Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Sometime back I put in for a regrade at work. My official job title is Telecoms Supervisor, but for the last 2 years, I have taken on lots more resposibility and assist the Telephone Services manager, which in my book, makes me an assistant Telephone Services manager.
So, what happened? Well HR decided they were going to look at everyones salary grade and decided I needed to be downgraded to pay scale 4 (same as the senior telephonist) instead of the 5 I was on. Oh that was alright, they said, I was salary protected! Which I was. Trouble was when I appealed and told them that my actual job was NOTHING like the description for telephone supervisor, I was told I would have to apply for a regrade.
Well last February my manager and me did just that. After going backwards and forwards to her manager and him adding MORE work to the description and then the director finally approving it, off it went to HR.
Finally, after returning from Grenada, my manager sat me down and told me the news!!!
HR had approved the job description!!
HR had approved the job title change!!!
But HR had deemed it a new vacancy and it was going to be advertised and I would have to apply for the job with anyone else who wanted it!
I must admit. I cried.
Then hear the rest!
The salary was set at pay scale 5 - The same salary I was on, but with an increment a year after I started the job, assuming I got it!
I would have to sign a new contract which would NOT include 12 'option' days holiday- Which I WAS prepared to give up
As it was a new post, there would be no back pay for all the time I have been doing it- Assuming I get the job!!
So basically is it worth applying for? Wouldn't I just be better off looking for a job that will incorporate my new skills and pay me a proper salary? What happens to my current job, if I apply and DON'T get it?
To add insult to injury, a person doing an equivilent job, who had his salary downgraded to a 4, got his reinstated to a grade 5 when he appealed, whats more, he had a job title and description change and DIDN'T have to apply for his job!!!
Maybe they are trying to tell me something?
Maybe being off sick is giving me too much time to think.
So I have the union looking at it now. I will let you know. Can anyone give me a job please?!!!
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Four jobs I have had
1. Data input clerk
2. Bar Maid
3. Telephone supervisor
4. Assist Telephone services manager
Two places I have lived (Sorry)
Four favorites foods
1. Chicken Biryani
2. Smoked salmon fillets
3. Spaghetti with Pesto sauce
4. Roast lamb with cauliflower, cabbage, mashed parsnips and roast potatoes
Four movies I could watch over and over
2. Shirley Valentine
3. Railway Children
4. Jason and the Argonauts
Four TV Shows I watch
2. Catherine Tait
4. Dr Who
Four Places I have visited
3. St Lucia/Jamaica/Grenada
Four places I want to visit
Four Websites I visit when I am able
2. My Blog and associated bloggers
4. Any canal/narrowboat sites
No tags from me, I know it is the rules, but it's Christmas.
2. Crying in front of others. I would rather lock myself in a toilet
3. Telling someone that they have hurt my feelings
4. Asking for help
5. Ironing as soon as I get it and not wait until the day before a holiday!
6. Not being surprised at human nature and taking it personally
7. Starting conversations with people I don't know
8. Speaking in public
10. Sticking to my guns I am sooooo easily persuaded!!
I am not tagging anyone. Ha! Fat chance over the Christmas period. Sad as I am, I am taking advantage of having a computer in the house while I babysit Kai!!! If you want to do it, feel free.
I cannot go into to detail here, but I have been let down by someone and the worst of it is, I have spent 2 nights stressing that they are alright at a time when I need it least because they have not been honest with me. Still I have put my mind at rest by at least checking with their local hospital, so they won't be able to use that as an excuse.
I am meant to go and see them, and have spent quite a bit of money in travel expenses. I can add to that expense by saying F*** it and getting some accommodation, after all, they are not the only reason to visit and there are people in the area who I can also go and see. I am not worried about being on my own. After being fussed over, the thought of being on my own for a few weeks is quite nice.
On the other hand, I am being a bit negative at the moment and think, supposing I get bored? I must admit, after being single for so long I am very happy with my own company and can chill with a book, music and TV. I certainly do not have a problem getting about and do possess a full driving license. Maybe I should use it as a spring board to travel the world and see how I get on!!!!
Mostly it will depend on how I feel physically. I am still in occassional severe pain and am quite exhausted. In fact, when I mentioned to my doctor how exhausted I felt she looked at me as if I were mad for even questioning it!! I lay the blame squarely on my friends who have had the same operation keyhole and told me I would be up and about after 3 weeks!! Yeah right!!!! :-)
So should I stay or should I go
Over to you....................
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
I am just blogging to say I hope you all have a great Christmas and prosperous New Year.
I am quite well, still having some pain as the muscles knit, and the down side is wider hips as I am unable to walk as fast and as far as usual.
Sharon J, bless her cottons, brought me to London at the weekend so I will be here until the 4th of January. I am spending Christmas day with Christine, Petrus and Kai and then boxing day with my Mum and Dad.
I am looking forward to the New Year, sadly I cannot reveal why publicly but those of you who know Sharon can email her and she will tell you!!!
Have a great one everyone and I will be back in 2007
Monday, December 04, 2006
Well I have a bloody HUGE scar, but on a positive note, I am far too fat to wear a bikini so it doesn't really matter. What matters, is the blasted Gall Bladder is gone and I am under strict instructions NOT to return to work until I have seen the consultant which will be on the 16th of March so I have plenty of time off work. I would say yippee, but I know that after Christmas I will probably get bored. Still I will be able to drive by then, so I will spend a lot of time at the garden centre's. I found some on the way to Tatton Park this year that I wanted to have a nosey at.
I would like to say a special public ta, to Sharon J, R, Barbara, Linda, and Christine for making me sit down or just generally running around after me.
Speak to you all soon.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
One day, on holiday, Kim and I got back to our room to a message from reception.
'Scotty came to see you and has left his number'
Kim and I looked at each other, as we hadn't a clue who Scotty was.
Kim phoned the reception, and as she was talking. I heard her ask, 'Oh was he an old guy?'
The penny dropped. On the flight over, we had got talking to an elderly gentleman in the seat in front. He was Grenadian and spent six months in the UK and six months in Grenada as he has retired from the UK. He was a lovely old gent, so we telephoned him and made a date to meet for breakfast the next morning.
The next morning, Scotty duely arrived and off we went for a Caribbean breakfast. While we were sitting eating he suddenly came onto Kim BIG STYLE!!! He turned from lovely old gent into letchy old codger!! But I must admit that he was funny with it.
After being told by Kim that she had a boyfriend and was in fact planning to get married in September, he then turned his attentions to me!!! (Story of my life guys, always second best!!! LOL)
He asked me if I would like to go out with him for the day and that he would phone 'Miss Rosalyn' to see if she had two tickets for the bus.
I politely asked him where it was he was thinking of taking me, thinking that it might be a nice island trip, or a visit to the local rum or cocoa plantation. He leant forward and said.
'To a funeral'
I didn't know what to say, so I repeated 'A Funeral?' He nodded, he was going to take me to a funeral.
I just burst out laughing. I told him I had no intention of going to a funeral whilst on holiday, even though I knew they were a right old knees up in the Caribbean.
So there you have it. That was my hot date destination. Now I am going to tag Sharon J, Knowleypowley, Caroline and Gentleman Oracle to tell me their outrageous date destinations.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Monday, November 13, 2006
Well people I am back and I am soooo depressed. I rarely want to return to a country as I would like to travel everywhere, but I could go back again and again and again.
The people are so generous and friendly. The night life is not rocking, but I am quite happy to chill out with a book and enjoy an evening out for a meal and a drink.
My travel companion, Kim, is different. She likes to rave until the wee hours, so in that respect she was a little bored.
One day, we were at the beach and we got talking to these two older Grenadian women, Pat and Brenda. Kim was moaning about the fact that there didn't seem much to do, so they offered to come and collect us the next day and take us to brunch at a place called Mi Hacienda.
Brenda's husband used to be a great trade unionist and politician and she had class, she had been friends since childhood with a lady called Merle who had retired back from the U.K. It was her restaurant/hotel/spa that Pat and Brenda took us to. The place was truely beautiful, all chrystal glasses white linen and silver cutlery and as Kim and I walked in, there was a steel band playing. The view, as you can see, from the veranda was spectacular.
