Friday, March 31, 2006

Rat Catcher

A vermin exterminator came to the office today. He was driving in a new Jaguar, registration plate J777 RAT

I swear this is true.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Vegetable progress 2

Vegetable progress: minus 1

Our struggling seeds have suffered 2 set-backs.
1) Since sowing the rain has poured down, making the soil around the poor buggers like cold, partially set cement. If they germinate I will be amazed.
2) A local cat (little ginger bastard...) has taken a fancy to our lovely raked soil and now uses it as an enormous virgin litter tray. Our lettuce seeds were dug up, then shat on. We have removed the poo and fortified the beds with chicken wire. (Obviously this is the royal 'We'. Nick removed the poo. I stood and grimaced, throwing in the odd word of encouragement and marveling at the peculiar colour of it)

All this is taking place in our front garden. The neighbours must think we are absolutely barking mad.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Vegetable progress

Nick and I planted our potatoes and strawberries, and sowed the carrot, radish and lettuce seeds on Sunday. We have now become slightly obsessed and paranoid about the progress of our vegetable babies.

This morning we were both out there, staring in hope at the bare soil. Nothing. So, after 3 days, the progress report must read: NIL

Am I expecting too much of Mother Nature?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

My ever expanding arse

Unfortunately married life is taking it's toll. I am getting fatter.

It is a well known fact that single women come home, look what's in the fridge and go to bed. Married women come home, look what's in the bed and go to the fridge.

(Only kidding darling)

Monday, March 27, 2006

tilting at windmills

For years I have wondered what the phrase 'tilting at windmills' means and where it comes from.

Recently I listened to 'in our time' on Radio 4 where they discussed Don Quixote for an hour, mentioning again and again how he 'tilted at windmills', and how this was a manifestation of his insanity. I grew more and more frustrated because of their assumption that I knew what the phrase meant. Well, now, thanks to the world wide t'interweb, I do. In case you also need to know, here's the definition:

'To tilt at windmills is to confront and engage in conflict with an imagined opponent or threat. The idiom alludes to Miguel de Cervantes's Don Quixote, a popular Spanish novel written in the seventeenth century. The title character, Don Quixote, attacks a group of windmills with his lance at full tilt (poised to strike) when he mistakes them for a group of ferocious giants.'

My quest for knowledge continues. I must now read Don Quixote. Has anyone read it? is it any good?

Friday, March 24, 2006

Colleague quote of the day

Me: (on getting back in the nice warm car after completing a survey in a freezing cold building) I didn't like being in that gloomy house, especially in the pitch black bits.

(Drive for 2 minutes. Pass sign for Natural Burial site.)

Me: Urgh, I'd hate to be buried, all cold and dark.
Colleague: Yeah, but your eyes soon get used to it.

I think I can safely assume from this that my colleauges don't listen to me.

colleague quote of the day

"I'm 30 minutes late for a meeting to tell the Client we are 6 weeks delayed and half a million pounds over budget. Wish me luck"

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Envelope etiquette

I've noticed that I automatically write in small writing on small envelopes, and big writing on big envelopes. In fact I like to use big fat marker pens when writing on A3 envelopes for extra effect.

Is this strictly necessary? Presumably the postman can read small writing just as well whatever sized envelope it's written on. I suppose it just looks a bit silly: A teeny weeny address, lost and alone in a vast desert of brown paper. And if your address gets lost, then what hope for the actual parcel once it is sent into the abyss that is the Royal Mail?

No, I think I'll stick with my chunky writing, just to be on the safe side.


I have re-discovered cuteoverload again. How did I live without it?

Monday, March 20, 2006

It's a very bizarre fact that the same food can taste totally different if it is eaten or prepared differently.

For example I just ate a chocolate digestive. (just to maintain my cleavage you understand - see previous post) By accident I put it in my mouth upside down -that is, with the chocolate on the bottom. It just didn't taste right. I flipped it and bingo, the biscuit I know and love was back.

The same strange thing happens with sandwiches. Cut the bread in half to make two rectangles and it's a normal sandwich. Cut it diagonally and it's delicious, succulent and, miraculously, has less crust! Cut it diagonally again and you're in some kind of sandwich utopia. Even the most basic ham sarnie is amazing cut diagonally into quarters.

And cheese! Sliced it's one animal, grated, and it's a whole new beast.

I think this subject needs more investigation so I'm off to find the chocolate digestives...


Cleavage: the ultimate calorific consolation prize.

The more you eat, the fatter you get, the better cleavage you develop. Diet and it shrinks. What better excuse to eat cream buns?

Friday, March 17, 2006

Apologies for the lack of posts this week.

