Where there's a Willesden there's a way

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Laugh your way to health

Are you fed up of modern dieting? Ever walked out of Weightwatchers to be confronted by a delusional street preacher and wished you too could be that thin? Well now YOU can.

In my new book Delude Yourself to Fitness, I at last share the secrets that keep crazy people so slim. For example did you know?
- Just one minute's uncontrollable cackling is equivalent to climbing six flights of stairs.
- You burn 20% more calories than with traditional jogging when running away from an imaginary assailant or extra-terrestial kidnappers.
- You are three times less likely to die of a heart attack with a diagnosed psychatric condition.

Already being described as "The Atkins Diet for the 21st Century", Delude Yourself to Fitness contains
- A guide to Reverse Transactional Analysis- to bring out all the abnormal personality traits we all have!
- An award winning system to ease you gently into paranoid delusions. Today hidden cameras- tomorrow the Anti-Christ!
- Advice on avoiding despair and social isolation.

Order now to receive your free tinfoil helmet and cassette of auditory hallucinations.

I think I need more structure

I had an unexpected day off today. I'm currently doing battle with the virus which is sweeping around my office, and as a result of a high temperature, I got about three hours sleep. And as after the last time I went into work on that little sleep I was lucky to be allowed back, I thought it was wise to stay home, get better, and stay away from laminating machines.

After a while I realised it was the first real day of spring- the sky was blue and the sun was shining, so I dusted off my sunglasses and went out shopping. Somehow despite the fever, I managed to negotiate the purchase of contact lenses and a new string for my guitar (yes, it was a g-string...)

The problem was, on the way back from town, I thought of something that made me laugh, and, well, couldn't stop. My theory was that crazy people look really healthy (based on various friends of mine), which immediately inspired a book. At which point I ran straight into a colleague of mine, still in mid-cackle. Her first question was, "Feeling better then?".

Which served to prove my point, and make it look like I was skiving off.

The least I can do is publish the blurb for my book though. It made me laugh.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Well earned day off, and i'm using it to take a big relaxing walk. Ostensibly i'm walking from tring to boxmoor to look at moorings, but i'm at berkhamstead, my halfway point, and I've only seen one place i like so far. But it's great to get out of town, and i'm optimistic about finding some good spots on boxmoor. Assuming the rain stays away, I've had a great day so far. 5 miles to go.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Dial E for Exit!

Sad? Depressed? Incurable?

There is another answer!

For too long, suicide has been the domain of tearful people with hose pipes or well meaning but sinister dutch doctors. Chances are, up until this point, your life has been at best a little tame, at worst a series of painful and relentless drudgery. So why not end your life in the way you never got to live it?

With Enthusanasia, you can live one day as if it really is your last. Our consultants are waiting for your call right now*. Ever wondered what it's like to sabotage your own parachute? A bungee jump with a rope guaranteed to fail? A flight through Kenya on a low-flying BA jet? Or maybe just end it all trying to make a daring leap between two parts of an unfinished bridge like in so many films?

What's more, with Enthusanasia's range of services, we'll take care of life insurance, letters to relatives, and in our Elysian Video Suite, you can even record your goodbye video featuring you against a series of choice allegorical backgrounds. Take your pick between galaxies, forests and lakes. We really will take care of it all!

Don't take the easy way out. Call us today.

*Subject to legislation and a widespread change in social attitudes


I had a great day on Thursday. I got into work at 8:20, dealt with things at work way beyond my level, upset unusually few people in the process, and actually had a driving lesson that didn't nearly result in an accident. Overall, when I got home, I felt I'd tried hard and done well, and that I could relax and enjoy my evening.

Then I realised I'd forgotten to post off my coursework for my counselling course. And it had to be at Birkbeck College on Friday. Fortunately, travelling from Watford to Birkbeck is quite easy. It's a nice fast train, and I imagined stepping off the train, going straight into Birkbeck, and getting straight back onto a cosy train in time to get some food for my poor deaf brother.

It was going fine until I got out at Euston, jumped onto a wall to get round a slow moving pedestrian, jumped off again and, er, missed. My knee bounced off the wall, and I fell flat on my face and arm. I lay on the floor for a few moments, wondering how I got there, and expecting some kindly passer-by to ask if I was alright and offering to help me up. After an old woman narrowly missed stepping on my hand, I rolled over and shakily got back on my feet. I hobbled to Birkbeck, got slightly disorientated, but finally made it to college and back again. It was only when I got onto the train that I realised my kneecap was now BIG. And my elbow wasn't moving either.

