Social Media Award Winner

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

OH MY GOSH... where are my boys when I need them????

I am really missing the banter!

No-one talks about: Chinese trouser sales, coffee prices, dead barn owls, Brazilian women, rotary pencils, ginger haired people, princess Diana, The Hoff, the A-Team, Asian babes, mobile phone tunes, the Duchess, Alicia Wylie T Coyote, general gossip or comments about people's clothing.

Today: I have missed Sam banging on about the cricket.

I have missed Nigel hobbling along on a broken ankle talking about dead barn owls and coffee beans (I'm writing on soft-commods).

I have missed dancing with Thomas to the background music, and...

I had this wicked picture of the duchess from alice in wonderland sent to me for a feature and I had no Dan Judge to show it too.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

All day today I have been guffing with impunity. It's horrid. The air around my desk smells like the inside of an old bin that's not been cleaned properly. Or like the back door of KFC. Which is probably about the same thing. (If the lawyers are reading this, that was a joke).

I had beans last night with my chicken and rice (oh how ethnic I am) and with the help of lots of fruit today I am bloated like a sewer rat. I've given up being embarrassed, as I had been on my first week. Like I give a damn. At least it's stopped people coming up to put random pen-lids on my desk, or to check that I've put the right paper in the right bin.

And now I finally get to go home after another day of gruel (no, not porridge)... I meant a gruelling day. My brain is about to pop because there is so much in the way of protocol that I do not know - so many different people to include in a host of processes and systems and ORGANISATION. Maybe my flat computer monitor is actually the thought police. I'd better fart quietly if that's the case.

What will I do when I get home (stopping off at Home Group first to fart all over Alix's best sofa, serves her right for choosing white) will be to stay up until after 12, when my noisy polski neighbours finally go to sleep and stop making a noise. Until then, I will be contorting my hands into various shapes and sizes, making even more jewellery, pricing it, and pricing cards, finishing up some other cards, possibly getting some of the candle holders painted up and ready to roll.

I really can't wait until my craft fair is over, it is taking me so much time preparing it that when I try to pray in Church all I can visualise instead of the bread and the wine is a new design for a necklace. AARRGHHH!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Found this. Sort of speaks for itself. Men!

Subject: Why men don't write to agony aunts

Dear Abby,

I've never written to you before, but I really need your advice on what
could be a crucial decision.

I've suspected for some time now that my wife has been cheating on me.
The usual signs ... phone rings, but if I answer, the caller hangs up.
My wife has been going out with the girls a lot recently although when I
ask their names she always says, "Just some friends from work, you don't
know them."

I always stay awake to look out for her taxi coming home, but she always
walks down the drive. Although I can hear a car driving off, as if she
has got out of the car round the corner. Why? Maybe she wasn't in a

I once picked her mobile phone up just to see what time it was. She
went berserk and screamed that I should never touch her phone again and
why was I checking up on her. Anyway, I have never approached the
subject with my wife. I think deep down I just didn't want to know the
truth, but last night she went out again and I decided to really check
on her.

I decided I was going to park my 2006 Yamaha R1 motorcycle next to the
garage and then hide behind it so I could get a good view of the whole
street when she came home. It was at that moment, crouching behind my
Yamaha R1, that I noticed that the valve covers on my engine seemed to
be leaking a little oil.

Is this something I can fix myself or should I take it back to the



Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Today I regret having eaten half a giant bar of toblerone late last night...
all I had was two bottles of magners, washed down with a lemonade and some sparkling water. But I evidently do not have the alcohol capacity I once had as a child. Well, not as a child, it's not like my parents got me into bad ways or anything. I mean, I did use to drink vinegar neat until they found me out and stopped me. And they did overdose me once on calpol and I slept for nearly two days on and off. Which now seems like a good idea.

But eating that chocolate last night at only 11pm was NOT a good idea. What was I thinking? We're not talking the small bars you can occasionally find in woolworth's, when, with a whoop of joy and a little dance of happiness in the aisle, you finally discover some quality chocolate. Nor even the bigger versions you sometimes find on special offer in Sainsbury's. No, we are talking the sort of giant ones you find in airport duty free shops. The ones that are so heavy and bulky, not to mention incredibly solid unless you are SuperStrongTooth Man, that they should be banned from 'planes. "Take me to Kuwait immediately, or I will dash your brain out with a white choc triangle". Yes, the enormous find-only-at-christmas sort that cheap people buy you instead of a proper present. And I ate HALF of it. What a greedy sort of soak-headed wino trailer trash pop junkie had I become?