I am an East London girl and in all my life I have never been to such a lovely restaurant. We were wined and dined, the steel band played and we were treated like royalty. Kim and I were a little worried, but I had brought my credit card as a precaution. Once the meal was over, we offered Brenda and Pat some money towards the cost and were told, no, it was their treat. In fact, Brenda had got Merle to open the place for us. I have never received such hospitality and friendship in a Caribbean country and we could not thank them enough. They were all true real ladies and I especially thank the English couple who ran the restaurant for Merle, as they worked very hard to make us feel welcome.
I called Pat yesterday, and she was so happy to hear from me, she told me, that as long as she was alive, I would always be welcome to stay at her house if I ever visit the island again. That is something I will definitely do.
Pat and Brenda, if you ever read this. Thankyou, Thankyou Thankyou, you gave Kim and I the most memorable day. For as long as I live I will not forget the great company and the generosity you showed us. As the Grenadians say. 'See you in a while'
This one is an extra special present for you. It comes from a sustainable source, is environmentally friendly and is a great source of income for the indigenous population.
Instructions on use.
Put it in your mouth, take a great big suck, inhale and feel the happy thoughts flood your senses.
Guaranteed not to cause carbon emissions.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
The Grenadians are fatastic people, Grenada is absolutely beautiful. I am being a good girl and not shaking my booty too much. Ha Ha Ha
Miss you all without exception (I like a challenge) I will be back soon with some gorgeous photo's and maybe even a gorgeous husband! LOL
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Monday, October 23, 2006
I know it is not the norm for a brides mother to give her away, but as I brought her up alone and she has asked it will be a great honour. I have no problem with it at all, but will I have to do a speech?
That thought fills me with terror. I hate speaking to a crowd, when I am nervous I do not smile. I am terrified people will think I am an old dragon. What do I say? I know I have to welcome everyone, tell the odd embarrassing story, welcome Petrus to the family. I really don't know if I can do it.
Well, I will do it, but I don't want to make a pig ear of it. I want it to be amusing and witty and SHORT.
I have 18 months to think of something and 18 months to stress about it.
I once went to an award ceremony and the group we were with asked me to do a little acceptance speech. At the very last minute I bottled out, I won't be able to do that will I?
Oh gawd. Help!!!!
Friday, October 20, 2006
1. I have survived an abusive marriage.
2. I have a dolphin tattoo, done on my left shoulder when I was 35 and it took me a year to tell my Mum
3. I used to be a competition swimmer
4. When I was a lot younger I took speed regularly, but a bad experience scared me from doing it again
5. Despite my bold manner, I am actually quite shy. This sometimes comes across as being miserable and or stuck up
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Found this Policemans Blog. His last post had me in stitches. Go and have a look.
There was a huge fire in a flat above one of the shops there. There was thick smoke everywhere. The fire brigade and police were in attendance and I had to cross the road to get past it and to work.
On the other side of the road, I had to pick my way through people standing there taking photo's with their mobile phones. One cyclist stopped purposely to do just that!
I know there is money to be made. During the London bombings the BBC were urging people caught up in it to send in their mobile phone photo's. Well I am sorry, but I think that is mercenary. If I had been unlucky enough to have been caught up on a bombed train/bus/platform, the last thing I would have done, is get my bloody mobile phone out to take a picture!!
As it was, I worked across the road from Aldgate station and just listening to the constant sound of sirens and helicopters flying backwards and forwards to the Royal London hospital was bad enough. Not once, out of respect for any dead people, did I even consider going out there with my mobile phone/camera.
But I suppose, that fire was news worthy.
Later, I went out for breakfast and noticed an ambulance up there. I really hope no-one died.
I am reading one at the moment. I won't name it or the author. Surfice to say, it has huge poster advertisements on the London Tube. It started off really well, but now I have had to put it down.
One of the characters, a big tough policeman who has spent his 40 odd years avoiding relationships because he just doesn't want one, has now met a suspect, kind of taken her on one date and thinks he is falling in love with her! Am I unromantic? I can understand he might lust after her because he thinks she is very attractive, but fall in love with her?
It has killed all credibility for me now and I have just skimmed the pages and put it down.
I do write occassionally, but I get embarrassed about people reading what I write so I usually just bin it. I am in no position to critisize anyone's writing, but I do wish authors would make it a little more realistic.
Anyway, all you romantics out there. Leave me a message and prove me wrong. Restore my faith in human nature and tell me your love at first sight stories and then maybe I will pick the book up again and finish it.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
As people who have read my posts before will know, I didn't really spend much time there. But there are 2 really good things to come out of school.
1. Meeting Sharon
2. Standing up to bullies
Sharon you know about, but the bullies you don't.
I passed my 11+ and opted to go to a grammar school. It was out of the area of my primary school so made me a target for the class bullies who had all come from the same primary school in the same area as the grammar school.
The main 2 culprits, J & D used to love making my life a misery and for a long time I took it, until one momentous Geography lesson.
I was sitting in the class, I had put up with the usual verbal abuse, but then J, who was sitting behind me, decided she was going to dig me in the back. Unfortunately she dug me right in between some vertabrae in my spine and it HURT like hell.
Now I have never really been violent, there have been some occassions when I have lashed out and this was one of them. To this day, I see it all in slow motion.
I stood up, swung around and socked J with the back of my fist. I REALLY put my shoulder into it. The look of horror on her face as she realised what was coming and couldn't stop it, was actually very satisfying. As my fist connected with her cheek, her head flew back against the wall behind her and she got a resounding crack both from my fist and the wall! I then told her very calmly never to touch me again. I sat down and continued with the lesson.
I am sure the teacher was aware of what was going on because he never said a word and just carried on teaching after the event. From that day onwards, J & D never bullied me again.
To my shame, they actually bullied another girl out of the class, and when we were sat down by the headmistress and asked to write names down on a piece of paper if we knew who the bullies were. I didn't. The truth was, I had never seen her being bullied, but it was obvious who had been doing it as they were the only 2 in the class who did the bullying.
I often wonder what happened to those two. They did try to be my friend afterwards, but I was friends with Sharon who was in another class, so didn't bother with them. Strangely I never did tell my parents, although I did tell my Dad many years later and he was amazed that I had not told him at the time.
I am sure, that if they do remember, they are probably quite ashamed of what they did then. Hopefully, as adults, they are nicer people.
Just as a little by line to that. How things have changed. I remember ringing one company who were looking for trainee recruitment consultants who told me they would not consider me as I had a young baby!! Imagine being told THAT nowadays eh?
Eventually, I was offered an interview at a company my brother-in-law worked for. They were a major stock broking company in the days before they teamed up with the big banks and lost their identities. I started off there working in the data inputting section with a great bunch of girls and eventually moved over to their switchboard as it offered a regular ending time. In the data input section I would have to stay until the last deal was input and sometimes that wasn't practical having a young child at home.
That job was EVERYTHING to me. It paid excellent money for it's day, I got summer and Christmas bonuses. In fact, when I finally got my own flat, it carpeted and furnished the whole place and left me enough over to have holidays. Those were the days. The 80's. Yuppies, lots of money about and stock broker bonuses.
Gradually though, things started to change. We were bought out by a big High street bank and we moved to better premises and after the initial 'loyalty bonus' we didn't receive such good ones anymore.
The rot set in after an ex partner of the company was put in charge of our department. He had come from the American department and was basically put there to pasture until his well paid retirement. He started off by sacking the supervisor after some made up misdemeanor. By then I was the senior telephonist and as the assistant supervisor was off with a pregnancy related illness I was suddenly in charge of this huge switchroom. I must admit, now I wouldn't bat and eyelid, but then, I felt totally out of my depth, and just carried on as best I could.
We had a temp there. I will call her Lin, she lived in cloud cuckoo land but was one of those people who came across really normal. Looking back she was a right psycho. She was truely awful. She would tell one girl another had said something about her and then tell the other girl that the first girl had said something about her. They were all lies and she got away with it! Then to cap it off we got a new supervisor who had blagged her way into the company without knowing a thing and she was just as bad!! I will call her Frances.
