of the presents were spot on, some were very well thought out, and some were really funny. They were all fantastic, no exceptions. What we all wanted to know is how CM's Secret Santa knew the exact shoe size for her fluffy slippers. A lucky guess? A timely observation? A furtive phone call to the hubby (no chance, he would have got it wrong, we all know that). I think maybe that CM should try and recollect if there was anyone standing particularly close to her over the past few days during drop-off or pick-up and surreptitiously lining up their own foot against hers, in the hope it would give them an indication of size. If queried they might have answered about forward planning for the three-legged race next sports day and seeking appropriate partners.


Either that or they might have just admitted to a foot fetish of Canadian proportions.

Blogger on the go - putting words into action albeit one day late

Day 19 of the daily post effort (I am blaming the time difference for the late entry, pathetic, I know but then again I am the boss on this site so sue me) and I finally got round to buying a notebook. After much faffing and fart-arsing about I walked into the department store opposite the new work abode and just pointed and paid. And ten minutes later (and somewhat cash poorer), voila, I was already up and running.



Amazing when you think about it. Or maybe not. It is probably just me being in awe of technology and finding that my poor brain goes into overdrive when it has to make a related decision. Nothing like the executive decision-making that takes place with work, children, school, grocery shopping, and - yes, you guessed it - laundry.


Anyway, the main reason for the push to finally put my money where my mouth is lies with my weekend soujour in another country. I will be able (in theory, I am yet to put it to the test) to truly 'blog on the go'. No more post-it notes stuck in various handbags, scribbled reminders on the back of napkins, or obscure anecdotes texted to oneself.


Free from the clutches and demands of small children, I am writing on board a Crappy-air flight with a destination that for once is very convenient, and in truth the only logic behind this option. Despite the fact that the cheap seat and the cost to actually get to Stansted does not outweigh the benefit of flying from a closer airport, the far-flung location of arrival is sufficiently near a variety of friends to ensure that at least one of them comes and collects me. Of course, I could always take a taxi but that would really make me Nobby-no-mates and the whole purpose of my visit (aside from seeing family) is to attend a Xmas dinner with my peers of years gone by.


Some observations regarding Crappy-air and those who choose to fly it:


• the interior really is the most vile shade of yellow, it would make even a canary blush - between that and the constant bombardment of vocal advertisements it just makes you want to sit on the wings for some peace and quiet (but I guess they would charge you extra for the privilege)


• the rule of 'one piece of hand luggage only' is blatantly abused, creating a whole underclass of subversives whose attempts to bring two (or more) items on board is worthy of an Olympic category - swearing at ground staff or the rest of the viewing public in general is not even an optional extra, you cannot participate unless you engage in this, persistently and loudly so everyone else can hear as well


• there are still individuals in today's well-traveled world who do not understand the 'stay seated until the sign is switched off' rule of safety, and seem to believe that provided the plane is airborne you can just get on up and have a party - even if it means defying gravity due to the angle at which the plane is climbing


• different nationalities, different herd rationale (ie locating a seat and actually taking possession of it) - for example:


• the British - mostly polite, ask "is this place taken" before stowing hand luggage and siting down promptly


• the Italians - race for the stairs, push and shove everyone aside, and then proceed to wander aimlessly up and down the aisle unable to decide where to sit


• the French - huff and puff and stomp their Laboutins when they are told (by the ground staff, the cabin crew, and eventually even the pilot) that there are no allocated seats and they will have to settle for what is still free


• the Germans - work in teams, with whomever gets on first under strict orders to bag a row (or two) for all their co-nationals


• the Irish - as long as they can get a Guinness they don't give a shit where they have to sit


• the Americans - they don't fly Crappy-air, I think O'Leary has a veto on them ever coming near his planes, let alone boarding one


Ok, a bit of liberty there with the stereotypes, but one has to keep oneself amused.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

La lettre circulaire - LCM version (also referred to as the 'Je ne regrette rien' Xmas special)

Day 18 - and I am blatantly nicking Potty Mummy's idea and writing a (fictitious, just in case PFE is snooping) Xmas circular letter.
Please note the various anecdotes in italics. I have included these just in case you have misplaced your sense of humour and need reminding where to laugh.

Dear All,

What a year it has been, I barely know where to start. I am about to embark on a rant of tumultuous proportions, so look away now if you do not wish to feel inferior in any way.


