Where there's a Willesden there's a way

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Goes 5 pages without blaming the jews


Still waiting

It's 11am, and I'm actually up at a normal time for a Saturday. Yep, it's an absolutely normal Saturday and I feel fine. And Northern Nurse assures me that erratic behaviour and mood swings are all symptoms of an ear infection, but only for men.

It's all been part of a process, and within the strange routine I fell into were plenty of opportunities for rest and growth. And watching a lot of TV. Almost three months after everyone else, I finally got to see the ending of Six Feet Under, and was surprisingly uplifted by the whole thing. Maybe it's the fact that Claire dies at the end. At the age of 98. That's about as close as we could have got to a happy ending, and oddly, Keith and David are redeemed by their kids. Considering I've been addicted to this series for years, last night was quite significant for me.

But ear diseases aside, I'm pretty keen to actually get out of the house now. Just as SFU ended on an optimistic note, so should my week in bed. Time to actually go out there and spend some energy.

Besides, I doubt I'm going to sleep before Festivus.

Twat of the year

Strikes again. God, when are they going to start giving him the lack of attention he deserves?


Thursday, December 15, 2005

So much for getting to sleep

Plan was to watch a bit of TV and then get some much needed sleep. For someone who's stayed in all day I've got a surprising amount of stuff to take in.

It's a combination of being plugged into my favourite TV series all day and some weird stuff with my friends. I've learnt that Nate Fisher dies, is greatly mourned, and in David and Keith's fostering, there's a small hope for a happy ending, of sorts. Christian Troy is not the carver, but we should have known that already. And in July two of my best mates are apparently about to get married. Not to each other, of course. Apparently it's something to do with power tools.

On top of that, I've learnt that you really shouldn't go out, even for half an hour, when you're pretty ill. I had to fall flat on my face in the hallway to work that one out.

And I've learnt that I really should take the rest of the week off. They'll manage without me, right?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Not used to having my comments minuted

"P expressed concern at the way these changes had been implemented without regard to staff views on their possible effects."

- Remarks made by me at team meeting last week, according to the official minutes.

"It's like being in an aeroplane when you've got a creeping suspicion it's been hijacked by people who want to crash it into a skyscraper."

- What I actually said about the Council's management style.

Hanging with the leaders of the free world

"The record company wanted us to change it because they thought it might offend Buddhists, which I explained was impossible but they didn't seem to care."


Waste your day off sick with XFM podcasts.


Dreaming of a better place

"You're a slave to this job", said My Lift to Work, sometime on Monday morning. I was standing outside her house in the cold, the first rays of sunshine fighting through the large black cloud over Willesden Green. Unless I heard otherwise, I assumed I should go into work. After all, 95% of towns in Hertfordshire haven't been levelled by a massive explosion.

I was half a mile out of Borehamwood when Manager called.
"Didn't you get my message?"
"What message?", the resignation rising in my voice.
"You're not supposed to come in. Local staff only today."
She's not heard me swear before.

Against all advice, I also came in today, despite the continuous sneezing, blocked nose and curiously puffy face I've been carrying around as a result of Friday's little misadventure.

I've so far let two perfectly valid excuses slip past me. So tomorrow, I'm staying in bed, I am. My nose is still blocked, I'm not sleeping well, and Nate Fisher just died.

Do you reckon I can download the next episode before I collapse?

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Willesden Green, 1.45pm

That ain't no ordinary cloud. And we're 30 miles from Hemel. Posted by Picasa

Take that you bastard

I hate myself. I'm trying to destroy my body out of self-disgust, and God is right behind me on this one.

At least, that's the only possible explanation I can think of for Friday night. If I wanted to cause myself harm, there's probably no better way to do it. Having had a hard week, and being warned by my doctor to stay in the warm and take things easy, I resolved to just stick to a simple programme of going to work, a relaxing job interview, a leisurely ice-skate and a chilled out collapse way before midnight.

So how did I end up standing in Notting Hill Gate in sub-zero temperatures, around 1.3oam? Freezing fog creeping up my nose, around my ears and into my sinuses. I had an image of my doctor waking up on the other side of the town with an icey shiver in his spine. I blame the government; although you can now get that last pint at 11pm, there is absolutely no guarantee you can get home.

So after cramming into a night bus after a 60 minute wait, keeping myself awake by clinging on tight and starting a conversation with a very drunk man, I got home at 2.30am, had a hot chocolate to warm me up, and flopped into bed, my ears throbbing and hands shaking.

At 3.30am the doorbell went. I ignored it and rolled over, and lulled myself back to sleep by imagining the ring at the doorbell was the tooth fairy. Or a friend, being mugged. Or the police, telling me my friend had been horribly mugged. Or paramedics, responding to a call from my flatmate who was suffering chest pains.

A minute later I was opening the door with bleary eyes to a man in his forties, without a single hair on his head. He was holding a key to a deadlock.
"Sorry mate. I'm just trying to gain access to John Hunter's flat upstairs."
"Who's John Hunter? Who are you?"
"Sorry mate, I must have the wrong house."
I glare at him and shut the door. I'm dreaming of tooth fairies again, for some reason, when the doorbell rings again. Again I ignore it, and this time my flatmate answers the door. I hear some discussion, before the door shuts again.