One day, Frances came towards me, screaming at me that she 'Didn't want me as a senior telephonist and while she was there, I never would be!!' All in front of the other staff. Very unprofessional and I honestly had no idea what it was I had supposed to have done!! The other girls looked at me with mouthes open and I just shrugged, I needed the job, I hadn't been paid any extra to do the seniors role, so what the hell.
In those days I was quite submissive, but I decided to just go along with it and see what happened. I did a permanent 8-4 shift, it suited me, but again Frances came over and demanded I tell her what my shift preference was. I knew she was trying to goad me, so I told I would do whatever suited her. She started to get flustered and asked me again. Again I told her whatever suited her I would do. As I was now an ordinary telephonst an 8-4 was fine or I would get on the rota. I finished the sentence quite sweetly by saying 'You are the supervisor, you decide'. Secretly I was laughing because it made her furious. She had come over trying to pick a fight (I later discovered it was something else she could get me sacked for)and I had made her decide, but because she had come from her other job without any supervisory experience, she didn't know what to do and the previous incident just showed she had no sense at all. A good manager DOES NOT chew off staff in public.
Well to cut a long story short, I was called into the office one day and the partner in charge was there along with a personnel officer and they sacked me!! The reasons they sacked me we all cooked up by Lin and Frances, except for one reason which I had a valid excuse for and it was hardly a misconduct offence anyway! I was devastated, but more so, I was ashamed. The shame of being SACKED was awful. I am not perfect, but I hadn't done anything near to a sackable offence. During the interview, the personnel officer offered to find me another job with a different company and then they paid me LOTS of money to go quietly. Guilt. They knew it was an illegal dismissal and so did I, but I still felt SHAME!!!
I didn't know what to do with myself. My parents were great and I had money. But I still felt no-one would ever employ me again. I am not good at white lies, especially at interviews, so I found myself being honest. Even after ACAS stepped in (They intervene before a case goes to a tribunal, and I had started proceedings) and we reached an amicable agreement, I was still penalised for telling the truth so in the end I was forced to tell a lie at subsequent interviews!!!
(Oh and for any potential blackmailers out there. My current manager is WELL AWARE of this story)
But what happened then? Well I found another job at another company. Was made supervisor and to this day, even though I eventually had to move on from there as they were shutting the site, I still regard it as the best job I ever had!! The people were great, my social life took off. I had my first and only case of unrequited love (One day I will blog about that).
As for Lin and Frances, they eventually got the sack themselves. Frances had to go temping under a different name. Lin went to prison for something or another, and I survived.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Many years back, when I used to visit Sharon in Norway, the hi-lite of our week was the Drammen taxi queue, after getting quite drunk at Park dancing we would stagger off to the taxi queue in Drammen town square and join the large crowd of people. They were usually really good fun and we always found someone to talk to.
One evening Sharon and I joined this rather large queue and as usual started to chat to people. Among them, was a couple along with the boyfriends friend. The girl asked me in quite broken English if I liked Norway and I said, yes, I loved it and I was going to marry a Norwegian so that I could stay there! I was rather drunk and happy you see. She turned and pointed to her boyfriends friend and said:
'Why don't you marry him, he is very good cock!' I looked at her with this silly grin and asked her to repeat it. Again she said:
'You can marry my boyfriends friend, he is very good cock'
At this point I doubled over in hysterics, turned to Sharon and asked her to ask in Norwegian what the girl was saying. Sharon asked and was told in Norwegian, she was offering her boyfriends friends services as he was a very good COOK!!
Sharon then had to explained to her what she had actually said to me!!
Oh we did laugh at the mis-pronounciation, to me it was an all time classic!!
I never did find out if he was or wasn't, because quite soon we were at the front of the queue and a taxi arrived. Funnily enough, as we climbed in, all these little voices started chiming. 'I'll marry you' 'No, I'll marry you!!!' Alas I don't think it was my exceptional good looks, more likely it was the fact that finally, we had got a taxi!
I was musing about how a word can mean totally different things to different cultures.
As is apt to happen in Jamaica, we were befriended by some of the local men, and one guy in particular, Donald. He took a shine to one of our party and one evening offered to show us a bar we had heard about. We were walking down the street and he asked me if I had a cigarette.
I know it is a disgusting habit, but I do smoke and I smoke roll ups, so I offered to roll him one.
I duely rolled him a cigarette and gave it to him. He smoked it and then about 5 minutes after smoking it, he turned to me and said
'Carol, I didn't like that shag you gave me, I am not going to ask for another'
What could I say? At first I was a bit dumb struck and then I realised 'shag' is what they call rolling tobacco!! All my friends and I cracked up laughing and we then had to explain to Donald what 'shag' meant in England. I am happy to say, he found it funny too!!
Monday, October 16, 2006
My parents live in Albert Square. It is in Stratford, East london and is not a square at all, more like an L shape. There used to be a pub on the corner (Now flats) and when I was a child it was called the Albert House.
During the early days of Eastenders (BBC, far too often!) there would be all sorts of people walking aimlessly around gazing at the houses, they were mostly foreigners and seemed to be looking for Dot Cotton and Pauline Fowler!! One Spanish girl got really upset when I told her it was filmed in a studio. My parents have been on the telly for a BBC documentary called 'The real Eastenders' and the last publican to own the pub as a pub, renamed it......... The Queen Vic!
(That's original, don't you think?!!)
It's mostly little old terrace houses, with some bigger Victorian ones and a few newer ones as it got bombed during the war. It is nothing like Eastenders on the T.V, mainly because the T.V version doesn't have that many ethnic characters in it! It is now the home to Pakistani's, afro Caribbeans, Africans, Indians and lots of Eastern Europeans. Real life. So BBC Take note.
I still live there Monday to Friday so kept my GP in London. When I was admitted to Leighton Hospital in Crewe, I had to give the address I was registered at with my GP. It caused great hilarity along with my cockney accent to the nursing staff, who informed me there was a woman from Coronation Street along the ward!!
I don't watch Eastenders at all these days, mainly because I live in the REAL Albert Square and the T.V version bores and disappoints me.
Mind you, I do look a bit like Pat..............................................
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Seeing Plenty of these
Doing lots of this
I am hoping to see lots of these
Hopefully I won't see any of these
But I don't mind these
And for the first time in my life I am going to go with these.
And I just know my big bum is gonna get me in trouble !!!
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
The man who sold the world - David Bowie
Play - Moby
Leftism - Leftfield
Debut - Bjork
MCMXD AD - Enigma
X and Y - Coldplay
Joshua Tree - U2
New Gold Dream - Simple Minds
Strange Cargo Vol 3 - William Orbit
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Oh the times she has walked into my home all starry eyed and introduced me to someone I knew was a complete idiot the minute he opened his gob.
The times she has sat sobbing because the current 'boyfriend' hasn't phoned/written/called around or done what he said he was going to do.
There has been the odd control freak. I can sniff THEM a mile off, despite the initial charm of them. (Control freaks, take note, it is very rare you can fool a mother)
Then there was Kai's biological father. I will refer to him as the 'The sperm donor' because since Kai's birth, that's the ONLY thing he contributed. In Fact Joseph Ospermdonor, I want to thank you for my lovely grandson, but other than that, you are dead in his life too! (Your words, not mine)
Oh dear, getting a bit irate there. Anyway onto better things.
I want to welcome Petrus to our little family. He is a truely wonderful bloke, for
1. Loving Kai and being his Daddy in the true sense of the word!
2. Loving Christine without makeup, with PMT, with all her little wobbly bits and temper tantrums!
3. Making them both feel secure and loved
4. Coming up with Christine when I was ill and doing the cooking, cleaning and babysitting so I could go to bed when I was knackered.
5. Lending her money so I don't have to anymore!!!
I look forward to having you as a my legal son-in-law sometime in the future. I don't look forward to how much it is going to cost though!! Although I know you two are going to pay for most of it yourselves I must pay for SOMETHING!!!
