Sunday, December 31, 2006 did I do?

Not very well.

Still smoking.

Still have a limited grasp of the Welsh language.

SOH hasn't bought a radio in months, so guess I have kept that one. Like...if he had bought one I cannot say, with hand on heart, that I would not have fumed. Probably a little, so guess I haven't kept that one.

Due to in April 2006, it would not have been politic or wise to look for another job. I would have either had a lot of explaining to do, or flannelling (which I'm really rather good at) or bare-faced lying (which I'm not). Still, the whole sorry episode of my life will be over by the end of April (and there's a massive clue). So...who knows what May onwards will bring?

Oh no, I don't play Waitress or Theme Hospital any more. I've moved on. I now play Clonk and Diner Dash.

Actually...the short story I did start a novel though and even if it takes months I will finish it. Update on 31 December 2007. I also joined Helium for practice and knowledge sharing (it may turn into the next Wikipedia)

Oh my gosh, my driving license is STILL not updated. I gotta get Surrey completely outta my system and then maybe I can start getting at the nicotine.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Finally. The whole sorry saga is out.

We are delighted to inform you that your broadband connection can be restored in the coming days. A broadband cease has today been placed on your telephone line, and BT will de-tag it in the shortest possible timeframe thanks to the strong strategic relationship our parent company Biscit enjoys with BT Wholesale.

The reason that you have not had your full broadband service this past month has been well-documented on national television and radio, as well as in the press. Following Biscit's acquisition of V21 last month, one of our broadband suppliers presented the new owners with a burst bandwidth invoice covering services provided to part of the customer base.

The invoice included services the supplier claimed it provided to V21 customers since December 2005. But the second-tier broadband supplier did not have the technology to measure bandwidth usage on its networks until June 2006. The invoice was therefore rejected and a full audit was launched into all invoices from this supplier. The supplier retaliated by ceasing your broadband service and suggested that you switch to a more expensive broadband package with one of its business partners, of ISP 186k.

Happily, the very large majority of you refused to become a victim of this supplier's commercial practices. Our initiatives in raising public awareness of the supplier's antics as well as with Ofcom and various parliamentary committees then forced the supplier to restore your broadband service until the cease was placed on your line today. Clearly, we are seeking significant damages and you will receive a voucher in due course representing your share of the proceeds once the courts have processed our claim.

You will certainly be pleased to learn that the saga of last month has now ended. From today, we can begin re-provisioning you with the same broadband service at no additional cost on the servers of award-winning Biscit. No more middlemen. You'll be securely placed on the servers of one of Britain's most established broadband providers. You can retain your email addresses (important particularly during this festive month) and there will be no need to change any of your Internet settings.

We look forward to becoming your broadband provider once again. On behalf of the staff of V21 and Biscit, I would like to wish you and yours a very Happy Christmas and a Successful 2007.

What made me laugh is that on another piece of correspondance from V21/Biscit to their customers, they referred to the submission by NS as 'creative invoicing'. In my business, and accounting, there is a regular joke....think of a number that bears no relation to what you are trying to figure out, double it and take away the number you first thought of.

I shall review NS's website later and see if they have a response, but my attitude is still much the same (even given I was a little aggrieved by V21/Biscit's rather long silence on the subject) - NS are trying to make out that they are the injured party here. How can you lie in the gutter and say that life has dealt you an unfair hand if you gambled away all the money you ever earned? How can you say that you did not try to novate V21's customers when you tried to get everyone to sign up to another one of your clients? Like OJ Simpson driving away in a car, very fast, as far away as possible, after his wife was murdered. There could be a rational explanation. But you have to admit, it does look very bad.

NS chucked a backhand lob to Biscit. Biscit has now delivered a forehand smash. Can I have broadband back now please?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Love is....

Such a weak word in the English language.

Mushy, soppy writing coming up..get ready with the Kleenex, or click onto another bookmark NOW.

You don't really understand love until you have really experienced it, and I'm not talking about the lustful feeling you may get when looking at that rather sexy shop assistant.

The Greeks have three distinct words for love (although certain expressions convey a lot more than English ever could); eros - passionate love, so love at first sight, the first 6 months or less (or so) of a relationship, but with a proviso that this actually develops into 'proper' love; philia - an enjoyment of companionship; agape - probably the most important of all, this is the "love stops at nothing" love and what Paul was on about when he said that if he didn't have it he was like a sounding bell or a tinkling cymbal. The KJV 1611 translates it as 'charity' - which just proves how weak our language is. The word charity is actually closer to the translation than the word love, which is what most modern translations have it, but even the meaning of the word charity had been watered down over the centuries.