The year started off promising enough. The darling children were settling in so well at school and making excellent progress, showing great promise and receiving much praise from their teachers and peers. I have spent so much money already on after-hours tuition to ensure they can tell the difference between Kipper and Chip in those bloody early reading books, I will personally throttle the author if I can ever figure out who it is.


We took a much needed holiday in early spring to enjoy some wholesome skiing in the magnificent French alps. The air was so pure, the snow unbelievably fresh, and our skiing improved exponentially. The children made such fast progress in their ski school classes they were awarded honorary gold medals for their efforts. How sweet is that considering their young age? More f*cking money, cannot believe how much they bloody charge for a ski lesson, let alone all the damn equipment you need to do this sport. Whose idea was it that being towed up a mountain and slipping down it on long feet with no brakes was 'fun'? Give me a beer any day. 


Work has been eventful and full of surprises. Our outfit was acquired by an amazing multinational corporation who continue to surprise us with their advancements in technology and innovative ways of doing business. We are in awe of them and so grateful to be the recipients of such wisdom and foresight. It has been an eye-opening experience. It has been the biggest pile of sh*te you could ever imagine, only worse but I had better stop here or I will be tried for treason or whatever else they can levy at me.


We returned to that delightful abode of years gone by in Spain during the summer months and spent endless days soaking up the atmosphere, watching the children play in the pool and relaxing in the glorious surroundings. It was indeed the epitomy of true bliss.  I shouted myself hoarse and spent far too much time doing laundry to ensure we all had some semblance of clean clothes to wear. I came home to have a proper rest.


We have had many wonderful visitors this year, regaling us with all their travel stories and making our weekends so plentiful as they filled our home with laughter and brought generous gifts from lands afar. We always look forward to receiving everyone when they are in town, no matter how brief a visit. What else are friends for? What else indeed? Flippin' bloody cooking and cleaning and endless tourist visits to places packed with people I cannot stand. What is wrong with you lot? Ever heard of a hotel? I am not a free guesthouse.Or restaurant for that matter.

So as the year draws to a close we reflect on our good fortune and hope that 2010 will see you all blessed as we have been. As ever, we will catch up with you in person once the festivities are over and we have had time to adjust to the start of a new year ahead. I am still here. So is the spouse. We are still talking, albeit not on a regular basis. Why the hell you should think we would want to see you now when we have managed to avoid you for the past year is beyond me. But hey, hope springs eternal. Plus mother always told me to be polite.


With much love and best wishes from us all, I wrote this, no-one else had any input, not that you would notice,


LCM

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Random musings, and then some.

Day 17... is it? Yes, I think so.

Anyway, since this is now a 'closed to non-invitees/private forum' so to speak, let's
vent some spleen express some views share some thoughts, since supposedly my paranoid former employer (as from henceforth aka PFE) should no longer be reading let alone accessing my (anonymous) blog. 



(btw, PFE, if you are still snooping around, two words: bog off)

Right, first things first: I am absolutely over the moon to be out of there, let there be no bones about it. New job is terrific and I am very happy. Only sadness is having left some really talented and wonderful people 'behind'. But never fear, where there is a will, there is a way. They too shall rid themselves of the shackles that still bind them. Soon.

Second: a huge thank-you to all the friends, family, ex-colleagues, virtual blogging community acquaintances who have contacted me to say a) where the f*ck has your blog gone, I cannot access it any more, and b) keep on writing, you make us laugh (which was/is the whole point of this venture, something lost on 
others, but I digress, again)

Third: is it me or are you also fed up with celebrity culture, and have been for quite some time (mind you, I was never interested in the first place, but it seems to have spawn and justified a whole generation of magazines, TV shows, raisons d'etre, etc, etc, yawn, v boring)?

Fourth: how do some women manage not just to wear but also to walk in v high heels to/from the station/work/home abode without either falling over (or maybe they do, I just never am around to see it happen) OR getting sore feet day in, day out? Are these the same women who have botox injections into the balls of their feet so they can walk on their tip toes for longer? No idea, but it does cross my mind whilst trudging around in my runners, heels in my work bag. Think it comes under same heading as the
jeans in boots post a couple of weeks ago.

Fifth: hang on, I need a wee.

.............................................

Right, where was I? Oh yes, fifth: there is another Mothers' Night Out tomorrow! Secret Santa, elves' ears and reindeer noses. The first already sorted, the latter two optional. The gorgeous Canadian mummy is hosting, so promises to be great fun. Although will have to pace myself as required to attend nativity play following morning and then make a bee-line for the airport in time to catch - what does Jaywalker call it? Oh yes,
Michael O'Leary's yellow bird of death - flight to see brother in another country. 



