Sunday 25 January 2009


There were two things at the top of my giggle-o-meter this week.

First giggle. My esteemed colleague had devised a sales promotion to “encourage” the telesales team to get their fingers out (as it where).

Each sale entitled the seller to select a sealed envelope inside of which was either a £10 voucher or an inspirational word.

“I would prefer to win an inspirational word. Why don’t you just tell us what they are now?”

“Then you wouldn’t have a reason for wanting to win”

“Oh that’s mean”

“OK then, I’ll give you one inspirational word – P45!” Brilliant, or what?

Second giggle. Watching Celebrity Who Wants to be a Millionaire with OG last night I said

“She reminds me of Jean”

Anneka Rice?"

“No, Penny Smith!”

“She’s nothing like Jean, Anika Rice is animated”

“So is Penny Smith”

“But nothing like Anika Rice”

At this stage I decided to drop out of this silly conversation. After a while OG pipes up “Don’t go in a mood just because you’re wrong”

“Wrong, wrong, how can you say I’m wrong? MY conversation, she reminds ME of Jean, how can that be wrong?”

Now we are both in a mood.

Immediately after this exchange of unfriendly fire I had a conversation with my grandson Morgan (the City economist). He relayed a conversation he had had with Vinnie recently when they both agreed that their granddad was one of the wisest men they knew. He said he always seemed to know the right things to say and the right advice to give. Are we talking about the same man here?

And finally …. I believe that just because two people argue it doesn't mean they don't love each other. And just because they don't argue it doesn't mean they do love each other.

Thursday 22 January 2009


Yesterday our fourth great grandson Noah was born. As you can imagine, with ten grandchildren and four great grandchildren, we have seen many babies but I can honestly say that this is the most peaceful baby ever.

He didn’t murmur for the first two hours and then he only slightly protested when being sponged and dressed. This photograph was taken when he was 3 hours old and despite being cuddled by all of us in the ensuing couple of hours he never objected once. I should also add that this photograph does him no justice at all. He is a handsome little mite, and his enormous hand is just a trick of the camera!

It had been a very traumatic day for his paternal grandmother. This was her first grandchild and she was beside herself with excitement, whereas I, being an old hand, remained calm!

The grandmother-in-waiting and I were concerned that Mum was being fed and cared for by the hospital but Dad was being left to his own devices and was refusing to leave the labour ward until the baby was born. Our many advisers were telling us that as he had been stressed out and awake for over 48 hours he would need to keep up his blood sugar levels and should, therefore, eat. It was decided that we would launch a rescue mission I was despatched to the hospital with some sandwiches, chocolate and drinks for him.

I rang the bell, now how am I going to explain this? The intercom crackled.


I speak into the grid, this is worse than leaving voice mail.

“I’ve bought some food up for Dan, he’s on the labour ward”


“Yes, he hasn’t eaten today and he won’t leave Georgina to go and get anything”

“Oh,” she sounded puzzled “Wait a minute, I’ll send him out”

Not too difficult. I thought there would be a problem. I was just wandering away from the door when I heard a voice coming out of the intercom again.

“Sorry, did you say something”

“Yes, I said it’s not convenient for him to come out right now. Go and wait in the main reception area and he’ll come out when he can”.

This threw my calm demeanour into turmoil. That must mean the birth is imminent. What do I do? Wait? But if he wouldn’t leave before the birth what chance was there that he would rush out to claim his lovingly prepared sandwiches afterwards. However, being the compliant person that I am, like an idiot, I dutifully waiting for 30 minutes, talking myself into leaving and then talking myself into staying.

At 1230 I thought "to hell with this" and left. Noah was born at 1235! At times life’s a bitch!!

And finally ….. You're just jealous because the voices only talk to me.

Originally uploaded by anninfotel

Saturday 17 January 2009


What occupied the thoughts of President Vladimir Putin this week? The crisis in Georgia? The global credit crunch? Wrong! A couple of nights ago he was to be seen on TV discussing the European Song Contest with Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. What's that all about? It’s a funny old world isn’t it?

I just had a call from my grandson Vinnie. The place where he works, Fish & Pips, is featured on the front page of the Guardian Travel supplement today. Anyone for champers & canapés? Sounds good doesn’t it? No wonder he loves working there.

And finally …. "I have a degree in liberal arts"
"Do you want fries with that?"

Friday 16 January 2009


Trawling around facebook, as you do, I dropped in to catch up with some of my grandchildren. The first thing I read was that “Le chat noir has just skiied in the dark whilst drunk”. Le chat noir being Vinnie the chef in the French Alps. Way, way too much information. Whereas Frazer, the mathematician who works away happily in a cocktail bar until he can get a "proper" job, apparently “has a watch that is far more mature than himself”.

