Wednesday, 30 December 2015


Almost another year gone.

It's been hard work, stressful, testing, and tough. 

Plenty of mishaps, quite a few health scares (others, not me) involving nearest and dearest, some departures of loved ones, lots of trying situations, financial worries, and all the usual first-world problems that really pale into insignificance given other events going on in the world.

Suffice to say I have survived. Just.

But the focus for 2016 will be:
  1. moving the business on and growing it
  2. bringing in some much needed revenue
  3. sorting out the marketing and sales for my first book, and
  4. writing, publishing and doing the same for my second one
And somewhere in there is the small matter of family, social life, a semblance of training, and other events and commitments that keep me relatively sane and grounded.

So with that long preamble out of the way, I will be taking a sabbatical from the blog for a while. Not that I have run out of inspiration - unlikely, just ask OH, I have an opinion on everything apparently - but needs must and that means less fart-arsing around with fun-stuff-that-earns-me-nowt, and more energy into fee-earning hard-nosed business acumen stuff.

I won't be long. I hope.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Festive grumblings

It almost seems mundane to repeat the rantings of last year's Christmas circular letter.

So I won't.

Instead here is something completely fabricated. Or not. You decide.

Hello happy campers!

It seems like only yesterday that we were raising a glass to the new year, and yet here we are (almost) again. Well, I never!

The children have simply amazed us over the past twelve months. Mr Man came first in the extremely competitive annual cowpat-throwing county event sponsored by a local fertiliser manufacturer. Blossom auditioned successfully for the role of the tree in the West End production of 'Wind in the Willows', and Widget was named chief mascot for the local authority's allotment allocation selection committee.

We could not have been prouder. It brought a tear to my eye.

OH opted against climbing Mt Kilimanjaro again (it would have been his fifth time) and instead accepted the honour of leading a party of octogenarians in their attempt to scale the stairwell up The Monument. Alas, it had to be cancelled at the eleventh hour due to some unforeseen fatalities brought on by advanced ageing.
He is such a trooper, though. Undaunted by this hiccup he proceeded to learn a new skill and is now rodeo master at the local hippodrome, teaching children how to wrestle wild horses in his spare time.

My heart just flutters at the mere thought.

My own adventures this year have been very low key. A sole Channel swim and some base jumping is all I could manage, but then again I am so grateful for being given the opportunity to ride my bike across the Cuillin Ridgeline and give Danny MacAskill some valuable tips before his own attempt.

Such an honour as well to be nominated for SPOTY, but I had to withdraw given personal reasons and a clash of interests with another event that was taking precedence in my calendar.

So, on to another year. How exciting!

I hope this finds you and yours well, and if not, then so be it.

See you around the corner.



Wednesday, 16 December 2015

The errant apostrophe

"What do you say when comforting a grammar nerd?
There, their, they're."

It is over ten years since Lynne Truss wrote her book, and yet every day I still come across instances of incompetent grammatical errors being displayed in the public forum by grown up, educated, and - I am guessing - fairly articulate individuals.

Just today I came across this (as part of a LinkedIn post): 

"[...] effort and time given by some Mum's and Dad's, who get involved in the coaching..."

Since when were random parents recognised as individual proper nouns?
And how does any inserted apostrophe make the singular, plural?

A very funny Twitter campaign started some time ago, appropriately by one of the star teachers of Educating Yorkshire (if you have never seen this, then do yourself a favour and watch it), to address this very issue and pet hate.

Every Wednesday, without fail, an avalanche of poorly written grammar would be broadcast to the wider world, the aim being - or so I thought - of educating those still in doubt about where to put that pesky little 'high' comma so that the meaning of your sentence did not confound your audience.

This was my contribution:


Alas, poor punctuation persists. And no, it is not a case of many individuals being dyslexic.

Now, if only there was an apostrophe-check program on computers. 
Or a random hand that would come out and slap fingers if the incorrect format was used, preferably before the < enter > button was pressed.