Still trying mentally sort out logistics of posting on blog from a foreign country without access to a pc... hmmm, challenges, challenges... maybe I can post from my phone? would entail rather lot of texting and possible RSI of the fingers....


OK, brain empty, over to you for some random musings.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Claim to fame (and a tenuous one at that)

Day 16 - and we're past the half-way mark

Some reminiscing today, since 'tis the season to be merry - although some people seem to have lost their sense of humour entirely... now there's an idea for a Xmas present:

"Oh darling, just what I wanted! Parfum du Bonne Humour! How did you know?"

"Well," he says meekly, hiding the stump of his left arm behind his back as he goes to kiss his beloved under the mistletoe, "I just thought you were a little vicious the other evening and could do with some light-heartedness in your life..."

Anyway, I digress. So, a claim to fame you ask? Well, did you know that LCM attended her ante-natal classes when expecting Mr Man not only in the company of a very well-known British newsreader (who was v v v funny and a really great storyteller, as you would hope with a journalist), but also a supermodel? Aha! Gotcha. You didn't. But it is true. The lovely Christine Hill who ran the classes (and still does) was recommended to me by Top Girlfriend (aka the one who introduced me to Other Half and hence gets blamed for rather a lot), and was by far one of the best pieces of advice I have ever been given.

So whilst I can reminisce about such times and pretend that some of the supermodel's glamorous lifestyle rubbed off on me (it didn't), I can state for the record that I have sat next to one of the most beautiful women in the world and spoken to her and exchanged notes about respective pregnancies (mainly regarding whether we would try to bring our kids up as bi-lingual - I am sure she has been far more successful than me in this respect) and felt almost totally unfazed by it all. Almost.

And she was not wearing a scrap of makeup, ever.
And had the most amazing bone structure.
And she was really down-to-earth and easy to talk to.
And was smart and savvy and cool, all at the same time.

And she nicked the name for her son off one of the other girls.

Well, that's what we all decided as she never invited us round for tea after all.

Monday, 7 December 2009

When to act your age and not your shoe size

Day 15 of the daily post effort - yippee, half way!

So Mr Man plays rugby under-7s on Sundays. Other Half used to play years ago and gave up when he moved to London and joined a club. In the first half of one of the early games there were two broken legs. He decided to change sport soon after, not willing to up the tally.

But, of course when you have children and they are involved in sporting activities, as a parent you join in. Cue Other Half now training to become a rugby coach, as are many of the other dads.

After the first coaching session a couple of weeks ago, they were divided into teams for a game of tag rubgy, ie no body contact or tackling.

By the end of the (short) match, there were some 19-odd grown-up men on the side line with injuries of various sorts: torn hamstrings, twisted ankles, groin strains...

Other Half was 'undamaged'. Plus he scored an impressive six tries. Can now understand his keenness for Mr Man to play winger, just like his dad. For once age has made him wiser and kept him out of harm's way.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

What a difference 10 minutes makes

Following on from my earlier post.

Day 14 of the daily post (am trying hard not to flag)

Back on the conveyor commuter belt one week, and I just wanted to emphasise - visually - the difference ten minutes can make in the morning when catching public transport.

Early:


Late:


What amazes me is whilst there have been past uproars about the manner in which livestock is transported around the EU, we seem to be perfectly content to put up with travel conditions for ourselves that make sheep trucking look luxurious by comparison.

At least by showing this to the children they get an understanding of why Mummy is so keen to shove them out the front door on time every morning, preferring the former conditions to the latter.

All together now: baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa...




Slight change of plan

The daily post will continue, there is one ready and waiting to 'ship out the door' which will be posted later today.


However, due to the manner in which some people have been purposely misinterpreting this blog and past posts (see note about 'freedom of speech' to your right), I have been forced to change the manner in which it is visible to the outer web sphere. 


It is therefore - until further notice - only going to be visible to those whom I choose to see it. Should you not have been included on this list (I won't say 'exclusive' as that definitely sounds too pretentious) but would still like to pop by and have a read and a laugh - and can appreciate the tongue-in-cheek sarcastic take of my ramblings - then please drop me a line and I would be delighted to add you to the audience again.


I won't apologise for the inconvenience it will undoubtedly cause, but will say that, once more, 'normal service will resume shortly'.



