Friday, April 30, 2004

Equal Opps

I have just been turned down for a job I could do standing on my head with my eyes shut because..... "the guys on the (all male) team weren't sure how you'd fit in." It's a fair point - I had been wondering if I'd be ribbed when I pulled out my sandwich box at lunchtime. (I don't care how many thousands they pay me - I'm still not paying £3 for a sandwich I can make at home for 20p). But I think they should have challenged themselves to come up with a more concrete reason for rejecting me than that.


They were also dubious about me because when asked what I'd like to be doing in 5 years, I said I wanted to be a training manager. (What I am now, in all but title). They said they didn't think there would be that kind of progression in their organisation for me. Whatever happened to ambition being a positive attribute? Maybe next time I'll reply with "Wife and Mother"?

So onwards I go.... Actually I'm feeling really positive at work today. I had a great meeting this morning about expanding the training services we offer, and I've realised I've got a huge amount to offer this sector that wouldn't be appreciated if I went to work for a wunch of bankers. But GODDAMMIT I NEED THE CASH!


What have you lost in the post?

I have had go missing:

- Birthday Card from my Grandad
- Flight tickets to Prague (total cost of re-issue, £90)
- £40 sainsbury's vouchers. (Birthday present from my Mum). After the other stuff went missing, I advised her to quit her bad habit of sending valuable stuff in the post (which she has always done). But alas she ignored me and look what happened.

Also oneof the DVDs we posted back to lovefilm has gone missing, and we've only been members for 6 weeks.

Hardly surprising, if you saw Dispatches last night.

Unfortunately sleep came over me like a blanket 5 minutes before the end of the programme. I woke up an hour later and then could not get back to sleep til after 2am.

My Dad has decided what he's going to do with his inheritance money - to make up for not supporting any of us through university, (or indeed life in general.) He's going to take me and my sisters out for a meal in July. A posh one, mind! We all have birthdays in July, so it will be a joint celebration. But here is the catch - "accompanying spouses or partners will have to pay for their own meal because this is a unique (surname) family event".

Way to go Dad. Can't he see that R and my brothers-in-law have been more of a family to me than he's ever been?

But the good news is he's definitely moving "up north" and is going to open his own record shop. My Dad has spectacularly failed at anything he has ever attempted. And he has no patience. (This is the man who used to drive the mini-bus for our local "special school" and got frustrated with a pupil with learning difficulties so spat at him. My god, he's a total arsehole). This combination of failure and impatience with others will surely lead to his record shop being the musical equivalent of Black Books?


Tuesday, April 27, 2004

It’s a year to the day since I moved in with R. This got me thinking about how we’ve changed since then.

Sharing a PC

I have the memory of an elephant when it comes to phone number, birthdays, email addresses, useless pub quiz trivia etc. But when it comes to shortcut keys, I am hopeless. I’d rather lose a bit of screen space and have lots of things on the toolbar. R on the other hand is a minimalist. He knows every shortcut going, and has the bare minimum of icons on display. I am also quite short tempered, meaning that in the first few months, I would often shout out “what the fuck have you done with the refresh button? I NEED it now!” and he would shout back “F5”. And I’d shout back “I don’t want to know the shortcut, I want the button”.

This went on until we got windows XP with separate logins for separate people. Now when I open a word document, or internet explorer, I can gaze lovingly at all my icons, and he can gaze lovingly at his massive screen space. Occasionally I have to work on his login, if he’s doing something geeky with the pc and psion that can’t be interrupted. And then the shouting resumes…..

Getting home from work “on time”

For the first 6 months of living together, I had a 90 minute commute each way, and R had 45 minutes. Yet I still managed to always be home before him. It’s not that I have a job that requires less hours than him. He described himself as being “very underworked.” It’s because our processes of going home go something like this:

Me – Oooh, it’s time to go home. I’ll switch off my PC, put on my coat, pick up my bag, and walk out of the door. 90 minutes later – home.

Him – Oooh, it’s time to go home. That means I’ll just go online and surf for amusing pictures of Kramer from Seinfeld. Then I’ll check out how much memory cards are going for on Ebay. Then I’ll phone a couple of people. Ok, now I’m stood up ready to go. I’ll root through my desk drawers deciding which gadgets to take home with me tonight. There’s still time to visit and watch a video of Bruce singing at Rock in Rio that I’ve seen 100 times before. Now I’ll go get changed into my cycling gear. I’ll just pop along and say goodbye to all my friends who work on other floors. I’ll just re-heat my rice pudding. Right, I’m just off to the basement to get my bike. 2 hours later – home.

