A Good Work Ethic

I’m at home today. Working. Really. I’ve brought the new dongley/crypto card thing so that I can logon and access my work documents. From the comfort of my own home. How wonderful is that??? No long journey in rush hour traffic. No radio news. No road rage/traffic jams/road works. This is clearly the pinnacle of human endeavour – to allow not just those top cats, the organ grinders, but us lowly monkeys, to work from home (using our own heating/lighting/electric, working well into our own time, beyond those 8 daylight hours poorly bought and paid for by my own dear employer). And to gain from us (me) our (my) unconditional gratitude!!!


9.15.  (A little late, but – well, the time will be made up by no morning coffee/lunch/afternoon tea/chat breaks during the day) Here’s the laptop. Retrieved. Turned on.

9.20 . Here are the instructions. (Carefully printed out yesterday. Five A4 sides of them!) Quick read through….Longer read through. Did I print out the English language version of these anywhere??? (Am starting to foresee some difficulties with this endeavour….)

9.40. Here’s the email, forwarded home as added insurance. (Luckily – the elink is needed, not just the instructions!)

9.45. And here are all the passwords/codes/usernames (all of which should surely allow me to send a rocket to the moon!

And – here are all the paper files which need to be electronically updated/completed (a full environmentally friendly, re-useable, hessian Tesco bag of them!!). Clearly working from home speeds everything up – this lot would normally take me ten days of full on, intensive working!!! But today – today is going to be turbo-charged!!! I’m bubbling, sparkling, rarin’ to go! I’m not going to lift my head. (No checking my home emails. No internet shopping. No checking out blogs. Just because I’m home doesn’t mean I’m in fun mode!!)

So – here goes.

9.46. Click the link. Enter username. User password. So far, so good. Crypto password. (Crypto password???? I’m drowning already!!). Oh – here it is -front of dongle. Pincode.  Pincode? Front of dongle box. User pincode. Where’s that?? Back to email. Back of dongle. System number. Now – where on earth... Oh – on the email.  Finally. Every possible code entered.  (All this techno-babble is no challenge to me, a woman of my skill, intellect, etc). Click log on.

10.00. Log on not recognized. Contact IT systems manager. Not Recognized???? After all that??? And – the only number/name/code I don’t have is the IT systems manager????

What am I going to do with all these files now??

But – is it the remote access work system which has its limitations or the remote access worker????? Second thoughts – it’s definitely the system. After all – I followed all the instructions, didn’t I???

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Saturday Night Line -Up

Now I’m not just writing this because Speccy has drawn attention to the imminence of the Blog Awards Ireland event and the voting which is now underway. In fact, has been ongoing for a couple of weeks, already (perhaps if I had had a gameplan I could have voted zillions of times for myself and made it look as though I had some followers outside my family!)

No, I’m writing because tonight is Saturday night. X-Factor is on TV. I’d really rather count the slugs in the garden than watch the antics of judges and hopefuls alike. But it’s dark now and the slugs are blending too well with their surroundings to be counted. (OMG – it sounds sooooo miserable to be confessing here that I am planning to be sitting in on Bank Holiday Saturday night!!)  I saw some of the ‘highlights’ of last weeks’ show and realized again that car crash TV taints the viewer as much as the participant. (OMG again – there I was – home early enough to be watching TV last Saturday night as well!! Note to self – GET A LIFE!!!)

This is not to suggest that I’m against shows which can nurture talent or offer support to those willing to follow their dreams. But it does seem that this show lays heavy emphasis on exploiting disappointment, delusion, human deficiency, for their ratings value, for their entertainment value. As I say – car crash TV.

At times it can certainly be compulsive viewing. Squirm making, but hard to turn away from. But there comes a time in one’s life when one has to say – “Louie/Gary – you are talent show judges – not presidents of autonomous fiefdoms. Don’t be so breathtakingly pretentious and patronizing to everyone!!!” And while you’re changing that habit of a lifetime – show us more/longer clips from the good competitors – they deserve it.