Welcome Welcome Welcome
1. Allowed me to divorce my husband AND have custody of my daughter.
2. Allowed me to have a career (?!! Lets not show THAT to the PERSONNEL department)
3. Allowed me to go to the personnel department and say 'Look there is a bloke doing the equvalent job and I want the same pay as him'!!
4. Allowed me to vote and own my own property
5 Allowed me to live a single life without being treated as some sort of odd ball on the shelf old spinster! Oh and to go without my bra when I waltz around Morrisons!!
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Insomniac - Faithless - Late night/Early Morning boogying in a Turkish Disco. This song ALWAY makes me want to go WEY HEY!!!! (And if it is on the CD player while I am driving I tend to put my foot down. Tsk tsk)
Blue Sky - Groove Armada - Nice mellow tune for a nice mellow mood
Down in the Park - Gary Numan - Gary coming out on stage in his little electric car, surrounded by dry ice and lights just floating around the stage.
Don't you forget about me - Simple Minds - Park Dancing in Norway, Norwegian holidays and Norwegian men!
Oh God - Annie Lennox - The words kind of sum me up. It has the ability to bring a tear to my eye.
http://www.lyricsdomain.com/1/annie_lennox/oh_god.html Sorry cant find the actual song
Come to me - Bjork - Lying on a boat in Turkey, hot sun, blue skys and crystal clear blue water.
Climbatize - Prodigy - Love the build up in this one. It makes me want to jump all over the living room. (Another tune that encourages me to go over the legal speed limit!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaMAmvv6FME
Ordinary World - Duran Duran - No particular reason for this. I like the words and I like the way they use it in Layercake. Although I am not a particularly violent person, the contrast to the song and the action make interesting viewing.
Angel Face - Glitterband - Oh I will always remember this song. Traipsing around the streets on hot summer days in the 70's from record shop to record shop trying to buy it and eventually discovering that it wasn't going to be released for another week! Then seeing Gerry Shephard on TOTP without Gary Glitter getting in the way!! God rest his soul!
I could actually go on to name loads more. Time to tag someone. Let me see.................................
Monday, October 02, 2006
Try this place. Great for hugs. We want kisses now!!!
Friday, September 29, 2006
Well everyone, this is Bill. Bill is my brother-in-laws brother (sisters hubby) and I have known him since I was 10.
He is probably the only male friend I have these days. And he is a true good friend. He's a letchy old git, politically incorrect. But who cares?!
I don't get to see much of him because he lives in Canada, but he is visiting his old stomping ground of Dagenham as his Mum is very ill.
We met up last night and had a meal and a beer and then got the tube home. On the train he was stroking my hair and tickling my neck, something that anyone of my friends will tell you I LOVE.
I must admit we were getting some funny looks as it would seem that public displays of affection on the London tube are something to be gawped at. We did have a laugh though!!
Bill lets hope Vi will have a peaceful time of it, she deserves it after all these years. Love ya lots xxx
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
The nights are drawing in and the mornings are getting darker, and I sleep walk to the station.
Last January I was feeling very very depressed. I could have cheerfully cut my throat, in fact in my whole life, I had NEVER felt that low and I had no idea why. To cheer myself up one evening, I phoned a friend and she met me to go for a chinese meal. THATS another clue, I eat and eat and eat! Anyway, we were sitting chatting away, least she was as I was finding it hard to be sociable, when she tells me about an article she had read saying that this January (06) was one of the worst in history for the lack of day light due to the grotty weather we had been having and there was also a higher incidence of depression.
I sort of woke up at that point. I am prone to a bit of seasonal adjustment disorder (SAD) and began to wonder if maybe that was my ailment. I went to work the next day and was discussing the conversation with my manager when a lady from another department walked in and was listening. After I had finished she told me she too suffered with SAD and had got herself a light box. She gave me the following web address and I went on it.
I have to say, I am a very down to earth sort of person, and tended to think about these things as psychobabble but I got on the site and read the symptoms and discovered I was experiencing EXACTLY those things!
My Manager, bless her, allowed me to order one on company expenses so long as I kept it in my office. When it arrived, I got it out of the box, plugged it in and whoa!! IT WAS BRIGHT!!! It needs to be shining on you in a place you can occassionally glance at it, but not be shining in your eyes.
I swear to a higher power, after a few days, I started to feel different. I got a good nights sleep, when I woke in the mornings I felt I had HAD a good nights sleep. My mood brightened, I stopped craving carbs, in fact I was positively hyper!! So much so that when Debs (The lady who suggested it) phoned my manager to see how I was getting on, She threatened to stab me because I was so bloody happy!!!
Course, there is sound science behind it all. Humans are designed to be in light, the more light we get the more beneficial hormones we produce. The bulbs in these lights are not your ordinary flourescent tube, although they look like it. They throw out the amount of light equal to a bright sunny day. I only use it for 4 hours a day, in the morning and not too close to bedtime.
I am truely amazed that something so simple will get me throught the winter!! From today I will be giving myself a blast in the mornings to raise my spirits, stop me getting fatter and wake me up! If you are prone to SAD I recommend that you at least give it a try. They are not cheap, but there are light cafes you can sit in and if it helps, it just might be worth the cost of buying one.
Monday, September 25, 2006
It's not that I don't believe in ghosts, I do, I just don't want one in my house. Well not one I don't know anyway. But I do need some electrical advise. Maybe someone out there can tell me I am not going mad and it all has a perfectly logical/electrical explanation.
I have smoke alarms called Fire angels http://www.find-me-a-gift.co.uk/smoke-alarm.asp. They are bloody good. They fit into the light socket and then the bulb fits into them. They charge up their own little internal battery if the mains electric fails, but mostly with the light on for an hour a week, they are charged and I don't have to worry about fitting batteries.
They are easy to test. I flick the light on and then off immediately and when you hear 3 beeps twice, I then know the smoke alarm is in good working order.
So there I am, Sunday morning, in the land of nod. Sharon had come over the night before and left about 2.45am so it must have been getting on for 10am when suddenly I got rudely awakened by the smoke alarm going off in my porch downstairs. I jumped out of bed and opened the bedroom door, had a sniff, no smell of smoke. I then realised it was going through it's test mode, i.e someone must have turned the light on, then off again. So as I live alone and being half asleep I ran downstairs (I'm brave when I am semi comatosed) and opened the porch door. I say porch, but it is a hallway about the size of a porch but is indoors. No-one there and the light switch is in it's off position.
I went to the kitchen and noticed how dark it was outside and then heard a rumble of thunder. 'Oh'! thinks me 'It's probably some kind of electrical glitch' and I thought no more about it. Then as I started to wake up, I began to give it some serious thought. My house is only 7 years old and the electrical system is very modern with RCD fuses blah blah, so surely if there had been some kind of surge, wouldn't the switches have tripped? The clock on the cooker was correct, so no power failure there.
Anyway, I put it to the back of my mind, then this morning, I went into the kitchen and the toaster is on 1. The setting on it is digital and it's usually left on 7. The only time it goes onto 1 is when it has been unplugged or the electric socket switched off. Naughty me, I do neither. Nor had I over the weekend.
Once I was in the loo with my stereo happily playing away when the sound went up very loudly. I thought it was my speakers being troublesome, but when I went back into the living room the volume knob had been turned up. I tried to think of a logical explanation then, but I was alone. Even the cats were in the garden!!
Please are there any electricians out there who can tell me it's all perfectly logical and so and so has happened? I really don't want to spend my weekends with a strange ghost. Do I get a psychic or an electrician? Answers on a post card......................................
Friday, September 22, 2006
I had a fantastic day out at Windsor and then spent 2 hours on a boat poodling up the Thames. I was in heaven despite the fact I wasn't steering it. Did think of popping in to see her maj, but she was other wise engaged elsewhere in the country so had to make do with the local cafe instead.
Anyway, here's Windsor castle, taken from the river
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
You lucked out the the skills to succeed in almost any arena.
Put you in almost any business or classroom, and you'll rise to the top.
You're driven and intense, but you also know when to kick back and cooperate.
Your ability to adapt to almost any situation is part of what's going to make you a success.