Now we both have a 45 minute journey to work. Him by bike, me by foot. He tends to leave earlier now, but I’m still always home first. I’ve got used to it, but still wish he’d sometimes be home before me. He takes for granted how nice it is to walk in the door and be greeted by a person. (He gets to do that every night, I never do.) We reached a compromise for a time – one or two days a week, we agreed that we’d both get home at the same time. But we fell out of that habit pretty quickly.


I am an “early to bed” type. He is a “3am to bed” type. Cause of many a night-time “discussion”. I think going to bed is a very boring chore – all that toothbrushing, and hanging up clothes. It is made much more fun having someone else to do it with. Plus, R has this ability to make the entire flat untidy, and when I go to bed it’s normally covered with the contents of his bike panier. If we go to bed together, I don’t have to yell out to him “clear the bed” because he’ll have seen it and cleared it already. And I just love the feeling of having someone else next to me in bed - it makes falling asleep so much more, well.., fun?

This has been a constant battle - every night we would have the same conversation, and I normally ended up going to bed alone and grumpy, because I’d wasted half an hour arguing the point, when I could have been in bed. For a while, I tried staying up late, but I just fell asleep on the settee and felt like crap the next day. Til one day a couple of months ago when we decided that every second night, I could ask him to come to bed at the same time as me, and he would agree, no questions asked. On the nights in between, he could stay up as late as he liked, no questions asked. It works marvellously! We have not had a single “pleeeeeease come to bed” conversation since.


I love cooking. It’s my all time favourite household chore. I’d much rather cook than wash up. And I’m a pretty good cook if I do say so myself. R is also a good cook, but is quite lazy when it comes to cooking. So normally when it was his turn to cook, I’d come home to veggie burgers and chips, or his masterpiece – egg fried noodles. Both yummy, but quite repetitive. We got round this – I started doing most of the cooking and he did most of the clearing up. But it causes issues sometimes when I’ve had to work late and would really like to come home to something other than veggie burgers and chips. But I’ve learned to chill out a bit and enjoy his food, and he’s learned to cook risotto. So we’re both winners really.

There’s so much more – our attitudes to tidiness, listening to music, supermarket shopping, getting married, filing bills – but I’d be writing all night. I can’t believe how much living with someone else has taught me about myself.

And I laugh when I think that it was R’s flatmate (who was always advising R against getting too serious with me) who facilitated us living together by moving to Spain for 6 months and wanting someone else to move into his flat and pay the rent while he was gone. I think he thought that by the time he got back, we’d have grown sick of each other and I’d have moved out. In fact, we’d grown much closer, and moved out of his flat into our own.

Long live cohabitation.


Sunday, April 25, 2004

Il faisait beau ce weekend, n'est-ce pas? So beau, in fact, that I put all my woolly jumpers in a bin liner in the airing cupboard, and hauled out all my daft summer skirts and dresses. At the moment they sit in a corner of the living room, un ironed. So for the time being I have hardly any clothes available to wear. I'll have to get ironing.

Yesterday I went to Richmond Park, where I'd never been before. It is lovely, MASSIVE, and full of deer and paraqueets. I met up with family, who were up in London for the day.

Today I had to prepare a presentation for my interview this week. I am fed up of preparing presentations for interviews! But I managed to find time to watch many episodes of Futurama.

And if you like "rabbit food" then try making these spanking gorgeous recipes:

Turkish Lentil Soup

Grate 1 medium potato, 2 carrots, and 1 onion into a saucepan. Add 3 cloves sliced garlic, 100g lentils and 100g shredded spinach. Cover with water, bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes and then whizz with a bamix or stick blender. Voila!

Butternut Squash Risotto

Fry 1 medium sliced onion til soft. Add 350g diced butternut squash and 220g risotto rice. Stir round for a minute or two. Have prepared about 750ml stock (or a mix of stock and white wine) and add a ladleful at a time until all the liquid has been absorbed. At the end, stir through 100g of boursin or other cream cheese. Serves 4.

