Saturday, 31 July 2010

Swearing at work

Dear Staff Members,

It has been brought to Head Office's attention that some individuals throughout the company have been using foul language during the course of normal conversation with their colleagues.

Due to complaints received from some employees who may be easily offended, this type of language will no longer be tolerated.

We do, however, realise the critical importance of being able to accurately express your feelings when communicating with colleagues.

Therefore, a list of thirteen new and innovative "try saying" phrases have been provided so that proper exchange of ideas and information can continue in an effective manner.

1. Try saying: "I think you could do with more training", instead of: "You don't have a f***ing clue, do you?"
2. Try saying: "She's an aggressive go-getter", instead of: "She's a f***ing power-crazy b*tch."
3. Try saying: "Perhaps I can work late", instead of: "And when the f*** do you expect me to do this?"
4. Try saying: "I'm certain that isn't feasible", instead of: "F*** off you tw*t."
5. Try saying: "Really?", instead of: "Well f*** me backwards with a telegraph pole."
6. Try saying: "Perhaps you should check with...", instead of: "Tell someone who gives a sh*t."
7. Try saying: "I wasn't involved in the project", instead of: "Not my f***ing problem."
8. Try saying: "That's interesting", instead of: "What the f***?"
9. Try saying: "I'm not sure this can be implemented within the given timescale", instead of: "No f***ing chance mate."
10. Try saying: "It will be tight, but I'll try to schedule it in", instead of: "Why the f*** didn't you tell me that yesterday?"
11. Try saying: "He's not familiar with the issues", instead of: "He's got his head up his f***ing a*se."
12. Try saying: "Excuse me, sir?", instead of: "Oi, d*ck head."
13. Try saying: "Of course, I was only going to be at home anyway", instead of: "Yeah, who needs f***ing holidays anyway?"

Thank you for your understanding.

Kind regards

p.s. Blatant plagiarism for this post, and you may well have seen it before, but then again, maybe not. And before anyone claims to be 'offended', please note that a) no one made you read this bar yourself, and b) it was sent to me by my former HR director... so blame her.

p.p.s. Possibly also appropriate post given that the blog is now one year old and I needed to remind myself that I still work full-time for a living.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

A natural take on the Gallery - week 21

Having missed my weekly dose of photo-gazing - courtesy of that pesky thing known as 'work', it's a bugger, it is - I now have some time on my hands, what with being on a brief holiday (this time with internet access) and having bribed the kids with all kinds of rubbish and sent them outside to play with water pistols, bags of crisps, ping pong balls and bats. There are some strange noises coming from the garden but I will do what I do best and yell at OH to deal with it.

I am busy.

So - Her Highness says the theme this week is Nature. Hmmmm...

I thought I could submit this:

Real live caterpillars dreaming about being butterflies

Or this:

Live butterfly who thought life as a caterpillar basically sucked *look at me look at me gorgeous colours in my wings and no gazillion bloody feet to contend with* 

Or this:

Canopy of trees

Or even this:

I used to be a tree then some fool thought I would look good as a piece of furniture - which would be great but they made me into a flippin' coffin forchrissake...

And then I thought, why change a habit of a lifetime?

So here you go. My take on nature - a photo conveniently titled "Peaches".

Job done.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Kevin goes countrywide

You guess it. Kevin met again. This time in the beautiful countryside surrounding Henley, and not a rowing blazer or a skirt below the knee in sight.

One of the Kevinettes (our Doctor of Psychology, I seem to recall) mused, "It's just like being in St. Tropez," as we lounged in the garden of the Wine Writer, quaffing a delectable rosé - the first of a few bottles - and enjoying the sunshine.
"All we need now is a yacht docked in the harbour to people-watch from... and some servants to see to our every need..." At which point there was some noise from the kitchen and then - hey presto - a fabulous meal appeared on the table before us, just like that.

And was devoured at speed. We are not known as the 'troughers' by the Lovely Radiographer's husband for no reason. OH reckons we pretend to be a book club, and in reality just sit around eating, drinking, and talking - lots.

