Monthly Archives: October 2017

Standard Issue

I like a good laugh, it makes me feel better about the world in general, albeit the small bubble that is my world. I discovered this online magazine a while ago, started by comedian Sarah Millican, and it’s since become a podzine – which is even better for me as I can listen to it while I’m working, instead of listening to music all the time. I don’t listen to every episode but I particularly like the podcasts that are recorded live once every month or so. They are brilliant – just women chatting about life and they’re all from different backgrounds and have different jobs – not just comedians but actors, sportswomen, presenters. They talk about the widest range of topics – a bit like book club! – and have a real laugh (again, like book club!). There are some regular questions “best and worst things about your job”, “advice you would give your younger self” and others, but because the guests are always different, the answers are always different and it’s just like listening to friends chatting, but REALLY funny. There’s a lot of swearing and some words I would NEVER utter but it doesn’t detract from how great it is. I’ve listened to one today with Sarah Millican (she’s always on them), Emma Samms from Dynasty fame and Rae Earl a writer (My Mad Fat Diary) and it made me properly laugh out loud. On my own.

I’ve also nearly finished my jigsaw and I have a new book to read. Oh, and it’s The Great British Bake Off Final tonight! Happy days.



The Office

No, not the Ricky Gervais series, although that was genius, my office where I work two days a week. It’s nice to have some company for those two days while having my own space at home the other two days.

Our office of (mainly) three people is a pretty nice place to work. We listen to Radio 2 and we like to moan about stuff they report or the topics that Jeremy Vine discusses at lunchtimes. One of my bosses, N, calls a spade a spade and if he disagrees with something he will make it very clear. I don’t always agree with what he says, but he is entitled to his opinions and I know where I stand with him. He is straightforward and he doesn’t try to hide that he is a tiny bit sexist and just, well, not completely PC. It’s nice though, because they don’t care if I am a bit grumpy – they don’t even notice most of the time and they certainly don’t assume that I am in a mood with them. (When I worked in a predominantly female office in a  building society it was impossible to have an off day without offending someone or someone assuming you had the hump with them about something.) They don’t expect me to make the drinks, in fact I get more offers of coffee when I am in the office than when K is working from home with me. I feel valued (most of the time) and am made to feel that I do a good job.

I have been very lucky with bosses over the years. They have all been men, with the exception of two, and they have all wanted me to progress, to do well, always made me feel appreciated and a worthy member of the team. The two women I have worked for were very different. I distinctly remember one saying to me, after I was asked my opinion by another member of staff, “It’s early days, don’t try to run before you can walk”. And another who did her utmost to keep me in my place – sending me on pointless errands that ended up with me being humiliated in front of another member of staff; asking me to make calls that she didn’t want to make; insisting on being in any meeting I was invited to (even if she wasn’t involved in the project).

With the exception of one, I have always found men to be the easiest people to work with. When I worked for a large coffee company back in the 90’s I far preferred being sent to sort out a technical issue in the all male warehouse than the all female telesales department. The guys in the warehouse were goodnatured, friendly and above all straight-talking. Walking into the telesales department was a different matter altogether. I never knew what sort of reception I would find and would always leave feeling like they were going to talk about me the minute I left the room (this was justified, it wasn’t paranoia). As for the one exception, he was a sexist pig. He used to call me to his office to sort out a technical issue, knowing I would probably have to clamber around under his desk to check cables, etc. whilst he sat as close as possible, watching me. This was back in the days when women were expected to wear skirts to work and despite the nature of my job I had to adhere to it, even though trousers would have been far more practical. I suspect if I was doing that job now I would have grounds for accusing him of sexual harassment. But he is the only man I have come across in my 27 working years that behaved that way. He was the exception to the rule. (I did warn my younger colleague to take care around him and I always made it clear to him that I knew what he was – a dirty old man, which he would deny, instead insisting that he was “just a red blooded male”. Yuck.)

