30 January 2010

Saturday Satire - Updated Nursery Rhymes

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
The structure of the wall was incorrect
So he won a grand with Claims Direct.

Jack and Jill went into town
To fetch some chips and sweeties.
He can't keep his heart rate down
And she's got diabetes.

Mary had a little lamb
Her father shot it dead.
Now it goes to school with her
Between two chunks of bread.

Mary had a little lamb
It ran into a pylon.
10,000 volts went up its arse
And turned its wool to nylon.

Georgie Porgie Pudding and Pie
Kissed the girls and made them cry..
When the boys came out to play
He kissed them too cause he was gay.

Mary had a little lamb
Its fleece was white and wispy.
Then it caught Foot and Mouth Disease
And now it's black and crispy.

27 January 2010

A Slow Day

It's a slow day in a little Cumbrian village .

The rain is tipping down., and the streets are deserted.

Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody lives on

On this particular day a rich tourist is driving through.

He stops at the local inn and lays a £100 on the desk, saying he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the night

As soon as the man walks upstairs, the owner grabs the cash and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher

The butcher takes the £100 and runs down the street to retire his debt to the sheep farmer.

The sheep farmer takes the £100 and heads off to pay his bill at the supplier of feed and fuel.

The guy at the Farmer's Co-op takes the £100 and runs to pay his debt to the local prostitute, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer her "services" on credit

The prostitute rushes to the hotel and pays her room bill with the hotel owner.

The hotel proprietor then places the £100 back on the counter so the rich traveler will not suspect anything.

At that moment the traveler comes down the stairs, picks up the £100 bill, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, pockets the money, and leaves.

No one produced anything.

No one earned anything.

However, the whole village is now out of debt and now looks to the future with a lot more optimism.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the U K Government is conducting business today.

26 January 2010

A quick visit

Raz, or Stormsmuggler as she is known on the rat forum is providing a loving (and I do mean loving) foster home for Gus and Barnie until we are settled. Thank you so much to Raz, it means a lot and I know when we take them back she is going to miss them both, but particularly Gus.

We dropped in to see her, and the two girls on Sunday on our way home to Cornwall. What a change from the two we left there just before Christmas. Even then Gus was interested in the smells of the other rats, while Barnie cowered in her igloo. Both had been successfully integrated into a small group of other females and Gus was in her element looking after the younger kittens like a maternal godmother. She did remember us though and happily came out to investigate and say hello even though it was their sleep time.

Barnie on the other hand, we knew she was different to Gus, but I put it down to her poor eyesight etc. Raz thinks that she is hormonally challenged. For those of you who are interested, rats come into season every 3-4 days and only on probably one of those did Barnie feel sociable, the rest of the time it was leave me alone and let me be. She fits in well with the group and they seem to understand her ways and leave her alone when she doesn't feel like interacting. Barnie did have an argument with the alpha female, Mabel who has put her in her place and all is peaceful. She will never be as easy to handle as Gus but I am growing in confidence and wouldn't feel scared about picking her up, just wise to the fact that she is more than likely to bite you if she feels like it.

What it does mean, is that the two of them will need a bit more company, particularly for Gus who loves the company of the other ratties, and curls up with them in big snuggly ratballs on the hammocks, so I have asked Raz when the time comes to help me find a couple of female companions, that will see our population rise to four rats rather than two. Barnie will be like the maiden aunt in the corner, grumpy as anything and leave Gus with her 'babies' to play and have fun.

It was good to see both of them, and to have a little time with them, for those that haven't thought of rats as pets I can vouch for them, highly intelligent and very entertaining. Gus particularly likes to supervise the cleaning out of her cage, holding onto your ear and bruxing in your ears to tell you when to put a bit of extra effort in.


25 January 2010

What a Weekend!

We set off up country for a visit to the old house, to make sure all was ok and to collect some things, like extra bike gear etc. So Thursday night after work, SOH picked me up and he drove all the way up to Bedford. I was no use whatsoever in driving as I was already tired, and drained and my only role was to provide things as and when he needed them.

We picked up a KFC en-route to the house, when we finally understood the very thick accent of the guy serving, and our meal was thrown at us we headed for the house and hopefully at least a comfortable night.