So I called Brother, and got a lift home. All the way back I moaned about my knee, and when we got back limped heavily back to the flat, put savlon on my grazes, and opened up my Jack Daniel's first aid kit.

Two things bugged me about this- everyone at work assumed I was drunk, showing an acute lack of awareness of how clumsy I really can be. Secondly, despite spending two days complaining, it turns out Brother didn't hear a word I said. It means he probably hasn't heard a thing I've said in three weeks.

Hope he gets his hearing back. I need someone to complain to.

How about Hertfordshire News Review?

I can't see the point.

Not in going on, obviously I've spent a lot of time working out that one. Or in work, because I find it fulfllling.

It's the bloody London News Review, which is starting to turn out to be an almighty waste of time, money and trees. The plan, I thought, was to get a magazine in the shops, and hit the mainstream, and get the Friday Thing word out to the non-email minded public.

What's happened instead, is none of the mainstream will stock it, thanks to the major rule that nothing thought-provoking is allowed to be sold on shelves in the newsagents. So the content that they would have sent out by email to subscribers, now also arrives in printed form on the same day, using old fashioned snail mail. There's a few extra bits, but to be honest they're not very good. So I'm not really convinced I know what I'm paying a subscription for.

Whilst I've been nagging all my friends to give it a try, not being in any shops, it's pretty difficult to get hold of. And for those of us who don't live in London, the title can be a little alienating. It's not even that much about London.

As I'm on a rant, the glossy issue zero looked pretty good- the new format looks like the kind of cheap thing student 'newspapers' (like the one I used to run) churn out.

What really sucks, too, is that this whole project has just reduced the quality of the content in the friday thing. Still not bad, but still, it's been better.

I'm just a little disappointed. Rather than pay for a subscription, I could just hit 'print'. Painful as it may be, they've got a month to get their act together, or I'm cancelling.

I need something else to believe in. Maybe I'll just drop out and fall in with scientology or the new McDonald's Quorn Premiere.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

I'm on the top deck of the bus heading towards my last counselling lesson. Just like my first lesson, i'm just in time to watch the sun slip down over the hills of bushey, and the new moon and venus are high in a blue and gray sky. That was six months ago, and it feels like I've come full circle now. This is how endings should be- we make it clear that we cannot ever return,while looking back fondly over our beginnings. It's going to be a sad night though.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Harrassed in Hatfield

In retrospect, maybe I should have wondered why my colleagues were so concerned about me travelling to Hatfield.

"Are you sure you're going to be alright?"; "Positive? I'll give you a lift if you need it."

Stupidly, my response to each of them was "I'll be fine. It's a direct bus from my front door."

It all started to go wrong when I got off the bus. I stepped off into a 50mph gale and a torrential downpour. I found the conference centre, and asked a particular unhelpful receptionist for directions. Finally I found the suite myself.

"Is this Adult Care Services"


"Great, I'm early." I introduced myself.

"I think you're in the wrong place. This is the Drug and Alcohol team." I gave them a look they probably see quite often in their daily work and left.

The wind was really picking up when Glinty called me on the mobile. She said "You've gone to the wrong place, you wally. It's the Quality Hotel, which is just next to the university." I promised to be there in five minutes, let go of the lamppst I was clinging to, and set off down the road. I then realised there were five possible roads, and I was by now pretty damp. I had 55p to my names, and I hadn't passed a cashpoint since St Albans. I passed the gatehouse of the university campus, clung on to a 12 foot illuminated sign saying "University of Hertfordshire- De Havilland Campus", and asked the security guard as politely as I could where the Quality Hotel was. He thought about this for a moment, and barked "This is the University of Hertfordshire." Realising that talking to the sign would have been more helpful, I set off down a road I'd chosen at random.

There was a large puddle at the side of the road. I thought to myself "I'd hate a truck to go past right now." You can guess the rest.

I gave up, and went into a cavernous shopping centre, Hatfield's only major landmark. My shoes squeaked, and I looked behind me to see I was leaving a trail of water and mud. Finally someone took pity on me, and showed me to a cashpoint. I walked into Costa, ordered a coffee, and sat down on a sofa with a satisfying squelch. I took what had been a newspaper out of my bag, and read the front page until it disintegrated in my hands. So I sat back, sighed, and took a sip of my coffee. I got some foam on my nose, and realised I was finding it a little too funny in the circumstances.

I somehow got home, got changed, and made it into the office just as everyone who was at the conference returned home. They found it very amusing.

Things like this happen every so often. What made it embarassing was the piece of paper I found in my in tray. Detailed directions to the Quality Hotel, distributed to the entire team. By me.

How on earth did I get this job?