"You're right, we do," I answered him. "But we do also discuss the books. Except for the Accountant-turned-Nutritionist. She never reads the books, and if she has it is just coincidence."

"So why does she come along?" he asked.

"Because she gets a free meal, lots of wine and plenty of funny discussions."

"But she could get that at home watching the telly?"

"No, she couldn't."


"We are not on the telly."

So to the books - the likes of the latest two, if you want to join 'virtually' as we have such a high selection criteria for our members *cough*, are listed along the right hand side of this blog - which were dispensed with pretty rapidly. We all liked one, we all struggled with (and in fact abandoned) the other. I will leave you to decide which one deserved what fate. Alternatively click on the links (I am just too nice today).

Best comment from the Doctor of Psychology who queried why male authors always seem to kill off successful and happy women in their novels. We agreed with her theory that it is "because they cannot write about them".

Alternatively it is because they tend to drink their host's cellar dry, quaff all the food in the larder and fridge, and then overstay their welcome by about ten years or so.

Maybe that is why Kevin remains such a select group.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Bringing photos to (canvas) life

Sponsored post

After a truly crappy and very long day at work yesterday (those on Twitter will have a better insight - suffice to say it was mind-numbingly tedious and reminiscent of watching paint dry), I returned home to a wonderful surprise.

Those lovely people at Canvas Dezign sent me a beautiful canvas print of one of my favourite photos of Blossom. I don't tend to gush over such things, but believe me when I say I was blown away. It is stunning.
Just to give you an idea, here's the photo (and yes I am making an exception here, but it is not a recent one):

With over 10 years experience, Canvas Dezign are the UK's longest established canvas printer, specialising in transferring photos and pictures on to canvas. Their prints are produced using 100% pure cotton canvas and are then personally hand stretched over a solid anti-warping pine frame.

The results speak for themselves. I am delighted to recommend them - the links are above or there is a badge on the right hand side panel. Oh, and very good prices too, with numerous monthly discount offers if that is not tempting enough.

Just ask for Kath or Conrad. Tell them I sent you. And remember the funny handshake.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Oh lordy, lordy, lordy

Okay - so you would think after the last triathlon I might had put this misplaced enthusiasm to 'try something different' to bed, yes?

Err, no. Spurred on by the thrashing that my Brazilian Babe training partner and my former rowing crew girlfriend, the lovely Wine Writer, imparted on me, I have now enrolled in another event - the West Wight triathlon on September 19th.

Not to be outdone (or overtaken, I am sure), WW has also taken up the challenge, and I am now nagging BB to do the same. This included a hefty pep talk as to why she should join us whilst we pootled round Richmond Park on our road bikes this morning.

I think she took the hint as she went on to do another lap whilst I headed home...

Anyway. After the sense of humour failure in the pool at the Henley triathlon, I figured I needed to get my swimming back in to gear. Considering it was the one discipline I (foolishly) was not concerned about, it actually ended up being my Achilles heel. So, what to do?

Aha! I thought, I will get a wetsuit and practice open-water swimming whilst on holiday. Since I am not taking my bike with us, nor am I likely to go running in 35C degrees heat on open roads with cars, dust and melting tarmac to contend with, this will be the best option to stay focused.

So my mad Geordie Girlfriend - who has been doing triathlons for some time now - lent me her wetsuit.

"Don't buy one," she said, "I have two - take this one." And she gave me this:

Very nice.

Note the measuring tape detail: GG is a good head shorter than me.

I did look at her when pointing this out and say in disbelief, "And how exactly do you expect me to get this on?" She proceeded to show me - complete with very articulate commentary "you yank your hands down here, and you hoik it up here, and you heave it over here..." - what the process was to get this item of *cough* clothing on, adding that it would take "at least fifteen minutes to get into it".

Fifteen bloody minutes? Squirming on a beach entertaining the masses as I try to envelop myself in a full body wetsuit that looks like it was made for a twelve year old? You're joking, right?

"If' it's too easy, it's too big," she said.

Only GG could say that and keep a straight face, I kid you not.

So - a case of 'try before you buy'.