What greeted us was a silent, dark and very cold house as the boiler had stopped working, my mind went immediately to how much was this going to cost. Nothing could be done in the dark, so we had a couple of portable fires to warm up the bedroom and living room but were still very cold when we went to bed in an icy cold bed.

Made a mental note to myself to use the electric blanket next time!

Friday dawned grey and dreary, and to add insult to injury Cornwall had blue skies and sunshine.. life just wasn't fair. SOH did his genius thing with the boiler and soon the hot water was doing its job and warming up the house which was soon toasty hot.

A drip, drip, drip from the bathroom alterted us to the next problem.. a leaking toilet seal; age and cold had meant that the seal had contracted and hardened and no longer kept the water out. Time to call a plumber.

This led to us finding the third and hopefully final problem, no phone.. just a whole load of crackling on the line. Luckily we both have mobiles and soon Steve the Plumber was enroute with his magic bag of tricks to resolve the drip in the toilet and I used the hub phone to contact BT to try and get a fix for the phone problem. The online test showed there was a problem and that an engineer would be dispatched by Monday at the latest - No good to us as we had no broadband at all nor a working phone line mostly.

Still, there were things we could do like reorganise the garage of boxes, finding the ones we wanted and putting the others in some sort of order. I made roast chicken for tea, with roasted potatoes and carrots (trust me if you have never roasted carrots please try them they are absolutely gorgeous) and served with some mashed swede. I should have also done some runner beans but forgot.

We did a bit of shopping at the weekend, at Milton Keynes, I think I have got used to the pace of life down here now, and I couldn't deal with the amount of traffic while trying to drive the Volvo which was new to me. We visited a couple of shops, and I also dropped in on my Aunt who was full of life, and having hydrotherapy on her bad knee at Bedford Hospital. It was good to hear her being so cheerful.

We had a chinese from the local shop, on Saturday evening with a bottle of wine, but it wasn't too successful in fact we both said how bland it was and we didn't really enjoy it. It was late when we both went to bed, and we had to be up early Sunday morning to pack the car, clean the house and travel back down. Even so it was 10.30am by the time we left.

23 January 2010

Saturday Satire - Construction

An Italian, a Scotsman and a Chinese fellow are hired at a construction site.

The foreman points out a huge pile of sand and says to the Italian guy, 'You're in charge of sweeping.'

To the Scotsman he says, 'You're in charge of shoveling.'

And to the Chinese guy, 'You're in charge of supplies.'

He then says, 'Now, I have to leave for a little while. I expect you guys to make a dent in that pile.'

So the foreman goes away for a couple hours and when he returns, the pile of sand is untouched.

He asks the Italian, 'Why didn't you sweep any of it?'

The Italian replies, 'I no hava no broom. You saida to the Chinese-a-fella that he a wasa in a charge of supplies, but he hasa disappeared and I no coulda finda him nowhere.'

Then the foreman turns to the Scotsman and says, 'And you, I thought I told you to shovel this pile.'

The Scotsman replies, 'Aye, ye did lad, boot ah couldnay get meself a shoovel! Ye left th' Chinese gadgie in chairge of supplies, boot ah couldnayfin' him either.'

The foreman is really angry now and storms off toward the pile of sand to look for the Chinese guy ... Just then, the Chinese guy leaps out from behind the pile of sand and yells... ..


19 January 2010

Down the rain came

Hang on to your boots, its another weather related post.... last night the rain started just as I got home from work and didn't leave off until just before I left for work this morning. The caravan is quite dry, warm and toasty but the ground is soggy, saturated and even the cats are complaining at getting mud on their paws.

Though on a side note, I was watching them play on the ice when it was cold, frosty and snowy and when one of them slipped up on the ice landing on their bum , Saffy (the cat in question) stalked away in a right mood and obviously hadn't found it a fun toy as he had first thought.

Luckily for us, the problem weather is further up country, from Somerset to Oxfordshire and up into North Wales it was predicted to be horrible conditions for both drivers and pedestrians. Hopefully the weather will pick up soon and spring will come and cheer us all up.

