Wednesday 28 November 2007


In our family we play a guessing game with the children that starts off “is it bigger than a breadbin and smaller than a house?” “Yes” and may go on something like “is it bigger than a table and smaller than a room?” etc until you get the size established then the questions become more specific. It’s great fun and the children love it.

I was reminded of this game when three of my young grandchildren came to stay while their parents were in France finalising details of their imminent move there. The children’s lunch boxes are only a smidgen smaller than breadbins!

The first time I saw the four year old lugging this enormous box out of school I couldn’t believe it. It was nearly as big as him. Now I know why. Typical contents are one ham sandwich (no butter), piece of fruit; meringue cone thingy (wrapped in kitchen paper); small box of dried fruit; chocolate rice crispy biscuit; petit filous (with spoon); bottle of water; carton of apple juice and a second piece of kitchen roll to be used as a table cloth.

Preparing the boxes was like a military operation. The containers for the fruit and the drinks were named and had to go into the correct box. Needless to say I fell down badly at this hurdle and was severely reprimanded by the little girl that evening. The little boy sometimes takes a pepperoni. The little girl likes a sandwich of home prepared tuna, sweet corn and mayo. She doesn’t, however, like pepperoni or a box of dried fruit and so on. To my great relief the eldest boy packed his own box.

And then there was the other stuff they had to take with them. Swimming gear this day, PE gear that day etc. By the time we left the house I was exhausted. And then there was the stuff they trawled back home with them after school. Notes from the school, party invitations, precious treasures made at school that day and, naturally, the empty lunch boxes and swimming/muddy PE gear.

Life was so much simpler when my children were young. They were shooed out of the house to walk to school and fend for themselves. No swimming and for PE they simply took off their tunic and blouse! I am going to start a campaign to bring back childhood deprivation and independence. The children love it and the adults are not so wrung out all the time.

Monday 26 November 2007


I read a great thing in the newspaper yesterday. It was an interview with Michel Cane in which he was asked “what happened to the retirement you announced 12 years ago”. He replied “Of course, I’ve made 12 pictures and won an Oscar since then. That’s typical of me. I suppose what’s changed since I at least mentally retired is that I’m in a situation now where I’ll only do movies that I can’t turn down.

What a wonderful answer. People keep stumbling over me lurking around in the office, look surprised and blurt out “I thought you had retired”. I usually say something mad like “not yet sunshine”. If only I could explain my situation in such a pithy informative way without revealing the total cretin that I am.

He is right of course. I can now choose not to be bored to death in long tedious meetings. I can now wander into a meeting and if I don’t like the sound of it I can wander out again. Occasionally the meetings are very inspirational and then I stay and contribute (whether they like it or not!) I like to think that they benefit from the wisdom of my experience.

However, there is one meeting that they won’t let me in to and that is the monthly leadership meeting. They say that I am too intimidating and would stop the flow of communication. People would become more guarded and it simply wouldn’t work. I say bullshit! One day I will become non-compliant and crash the meeting and tell them a thing or two!

Some may say (and do) that I am hampering the process of handing the business over to the younger, smarter generation. I say deal with it. I earned the right to be weird. I worshipped at the alter of owing more money than a small African country, staying up all night in a blue funk thinking “this won’t work”, not having holidays or days off for years on end, answering the telephone in the middle of the night to support our claim of being a 24/7 service. Need I go on?

Oh I do love my life!

Wednesday 21 November 2007


Oh Gordy, Gordy, Gordy, what are you going to do now one of your junior officials has downloaded bank and personal details of 25M of your disloyal subject onto two CDs that have gone missing? Are you going to fall on your sword or at the very least admit that you rule over a shambolic bunch of loosers?

Are you going to stop idiots like your Chancellor Alistair Darling making a prat of himself on national TV by claiming that the processes and procedures are correct and this should not have happened.

So what process authorises an official from the National Audit Office to request this information over the telephone from a “junior official” at the Inland Revenue who then compliantly downloads it on to two CD’s and couriers it off?