Friday, March 19, 2004

Mother neatly turned it back now- 'what would you rather do?' kid:'i'd rather drink the cat's poo.' disturbed children in this town.

Disturbed conversation on the bus of the week: 'mum, what would you rather do? Snog a fish or cut yourself?'

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

The clock on the civic offices has been showing ten to seven for the past two days, which fits in perfectly with how i'm feeling. For the first time in months work has been a bit quiet, and when i'm fending off boredom time does strange tricks- minutes tick by, whilst hours rush past unnoticed. I feel bored, unsettled, and yet strangely peaceful. Thankfully, it won't last.

Well, i'm stuck outside the civic officer waiting for the bus. There's a large, notably unglamourous queue waiting for who wants to be a millionaire. Four little rat boys on identical motorised scooters are circling the car park, weaving in and out of cars. An old woman with bright hair and a miniskirt pushes past as i watch the sun set through vapour trails over the natwest offices. Against this, there's the ever present hum of traffic and police sirens. Yes, it's just another day in borehamwood.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

While we were away...

I heard three of my esteemed colleagues are leaving. Music Man you've already heard about, but so is Geezer.

Geezer's last task is to try and set me up with Nemo's best friend (who I don't have a blog name for). She's a nice, sweet, caring girl, the sort I wouldn't be afraid to have meet my mum. Which means it's probably doomed to begin with. And I definitely wouldn't wish Geezer's machinations on her. It started badly.

"I'm going to talk you up. I'm going to say he's a nice guy...he's really funny...he's got a good sense of humour...he's a laugh...he tells good jokes... he, er..."

"Um, I'm not sure about this..."

"...he's got a five foot whanger..."

"Well, if you insist mate."


I love the noise my fingers make on this keyboard. Jerky but smooth.

Well, we're back.

Brother's computer is finally out of the computer hospital, which means I can now blog without giving myself arthritis of the thumbs.

It's got a new motherboard, processor, power supply and case. When it arrived, I launched into a philosophical discussion of whether it was the same computer. Brother thought of Trigger, who said "I've 'ad this mop 20 years. It's 'ad five new 'eads and six 'andles."

Clearly, though, there's some enduring quality of "mopness" that survives. That was my conclusion anyway.

Brother then plugged it back in, and it eventually ground into life. And when I went to put a song on, it crashed. Definitely still the same computer.

Still, nice to be Blogging again. Although in a strange way, I enjoyed not having a computer. Still, so much to catch up on, I may be here a while.

The Blog's back! Yay!

Monday, March 15, 2004

...cost 7 pounds- nearly 3 times my usual fare! And i did exactly the same thing on friday. Still, my 20 mile detour still felt great!

..within 30 minutes i was in st albans- double the distance from watford to borehamwood- and, as i say, in the wrong direction. After fiddling with my phone i ran off the bus, jumped straight on a thameslink, and pulled into borehamwood station 10 minutes later, just in time to see the bus i'd missed pass me again. So i was happy- i beat the bus,got into work on time, and felt like the most dynamic secretary in hertfordshire. Of course,the shine was dampened slightly by the fact that my little diversion...

Got up early this morning, stretched and eventually left the flat. It was only when i stepped outside with a strange feeling of walking underwater that i realised it wasn't going to be a go-getting sort of morning. As i trudged through the thick air with heavy steps, i saw the only bus to borehamwood speed past in the distance. I groaned, and sat down on a wall to complain. But then i got angry, and then determined. I jumped on a bus heading in the opposite direction, and we picked up speed...

Computer update! Brother has heard fromthe computer hospital, and it turns out he's blown up the motherboard and processor attempting ill advised repairs. To give you some idea of how old it is, the computer hospital are replacing the processor with the nearest commercially available one. It's going to be more than 5 times as fast. I, and my thumbs, hope to be blogging soon!

...last week Northern Nurse pointed out another pair in west watford. And this afternoon, i found out we weren't the only crazy people spending too much time looking up- the sharp eyed reporters at the watford observer also noticed. Perhaps now we'll get to the real story behind the spate of shoe planting.

I can't remember if this posting ever appeared, but i was a little freaked out by the mystery of the shoes. I spotted a pair of shoes dangling from an extremely tall lamppost in watford town centre. As i struggled to get my sleepy coldbrain around that, i noticed another pair, and another. People looked and wondered what i was staring at- no one thought to look up, muchless ask why every talk lamppost in beechen grove had a pair ofshoes dangling from it. Or who put them there? How? Why?...

Admittedly, he's never been mentioned in the Blog before, but the music man was one of my favourite ways of avoiding work. He had the best stories, and, if my colleagues ever socialised, he'd be a great one to get drunk with. I realised, though, that we've all been talking about him in the past tense. Things aren't *that* bad!