The Bible, Plato and Aristotle aside (the latter two, as far as I'm aware, just spent time thinking about it rather than doing something about it), when you ask people of different ages, at different stages of their lives and at different stages of their relationships with other humans, "What Is Love?", you will get a hundred answers. Much like the Greeks, they don't really have definitive answers either.

What is love to me? I lost the initial eros love for my husband years and years ago. But it has developed into the love that Plato said that it should. Philia - I can't imagine being with anyone else and do not enjoy anyone's company more. Agape - I love him even when he does stuff that annoys me.

When you see an elderly couple walking down the road holding hands, and imagining that they have always been that way since they married in early sixties, you glimpse what love really is, and I still hold my husband's hand after 16 years and hope that I still will be in another 16 years.

One thing you can really be sure of - true love really is eternal, and you don’t need to be Greek to recognise that.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Atheist, agnostic or God-fearing believer, you cannot fail to be utterly over-awed by this.

Late addendum - just noticed this is my 50th post. Great that it was something inspiring for once, I really couldn't have planned it.

Good ISP...

OK, I'm very confused.

People power has won through and due to pressure, suddenly NS have temporarily connected us back again, but only guaranteed until Friday. Once we can no longer connect we can go where the heck we please.

Why no comment from V21/Biscit? Why have legal proceedings not commenced? Why has their customer service gone to pot, not answering even hypothetical questions from their users, but just laying the blame firmly at NS's door? And WHY have V21/Biscit not updated their website with the late olive branch from NS (albeit it sounds like a disgruntled and crushed olive branch)?

I don't want to move to EezeeDSL. But whilst V21/Biscit remain quiet on the issue and just state "It's not faaaairrr...its not ooourrrr fault..weee caaaan't doooo anneeethinnngg" like little kiddies, I'm seriously considering going somewhere else entirely. A shame. V21 were, by far, the best UK ISP I have used.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Bad bad bad BAD Customer Service

Netservices terminates v21 services

I guess I have been pretty blessed not to be caught up in such a farce as this one before. Unfortunately, V21 has been my ISP for some time and, I believe, one of the best UK providers there are.

It's odd - I'm not feeling for myself very much. I feel for the customers of V21, the angry customers who phone up to complain, the telephone watchdogs and V21 customer services who must surely be going through hell. I can ride out the storm, connect to the internet via the LAN at my employer's when I need to and just wait until the bun fight stops, and V21/Biscit emerge victorious (as they surely will). The real 'child' here though is Netservices, aggrieved with losing their business to Biscit, and sulking because V21 queried an invoice, have turned to dirty tricks worthy of the alledged British Airways of some years back. In brief - they control the ADSL for the V21 broadband customers, so therefore can do what the heck they like with them, 'offering' them a service with another provider (in some cases, double the price of v21) and if we don't like it....well we can lump it, because we're not going to talk to you.


I've worked for employers that have taken a serious nosedive in the City - the way out is to work to improve your relationship with both your customers and suppliers - NOT try to make the best out of a bad situation by turning to tricks such as this.

Shame on you, Netservices. I don't think you will exist by the end of next year, and I don't think anyone will mourn your passing. Cut me off on 24 November, I will simply reconnect with V21. Some victory.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Sunday Morning (a short poem)

The wind
and the rain
fight to get through my window

ignore them
and pull the duvet over my head

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Ah. The joys of payroll.

I posted this elsewhere sometime ago, and meant to double post to here, but never got round to it and lost the link. Found it today (thanks Google).