The allegations we are hearing daily in the press make me think of him. He tried to pretend he wasn’t a perv. He tried to make out he was something he wasn’t and they are the dangerous ones. The ones who purport to be a certain type of person while the words that they say and the things that they do call them out as a liar at every step. The ones who think they are above any sort of laws, who have no respect for women or sense of decency.  I am sure lots of women will have come across a man like the one I knew all those years ago. Hopefully, most of us will have only endured this low level sexual harassment but I know there are plenty who will have endured far worse.

I don’t think men should EVER be allowed to get away with any sexually predatory behaviour and sexism should have been locked up back in the days of Benny Hill. As a mother of a son I hope I have instilled in him that girls are to be respected as much as any boy (not more, just as much) and as a mother of a daughter I hope I have instilled in her that she can do anything she wants, that she doesn’t have to take any crap from anyone and that she is as good as any boy, but she shouldn’t walk over anyone in the process.

But, not all men are sexist predators, just as not all women are feminists who look out for their female colleagues.

I like my office. Smelly, belchy men and all.



Gain an hour – no thanks

I know I’m probably in the minority on this but I HATE it when the clocks go back. When you’re someone who wakes up RIDICULOUSLY early every morning, to discover that it’s an hour earlier still is pure torture. It wouldn’t be so bad if we gained an extra hour later on in the day. That would work for me. Somewhere around 3pm on a Sunday would be perfect. I understand that it was all brought in to help the farmers – giving them an extra hour of daylight – but surely it doesn’t matter when the hour changes? If we all know it changes at 2am then we’d all know it was changing at 3pm! It wouldn’t make that much difference, would it? Of course, I’m joking, no-one would want to be working on a Sunday and have to do an extra hour, rather than lie in bed for an hour longer before going to work. But I do still hate it.

It was horrendous when the kids were small as their body clocks (like mine now) had no concept of Daylight Saving Hours and so could never be persuaded to go back to bed. Those were the days when I could sleep past 6am and could have benefited from the extra hour. Now they are teenagers (nearly in A’s case) they will be chuffed for the excuse to lay in bed even longer. While I lay here wondering when I can get up without being accused of trying to wake the whole house up. None of them understand my inability to sleep and find it hard to sympathise. When I moan to K that I woke up at *insert ludicrously early time here* he asks “why did you do that?” Like I have any sort of control over it. But zero sympathy. He is able to sleep whenever, wherever, however long he wants. His idea of a bad night is turning over and being aware of it.

Give me a lost hour in March any day. You can keep your extra hour and your darker evenings. I’m off to make myself a cup of tea.

A walk, a lunch, family and a jigsaw

Today is Friday. You know how I LOVE a Friday, and this was a really good one. T, A and I went for a lovely walk over at Ashridge with G&G. We laughed – a lot – and generally had a lovely time. We followed it up with a pub lunch and then a cuppa and a choccy biscuit* at our house. My kids get along so well with my Mum and Dad and we all love spending time with them. When G&G went home I cracked on with my new Where’s Wally jigsaw. Yes, I know I’m 45 not 5 but I love a jigsaw and you can judge me all you like.

*I bought two packs of M&S chocolate biscuits on Monday with the intention of putting them away for Christmas. They were on offer at £3 each so I was pleased with my bargain. We finished one box yesterday and opened the second box today to offer one to G&G. Oh dear. Please note they are only single layer boxes. We’re not THAT greedy.

One better day*

It’s not been a very eventful day today but I quite like Thursdays. They are my Friday, with another Friday afterwards. My Thursday is like most people’s Friday’s but I get a free non-working Friday after my Thursday, not just a Saturday and Sunday. I LOVE Fridays. There is no better day. I know that I should love weekends more than Fridays, and I do love them, but you can’t beat a Friday. Consequently, Thursday is all about the anticipation of the Friday to follow, so I quite like Thursdays.

What has made me smile today other than it just being Thursday?

Little things:

Receiving a text from A from a sleepover –  having a lovely time – followed by a message from the sleepover friend’s mum saying how lovely it had been to have A there, that her younger children adore A and that she is patient and kind with them.

