Tuesday, 22 May 2007

No, really?

The biggest non revelation must have been George Michael's confession on the Parkinson show.

He is addicted to drugs.

Um, George, we had kind of noticed.

Monday, 21 May 2007

They call that a dog?

Jose Mourinho is in trouble with the police. His dog has been transported around Europe without the proper certificates or jabs.

He is prepared to fight for his pooch which is, apparently somewhere in Portugal. His pooch? Not a sleek Borzoi, or an elegant Afghan. Not a Doberman or a Rottweiler. No. It's a Yorkshire Terrier.

That's not a dog, that's a wig with an attitude. A yorkie makes a poodle look butch.

So the next time we see Jose grumpily complaining about the referee, the weather, the fans or the other team. The next time we see him defending Britain's most expensive football team from criticism, imagine him going home to pine for his little toupee with teeth.

And laugh. Loudly.

Saturday, 19 May 2007

By George, I think I might be onto something! I hope.

Well what did I say about Eurovision? Well? I said we were doomed. That's what I said. That's what I said. You know I said it.

Well, enough said.

In a bid to save money, I read the small print for the gym membership cancellation. I tied myself in for a 12 month deal. After 12 months I was free to cancel. 12 months is this month, so I should be able to cancel the direct debit this month.

But I have to cancel in person and in writing, one month in advance. So if I give notice during May, I still have to pay the June membership fee. That's £28.95. Oh, well. I signed up to it, I have to abide by it.

My washing machine is on the blink as well. I had to have a repair done after the rubber band slipped off the motor. Then the seal came away from the front door and ever since it was repaired again it's been making an awful clattering noise when it goes into the spin cycle.

I've been slowing down the cycle and letting the tumble drier take the strain but now, at 400 rpm it makes a hellish noise. I pulled it out to take the back off it and see if anything was interfering with the drum and found a large pile of cement dust. The concrete blocks which prevent the machine dancing round the kitchen are out of alignment and have been knocking against the carcass of the machine.

I won. Nope not the ENGLISH PRIZE DARW but a real competition that I actually entered. I win a months free tram travel. Yep. It saved me £44 for the next 4 weeks so I'm not complaining.

It was sent by Special Delivery. Which I wasn't there to sign for. So I have to hoof it up to Heath Town to the Sun Street mail sorting office to pick it up. That's like being asked to travel out to Brixton to pick up your mail. Opening times are 06:30 to 19:30 weekdays so I must be able to avoid the crackheads at some stage.

I earned a few brownie points with my supervisor. I told her I needed a day off to go to the doctor on Monday (a routine follow-up after the nasal swabs) and she asked me if I could change that day off as there were so many people off next week.

So I did. I changed my doctor's appointment for June 1st and organised the washing machine repair man to show up the same day. He told me not to use the machine until then. I'll do my best, but that's over 2 weeks away. The only launderette is a looooong bus ride across town.

The supervisor was happy with that and gave me a big smile. Just as well. On Thursday I received good news.

I've got a job interview.

For next Friday.

When I was down in London, I bought the local paper and saw a job being advertised. £22k pa. That's enough money to pay the Wolverhampton bills, live with Dad, look after the house and pay my share of the bills down in London. I could travel up to Wolverhampton now and again and check the house is still standing. It would be hard work but it could get me the general experience I need. I just need to brush up on GCSE, A Level and vocational sciences.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

All these opportunities, so little time to turn them down

I've been temping from November 2006, so that means I've been eking out my savings for the best part of 6 months. I must have found something to do by this time? I just can't afford to be picky.

Any reader thinking that is absolutely right - just look at the offers I've been getting. And I've turned them down even. What was I thinking?

We have found your resume at Monster and we would like to offer you a job.

It is a part-time job that consists of receiving payments from customers (through bank transfers) and then making further payments to our main office or to one of our regional affiliated departments, depending on the customer's location.

Your commission as an agent is 6% of each transaction. For example, if you receive 2000 pounds to your bank account, you will withdraw the money and keep 120 pounds for yourself. The salary is commission based only and you will earn approximately 12000 pounds per year.

The hours for this work are flexible and can be combined with any permanent or other part-time job, with an average workload of up to 10 hours a week.

All additional money transfer fees and money transfer-related charges are covered and paid for by our company. Therefore, you will only be responsible for making the proper payments in time ( i.e. within 48 hrs of successful receipt into your account).

