Thursday, 29 September 2011

The very latest random conversations with my training partners and a whiff of conspiracy


Text messages.

LCM - Okay, have had to make final decision after much deliberation and off and on back spasms that come and go at random.Will not be competing at IoW as risk of further and longer lasting injury too high. Am gutted as despite lack of training and knowledge of the bastard bike ride, I was really up for it.
BB - That's it? Can I borrow your bike rack?

The race comes and goes.

Text messages.

BB - Have a look at results. WW was 4th!!! I was 37th on bike ride - out of 41. I saw the 'last runners marshall' for the first time ever. Hopefully last too.
LCM - Saw  results, am laughing that WW was slower this year by 3 mins yet has moved up from 9th to 4th. Hope springs eternal?


WW - I'm just bathing in the glory of 4th without thinking about the merry detail! Okay, swim time appalling. Might need a new/better nose clip, kept falling off (is that me blaming my tools? Or maybe I should blame the guys that made me swim front crawl...?). Run time not good, wondered why I was enjoying it, but then there was a lieutenant with a 'nice bum' (said the water girls) in front of me... But hey, the conditions were obviously much, much tougher this year (ahem, she lies).

Phone call.

BB - So we do Windsor again next year, yes? WW has already enrolled.
LCM - We are already booked to do Blenheim triathlon and it's the week before. And anyway, Windsor entries will be full by now. They all go in space of a few days.
BB - Can you just check on your computer now? Look at the website?
LCM - I am at work. I am far too busy.

Later, by text.

BB - Website I am looking at says entries are closed - bummer! Any other ideas?
LCM (pumps fist, cheers under her breath) - Yes, Henley instead :-)

Phone call.

BB - Are you busy?
LCM - I was.
BB - Can you talk?
LCM (rolls eyes) - Yes, unless you want me to do a mime act via telephony.
BB - I have found a way to enter us in Windsor next year!
LCM - Oh lordy, lordy, lordy... Who did you bribe?
BB (in very proud voice) - I just had to enter us in another event as well to secure our places.
LCM - You are joking, right?
BB - Nup. Email confirmation on its way to you now.
Cue new email in inbox.
LCM - I just got it. Is this a conspiracy or something? What did you and WW get up to on the Isle of Wight? That's now three triathlons in four weeks!
BB - Relaaaaaaax! It's ages away!
LCM - Yup. That's what we said last time, and I ended up with the race marshals cheering me on because they wanted to go home!

That same day, by email.

BB - Ladies - we are all on! Eton and Windsor. See you all soon for autumn training!
WW - Woo hoo!
LCM - Nutters. The lot of you.

I swear these two are out to get me. Not sure under what guise yet, but am sure that will become apparent in due course.


Sunday, 25 September 2011

Waiting for Kevin

If there is something that never ceases to amaze me about Kevin, it is how much I laugh every time we meet.
Some eleven years on, with most founding members still present and intact, the conversation flows, the discussions are lively, and the spouses all take cover. Or absent themselves from proceedings.

Of course, the Black Book that contains the titles of all tomes we have read over this period - and comments, themselves cause for amusement as well - is testament to the range of authors and genres that have crossed our literary tastes. However, it is the banter that accompanies these meetings that is by far the most entertaining.

Take the last get together. We all descend upon the Botanical Artist's abode. Her husband has wisely taken refuge elsewhere (a 'Meet the Teacher' evening at the school certainly promised more discipline and less rude jokes) and her daughter was wise to us given past history.
Sat in the kitchen with a (gratefully received) glass of wine in my hand, the Doctor of Psychology looks at the food laid before her, opens her arms wide and declares, "Well, I've got the nipples!"
"Yes," retorts the Lovely Radiographer, "We know that, you don't have to flaunt them."

Not only are we going deaf, we are also reverting to teenage innuendo.

Thereafter followed a lively discussion around dementia and whether calling your own children by the wrong names qualified for this label. I am a fully paid up member in this regard, although I still sustain that it keeps them on their toes as they are never quite sure whether they should be sitting in the naughty corner or if they are doing time on their sibling's behalf. No matter. I have age on my side.

The conversation then veered by way of the two books we had read - both commendable, btw - to whether leftovers from dinner could be taken home if a clip box was provided (answer: yes, a true gourmet doggy bag), to fashion faux pas in Palma (think tent dresses and Jesus sandals and you get the idea), to lactose-free cheeses (apparently there is such a thing), renditions of various accents (the best being the broad Yorkshire farmer version by the Lovely Radiographer), to an amusing tale about spotting Len Goodman in the dry docks where the Titanic was built.

"I thought it was him from a distance but could not be quite sure. Then I realised there was a camera crew right behind me and I was in their way, as they must have been filming him for something," said Belfast Blonde.
"What did you do?" we all asked.
"Yelled 'Sevvvvveeeeeeen' at him, and moved on," she answered, as if it were the most natural thing in the world.

And the moral of the tale this time is that when other stories get in the way of a good book, you laugh so much that you forget to set the date for the next meeting. Yes indeedy.

Waiting for Kevin? We may be some time.


Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Rogue trading - the view from the inside

It was all going so well. The sun was shining, the gods were smiling, the upper echelons of power didn't have a clue and I was playing (yes, playing!) with other people's money. 
Bliss, I tell you, absolute bliss. Not even Swiss efficiency could touch me. I was king of the world, dabbling in markets that meant nothing to mere mortals, racking up trades that would baffle the common man on the street, hedging positions that covered my arse and guaranteed my multi-digit bonus.
"Wasssssup?!?" was the catchphrase we used to greet our peers in the morning, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 6.30am, ready to take on the world.
"GrΓΌtzi mittenand!" was the reply from our boss, Herr Stickler. A right one, he was. William Tell of the modern era. Nothing got past his beady eye. Heard a snippet about shorting the Euro? He was on to it like a rat up a drainpipe. Got a tip off regarding safe haven investments? His slippery fingers were all over the phone dials placing positions. Overheard a discussion on an innovative hedging strategy? He was on to it before you could say, "Two billion dollars."
Amazing, a true talent. Like the rest of us. Young (ish, Herr Stickler is pushing thirty after all), ambitious, hungry (and not just for food), over paid and over here. Nothing stood in our way.

There was just that very irritating institution called the Swiss National Bank and their insistence on interfering in the market when, really, they should have known better. I mean, the motto "Who dares, wins" was not intended for a national institution trying to protect their currency from positions of unbearable strength.
It was meant for us masters of the universe who were able to defy common sense, throw caution to the wind and gamble away the company's nest egg under the pretext of making eye-watering profits. Sanctioned all the way to the top we were, I'm telling you. Of course, they conveniently deny everything now, claim they had no idea. Pure as the driven snow.

Oh well. Never mind. As Herr Stickler said to me the other day when we exchanged words in the police cell, "At least it wasn't our own money."


Tuesday, 13 September 2011

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