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One law for Jordanians….

So. The king of Jordan has bailed out sexual predators/paedophiles visiting Northern Ireland as paralympians from his country. And Northern Ireland justice has been trampled into the dust in order to avoid further embarrassment to this mighty ruler.

Children in Antrim have been subjected to sexual abuse from three male Jordanians yet we, in Northern Ireland have allowed them to think their pain is inconsequential in comparison to the inconvenience which may be caused to paralympian schedules or competition.

Such behaviour may be commonplace in Jordan. Jordanian men may well be excused any type of sexually abusive behaviour – I am unversed in the practices or mores of that particular country – what I do know is that we, in Northern Ireland, expect our police service to treat such offenders with the full rigour of the law. To ensure that, once apprehended, they are brought before a Court of Law from whence they can be appropriately detained for the protection of all Northern Ireland citizens.

So the King of jordan has posted £5000 bail. Perhaps I am an irretrievable cynic. But it occures to me that the King of Jordan could well afford to lose £15000. And – will Northern Ireland have the nerve to hold the head of state to account should these men default?

And equally importantly – how robust will reporting conditions be for these men? 

These men have violated the hospitality this country has afforded their team. They have thumbed their noses at the laws of this land. They have disgraced both their country and the paralympic movement. It would be utterly scandalous – and an insult to their victims –  if they were permitted to compete alongside committed athletes. 

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The Future

Ok, I get it. Yesterdays’ post was a rant. nobody wanted to read it. An object lesson for one in competition for NI blogger of the year. Not that I expect to be within shouting distance of that – but it makes one feel bad to think that ones’ choice of subject matter can. as Mr WB Yeats would say, ‘maim us from the start’.

So today I’m taking a different approach. I’m going for the feelgood factor. So. Guess what? We are welcoming another new born baby into the family today. (Well, at this point, actually, it was yesterday!) Relative to the mother of said child, our new relation is of giant proportions. Nine pounds thirteen ounces. Big in anyone’s book, he’s approaching the total weight of his two older brothers.

Now, this is a baby which was expected two weeks ago. So – what does that tell us? That he’s an individual? That he’s not going to be rushed? That he will not conform to expectations?

Whatever his agenda, we’re all thrilled. He looks good, healthy, half grown and ready for his first barbers’ appointment! For those of you who may be interested, his mother is recovering from the shock of giving birth to a child which is almost half her body weight! And we’re all looking forward to welcoming him to the Big Big Booksale (with Cakes)  – (those of you accessing Facebook will know we have organized this for Sat 26th May 2012 in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care at the Black Box in Hill Street. Have to plug it wherever I can!!!)

So. Now you know. This is grandchild number five for us. All boys. (Probably just as well, at this stage – so much handier for recycling of clothes!)

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Child Protection is everyone’s business. A rant.

So I’ve read, marked, learned and inwardly digested (as the boss used to intone in school assembly prayers). And still some of the news reports from yesterday are totally bewildering. Not because of the intellectual content (although some of that was pretty challenging). Rather for the evidence of the sheer callousness one person can show against another. The utter detachment from emotion. The rupture between the self and society. The manifestation of depravity. The revelation of casuistry.

Yes, I’ve looked again at the reports of the child trafficking/grooming, the cruelty of one mother against her children, the sophistry of Cardinal Sean Brady.

And I see anew why children must always be listened to when they report their hurt. I fear how easily indifferent people could dismiss their pleas. I can imagine the motives lurking beneath the submergence of uncomfortable information. And yesterdays’ news of aggregated malevolence only hinted at  the whirlwind, life-changing destruction to so many children of well meaning people passing by.


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An embarassment of riches – or of blogworthy topics!

Well. I return to the topic of as I was driving home from work…… Earlier, as it happens, that at first expected. In fact, just in time for the six o’clock news on Radio 4 (where else???)