Still after watching 2012, I suppose I should be grateful not to have had volcanoes or earthquakes to match the disaster that happened in the movie. While the special effects were very good, I did think that most of the major disaster movies had a nod in their direction, notably, Titanic, The Poseidon Adventure etc.. and yes it was good fun to watch but it was a little improbable that John Cusack's character could escape unscathed from every single problem that affected their journey from California to the end location but he did and they survived to tell the tale. It does seem to me that the big movie producers are spending more on special effects than on setting it in real locations and I think it shows; Movies are starting to look like computer games with people, perhaps thats the way that it will go, but I will regret the loss of the old style films, which stand the test of time.

18 January 2010

Small things

Isn't it funny how small things remind you of someone or something?

I was watching Saturday kitchen, when Rick Stein was talking to the owners/producers of Noilly Prat and was keen on learning how to pronounce it. Instantly I was transported back to one of many memorable conversations with the Late Elaine of Old Age is a Bitch and her love of Noilly Prat while I hadn't even a clue on what it was (other than alcoholic). I could have sworn I heard a chuckle from her as Rick tasted the drink and still managed to make a mess of prounouncing the name.

I like it that I have good memories that come from seeing things, no wonder some agencies are using memory boxes to stimulate the memories of the older generations, from pictures of wartime memorabilia to photographs.. it's good to be reminded that the memories can be stimulated and provide thoughts of people that mean something to us all.

Yesterday was a catch up day, as Saturday with the cough being no better, I ended up back a the doctors for a dose of antiobiotics, thankfully though the steroids seem to have worked and my O2 levels are back up in the high nineties rather than in the low nineties. Still have the cough but that may take a little longer to go as it is an irritation that needs to clear up but even after a couple of doses of Amoxicillin it is less violent than it has been.

I will promise to upload some pictures of the recent snow and ice, not to mention the last few milder days with even... blue skies and sunshine.. (just need access to a reliable internet service in the evenings) however, the job is good, going well and life is good; the only thing that would now make my life even sweeter is finalising the house sale up country.

16 January 2010

Saturday Satire - The Bagpiper

As a bagpiper, I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man who had no family or friends. The funeral was to be held at a cemetery in the remote countryside and this man would be the first to be laid to rest there.

As I was not familiar with the backwoods area, I became lost and being a typical man, did not stop for directions. I finally arrived an hour late. I saw the backhoe and the crew who were eating lunch but the hearse was nowhere in sight.

I apologized to the workers for my tardiness and stepped to the side of the open grave where I saw the vault lid already in place.

I assured the workers I would not hold them up for long but this was the proper thing to do. The workers gathered around, still eating their lunch. I played out my heart and soul.

As I played the workers began to weep. I played and I played like I'd never played before, from Going Home and The Lord is My Shepherd to Flowers of the Forest. I closed the lengthy session with Amazing Grace and walked to my car.

As I was opening the door and taking off my coat, I overheard one of the workers saying to another, "Sweet Jeezuz, Mary 'n Joseph, I have never seen nothin' like that before and I've been putting in septic tanks for twenty years."

15 January 2010

The view from my window is lovely

I can see the football fields of a nearby school, and being based on the first floor means lots of stair climbing all day... great for toning legs, bums and thighs.. see positive things here in Cornwall. The workplace even have reserved parking for motorcycles, so come the next few months, Max and I will be winding our way to work where he is registered already. Just need to think about where I can put all my bike gear at work.

Chest is distinctly not improving but will give it another day, in case the steroids kick in; one effec they do have is to make me less tired at night, so I even managed to watch some tv last night without wanting to fall asleep through lack of oxygen.

The weekend coming is my first real weekend as a working girl in Cornwall (last weekend didn't count as I only managed 2 out of 5 days at work), so what to do and where to go.. I feel the need to visit Portreath and sit and watch the surf.. so if Cornish Beach Brummie and Cornwall by the Sea are still visiting this blog perhaps we can meet up one morning/afternoon for a coffee and a chat.

14 January 2010

Betcha thought I had gone awol lol

Actually I had, gone awol, for a little while. Lack of access at the office, means limited to evenings on the 'puter and that is dependant on my access to the internet as well as trying not to cough over everything and anything in my path.

After enjoying a few milder days, my asthma decided to turn nasty, so much so that a trip to the doctors last night saw me exit with some steroids to see whether it will settle down as they couldn't make up their mind whether or not there is a chest infection.