Worse, half of that half, or 25 per cent of the whole, if you like maths, ended up transforming itself into massive humdinger zits all over my face this morning. MISERY

There was a good point, however. After I had an enormous nougaty-smelling dump this morning I lost 2lbs. I really did. I was 8:7 before I set tarka and his entire half-breed red-neck otter clan free down the porcelain chute, and 8:5 directly after. Perhaps all that triangular chocolate from triangular trees, and triangular honey from triangular bees was a diuretic.

Still have half for tonight's dinner, too. Whoohooo. 8:3 tomorrow morning...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I am really excited about my kitten! I'm getting a kitten for Christmas! So cute! It is tiny and ginger and white, and only opened its eyes last week. I have not seen it - Clare is bringing it down in January - but this is what it closely resembles... Now that is absolutely sweet. I can't wait to have a little kitten scampering around and purring wildly as it pees in my pot plants, chews my bedcover and scratches the spines off my antique book collection...

Friday, November 17, 2006

There are two types of people in this world: quick and slow.

The quick behave thus: they make swift decisions. They will take the nearest exit, even if it is wrong, because they are confident they will soon find out and be able to double-back on themselves swiftly. They learn immediately from their many mistakes and move on. They think about a lot of things, all at once, and sometimes get a little jumbled, but their brains are always on the move. They are quick-witted. In repartee, they are the ones coming up with one or two smart comments in rapid succession. A problem presented to them is solved quickly and effectively through trial and error, and they will also be able to add enhancements to it.

They are inventors, comedians, writers, politicians, teachers, actors, soldiers, day traders. They are the ones who won't loiter in crowded streets. They will always find a gap, a way through. They tend not to like things that they can't do immediately, and tend often to hate maths. They hate chess, but love trivial pursuit or tic tac toe.

They eat and drink quickly. Fall in love quickly. Have emotional ups and downs - sometimes several in a day. They rarely hold a grudge, and tend to forgive easily. They don't take "career breaks" or "relationship breaks." They either do, or do not. They hate being forced to stop or slow down. They tend to be fidgets, flirty, social butterflies. They like juggling projects, or doing lots of different things. They tend to be as close to jack of all trades as they can, but fight against what they think might bind them or tie them down. They will be the ones who get a seat on a crowded train, but also the ones to notice a pregnant woman or old person, and offer them a seat. Their conversations are animated, but disjointed.

Slow People
Tend to be the ones who stare at maps to make sure they are going the right way, even if that means they hold other people up. They are the sort who stop immediately outside a train station or bus to look around and make sure they are where they should be. They sometimes have vacant expressions on their faces, but this does not mean they are stupid. They just take a while to process facts. They tend not to be social butterflies. They like to indulge in logical, streamlined conversations.
They like strategy games where they can take their time and think ahead - chess, Risk, etc. They hate being rushed and are usually the last to finish their meals, drinks, last to arrive at places (because they were checking everything). They are also the last to leave.

They like to tick boxes, diarise everything and make sure it's marked off. They make good engineers, theologians, counsellors, architects, investment managers, economists, golfers, snooker players. They like maths and languages, they might like writing but they are not essentially literary and creative. They won't read everything that comes their way because it takes longer for them to process stuff. Writing 3000 words in a day would horrify them.

They don't like trial and error because they want to take their time thinking everything through first, exploring all hypothetical alleyways before making a decision. They are savers, not spenders, but tend not to be sure what to spend on. They spend ages in shops working out what will be best, and do not have a strong sense of time.

They tend to hold grudges, place too much emphasis on what people think of them, dwell on the past and think things over too deeply. They tend to have sulks, or remain in a mood, good or bad, for a long time. They tend to be placid and don't get hot-headed so easily, but will ascribe too much significance to other people's reactions and actions. They don't people watch, and are unlikely to spot celebrities, seats on trains, what people are wearing. They rarely throw out clothes even if they are old. They will never wear Monday's pants on a wednesday. It would not feel right!