The squirming into the bottom half (ten minutes):

Squishing my arms in (like pulling on a woollen sweater that has been through the tumble dryer and shrunk, lots) and trying to yank the zip up (don't kid yourself, this actually took 5 minutes and I developed a third boob in the process):

And finally - ta dah! Note how the wetsuit legs are a good ten centimetres too short. Like I said.

I felt like I had jumped into a vat of expandable cling-wrapping plastic and had my lungs shoved up my nostrils.

So I stayed like this until the children agreed to help me take the damn thing off. I bribed them. They are now allowed to drive my vespa on weekends, go to bed after the adults do and eat chocolate cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

You think I am joking? I had to take this photo whilst they wrestled with the alien item.

Guess what? The next triathlon's swim is in a pool as well. Makes me wonder why I am bothering with all this rubber.

Monday, 12 July 2010

What the eye sees... take three

And it's back again, by popular request no less and under threat of duress - taking these photos is hard work you know.

So, at risk of ridicule and with the Transport Police and the Mary Whitehouses of today breathing heavily down my neck, here we go.

Ready? Good.

First up - I give you the inflatable passenger. Typically used for occupying the adjacent seat when you don't want the token weirdo near you, this one seemed intent on hugging the upright pole. Whatever tickles your fancy.

Next up, we have the 'largest earring competition' winner. Forget the Argos-gold-hoop-chav-bling, this woman was hanging the equivalent of a dinner plate from her ear. Slightly hazy - the glass partitions on the tube could do with a clean but that might have bordered on obsessive behaviour and we wouldn't want that now, would we?

And another flower-in-your-hair girl. Less toxic than the last one, but it still looked like she had grabbed one of those peculiar wash cloths and stuck it on her head.

Next - the man who has everything, but still needs *ahem* protection as he battles the commuting masses.

Yes, he kept it on for the entire duration of the journey. Just as well it was ventilated.

And keeping with the hat theme, I give you the Japanese version (trust me on this one, I stalked them from all angles) of Bradford and Bingley:

And the 'I-do-have-a-proper-job-but-want-to-be-in-Pirates-of-the-Caribbean' commuter.

Two cases of 'Oops - bad outfit choice for work'.
First, one that probably should have headed to the beach instead, and second, the man who thought he was still a schoolboy. Hmmmm. I do wonder sometimes if I lead a sheltered life.

Stll with me? Good.

Here is the man who got attacked by his shoelaces. Note the Prada man-bag though. Fashion victim as well as laces victim?

The woman who in 30.9C degrees of heat still thought boots were a good idea.

And the girl who left home in Mummy's shoes (about two sizes too big, but at least she could walk in them unlike the lady in pink shoes)

And finally, last but not least, no post of this nature would be complete without a snap of the (now infamous) Tandem Twins.

But look! They are ever so slightly mismatched! Oh no! Illusion shattered... Oh, hang one, that will be the jacket belonging to one of them hanging over her bag.

Panic over.

Over to you for comments. Play nice now.

Disclaimer: these posts are not meant to offend, they are totally tongue-in-cheek. If you have been captured on film, congratulations, you caught my attention. If this offends you I am truly sorry. A simple email with proof of identity will see you removed tout suite. Just like that.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

I wanna be a rock star but I might need new hips

Just a quickie as I have already written something about this here.

On Wednesday some of my luscious mummy friends and I joined the avalanche of regulars - and many of their offspring, but wisely none of ours - at the Kew Gardens Summer Swing Festival. If you have never been, more the shame, especially when the weather plays ball and the evenings are warm and balmy.

Enough about the forecast.

Here is who we went to see:

Ring any bells? No?

How about this?

Remind you of someone?

Okay, last chance then - ignore the guitarist from Slash who looks like a gatecrasher.

Yes, it is the fabulous Bjorn Again. A great excuse to let your hair down, sing (off key) very loudly, and scare all the attending children with your frenetic 1970s dance moves and pogo-jumping antics. Of course, a few glasses of wine help as well. Although it then becomes a fine balance between enjoyment and containment as we realised after a steady hour or so of bopping that we could be serious contenders for Tena Lady.

Upside: so many youngsters fled our vicinity we moved right up to the front of the stage. In fact, we have already established that next year we intend to go one better and get on it.