Hmmm. New business idea for 2016?


Saturday, 12 December 2015

As time goes by

It could possibly have something to do with the time of the year. Or maybe not. However the question remains whether it is just me getting days muddled up and thinking I am further into the week than is actually the case, on multiple occasions.

Last week I went through the whole of Thursday convinced it was Friday. It was only after posting an observation on Facebook ("... brought to you courtesy of Friday ponderings...") and having it queried by a good friend that I realised I was a day ahead of myself. It was already past noon by this stage.

Then on Wednesday just gone, I was convinced it was the eve of Saturday, and proceeded to plan - in my mind - what events were taking place (thankfully very few) that required my presence and/or attention over the weekend.

You can imagine how disappointed I felt when I realised, somewhere around three in the afternoon, that there were still two working days left. And I had a number of meetings and calls on both of them.

I suppose it is around this time in your life when you occasionally query whether poor genes will eventually get the better of you.
On my mother's side of the family there is a history of bad hips.
On my father's, senile dementia, prevalent in the female lineage.

So I guess I may someday end up going for a run, getting stuck, but being none the wiser. Or indeed just wondering why I am in the midst of Richmond Park wearing my knickers on my head, fairy wings and flip flops.

Small mercies.

Microchip might be the answer. Must tell OH.



Saturday, 5 December 2015

Perceptions of incompetence

If there is one thing that truly riles me it is poor customer service.
There is only another level worse than this: rude customer service.

This week I had two samples of the latter in the space of a mere morning.

Let me enlighten you.

Picture the first scene: an individual - let's call him Bruce - learns about my line of business and utters those infamous three words, "We should talk."

Out of courtesy I agree, he lives nearby after all, there is some vague common ground (very vague, to be honest) and we settle on a time and place near home.
He later asks if we can move to an even closer venue as he "is expecting a delivery".
Fine, not a problem.

Come the day, I turn up, wait some twenty minutes, send him a text ("I am here", no reply) and then head home as I have work to do. I figure he has been delayed and at worst our paths will cross as there is only one way to approach the venue from our respective residences.

Forty-five minutes later I get an email - via LinkedIn, of course.

It says, "Call me" and his number.

Excuse me? You requested this meeting, you have my contact details, yet I am to call you?

Another message follows. "Not sure why you arrived so early?"

Turns out I had it wrong in my diary. By half an hour. Mea culpa.
Before I can answer, he sends me another LinkedIn note with a cut and paste of our original email exchange - stating time and place - with a note: "Please see your message. And my reply."

Well, Bruce, let me educate you a moment here.
When it comes to looking for new business, telling prospective clients about the error of their ways, demanding that they call you, and then castigating them for being early hardly bodes well for the future, does it? Or do you find that being bolshy from the start is a good omen? Unfortunately it has shown me a side of your character that I had already glimpsed at, and do you know what?

Yup. < delete >. You are banished in all forms.

Now picture the second scene, a mere couple of hours later: I need to unlock a PIN for a card reader that enables online access to an account.

The online 'chat' assistance is useless (I will refrain from elaborating, suffice to say it took the best part of five months to get one card and one PIN to work when the original bank was taken over, most frequent citation from the phone help desk for their incompetence being "Our computer system is down/being upgraded/gone fishing") but amongst all the bits of documentation I find a guide saying that if I merely go to one of the bank's ATMs and follow the instructions, I can unlock it myself.

So I make my way to the nearest ATM for this bank, and yes, you guessed it, it was out of order.

Aha, I think. I'll go inside and see if they can deal with this over-the-counter.

There are two people serving. One seems to be faffing around while the other is working at a pace that would do a snail justice. There are three of us in the queue.

Eventually the lady in front of me is served. I use the term loosely as the bank staff person seems incapable of doing a simple transfer for her without additional assistance. Since her co-worker is still faffing, the lady is told she "has to wait" (no niceties, mind you) and to step aside - which she does, although understandably disgruntled - and it's my turn. There are now five people in the queue.