People I think fall into each category

Quick: Albert Einstein, Jeremy Paxman, the Duke of Wellington, Margaret Thatcher, Edward Jenner, Rommel

Slow: Charles Darwin, Napoleon, Winston Churchill, Mervyn King, Warren Buffet, Stephen Hendry, Rowan Williams,

Do the two necessarily gel? I think they grate on each other, yes. Whether they are incompatible or not, I do not know. A mutual understanding of themselves and the other person would go a long way to making them the perfect unit. Though I don't think Napoleon and the D. of Wellington would agree!

Americans are always getting it in the neck. They are accused of being loud and proud, of being thicko nationalists without any real thing to be proud of. Which I cannot understand. Americans I have met (and I speak as a half Canadian) have been lovely! Polite, charming, intelligent, conversationally adept. And like it or not, without the Septics, we would have been buggered by Hitler in WWII eventually. England would have had to lie down and take it like a kitten. I wonder though, if women have to lie back and think of England, what does England think of?

No, there is a race that is much more irritating than the Americans. A million times more annoying. Australians. Like it's just a big red rock, get over it. Millions have. Okay here's their claim to fame:

1) Famous stars come from Australia.
Mel Gibson, Nicole Kidman, Kylie Minogue, Natalie Umbrella-Whatever. STOP going on about it... THEY DONT LIVE THERE ANY MORE! No, they moved out as soon as the hell they could.

2) IT'S BIG. So is Canada. But at least Canada has more than a bunch of red sand in the middle.

3) THE GREAT BARRIER REEF. Not great enough as a barrier, I think. Should be much bigger, and completely surrounding the country. And about 50 foot of it should stick out of the ocean.

4) DINGOS. They eat babies

Robin Hood, Dick Turpin.

Bernard Cribbins, Jack the Ripper, Fred West, Harold Shipman. Eat shit and die.

But actually, it's not the women but the men that I find annoying. They're so full of bull-crap.
I had one on the phone trying to sell me something. I said: "Well I will have to think about that". He said: "What is there to think about?" I said: "I don't just say yes to spending money, I like to think about things first." He got really offended! I mean, which numpty just goes and spends £100 over the phone without thinking about what they are really getting? He got quite arsey that I was not immediately prepared to part with my own cash! I did my posh English voice on him and put the phone down (Thenk yew. GOOD BYE).

Then on the train going home, this bronzed fella with what might pass with many girls as a handsome and rugged face (looked more like he'd been attacked with balloons and hung from a ceiling by static electricity) was standing there chewing gum with his mouth open. Champ, champ champ. The sucking sound of a piece of flavoured tree sap struckling around his big fat open gob. He caught me looking at him. Misinterpreting my glare, he said: "Hey there". I said: "Are you Australian?" "Yeah, how d'ye know that?" "Because you're chewing with your mouth wide open and I can see what you had for lunch." End of conversation, but he shut his trap. The old lady opposite me was very amused. Her eyes positively twinkled. Obviously a retired teacher.

Yet what I don't understand is that Aussie girls are really lovely! They are healthy, but like to party, don't smoke, work hard, try to look their best without being flash with their money and are really laid back. Take my gorgeous Aussie Twin Jo (Jo-Jo). She's pictured in the middle, with her friend on stage right and me on stage left. I think were at a 20's gangster party.
She is completely unlike the male australian, apart from biologically, of course. She's polite, generally quiet, has a good sense of humour. It's like there's a whole different world between the Antipodean male and female species. Or maybe the girls just don't like gum?

Oh, I do know one Token Aussie Male who's pretty nice. Simon O'Brien. He's sweet and has a really fun sense of humour, pretty laid back and quiet and good-natured. But then his parents are Irish... and we all love the Irish!
A friend of mine, who happens to be a fellow-editor of a renowned industry magazine, Money Marketing, decided to entrust me with the last ever Correspondent's Week column.
Basically he wanted me to talk about a week in the life of a journo - well, my week was pretty fraught here as I attempted to ensconce myself firmly in the role of editor/managing editor/whatever...