Your strength: Your attention to detail
Your weakness: You can be a little too proud of your successes
Your power color: Turquoise
Your power symbol: Arrow pointing up
Your power month: August
mmmmm maybe I should show this to the PERSONNEL department.
Friday, September 15, 2006
We went to the same secondary school...................Er actually I think I ought to re-phrase that. We played truant in the same park and went to the same school now and again. In fact. One school report once included a report from the art teacher that read: 'Carol Christian? I don't think I know who she is!' We had silly cheap report books by then, which were stapled together and I ripped that page out!
Anyway, I digress. I had this terrific form teacher, Les Smith, (Sadly deceased) who also taught our biology class. For some reason this lesson was a double period but with an afternoon break in between the periods. He was a biker I believe and not at all judgemental. During the afternoon break, he would lock Sharon and I in the classroom, so we could smoke a fag (A terrible habit I still have, and one Sharon hasn't) and THAT'S where we used to nick the writing books from to write our naughty Glitterband stories in!! Anyway, he knew I was a terrible truant, so more often than not, he would mark my name down during registration so the school board man wouldn't call.
My mum used to work, so if Sharon and I weren't at Greengate Park, then we would go back to my house. One day though, one of the neighbours told my Mum I seemed to be spending an awful lot of time at home and she went balistic!!! She rang the school and made an appointment to see the head of year and my form teacher.
The day of the appointment came and I was dragged into school by my Mum. I sat down with the head of year, Mrs Smith and my form teacher, Mr Smith (No relation, I'll call him Les from now on) and my Mum then demanded to know why she hadn't been informed about my 'absenses'. At this point Les looked very sheepish, because he had been marking me in. The head of year took the register, looked across at my name, and there I was, Present everyday!!!
I can still see the look of terror on his face, but I thought, as he hadn't got me into to trouble, I wouldn't get him into trouble, so I told them I had been coming in to get my mark and then skipping out of school!! The look of relief on his face was amazing!
I have to confess, it didn't stop me playing truant. It did for a while as I was put on report and had to get my timetable signed every lesson. But ultimately I was bored there. I had far more fun over the park!! Sometimes, we even went out with a mate of ours who was a delivery driver and go all over the place with him. It still makes me smile, but I did do my nut when Christine played truant!! Oh well!!!!
I suppose we were about 15 and used to tell everyone we were twins (Ha the terrible twins) we didn't look alike but were roughly the same build and both dark haired. Sharon hasn't got a sister, my sister is 8 years older than me, so we became sisters. The thing was, a lady staying in a chalet opposite us started to ask a lot of questions. She collared Sharons Mum, asking all sorts of questions about what it was like having twins.
Among those questions were:
What was it like giving birth to twins?
Well how was Sharons's Mum to know!!! We spent our days gallivanting here there and everywhere, but one days we came back from our travels to be told by Sharons Mum that she was going to 'kill us two' But all said in a joking manner of course.
She had sat down outside the chalet for some R & R and this lady had sat with her and started giving her a Spanish Inquisition about being the mother of twins. To save our faces, she had lied most admirably, going into great detail about the trials and tribulations of being the mother of twins. She even described our birth to the nosy woman. In fact, she found the whole thing a great wind up and would tell us daily about any other questions the lady had presented her with and what stories she had told her so we could back HER up!
She's great is Sharons Mum, Sheila. I could dedicate a whole blog to some of the things she did for and to us and us to her. She really seemed on our wavelength, especially at that age, and at times would get really mad at us for all of about...............30 seconds. She even displayed a poster of Peter Phipps (Glitterband) on the living room wall when Sharon and I went through our pop idol stage. In fact I think I will tag Sharon ( http://www.sharon-jacobsen.co.uk/thewaterbutt/) and get her to tell some more of her Mum's exploits.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
It was really sad to watch, especially as I had the benefit of Hindsight. The intelligence they had that a terrorist attack was imminent was quite shocking and the fact that they ' didn't have specifics' so ignored it, was more shocking still. At the end of the second part as we got closer and closer to the attacks on the world trade centre I found myself willing the Americans to act and hoped against hope that the planes wouldn't crash into the twin towers even though I knew they would. I found the whole thing very disconcerting as I felt I should be able to turn the clock back and make it all better again.
HR. Human Resourses.
I imagine lots of little aliens beavering away up there. I am a human resourse, it makes me sound as if I have been farmed by aliens to do their bidding. Mind you, the time it takes them to sort out my job description and pay scale they obviously are on another planet!!
It feels detrimental to be called a human resourse. I have a name and a life. I think I will start a campaign to bring back the department title Personnnel.
We got to that particular staircase lock and, just our luck, it was not in our favour. As we were going down, the top chamber had to be full and the bottom two had to be empty, the first two were full and the bottom was empty. So I set about emptying the locks, which wasn't an easy task, it was the last week of the season and there was no-one about so I was running up and down, opening paddles and shutting them again while Sharon stayed at the top with the boat. She was wizard at steering with only one gate opened so I left her to do the steering.
Eventually this was done, so I climbed up the bloody great slope to the top and told Sharon to take the boat in and lo and behold along comes another boat. We named this guy Rawhide, due to the hat he was wearing. Firstly, he was profoundly deaf. He was wearing 2 hearing aids and secondly he was cruising solo. He was soooo happy, he'd come along just at the right moment to share the lock and I didn't have a problem with that. So he slides into the lock besides our hire boat.
I shut the gate, opened the paddle and thats when Rawhide jumped off his boat onto the side of the lock on the pretext of helping. The thing was, he didn't do much at all, he turned the paddle a few times, and then stood there telling us how he was cruising alone as his wife didn't like the look of the weather. All the time, I am standing there thinking 'His boat is going to be about 15ft deeper in the lock in a minute, he is going to have to climb down that slippery ladder. Why didn't he just stay on the boat and let me get them through?' So I shouted over and asked him, but, of course, he couldn't hear me. Once the lock had emptied, I opened the gate my side and I must admit, he opened the gate his side and then started to bow haul his boat into the next lock, with Sharon steering ours.
Course the inevitable happened, he got to the bridge that goes over the lock and didn't know how he was going to get his rope past it and then his boat starts knocking into ours. Thats when the cheeky sod shouted over to me ' I've just had my paint work done, I might have to send you the bill to pay for any damage' I was incredulous at that stage and shouted back 'I DON'T think so mate. Maybe you should get on your boat and steer it and let me do the lock paddles. You have to expect damage if you are pulling it through' But as I said, he was profoundly deaf!
So he pulls it into the next lock, closes the gate his side and again leaves the paddles to me. He pulled his boat through the whole staircase, but I must admit, he kept a tight hold of it after the first chamber. Once we were through it and had moored at Tower Wharf, he came over to our boat with his canal guide in hand, and starts telling Sharon and I that WE were going to Chester zoo and there were 4 moorings there. So I politely explained to him, that WE were staying the night at Tower wharf as we had made arrangements to meet someone there the next day. He was most disappointed and cruised off into the sunset. Shame really, he seemed a nice enough bloke, the only problem was he couldn't hear us talking, so never shut up for a second. Still, I hope he had a nice time at the zoo.
The other time was last year. Again we were going down, so got into the first chamber with another hire boat at about 4.30pm. Someone had come up just before us and hadn't filled the lock to it's minium level. Coming up, the top two chambers need to be full, but somehow he had come up with the middle chamber empty, despite a great big instruction board at both ends of the lock. As a consequence, as we went down in the first chamber, our boats settled on the bottom! No problem, we opened the top paddles and let some more water in. Once we had enough, we closed them, opened the next lot of paddles and cruised into the middle chamber. Thats when the trouble started.
The gates behind us started to swing shut and then stopped leaving them open about 6 inches. The people on that gate pushed and heaved, rocked and rolled and they would NOT close. They were jammed by something underneath them and would not budge, neither backwards or forwards, then we noticed a fair stream of water coming in from the first chamber. which started filling up the chamber we are in. So the guy on the other hire boat sends someone to look at the top paddles and we discover that although the paddles are down, there is a problem with them and they are not completely closed. They were opened and closed a few times to no avail. So there we are in the middle chamber, the gates won't shut behind us and there is water coming in from the chamber behind as the paddles are broken.