A hug from my man-boy. I had to wake him up at half ten so he could get on with some revision/homework. Cruel to be kind, that old chestnut. He doesn’t hold a grudge, he doesn’t shout at me to go away. He takes his time surfacing and then of course he needs food and a shower so the revision/homework doesn’t get underway until nearly eleven thirty. Makes a bit of a mockery of the ‘do some work in the mornings and then you can have some free time in the afternoon‘ agreement that we have, as the morning has practically gone by the time he gets down to work. He did more work after lunch (lunch? because of course he needed more food by 12.45pm) and I have evidence of actual progress being made, so I am not cracking the whip yet.

A ‘like’, a re-tweet and a reply from an author whose book I have just finished and loved. I tweeted about it not expecting any response bar from my 3 lovely Twitter friends who are kind enough to like my tweets, so I was really pleased that the author saw my comments and was happy enough to reply to me, resulting in a short Twitter conversation. She’s a relative newcomer and this was her second book (I have read her debut novel which was also excellent) and I have been recommending this latest one to everyone that I know who reads. The idea for the narrative (likened to a literary Sliding Doors by one critic) is gripping and the story-lines are believable and thought-provoking. It’s my favourite book so far this year. To know that she knows how much I liked it made me smile.

My girl coming home from the sleepover and wanting a “huggy”. She’s affectionate and loving, on her own terms – always has been – and it’s lovely when she wants to be hugged and I NEVER say I’m too busy. What could possibly be more important than a hug?

Not a bad haul of smiles for a non-eventful, run of the mill day. I might even have a glass of wine later – well, it is Friday 😉


*a little homage to one of my favourite Madness tracks.



I’ve had a boring day working and not much about it has made me smile, until I went out for dinner with my lovely old friend. (She’s not old, I’ve just known her a long time, that sort of old friend.) As always, we’ve caught up on family news, swapped moans about work and husbands and most of all we’ve laughed. Not just a chuckle here and there – proper laughing that makes your tummy hurt. And stuffed our faces whilst telling each other how badly our latest health kicks are going. And home in time for the ten o’clock news. Perfect.

Bargain hunter

My girl loves to shop. She’s nearly 13 and she gets a monthly allowance for me of £10. She also gets £10 into a savings account that she has to justify using. The only other money she gets is on an ad hoc basis from grandparents or for birthdays and Christmas. If she’s done something particularly helpful or had a good report we may reward with money but not often – we kind of like our kids to be helpful without any incentive other than it’s a good thing to do, and work hard at school because they want to. It’s not all about the money, money, money, despite what Jessie J might think.

I don’t know if it’s my unwitting influence, or if she would be this way regardless, but she’s very thrifty. She wasn’t always this way; she went through a very irritating stage of wanting to spend money the minute she got it as if it would disappear if she didn’t. In fact, both of the kids were of this mindset for quite some time. We had a horrendous time with them one summer when we went abroad and K’s Dad gave them both 50 Euros each spending money. Yes, I know it’s a huge amount and boy were they determined to spend it. They didn’t – after day 3 we told them that we’d had enough. A friend had told us that they had recently told their kids that whatever they saved by the end of the year they would double it. We decided to give it a go. We were confident we’d make some progress but quite sure we wouldn’t be bankrupted. They stopped spending, stopped nagging to spend and brought home about 40 Euros each. By the end of that year we forked out about £100 to each of them. We only did it once.

Since then they’ve both been pretty good with money. T still seems to hang on to it less than A but he’s got expensive taste. A is less discerning in as much as she’s happy with Primark jeans and tops from H&M. T is more adidas trainers and Calvin Klein pants.

We popped to St Albans today, me and my girl. I had stuff to take back to Fat Face that I had bought in the sale – I’ve only ever bought one top full price in there – and A wanted to go to H&M to check out a top she would like for Christmas. The top wasn’t as expected but she picked up two phone cases and a glasses case for £2. Not each – total. Happy as a bear with a pot of honey.

Her happiness in her own ability as a proper bargain hunter and how thrilled she was with her purchase made my day. Happy moment – tick.