Thursday 23 September 2010

The Office

My very kind phone provider was recently battered into submission and gave me a new phone even though I wasn't due one. The old one was rubbish, and the new one is lovely. My contract says I can upgrade it at the end of the month, so I'll have two shiny new phones in my pocket. If only I had enough friends to justify it. The new phone has only two problems - one it has a rubbish camera, so my First Friday Photos may well be a bit rubbish this time. The other thing is, being an 'Android' phone,it forced me to create a new e-mail address. I don't like it, I didn't want it, but it has insisted. Hopefully no one will ever send me anything on that address because they'll never get a reply. I like my hotmail address for all things personal and my work address for all things work.

At home, I like to wake to the radio (Q Radio) and have my tea and toast to the radio - XFM. The Cat, however, has to be woken by an earthquake level 9 on the Richter scale, and over breakfast has struggled with my choice of radio station. She asked in her lovely way whether it would be possible to have Capital Radio on during breakfast. As an accommodating person I said yes (whilst cursing under my breath). This morning, the radio was retuned to Capital. Johnny Vaughan I think. It lasted no more than 30 seconds before The Cat said, "Oh I'd forgotten I hate Johnny Vaughan, can you put it back to XFM." I feel there must be a third way.

In the office, the musical chairs shenanigans continues. I've mentioned them before. I've reposted Weird John several times, and Mad Maria at least once. There was an Irish girl who came in. She was lovely but left in the blink of an eye. She was nearly replaced by The Spaniard, but he just couldn't quite make his mind up.

So in came The Baron and The Bane Of My Life.

I'm not quite sure when it became apparent that all was not quite right. It may have been when The Baron came in, had a shower and used the hand towels we all use to dry himself with. All of himself. None of us have been able to wash our hands since.

It may have been when The Cat's Mum came in bearing a very full box of Millies Cookies. When she'd gone The Bane took it upon himself to offer them around to everyone else.

Or it may have been when I heard a key in the door lock at 10.00 in the morning whilst I sat at my desk. The door had been locked. "Hello" I called out. "Oh" said The Baron "I didn't think anyone was in". At 10 in the morning. Clearly I've been in the wrong job all my life.

Or it may have been that whilst I was out, they came and took the cables connecting my two computers to the network so they could connect themselves. "We didn't think you needed them" they said after I'd spent half an hour when I came back trying to work out why I had no Internet access.

Or it may have been when The Bane just started helping himself to magazines on people's desks without asking.

Or it may have been when they decided to connect a router to the network, knocking everyone else off and thereby causing me to spend an hour and a half on the phone to an expensive computer technician before we discovered what they'd done.

Or it may have been when The Barron set off the alarm, and thought of letting me know by e-mail suggesting I call him. I picked up the e-mail four hours later.

Or it may have been the tea bag left in my tea which The Barron (kindly) made this morning. I found it when I reached the bottom of the mug.

Or it may have been......

Wednesday 22 September 2010


Winter's coming, but we're still smiling.

Tara's gallery can be found here

Sunday 19 September 2010

This weekend the children were mostly burning the house down

So there I was chatting to Rich Dad on the sidelines of the second rugby match of the season, and he mentioned that he's 6-8 weeks behind in the training schedule for his trek to the North Pole. Evidently he keeps picking up injuries because when he was young he wasn't fit so doesn't have 'core strength' now that he's older. It made me realise a couple of things - one that mindless decisions made in our youth have lifetime consequences, and secondly that being rich doesn't just enable you to but a bigger house and a flashier can afford the time and expense of doing things the rest of us can only dream of...good luck to him - he is really making the most of his success.

I remember when I took The Boy and his sister to see their mum in the hospital in Dublin after her brain hemorrhage that it was the first time I had seen them together for several years. Obviously it was an emotionally highly charged time but it was a beautiful sight as they messed around, chatted and generally interacted as only brother and sister could. I've held that memory very close in the years since, and it was probably that which encouraged me to be determined to keep them close after their mum died. Unfortunately I failed on that front but I've continued to hope upon hope that they will become close again as they get older.

Now, though, The Boy has The Cat and The Cat has The Boy. Putting the offspring of different parents together can be difficult, but in this case a great school friendship has blossomed. It is just startling to see the two of them play together, squabble, wind each other up in such a fashion. I love it. I suspect that both had missed having a sibling to play with when they were younger, and are now making up for it.

Friday night they were playing one of their seems to involve The Boy trying to reach the house from the bottom of the garden without being seen. He wears his army camouflage gear. The Cat must also avoid being seen...I'm not quite sure how it all works, but The Boy has written out the rules for for The Cat to LEARN AND UNDERSTAND. Anyway, the game was in full flow and I was on the phone to Grandma in Cyprus. There was a screech from upstairs...clearly The Boy had been spotted. I thought. Moments later, The Boy barged past me presumably trying to reach home base. I thought. I continued chatting away; The Cat's Mum continued cooking dinner.

The The Cat appeared in the bathroom which I was standing by and calmly put her stockinged feet in the bidet. After a short while I noticed the soles of her stocking all appeared to be cut away, or melted. She was deeply engrossed. Eventually I caught her attention and mouthed "Are you OK?" She said yes, but something was not quite right. I lost track of my conversation and said goodbye to Grandma in Cyprus. By this stage The Boy was there tending to her. I asked what had happened, and got "It's fine it's all sorted". I thought I could smell burning...and went to the top room where The Cat had been. The ceiling was burnt...not a scorch mark, the lights had melted and two large burn holes in the carpet, a burnt t-shirt and burnt (Paul Smith!) flip flops. And plenty of ash.

The order of events had been...The Cat had been speaking on her mobile to The Boy during the game - she was in the top room, he had been in the garden. "Can you smell burning?" she asked, "No" he said. Then he said "The fire is behind you." It was of them had somehow thrown a t-shirt onto the spot lights, it had caught fire. The Cat screamed. Pulled the shirt down and stamped out the flames with her stockinged feet. She got a blister for her troubles. The Boy rushed to the rescue. Together they put out the fire.

It was one of those events that is so serious that no one got told off. But much time was spent contemplating the potential consequences.