Here is what I wrote:

People who know me think I am cheerful and nice. Well I am not. I am a pessimist. I expect the worst to happen to me, so when it does I can feign sang-froid and make like I ain’t bovvered.
Here I am in a new job, striving to make a good impression. I am still in finance, but learning to love contract publishing. But it has not been easy. The first week, having been introduced to clients as an investment expert (Moi?) I had a meeting with a client I knew from days of yore on Investment Adviser. They mentioned story after story with an openness that would have floored Jodie Marsh. The client looked over at me, as previous, exclusive-hunting tendencies took over. My pen was moving fast.
“Stop twitching, Mermaid,” she joked.
“I can’t help it. This would have been a gold mine for IA”, I replied.
“I know”, she said, laughing. “But if I see it in IA or Reuters, I’ll know where to come.” Oh how we laughed. End of matter?
HA! I went out with THE BOY, who writes for Reuters, that evening. In the car with him and his mates, he turned round: “I think I got a great story today from XYZ company. They’re doing a big ABC”.
Bovvered? You bet. Screw sang-froid. Same **** story, wasn’t it? How could I respond? “Please don’t write it?” Like that wouldn’t give the game away. Might as well just walk into a police station and say: “I didn’t kill that postman.”
But if I didn’t say anything, and he wrote it? Cue clearing my desk on Monday. And he’d be funding my lifestyle. The prospect of curries for the rest of my life did not thrill me, but thankfully, he said he was meeting the company on Monday to confirm it. PHEW!
Friday came and I’d survived until late in the day. Then I fell into Dante’s seventh circle. Now, the toilets here are right next to the office. At around 6, the office was quiet, but several folk were around. I went in, shut the interconnecting door, but someone comes to empty the bins and leaves it open just at the minute I happened to emit a squealer. A nanosecond of silence. Then as I debate what to do, there’s a sequel, followed by uproarious laughter from my new colleagues. What to do? At IA we used to take the shame. So I walked out, but instead of being able to laugh it off, the room is silent as everyone is studiously intent on their keyboards. Utter mortification. End of Matter?
Well, Monday came and went without any problem. I got some juicy articles which kept me out of trouble, and the Reuters article did not appear.
Tues started well. I was waiting in for a washing machine repair. The price I was quoted was £94. Mr Fixit looked at me, and said: “Look, I’ll charge you the estimate charge of £39. I don’t think charging you the full amount is right for such a small job, as your warranty is about to expire.”
Since when did that ever happen? It made my day, especially as I had just agreed some new terms of insurance with my bank, which effectively covers plumbing repairs from the end of the month (coinciding with the expiry of the machine warranty).
Perhaps this week was going to make up for the horrors of last week. But being a pessimist, I thought: “There’s probably some pit around the corner waiting for my unwary footfall.”
The crunch came after an afternoon visit to the toilet. When I got back to my desk, an email, circulated to the whole office, was waiting for me. It read: “Please shut the toilet door. You don’t want to be named and shamed, do you?” Face? Red? Bovvered?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

This is all about church, so don't bother reading if you ain't a christian because you will be bored senseless!

Of mice and men?

I'm not sure whether I am being churlish but I believe public court action is dead against the biblical principles laid down by paul in 1 corinthians. And I don't want to give tithes to general church fund, so am sticking it into the missionary fund, as that is safe.... But then I am concerned that, with the loss of the other revenue, me putting money into a separate fund may only make the financial situation worse, as the church has to pay for bills, admin, children's work, etc. I'm not sure what is the wisest course of action.

I still believe there is room for reconciliation. In a very fraught meeting, I spoke openly to graham about it, calling for a reconciliation, for more talks, for sorting it out and I really think he was listening and receptive. I even said some tough things for him to hear, as well as all the positives that I feel he has done. I also brought it back where I could to the bible, at the risk of being "preachy" but no-one had so far actually quoted scripture and I felt we needed a perspective. Thankfully no-one quoted another part of corinthians at me (women, shut up!)

It was so hard to say those things, as both parties in the room could have ended up throwing me out! But Graham was really calm, he listened and said he accepted my points and actually said he was prepared to accept Robert Jeffery's apology on behalf of the deacons. That was a real turning point... But then, immediately, someone else started shouting at him and you could see that the light just died in his eyes. I felt so frustrated, cos I can see both sides, although I think Graham is more wrong in his reactions, esp as he is the pastor. But the person who shouted just made it impossible. I knew as soon as that happened that the devil had got a stranglehold and there was nothing more we could do.