I step up, explain my dilemma and await for assistance.

I get a blank stare as if I had just stated that the Martians have landed outside and we are all being abducted.

A male co-worker steps in behind snail-pace woman and opens his mouth.
"What?" is all he can muster.

I step back slightly in awe at his manners, and re-explain. This is getting borderline tiresome.
"Use another ATM," he barks at me.
I tell him that the instructions are to use a bank-specific one for this particular issue.
"Nah. Use any one." And he retreats to his desk.

I am left standing by the counter, snail woman saying, "Next!" and wondering whether I have missed something.

I haven't. There are now eight people in the queue, including aforementioned lady who-could-not-be-served-either.

"Excuse me," I say, very LOUDLY, so everyone - including obnoxious male staff member - can hear me.

"Your customer service is disgraceful. You have not only been totally unhelpful, you have also been very rude to me and the lady beforehand (she nods vigorously and replies, also loudly, "Yes, very much so!" Everyone else in the queue is paying attention now). No 'please', no 'thank you', no 'madam', no helpful assistance, no common decency or manners. Have you ever heard of client care and satisfaction?"

Surly male staff member looks up. "Yeah, whatever," he replies, and goes back to flipping pieces of paper about his desk. Snail pace counter woman just stares at me - indeed the Martians could land and would probably refuse to take her at this rate - and faffing counter woman continues to faff. She is still dealing with the same client who is now on his third phone conversation with his long-lost cousin in Brazil.

I walk out.
It's times like these I love Twitter.

I'm sure they are. I should have added that I know of a fellow called Bruce who would also benefit from the same training. They could split the cost.


Sunday, 22 November 2015

Oh Kevin

At present I am not quite sure whether I am coming or going.

Between persistently following up prospective clients (phone call, meeting, email, text message, phone call, email, 'out of office', email, 'on annual leave', phone call, text message, email... repeat times three), dealing with disgruntled (former) members of voluntary organisations intent on jettisoning responsibilities, networking with new associates and exploring potential work partnerships, keeping an eye on the offspring's social calendar (far more vibrant than mine) and trying to complete an online course for boosting book sales, I was so glad that it was time for Kevin again.

And this time I did not have to drive to the venue.

Which meant I could have a drink or two.
Even better.

On a Monday night.
Not a good idea.

Anyway, we were a full contingent bar the Lovely Radiographer (at choral duties) and La Diplomat (last minute work meeting), and hosted by the wonderful Aussie Solicitor.

Now, when Kevin meets, we all know that eating and drinking are priorities. So is discussing the books - two very good choices the last ones, btw - and catching up.

As ever, we did not disappoint, although I somehow think that our host was hoping that one E-N-O-R-M-O-U-S fish pie plus greens might suffice for the lot of us.

And it did.

Until she uttered the infamous words, "Would anyone like some more?"
And that was before pudding.

Alas, that second fish pie she (and her husband) had been hoping to keep for another meal... well... there was not much left. Not. Much. At. All.

So let it be a lesson to all who host the Kevinettes:
  1. only make just enough food for one serving
  2. if you make more, do not tell
  3. if you tell, do not offer
  4. if you offer, it's your own fault - see point 1 above 
Oh. And do not drink more than two glasses of wine on a Monday night when you have a long 'to do' list ahead and a very early start the next day.

That'd be a lesson for me, at least.

But the pie was delicious.

note the wine glass, if you please


Monday, 9 November 2015

Bleeding patience

It is a long game this one.