At 5.30am I'm in the back garden, taking pot shots with a water pistol at the bird that sounds like a psychotic car alarm, which is currently sitting in the tree outside my room.

So I've spent most of Saturday in bed, and on Sunday, my early morning alarm call takes the form of a massive explosion 30 miles away, which sets off a car alarm in the alleyway behind my house.

For someone who's supposed to be resting, I'm not feeling too refreshed at the moment.

Big bang

Woken up this morning at 6am thinking that my neighbour had fallen out of bed, but then realised that car alarms were going off. He's not a small chap, but even so. But I didn't think much of it, and rolled over to go back to sleep.

It was only at 10am I got a text from Mum. "Please tell me you were nowhere near that explosion."

Yep, I was actually woken up by an oil depot self-destructing 35 miles away in Hemel Hempstead. And I'm already hearing of people who heard it in Staines, Oxford and Clapham. My that's a big explosion.

Quite a few colleagues and clients live pretty close to that depot, and I think I'll be hearing a lot more about this one tomorrow.

What's more, it's probably too soon to joke about it.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

On thick ice

I'm apparently surrounded by a series of good looking women, and with booming music and blinding lights, once in a while you catch a lady's eye and really communicate something between you without the need for something as primitive as words.

If I wasn't clinging to one for support this would be a good way to meet people. And what people are communicating to me are "Watch where you're going" and "learn to skate you idiot".

Yep, Friday night was ice-skating in Kew, thanks to a kind friend who picked up free tickets. The rink looked amazing, and there was something magical about skating outdoors, new york style in the dark, everyone in hats and scarves against a backdrop of glinting lights.

I think they may have given away a few free tickets too many though. I got the hang of balancing quite soon, but sudden changes in direction took a lot longer. And no-one seemed to be checking their mirrors before they pulled out into my path.

After 50 minutes my feet were hurting, and my brain was struggling with the task of anticipating everyone's movements, so I wimped out, and went for a well-deserved smoke with a girl I'd picked up. Literally.

The journey home is another post in itself. Nice night though.

Called in for questioning

"And what would you say was the worst decision you've ever made?"
"Um...I take it you mean professionally?"

I'm in Stevenage for my third job interview in three weeks, and I'm struggling with a number of questions. Am I ready to leave my current post? Is this new job the opportunity I'm looking for, or are they just looking for someone to unload this problematic project on to? And did the interview questions come from the back of TV Quick?

Manager assures me that I don't want to go anywhere, by instilling a combination of fear of the unknown and intense guilt. Like that's going to work. Meanwhile, ex-Manager reassures me that this post is just what I need to get out behind a desk and get my career moving. I'd love to know if they've had a conversation about this.

I've got a few reservations; the fact that this post is surrounded by complex interorganistional politics, I don't get to take annual leave for the first six months and allegedly signing an opt-out from the Working Time Directive is compulsory. This is of course completely illegal. And the fact that the first interview was postponed after an administrative error invited me to interview with 12 hours notice. And the letter I'm currently holding unexpectedly invited me to the other side of the county for interview on Friday 9th September.

But I think I might like residential work. It's like being in someone's home. It is someone's home. And I've been offered a coffee and a fresh baguette, which I certainly didn't get in Acton Town Hall. The people interviewing me are very nice, despite my intitial reservations.

Now, where do I see myself in five years time?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Making a good impression

I'm walking into a fairly spartan room in a local council building, wearing my smartest shirt and tie and carrying a briefcase. I sit down, and I'm introduced to the two people opposite me.

'Now, under our equal opportunities policy, we ask all candidates the same questions. I'll ask you three questions, and then my colleague Jo will ask three, and then if you any questions for us about the role we'll do our best to help. Is that OK.'

I agree. 'Now, first question. Where are your trousers?'. This is about the point where I wake up.

I'm beginning to think that I'm not quite as laid back about all these job interviews as I thought. I've had two in the past two weeks, both of which were for Ealing. Friday's going to be odd though, being my first interview for a private company. Incidentally, it's in Stevengage, for some reason.

I should hear about the Ealing one by Christmas, anyway. And so far, I have a 100% success rate for wearing trousers.

What a waste of a liver

Yep, the George Best mawkishness shows absolutely no signs of abating. It's Diana all over again, except this time you don't have to be gay to grieve.


Not having been alive when he could still see straight enough to kick a ball, and not being particularly into football, it's no surprise that the whole thing's completely lost on me. But reading his history doesn't make me understand the hysteria any more. Such as the two convictions for drink driving. I thought we'd pretty much agreed as a society that drink-driving is dangerous, selfish and stupid. If he'd killed someone in the process it wouldn't have mattered what a 'genius' he was with a ball.

Alright, I'm probably a complete cynic. But as a little footnote, last year 400 people died waiting for organ transplants.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Best things in life are free

Everytime I use our overwhelmingly complex, poorly designed and downright bizarre computer system at work, I'm troubled by a few questions: 'How much did this thing cost?', 'Who paid for it?' and 'Whose great idea was this?'

However, under the Freedom of Information Act, it turns out that as a private citizen, I have every right to know. And unless they can come up with a really good explanation for the information commissioner, I'm going to know by 29th December. And so will you.

Thankyou Tony... Posted by Picasa