There were some workman working on the bridge above us. One thinks he is being helpful by explaining to us that we need to close the gate and shut the top paddle as we will dewater the canal. You don't say!!! So I try and explain to him that we are unable to do either as there is a problem with both. If we could get the gate behind us shut, it would go someway towards helping us get through the staircase, could they come down and help as with a bit of brute force and ignorance we could probably get the gates closed. NO, he decided to stand overlooking us and tell his work mates what a bunch of twats we were as we obviously didn't know what we were doing.
Suddenly we started to get an audience. The local down and outs came an offered their help. Even with them the gate wouldn't close. Then the boat next to me got his front jammed on the gate and so we had to start letting water out so he wouldn't tip his boat. His wife then tells me, she hates narrowboating because she once saw a terrible accident in a lock where the boat sunk and some people got drowned!! All the time, I am standing on the back of our hire boat like the captain of the Titanic, I was not going to get off it in case it did sink. I felt responsible for it and I really like the people who hire it to us.
By this time, our audience had expanded to 4 wino's (Whom I will say, were extremely courteous, and very helpful) 3 boaters who had hired a boat from the same company as us. 2 or 3 general walkers and the crowd of workmen above us working on the bridge with Captain pugwash telling us what we should be doing!
At that point I had a brain wave, I got my mobile phone out and called British Waterways. They answered on the first ring, I explained the problem. A supervisor rung me back in 5 minutes and within 40 minutes a gang of British Waterways staff arrived to rescue us!!! If the guy on the bridge is reading this, let me explain. BRITSH WATERWAY HAD TO PUT PLANKS ACROSS THE TOP LOCK BECAUSE WE COULDN'T CLOSE THE PADDLE AND THEN IT TOOK 9 MEN TO CLOSE THE GATES BEHIND US. Got That?!! Good!!! :-)
We eventually cruised out of that lock at 7pm in the dark to great relief and applause. I have to say, if ever an organisation deserved praise in an emergency, it is British Waterways.
Luckily I am bored with the Chester route for the time being and besides I don't have a boat hired until next year, but if it is going to happen to anyone, it seems it's always me!!!
Monday, September 11, 2006
After it flew over (Safely) my dad looked at me as if I was mad, I must admit that, by then, I was feeling a bit silly, but I just shrugged and said, I had no idea why, but sudden loud aircraft noise terrified me to the point that I wanted to throw myself on the floor and hide.
He then went on to tell me, that when I was 2 he had taken me to an airshow at Farnborough. He is an ex RAF man and has a passion for aircraft. He was telling me that at the show this huge loud Jet came roaring onto the runway whilst I had my back to it. Part of the display was to roar in, touch the runway and then zoom off again. Which it did, so by the time I had turned around there was nothing there, yet all the while the engines were making a terrific noise. He then told me, I got on the floor holding my ears and screamed and screamed and screamed.
I actually don't remember that incident at all, but obviously my subconsious does! It explained a lot, but sometimes even now when I am taken off guard, it still terrifies me. The roar of a fighter jet engine just roots me to the spot and I will sometimes cover my ears and eyes. If I see it coming, I am o.k. If I can hear it but not see it, I am a gibbering wreck. Once I know what it is, then I love to watch it fly over, assuming I have picked myself up from the floor in time!!!
Later memories of Moorfields is sitting with an opthalmist in front of a big piece of equipment I had to look into. I had to move a handle to put a lion in a cage. She would then ask me to look through the other eye and that bloody lion wouldn't be in the cage!! I had/have a squint and it wasn't until I had it done again at 28 that I realised why the lion kept escaping!!!!
Anyway, once a year, we would have the West Ham swimming club annual dinner and dance. They were really posh affairs held at a place called the Angel in Ilford (That too has gone) Everone would be dressed up in their finest and all the old members would show up for a very formal 3 course dinner followed by dancing to a live band, along the lines of Glen Miller.
One particular dinner I went to at the age of about 6, I was sitting 'nicely' waiting for the silver service waitress to pour me a cup of tea, and as soon as she had gone, I got the cup and tipped the tea into my saucer (As seen being done by my child minder at the time!!) I was very thirsty and I knew this would cool the tea. I picked up the saucer and was about to slurp it when I saw my sister looking at me and slowly shaking her head, she is 8 years older than me so she knew better. I tipped the tea back in the cup and don't really remember what happened next. I do smile when I think about that though.
Sadly those dinner dances stopped in the late 70's as members died and the swimmers dwindled off. But they were the hi-light of the West Ham swimming club calendar. About 6 years ago my Dad gathered together the last of the money in the swimming club bank account and bought a trophey which he asked Newham swimming club to award to it's best new joiner, so in that respect, West Ham swimming club lives on
Right, for years we used to go to Warners holiday camps (They used to allow kids then) and one camp we went to regularly was at Dovercourt. Just before tea time, the local stables used to bring horses into the camp so that we could have horse rides, but obviously they were chargable.
Most of the time, I would be on my own not really having a clue where my parents were. I know that sounds awful, but this was the 60's and we were in a gated camp so they were probably in the bar playing afternoon bingo.
One time really sticks in my head. I had been in the playground and in came the horses. I didn't have a clue where my Dad was so just stood in the middle of the grass and called for my Dad at the top of my voice. It had been a rather grey day with rain and thunder so there wasn't anyone about outside. I stood a long way away from the dance hall and there I was just shouting at the the top of my voice calling for my Dad. After about 5 minutes he just appeared and I was thrilled that he had heard me. I really thought he had. Course many years later, I was recalling that incident and he just laughed when I asked him how he had heard me. His reply was that he hadn't, but he had seen the horses come in as he was playing bingo and knew I would want a horse ride. Bleeding obvious I suppose but then I thought it was magic !!!!!
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Over the years, I have spoken to all types of people and been asked all sorts of questions. (Had my share of heavy breathers too, but thats a blog on it's own) and looking back at some of the things I have been asked it does raise a laugh or two. The funniest though, have been while I have worked here.
Since working here I have realised, that degrees and common sense do not go hand in hand very often. I apologise to that rare breed of you that do have both, but they are very few and far between.
I was once asked by a professor how to remove a divert from his extension, to which I replied
' Lift the handset and press #6 on your keypad'. He promptly telephoned my previous manager, leaving a message on his voicemail repeating what I had told him then said ' I know what the # is, but what is the 6?' Duh! Excuse me? Am I missing something here? That man got paid treble my salary because he had a degree!!!! The other classic was a student ringing and asking in a rather drippy voice.
'Can you help me? I have just received a letter for my graduation ceremony and I don't know why' To which I replied somewhat astounded
'I'm sorry?' So then she said
' I have received a letter for my graduation ceremony and I dont know why. Is it because I took my exams in September?' Well, probably!!! I eventually put her through to the graduation department and let them explain it to her.
I now work on the support and admin side of things and getting an academic to elaborate on 'My phone/voicemail isn't working' is like trying to pull teeth. Some of them are affronted that you even dare to question the judgement. Bless em though, I suppose they are my bread and butter, and how boring my life would be without those humerous little spats from time to time.
Luckily I have an excellent working relationship with my manager and she just loves it when I get a bee in my bonnett and start playing mind chess l. I once had a complaining email from a HR person who worked for a large charity, the grammar and spelling were atrocious but the general theme was, she was a customer, she was right, and I HAD to believe her, despite evidence to the contrary, because she said so! Once she realised I wasn't going to side with her she started threatening me with the data protection act!! Er And? Is that intelligent thinking? Well, it raised a smile and still does, but I make a point of not donating to that particular charity anymore for wasting it's money! (They were paying for the Masters she was taking!!)
Anyway, today is a busy day, I have 3 or 4 'My this and that isn't working' so I will have to go off and try and get an explanation from them I suppose................
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Anyway, I digress. I came across a photo of me as a toddler. I am running around the garden with my back to the camera, naked. And there for all to see is cellulite on my bum!!! I thought this was something I developed as I got older and fatter!! I can now tell people, it was something I was born with!! It's genetic. Blame my parents!!!