Saturday, 5 December 2009

A smile a day

Day 13 - ho hum, bit stuck in a rut for an post idea.... hang on, let me wrack my poor little brain... ok, yes, got something.

Favourite joke (or one of them, at least).

How many gays does it take to change a lightbulb?

7

One to change the bulb and 6 to stand back and go "Faaaaaa-bulous, dah-ling!"

Is that non-PC? Offensive? I did tell it recently to some gay friends of mine and they loved it, so my take is that if they find it funny, so should you.

And if you don't, hey, one less after-dinner joke to pass round the table.

Friday, 4 December 2009

What Kevin did next (or rather another case of "once upon a time")

Day 12 - still here despite everything.

One of Kevin's lovely ladies went into a bookstore to find the latest novel on the reading list. She looked and she looked and she looked, to no avail.

She approached the fellow at the help desk and asked him for assistance.

"Do you have a book called 'A Scandalous Woman'?" she asked.

He looked perplexed. And then he smiled complicitly at her.

"Is it an erotic novel madam?"

Kevin's lovely lady was horrified.

"Good heavens," she exclaimed. "I'll have you know I belong to a serious book club!"

She found the book, eventually. 'A Scandalous Life' was its title. Not that far off really. Including the content.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Business, bonuses and bloody banks

Day 11, I think, of the daily post.

A slight digression as I am back in the working world. Or maybe not (digression, that is) as the case may be, guess it depends on where you are coming from.

Anyway, just a brief post as the debate comes to the fore, once again, about bankers' bonuses and whether we should/should not be paying them in light of the state the people the taxpayers owning 70% of one much loathed institution and parts of others.
Opinion as ever is divided on who should get what or if anyone should get anything.

I can offer only two pieces of insight on this as a former IB*:

1. the notion that if "the directors ... were prevented by the chancellor from fulfilling their duty (their fiduciary duty) by providing the rewards commensurate with preserving the wealth of the shareholders, they would have to quit" is a joke. If they are that fickle, then I dare them to (they won't)

2. those who work in the industry do it out of choice. As a very good friend of mine said recently, "You work in the City for the remuneration, not the glory".

There. Have said my bit.


*Investment Banker, just in case you were thinking of something else

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

And for my next trick, I will morph into a goldfish

Day 10 (Iota, you have my admiration already, it is increasing by the day with these posts now)

So - fresh start (yippee), new office (bright and s p a c i o u s), different colleagues (very pleasant and professional), variation on tube journey.

So far so good.

Except. When you take the wrong turning out of the underground and walk around in circles saying to yourself, "It must be here, the direct entrance to the building that I remember from last time..." for about 10 minutes. And eventually retrace your steps, emerge above ground, and look for map to figure out where the devil you are supposed to be.

Except. When you hang around the sliding doors guarding each floor trying to look nonchalant (shuffle papers, look at messages on phone, stare into outer space like you are thinking really interesting thoughts), hoping that someone will come along soon and enable you to go out/come in as your visitor pass is still the only ID you have and does not have "Open Sesame" powers. Thank heavens this does not apply to the loos or we I would be in real trouble. Of the cross-legged variety.

Except. When you are graciously offered a locker with key so as to avoid lugging your brick of a laptop back and forth every day and thus risking putting your back out (once more). And then fail miserably to find it again a mere half hour later.


Cue LCM walking (after gaining surreptitious access, see above) round and round and round and round the floor - granted it was one lower than where I had been working, but layout is the same - until by the 5th lap some of the people that had not been paying attention - thankfully - started to wonder if I was the local nutter pretending to be a goldfish for an afternoon.

Did I find the locker? Did I heck. Lugged the bloody thing home again. And picked up 4 children along the way, 3 bikes, 2 schoolbags and lunch boxes to boot. But I was still smiling by the end, promise.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Here's hoping for something in return

Day 9 yadda yadda yadda...


Ok, so I am not a Xmas person. I have already said as much (albeit in passing, towards the very end) in a previous post.


However, I am feeling gracious enough, given that the tinsel, fairy lights, wrapping paper and assorted decorating paraphernalia has not yet affected my mood (not yet, I said), to give a free plug to a website I have only recently been made aware of.


The very nice Nick has sent me the following email:


"I wanted to drop you a note in the run up to Christmas from VoucherCodes.co.uk – we’re a money saving website who scour the web for deals and discounts and put them in one place.  You can see the sort of thing we do at www.vouchercodes.co.uk."