Those two were lunch and dinner today. I've definitely had my 5 portions of fruit and veg. Which reminds me of something amusing R's gran said once. "It's ridiculous. How can anyone possibly eat 5 portions of fuit and veg in a day? We only eat 4 meals a day, and one of those is tea".

Obviously the mad old cow has never snacked on an apple between meals.


Thursday, April 22, 2004


The job I was interviewed for last week rejected me.


The job I was interviewed for yesterday want to see me again for a 2nd interview!
I feel positive about this one as within half an hour of me leaving the interview room, they had called the agency I am using and asked to see me again, and the agency had called me to convey this information.

It's weird that in the past year I've had 4 interviews for training and development roles in public sector organisations. They's all told m.... thanks, but no thanks. Then I go for an interview in the private sector and it goes really well. Hmmmm.

I'm not a fan of job insecurity, and that's certainly what I'd get in this role. But I am also sick of being paid a pittance.

Ah well, I'll go to the 2nd interview and see how it goes - then decide. No point wasting energy worrying about it yet.

Back to work tomorrow after 2 weeks off. Back to work on a Friday? Yes. It's a cunning plan. Going back after 2 weeks off will be much more tolerable if I know I've only got 1 more day then a weekend.


Tuesday, April 20, 2004

My Foetus

As part of post-abortion counselling, I've recently written a letter to the foetus I aborted last year. (Technically an embryop as it was at 8 weeks). Not wishing to come over all Julia Black, I thought I'd publish it because it sums up my feelings about abortion. It is particularly topical given tonight's televison. I'm also going to post it over on an old blog I used to keep - in the months after the abortion. I decided to stop writing it as it wasn't particularly helping me. (Counselling has turned out to be far more useful!) But this seems a good way to end it.

To my foetus,

It's hard to begin writing to you, when the past 10 months have been spent convincing myself (rightly) that there is no "you".

But that doesn't make you any less important in terms of the effect you've had on my healing process, since the day I decided not to let you grow into a person.

You must understand that you are one of millions of babies I have never had. Every egg inside me, every sperm insice R, is a potential child for us. In combination, they would produce someone different every time. If I'd become pregnant 5 minutes earlier or later, it would have been someone else I decided not to let grow into a person. So please understand, it's nothing personal! I am not religious, and I don't believe that you were made at the exact moment you were because that is what god intended as part of a bigger plan. You were made because of a mistake. And as you had no consciousness, I decided not to give you one.

I do have a consciousness. It involves living a happy life with R. It does not involve us being parents. And if you'd grown into a person you'd also have understood that for us at the moment life doesn't involve parenthood.

"You" - my child, will come along one day. I promise to take good care of you. I'll do all I can to make sure you are loved and supported on every step of your journey through life. That is far, far more important than respecting the co-incidence of sperm and egg meeting last july, and allowing the result to grow into a baby. People tak about the "sanctity" of life. What help is that to a child born to people not emotionally ready to be parents? They do not show much respect for life of they go on to do an awful job of bringing their baby up.

I show you much more respect by delaying your existence until I can give you the life you deserve, not the life fate carved out for you in 2003.




I've been relying on narrowband for the past 10 days, and have rarely been able to face blogging under such hostile conditions.

I can, however, report the following facts:

R and I went to Oxford yesterday for a fun day trip. (Unable to afford minibreak like true young urban couple). I booked £2 tickets through megabus, so felt very smug. And then turned up at the wrong departure point in London. We couldn't make it there on time, and it only departs once per day. D'oh! Fortunately we were able to jump on the oxford tube for a mere £8 each. So overall the day was still pretty cheap.

Other things that have happened in the past week -

I found out my Grandfather died. My dad's dad. The last time I saw him was 10 years ago at my dad's second wedding, when I turned to my sister and said "who are those strange old people?". (They were my grandad, and great aunt and uncle). So I'm not terribly upset. And he left a rather large sum of money to my Dad. And a brand new car, which he bought 2 weeks before he died and never drove. My dad gave the car to my cousin. Thanks Dad!

He hasn't actually called or emailed to say he died. He died about 6 weeks ago, and although dad normally gets in touch every couple of weeks to plug his ebay shop, or try to convert me to mormonism, he's been strangely quiet lately. My sister called him to say hi, and he told her, who told me. Then we worked it out - he's afraid we're going to ask him for some of it. He isn't going to give us a penny, which is his choice. What I'm miffed about is that by the time my dad dies, he'll have spent it all on CDs.

