All posts by scooby


Well, I have an aptitude test tomorrow afternoon for the internal vacancy I applied for a few weeks back. If I pass this (which I’m *reasonably* confident about) I get an interview (which I’m rather less confident about but still think my chances are good).

But, during the ‘I have to get out of this job’ angst which set in just after I put in my application, I also cast my eyes around outside my current employer, and applied for a job which just sounded like something I would enjoy. The closing date was two and a half weeks ago, and I’d come to the conclusion I’d been rejected and could focus on my internal transfer. Then, late on Saturday evening, I got home to find a large, fat A4 envelope from the external employer (it’s a university) and correctly divined that this would be an invitation to interview. A week on Tuesday, in fact.

So now I’m in a bit of a panic. Viewed objectively, the external move is unwise financially. It’s quite a drop in pay, pension and maternity pay are not so good (altho not bad) and being in central London it will cost more to travel to w*rk. On the other hand, it has the following good points:

It looks like being mostly tasks I enjoy doing, and feel competent in.
I think it would be a great environment to work in.
It might be a foot in the door to a career I’ve often contemplated, but never actually proceeded with.
I would only have to give my current employer a month’s notice (this is very attractive because if I proceed down the internal vacancy route, I’m going to be in my current role until at least September, quite possibly months after this).

I fully appreciate that it’s great to be in a position of having options. It’s just that I said I’d push a door and see what happened, and now I’ve got scared.

Anyway, I should know tomorrow whether I got through the aptitude test, and I’ll update then.

Things to do tomorrow

Go to w*rk, try and decide how to address the thing I feel is unfair, but thought was too small to bother about, and now know is bigger than I realised.

Vote, vote, vote.

Go to church, contemplating the Ascension and the likelihood of the sermon mentioning THAT chapel at Walsingham.

Watch BBC London, through fingers, trying not to contemplate the possibility of B*ris J*hns*n* becoming Mayor.

Planning Ahead

Having undergone the first part of the annual torture that is appraisal, I thought I would give you an overview of what I’m really aiming for:

My goals for the next few months:

i) Obtain new job with less grief.
ii) Get appointment with fertility clinic (probably to get referred straight on to specialist endo clinic).
iii) Get house reasonably tidy and keep up with cleaning chores.

My strategies for achieving the above:
i) Peruse weekly internal vacancies, useful websites and Monday’s Evening Standard, apply for suitable positions.
ii) Complete and send back form explaining that we are not axe-murderers and do not already have 10 children each.
iii) Re-read entire Harry Potter series in order to research how and where house-elves may be obtained.

Well? SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-Specific) or what?

Funky Cold Medina

Well, round about Christmas I said to Spike that wouldn’t it be great to go to the Wightmeet, and amazingly we actually got our butts in gear and signed up. So, on Friday morning we set off to spend three days with Shipmates, appropriately enough on a boat. We were giving a lift to Agent Smith, who lives about five miles away from us. It took us 45 minutes to get to her house. The joys of a London rush-hour, with added roadworks. AFter that we had a smooth run down to catch the ferry at Southampton. I was very proud of myself not whimpering and feeling barfy on the hour-long crossing, but then it would have been embarrassing otherwise, as the Solent has been described as ‘a moat’ by Smudgie, and as ‘just a big river really’ by my mum. Once on the Island, we had a ride to Ryde on the the Island Line, which uses old London underground tube trains. The fare of 80p return was not something you’d find on the Bakerloo line, mind. After burgers and chips on the seafront (knotted hankies not being worn) we headed to the boat and nabbed ourselves cabins. Gradually Shipmates began to arrive, and we headed off to Smudgie Towers to meet PeteC and to collect Smudgelet, who led us on a walk to the Secret Beach (no, I can’t tell you where it is). The walk back from the beach became a long walk up hill towards the church hall where we were provided with silly games, delicious chilli and marvellous muffins, not to mention the chocolate puddle (it should be a fountain, but the chocolate fondue refuses to bubble up to the top). After that it was back to the boat for an evening of wine and, if I remember rightly, fairly deep and meaningful conversation about the nature of prayer and of Christian community.

The next morning we met up at the beautiful Norman church of St Edmund and set off on a Treasure Hunt. I didn’t do *too* badly on the ‘reading directions’ front, and avoided getting beaten up by my team for not realising there were picture bonuses until we’d passed the picture of a red squirrel. We eventually arrived at Ventnor Botanic Gardens in respectable time (unlike some other groups) for a picnic. After this, Spike and I headed off for a bit of nostalgia, going first to the seafront at Ventnor, where Spike was able to identify the hotel where he’d stayed on a School Journey in 1975, and where we found the fibreglass relief model of the Island, with exclamations of ‘Oh, yeah, I remember that, but I’d forgotten I remembered it if you know what I mean’. After this we went on to Sandown, where I had had a holiday nearly every year from some time in the early seventies until around 1987. I had been describing to Spike the trampolines on the beach, which instead of being raised up were at ground level, with a pit dug in the sand underneath to allow bounce. I was delighted to find these very trampoline pits were still there and clearly still operating in the summer, although the canvases had been taken off for the winter. Maybe childhood doesn’t change so much after all.