Each transaction will be transferred only after prior notification, which will sometimes be a notification by phone call. Please note that you can work from home but this job cannot be done online, you need physically withdraw/send money from nearest branches.

Our company's principal business is based on a peer-to-peer type payment network, this business model heavily employs all the latest internet technologies. We are one of only a few companies that use regional representatives in its business operations. This avoids high foreign taxation and cross-board acquisition fees.

If you are interested in our offer, please feel free to ask for details of the general provisions of the contract.

Best regards,Nicole Ott

or this, which arrived in my hotmail account


Reply-to: enward.1@hotmail.com

TICKET NUMBER:022-111-009

Attention Sir/Madam, We happily announce to you the English Email Award draw held in the UK on 17thof May,2007.

Your e-mail address attached to the lucky winning numbersbelow:23, 29, 39, 49, 51, which subsequently won you the lottery bonus drawer.

You have therefore been approved to claim a total sum of $2,500,000(Two million and five hundred thousand dollars).

To file for your claim, please contact our fiduciary agent via the email: rowchamsuk@aim.com You are to provide him with the information's below via email( rowchamsuk@aim.com)
3.Marital Status:
8.Country Of Residence:
9.Telephone Number:
10.Fax Number:
11.Draw Number above:
12.company/brief description:
13.Annual Income:
14.Date of Draw:

Congratulations. Sincerely freeman Johnson

I don't know, I'm just not sure.

What do you think?

Saturday, 12 May 2007


The Bank Holiday was a washout. What I thought was a cold (on top of my hayfever) turned out to be a more serious bacterial infection of my sinuses. I realised this on Monday (the Bank Holiday) when I was stuck with some very strange snot (sorry) and extreme pain on breathing. If I blew my nose it felt as if I was drowning and if I did blow my nose it felt as if the air was on fire when I inhaled.

This has happened before. It's no fun. With the hayfever causing my sinuses to become inflamed and warm and moist, all it takes is one little buggy to settle down and start breeding in there. Most of the time the snot (again, sorry) is blown out and the bugs don't get to take a hold, however, occasionally they do and boy, don't they love it?

I got a doctor's appointment on Tuesday. He stuck a spatula up my nose, twisted it sideways and, after shining a torch up my left and right nostrils in turn, took a very painful swab before prescribing antibiotics. Strong ones.

I went back to the warehouse on Thursday. This, of course, means that I only got two days work done so I'll get about £60 next week. Brilliant.

And I've got to go back for the result of the swabs and a check up. More time off work, even better.

While I'm sitting here in the library, look what I'm missing, just look at what I'm depriving myself of

Sound Bath with Gong and Singing Bowls
A special 2 hour workshop with Tracey Mills
Gentle and deeply relaxing sound bath in the beautiful setting of Bantock House and gardens. No effort required - just lie down and allow yourself to be bathed in the rich and nurturing sound of the gong and singing bowls.
Please wear loose, comfortable clothing and bring 2 blankets or shawls.
COST : £10
Saturday 12th May 12 - 2pm
Bantock House (Performance Space), Finchfield Road, Wolverhampton
Refreshments available from Bantock House cafe.

So, that's a £10 charge to sit in a garden and listen to a gong being banged. And bring your own blankets. In this weather?

It's also the 52nd Eurovision Song Contest Finals. Having heard Scooch and heard about them, I think I can safely say we're doomed.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

One more thing I hate about modern life

Scented panty liners anyone?

Some Einstein has decided that we really really need scented sanitary wear.

I bought what I thought was my usual brand of panty liners and only when I got them home did I realise that the little flower logo by the Alldays brand name signified scent.

I took it back to Sainsbury's where I bought it and swapped it for Carefree brand. I don't usually buy it but had to swap for it as the Sainsbury's own brand and my usual liners had run out.

I have since found out the hard way that these too were scented. Two liners later and I was walking funny. Have I mentioned that I react to artificial perfumes?

I've had to throw an opened but nearly full and expensive Carefree box away and pitch up at Boots looking for thrush treatment and yet another box of unscented liners.

Boots usually stock my normal Allways brand but no. There was a special offer on and the shelf was empty. There were, however, any number of scented liners.

Take the hint fellas. If something isn't selling there tends to be a good reason why.

And for the bastard who thought of scented panty liners, just stand against a wall and wait to be shot please.

Thank you.

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Things that make me go hmmnn

I was going to ask about extra work at the West Bromwich warehouse. I'm not even earning £200 a week.