That big black cloud is back over the office, in case it ever went away. Collectively, we're not happy, because the Music Man's left. Going to miss him, which means my challenging behaviour has been acting up again!

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Nestle inc have decided that tomorrow is going to be kit kat day, when the people of britain obediently queue up to buy nestle products. As you may have guessed, i have a few problems with this idea...

So i booked up a course of driving lessons paying the bargain price of 250 quid. I did tell them a lie though- i have had a driving lesson seven years ago. And it was a long time before me and brother managed to put it behind us. It's horrible to hear a grown man scream.

Sassy Nurse have me the number of her old driving instructor yesterday. Maybe i could have phrased it better when i said 'people probably ask you this all the time, but who taught you to drive?' i'm having to be a little ruthless now, so i gave her half a day to return my call before calling the AA. When i called, all i heard was an alarm going off and some shouting before being cut off. They remember me then.

Had the nervous satisfaction of turning down a job in my old team yesterday. It's a job i want, but i'm so keen to stay in borehamwood i said no. Never thought i'd say that one. Still, the omens are good, and i now have a 66% success rate with interviews. I want my boat!

Computer update! Brother apparently blew up the motherboard and processor during his repairs. So we're stuck in mobile purgatorio for a little longer.

Monday, March 08, 2004

I just told myself if i missed the train there'd always be a plan b, but to be fair i'm already on plan b, as very few plan as involve crossing boxmoor on foot in the middle of the night. But it's been a great night- i went to visit two people who live on a boat, and now i definitely want one! On the canal there's a whole way of life that's really me- and i now realise it's something i can do. A whole new direction opens up. Not bad for a monday!

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Observant readers will notice it's been 2 months since i was last able to see anything. But courtesy of Cute Optician, i now have contact lenses again. It's great...so much detail I've missed. Not to mention flirtacious eye contact. Saturday night is a good time to be able to see.

Nice to be blogging again, even if I've got no guarantee this isn't going to go the wayof february's posts. I've designated today a 'sorting shit out' day, which means i have to spring clean that tip of a room. I've been preserving it as a monument to a life lived emphatically as of late, but i'm now realising that i can't live like this. My job consists of organising other people- how hard can it be to organise myself? I'm clearly still stalling- it's not like me to shop for just the right storage boxes!

Friday, March 05, 2004

Suddenly, it all comes flooding back.

More from Terrry.

I actually got a picture of him at the stop the war rally, but the freezing weather wiped my camera. But look!

In the flesh, it's him. And that megaphone. Jesus.

..can save you too. Why be a sinner...

First signs of life

Look. Post saying Testing came up. Clearly working now. Grrr. Have emailed wapblogger though.

I'm sitting in an internet cafe in Watford, quietly hoping Brother's computer will rise from the dead.

I've had a lot of projects I've called Lazarus. My last computer was- very few computers ever progress beyond the blue flash stage. There was my GCSE coursework, my ongoing mission to pass the first module in a physics A-level, most editions of Felix, but, tellingly, never my degree.

Anyway, assuming that my blog was dead, as I had no emails and no posts for a month. Grrr. Until I searched for diary of a frustrated writer.

Then I found this. Cheers Big Smoker!

Found out what's going on with the email & fixed it. Really sorry Anonymous Coward.

I hadn't realised anyone had read that, from the lack of hate mobs outside my front door. Just the usual rat boys.

But time to rise from the dead. If anyone's still reading. I've missed this.


All going a bit wrong

Sitting in a cafe in Glastonbury on Saturday, I got a text from Mr Fusion.

"No posts since Feb 3rd. Whats going on?"

No, I'm not dead. Although my computer is. But, annoyingly, I've been posting via wapblogger for the last *month*, only to find that none of it has come up at all! As this is the first time I've sat and surfed aimlessly, this would be a good moment to find out what's going on. I hope I get it all back- there's something like fifty posts missing, with my usual mix of stuff (you must know it all by now).

There's my recovery from the ear infection that laid me low at the beginning of February, my sucky news (Music Man's leaving at work- as well as Geezer Nurse, and another guy who I haven't mentioned yet), the tragic story of Brother's birthday (me and mum missed it- it was on Ash Wednesday and a college night), and so much more.

And the reason why I was in Glastonbury. I want to read it, so I can work out how the hell I came to spend Friday night in a tent in sub-zero temperatures. And to find out what I've been doing all month.

Or maybe God's decided I shouldn't write a blog anymore, so is engineering computer systems to work against me.

Either way, the Blog is far from dead. Watch this space. Please!