This morning saw me take the first of the little red pills, all six of them in one go, and washed down with some water and filled up with toast before slipping up the hill merrily to go on the way to Truro. This morning was the first morning I wasn't in early due to the fact that the A30 had a number of accidents with people not driving appropriate to the icy conditions, though to be fair it was mild apparently until about 6am when it dropped 7 degrees to minus 3 (SOH had to tell me this as I was still in duvet time).

Still I sat in a queue of traffic from Redruth to Truro, but this workplace accepts that sometimes people are unavoidably detained en-route to work and there were no complaints - or none in my earshot.

Enough of this now, lets get back to normal and blue skies and sunshine... all comments will be forwarded to the asylum where I will be based in the very near future.

10 January 2010

Good things

10 days into 2010 and after it being mainly cold and icy with everyone panic buying all the supplies off the supermarket shelves, the goverment rationing the gritting supplies and putting them to areas of the country where needed most.

It was heartening to hear the tale of the villagers in Trebullet, near Launceston which had been cut off for a few days from the outside world. Collectively they organised themselves into clearing the path into the village from snow and ice. Isn't it nice that they can work together to achieve a common aim, and benefit the whole community and isn't it sad that when the world (and Cornwall) is relieved from the snow and ice that we will go back to how things were and the community spirit will mostly be lost.

Life could and would be made so much better if we could forget the me, me, me in all of us and consider how our actions affect the communities around us. I for one like the good things and will reflect on their loss in the days to come.

09 January 2010

Saturday Satire - Politicians

I asked my friend's little girl what she wanted to be when she grows up. She said she wanted to be Prime Minister some day.

Both her parents, Labour supporters, were standing there, so I asked her, "If you were Prime Minister what would be the first thing you would do?"

She replied, "I'd give food and houses to all the homeless people."

Her parents beamed, and said, "Welcome to the Labour Party!"

"Wow...what a worthy goal!" I told her. I continued, "But you don't have to wait until you're Prime Minister to do that. You can come over to my house, mow the lawn, pull weeds, sweep my drive and I'll pay you £25. Then I'll take you over to the grocery store where the homeless guy hangs out. You can give him the £25 to use toward food."

She thought that over for a few seconds, then she looked me straight in the eye and asked, "Why doesn't the homeless guy come over and do the work and you can just pay him the £25?"

I smiled and said, "Welcome to the Conservative Party."

Her parents still aren't speaking to me.

07 January 2010


Tried to get out to work this morning, with no success, the road was clear until I scraped the ice off the car and then the snow came down with a vengeance. In minutes the road was covered and slippery and discretion being the better part of valour I decided to take a second day off of work.

I struggled to get through on the telephone to let them know I wasn't able to get in, eventually I managed to get through to leave a message on their voicemail but I am not certain on whose phone I was leaving the message. Later on, their website stated that the conditions were so bad in Truro and the surrounding areas that they were closing for the day so now we wait for tomorrow to see what is going to happen.

While the snow is pretty, this country isn't set up to manage the process of dealing with snow. There is a lack of grit, many counties having run low and one area is using beach sand to try and extend the remaining stocks but shops will be running out of supplies and essential foodstuffs as few deliveries will be possible.

Hope everyone stays safe and warm

06 January 2010

Hmmm more slippy and sliding

Snow overnight, has frozen and the road out of here is like an ice-sheet. A 4x4 and a car were going down the hill and only the 4x4 was going in a forward direction; not good. I have had to phone in work and say I will try and be in later but it doesn't look very promising.

The road is on a hill and if, very much if, you can reach the top you get to another road that will take you into towards the town of redruth; however many cars are parked at a point up the hill not making the top but not able to go back down either. Still we are so much better off than the people up country who have got it so much worse.

Makes you wonder why snow paralyses this country, when the US and Canada has so much more snow than us and they don't it grind their country to a halt?

Still at least we are warm, dry and safe with a roof over our head; much better than being stranded in the car or at work.

05 January 2010

Slip Sliding Away

Cornwall is having it fairly mild compared to the rest of the country, but still is prone to frost, snow and ice. When I left for work this morning it was 2 degrees C, but the roads were slippery and while I am still fairly new to the area I am using the main roads but it didn't stop me from having a few hairy moments of my own this morning.