In the evening we drove in convoy (with some entertaining circling round roundabouts) to a quayside pub in Newport (where the river, and consequently the local council and many of the amenities, are called Medina – did you see what I did there?). After indulging in unfeasibly large desserts, we headed back. Our party were treated to a cicular tour of Newport courtesy of the SatNav, and some rude words courtesy of Spike as he tried to reprogramme the SatNav to get home. I’d like to report that we spent another evening in serious discussion, but in fact Emma discovered a copy of The Lady (rather dated magazine for posh er, ladies), offering advice to a woman who was trying to find plastic cuff protectors to wear when doing the washing-up. The advice from our party was along the lines of ‘get a life’ and a new feature, ‘Ask Auntie Doris’ was launched and may be appearing somewhere on the Ship soon.

On Sunday morning, as the forecast had predicted, it snowed. Quite heavily. It was lovely to watch the flakes whirl past the portholes as we breakfasted, not quite so lovely going up and down the gangplanks. A select few of us were heading off to church, but not before further swearing from Spike as he brushed snow from the roof of the car and then realised that he had left the driver’s door open and the aforementioned snow was now on his seat. The little Methodist church coped admirably with the influx of visitors, even when we, a bunch of Anglicans with a Baptist and a Canadian Presbyterian thrown in, found we’d sat where the distribution started from and performed some interesting slightly-lost Communion Conga shuffling. By the time we left church the snow had pretty much gone, apart from some white strips in the hedgerows and a few residual ex-snowmen in gardens.

After church we acquired the Smudgelet as a passenger-cum-SatNav, a role he performed admirably in. We had a lunch of sandwiches and unfeasibly large slices of cake at the Lavender Farm before heading over the beautiful Downs to Brading to visit the Roman Villa and its impressive mosaics. In the evening we had dinner, and unfeasibly large desserts (can you see a theme developing here?) at a pub nearer to home, where I gave Spike permission to sample the local beer (um, London Pride?) and Agent Smith and Lilypad survived my driving them back to the boat, and my even more scary parking, which for once was accomplished without any sweary stuff passing between husband and wife. After further wine-and-problem-page silliness we settled down for the last night on the boat. On Monday morning we gathered our goods and chattels and headed off to visit places of interest for the morning before catching the ferry. Tractor Girl and lilypad were dead cultured and went to visit Queen Victoria’s country retreat Osborne House, while the others were off to Amazon World. Spike, Agent Smith and I donned our anoraks and set off for the Bus Museum, but found it closed and joined the others at Amazon World to see marvellous creatures including meerkats, beautifully coloured macaws, armadilloes (crunchy on the outside, smooth on the inside) and capybara (sheep-sized guinea pigs, the largest rodents in the world). Sadly it was soon time to catch the ferry, and from there on into Saff Landan, to do the checks – house still standing, cat still speaking to us. Just up the road from home, I noticed the strange white blobs scattered across Streatham Common, and then remembered – more ex-snowmen. Sometimes you read the papers and worry that children, particularly urban children, have forgotten how to play, and then you realise … and the Wightmeet remiinded me that adults can play, too. Many thanks to Smudgie for organising everything, and to everyone who made this a brilliant weekend.

NB I promise not to use the phrase ‘unfeasibly large’ again for a reasonable period of time.

I will survive, hey hey

Well, I got the job application in eventually.

I’ve mentioned recently that w*rk wasn’t going too well. On Tuesday, back after the long weekend, it hit a new nadir of suckularity. I’m now ploughing my way out of the mess – should hopefully be up to date tomorrow and then just have to watch out for falling behind again. I’m so glad now that I put the job application (for transfer to a different section and type of work in the same large public-sector body I currently work for) in. However, internal transfers move at snail’s speed, and if I’m successful in this application I don’t envisage changing jobs until at least September, possibly later. This is feeling very tough. I’ve been feeling very overwhelmed and weepy this evening.

I felt like just going to bed without reading my Daily Office, but decided I’d give it a go. Obviously, before doing anything actually constructive on the computer, it’s necessary to check a few necessary web places. For some reason I checked my blog and found Ian’s last comment (thank you Ian). I hadn’t had email notification (I think because we’ve changed our addresses recently, probably something to sort out), and this led me on to check Spike’s blog for comments. There weren’t any new ones, but I found myself reading through Spike’s account of the last few years. And there, as the hymn has it (No 485 if you have a New English Hymnal on your desk like we do) ‘The wondrous tale is written, full clear on every page’. We’ve waded through some terrible mires together and, with God’s help, here we are. I’ve wept again, happier tears this time.

My go-to-bed-at-a-sensible-time plan has failed tonight, as I have to get up for you-know-where in five and a half hours’ time. But I think I’m off to look at the Daily Office first. And I promise to write something funny next time.