But the good news is, he's selling up and moving "up north" with the proceeds. This is something of a relief for me. My dad treated me and my sisters very badly as children but I've never felt able to emotionally “cut him out” as I’ve always worried how sad he’d feel if he realised how much I dislike him. Now he has shown that all he really needs to make himself happy is half a million pounds and a house in Warrington, so I feel more able to detach myself from him.

Like angel I am also waiting to hear the result of a job interview. I am hearing by email, and the only email they have is my work address. I am off work til Friday, so currently trying to download my work email to my yahoo account. Sometimes this is easy. Sometimes it's really f-ing difficult. Today it's the latter. grrr.

Tomorrow I have my stock broker interview so I suppose it's bedtime for me....


Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Big Yawn. I am so snoozy, I could just climb back into bed right now.... The last 4 days have been glorious. Now I am back to reality. Fortunately not back to work. I am off til the end of next week. But I do have a 2 day assessment centre for a job, tomorrow and thursday. Today I am preparing for it.

I have been on 3 training runs so far, in preparation for July 11th. The most recent was this morning, and it was knackering. But I did discover a park I didn't know existed only 5 minutes from where I live. (I moved here in October, so it's been too cold and miserable all winter to go out discovering parks).

Mmmmm - sleeeeeeep.


Thursday, April 08, 2004

2 weeks off work start in 2.5 hours. This afternoon, I have a job interview to work for... (don't laugh) a stockbroker! Actually, probably you won't laugh. Only people who know me will know that working for a stockbroker is a very inappropriate career for me. But it is in my "field" - training up mini-stockbrokers. I've been told by the agency that it's a junior position and I may get bored. However, at £7,000 a year more than I get paid at the moment, I'm willing to at least go to the interview to find out more!

Had a big argument with R last night and..... (this is where I just feel rotten) made him cry. It wasn't big blobby tears running down his cheeks. Just a drop of water in the corner of one eye. As he cries about once a year, it was enough to make me feel awful. It was a very alcohol lubricated argument. We were out drinking with his work-mates, and he knocked my (full) glass of wine all over someone. I was cross at losing my wine, and cross in general because I'd arrived 3 hours after everyone else and found it hard to deal with what a loud drunk idiot R was being when I was still (relatively) sober myself. So I barked at him to go get me another drink. He was already feeling vulnerable as he felt so bad for knocking a glass of wine over someone. Me being horrible to him in front of all his friends made him feel doubly crap.

But all is fine now, and I cannot wait for us to have 2 weeks off together! R has been a temp ever since I've known him, with very rudimentary holiday entitlement. This year he finally got a permanent job with decent holidays, and so this will be the longest time we've ever had off together. And as part of it, we're going camping in..... Crystal Palace! (It's exotic).

Have a great Easter everyone.


Tuesday, April 06, 2004

3000 word project is now a 4000 word project (and I don't care - tutor said he doesn't care either). It's printed out, twice. Both copies are now in little binders. Ready to be handed in 3 weeksbefore deadline. I am a smug bitch.

And i just found out my organisation is shutting on Thursday at 1pm. So I can go meet my civil servant boyfriend, who also finishes at lunchtime, and get an early start on 2 weeks holiday. Can't wait.

I have also decided to do the Blackheath Race for Life. It's only 5km, but that will be an achievement for me. The last time I "ran" any length (i.e not just for a bus) was at school before they gave us p.e "options" (I chose dance and self defence!) 10 years ago.

And I like the sound of their training plan. Day 1 - Run 1 minute, walk 1 minute. Repeat 10 times.

R cannot enter, being a boy. But he's promised to do the training with me. He should find this a piece of piss, as he's doing the 54 mile London to Brighton cycle ride in June. I defer to his fitness-ness.


Monday, April 05, 2004

New link

Check out this offering from a friend of R's.


This weekend, I mostly slept 12 hours a night. (What is wrong with me? 10 o clock I fell asleep - on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights). Friday night I could understand - I was knackered after a week at work. What was my excuse on Saturday and Sunday?

I also went to Catford for a Lidl/Aldi orgy. Stopped off at 99p stores in Lewisham (aka HELL) on the way home, then back home to watch these DVDs, courtesy of lovefilm. Safe in the knowledge that I own 3 kilos of pizza sauce, and it only cost me 99p! R has diligently bagged it up into smaller portions and frozen it all, so whenever we feel like it, we have a perfect portion of pizza sauce to hand! What a lovely Saturday.