Downside: that zimmer frame I had been putting off is now on order.

By the way, this is what we looked like, well, two of us anyway, suitably doctored of course:

And this was the lovely photographer (she must have momentarily fled the stage) who snapped us in full flow:

But more than anything, we were intrigued by this interloper who not only was dressed as a heavy metal fan (the Slash guitarist's sole true devotee), but was also intent on waving a half-eaten baguette towards the stage for the duration.

Honestly, the things people do when they get older. Tsk.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

I speaka da language, yes? The Gallery - week 18

Tara's latest subject for this week's gallery is holidays.

Now whilst most people would capture the scenery, the children frolicking on the beach, the tanned and toned beautiful young things strutting their stuff (like the infamous Brazilian bottom photo here), I somehow got distracted.

The photo says it all really. Click to enlarge and read the writing on the back of the car in green.

And can I just add that no doctoring was used in the posting of this photo?

Monday, 5 July 2010

Robots Anonymous (not quite)

Now I think I turned up at the right place. Lots of other women milling round exchanging (sometimes hesitant) greetings and launching themselves at each other when virtual recognition became reality. It felt a bit like a 'sleb-fest, although to be honest, I have no idea what that is like either.

Actually I know I turned up at the right place because I was instantly plied with irrelevant freebies that were swiftly dispatched to the more desperate deserving amongst us, ie mothers with young babies.

It was either that or a quick trip down North End Road to see if any of the Saturday stall holders wanted the goods.

Now don't get me wrong, I am not being ungrateful, I just had limited use for a) feeding bottles, b) weaning spoons, and c) pureed organic baby food.

I did try to fob them off on to my partner in crime, The Prez, but she was having none of it.

"My children are more grown up than yours," she said, tossing her locks.

"Oh no they are not," I replied defiantly.

"Oh yes they are," she countered.

"Prove it!" I said

"My house will be trashed when I get home.Yours will still look presentable."

"Yeah," I said, "But that's only because I lock them in the garage when I go out." *

I digress.

So - the infamous CM. How was it for me? Well, aside from showing my face at a public event meant banishing (almost all) anonymity, I loved meeting new 'virtual' friends in the flesh. By far that was the very best thing of the entire day. Now whether they felt the same way putting a face to the sarcasm only time will tell...

On the plus side we have also established a new, very exclusive, club, which is *cough* by invitation only.
The Prez has final say on any new members being introduced, although bribery is fully acceptable provided it is accompanied by copious bottles of Oyster Bay Sav Blanc (you can take the girl out of NZ, but you can't take the bottle of wine out of her hands without a fight).

The badge is here:

Wear it (if you were fortunate enough to get one) and display it on your blog with pride!

* I made that whole conversation up btw, but am sure all will be forgiven as I did post her shoes, wig and granny shawl back to her this morning by special delivery. I could have just given the lot to the neighbour's dog. Although a Shih-Zhu in a blonde curly wig might look - ahem - slightly peculiar. Never mind. Next!

Thursday, 1 July 2010

My contribution to the Alternative Boden Catalogue

The masses are revolting.

No, that does not mean we are sinking to levels of riotous abandon and debauchery.

Far more entertaining stuff.

Dulwich Mum is compiling her very own Alternative Boden Catalogue. How could I resist her request to contribute?

Boden catalogue – page 23

Gwendolen wears Granny's Sunday Best in “Old Tablecloth”, Denim Skirt in “WAG Wannabe”. Belt in "Plastic Fantastic" and Everyday Shoes in “Vomit” - matching tights available.

Favourite thing: Going commando at the school gates and buying 'Hello' magazine.

If you fancy joining in - go on, you know you really want to - then follow suit and put a photo and caption on your blog, link it to Dulwich Mum and notify her here.

Your chance to revolutionise the catalogue clothes shoppers! Onwards comrades!

p.s. can I just add, for clarity's sake, that the photo is copyrighted to Boden and the real catalogue can be found here. Johnny, if you read this, it is all just a bit of fun. No such thing as bad publicity.

Yadda yadda yadda...