10 ways to nark off your payroll department

I work for a large payroll company and I'm currently working on a payroll that is a rather well known utilities company in the UK. For those inexperienced with contacting payroll, here are 10 easy ways of getting your payroll clerk aggravated:
  1. A convo on the lines of this:Employee: "I'm paying too much tax." Me: "Have you handed in your P45?" Employee: "No. Do I have to?"
  2. Rant. And Rant. And Rant. And swear. It don't get you anywhere honey. My trick is to hold the phone away from my ear until you've finished. I can't understand a word you're saying anyway. Other tactics, include, at best, terminating the conversation. At worst, putting you on speaker so the Payroll Manager can hear. PM has hot line to top man (or woman) at client. So be warned and watch your language.
  3. Holding your baby whilst on the phone and allowing it to BAWL down the phone so I cannot hear a word you're saying, and yours and my blood pressure goes up. Oh yeah, I can do without Sky Sports on in the background too. Turn it off!
  4. Telling me your life story, your latest operation, the troubles with your daughter, son, husband, wife, partner. It won't get the sympathy vote - the client doesn't pay us to cause sympathy to make us change the rules. I'm sorry for you - honestly - but it will not cause any change in the stance. Tell your sob story to your boss - HE can probably make things happen. We can't.
  5. Tell me how to do my job, or tell me you could DO my job. One woman tried to teach me the joys of customer service (somewhere along the line of the customer is always right). The biggest laugh I got was when I was at the lower end of the pay scale (around £5) per hour and had an employee in a shop (on £3 per hour) telling me that payroll was easy and she could do my job, and indeed, HAD done my job. Right, lady, so why didn't you stay in payroll rather than be on your feet ALL day for £2 less an hour?
  6. Tell me its MY job to chase up YOUR personal information. No. Its you or your manager. Beck and call girls (and boys) we are not.
  7. Phone up at 9am on pay day, consultant unavailable, other consultant takes your phone number promising I will phone you phone back at 9:30am demanding to know why I haven't phoned back. We get close to 200 phone calls on pay day, and your call stating that your union dues balance is incorrect is NOT priority. Oh, and we have until 3pm the next working day to phone back UNLESS you've been severely underpaid.
  8. Be on over £50K, be underpaid by the price of a Malteser, and DEMAND payment NOW. Since when should I pay you out of principle, when I have a girl who's been underpaid SEVERELY, which was maybe ours, maybe the client's fault, and they say - its OK, I can wait. You high paid employees should be ASHAMED.
  9. Say "I bet your pay is never wrong". Oh boy. Of course my pay has been wrong on occasion, because, like yours, MY payroll department is human. I don't get on the phone and talk to them the way you talk to them. (They're too close for a start)
  10. Say "My pay is wrong every month". Y'know, out of morbid curiosity, all payroll clerks check this statement out. We usually find that your pay was wrong one month (our fault), wrong the next month (because we fixed our error, and the client, out of 'kindness' or some form of weird humour, instruct us to do something specific to fix it, so the correction is doubled up, and you're paid wrong again), and then....nowt. Rien. Nada. Your pay has been right 9 months in a row. Be careful again, we have the hot line to your boss and we record every query.

There are more. Much more. But these will do for now.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Farewell to The Red Baron

This is about 5 days too late, but better late than weak tea.

I started watching F1 in '96 - I think mainly because a certain British driver was doing rather well. He, along with most of the others in the paddock, and the entire F1 fanbase had something to say about one Herr Michael Schumacher. Most of it uncomplimentary.

Damon, of course, won the F1 World Championship that year, although a lot of peeps were saying it was more down to his car rather than his driving ability. Michael had got himself disqualified - from the whole season. I don't remember the full details (though trying to run Hill off the road had something to do with it) but I don't think that British had been that pleased since 1966.

Course, I went along with the views of a lot of the fraternity - here was one arrogant, self centred, precocious son of a gun.

Then I watched his driving over the next 10 years and the disgust turned into utter admiration.

Oh yeah, sure, there were 'incidents'. And I'm not about to excuse them. Some of them were Michael all over, some of them he admitted and some of them weren't even his fault (but because he was 'involved' this all added to the 'Schumacher is ruining F1' debate)

I hear a lot about Senna - I wasn't watching in those days, but it seems that those that say that, although Schumacher is, statistically, the greatest F1 racing driver there ever was, that Senna is still their number 1 all time greatest racing driver.

For those that know all there is to know about racing, this could be informed opinion. Unfortunately, for the majority that say that it is down, in part, to that niggling little irration we have with all things and people German (though we do like Mercedes) and in part they don't want to be associated with someone that they think cheated his way to stardom.

You don't cheat all 90+ wins.

And I hate conjecture. Like when they say 'Senna would have wiped the floor with him'. Senna's dead guys. Senna could have been just seriously injured and given up racing the next day. He could have been so shaken up that he was never the same again. Or he could have been knocked down by a bus after the season ended. Conjecture is pointless. Just look at the guy's ability, particularly when Brundle, who is not, it has to be said, Schumacher's greatest fan, be awstruck by the sort of talent he displayed last Saturday. Effectively running last, he finished fourth and it seemed that every lap included another jaw-dropping, edge of the sofa with screams manouvre. It was like he was saying 'This is Me, this is what F1 will be missing when I'm gone and I am, and always will be, the greatest there ever was'.

