Showing posts from 2017

Going to Saturn to see the ducks

I had a fun dream the other night.  We had gone on a day trip to Saturn to see the ducks.  The leg room was cramped on the flight, but we landed in the Asda car park and took the stairs down onto the expanse of orange and yellow that was a Saturnian wetland.  The ducks looked pretty much like earth ducks, and bobbed in and out of the water. The landscape was full of strange flowers and focus, and we were admiring and photographing a green mushroom when a giant whale began to swim towards us through the water.  However as it got closer, it wasn't a whale.  It was just more ducks. So we took the optional excursion around to the dark side of the planet so you could see up into the night sky.  And when we got there, we looked up and saw the Earth and the Moon glittering with a million lights in the distance. It was magical, but soon had to come to an end when we followed the tour guide back to the cramped seats on the bus and got ready to go home. In the morning I woke disappoin

What's wrong with being comfortable?

I like a good sofa.  A nice big sofa which is squishy enough to mould itself to my shape as I relax on it and yet not so soft as to let my back slip into a position that's going to cause me grief when I stand up. I've been sitting on sofas for a lot of my adult life, and never once has someone suggested to me that I should try sitting on something less comfortable in order that I see what it feels like, and maybe expand my definition of comfort. And yet, there seems to be an obsession with "getting outside ones comfort zone" as reason enough to do things wouldn't normally do - even to spend vast sums of money on them.  Some people thrive on a thrill.  Those are the people who enjoy the adrenaline rush of jumping out of a plane, or sticking their hands above their head on a roller coaster and enjoying the feeling of being upside down flying through the air. However, not everyone is wired that way.  I've been on roller coasters in the past, and they do

TV or not TV, that is the question

I don't watch much TV, really. Well that's certainly whatever I say whenever anyone asks me which TV shows I watch.  I've never watched Breaking Bad or the new Netflix version of House of Cards .  I didn't watch Dr Foster or Broadchurch and I've given up on reality shows like The Apprentice and I'm A Celebrity which were an interesting idea for the first series, but must now just be the same old narrative played out with a new cast each year. I do watch a few things, though.  A few years ago I wrote about how I was getting bored with Doctor Who  and I'm happy to report that I did rather start to enjoy Peter Capaldi's time in the TARDIS and so I'm in no danger of losing my "regular viewer" status just yet.  I'm quite excited about Jodie Whittaker taking over, but maybe that's a good topic to save for a post of its own? ;-) I tend to find that my viewing habits tend to shift over time.  Many shows run on long past the point

Musical dreams - am I cool or what?

I've heard it said that dreams can say a lot about someone, so what do you make of the dream I had last night..? I was booked to go with a couple of friends to see Noel Gallagher and Jarvis Cocker performing together in concert.  That's cool, right? Getting to our seats was quite complicated, and I kept taking the wrong staircase and couldn't find the way to the seat (hmmm).  Eventually I got to the seat only to find that before they came on stage, there was a chemistry lecture, which we sat through with interest.  Once it was over, it was time for the main gig, but I was a bit tired, so decided that the lecture was enough entertainment for the evening and went home instead. But all was not lost, as both Noel and Jarvis had agreed to perform the following day in a musical that I'd written.  So that was cool.   Cut to the following day. The venue was split over two rooms.  There was a room set up like a club for people to get warmed up before the sho

The Theatre

Today I had an operation on my finger.  Let's not get too carried away with the seriousness of the operation, it was something very simple and the length of the operation itself was measured in minutes rather than hours.  It was only the second time I've ever had an operation; the previous one was to remove all my wisdom teeth and was done under a general anaesthetic. And so today I was just having a local - more on that in a minute - which gave me an opportunity I may never get again - the chance to actually see inside an operating theatre and talk to the surgeon whilst he's poking around inside my finger. My contact with the medical professional has been thankfully quite sporadic throughout my life.  That's not due to any stereotypical male reluctance to go and see a doctor but simply due to good fortune meaning that serious medical conditions have thus far eluded me.  It was the first time I'd had those arrows drawn on in marker that you see on the TV when

Room 101

I hold myself account to a rule of being only positive online, but I'm going to allow myself one post on here which is slightly more negative. Recently, I've caught a few episodes of Room 101 and it got me thinking what I'd banish to Room 101 if I had the chance.  Picking things such as "poverty" or "war" would be very worthy but would frankly say very little about me and given that this is all but artifice, there seems like utility in picking things so important. So forgive me a little indulgence , and here are the ten things I'd banish to Room 101 and remove from the world if I could. 1. People who get in the way Maybe this particular choice is what inspired the whole post, as I did get inwardly quite wound up by a woman in Boots last night who was aimlessly wandering the aisles wearing a a large backpack, wearing headphones and eating a banana oblivious to all the people she was blocking from walking past. But it's not just in Boots;

What's in a name?