The one where you brush yourself down after another knock.
The one where you 'smile while you dial' and aim to get through to the correct person on the phone, bypassing voicemails, unhelpful PAs, obstructive admin people and clueless individuals in general.
The one where you finally pin someone down for a fruitful conversation only for them to have to "hop on another call, sorry".
The one where you have a great face-to-face meeting, agree next steps, follow up, and... nothing. Vanished into thin air despite capitalising on every possible known tactic to hand to engage the particular individual in taking the opportunity further.
The one where you put on your happy face and open the front door and step outside again.
The one where you just DO. NOT. GIVE. UP.
The one where you also go, "Good grief WILL SOMEONE GIVE ME A FECKIN' BREAK?!"

And then you have a conversation - or several - with the person for whom the glass is always half empty.
Or totally empty.
Or actually there is no glass at all, come to mention it.

This person has nothing to do with anything work-related.
Thank heavens for that. One less obstacle to consider.

But you wonder why do you bother putting time and effort into quelling and continuing the latter interaction when you could put the same energy to more productive ends.

I know why.
Because I can see the finish line.
And I am, fundamentally, a nice person.

In the meantime, however, the merry-go-round continues.

Yes, this is cryptic. Grant me some respite.
At least my glass is always half full.


Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Pet hates

  1. People who use their Facebook page to post job vacancies because they cannot be f*cked to use more appropriate social media *culls 'friend'*
  2. anyone who says, "I'll get back to you with some dates", and then doesn't
  3. dog owners who seem to conveniently be elsewhere/on the phone/talking to someone while their beloved pooch shits in the middle of the footpath, and fail to 'scoop the poop'
  4. dog owners who do none of the above but still fail to 'scoop the poop'
  5. dog owners who 'scoop the poop' and then proceed to hang the offending bag ON A TREE FFS - what is this? a new festive ornament?
  6. latecomers
  7. latecomers who live less than two hundred metres from school and yet still fail to realise that YOUR CHILD'S CLASS STARTS AT 8.55AM. Not 9.05am. Not even 9.00am. GET AN ALARM. Alternatively use that phone that appears to be permanently attached to your ear whilst you amble along your way en route to the school gates, (very late) child in tow
  8. people who answer a question with a question, as in, "What are you doing today?" "Why's that?"
  9. hang on, that'd be OH
  10. people who ask inane questions, as in, "What did you do today?", and then fail to listen to your in-depth answer ("I had a conference call with my business partners, updated the company website, worked on a client proposal, and confirmed two customer meetings for next week")
  11. people who ask inane questions, fail to listen to your in-depth answer, and then get offended when you 'elaborate' with sarcasm ("I cold-called two of my ex-boyfriends, booked a one-way ticket to New York, put the children up for auction on eBay, and auditioned for the next edition of The Apprentice")
  12. oh, that'd be OH, again.

As you were.

(c) Scott Adams


Thursday, 15 October 2015

How not to interview - part II

Some of you may remember this episode earlier in the year.

Guess what? It almost happened again.

When I say 'almost', I actually mean that the so-called 'headhunter' failed to learn any lessons first time round and had the audacity to call me again.
Here's what transpired. I posted on my FB page for the amusement of friends, but then thought, "F*ck it, let's entertain the masses!"

So here you go. A worthy cut and paste this time round.
The comments have been even more amusing.
Laugh along now...

Mobile rings. Private number. Weighing up the 'calculated risk' option, I answer.

"This is Rob. I'm a headhunter. I wanted to know what your current status was and whether you would be interested in [insert lowly position here]?"

"Why don't you tell me a bit more about yourself, Rob, and where you are calling from?"

"I'm a headhunter. We've actually spoken before..."

Aha. I gotcha. You're that sad f*cker that set me up on the memorable 'interview' with the company that was 'desperate-to-meet-you-how-soon-can-you-see-them' that turned out to be a whole load of shite. The very same 'headhunter' who had not only not done his homework then (and got a mouthful from me post meeting with the 'desperate' client) but has also failed to learn any lessons since. Including the "Do not ever call me again" one.
Because, Rob, if you READ my LinkedIn profile (which you do, I can see that much) you would see what I am up to and maybe, just maybe, alter your pitch ever-so-slightly? Yes?