Loads of stuff about the trial and conviction of the nine men in the child sex trafficking/grooming case. Lots of stuff about Greece and it’s threatened slide out of the Euro zone. Lots of stuff about the East Yorkshire woman gaoled for child cruelty (unfathomable cruelty against her own children). Amongst other, hugely consequential breaking news.

And another little snippet about a National Trust press release regarding the acquisition of two (iconic???) petrol station forecourts from the 1960’s. These were on motorways noted at the time to be ‘futuristically glamourous’!

Well. As I say. I was driving home from work at the time I was listening to this. Now I was not on a motorway. No, I was in a four? Five? Six? mile tailback caused by the closure for repair of the motorway running parallel to that minor, hillroad I usually zip along home by. Traffic was at a standstill with occasional bursts of energy when a single car would leap forward by ten feet. I pondered the glamour of the road less travelled (today). I’m still reeling, trying to reconcile that concept, twinned with that motorway.

But thinking about it distracted me so much that I only half listened to those other, oppressive, crushing, demanding news reports. And now I’ll have to go read them properly before I can comment with erudition on them.

And you know my rant would never be other than erudite!!

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March. Next Year. And I’m not counting.

Yooooooooo!!! Yippppppeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!! We’re booked for Barcelona!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Next March, admittedly, and flights only, so far, but – YOOOOOOOO!!!! I’m sooooooooooooo excited already!!! Should I go to Spanish classes in September?? Should I humiliate myself again in the cause of courtesy to the locals? I have already been searching for my Speak Spanish DVD/video/book which I’m sure are all lying around the house somewhere!! Although I know, anyway, that my existing Spanish (no tengo mas que dar te) will prove absolutely invaluable for negotiating every occasion in that grand metropolis!

Not that I’m going to start any countdown – we all know what happened the last time I started that sort of caper!! No. I’m going to slip sedately, earnestly, almost blindly towards the anticipated ecstasy of 1st March 2013. When we – all eight of us!!!! – will finally be together enjoying the delights of that iconic cultural centre and foodie capital!!

So – I’m going to say no more about it until much nearer the time. Honestly. Unless I get really really really over excited some day. Soon.

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Philosophies for our day.

It’s Bank Holiday Monday. We had planned to do our bit for humanity. We had intended to have a stall at an open air street fair for charity. And now I realize that we can be blessed by simply having the thought! Our application was refused, as there was a stall for the charity already booked. At the time, we had been downcast. We felt rejected. Dejected. The thinking. Planning. Applications. Gathering of appropriate goods. All for nothing.

And Lo!!. We looked out this morn to find the earth was being washed away! The trees were having difficulty holding their ground. And we were in the comfort of a warm, welcoming home!!! Oh there is, indeed a Merciful God! And she has our future in her hands.

So, after a hot breakfast, enjoying unhurried, easy conversation, I thought I’d publish abroad my reflections on the truth of ‘all things working together for good in the best of all possible worlds’.

Because, on days like this, I turn into quite the homespun philosopher.


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What a difference a week makes…..

I’ve returned to work. Full time. Plus the second job, part time. So how has all that been going? Well. Let me approach that by describing the alternative routine I had established. Get up, sometimes early, sometimes later. Shower. Breakfast. Read a couple of chapters of whatever book was on the go (occasionally the bookclub choice). Check the emails, comment to blogs. Play some Spider Solitaire. Latterly, walk the coast road and back for a few miles. Prepare the dinner. Or maybe just stay in, play spider, check out the internet shopping. Call down to the gym in the evening (again, a later addition to the routine).

Unhealthy introspection could have resulted. Financial ruin was imminent. Life was in a bit of a time warp. But it was soooo good!! Yes. I was in pain. Yes. Energy levels were decimated. Yes. Daytime tv is dismal. But – now I have come face to face with most people’s reality again.

This is work, Day Six.

No time to stop and stare. (At the internet shopping – ebay cries out to me in my sleep!)

Time surely for a foreign holiday???