Friday, September 01, 2006
It seems weird now that the 'cold' war basically meant 'nuclear holocaust'. Should Russia (and let us not forget) America, enter THAT code and press THAT button, we had about 7 minutes to live.
In that 7 minutes, we were supposed to run around a designated room, block and blank out all the windows, gather together all the tinned food from the cupboards, batteries, torch, radio, blankets and buckets and sit tight. If by some miracle, your house wasn't reduced to ashes, we then had to sit tight for at least 10 days keeping our ears glued to the radio until we were told it was safe to leave the building. After that , you were on your own. I remember those docudrama's that depicted the outcome of a 1 megaton bomb airbursting over St Pauls and realised that really the best thing to do was to just stand in the street and get it over and done with. Once, a friends ex husband told me the best thing to do in the event of 'the 7 minute warning' would be to run to Plaistow underground station. The problem with that, is that Plaistow underground station isn't underground at all!!! Anyway, this was all brought home to me on a visit to 'Hack Green secret bunker'
I must admit, it was out of the way on some small back roads, but it was close to some houses and farms and after pulling in through the gate, couldn't for the life of me see how they could have kept it a secret. Sharon though, assures me that it was. She couldn't remember what the locals thought it was, but nuclear bunker wasn't it!
Walking around the exhibits was quite eerie, this was a threat I grew up with, but to Christine it was just lots of electronic equipment. Some rooms you went into had radio messages playing, you listened to people talking over the radio reporting 'hits' with one bloke stating that 'confidence was high' Well stuck in his little bunker safe from radioactive harm, I'm sure his was!
I suppose being there brought it home to me that having atom bombs dropped on you wasn't something that could happen to 'other' people, but that it was a threat that our government took very seriously indeed.
Still from a telecoms point of view (I work in telecoms) it was a bit of nostalgia and amazement. There was the dolls eye switchboard that used to frighten the life out of me when my Dad used to take me in to see the telephonists that worked at his company. I must have heard them call it a dolls eye and when a call came in something like half a bingo ball would clunk down and I used to think it was a real eye. Then there was the 1A lamp, and then we came across the Mitel sx2000 operator consoles which I used to operate during my employ with Rank Xerox! I looked at all that kit and wondered at how technology had taken a giant leap forward!
There is also a display of the aftermath at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Not nice to think that the docudrama's on T.V were based on the size bomb dropped on those towns, when in actual fact, the bombs we have now are a 1000 times more powerful.
It got me and Christine talking, and I was telling her about the women at Greenham Common. She then asked me why Japan got nuked and apart from telling her they bombed pearl habour, I couldn't tell her why our servicemen were out there or how they came to be involved. Shame on me, but I was taught about Henry the 8th in my history lessons.
It is a very sobering place to visit. The visitors weren't running around cracking jokes and talking loudly. It was akin to being at a funeral. I then had this thought. When I first started walking around, I was thinking 'Oh it was alright for them' (The staff) 'Safely tucked away in their bunker' But it wouldn't have been really would it? They would have been physically safe while, in the event of a nuclear strike, would have been down there trying to hold what they knew together. Parents, wives, husbands, sisters, brothers, children, aunts and uncles had, in all probability, been blown into oblivion. Looking at that bunker, I think we have all been lucky and only hope that we stay that way.
The boat museum at Ellesmere is an interesting place if you are into canals and narrow boats. It's not badly priced either and as they were doing 2 for the price of 1 vouchers on their web site it was even better value for money.
My Hi-light was looking around the porters houses. There are only 4 left and one of them was furnished in 50's style. The other three are furnished in 30's, victorian and as they were built style. I Love this range, it reminds me of one my aunt used to have in her house when I was a child. She only used it as a fire as she had a cooker in the kitchen, but I have been told by my sister that before she could afford a cooker, she had one in the kitchen too.
There are a few old working boats that have been renovated, some ready to be renovated and some in the middle of renovation.
There is a large building that houses their collection of table flaps, plates, models and best of all
a childrens play area where they can rebuild a boat made of large covered soft blocks. This area unfortunately was the lo-light of my trip.
Kai is mixed race and 3 years old, he saw the boat being built by some older kids along with their Granny and Mum and ran over enthusiasticly. He picked up a huge block and asked the Granny if he could help and was told really rudely to 'wait a minute' At first I took no notice and sat down. Granny was just putting the finishing touches to the boat when Kai then asked her if he could get in it and this time she almost shouted at him to 'wait a minute' At this point a little girl of about the same age, belonging to someone else, walked up and asked if she could get in the boat, to which the woman picked her up, placed her in the boat and told her to hold onto her dolly tightly. Now I am not a paranoid person, but it seemed quite obvious to me that she had a problem with Kai's 'ethnicity'. I wasn't about to make a scene, but I then made it very clear that Kai was with me and told him quite plainly so she could hear, to wait until 'they have gone away' I gave her the most evil look and it was then she realised there was no black Mummy or Daddy who hadn't heard or seen how she had been towards a 3 year old but me, and that I knew exactly what her problem was. I was really fuming, and luckily for Granny and Mummy, my daughter was in the toilet. She has a lot shorter fuse than me, but she could see I was furious and so could the 2 witches from Liverpool. Thankfully they made a really quick exit not long after that and then Kai and I had the satisfaction of demolishing all their hard work, although that's the whole point of the thing anyway.
Anyway, onto important things. We took a little trip on the canal from the museum. The area is grotty and I am glad I have never made the journey from Chester by boat to the museum. I love canals but that part was too depressing. I think the area is about to get some revamping, and it could really do with it. It's by the Manchester ship canal too and apparently there is still quite a lot of ship traffic on it. And I know cos I saw one!! Yippy doo!!!
They have a great shop. It was like heaven to me as they have a biggish book area. They also have a very nice cafe and I strongly recommend the bakewell tart!
We saw Thomas the tank engine!! He wasn't wearing his T.V makeup though, at least, that's what we told Kai. The unfortunate thing was, we only missed him by a few days. After our horse drawn canal ride, we sauntered off to Llangollen train station. They run trips to Carrog, the coaches are pulled (usually) by a nice old steam train. I don't remember them, but that chuff chuff chuff reminds me of the railway children. Kai loved it, he was very excited when he heard it coming and kept asking where the fat controller was! Thomas and friends are back at Llangollen from the 21st-29th of October should you wish to go and see them. Must mention the 3 trendy blokes who sauntered onto the platform trying to look disinterested and macho. The smiles on their faces after seeing the steam engine was classic.
Our next stop was Chirk castle, situated, would you believe, in Chirk. It's owned by the national trust now.
Nice castle, you can look around a lot of the rooms, be sure to look up as some of the ceilings are stunning. The guides tell you not to take photo's, but just wait for them to look the other way. Two things of note,
1. Christine swears she got a photo of a ghost and some 'orbs' I will supply you with it should you wish to contact me and leave a contact email address
2. This statue, can someone tell me why it is blindfolded?
Or am I being thick? (Ha that wouldn't surprise me!!)
Some area's of the castlle have people dressed in costume and there is a little area where the children can make candles and dress up in armour, which Kai did. There is also a kitchen where you can get information about the herbs they used to use and a jar of leeches to look at.
I loved the gardens too, it was definitely worth the entrance fee.
Next we are off to The boat museum, so stay tuned.
Thursday, August 31, 2006
On Wednesday, last week, I went to Wales. Now I know south Wales like the back of my hand, my mother comes from there and I have spent many a happy 6 weeks school holidays with my 30+ cousins. I suppose at such a young age, I didn't really appreciate the beauty, but as I have got older I do now. But last week I went to North Wales. The drive is only about an hour or so from my home in Crewe and what a drive.
The scenery is stunning, as you can see from the photograph above. We drove along the A5 through the Snowdonia range of mountains. I have to say, it was the best road I have ever taken. It was far prettier than the Yorkshire Dales and they are lovely enough. We drove to Anglesey to Beaumaris castle. Beaumaris was packed with people, and my one gripe about the place was not being able to find a place that served dinner all day long. Most of the places serve meals between 12 and 2 then again at 6 till about 10. We didn't get there until 2.30 (Daughters and make-up, don't ask!!!) but found a nice little cafe serving snacks before going to poke around Beaumaris castle. http://www.castlewales.com/beaumar.html.
