Where there's a Willesden there's a way

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Ring out those bells again

It's feet chilling degrees below zero today, and the heating, big coat and hat Glinty gave me are definitely staying on. And over the past few days, Borehamwood and Willesden have been covered in a charming array of tasteful Christmas lights. People who know me will be surprised to know that I'm quite happy about all this. But that's because the lights are going up at the end of November, rather than early October like last year.

The optimist in me thinks that the CRIMBO (Christmas Must Be Observed) mafia have learnt their lesson, and the festive season is slowly being pinned back into December where it belongs. It's one thing to enjoy Christmas day when it happens and to enjoy picking out presents for your loved ones the day before; it's quite another to allow yourself to get carried away on the tide of premature panic, stress and false expectation about Christmas that seems to strike people down with nearly three months to go. I think things went too far in recent years, and it's time to roll it back and just chill out a little about the whole thing. It's only Christmas, for Christ's sake.

Maybe Christmas this year will be shorter, cheaper, and just a bit cooler. But we'll talk about that closer to the time.

Just try ordering a pint of Best now

"There's a terrible sadness amongst the gathered press and well-wishers, and we're really just waiting for....further news."

After days of the sombre gathering of the assembled press corps, George Best is dead. Across the country, there'll be a series of minutes silences and draped scarves as the people of the United Kingdom mourn the tragically early passing of the football legend. And we're a bunch of sick, ghoulish fucking hypocrites.

Face it, we take pleasure in the tragically early death of a celebrity. We're now calling it a tragedy and according him the same honours traditionally reserved for a million war dead. But if Best wasn't famous, he'd be just another pisshead slowly drinking himself to death in the eyes of the fickle hypocritical right-wing press; in who's eyes his death would be no-one's fault but his own for his lack of self control and lax morals. But he was famous, so it's completely obligatory to mourn him.

Of course, had he died in a pub at 4am, it would be the government's fault for it's new laws, which make it a criminal offence not to be in a coma on a nightclub floor in the middle of the night.

Maybe, just maybe, there's a chance that Best's death will remind us just how powerful and destructive the drug we all take for granted really is. He won't be the only person to be killed by his addiction this year. But fat chance of that; a single death is a tragedy, a million deaths a statistic.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Do they know something we don't?

 Posted by Picasa

Sick jokes by text

What's yellow and needs plugging in? George Best.

Do they have christmas decorations in Thailand? No, but this year they're hanging up Glitter.

All sick. And all sent by nurses...

It ended with a kiss...

What would you do if you had twenty seconds extra in a time of your life? When my lift home got waylaidon the way out, at the end of one of the hardest days we've had in months, I answered that one. I ran back and kissed Glinty on the top of the head and ran out again. I'm definitely going to miss her the most if I ever leave.

Yep, in social services, a crisis comes without warning and can swallow up your whole day. And if you're really unlucky your whole evening too. It was always going to be a tough week this one; a whole load of meetings that can mildly be described as contentious, step one in our battle for survival, and for me, two job interviews and the feeling of being a deserter. But our cases have been relatively predictable lately, so when I picked up the phone this afternoon I was maybe a bit too laid back. It soon changed though.

But, as ever, we got it sorted we did. It's a good feeling to get on top of a crisis and sort it out. Particularly because I don't get to do social work that often stuck behind a desk.

But the best feeling at the end of today came from telling a friend what she means to me. I don't usually do that.

Good riddance!

My loan's come through after a very long wait, which means I can finally say goodbye to my evil Egg card. How can something that looks so friendly be so wrong?

Yep, I'm consolidating all of my debts; which means I should be an extra hundred quid a month better off. And with no repayments due until March, I might be able to lay off the pasta for a while.

And it means in four years time I'll be completely debt free. Well, I can dream.Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 21, 2005

It's that Catholic guilt

I'm helping Manager hold three jobs down, and we're horribly short-staffed. Guess this was as good a time as any to tell her I've got two job interviews. This must be what it feels like to commit adultery.

As you might have noticed from this blog, I have serious career issues, and for the last 11 months have lived a closely-budgeted, fairly austere sort of life. And yet it's only just as I start getting a handle on things that I'm getting interviews elsewhere. As for the actual job, for the next few months we have very few senior staff, a whole series of crises coming up, and the looming cloud of a massive reorganisation threatening to wipe us out altogether. Which I love.

But tomorrow morning sees my first interview as a Community Support Worker in Ealing, and there's another one next week. I'm feeling very optimistic about the future at the minute. But at the same time I don't want to go, and they really don't want me to. It's quite validating at the moment, but there's always the possibility I'm going to get one of these jobs and then I'll be forced into a decision. And I hate making those.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Three sides to every story

"I saw this guy who appeared to have a bomb belt and wires coming out and people were panicking and I heard two shots being fired."


Thursday, November 17, 2005

It's for charity you know


After these words...

Is it strange that I haven't blogged in a month, despite the exceptional drama, passion and paranoia of the past month?

Probably not. I mostly just like to write about stupid conversations with strangers and mice. Anything else is a bonus.

But to summarise, sister got married, I gave a great speech and apparently kissed a number of guests, oh, and I've taken up running and coughing.

And following an amusing misunderstanding about job interviews it turns out I have two next week.

So anyway, that's enough about me. It's been a while, how have you been?

In the red

My job's being moved to Stevenage, my job phishing finally looks to be paying off, and I'm spoiling to fight the power. Now where can I get a flag?

Yes, militancy is in the air over here in Borehamwood, ever since my delightful employers decided that the best way to ensure good quality local services was to move all social services staff twenty miles away. For some reason I think they're trying to keep that a secret.

The project's called The Way We Work, and consisting mostly of glossy platitudes and a very scary sounding director, the aim is to improve the Way *We* Work by reducing the number of County Council offices in Hertfordshire from 53 to 3. So all social services staff across the county will be moved to one of two new bases in Apsley and Stevenage. Fine if you happen to already work in those areas, but a possible complication if all your clients are on the other side of the county. And staff ain't too happy about it- at least a third of staff won't move to the new bases, and those without cars might not be able to cross the county at all thanks to the state of the public transport infrastructure(see blogs passem). If I go with my team to the new base, I'll be paying an extra 200 pounds in fares each month, and will be travelling an extra three hours per day.

It's the kind of thing I hate, but is seen all around the country; dedicated people carrying out unglamourous work that most people would cross the street to avoid, spending years building up good links with their local communities and their clients, all to be swept away by some big idea.

As I see it, it's maybe time to put up at least some token resistance. Now can anyone tell me the lyrics to "Keep the Red Flag Flying Here"?