Arrogance? Oh sure. But who cares about arrogance when you see a car driven so perfectly?

Some said Schumacher ruined F1. But I, for one, will probably not watch much more because of him dropping out. I can't see anyone beating his records, and I can't see any other personality in the paddock that will give us something to talk about on Monday morning. You see, one thing that Michael wasn't, was boring.

Farewell Michael, gosh I'll miss you.

Monday, September 25, 2006

This could be heaven or this could be Rhyl

No particular reason for the title of this post, other than I thought of it on the way home and found it vaguely amusing.

Talking to a contact at the client today, she spoke of her former employer, another rather well known utilities company, saying "You must have seen all the stuff in the news about all that." "No," I replied "world news simply does not interest me any more. In fact, there is just one headline I've been following lately and that's Richard Hammond."

(Before I continue, can I ask you please donate to Hammy's Heli, if you can. Worthy cause.)

She laughed and I said "It's sad really, the world is blowing itself to bits, our Prime Minister is crap and I have no interest in it whatsoever." She said everywhere was bombing everywhere else and there was absolutely nothing we can do about it.

But is it wrong I have a degree of ennui about world affairs? Its a bit like environmental issues. Have you noticed recently that there are no less than 4 camps? There's the "Trying Hard To Do Something About It" camp, the "Couldn't Care Less And Where Did I Park the 4X4" camp, the "Global Warming Doesn't Exist" camp and, more worryingly, the "The World Is Coming To An End and This Just Speeds Up The Process" camp.

Okay, so I whinge as much as the next person when I think the government has made a rubbish decision. However, I only do so if I can see a better idea. And only if I feel it's going to affect me, or my Belief, personally. So I may get a little uncomfortable when 'Religous Hate Speech' Bills go through parliament (thankfully, nothing has really been really passed into law. Suprised with my attitude? Ha, that's for another time). Wind Farms? Show me a better solution I may take an interest. They're quite pretty actually and liven up Rhyl and Prestatyn. It's when stuff gets close to home that I care. I've been a fan of Top Gear along with the SOH for years now, and when someone with obvious guts and a sense of fun, and makes me laugh, has a brush with death I feel I have to pray.

Sad, really, when there are lives being lost every day and you pray for one person that, in the scheme of world politics, doesn't really matter. Perhaps I should pray about that too.

Perhaps living one day to the next is what is important, and to try and make a difference in stuff around me, people around me. Doing the best I can, and being 100% of what I am. Being Real. It's all I ever wanted to be. At least I made one person laugh today, and kicked a bit of bottom at work. If only I could be as that effective in the world.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Looks nothing like me. The lack of dress sense is about right.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Give us a '9

Over and out

When I was about 16, my dad acquired a CB radio to play about with. He was an electronic engineer, but it was more than a job, it was a hobby. He rigged up a voice operated microphone on his crash helmet and got me to try and speak to him on his drive off somewhere in the suburbs of SW London, to see if it worked.

We had picked a channel that was quiet, but what we didn't know is that it was a channel that got kicking late in the afternoon with a network of people from Richmond Hill into the far reaches of Surrey. The first to switch his rig on called himself 'Desperate Dan' and he lived on Richmond Hill.

Within 20 minutes of first trying to speak to my dad, there were at least a dozen people trying to speak to the guy on Richmond Hill, as he had a good rig and a large aerial. Me, with my cheap little rig and small loft aerial, could not hear most of them, and I was a weak signal or 'no copy' to them. Of course, the channel got well chaotic and I couldn't even speak to my dad.

Eventually, my dad got to his location, but I stayed on and talked to all that I could. I met 'Black Swan', 'Redstripe', 'Amber Gambler', 'Spirit', 'Wildmouse', 'Crazy Camel' among others. So began my relationship with this 'night light' which lasted about 2 years. I eventually adopted a 'handle' for myself - I was 'French Connection' of Strawberry Hill. (No, I do not drive cars like a maniac and I don't do hard drugs. Somehow though, like the nic 'honestfi' it seems to suit me somehow - you had to be there) The relationship with the 40 red channels was rocky at best, and I think the main reason why I stopped using it was because of a couple of nasty incidents of verbal abuse and there came a time I was regretting the day that I first picked up the mic.