I had a towel over the windscreen this morning, but it wasn't really needed as I said it was sleety snow falling because of the warmer temperatures. No my disaster happened at work, as I sat in the car waiting for 8am (yes I will start leaving a little later, as I don't actually start work until 8.30am) I noticed a van pulling in and turning a little sharply in to a parking space, the women inside said she was sliding towards me (and my car) and it had been a bit too close for her. Nuff said, I thought thinking if she had driven a little slower and more carefully it wouldn't have been a problem.

I picked up my bag, and walked across to the office building, and en-route my feet slid out from underneath me leaving me in a heap on the floor, but luckily enough there was nobody around to view my embarassment. It wasn't a hard fall, but I know my knee will be a bit sore tomorrow where it banged into the pavement. I have to write it up in the accident book, as it happened on work premises but I don't think I need to worry about accident insurance companies at this stage.

Work is proving interesting, and other than not always knowing what I should be doing I seem to be busy enough trying to suss out the systems and databases in use. This morning I managed to access a database and set up some data sources with no information showing me how to do it, even the person who asked me to do the task was surprised that I had managed it. I guess that is what happens with 29 years of experience of IT systems under your belt, you do a fair amount of suck it and see experimenting.

04 January 2010

Fitting In

Its been fun, being the new girl but with some experience means fitting in is easier than if I had no experience of working with IT systems and means I can get on with the work without having to be micromanaged.

It is a lovely office to work in, and surprisingly warm given the colder temperatures it has been today, we even had to open the door as it was too hot. My working space is small, but perfectly formed, and the free tea and coffee is sheer indulgence; I haven't worked anywhere that you have free drinks and even a staff room where you can take lunch.

I enjoyed a stroll at lunchtime, to explore Truro a bit more, and was glad of the warm jacket I had taken as Jack Frost didn't really let up all day :-) then a quick cup of hot chocolate, a few pages of my book and then back to the Office.

Once I settle down into a routine, of understanding the work, I have been challenged with automating as much as possible so that less data has to be entered by hand as that is where errors creep in.. I like a challenge.

One other challenge is the drive in the morning, it isn't far from the caravan, but the frost last night managed to ice the car doors shut and this morning was a performance in trying to get into it to start it while I defrosted the ice off of the windows.

Luckily tonight, it was cold but not quite frosty and the drive home was fairly fast, taking a little over 20 mins but I am sure I will soon be getting Max out for the ride to work, and enjoying the experience; far better than the original mile and a half I used to ride when taking him to work.

03 January 2010

All set to rejoin the working class

I have been busy putting things together ready for work tomorrow, all set to rejoin the working class. Got the clothes out for the morning, trust me in a caravan, you have to be more organised than I would normally be but it is good for discipline. The weather down here is so changeable that it is difficult to know what to wear, and my backup will be a nice long cardigan in the car so that if I feel cold I can layer up a bit.

I have no idea of what I will be doing and that is exciting. I have a brand new diary ready to write notes in, my sandwich box which I will refill tonight, the relevant forms for the HR department of the workplace, including a parking permit and have set the alarm ready for tomorrow morning.

Can you tell I am excited yet? Yes it will feel strange, but at least it will be interesting and if I don't like it then there will be plenty more opportunities out there for me to try something else.

Hope all of you out there had a great new year, and hope that the year ahead finds you being in a place you want to be with all that you need and more.

02 January 2010

Saturday Satire - Survey

Last month the UN conducted an international telephone survey. The only question asked was -

"Would you please give your honest opinion about a solution to the food shortage in the rest of the world?"

The survey was a failure because of the following:

In Eastern Europe, they didn't know what "honest" meant.

In Western Europe, they didn't know what "shortage" meant.

In Africa, they didn't know what "food" meant.

In China, they didn't know what "opinion" meant.

In the Middle East, they didn't know what "solution" meant.

In South America, they didn't know what "please" meant.

In the USA they didn't know what "the rest of the world" meant.

Finally, in the UK, most people just hung up the phone because they couldn't understand the accent of the person at the call centre....