I did try to stop people leaving that meeting, encouraging them to come back in and cast their vote, but then cries went up of "little south africa"... Pastor "resigned" and john blanchard was left in the room to maintain order while some of us - Toi, who was%2

Friday, November 10, 2006

Who's laughing now?

"Laugh? I nearly did". The legacy of Groucho Marx lives on, though the great comic himself is in the great big tent in the sky. But I have to learn that what is funny for me is not funny for anyone else. In the whole wide world. I am alone in my humour.

For one, it is pretty SICK. Little Britain is tame in comparison. Take the example of THE KNIVES and DEAD BODIES for example. When I meet some people, I of course take care to be witty, charming, a good listener, polite, etc. But sometimes the dickens gets into me and then I just start to go off on one. Last friday, I was introduced to some of the boyf's friends from Church. They kindly gave me a lift home but on the way, caught up in traffic, we got stuck behind a dodgy looking, souped up GTI, which had hand-prints all over its boot.

I remarked: "Don't you just wonder what people have in their boot" whereupon someone else said: "Or who"... general laughs all round.

And then I felt THE WEIRDNESS creep into my brain and take it over.... cue:
"Yes, not that I wonder that myself... I don't keep dead bodies in my boot... they are in my sofa instead. You know, some mates come to visit, they slip down between the cushions when you aren't looking... two years later you are looking for some loose change to pay the pizza boy and you lift the cushion - there is the body, with the remote control stuck to its head..."

General laughter, forced, panicky. I think I heard the seatbelts being surreptitiously unclicked. Then they told my boyf who gently reminded me not to be weird in front of his mates.


But that's not all.

Secondly, it is usually INAPPROPRIATE. When my beloved uncle died, it had come as a total shock. We did not even know he was ill. The hospital called us but when we got there it was too late. He had passed through the veil. I found it really hard to believe it was true. The nurse called mum and I into the room, and was saying a lot of soothing-voiced-words that I did not pay attention to. The only thing I remember her saying was: "Just before he went, we told him that his sister was coming. He gasped and flickered his eyes."

Without thinking, I said: "That's probably what made him go."

Mum has never forgiven me, but I KNOW that uncle was laughing at that. He would have loved it. (And it was probably true...)

Thirdly, it is MEAN.

The boyf last night had been going on and on about how I needed to support him, to let him see and know in public that he is interesting and funny, how I need to laugh at him, and look on him proudly and give him a platform in front of his friends, that I need to be beaming with pride for him to prove that he is funny and interesting.
Without thinking, I said: "But what if I find you boring and uninteresting?" It took half an hour for him to talk to me again, and then I had to keep telling him: "you ARE interesting, you ARE funny". When I called him later on, he asked me AGAIN: "Do you think I am interesting and funny?"

By then, I wanted to saw his fingers off and dip the bleeding ends in salt&vinegar crips, but I soothed him by assuring him that he was.

PLEASE! Is there anybody out there who thought any of those three things were funny? Am I the only sick, inappropriate and mean-minded woman in the world? Please, if you are bitter and twisted, a true 21st-century hag, let me know...

Monday, November 06, 2006

Play that funky music...

... or perhaps best not. Why is it that when you are in the middle of something quite technical, something will disturb you?

I thought I was onto a good thing when I was able to sit at my desk for more than 5 minutes without some dimwit PR ringing me up to ask: "Did you get the email I just sent you?", or "I sent you an email last week. Are you going to use the story?"

To excuse the Americanism.. "Like, if I wanted to use your dang story, I would have used it. Do you read the paper? Can you see your story anywhere? No? Well perhaps it was so wrist-slittingly dull that I didn't want to use it in case the entire City of London decided to go home and run a warm bath to rid themselves of the memory of it."

But I digress. The Mermaid of Moorgate should be able to be sensible and quiet and sit at my desk. Har Hardy Har Har. People here enjoy a bit of music, which I think is great, until someone plays a 1970s TV-theme tune style CD with a strong jazz and funk track.

Because then I need to get my groooooove on! I fought against the urge but found that I could not even type without getting into the rhythm. My foot started to tap. My head started to nod. Before long, I was vogue-ing it like Madonna (only very badly, I almost ended up strangling myself). I wiggled my hips like James Brown. I think I even did a slight spin. Only to realise I was the only person aware of the music. And certainly the only one desk-dancing.