CB was waning in popularity then, and now there are only 20,000 odd license holders (though probably just as many unlicensed), and we now have the internet and chat rooms and it is nothing to speak to someone in Florida whereas this would have been an achievement on CB. However, you can pretend to be somone you are not on the internet, e.g. a 7 year old girl when in fact you're a 40 year old man...dashed difficult on CB. And although you can just about keep your exact location a secret on the internet, (though the determined can find out) as your 'copy' on the CB was doubtless less than 10 miles away, he could leap into his car, track you by looking at the signal when you spoke, until eventually he would 'key up' right outside your door, blasting your speaker and causing the meter needle to click loudly to 'n stop.

Reading the article at the BBC, and the positive comments underneath it, brought back a flood of memories, and I am able to forget the heartache and reflect on the happier times.

  • 'Wildmouse' and his mate Jamie finding out where I lived and driving their cars down our road shouting "Chrrrrroooome!" (quiet location, and I think the neighbours must have had apoplexy!)
  • Developing my first, serious crush on another 'breaker' and the long long long long walk we had on our 'eyeball' (I think it was about 10 miles!). Sadly, the love I thought I felt was not reciprocated. I wonder where he is now?
  • The thrill late at night of copying someone in Canary Wharf!
  • The sweet offers of friendship, maybe more, from various guys, rather desperate for a girl methinks, but an important part of life when you're turning seventeen
  • In fact I think there was one who held a candle for me, but never asked. Seems that boys have the same trouble as girls in expressing their feelings sometimes. If he had asked....well....I think given the circumstances at the time, I would probably have said yes
  • The conversations with the 'old boy' network, who, despite the difference in age, welcomed me into their talks and never left me out.

I realise all this, and more, contributed into me turning from an adolescent into an adult and certainly boosted my confidence - I was a 'mouse' that barely spoke but I started to become a little more forthright and less introverted. So. Happy Birthday, CB Radio, and may you have many more, even if you are isolated to Age Concern - and such a brilliant way to earn your keep.

There is one more, precious reason that CB Radio will always have a special place in my heart and memories.

A few years after their first meeting, 'French Connection' married 'Desperate Dan'.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Friends are lights and lights are friends

I'm your only friend
I'm not your only friend but I'm a little glowing friend
but really I'm not actually your friend
but I am

Blue canary in the outlet by the light switch
who watches over you
make a little birdhouse in your soul
Not to put too fine a point on it:say I'm the only bee in your bonnet
make a little birdhouse in your soul

Friday, August 11, 2006

Digging in the dirt

Perhaps the most refreshing thing about this job vacancy is its absolute honesty.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Gimme vision

I've come to the conclusion that my life is out of control recently, or at the very least I'm no longer at the rudder.

I spent a rather melancholy Friday afternoon, busy as usual, but fuming that my 'beloved' company has yet again said one thing and done another. Oh...I so want out of there.

I had a glimmer, just the beginnings of thoughts in my head Saturday night that there may be a way out. I quite probably need devine intervention to get me out of the gutter of my own making, but I just know I'm better than this and need to clean up my life rather than just....functioning.

I posted a song on Song Meanings over the weekend. It was Nik Kershaw's Human Racing.

Look behind you, there's the man you're chasing
Look behind you - Let's go Human Racing

It wasn't until today that I realised that this is exactly what I'm doing. Chasing a dream that is of this world, only to find I have plenty of competitors, some of which I believe better than me chasing the same dream and believing that I have the best chance - they either bide their time, or just wait to stab me in the back.

Here's the killer lion though - it's only me that can make the change. It's wrong to say that I've ever swum against the tide. I don't exactly go with the flow either, I just drift idly along in the current, rather than swimming to the shore, and look at the poor mugs fighting it out whilst I have a cup of tea and a marmite sandwich. This is, of course, what I want. Do I want promotion? Hmmm...maybe. Do I want to advance my career? Maybe. Do I still more want to make a difference in someone's life so that, even if I sit back with perhaps the odd pang of jealousy, I have at least stored that one special gem that is not of this world, but of another? You betcha. But I have to change first.

Perhaps I'm scared of change, but whilst the world is moving towards self destruction, and the people in it are dismantling themselves along with it, it is me who has to say - STOP. There must be something better than this. I have plenty of ideas, and plenty of intelligence. It may be stupid to say I will start tomorrow - tomorrow brings another week of work in a company I've lost faith in and I'll just be too darn busy to worry about my future, I'll be busy concerned with making sure that as few people phone up on pay day as possible.

