Sunday, 4 November 2012

That time again?

It's that time of year again: the domain of the Office Party. It's the end of another long and challenging year and the opportunity to let one's hair down at the Company's expense is too good to pass up. And so, we get our gladrags on, a bit of make up, dust off the high heels and head for the End of Year Party (note that these are no longer referred to as the 'Christmas Party', although Father Christmas has been known to put in an appearance). So, I thought it best (as guru of 'what NOT to do when you are drunk') I should offer some advice to the uninitiated on office party etiquette.

1. Outfits: think 'going out with your mum' rather than 'on the lash with the girls' so leave the leopard skin boobtube at home.

2. Only speak to the Senior Management Team between the aperitifs and the buffet - not towards the end of the night when the cocktails start coming out.

3. As far as Disco Divas are concerned you are right up there with them, but to save some very unusual looks in the office next week, try and keep the Beyonce 'Single ladies' moves at bay. Think dancing round your handbag, rather than pole dancing.

4. As the evening progresses,and  with the beer goggles on, everyone from the office suddenly becomes your friend, refrain from offering any useful advice, or home truths. Believe me, honesty is NOT the best policy.

5. Taking photos on your phone of your very drunk colleagues and uploading them immediately to Facebook might seem like a good idea at the time, but is likely to get you sent to Coventry come Monday morning.

6. Never, under any circumstances, and especially not after more than one glass of wine, should you comment upon or indicate your approval/disgust at colleagues other halves. So the 50 year old guy who brings the 17 year old taiwanese wife he met on the internet, who is clearly dressed by TopShop, is not to be subjected to your critical eye. No, no, no.

7. Karaoke: is for someone else. Nuff said, I think.

8. And finally, for those who are single: as soon as you feel the urge to touch, kiss, become intimate in any way, shape or form, with any of your colleagues, it's time to leave and go home to bed. ALONE.

So, Merry Christmas everyone and have a good party season.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Love is...

Sophie was completely besotted. There was no other word for it. She hung on his every word. Smitten, her mum would have said. When he left the room her eyes followed him, and when he re-entered, the room simply lit up.
Every night, cuddling by the fire: he with his warm, knitted jumpers and she with a blanket, keeping the cold and the rest of the world at bay. When he glanced down at her, she melted.
He reached over, gently stroking her head. Come on then girl, walkies! Sophie bounced up, and, with her tail wagging excitedly, followed him out into the garden.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Rain, what rain?

Fish and chips, Stafford, Train journeys to shopping cities, beautiful countryside, Sunday lunch, welcoming arms and happiness kisses, pub lunches, pub dinners, hell, pub any time, high streets with Georgian buildings, parks, Kedleston Hall, expensive petrol, Tescos, Peterborough, Liverpool and Birmingham, Blists Hill Victorian Village, Ironbridge, glorious views, people who 'get' my English jokes, grass that is lush and green, family gossip, carpets under your feet at home, people I love and who love me, wine for 4 quid a bottle (and you can buy it anywhere), small cars, people who say 'excuse me', 'please' and 'thank you', swings and see-saws, trees - loads and loads of trees, umbrellas and wellington boots, yorkshire pudding, banks that know what they're doing, Macdonald's breakfasts, coffee with friends and girl's nights out, libraries and second hand bookshops, rivers and lakes, cobbled streets, Shakespeare outside, hills and walks, castles and people dressed up in costumes, and most of all: family.

England, my England.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Evil Invigilation

Invigilating exams is the new form of torture. Death by boredom. I notice that it doesn't say anywhere in my contract that I have to sit in a room for 3 hours, with 50 smelly and extremely anxious (hence the smelliness) students for three hours with absolutely nothing to do. That's because recruitment of lecturers would be arduous if they knew that it included regular bouts of such torture.