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Delayed Reaction

Mea culpa. I’m probably the most unsuccessful of continuity girls. A very poor blogger indeed. It had skipped my mind entirely (as all but the most immediate of crises tend to do nowadays). So that the barbed comment from one who may otherwise have been expected to have been more understanding, suggesting some perceived slight was perpetrated, has jolted me into what I hope is a fulsome response and, therein, a wholehearted apology.

I refer, of course, to having been tagged by the redoubtable Speccy. (Although I’m sure you will believe me when I explain that I have not entirely got to grips with Blogging Convention and had not understood the full import of Tagging and Responding).

So. without further ado, I return to the burning questions of March 23.

Cat? Dog?

Ugghhhh to both. OK across the road, on a leash held by someone else. But in my home?? Double ugggghhhh!!!

Summer? Winter?

Surely only someone who lives in a climate of perpetual desert would ask that? Standing yesterday, collecting for charity, then watching an abseil today, proved a point. There really is no question to answer here. I managed, against the odds, to save my fingers from snapping off. Now my feet have chillblains and it will take me until July to warm up. So. Do I prefer the heat??? On the other hand, as Speccy noted – I actually do have winter clothes. And the Ugg boots are soooo difficult to leave behind!

The cooking utensil I like the most?

Well. In our cutlery drawer are three? Four? Five? sets of very dinky wee measuring spoons. Not used very often during cooking, but as I say – they please me. Just a little idiosyncrasy. Which I’d certainly miss from the drawer since without them we’d be able to find the useful spoons sooooo easily!!!

And then Speccy ratcheted up the pressure: ‘what’s your favourite dish’??


Mussels in any sort of wine sauce. Monkfish. Scallops. Oysters with lime. Lobster. Ohhhhhhhh – this is too exciting….. and I’m remembering that this is approaching Easter – thoughts are supposed to be on higher things!!! (OMG – higher than lobster??????? WHAT would that be????)

But don’t worry, Speecy, you’ve put me under no pressure asking about my favourite dessert.

Todays’ lunch gave me my absolutely definitive  answer for that: hazelnut creme brulee! Ravish by ramekin!! Guaranteed to leave you gasping!!!

Skill I would like to learn in the coming year?

I was going to wax poetic/philosophic/reflective – and then I realized that what I would really like to learn is – to master this new Android phone I have now got???? (I think I mentioned that to you??) Again – I skitter off into my own fantasy land!

Next. A decision I’ve regretted.

Tooooo many to list. I absolutely regret roasting that fennel last week . It would have been much more successful if lightly fried. I absolutely regret not backpacking the world at eighteen -thirty. Now I am having to do it a fortnight a year! (And I’ll need to live until I’m three hundred and twelve to see everywhere I want to see!)

Career path?

Should have chosen something lucrative. Or exciting. Or offering world travel. Mmmmmm. What may cover all of that?? Travel journalist?? Futures Banker?? Film star?? Plain old millionnaire?? I’m up for any of the above!! Doh! I ‘m sounding soooo shallow! In hindsight I should have been born decades earlier, to pave the way for Mr Gandhi!!!

My taboo subject to be released upon the world??

That our famed Welfare State utterly fails families where children have severe disabilities? That children remain in their family homes despite extreme risk because our legislation is predisposed towards promoting family life. That fifty really is the new forty??

And then Speccy asks what my partner would say is the most irritating thing about me!!!!!

Well!!!! I’ll have you know, Speccy, there is  absolutely nothing irritating about me!!! So. enough on that!!!

And then on to the favourite book.

Aaaarrrggggghhhhhh – I’ve just realised that I’ve done this all wrong. I’ve answered the questions Speccy was asked by the person who tagged her. (Pseu). The questions for me came after this!!

Doh and double Doh!

Anyway I’ve started and so I’ll finish – my favourite book? I loved ‘The Name of the Rose’ by Umberto Eco. And more recently ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’. To prove I could be as  posey as the rest of them I would say ‘Out’ – but too many people know the story of my experience therewith!!!!

Maybe I’ll manage to get it right and follow Speccy’s tag tomorrow night!!



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