It's a lovely little castle which offers spectacular views over the Menai straits. You can walk along the ramparts and some of the spooky corridors inside. An hour should allow you enough time to see it all. I can't believe we walked out of there to be greeted by my neighbour (from Crewe) who was there on holiday with her children and grandchildren. They say the world is a small place, but I suppose with Anglesey not being that far away from Crewe it wasn't so much of a surprise!!
We took a lovely drive back along the A5 as I had booked a B & B in Trevor. Our plan was to go to Llangollen the next day.
The B & B was run by Elaine, who greeted us with a really warm welcome and was situated across the road from Trevor wharf. It also overlooked the Pontycysyllte aquaduct. I cannot praise the B & B enough. Elaine had thought of everything, unlike the B & B in Bainbridge, (3 beds 2 cups and 2 tea bags) She provided us with a fridge, microwave, toaster, T.V, Sofa and hairdryer plus plenty of cups, plates and cutlery and a WHOLE tea caddy full of tea bags, which made Kai very happy. (He does love his tea that boy)
If you ever want B & B in the area please consider this place. The breakfast was HUGE and believe me I can eat!!! The views from the garden are amazing, as you can see.
I finally got to see the Aquaduct in the flesh, and before I stood on the edge of it, even tried to convince myself I would walk over it, but to sum it up in 3 words 'No F*****g way!!!!!' My head for heights is not what it was when I was a mere slip of a thing!!! I did go for a walk beneath it though and showed the Londoner in me when I asked a local if it was safe to walk down there. (Well it was 7.30 in the morning!!) The area surrounding the Borrows rest is lovely and there are 2 pubs close by (Telfords inn and Australia arms) to get evening meals. Elaine though, at present, doesn't take credit or debit cards.
The next morning after our massive breakfast (Seriously we didn't eat until late evening) we drove to Llangollen as we wanted to take a horse drawn canal boat to the horseshoe falls. The trip lasted about 45 minutes and seemed really strange to me as it was so quiet being pulled along by a horse. Just the clipping and clopping along was very nice.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
I am back from my travels. I have travelled across the country and have finally seen the Yorkshire Dales and North Wales.
Our first stop was at the Forbidden corner in Coverdale. Apart from the fact that for the AA directions I put in the wrong post code and ended up about 10 miles away, we found the place before our allotted entry time which was 3.45 pm.
It is a sort of maze set in 4 acres of gardens, which was originally developed for the personal use of the landowner and his friends, who persuaded him to open it to the public. There is a small cafe and a beautiful picnic area should you arrrive early for your entry time, in fact I would suggest arriving early on purpose so you can have a nice picnic (Weather permitting) and just take in the views. I must admit, I was rather excited at the prospect of going to this place as I had seen it on a gardening show on cable and thought it looked rather different.
We queued up for our allotted entry time and were given a leaflet with little sketches and riddles written on them, it was up to us to find them in whatever order we wanted. To be honest, we weren't too serious about finding everything, because Kai is only 3 so would have liked whatever he saw anyway.
I don't want to spoil it for you, but there are lots of little surprises, some may scare younger children. It has been well thought out, but is really unsuitable for the disabled (walking disabled) and not child buggy friendly. There are also lots of dark narrow passageways, but they are exciting and scarey together. At times I found it a bit frustrating as we would catch glimpses of something tantalising only to never find our way to it. Which I suppose is just a darn good excuse to go back again. There was one part that Kai really hated as it scared the hell out of him, but his Mum and I picked him up and made a joke out of it and managed to get him through it.
I have to say, it was a unique experience. My advise if you are visiting is to
A. Try and get an a.m or early p.m time slot. It can get very busy and in confined spaces (Of which there are quite a few) a bit claustrophobic
B. Go outside of the major school holidays
C. Take waterproof footwear/clothing if it has been raining
D. Don't rush around hoping to see everything as you probably won't
E. If you have a long way to travel, try a cheap B & B and make a short break of it as the Yorkshire Dales are extremely beautiful and worth exploring
I will be going back again, at the moment it doesn't matter to me when, as Kai is in nursery so he can have time off when we feel like it. I will be staying in Middleham next time as it is only a 10 minute drive and looked a lovely villiage to stay in. We stayed in the Rose and Crown in Bainbridge (About a 12 mile drive) which was mediocre, although the locals were friendly.
I will be blogging next time about North Wales, but not today.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
I must admit I am going a bit far afield. My first visit is to the Forbidden corner in the Yorkshire dales. Apparently it is a sort of maze/folly set in 4 acres of garden and you go and find things and get squirted with fountains on the way. I am really looking forward to that. http://www.yorkshirenet.co.uk/theforbiddencorner/
Then on the recommendation of my friend Sharon, we are going to Llangollen. I have found a nice little b & b set right on the canal within walking distance of the Pontycysyllte aquaduct. I doubt I will be walking it, but I am going to take Kai for a horse drawn boat ride!!! Just who is the 3 year old here?!!!
Anyway, I have joined the 21st century, bought myself a nice digital camera and on my return will try and load some pics!!!
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
I have to admit, it has never been the most charming place to live. I can't really say there are any pretty places in Straford. There has always been a multicultural mish mash of people, which I liked. BUT then came the Olympics.
I came home from work last night via a different route and I couldn't believe the building work that is going on. It seems that every spare mini car park is being turned into 'luxury apartments'. Some are even selling on the basis of them being 'affordable housing'
One of these developments is being called the 'Stratford eye' It is being built slap bang along side the railway line, which must have 200+ trains thundering past per day along with the nuclear waste train pottering along at the dead of night when it is less like to kill people should an accident occur. As far as I can tell the only people who might buy a place there will be train spotters!! The view on the other side isn't much better, the Stratford one way system, 1000+ cars thundering along, so for god sake don't hang your washing out !!! It will probably get renamed the 'Stratford eyesore' by the locals. You can see this monstrosity and all the developers gush for yourself, ignore the computer generated surrounds, the area doesn't look like that at all as it is being build beside a busy road bridge.
The last lot of 'affordable housing' that was build was selling for £100,000 for a 2 bed apartment for a 1/2 share, and was snapped up by landlords before they were even built! The place is now full of people who are speaking any language but English and are probably getting ripped off by their landlords, because lets face it, someone has to pay the mortgage don't they? And the locals are not silly enough to pay that kind of rent! That too has a glorious view of the railway line and Leytonstone high road.
The sad thing about all this 'development' is that every little back street pub I used to go to has gone! I can think of 5 straight away. One is a shop, one has been turned into 'luxury apartments' (Also overlooking the afore mentioned railway line) one is a community centre (useful at least) and the other 2 demolished. When will it all end?
The property market and prices have gone crazy in Stratford. And all because of the Olympics! What I want to know is this. In 6 years from now, after the Olympics have been and gone, will the property prices crash? Once the landlords can no longer rent their properties for £2000 a week due to it's proximity to the Olympic stadium, will they sell in droves? Will the developers finally stop building on postage stamp size plots? What will become of these 'luxury apartments' because believe me, Stratford will never be mistaken for Chelsea. There will always be muggings down Forest Lane and prostitutes plying their trade on the local council estate and Newham council will never have 'luxury' properties.
I don't want you to think that since I moved away I consider myself better, I am PROUD that I come from Stratford, in fact when I go to Crewe my cockney accent comes out more and I am only too glad to tell people where I come from. I suppose I am sad to see the place that I have known all my life disappear. Still we all have to move with the times, I just really hope they turn out to be great times for Stratford and it's residents.
Oh and Newham council please note. On the Carpenters road estate, next to James Riley point, there is a building going up which I can only assume will be housing that is going to be sold at over inflated prices due to is 'view' of the stinking Bow back river. It makes that tower block look a real eyesore. Do the residents proud and either paint or knock it down!! And just one other thing, please make the developers incorporate car parking, the residents are fed up with paying parking charges then not being able to find somewhere to park.