So, there's nothing for it but to amuse oneself whilst having to watch them sweat. So, for the uninitiated, here is the guide to surviving three hours of evil invigilation:

1. Greet the students, seat them and thank them for coming (well, it is nice of them to turn up).
2. There will, inevitably, be only one chair between two invigilators, so stake your claim the minute you enter the room.
3. Once you have the chair, fill out the paperwork. It takes less than 2 minutes but that only leaves 178 minutes to go.
4. Now you have completed the formalities, you need to invent interesting ways to amuse yourself so here goes.
5. Count how many people have shoe laces.
6. Walk around the room, sniffing the delicate aroma of the great unwashed, and estimate how many of these vastly superior and intelligent beings, have not heard of deodorant.
7. Wake anyone who is sleeping (including the other invigilator).
8. Put the air conditioning on 'arctic' and count how long it takes for one of the brave souls to ask you to turn it up.
9. Read the exam paper and estimate whether you would pass or fail (of course you would pass, you are a lecturer for goodness sake).
10. Observe the students carefully, it is usually easy to tell which ones have revised and which ones haven't. Go around the room and behind each student, indicate via a series of hand gestures and facial expressions to the other invigilator, what chance of passing you think the student has.
11. Tell the students they only have 15 minutes remaining when they actually have 45 minutes, and laugh at the panic that ensues.
12. Finally, to mark the end of the exam set your timer on your iphone to play 'There may be trouble ahead...' by Nat King Cole.

There you go. Three hours of boredom. Sorted.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Diet schmiet

I'm on a diet. No, really I am. Stop laughing.

Well, I say I'm on a diet. That's if you don't count the daal and naan bread, fillet steak with peppercorn sauce and three desserts I cooked and ate with my friends last Thursday. I swear, the 100g that it took me all week to lose, I put back on in that one night!

So, I'm thinking that weightwatchers ran the prisoner of war camps in WWII and that's where their entire diet regime comes from. I mean really, a 60g portion of pasta is correct? For a three year old it is. I swear I am starving. I have done weightwatchers before (years ago) and they have changed their scheme. Now, all fruit and vegetables are 'free' (i.e. zero points). So, basically, I could sit at my desk at work and eat fruit and veg all day and I wouldn't use up any points. Hmm. And, wine counts! How can that be? It's made from grapes, d'er!

The consequence of making fruit and veg 'free' is that everything else is twice the points. I am allowed 26 points a day. This is playing havoc with my trips to Starbucks. Did you know that a full fat caramel latte with two sugars is 7 points! I'm mean, really. And if you add the muffin, well that's pretty much breakfast and lunch wiped out.

You can gain more points by exercising. I looked up 'shopping'. Wasn't on the list. Do they know how big the malls are here? I could walk 4 miles in the course of searching for the perfect dress for dinner at a very fattening restaurant for Friday night. I am beginning to wonder whether this is really for me.  I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Oh, no, did I really?

One of the things my friends will testify to, is my considerable experience with alcohol. People often (but not as often as I would like) comment that I look young for my age, and my response is always 'preserved in alcohol, you see'. So, I feel it encumbent upon me to share my wisdom with those less fortunate than myself, and impart a few tips about what one should, and shouldn't do, whilst indulging.

Once you have begun on the merry path to oblivion, you must never:

1. Update your Facebook status. The horror of waking in the morning to find the expletives, emotional outpourings, or cringe-worthy comments one has shared with the world, is beyond bum clenching embarrassment, so don't go there.
2. Log on to Ebay. Those items that it was 'fun' to bid on last night, have to be paid for in the morning. The absolutely essential but nonetheless useless 'soft cotton Japanese black bondage rope' (I kid you not, I just looked it up - for research purposes you understand) will seem 'not so essential' in the morning.
3. Send pissed text messages. Yeah, we've all been there: 'you are my absolutely bestist friend and I love you so much, I'm so glad you are my friend'. Ok, so maybe that's just me then.
4. Answer work emails. Much as you would like to explain to your colleagues (especially those in other Countries) exactly how to 'shove' something where only doctors should normally go, jump off the nearest cliff or give them directions to Hell, you will regret such statements in the morning. Oh, and the 'withdraw' option on emails only works if the recipient hasn't actually opened the email and read it. Trust me, I know.
5.Order cards from online retailers for your relatives. Tempting as it is to order all of the birthday cards in advance from someone like Moonpig, one's sense of decorum can be a little skewed when indulging. The card showing a woman on a beach and mentions 'savouring the salty tang', is not suitable for your nan or your mum, however opened minded they may be.
6. Hand out your business cards. Under no circumstances should you identify yourself to anyone you come into contact with in a bar after your first few glasses. Networking should be reserved for sober moments only.
7. Karaoke. Nuff said I think.
8. Write ridiculous blog entries about alcohol. Hmm.