Despite the huge life-changing decisions made in the past 7 days I have been surprisingly devoid of interesting things to talk about. Not only have I been devoid of interesting things, I have been devoid of anything to talk about!

It all boils down the motivation problem I have developed this week at work. It's really hard to work your notice AND give a shit about what you're doing. Consequently I am mainly surfing the internet and tidying up, with the odd e-mail thrown in delegating work to other poor sods.

I have been late every single day this week, and have left the office at 5.29 with a flourish. I am trying to be a model employee but it's just not happening. Oh well. I'll enjoy it while it lasts!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

8 minute poem

Our snowlady is slumped, tired and sad,
with no hope of recovery.
She is past her prime.

The gentle rays of the sun,
life-giving to all other forms of life,
slowly melt away her very soul.

She leans forwards, shoulders sagging,
head lolling, until at last she falls.
Her gravel teeth clatter on the ground,
twiggy hair soggy,
carrot nose rotten.

We gave these inanimate things life
for one short wintry day.
Now they lie, dead again,
while the daffodils push up around them.

Monday, March 13, 2006

snow lady closeup

snow lady closeup
Originally uploaded by nicktryg.
Nick did a little cosmetic dentistry to our snowlady...


snow lady
Originally uploaded by nicktryg.
Here's the snowlady we made this weekend. Beautiful isn't she?

New Job

I have got a new job. Upsides are:

More cash
Less hours (only doing 4 days a week, possibly 3 in future - hurrah)
Local, so I can walk to work instead of hacking off down the motorway.

Downsides are:

Dunno yet, but you can bet your bottom dollar there will be some. I mean, it's work - that's a downside in itself.

I will be working only 4 days a week so will have more time to do the things that I love, like my crafty stuff. In that past I have tentatively begun little businesses making cards and soap, doing craft fairs and selling to gift shops, but I've never had enough time to make it any more than a hobby.

I'm not expecting to be the next Alan Sugar or anything, I just want to spend some time doing the things that I find fun. Much as I like being an Architect, (and I do usually like it) sometimes I forget what's 'fun' about spending 8 hours a day manipulating coloured lines on a computer screen. So, hopefully my new job will increase my satisfaction as an Architect as well as give me more time to fiddle around with paints, glue and glitter. What could possibly be better?


I have resigned from my job.

I'll update you with the details when I've got more time.

Friday, March 10, 2006


me: Here you go Duncan, a nice cup of tea
Duncan: cheers.

Five minutes later:
Duncan: This is a very strong cup of tea

another 5 minutes later:
Duncan: (splutter, cough, spit) urgh, whats this????
Me: what?
Duncan: you've left the tea bag in the mug. (narrows eyes) This is attempted murder. I've got your cards marked young lady....

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The topics that matter in life

As you must know by now, I like to tell it how it is. I don't beat about the bush. I don't skirt around the edges of the topics that really matter - I get right in there and poke them with a big stick til they yelp.

So, I would like to put to you a question that I can guarantee every single one of you will have grappled with at some point in your lives.

When suffering from Diarrhoea and need to go immediately in a public loo, or perhaps in the office, what is the best way of doing it quietly so no-one else can hear? Do you just go for the quick splurge, or try and control it's decent into the bowl at a slower pace?

It's a horrible affliction made 100 times worse by the embarrassment factor. If, by bringing these things into the open, I can reduce the embarrassment factor for everyone then my work here will be done.

That's my excuse anyway.


Two things I read caught my attention yesterday.

1) It is ten years since the Spice girls shot to fame with their no.1 hit, Wannabe

2) It is ten years since Mad Cow disease spread like wild fire resulting in the slaughter of 8 million mad cows.

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction - Does this work with mad cows too?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

busy day at the office?


well have a go at this cat quiz and seehow you fare

How to get clever

Apparently there are some simple steps you can take and in one week you will be 15% cleverer.

You need to do the following:

Clean your teeth with your 'wrong hand'
Use your computer mouse in your wrong hand for an hour a day
memorise your shopping list
watch countdown
Eat a portion of oily fish
look in the dictionary, find a new word and then use it in conversation.
loads of other equally mundane odd things.

I read this whilst eating breakfast and decided to put it to the test. I went upstairs and attempted to clean my teeth with my left hand. I promtly jabbed my toothbrush hard into my upper palette and then into my bottom gums and gave up.

When I got to work I found it was too complicated to reorganise the jumble of cables behind my desk to enable left-handed mouse use, so gave that up too.

Then I lost interest in the rest of the list. I'll just have to remain stupid for the rest of the week.

Cleaning regime

My mother in law is coming to stay for the weekend. This has initiated a full scale RED cleaning alert.