Now, being relatively new to this kind of stuff (Laura and Potty Mummy are far more au fait than me), I have run a due diligence and checked it out, and yes, it is kosher, and yes, it does have some excellent vouchers on offer. No obligations, no signing up to pyramid-selling schemes, no handing over the children (actually, that might be a good idea...), just genuine vouchers to get money off some very well-known brands: Boden, Mothercare, Play.com, Figleaves, to name a few.


So have a look and judge for yourselves.


Go on, you know you want to. Beats the crowds any time.

Monday, 30 November 2009

The X in X-Factor

Day 8 of my daily post effort

This year I have not followed X-Factor. In fact I have only ever followed it once, last year. Between that and Strictly Come Dancing my Saturday nights last year were - I kid you not- verging on the obsessive. Laundry duties have since taken over, as regular readers will know.

That aside, I did watch the show a couple of weeks ago and was struck by how the pop factory that is Mr Cowell and co have singularly failed to provide us lesser humans (ie those who would fail at the audition trials, let alone attempt to enter in the first place) with translators for those contestants who talk so fast and so garbled they make comedians like Michael McIntyre seem positively s l o w in their delivery.

Not sure what I mean? Have a look at this then for an interview.



And please spare me the "she's young and fun and full of life" comments.
I need a translator!

The X in X-Factor? I give you the Devil's Dictionary's definition:


X


1. a useless letter of Greek origin duplicated and easily replaced by other letters.
2. a thing lacking in identity, or quantity.
3. David Duchovny.


I rest my case. Know what I mean, innit?

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Hi ho, hi ho, it's (back) off to work I go

Day 7 of the daily post effort (are you sick of reading this yet? I have already lost track and have to keep reverting to earlier posts to see what number I am up to)

Right, here we go again. Once more into the foray that is the magimix of commuter hell (because you finish your journey as the sum of multiple parts, not all of them yours to start with) and the madness of the career ladder.
Not so sure about the career ladder bit really, time will tell, but this new venture should see the bank balance replenished somewhat so that at the very least I can do away with the 'cheap' option at the supermarket rather than the normal selection of pre-redundancy days.

Having said that, it will also mean reverting back to ordering on line, now that I think of it, as the days of shopping mid-week will be a thing of the past. Wonder if I can remember my password? Am sure it has expired.

So, a list to tick off as I prepare to go forth:

  • packed lunches for Mr Man and Blossom - check
  • PE bags for same - check
  • bookbags - check
  • clean school uniforms - check
  • matching pairs of shoes - check
  • bike helmets - check
  • high viz jackets - check
  • keys for bike locks - check
  • lights for bike journey home - check
  • own handbag - check (although not sure of contents yet, mental note to take out go-gos, colouring pencils and plastic car)
  • workbag for shoes, book, other 'stuff' - check (note that shoes are still absent, tbd depending on outfit choice, see next point)
  • clean outfit for first day in office - check (actually that's a lie as have no idea what I am going to wear until I open cupboard and stare vacantly at contents for five minutes in the morning)
  • phone, preferably charged - check
  • reading glasses - check
  • sufficient food in cupboard/fridge to avoid visit to shops en route home so we can have some semblance of dinner - check
  • milk for breakfast, ditto - check
  • dishwasher ready to go - check
  • washing in machine/dryer - check (definitely have a laundry obsession, no two ways about it)
  • KEYS TO HOUSE - check
There, all done.

Except I forgot one thing:
  • next blog post(s) ready to go - check
Am thinking of this as being a bit like preparation for lengthy absence from home, eg. when you cook and freeze meals so you don't worry about your family going hungry whilst you are away.

Except this is more a case of writing up various future blog posts to different degrees of completion and then 'hoping' a minimum of editing will suffice before I hit the 'publish' key.

Will be known henceforth as LCM BOTG (blogger on the go).

Friday, 27 November 2009

The things you do to pass time (and the silly thoughts that pass through my head)

Day 5 of my own daily post effort

This week saw me up on the Kings Road, shooting the breeze with Widget as we enjoy our last few days together before he returns to nursery full time and I join the commuter throng again.

After the usual tour around PJ's (total spend, £11.95, very tame I thought) and some other shops that I managed to drag him in to and out of without damage trailing in our wake, we sat down in Duke of York Square and Widget munched his way through his packed lunch while I did some people spotting.