Aren’t there safeguards in place to stop this happening? I only have to try using my Visa card abroad to have a security check slapped on it. No security checks in place here though eh?

And why courier it off? Oh I can understand using a courier instead of your very own Royal Mail which is spasmodically on strike and never reliable anyway but have your minions never heard of electonic transfers? Is there something here that I’m not quite understanding?

And we are being told not to worry. There is no proof this information has got into the wrong hands (no proof that it hasn’t either) but be vigilant and report any unusual transactions to the bank. Huh! Now there is another bunch of loosers.

How did we ever get into this sorry state? Your government is totally incompetent, your politicians and civil servants are liars, the banks have led us to the brink of Armageddon with their greed, sick people are being denied medical help and drugs, and patients that are “lucky” enough to get treatment are contracting “hospital acquired” super bugs which are killing them. .

In the meantime we are being lectured about global warning, bullied into recycling and told to measure our carbon footprint. And what is your government doing with the environmental taxes being levied on us? Are they ring-fenced to develop renewable energy. Are they hell!

And while I’m on the subject of incompetence Gordy, what about the NHS? The forth largest employer in the world and they still complain of staff shortages. What’s that all about?
Oh Lordy, Lordy, Lordy, Gordy, Gordy, Gordy.

Wednesday 14 November 2007


I was tagged for the crazy 8's meme by Laurie so here I go:-

8 things I’m passionate about

My husband (does he count as a thing?)
My family
My friends
My business
This country (England, Ireland, Scotland & Wales)
Shouting and swearing at the morning TV news because of injustices
Removing Gordon Brown from Office

8 things I want to do before I die

Stop swearing
Out live my husband (he would never cope without me)
Out live my children
Out live my grandchildren
Out live my great grandhildren
Lose weight
Be massively rich
See my house renovations finished

8 things I say often

Any cuss word
Don’t jump on that settee
Get off that table
Look at this house, it’s like a bomb’s hit it
What do you want for dinner?
I’ve had it, I’ m off!
Thank you (well, maybe not that often!)

8 books I’ve read recently or am still reading

Parellel Worlds, Michio Kaku
The Amish, Donald B Kraybill
Seize the House –When Nixon met Mao, Margaret Macmillan
Genome, Matt Ridley
Half of a Yellow Sun, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Bonfires of Vanity, Tom Wolfe
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Paul Torday
Double Cross, James Patterson

8 songs I could listen to over and over and do

Love is all around, Marty Pellow
You are always on my mind, Willie Nelson
This Old Road, Kris Kristoffersen
The Beatle, Help
I can’t get no satisfation, Rolling Stones
Mr Tamborine Man, Bob Dylan
Everything I do, Brian Adams
Hotel California, Eagles

8 things that attract me to my best friends

Understanding (them understanding me that is)
Vulnerability (I don’t like people that think they know it all)
Lack of smugness (is that gramatically correct?)
Shared likes

8 people I think should do Crazy 8s

over sixty now
Cristal jigsaw
Valleys mam
Wake up and smell the coffee
Stinking Billy
Marla Fauchier Baltes
Frog in the fieldDulwich Mum

Monday 12 November 2007


My highly supercharged bestest friend emailed me:-


1. What in heaven's name is a HD TV? Is this an (note the use of "an" rather than "a" before an "h" in case you think me illiterate) high density TV with the capacity of a 250 tog duvet that you only get out of when you spy a sighting of Chris Tarrant, Anne Robinson or Jeremy Clarkson???? Why the hell have one in the first place 'cos there ain't much else available.

2. Why travel all the way to New England to see autumn leaves, as you say, when the most beautiful are in your own back garden (and perchance in your house 'cos the roofs not yet back on properly). ‘Cos at £1.04.99 per litre of diesel it is cheaper to go to New England?