I have 3 levels of cleanliness, classified as follows:

Normal everyday acceptability.
Tasks involve: Half hearted tidy up, speedy dust along visible surfaces, hoovering (around the furniture) spray bathroom cleaner around bathroom and rinse off with shower, bung bleach down loo.

Friends visiting - higher level of cleanliness required.
Tasks involve: Tidy up all crap, thorough dusting of surfaces, hoover inc. moving furniture, thorough scrubbing of bath, basin and loo.

mother-in-law visiting - top level of cleanliness essential
Tasks involve: Clean windows, wash hard floors, hoover with enthusiasm, clean bathroom til shining, including that annoying bit around the bottom and back of the loo, consider cleaning oven (would have to be a red* alert for me to do this) Thorough going over of spare bedroom, bleach all kitchen surfaces, ensure all laundry is put away and not left hanging around on radiators. (handy tip: if you really want to impress your mother in law, leave out the ironing board with some of her sons freshly iron shirts hanging beside.) Stock up fridge with healthy and hearty meal options, ready to fend off the 'is she feeding you properly' criticism.

I have to qualify this by saying that my Mother-in-law is really nice. She would never criticise my housekeeping, and is a very easy guest to have staying. I joked about my mad cleaning spree on the phone last night to her and she said 'oh don't bother, I wouldn't even notice anyway!'

I'm still bothering - you never know...

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Cleaning tip

Christian has yet again been moaning about the lack of girly posts on this blog. So, especially for him, here is my top cleaning tip of the month:

Difficulty in getting your stainless steel appliances to sparkle like the day you bought them? Fed up with streaky marks?

Simply wipe over with baking soda! Your stainless steel with be spotless, streak and grease free in a jiffy.

If you are REALLY boring and have nothing better to do with your life than clean, wipe a thin layer of baby oil over the steel to give it that final sparkle.

Social engineering

There has been lots in the media lately about controlling population numbers.

There are arguments for increasing the numbers of babies born to relieve the impending pensions crisis. Currently there are 4 working people for every retired person. In 30/40 years there will be just 2 working people for every 1 retired person.

Putting away stacks of cash for your retirement won't help - there won't be enough people to produce the food we need, or health workers to keep us all alive. We can save all the money we like but we can't keep food in the cellar and a doctor in the freezer in preparation for our retirement!

Some say we should decrease the numbers of babies born. Most of these arguments centre around the environment and the impact that the human species is having on this overcrowded planet.

The more I think about this subject the more I get freaked out. I always though I had free will to make my own choices about how I live my life, and if and when I reproduce. In actual fact I am just another pawn in the huge game of life played by the people with power.

If the Powers-that-be decide we need more babies they will engineer society in such a way as to force that to happen, or vice versa. I will just be another statistic, being helplessly swept along in a tide of other statistics of child bearing age. I will be offered tax incentives to reproduce, or not to reproduce, I will be encouraged to stay at home, or go back to work, the law will be changed to alter social attitudes towards sex, marriage, partnerships, money will be made available then taken away from infertile couples wanting IVF. The list of tactics goes on and on, and all this in the guise of Democracy.

Even more concerning to me: are the ideas in my head that I presumed are my own actually engineered by society? For example: I want to have 2 kids. Why 2? Is it because they would fit in my car better, buns comes in packs of 4, family tickets for the Zoo include 2 adult 2 kids? Is it because I have left having kids quite late in order to study for years and years, and I no longer have the time to have 10 children? I chose to go to uni didn't I? or did I? Was it actually a government initiative to increase the numbers of students going into Higher Education and yet again I got swept along. Having kids at 17 just isn't done these days if you are an aspiring intelligent woman of the 21st century.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not about to jack it all in and go and live in a tree house wearing sackcloth and eating acorns. I like my 3 bedroom house in suburbia and my sensible car. However I liked the idea I was autonomous but have come to realise I'm not. Not in any way shape or form. I'm just another piece in a huge game and I don't make the rules.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Another one bites the dust

To those of you have been following the tale of the rich obnoxious client of mine, I thought I would update you.

To date, 3 members of the professional team employed to build her house have fallen foul of this awful woman. They have either been sacked or left early because of her behavior towards them - I fall in the latter category.

I would seem that she has now asked that my replacement is replaced with someone else! She thought that the new Architect would be her puppet on a string. Unfortunately for her, the new puppet didn't dance to her tune, or take any of her crap, so he's out on his ear too. Our practice is running out of staff she hasn't either pissed off, insulted or sacked.

I wonder - can she not see the recurring element here? Can she not understand that maybe it's not us - IT'S HER!!!!!!!!!