Just as well as I didn't.

I'm earning £5.94 per hour. The permanent employees are earning minimum wage. I'm earning about 60p an hour more than they are. To ask for more when they are feeling the financial squeeze would be a bit cheeky.

Thursday afternoon the site manager stood up on the portable stairs and, using it like a pulpit, had a little talk with everyone "not to worry anyone" but to "get them all on board".

There have been errors when they outsourced the IT functions to Malaysia (Malaysia? India wasn't far enough away??) and yes, things are moving very slowly. They are monitoring the IT systems for any changes and reporting to London on a regular basis.

However, there are pressures to reduce headcount but nothing has been finalised yet.

Then we were allowed to go early.

There was a chat to people "in the know" at Black Lake. There are approximately 150 people at the warehouse. There is a plan (not finalised yet) to get rid of about 70 people. There are 60 temps so that could potentially see a loss of 10 permanent employees.

It could take weeks for anything to be finalised and, as they are swamped with work at the minute, they won't be getting rid of too many people too quickly. That would be silly.

I suspect that once the IT functions pick up, they will be moving a lot of people on. I'm part of the monitoring process. For the past week I've been keeping a time log. I've got a form to fill in so that when I perform a specific function on the database, I have to log the time it takes. Once an hour. The 'freezes' between screens are embarrassingly long. I've got time to flip through a few pages of a magazine when I flip between screens.

Part of my current employers' job is to monitor the efficiency of the Royal Mail. They do this by seeding real Royal Mail mailing lists with the names of volunteer panellists who have agreed to be sent stuff in the post.

Mail shots, magazine subscriptions and correspondence from utility companies, banks and Government agencies are all sent out in monitored batches and then, after they've been delivered to the panellists, they are sent to the West Bromwich warehouse along with details about when they arrived and in what condition.

After all the envelopes have been opened and the mail sorted into categories, each item has to be logged onto the database and batched. That's where I come in. That's my job. To take box after box of magazines and log the labels that have been attached to the mail items by the recepients.

And what magazines?!

There are the normal magazines that everyone has heard of - Private Eye, Good Homes, Gardeners' World, The Economist, Autosport and so on.

The Times supplements - Nursery World, THES, TLS, TES and more.

Then there are the lesser read more "specialist" lay magazines and newspapers for enthusiasts that you still might find in a darker corner of WH Smith - The Week, Mac User, Trout and Salmon, Shooting Times (sent under plain cover like porn), Country Walking, Garden News.

The publications from smaller niche publishers such as Christian Publishing House - Woman Alive, Funeral Services Journal or Rebellion - 2000AD show up regularly. I like Fridays. Lunchtimes I get to catch up with Judge Dredd.

Then there are the niche, the specialised and the "industry specific" journals and publications - Law Society Gazette, Farmers Weekly, Scottish Farmer, Woodworking News, Design Week, Communications Review, Campaign, The Appointment (specialising in retail), Mortgage Solutions and so on and so forth.

The sorters routinely "sort out" any kind of free gift like packets of seeds, diaries, calendars and free magazines and catalogues - you know the sort of thing "FREE! In this weeks issue 50 space saving ideas for your kitchen!". Whoopee.

All these and the specialist social and health care magazines all pass before me. Nursing Older People. Nursing Standard. Nursing Management. Regeneration and Renewal. Children Now. Young People Now. Building. Social Care and Practice.

The really specialist ones have titles that don't mess you around. There's no need to keep guessing what they're about.

Bus and Coach Buyer. The second hand pages at the back of that one are surreal.

Environmental Health News. Front page of this weeks issue - man falls and nearly hurts himself on a rotten staircase at a pub.

The BMJ Publishing Group have the BMJ (of course) and Heart (just that, Heart), their Thorax magazine is rarely seen round my way but now and again we see (oh the glamour conjured by this title) Gut.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

EDUCASHUN NEWZ (Private Eye No 1183)

College fraudster Stuart Spacey, currently serving 18 months for conspiracy to defraud a subsidiary of Barnsley College (Eyes passim), has been ordered to pay a £470,063 confiscation order or face an increased jail term of up to 4 years.

Spacey pleaded guilty last year of conspiring with the then college principal David Eade to defraud Progress Training over seven years through the operation of bogus sub-contractors. The case against Eade has been left on file on the grounds that he is not well enough to stand trial.

That's my old college. Great.