OK - here's my one, important, resolution that is far above the others that I may have made. Set myself 5 minutes a day to think about/do something else other than work or pleasure. Maybe it will extend to an hour before the end of the year, but I have a feeling that something big is going to happen if I just start to make the changes.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Go know you want to...

I've said it before - I sometimes like to click 'Next Blog' to find out if there is anything interesting going on today in the world of Blogger.

I don't knock it - I have picked up a few blogs this way, including VeryBored's and Fainthearted. After a session of 'Next Blog' during a quiet lunch hour (extremely rare) I've picked up a few that may well end up in my rather sad looking blog list (I'm fussy, OK....OK...lazy...) But clicking next blog can be quite an amusing/frustrating/educating/annoying (delete as applicable) experience.

Now...I know this blog will never win awards. It is quite simple (trendy people would say 'boring'), I have not tried to promote it in any big fashion and I'm not presenting a concept that is original in any way. I do this mainly for my own benefit, though it is great that Ian, Oli and VVB occasionally give a bit of encouragement or amusement just to let me know I am not just talking to myself.

But oh boy, the people that try out there. There should be awards for them, the Soldiers of Blog. They are so trying to be original, but do they know they are clamouring for the mere 18% of the net that actually gets read. How about my own set of awards...all found by clicking Next Blog for a few minutes.

The Snazzy but incomprehensible Blog Award - crazyy-loner

The This Is The Beginning Of Something Big But You Know Its Not Going To Last More Than A Couple Of Posts Award - thetrueself - sounds somewhat intriguing and I'm almost routing for them to keep going actually

The Doom Laden But No-One Knows What They're On About And Probably Don't Care Award - panopticon

The OK It's Foreign But We All Know What She's On About - The Teenage Story Award - macavity123 - Note that the titles are in English...

This is just a few. Go on...try it. It must be better than writing about what you're having for lunch.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The boy's a bit special

Some years ago, when I first got into lawn tennis (watching, not playing) I saw a teenager with long, dreadlocked hair sticking out of a baseball cap with huge baggy shorts re-write some of the rules of tennis.

The older generation scoffed at his scruffiness. The girls swooned. The tennis pundits said that a player that works mainly from the baseline would never get anywhere, and besides, he was sporting an upper thigh injury.

Tennis had been dominated by the hard hitters - it was all a matter of whether you could return a 140 mph serve (unlikely) or whether your second serve was better than your opponents, as invariably the serve was built for speed rather than accuracy. The young man, along with a new generation, got players realising that, if you stayed near the baseline, you not only had more chance of getting that serve back, you gave their fore and backhand techniques a workout into the bargain.

The players did not expect that - and Andre Agassi went on to win Wimbledon that year.

Andre played his last Wimbledon this year, bowing out to the world number 2 on Saturday. He has dropped the cap and baggy shorts and now shaves his head as he has hairline. He got a standing ovation. The boy was a bit special.

At long last, we have a British hope (though the Scots are insisting he is theirs. He had only dropped one set on his way to the fourth round....and then he fell to pieces. Why? Was it the heat? Was it the lack of experience? Or was it the fact that, as England had been sent home from the World Cup, too much media attention was directed at him and he crumpled under the pressure?

It was probably a mixture of all three. As much as we would love to blame the media for the woes of British sport, we are as much to blame for buying into it.

Andy Murray is unlikely to change the face of tennis as Agassi did. But he does play a lot better than Henman did at that age, and don't forget he has already won a tournament and better still - has even got Roger Federer (current world no 1) impressed. Another boy I watched in the early days who was a bit special. Murray has the shots, the tactics and can read his opponents tactics quickly, and importantly, early on in the match. Henman is painful to watch. Murray at his best will leave you gasping with delight. Yeah, I'm patriotic, but I prefer to watch talent, rather than seeing Union Flags.

I'm wrong about a lot of things. When I watched Agassi and Federer in their youth, I knew they would go on to greater heights. I never had that feeling with Henman. I do with Murray. The boy's a bit special. A British World number one? Quite likely I say.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Now I've lived here a bit I've become a bit more sensitive to pronunciation of various Welsh words.

Abergele is pronounced by the English (and most Welsh come to think of it) as Ab-ber-gellee. However, the Welsh way takes into account that only two letters of the Welsh alphabet can change the way they are said - y and w - and then under only certain circumstances.