Tina xx

Oh deary me

I have a job application to fill in. Now being a female, English, introvert whose confidence in her abilities at w*rk is feeling rather knocked at present, trying to state explicitly and categorically how incredibly competent I am is making various improbable bits of my anatomy clench and curl up.

This may be the only time I’ve ever been forcing myself to stay at my computer, whilst itching to go and do some housework.

It never rains on Palm Sunday

(This was something our last-but-one parish priest used to say, and which Spike frequently used to quote. In fact he was saying it right up to this morning when I pulled back the blind and peered out, and he asked, ‘What’s it doing out there?’)

I was going to have a good whinge about my present state of mind. Then I looked through some of my previous blog entries and lo and behold, I said it all already. On 30th November last year, in fact. The only thing that’s changed is that w*rk-wise, the shit did hit the fan and I am now plodding around with the pooper-scooper. However, this is an improvement on living in anxious anticipation. Some little things have changed for the better recently (someone else’s story to tell), but I’m feeling like it’s time to really focus on sorting my life out, and on w*rk being something I do for seven and a quarter hours, five days a week and then leave behind.

So, the weight issue … I’ve got a couple of plans. I think my first weapon may be – fabric softener. Oh yes.

Dreaming dreams

It’s been a long week of early shifts for me this week, rounded off yesterday with an enjoyable but exhausting post-work quiz night yesterday , which meant a day that began with my alarm at 5.20am and ended with getting home just after midnight. So maybe it’s not surprising that I’ve slept a lot today; till about 8.15 this morning and, outrageously, for about three and a half hours this afternoon (I love napping, but usually find that after a long ‘un I can’t sleep at night. Tonight, however, as I write this at 10.20pm I feel the need of matchsticks to keep my eyes open).

Where all this self-absorbed rambling is leading to is that I’ve had a lot of dreams over the past 24 hours, mostly variations on familiar themes. There’s the one that we suddenly discover a new room in our home, which we’ve never used. This tends to be a kitchen. I’m not really sure two kitchens would be all that useful, but hey. I suppose the significance of this dream could be simply wishing we had more space*, but I can’t help thinking it’s probably about hidden parts of myself, ooer. The home in that dream was a flat in a large block that we have never lived in, but I also dreamed at some point that the landlady (Evil Dream Landlady, not the real one who is very nice as far as I can tell) was in our current house, telling the agent that we had not kept the place tidy (which is true) and that we had ruined the fireplace (the house was built in the 1980s and doesn’t have fireplaces), and that she wanted us out of the property tomorrow (which I’m sure is illegal under the Rents Something-or-Other Act). I was shouting ‘Hello, I am here, you know’ at them, but they were ignoring me.

* I don’t have them so often now, but a while back I used to have dreams where someone showed us a modest but pleasant house, and offered to either rent it to us for £10 a month, or sell it to us for £20,000. I suppose that’s why they call them dreams.

Things left undone is another persistent dream theme for me. I graduated over eight years ago, yet still find myself having dreams where I suddenly realise that I have a huge essay due in a few days on a topic I know nothing about and have done no research on. A variation on this in my dreams today was my boss telling me that I had to write about five pages of stuff for my PDR (annual appraisal).

So there we are. Oh, and being ignored while I shriek with long-suppressed rage, desperately trying to put my point across is, another theme. Hmmm, who’da thunk? I will try and unpack this a bit more later, but just now I need to sleep. I have been awake for nearly five hours, y’know.

It’s possibly time to go to bed …

… when you have to think for a few seconds about whether a banana is yellow or pink. Truthsign, thanks for the heads-up about getting Traidcraft Christmas cards. It raises the horrible spectre of the word ‘organised’, but I really think I will have to do some of that next year, as earlier today I was hit by the ‘constant round of things to do’ blues, and wimped out of going with Spike this evening to meet a friend of his, as I’ve been out every night since last Wednesday. Although I have to admit, I did eat four restaurant meals in that time, only one of which I paid for 😀 Yesterday, we did the mad-but-kind-of-has-to-be-done shopping trip around Croydon, where Spike surpassed himself by buying some truly inspirational presents, and we demonstrated the gender gap by him going into the Gents in Marks & Spencer, doing the necessary and coming out again *while I was still in the queue to get inside the door of the Ladies*.

My plans for the next 24 hours include: go to bed (as I may have mentioned), get to w*rk for 7am ish (zzz), hope to be released from w*rk asap, buy last-minute present for parents, go to children’s Crib Service, write cards for church folk (told you I was disorganised), eat dinner, go to Midnight Mass. Then just the 1am present-wrapping to go before I sleep. My Christmas dinner will be cooked for me (as usual!). Yeah, I know, I have it easy!

Sooo, I will proceed, wishing you all a merry Christmas (tho’ you have to wait a bit, Ian!). Oh, and if you happen to be reading this and are getting married before the year is out, very best wishes to you too 😀 Christmas weddings rock.

‘Come, thou long-expected Jesus, born to set thy people free,
From our fears and sins release us
Let us find our rest in thee.’