"So do you have anyone you could recommend, any names for me?"

"No, Rob, I do not. But I have a choice name for you: how about D*ckhead?"

Yes. This really happened just now.

How many more months do you reckon before he tries again?
I'll give him marks for persistence at least.


Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Kevin and the animals

Kevin time again.

We rendez-voused this time chez the Wine Writer's abode in leafy Oxfordshire, a beautiful Sunday's outing to the countryside, complete with dogs, chickens, goats, sheep... and children.

Eight of them.

There were only six Kevinettes.

We were outnumbered.

This had not been the original plan.

Undeterred, we offloaded the minors on to WW's husband, the Resourceful Dentist, who nonchalantly proceeded to throw another batch of sausages under the grill to feed them all before taking them off on a very long walk with the dogs in tow.

Excellent stuff. We could proceed with what we do best: eating, drinking, and talking shop. And books, of course.


When it came to pudding there was a slight mishap, a Goldilocks moment.
Someone had got there before us!

something is ever-so-slightly lopsided here

Belfast Blonde thought it was merely an innovative designer cake tin at fault.
The Doctor of Psychology presumed otherwise.
Our Botanical Artist declared it "an interesting illustration" of a pear tart.
Tough Mudda declared she was too full to eat any more, thus immediately arousing suspicions.
LCM laughed - mainly because she, too, was overfed by this point and could hardly speak, let alone comment.

Our gracious host conceded that no, 'twas none of the above.
One of the dogs had decided to sample the baked wares... and the damage had been "cut off".

Cut off the cake, that is, not the dog.

Either way, it was delicious.

Three days on and we are all still fasting.

Who needs a diet when you have Kevin for company? Even the chooks were amused, as the Botanical Artist's 'Inktober' sketch illustrates.

Brownie the hen

Cooking, drawing, reading, eating, drinking. We're a talented bunch.
Even if we do divert somewhat from being a 'typical' book club.


Thursday, 1 October 2015

Oh what's occurrin' boyo?

Aside from new work ventures, partnerships, public speaking events, mentoring programmes, everything kicking off again now the school year has started, rugby training and festivals and refereeing underway, and trying to keep track of the offspring and OH's whereabouts, well nothing much.

Unless you count the Rugby World Cup, which, bar playing on loyalties in this Australian/Italian/Welsh household - with strong Kiwi/Irish/Scottish/English heritage to boot - has seen the LCM troops screaming the neighbourhood down (last Saturday) and ensuring that everyone joins in the national anthems.

Especially this one, which, regardless of which country you hail from, is certainly the most beautiful and by far the most moving, ever:

Blame OH. It's all his fault, of course (he's the Welsh contingent, in case it still had not dawned on you).

Right. Back to work now until the next kick-off.
As you were.


Tuesday, 15 September 2015


Undoubtedly the best way to celebrate twenty-five years (TWENTY-FIVE YEARS *shakes head in disbelief*) as a Londoner:

- don nun outfit (courtesy @peabee72 circa 2010, I've been waiting that long for the right occasion to wear it)
- enlist other Von Trapp family devotees (Liesl and Gretl who obediently stayed by my side; Captain Georg and Sister Bertha who ran off into the distance, tsk)
- join forces with some two and a half thousand other half marathoners
- majority of whom are also in fancy dress
- complete course - up hill and down vale - in ridiculously long time
- because there was lots of wine to taste
- at every feed station
- and dancing
- and laughing
- and singing
- including karaoke on demand (Elvis, Spice Girls, Abba... we ROCKED, I tell you)
- finish in one piece albeit with sore feet

that'd be two of the Von Trapp children
disappearing in the distance,
escaping Mother Superior

And just in case you doubted any of the above, here's a taster of what was going on en route:

So. Happy anniversary to me. 
Who would have thought it?
I only came for a couple of years...