Being a playful soul, I like to interchange between the two pronunciations of Abergele as I see fit. (Except in my other half's hearing) I frequently do this when on the phone to some call centre, the operator asks me first to spell 'Pensarn'...and then 'Abergele'...and just to give them icing on the cake I like to say Clwyd (cloo-id) rather than Conwy. I spose its my revenge for the time that a guy from Wales stated his address as 'Pryswylfa' and almost caused a circuit in my brain to explode as he tried to spell it.

The local news, if read by a Welsh person, always always always pronounce it Ab-ber-gell-ler. Somehow it doesn't sound as pretty as Ab-ber-gell-lee, but as it means 'mouth of the river Gele' I suppose I should try and be more careful and say it right. After all, I'm sure scousers would be a little affronted if we called it Lyverpool. Or maybe there are just so many of them in North Wales they don't give a stuff. And maybe I shouldn't either, considering that they also give Rhyl a lovely pretty ring 'rrrrrril' (i.e. barely pronouncing the l) and Rhyl sure ain't pretty (not just yet, maybe a few million quids will make a difference. Didn't do Jackie Stallone any good though. miaow.)

Lastly. Why is it Cymru is pronounced cum-ree, but cynt pronounced kint? You decide.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Oh the adverts are taking the...

So I slag off tourists.

What do the adverts do?

Only go and offer Welsh holiday homes.


Friday, May 05, 2006

Oh gosh super the tourists are back

The sun comes out and the tourists are back and so here we are set for another 5 or 6 months of putting up with them.

I'm pretty fortunate as I live in an area which is not very touristy, mainly because there is nothing there and partly because Pensarn has got a bad rap. Suits me fine, though it doesn't stop some of them. My favourite cafe, Pantri Bach, is absolutely jam packed in and out with people lingering over a single cup of coffee and an ice cream sundae. Some of them have started to realise how quiet Pensarn beach is during the day, and the fact they can park their car there, and, despite the pebbles and the kamikaze seagulls, know that the air is (fairly) fresh, the sea is blue and the view to Great Ormes Head and the windmills is terrific.

Oh yeah, the windmills. The naysayers amongst the local populous state that local tourism will be ruined by them. Frankly, I can't see how, as the job has already been sorted by Rhyl, which should actually rename itself to 'Rubble'. A few million quid chucked at it, and will probably not be finished before the summer of 2007. Npower Renewables have already sent their machines, resembling something out of a John Christopher novel, out into the oceans, and you can watch in utter fascination/boredom/incredulity (delete as applicable), as it moves back and forth over the skyline. The Npower Tripods Are Coming....The Npower Tripods Are Here...gosh npower will be running Britain before long, doubtless sending radioactive waves through our 'lekky supplies so that we are all subservient to them. I think not. Worst things happen at sea, ha ha. If someone can convince me that the windmills will do more harm than good, and they don't stick one on my roof, I'm not going to complain, and if it sends a few more into Pontins, or even Spain, then all the better.

Back to tourists. If they are not packing out the favourite haunts of the locals, they are hanging around the supermarkets, looking at every single item on every single shelf, as if there isn't a similar establishment where they come from, and eventually buying 10 for 2 offers and 'Value' items, knowing darn well (deep down) that they will survive on burgers, fish and chips and Chinese takeaways and all this lot will end up dumped in the wheely bins at the caravan site. AND they have the cheek to quibble at the till if they are overpriced by so much as a green grape (special offer, 99p). I bet they don't act like that when they're at home.

I pity them in Snowdonia, where the nicer places are (with very nice prices). Its no wonder a lot of the locals stick to Welsh for the summer. It gives them an excuse to ignore them. Me, I stick to my farm shop where I know I am getting fresh, local, produce. This is what the Welsh really rely on, but the tourists don't buy it because they think it is too expensive. It is, compared to the supermarkets, who shaft the farmers at a penny per pound (or somewhere close).

(sigh) Roll on the beautiful month of October, and let me hibernate for a while with occasional trips to where the tourists don't go in Llansannan and Meliden. I'm planning to go into mid Wales for a few days in my couple of weeks off later, but you can betcha we won't be going where the tourists go. I prefer to find the reality of places rather than the fluff, to hear the sheep bleating and to hear the grass growing.

No, I'm not about to burst into a rendition of 'Land of My Fathers', but this area beats SW London hands down. And I try my darndest not to act like a tourist wherever I go.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Health and Beauty Magazines Make You Fat

Yep. Forget chocolate bars, potatoes and pasta, health and beauty magazines are the reason there are so many obese women in this country.

NO - get your finger off that comments button. I am not 'fattist'. I'm pretty big myself.