Sunday I work work worked. Realised I still have lots to do for my college project. I also have a 2 day assessment centre next week I need to prepare for. So I spent the day toiling, because I really really want to start my 2 week holiday on Thursday with a clear conscience!


Thanks to Angel for the link, I discovered...

You are a GRAMMAR GOD!

If your mission in life is not already to
preserve the English tongue, it should be.
Congratulations and thank you!

How grammatically sound are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Yay! Tell my English teacher to stick that in her pipe and smoke it.


Friday, April 02, 2004

I had a lovely time in Welwyn Garden City. Lovely to see two friends, and as we were sat chatting, I couldn't believe I hadn't seen either of them in nearly 2 years. It has gone so quickly!

Journey up there was a pain in the rear. You can either get the train from Moorgate or Kings Cross. If you go from Moorgate, it's a stopping service, but the WAGN platforms are almost adjacent to the Northern line, so it's an easy change, unlike Kings Cross where you have to go through a rabbit's warren to get from the Northern line to the WAGN platforms. After much debate I opted for Kings Cross. Good job because Moorgate services were screwed, I was informed as we sat at Finsbury Park for ages waiting for the only train out of Moorgate all night (destination Hertford) to catch us up so people (they called then "fellow passengers" to appeal to our better natures and minimise our rage I think) could get off it, get on our train, and continue their journey to Welwyn. Which is fine, but when we finally got moving we got stuck behind this slow train to Hertford, even though we were scheduled to be ahead of it. Eventually "overtook" it andarrived about 15 mins late.

Coming home though - wow! It was one of those "perfect journeys". Got to the station at WGC. Train rolled up on time. Got to Kings Cross. Straight onto the Northern Line. Got to London Bridge. Straight onto a train. Got to Lewisham. Straight onto a bus. I was home in just over an hour. I've had bus rides home from Greenwich which have taken longer!!

Long live perfect journeys.


Thursday, April 01, 2004

Yesterday, in the name of my mental health, I made my way to Ladbroke Grove for the 6th time. I like going to PACS. I'm glad that I go, but I hate that for an hour's session it takes up between 5 and 9pm every Wednesday evening. So I especially hated that yesterday evening I was made late because the Hammersmith and City line was utterly kerphooey. Display boards told complete lies, trains terminated early unexpectedly, mad old men in flat caps told the recorded-announcement woman (the one who said cheerily "This is a Hammersmith and City line train to Shepherds Bush") to Fuck Off! Things must be desperate for you if you can't even aim your abuse at a real person.

I stood on the platform at Edgware Road feeling cross and hard done by. £25 an hour and I was going to miss 10 minutes of it. I looked around and wondered what story lay behind each different fed-up face. And I realised that I was actually one of the luckier ones. So I missed 10 minutes of counselling? So what. I can come early next week and make it up. I'l just have to talk more efficiently when I'm there! At least I wasn't trying to get to Paddington to catch a train to catch a plane. Or on my way to a job interview, or other appointment where first impressions count.

In the end I arrived just a couple of minutes late as I walked very briskly from the tube station. I got nearly my full hour. It was very helpful. All in all a good evening. Except it took me bloody ages to get home! I decided to get the train instead of the DLR which was a mistake - someone decided to sit on the track at London Bridge which meant no trains in or out. When I heard the announcement that there was a "person on the track" I got my phone out to cynically text R to say "suicide at London Bridge - be home late". I was astounded (and pleased that one less person had topped themselves that day) to hear that the term person on the track was being used accurately, and there really was a drunk person sat on the track swigging beer, rather than a suicide. Once again I tried to remind myself of the "oh well at least I'm not going anywhere important" mentality. Til I decided I was feeling quite rough (I've got a cold) and knackered and I JUST WANTED TO GET HOME! Again though, the delay wasn't as bad as I anticipated. I walked in the door at 9 on the dot, only 10 minutes later than normal and R had made dinner. I felt very lucky to be able to get home to that.

Tonight my exciting after-work fun is going to Welwyn Garden City in Herts to meet colleagues from my old job. I haven't seen them in 2 years so it should be fun, although I'm a bit concerned about awkward silences. I just hope that the WAGN line doesn't go up the creek when I'm trying to get home at midnight.