Or rather, some Yummy Mummy spotting.

In the space of time it took my youngest to finish off a ham and cheese sandwich, a sausage roll, a fruity flapjack, pack of raisins and an entire apple, this is a sample of what passed by:


(N.B. In the interest of anonymity I have applied where necessary very fashionable bug-eye sunglasses, so no nasty emails about privacy and copyright and what-not please, ok?)


Yummy Mummy no.1:





Yummy Mummy no.2:



And no.3:



Nos. 4 & 5:



No. 6:



Oh, no, sorry, that was the Filipino nanny.

And there were many, many more when we jumped on the bus (adventure, yippee!) to head homewards:






Obsessed? Possibly. But not what you may think. It's the jeans/trousers and boots thing! I wanted to jump up and ask them "How do you do it?"
How do you manage to wear long boots over your trousers and still zip them up? Are yours pseudo-trousers that in true fact are cut off below the knee? Are they a shrink-wrapped version that moulds to your leg before you put your footwear on? Are they in actual fact - horror, shock - leggings? Or are your boots expandable in some manner, in a weird leather/lycra mix that I have never come across yet?
How come I can only wear my boots either under my trousers (if they will then go over them, in which case why bother) or with a dress or skirt, and even then struggle madly to do the zip up (lying on my back with legs in the air) and painfully take the first few steps to 'accommodate' the fat re-distribution of my calves?

So never mind the fact that these women all looked gorgeous, scrubbed and polished to the nines and probably have never had to tackle a pile of laundry in their life, I want to know how this boot business works.

Ideas, anyone?



Thursday, 26 November 2009

The wisdom of Widget

Day 4 of my own daily post effort.

Widget bursts into our bedroom this morning as I am stumbling out of bed. The following conversation ensues:

Widget - Mummy, when can we get a very fast sports car?

LCM (brain not entirely engaged yet for witty repartee with a 4yo) - Errrmmm... when mummy has lots and lots of money?

W (not missing a beat) - You can have my money!

LCM (still waking up) - Oh sweetie, that's very kind of you, thank you.

W - Yes, but you have to give it back.

I suddenly had a vision of him as a bank manager in years to come.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

The curse of nativity plays

Day 3 of my own daily post effort.

Most amused by LWM's recent post on this Xmas-related topic. I never quite made it to acorn status in my primary school nativity plays, but I was a wave once in the production of the Sorcerer's Apprentice. I even have a photo to prove it:



That's me on the far right of the picture. Apologies for the quality, but we are talking 1970s here. Am sure you can see the similarities with my LCM caricature, yes? No? Never mind. Suffice to say we wore some sort of synthetic kaftan in cerulean blue to which were stapled strips of green/dark blue/turquoise crepe paper. Put me off acrylic for life. And outside of the mothers who created the costumes, no one had the foggiest idea who we were or what we were doing. Some sort of female circular ritual involving shiny material.

However, as part of my drive to be particularly and conscientiously maternal before heading back into the rat race, I am very proud to state here that I have made the costumes for Mr Man and Blossom's roles in the forthcoming nativity play this year.

I give you (drum roll please):



A king's crown. Good, yes? Was most impressed with myself.

And then I made this:



Yes, I know it looks like a t-shirt with cotton wool stuck to it (ingeniously with sticky-back velcro), but that's what the instructions from the school said! I have not shown it to Blossom yet as she will probably refuse to wear it. Can hardly blame her (at least it will not itch like my 1970s wave costume).

Oh, sorry, what is it? A cloud, stupid!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Back on the road again

Day 2 of my own daily post effort.

Hmmmm... where to start? Considering it is now, what, after half past one in the afternoon and I am still sitting at my desk in my filthy training kit, I seem to be making little progress.

Well, let's be a tad more accurate here: I have only been sitting at my desk since 11.30 or so, my kit is not really that filthy (although I am keeping my arms well pinned to my sides, you know why), and in truth I have actually been busy with work-related stuff over the past two hours.

Yes, work. Again. In about a week. OMG, what will I do? How am I going to manage after some - let me count - three and a half months of being out of the office? More importantly, who the bloody hell is going to keep on top of the laundry pile? (LWM, this is where we start to seriously negotiate about finding a housekeeper to look after this tedious task for both of us, I kid you not... bugger, I need to change the sheets on our beds... wonder if I can bribe the cleaning lady to do it...)