Now here is a strange thing, Frazer’s communication of choice is facebook. Ring him or send him a text and you get nowt scout, but message him on facebook and he replies straight away. It’s all very odd and when I ask him why he appologises and promises he will mend his ways. I’m not actually in the business of getting him to mend his ways, I would just be happy with an explanation for this strange quirk.

I have had several ‘phone and text conversations with Vinnie since he started his new job and he is loving it. Yesterday I texted because I read that there had been four fatalities in the French Alps this week and given that he is fond of skiiing in the dark whilst drunk I was concerned that the weather might be particularly treacherous. Back came the immediate (got that Frazer?) reply “the weather is all good, blue sky days! Le chat noir is very well indeed, loving the ski lifestyle” Great to be young isn’t it?

During another trawl, this time on the www I came across my old mate Justin Dennison, the minister who carries the heavy responsibility of having married me to OG. Now here is a great communicator (got that one too Frazer?). Justin is now a minister in Canada and I sometimes listen to his weekly sermon online at http://www.hopetoyou. This day, however I happened across a workshop video made several years ago called Cracking The Da Vinci Code I found it fascinating, giving me another perspective on the book which, incidentally, I loved.

Talking of great communciators OG had a routine visit to his surgeon yesterday. This man has the ability to make everyone in the room feel special. A truly rare gift. He has just been offered a professorship in London which he said is a great opportunity and priviledge. He has a passion for research in his chosen speciality which is bladder cancer and this very prestigeous post will give him access to a whole new world. And the best news as far as we are concerned is that he will keep OG on as his patient.

And finally …. I believe that maturity has more to do with what type of experiences you've had and what you've learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you've celebrated or what type of watch you wear.

Friday 9 January 2009


We seemed to have entered a period of post-Christmas hibernation. Our French family have returned and bedded in, one of our Grandsons took himself off to work in the French Alps and with eager anticipation we quietly await the birth of our fourth great grandchild in a few days. His (because apparently it is a "he") sisters are not quite so eager. “He’ll be a nuisance” “He’ll keep us awake at night” “We’re going to come and live with you” etc, but we just know that when he arrives they will become besotted with him, as we all will.

Now tranquillity is fine, but it’s boring and during this period my mind has gone into overdrive. My paternal grandmother was extremely poor, having become widowed at a very early age with 7 children to bring up. But by all accounts she was a suffragette and passionately interested in world affairs.

I think that I inherited her enquiring mind and recently this silly old woman has been wondering why we have a financial crisis. Where has all the money gone to? It has to be somewhere. Surely it can’t have just evaporated. I know that economists will explain to this illiterate old biddy that it isn’t quite that simple but I say why? Who has the money? Answer that.

The banks say they have no money to lend because they lost confidence in each other and consequently the inter bank lending rate (LIBOR) is too high. This is causing businesses to fail, unemployment and the property market has simply gone into freefall. So why, if the banks don’t trust each other, don’t they just borrow direct from Joe Public? At the moment Joe Publics savings are only earning a pittance in interest and some will, no doubt, be squirreling it away in a sock draw. Pay him a rate the equivalent to the LIBOR rate and hey presto, money will pour into the coffers again. Problem solved.

And in the middle we have Gordon Brown looking like a rabbit caught in the headlights, sloshing money around the banking system which immediately disappears into that terrifying black hole, creating more public sector jobs and, God help us, borrowing more money from the IMF.

And how come the IMF has money to lend? And where does the IMF get its money from anyway? From the Countries that it lends it back to? Does it do what it says on the tin? Is it funded by the nations to lend back to the nations? Now forgive me for saying this, but if that is the case it’s absolute bullshit.

I remember once reading that Stalin said the only way to defeat the western world was with drugs, pornography and industrial dispute. Well we have the drugs, we have the pornography and industrial dispute has been replaced with financial chaos. Do we have a hidden enemy at war with us? I have several suspects in the frame at the moment, but I think prudence dictates that I should to keep my own counsel on that one!

And finally .... Don't take life too seriously; No one gets out alive.

Thursday 1 January 2009


It suddenly occured to me to ask my mathematician grandson to solve the puzzle to end all puzzles. This is the grandson that doesn't answer the telephone or reply to texts. My only way of reaching him is Facebook. Back came the answer in a flash.

"The secret is to get some graph paper cut the pieces out and try it. It doesn't actually work. There will be a slight bend in the hypotenuse. Seen it many a time at uni."

OK Frazer, now my next question is what the f... is a hypotenuse?

Happy New Year everyone - and that includes you smart ass - but you know that I love you really don't you.

And finally ..... I used to have a handle on life, but it broke