Monday, 7 September 2015

What I have learnt since my return

  1. I can say "No." It won't kill me. Or the person asking, for that matter
  2. I can chase up contacts without the "I'm on holiday, call me back in September," excuse being levelled at me
  3. I can still hit the < delete > button with relish, and quite vigorously - and frequently - too
  4. If someone annoys me on Facebook, I can happily hide their posts
  5. If someone stalks me on Facebook, I can change what they can see of mine, ie virtually nothing
  6. Some things never change: people, perspectives, perceptions
  7. Some things do change: people, perspectives, perceptions
  8. Almost nothing surprises me anymore, ref points 4-7 above
  9. Doing absolutely bugger all exercise for three weeks takes willpower 
  10. Knowing that you have a half marathon approaching and are totally ill-prepared is not worth fretting about
  11. Because there will be wine
  12. And laughter
  13. And fancy dress
  14. And who said we would be running it anyway? Tsk.

yes, our theme - I will wearing a nun's habit


Sunday, 23 August 2015

Cut and paste (and a photo)

It is holiday time.
Loads of things going on, not all of them uplifting, but we are away nonetheless.
In a place I know well and have loved for many years.
Small mercies during trying times.

And because whilst on leave I am also doing some writing and editing work (yes, really) for which I will be paid (yes, really, again), I am blatantly 'copying with pride' something an old family friend sent me last week, because it made me laugh, and laughter is the best medicine. Always.

  1. Innovative

  2. Preliminary

  3. Proliferation

  4. Cinnamon

  5. Indubitably

  1. Specificity

  2. Anti-constitutionalistically

  3. Passive-aggressive disorder

  4. Transubstantiate

  1. No thanks, I’m married.
  2. Nope, no more booze for me!

  3. Sorry, but you’re not really my type
  4. No thanks, I’m not hungry
  5. I’m not interested in fighting you
  6. Thank you, but I won’t make any attempt to dance. I have no coordination and would hate to look like a real fool!
  7. Oh no, I must be going home now as I have to work in the morning

In case that fails to put a smile on your face, here's a nice photo, which always puts a smile on mine.
Unless I am the one kite-surfing. And face-planting.
In which case I am grinning like a fool.


Friday, 14 August 2015

Kevin's (lack of) taste

Now the Kevinettes are renown for their love of food and drink. Not for nothing are we called 'the troughers' by our various partners who have put up with Kevin's antics over the many years since the bookclub first started (fifteen and counting, in case you were unaware).

This Monday it was no exception, although we were more excited than children in a sweet shop - or readers in a book shop, for that matter - as we had a NEW VENUE to explore.

Yes, the Botanical Artist and family have moved to greener and more spacious pastures. Nothing to do with the racket we have made over the years at her past abode, upsetting the neighbours and staying way past our welcome, drinking everything on offer because none of us had to drive, cackling and laughing loudly into the summer nights in her small front garden, or indeed anything similar.

Well, that's what she told us in any case and we're sticking with that story.

Anyway. We were all there bar La Diplomat (living it up in the south of France), and even the elusive Wine Writer showed up after retuning from Norfolk early so she would not miss out. True dedication if there ever was some.

So we all topped our glasses to raise a celebratory cheer to the new home and all who follow in our worthy footsteps (we were the first guests, hopefully not the last though given past performances as per the note above).

"To your house!" chimed the Lovely Radiographer.
"To Kevin!" toasted the rest of us.
"Ew!" spluttered Tough Mudda.

We looked at her in alarm.

"Oh, don't mind me," she explained. " I just poured myself a glass of balsamic vinegar..."

And THAT is what happens when you are having such a good time you fail to distinguish between all the bottles on the table. Before you've even eaten. Or discussed books.



Monday, 10 August 2015

Facebook vs LinkedIn - a common dilemma

This may be a more serious sort of post.

