Thursday, January 29, 2009

Time travel 

I'm going to Hong Kong next week to give some people training in one of my company's products. The training material is falling into place (I hope), so the biggest thing on my mind, after the flight, is the eight hour time difference.

Hong Kong is 8 hours ahead of the UK. That's probably going to be a bit of a bummer in terms of jetlag and in terms of communicating with the office and also with David. I'm starting to think I will feel very isolated.

I also have rather stupidly taken to thinking of Hong Kong being 8 hours in the future which is a scary thought. It's probably something to do with the flight itinerary that tells me I will get there the following day when I fly out but arrive on the same day on the way back.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sacked for depression? 

It has been reported that Christine Laird, formerly of Cheltenham Borough Council, has been sacked for failing to disclose that she had depression in her job application of 2002. (Metro 27/01/09)

Although there are hints that the real reasons for her dismissal were more to do with poor working relations, I find it distressing that the "official" reason has been given as lying on her CV and that the "lie" was an omission that she had been suffering from depression.

What message does this give to people with depression?

Don't lie on your CV? Possibly. It is never a good idea to lie in job applications. Saying that you have certain crucial skills when you haven't can lead to trouble, for example.

Don't mention that you have, or have had, depression? Also possibly. Obviously this is an issue for the council. They felt that Ms Laird could not do her job properly if she had depression. She would not have secured her position had she disclosed that she suffered from the illness.

If you have depression, you are hardly likely to want to tell the world about it. Also, if you are brave enough to mention that you suffer from it, it is not going to help to be refused a job because of it.

It's not like it's a communicable disease is it?

Oh wait! With attitudes like Cheltenham Borough Council's, perhaps it is.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009


For Christmas, David got me a boxed set of more or less everything that Beethoven ever wrote. As I type this, I am listening to the ninth symphony and mentally comparing it to the other version I own.

How is it that one piece of music can sound so very different in the hands of another conductor and another orchestra? They all follow the same dots on the paper. They are all accomplished musicians (one hopes) or, at least, are accomplished enough to have produced a CD.

How can they sound different? And how can those differences be described? Answers on a postcard, please.

Actually, thinking about it, with all the variations that can happen in any performance, minor variations in tempo, loudness, balance of an orchestra and the positioning of microphones for the recording, it's probably amazing that any two recordings of the same piece of music actually sound anything like each other.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Very late Christmas cheer 

Someone gave me Enya's new album for Christmas. It is called And Winter Came and, although it is definitely a Christmas album, I am still listening to it in mid-January.

Part of me thinks I shouldn’t listen to it now, that Christmas has come and gone, and with it the time for songs about snow and holly. However, another part of me thinks stuff that, I like the songs and it’s a nice uplifting album. It’s a shame I didn’t buy it for myself a few weeks before Christmas as it probably would have got me in the mood a little earlier.

I’ll try to stop listening to it by June.

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Thursday, January 08, 2009


It’s one little word but sometimes, in the wrong mouth and at the wrong time, it can do untold damage.

Just before Christmas, in one of my many trips to the shops, I stopped by in the Plaza in Oxford Street, to buy a Christmas Card for David and look at leather jackets covetously.

One my way through to Smith’s, a girl at the make-up stall stopped me and asked if she could speak to me for five minutes. Foolishly, I agreed.

She tried out a bit of salt on my hands that I had to rub in while she sprayed my hands with water. That turned out very nice. My hands have rarely felt so good. However, while she was spraying, and my hands were stuck over the bowl, she started assessing me to find out what other products she could sell me.

She asked my age and I told her I was 44. She looked at the bags under my eyes (I hadn’t slept well that night) and the wrinkles around my eyes (there aren’t that many but I am 44 so there are some) and she said the hateful phrase, “you’re still young” before rambling off telling me about all the lovely products she could sell me.

But anyway … STILL?

What a bloody cheek! That is something someone with no tact might say to an eighty-year-old while laughing loudly and giving every appearance of not meaning it.

I have to say that her little announcement left me a little shocked and I didn't resist as she tried out all sorts of rubbish on my face. And yes, it did reduce the size of the bag under the eye she tried it on. However, I didn’t by any nor did I buy any of the salt. Despite the price (£25 for a box of salt!), I wasn’t prepare to take the risk that the products would have adverse effects on my skin. I told her that and, after some haggling, she accepted it and wandered off to pounce on someone else.

I went back to the office, a lot later than planned, but her little phrase has haunted me ever since.

“You’re still young.”

I know I am no spring chicken and wouldn’t want to be but there is no call for that sort of language.

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Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Year's Resolutions 

I make resolutions every year. I just checked my blog for last year and found that I am about to make the same resolutions as I did last year. My resolutions a year ago were to lose weight, save money, finish my novel and be consistent with my beard.

The only one of those I kept was the beard. I have not shaved it off or trimmed down to a goatee all year. I should be proud of that but it was more luck than determined effort.

I still need to save money. More so now than last year. I have £6000 on my credit cards. That has accumulated from the holiday to New York in 2007, the holidays with David to various parts of the UK last year, the work on my garden, a VERY expensive service for my car and my recent Travelcard purchase. And does anyone feel safe with their job right now?

I still need to lose weight although, on a positive note, I have not put on any more weight than last year and I still wear the same sized trousers. One of my planned savings, however, will mean me cancelling my personal trainer and possibly my subscription to the gym. That will make weight loss rather more difficult. Gosh, I might even have to eat less. What a thought!

And then there's my novel. I very nearly just gave up on the whole thing a few months back. That all-important first chapter wasn't falling into place as I wanted it to. Then I realised I didn't want that as a first chapter and that I didn't know my main character well enough. I know where I want to start it and I have thought more about the character so I feel in a slightly stronger position to write about her. Unfortunately Tace Holgate's back story might take the entire novel in a different direction. That means I'll have to rewrite the whole thing!

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