It can't be just me who, when reading one of these magazines which are claiming to 'inspire' reaches for the nearest Mars Bar? Or two?

What is still more depressing is that you know, deep down, that 90% of these 'inspiring women' are going to gain back all they lost...with extras.

If you are healthy, happy and sane and do not mind being fat, just stay away from these magazines, particularly from articles such as 'I Didn't Want to be a Hippo at My Wedding'. I feel like sending them hate mail. You can look fabulous in a wedding dress if you pick the right one, no matter what size you are. Get your head sorted out.

If, however, you do hate your weight, go ahead and try. Forget Atkins, eat as much as you like but NO FAT. It works. You have to deprive yourself of a lot of things that taste nice (reason why I haven't lost a lot) but it does work.

Forget fads, forget smug women who will be just as heavy in 12 months. Be yourself. Choose Freedom to be who you are.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

You've got to have a dream

Oh gosh been a long time hasn't it. Guess that all work and no play has made Jack (or Jill) very dull indeed.

A lot could be said for dreams.

"If you don't have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?"
"I have a dream today"
"Don't push too hard your dreams are china in your hand"

How true the last one became of late. A dream of mine shattered by my own hand.

I won't go into details, but the moment it happened the world seemed desolate and futureless. Then, shortly afterwards, as now, I realised that the dream would have meant a lot of sacrifice and maybe seeing a lot less of that which is very important to me; home and hubby.

The dream could come true yet, but it would take a while to materialise and I've probably alienated the person fighting my corner. I think they will talk to me again, maybe they will see it as just bad luck...or maybe they will think I'm a total fool to throw it away as simply as I did.

I have to talk abstractly. Maybe next year, when enough time has passed, with time to heal, and memories have a chance to fade a little, I will state more in depth about what happened.

Meantime, I have to find another dream....ah but I do have plenty on the shelf. :)

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Excellent site

I wouldn't say that I'm miserable in my job, lets just say that I feel that I'm starting to stagnate and want to move on. I wondered whether I could do anything other than payroll, which I have been doing for nearly 20 years.

I did the fun test. Here is something a lot, lot better.

Its a shame that you have to pay to see your top 10 ideal careers, and it is a yankie site as well (so the top 10 may have different names/values here in the UK), but it is incredibly accurate. When I read the basic assessment after doing the test (persevere, it takes around 15 minutes but it is worth it) I thought, wow, that is me to a tee.

Still, the guy who designed the software is the one who is no doubt selling it, so his career is well mapped out. I was (almost) tempted to buy it. But what it has done, at least, is to see me for what I really am at work.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Apostrophe Apostacy

Those that read and have read my writing know that my grammar ain't so good.

I don't realise until its pointed out to me, and even then I don't always understand.

An old English teacher had fits of giggles with one piece I did. "You kept going in and out of the past tense" she said, "It was incredibly confusing and amusing - all at the same time"

And I frequently use 'of' when I should use 'have'. Such times I just throw my hands up in surrender and think - well as long as I use good grammar on official stuff, or that there is someone on hand to make sure that I don't contradict myself, if I am understandable, there should be no problem.

But there is just one thing...

just one thing...

oops sorry, got caught up Eurythmics-style there. There is just one bit of bad grammar that really really really really REALLY bugs me, big time. That is using apostrophes in the wrong place and at the wrong time. (That, and confusing their, there and they're)

Glory hallelujah. There is someone that also cringes when they see signs such as "Hot Cross Bun's". She's right here.

Why does it make me cringe? Because I learnt how to use the apostrophe at 7. Since 7 year olds cannot work legally, those over 16 have no excuse.

There is one who considers that we should rid ourselves of the apostrophe altogether. Like here. Hang on though - isn't this just laziness? I mean, if I removed all the apostrophes out of this one post alone, I reckon it would be near unintelligible. Text messages and e-mails apparently, make the apostrophe obsolete, as common usage is kicking the poor punctuation mark into touch. OK, whilst we're at it, lets get rid of the full stop, comma and semi-colon and get breathless when we read the stuff that are written by 17 year olds who are meant to be fully literate.

Anyway, my English teachers, bosses and myself would have nothing to moan about.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Resolution by Proxy

Haven't quite got round to resolution 1 yet, but the SOH said to me the other day he was going to give up. I have not seem him put a cigarette to his lips today. He hasn't said a word to me about it, but I know it is his way of telling me, wordlessly, that he is serious.

This is good news. It should encourage me.