Joke. It most definitely is not. Well, depends on your point of view, I suppose.

Anyway, to my dilemma: I wrote a short post last week about the importance of first impressions.
It was slightly tongue-in-cheek, as is my wont, and aimed at all those 'social pervers' who look at your profile on LinkedIn and then either skive off somewhere unreachable or send you an invitation to 'LinkIn' without so much as a preamble or even a casual "Hello!" as a by-the-by.

You would think people might take the (subtle) hint, right?


Just today I get yet another request from some person whom I have never heard of, never met, never come across in my many years in business.

The best thing? Not even an automated message. Indeed, the brain-dead function that deprives all my wannabe connections from stringing a sentence together of their own concoction had totally eluded this individual.

All he gave me was a phone number and an email for ME to contact HIM.

Yessir. Because that's the *new* way of doing business, you see?
If you really, really, really want it, then you gotta make the effort to contact them and say, "Hey buddy, how'd I ever manage without you? Please can you bestow me the honour of being a valuable connection of yours? I will be forever grateful!"

There was also one other flaw.

His photo.

Bless him. I think he must be all of twenty years' old. The beard does not make him look more experienced and he has just started out in recruitment. He states he is "always keen to hear from industry professionals who may be interested in his services."


But I do have an excellent book I can recommend him.

And just for the record: no, I did not accept his 'invitation'.
But I did send him a reprimanding email. 
Couldn't help it.

(the Facebook comparison being - I hope - an obvious one: you can choose your friends!)


Tuesday, 4 August 2015

What the eye sees - the revived version

It is not a secret that I love people watching.

Sit me in a café window or on a bench in an airport or railway station and I will be very content for an hour or two just observing everybody passing by and providing suitable sartorial commentary in my head.

Sometimes even out loud when in company, which scares the bejeezus out of OH (he is still very British in this regard), especially now that the offspring have also cottoned on and provide their own views. Loudly, in many cases.

You know that person who wonders round saying, "Who are these small people and why do they insist on calling me 'mum'?" That is me now. I suppose a case of justice served.

So I posted a comment on Twitter instead, which duly received the appropriate reply:

And of course got me thinking. Why not have others send in photos and allow me to comment (in)appropriately? I will have no insight as to who the individuals are - good grief, they could be pictures of myself even, now there's a novel idea - and it would be off-the-cuff humorous remarks without anyone getting their knickers in a twist.

Alternatively I will have to resort to pinching idiotic photos from the Snail Online and making sarky remarks about 'slebs.

But no one wants that. It would be far too predictable.

So, who's got some 'interesting sartorial snaps to send me?


Wednesday, 15 July 2015

It's all about the bike

So ten days ago I once more attempted a Surrey Hills ride with other lovely lady cyclists, covering the big climbs that are part of the RideLondon Surrey 100 event taking place on August 2nd.

More importantly, I managed to do this without getting lost, unlike last time.

There was just one little thing that did not quite make sense: why was I struggling up hills that are no more strenuous than the ones tackled during the Majorca cycling academy and why the flippety flip was my cadence (that's the rate at which the pedals are rotating to the uninitiated) so damn low even when I was in the 'granny gear'?

Mystery solved at the cake stop (essential in any long outing) at the top of Box Hill.

In Majorca I was riding a beauuuuuutiful much-coveted sleek racing machine as used by the pro teams in the Tour de France.

luverley jubberley *sighs*

In Blighty I have my trusted warhorse of six years' standing, nothing fancy schmancy about it.

does what it says on the tin

My lowest gear has 26 'teeth'.
All the other lady riders had 30 or even 32.

So in essence my granny was missing a few. Hence my inability to increase cadence and climb with ease. Nothing to do with being inept on two wheels and looking for excuses for poor performance.

The upside is that now most of the cycling club is on OH's case about sorting my bike out, given that he does all the tinkering and I am about as useful as a chocolate teapot, although I can fix a puncture and change a tyre.