3. What is the true meaning of discombobulated. Is that something to do with the day we first met, when Old Grumpy, his sister and brother-in-law went off in a Ford Anglia to sort out their brother???? And you and I were later told off for being irresponsible when their car ran out of petrol, they pushed it back 'cos no-one had any money on them, and we'd let the fire go out!!!!

and I say yet again............ TAKE ME BACK, COUNTRY ROADS - and long live your blogs!!!!

Love you xxx Lunch soon!!!!


1. My first question is what the hell are you on about with your “an” and “a” – have you finally lost the plot? But I must admit that you do have a good point about why have it anyway? We are currently in the middle of the “silly season” for good programmes and now I have the all singing, all dancing SKY HD digibox there’s nothing worth watching!

2. Amen on the cost of fuel. The fact that I can travel once around the globe cheaper than drive from London to Manchester is one of the first issues I will deal with when I come to power.
3. Your recall of our very first meeting sums us up very nicely. In a word – mad!

Friday 9 November 2007


Why did we travel all the way to USA to see ”New England in the Fall” when we have such a wonderful autumn display in this country? This photograph was taken in my own backyard. Apologies for the crap photograph again, but it gives a flavour of the beautiful colours.

I guess the thing about “New England in the Fall” is that there is so much of it. Trees for hundreds of thousands of miles.

Trees to the left of you, trees to the right
No bloody place to go without a tree in sight.
Visitors known as “leaf peepers” staying overnight.
Drive around from here to there on a schedule so tight
To see the colours red and gold shining out so bright
Motoring miles to see the trees before catching a flight
Back home. Why?

On another subject all together. I went to the funeral of a colleagues’ mother last week. He said such wonderful things about her and as he spoke he glowed, smiled and even laughed a little. It was so good to see him remember her with such love and devotion. I never knew her, but I wished I had. When I spoke to him later in the week he said that the family had been so immersed in her long illness and he just wanted to remember the good times. If someone speaks of me that way I feel my live will have been well lived.

Friday 2 November 2007


When I first attempted retirement I was very discombobulated. After spending nearly 20 years building up a business with my husband it was difficult to stand down and let others take the strain. And how do you stop being passionate? I don’t know how that one works.

How to fill my endless days, that was the question. I have always hated shopping so that wasn’t an option. I can’t see the sense in hauling myself around hot shops carrying heavy stuff and fighting smelly crowds at checkouts. The only checkouts I use are on my computer. Shopping from the comfort of my own home (as they say) is my bag. You could say that I am your original online shopper.

I tried taking myself off to Switzerland to keep out of the way of progress, I tried becoming a (huh!) housewife? I tried to be a lady that lunched, but nothing worked apart from my one spectacular success, which was squandering the inheritance money. On that very subject, I see the QE2 is having a 3 month farewell cruise next year. That would blow a nice hole in the inheritance wouldn’t it? Very tempting.

Despite all these activities I was still drawn back into the office to feel the buzz. Then I discovered blogging. My early blogs were greatly misunderstood and I must admit that I did upset a few people. Old grumpy tried to explain that they should have expected my blogs to be slightly controversial. I am, after all, crazy. He is so sweet to me.

My blogs were banned from the office website and then old grumpy lobbied and got them reinstated, albeit that they are buried so deep that no-one can find them. There is also a caution that the blog is “the slightly deranged writings of a woman dealing with retirement. Oh, and she's our old boss. Contains strong language”. I still find that offensive, but hey, I have to keep my thoughts on that subject to myself. I think they should embrace and exault my wit and talent, but they don’t seem to think like me. Sad faced gits.

And then my house lost its hat, my home shrank to almost nothing and I had nowhere to work. I was allocated a place on the office mezzanine floor where I now blog away to my hearts content. I look out over the fields, surveying my empire from this lofty position, and watch the comings and goings of the great and good down our “walk of shame”. Now and then I even venture into the business world below, cause mayhem, then withdraw to count my victories. Very satisfying.

And today they should deliver my new HD digibox. Yes, I can honestly say I life is good.