I felt like a complete muppet.

Friday, November 03, 2006

I cannot believe my bad luck. Just when I thought I had impressed people in my new job by my knowledge of stuff, my contacts and my ability to spot a stray apostrophe at 50 paces, along comes the fall. The yawning chasm of doom. Or should I say crack?

Okay, it's a small, quiet place. The toilets are right next to the main area.
I need to go - and I shut the door, I do, there are two inter-connecting doors. But some bar-steward has gone into the gent's next door and left the main door open. Just as I commenced on a massive burst of methane that rocked the world and left Kim Jong IL II wondering if the US had just retaliated.

There was a slight nano-second's pause of utter silence, during which the pret-a-manger celeriac mash soup repeated on me in a rush of squealing wind.

Then I heard it: laughter. Lots of it.

Gosh - what do I do? If I come out of the toilet now, I will die. DIE of mortification. If I stay, it will look worse. And the smell is gut-wrenching. It's like a dead gerbil has gotten lodged in my lower bowels and started to rot. I have no choice but to take the shame.

In my last job, I guffed with impunity, dropping them off at the desks of people I didn't like. Here, now, I am butt-clenching with a fury that would please a Nazi. I can't let any more volcanic outbursts escape - but my stomach is aching with keeping it in. I will now be known as Farty New Girl. From the Mermaid of Moorgate, to Gutrot of Oxford Circus. Just great. Roll on Monday...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

What is happening with The Times? It's gone all hilarious all of a sudden. There was a story today about Charles and Camilla going trekking around the Kashmir region, and the journalist was inserting humorous quips and commentary into the copy. And instead of an expose of how the royal duo were dealing with people out there, The Times ran a piece onMillie's ankle of all things - its second story on the website. Here is an excerpt: "There was a brief but no doubt embarrassing moment of panic, when one of her ankles was fleetingly exposed for all to see.
The error occurred as she walked down the red-carpeted stairs after leaving the mosque and putting her shoes back on, with her trousers apparently getting caught up with a wayward pop sock.
Luckily, an aide was on standby for such emergencies and duly scurried over to alert the Duchess to the wardrobe malfunction, helping her untuck the material.
Despite the minor blip, the outfit – which the Duchess has worn on another Royal tour - appeared to go down a storm, enabling her to display frugality as well as modesty."
I think last night was my last IMA dinner. Charm, schmoozing and entertaining the troops with graphic verbal imagery and unique dresses can no longer guarantee me entry to any more freebies. The Mermaid of Moorgate has bowed out, ungraciously, mohitos a-lined up in a row, and is now relegated to the realm of the client being king.
I tried to ensure that I gave my people a good Shimmering show last night. Put on my best green frock, hand-embroidered beads and sequins aplenty, gold shoes, the bottle blonde barnet aflowing, and gatecrashed the first party at the Grosvenor House Hotel.
The first mistake. It was Fidelity. The only non-accountable organisation in the world. Because Fidelity is the world, and it owns you. Oh yes. And it's one of my clients... I found that out today....
However, some great, laid-back contacts of mine there were more than gracious, lavishing me with canapes and trying to get their dull guests to say anything, anything at all..... so I kick-started myself to help them get into the party mode. Sadly this consisted of me accusing one Fidelity worthy of murdering his ex-wife by getting her to go scuba-diving in a concrete costume (swim, princess, swim).

Dinner went downhill. Got accosted by an ancient mariner with weeping eye who thought I was his young bride Maggie, who must have died in the 1920s, and had to get rescued by some chappy from Gartmore, who I then demanded dress up in green tights and pretend to be a christmas elf for santa.... I think he said yes....

Bill Bailey was excellent, although someone from my table apparently shouted: "We love you, you freak", and threw a bread roll. I hope it hit New Star. No! I really really hope it hit Jupiter. I hope it whacked that double-barrelled chap who can't spell "Field". I hope it hit him in the mouth.

I don't know who threw the roll.

Dinglenuts finally saved me from myself, or saved someone else from me. By midnight I was cruising tables for leftover petits fours. I ate dozens of them. At the time it must have seemed a good idea.