I am not waiting with baited breath however.
He is far too busy upgrading his own bike.


Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Pinch punch

Ohmygawd what? Another month end? What the actual flippety flip? (I am forsaking swearing because my mother is likely to read this)
How the devil did that happen?

Yes, tomorrow is the FIRST of JULY people.

Here is a summary of the news headlines, before they actually hit the airwaves in the morning.

Breaking news.

BONG (that's Big Ben chiming, in case you had no idea what I am on about)

Greece has left the EU and is now part of China. They have adopted the renminbi as their new national currency and lessons in Cantonese and Mandarin will be introduced as a compulsory part of the national curriculum from September. Which is a good thing as there was no national curriculum to speak of beforehand unless you count gesticulating and being loud - a trait also common in other countries such as Italy, Spain, Portugal...


Kanye West has changed his name. He will henceforth be known as Dick. He has demanded that all those who hail him must bow and scrape before his magnificent being and address him only as 'Holy Dick'. Those who fail to categorically follow this mandate will be castigated and forced to wear labels around their necks for the duration of one month that read: There is only one Dick and I am not Him.


Heatwave enters day two in Britain. With the thermometers rising steadily for the first time since 2014, the great pale public expressed surprise that this should occur in their fair isle rather than on shores further afield. Members of the populace were caught unaware by the calendar that read JULY, and complained repeatedly about the inconvenience of having to deal with warmth, sunshine, flimsy clothing and lightweight shoes. The Met Office duly complied and changed its forecast to promise thunderstorms, downpours and generally dismal conditions for the remainder of the summer months.


A new book takes the business world by storm. After a fraught two-year wait, the much-anticipated tome of wisdom is finally revealed to ecstatic audiences: LCM's audacious, amusing and utterly amazing new book 'How to stack a dishwasher' was released to rave reviews and is steadily climbing up the bestseller list.
"A 'must read'!" enthused the FT.
"Don't know how I managed without it!" exulted The Economist.
"A revelation of real life in a working woman's world!" wrote Harvard Business Review.
"Where's my free copy?" asked most of the blogging community.

As you were then. That's enough excitement for one evening.

You're welcome.


Monday, 22 June 2015

It's here, it's here

Yes, FINALLY, the long-awaited labour of love is now published and available via Kindle or paperback.

I give you all the pertinent, funny and original (including cartoons) career guide for women that is like no other:

The marketing and promotion machine is underway - if you would like to know more or are interested in having me present at seminars or conferences, please contact me directly!

And spread the word :-)


Monday, 8 June 2015

When all else fails, head to Sweden

So. Things appear to be on an eternal 'go-slow' loop at the moment.

Calls are not returned.
Emails take days to be answered.
Individuals require endless chasing for updates.
Replies are not exactly what you are hoping for.
Projects take forever and then more to get off the ground.
Work undertaken comes consistently under the perennial 'free' banner.

The one saving grace is that the hard proof copy of my book should come through the letterbox any day now. At least then I can look at it and reflect on how productive I have been despite all the crap mentioned above.
Never mind that it has taken the best part of three years in the making and the editing and revising almost drove me to distraction.

But there are things to look forward to.

Like an impromptu trip to Sweden with my lovely friend Dancing Queen (yes, there is an ABBA connection), one of the Kevinettes (Tough Mudda, it was her idea after all) and another girlfriend who now lives Out-In-The-Sticks.

We have been promised fresh air, long evenings drinking wine on the porch, vigorous walks and... weeding.

Yes, indeed. Dancing Queen's garden at her home in Sweden apparently is in dire need of some love and attention, so in exchange for food and lodging we are going to be donning gloves, hunkering down over the flowerbeds, and getting dirty knees.

It all sounds very Bergman.

Or, as I understand the locals would have it, "Ingen ko på isen". *

* "No cow on the ice", ie "No worries".


Yadda yadda yadda...