So, work it will be again. Terms and conditions have been agreed, contracts are  being signed, and if all is done and dusted by the end of the week, Monday morning will see LCM back in the throng of commuters heading up to new premises to recommence her life as, funnily enough, a working mother again.
Am strangely excited, but at the same time somewhat reluctant to get back on the treadmill... although what with the bank balance starting to creak severely I really have no option.

Plus there is a delightful twist in the working tale, which I will reserve for another post.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

A book club called Kevin

Once upon a time there was a group of women girls who loved to read. They decided to form a book club so they could share opinions, views and general chit chat about their enthusiasm for literature.

At their first meeting, one of the dippy blondes (there were a few) said that the book club should have a name. The other members concurred. There followed an intense debate (all of five minutes, Ed.) about what they should call themselves.

Until one of the other blondes piped up and said, "Kevin."

And that, as they say, was that.

Monday, 9 November 2009

And the winner is...

Firstly thanks for those of you who took up the competition challenge and posted an entry. Verbal versions were entertaining but as per the rules were not admissible!

Secondly, as the saying goes, "You gotta be in it to win it!"

So, without further ado, I am delighted to announce that my fellow judge Paul Boakye (of The Colorful Times) and I have decided that the prize goes to Iota for her very funny entry, reproduced in its entirety below:

I've written a rap. It goes like this.

Whether your name is Albert Finney
Or whether your name is Pooh the Winnie,
Whether you're Mickey or whether you're Minnie,
Whether you're a mouse, or a rat, or a guinea
Pig, you might be sad or you might be grinny,
You might have a hairdo like old Yul Brynny
You might be a fatty or you might be a thinny,
You might like your lattes very very skinny,
So skinny the baristas all think you're a ninny,
Say "Hey Barista, you're a ninny in your pinny"
But I swear by the hair on my chinny chinny chinny,
All will be well if you get yourself a hinny.



Iota - can you please contact me via the email address in the side panel to claim your well-deserved winning tribute? Thank you for making me laugh!



Thursday, 5 November 2009

Another moment of madness

Not quite sure what has come over me, but in a fit of madness I have just signed up for the Henley Sprint Triathlon next June 13th to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

Possibly a combination my back finally being sorted (again) thanks to my lovely osteopath who once more came to the rescue, or maybe as penance for having to defer my Great South Run due to the aforementioned injury (on top of bronchitis, flu, cold, etc etc v v v boring). Either way, the deed is done.

I am now attempting to rope in my sister-in-law (who had to do the GSR without me), my running partner (the lovely Brazilian Babe, BB for short), my former rowing crew member and partner-in-pregnancy Miss K (our firstborn arrived within 37 mins of each other) who did this triathlon last year, and anyone else who is game. Team name is Sons and Daughters.

Of course I am now under the illusion that by the time race day comes along I will look like this:




Or even this:



Or, hey, even this:



Of course, I am dreaming and the result will probably be more like this:




But there are still 31 weeks until the big day (best heads up I have ever had), so I live in hope. Just wake me in time for the starter's gun, okay?

p.s. top 3 photos courtesy of Emma Snowsill's website - awesome stuff.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

A case of smugness

After much faffing - in which Other Half claims I am Olympic Champion, I say it takes one to know one - I have produced the revised caricature which now adorns the front page of the blog.

And I am so pleased with my efforts I am reproducing it here for greater effect as the smaller details do not show up in the everyday version.



Can I just add, in case you were wondering, that the adorning clothes are not truly 'me'. In fact I have managed to make myself look like a Laura Ashley advert.

In real life of course I am the epitome of a sleek and highly fashionable business woman.


Quiet in the back there!


Oh, and by the by - Iota has laid down the gauntlet in the competition now, so there is a true challenge afoot to submit a superior entry before Sunday's deadline.

Competition time - small extention

It was pointed out to me that as I (perhaps foolishly, would not be a first either) 'launched' the competition right at the start of half term, perhaps it would be worthwhile extending it slightly to encourage entries from those whom have to date failed could not be ar*sed been unable to join in the fun.

So I am sticking my neck out here and therefore bending the rules (I made them anyway) and extending the deadline to Sunday 8th November.

Click on the link above to see what it entails, and if you were one of the people who submitted suggestions vocally, thanks, but I do need them in writing for proper judgement to prevail!

Over to you. Let's see if anyone beyond Yummy Mummy, Fraught Mummy and Mothership can be fecking bothered to have a go.

Yadda yadda yadda...