I was in Starbucks the other morning, which isn't that unusual.    It's also perfectly normal that they ask your name these days and write it on the cup. I've never been overly comfortable with the implicit intimacy of someone calling me by name when they are just selling me a coffee, but I've learned to live with it since Starbucks made giving your name a mandatory condition of getting a coffee. But this morning the thing which particularly rankled me was not - as you may be suspecting - the smiley face he drew next to my name, but rather what the guy serving me did with my name after I'd given it to him. I'm used to being upsold.  In WHSmith they seem to have moved half the the stock of the store next to the till to try to sell you for a pound whenever you buy some stationery, and in Starbucks I'm quite used to being asked if I'd like a muffin with my morning coffee.  This morning though, the guy used my name in a very friendly tone when trying

Putting a hook on a coconut

This morning, I spent quite a lot of time attaching a brass hook into a coconut. It's harder than you think.  I tried nails and screws at first but I actual managed to bend a couple of fairly chunky nails whilst trying to hammer them into the coconut, and trying to get a screw in proved to be futile. I got the end of the coconut quite easily, although it did involve using a fairly chunky saw.  Usually, I'd take the end off completely and then thread some wire into the interior of the coconut through the three black weak spots on the end to hang it, but given I managed to get the end off whilst leaving the flesh intact, I thought it may be interesting to hang it up via something attached to the outside. In the past, we've had to resort to using power tools to get into a coconut.  That depiction of a coconut hitting the ground, gently bouncing and splitting open in two which was in - I think - a Bounty commercial a few years ago is nothing but a lie.  Getting into a c

Dipping a toe into hot water

I don't usually go near controversial topics.  I keep it light and fluffy and talk about how badly designed toilets are  or s ometimes about nothing at all .  But today, I'm going to turn a little bit serious and talk about women.   The thing is, I can feel that even reading that there's been a sharp intake of breath amongst some people reading this. So, on LinkedIn yesterday I recounted something which happened to me a few years ago.  It's a true story, and I gave only the highlights in a quick status update.  Here it is... A few years ago, I met a recruiter for coffee.  During the conversation over coffee, he made one or two remarks about a woman who walked into the coffee shop which I thought were inappropriate remarks.   I didn't say anything at the time, but never worked with the recruiter to either represent me, or to hire for me in any of the roles I've been in since.   My only regret is that I didn't tell him why.  It feels a little bit t

The pain of writing

A little while ago, I wrote about how I have difficult pronouncing a particular consonant.  Many people reading this have probably never heard me speak and so presumed that I had some hugely-apparent speech defect whereas the reaction from people who know me was generally that they had never even noticed which letter I have the problem with.   Fear of feeling self-conscious whenever I speak meant that I never did tell them which letter it was. I still avoid words which start with this particular letter if I have to do public speaking. Which leads me to wonder if anyone has ever noticed the way I hold a pen.  I am generally right-handed (although I can play pool equally well either way around, amongst other things) and so my strange way to hold a pen isn't an adaption to prevent my left hand trailing over the wet ink as I move across the page. Maybe it's something to do with the fact that my thumbs will bend to a right-angle backwards, but won't bend forwards more than a fe

Les gerbilles se sont echappées!

Récemment, nous avons acheté une maison de campagne et nous y passons quelques jours chaque semaine avant de retourner à notre pied-à-terre Londonien.   Les cochons-d ’Inde voyage avec nous à chaque fois.  Au début, elles n’aimaient pas cela, la cage étant liée, dans leurs esprits, aux voyages chez le vétérinaire et l’indignité qu’elles y subissaient.  Mais quelque mois plus tard, elles avaient embrassé la routine et leurs deux foyers. En été, les cochons-d ‘Inde habitent dans une dépendance mais en hiver nous mettons leur clapier à la véranda.  La véranda est loin d’être luxueuse mais elle a un toit et du chauffage et constitue un refuge hors pair. Nous avons également trois gerbilles mais celles-ci restent à la campagne même quand nous allons à Londres parce qu’elles peuvent très bien se débrouiller toute seules pendant deux ou trois jours.  Elles demeurent dans un vivarium en verre surmonté d’une cage en métal.  Les gerbilles a l’état sauvage vivent dans des galeries souter

Green lights all the way

I don't believe that luck is anything other than chance.  It's like playing backgammon - you can get yourself into a position where almost every combination the dice fall in is positive, but you can never actually control how the dice are going to fall. I was walking home from Liverpool Street station the other evening, and literally every crossing I changed to show a green man just as I walked up to it.  Every single one.  A bit like that annoying advert with James Corden, except I didn't ask anyone to "just call me Mr Green Light". It wasn't my only stroke of luck during the day.  Earlier in the day, I'd been giving a serious announcement to my team in the office.  All standing around in a circle in the break-out space in the office, it was after I'd finished speaking the MD was talking that I realised that my phone wasn't on silent, that I was expecting a call and that my ringtone is currently the theme music from Strictly, starting with a b

Avoiding the obvious

Having a new house to sort out took away much of my free weekend time, and so I've not got through as many books this year as I would like to have done even though all the trips to Warrington gave me plenty of time on trains and in hotel rooms with nothing much else to do. Hopefully in 2017 I should get a bit more reading done.  An upcoming new job is going to mean fewer train journeys, but a shorter commute is going to mean more time at home to while away the hours with a good book. I've picked six books which I read in 2016 (1) So let's start at the bottom, shall we? (2) Tales from the Dance Floor Craig Revel Horwood Don't be shocked that I read such things.  I think it's a mistake to presume that someone who reads a lot must read the highest literature. (3)  A lot of time spent on trains - and in a previous job, planes - makes me want something to keep the mind and the pages turning as time passes me by more slowly than normal.