Domestic Bliss

I'm afraid I am turning into a suburban housewife and loving every minute of it.

This weekend was spent in a haze of domestic bliss. I went to the post office to collect my strawberry plants and bumped into our usual postman. After a nice chat about the new Royal Mail postman hats (look out for them, they are a bit bizarre) I went to the garden centre to buy some compost and terracotta pots. Then I happily potted up my strawberries and blueberries in the garden while listening to Radio 4.

On Sunday I made my husband pancakes for breakfast and hung out the washing, humming a little ditty. In the afternoon I read my book and had a nap.

Life is good.

Friday, March 03, 2006


Last night, at Nick's suggestion, I made Toad in the Hole for tea.

It was delicious. The Yorkshire pudding was crispy, golden and soft inside, and the sausages were lovely and brown. It seems as though, in the current phase of cosmopolitan cooking, old fashioned English dishes are being side-lined, and I think this is a shame.

I am drawn into it as much as the next person. Our stock meals (the meals you don't have to think about) include fajitas, pasta and pesto, chicken tajines, stir fries, spag bog, chilli con carne, curries etc etc. There's hardly a traditional British dish amongst the lot!

So, in case you too feel a bought of nostalgia coming on, here's the recipe:

In a small roasting tin put a good slosh of vegetable oil and spread out your sausages. Use 6.

Put the tin in the oven for 10 mins at 220 degrees to brown the sausages and heat the oil.

Meanwhile, sift 125g plain flour and a pinch salt into a bowl

Make a well in the centre and break in an egg. Pour in 1/4 pint of milk. Beat together, slowly incorporating the flour into the central well. I use an electric whisk.

Add another 1/4 pint of milk and beat til smooth.

Take out the tin of oil and sausages and pour in the batter.

Put back and cook for 40/45 mins until the Yorkshire pudding has risen nicely and is golden brown.

Very simple and perfect comfort food for chilly nights.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


For many years I have been attempting to raise the profile of a new word that was invented by my father:


It's a verb and it means to simultaneously poke, prod and wiggle at something. You know, like you do when you proggle in your ear with a cotton bud, or proggle out the mud stuck between the treads of your shoes after a walk in the country.

It can also relate to the instrument you use to do the proggling: A Proggler. Nick has a proggler in his tool kit and it's his most often used tool. It mainly comes in handy for making pilot holes prior to drilling (the ultimate manly proggle) but it has endless uses.

A proggler is generally a short stumpy implement with an end adapted for the specific proggling use. So it could be a cotton bud, a bradall, a pen knife, a biro, an unbent paper clip etc.

I realised, when trying to think of examples of proggling, that most of them refer to slight unsavoury activities. They also stem from memories of my early life, when the word was used prevalently. First I thought I would not mention them to you in case you think I am totally disgusting and my family are a load of freaks, but now I'm thinking - what the heck, so here goes:

As children we had a red car seat. It was the 70's so it was a bit primitive, made of hard solid moulded plastic. My younger sister was always car sick and I remember vividly the image of my father proggling out the dried vomit from the plastic mouldings around the seat belt. He had a special proggler for this job.

As we got older the proggler got another use, mainly proggling dog poo out of our shoes. It was implicitly understood in our family that the proggler (an old knife) was not to be used for anything else other than this horrible task.

My mother is a fanatical proggler of her in-growing toe nails. She loves it. She has some special 'red scissors' she keeps especially for proggling purposes, and woe betide anyone who takes the red scissors away. Not that you'd want to after seeing what she proggled out of her feet - yeugh.

So, there you go. Take this word and embrace it. Bring it into your everyday vocabulary. It's so useful you'll wonder how you managed with out it.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Caramac, delicious or odd?

Following an office discussion on the merits of the Caramac, it came to our attention that many of us had never tried this age-old confection!

This travesty was soon put right by the purchase of 7 Caramac bars, and subsequent mass tasting session. The ensuing conversation went a bit like this:

Duncan: oooh it's nice!
Sarah: Yummy
Me: Oooh - that's lovely, haven't had one of these for years!
Duncan: it's very sweet...
Zoe: mmm, and definitely a bit gritty towards the end of the mouthful.
Roz: ...Not as nice as I remember..
Sarah: Don't know if I can finish mine
Duncan: My teeth feel funny.
Me: I feel a bit sick
Zoe: think I'll save the rest til later...
Sarah: God this is awful, I need something minty. Any chewing gum anyone?


Nice to begin with, slowly changing onto the most sickly, gross thing you have ever eaten in your life. This might have something to do with the fact that the main ingredient is vegetable fat, followed by sugar. To be avoided.
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