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The castanets, the chicken and the coach!

Today I had career coaching. I learnt I’m a secret castanet player with a love of coconuts and crap music. This was a transformative experience and one that will definitely enrich my CV and career prospects!

I set out in the morning, arrived early and grabbed a coffee and a danish. An overzealous lift of the plate saw my pastry shoot off onto the sofa next to me.

I made my way to my meeting and waited in reception (bit too long if I’m honest) and watched as the receptionist was as unhelpful as she could be to every visitor, basically dishing out ‘fuck this shit’ looks to everyone who inconvenienced her.

The lady I was meeting came down to collect me. I got off the low sofa and stepped forward to shake her hand and say hello. At which point the heal of my shoe got wedged under the sofa and as I moved forward my foot came completely free of it! There was a point where we both knew I was only continuing to hold her hand to steady myself back into my footwear!

Here’s how the career coaching conversation panned out and what I could have said that was more congruent!

Coach: ‘The purpose of today is to find out who you are’. My thought: Shit…really. We already know I can’t wear my shoes properly. What-else is there to know? What I said: ‘Great’.

Coach: ‘It’s an opportunity to ask any life questions you have in a safe environment’. My thought:  I don’t really have any life questions since I had it validated that chickens do actually eat mice as I’d suspected. What I said: ‘Perfect’.

Coach: ‘Let’s get to know you, what’s your story?’ My thought: Have I got one, shit I don’t know. Can’t you just read my blog. I like animals…like a lot… I trap, neuter and release feral cats. I’m part of a local badger club. What I said: ‘Great’.

Coach: ‘What do you like doing?’ My thought: Stroking the cat’s snout gently while she’s sleeping and trying to follow her or my boy cat when they are out and about to see where they go and how long before they notice me. What I said: ‘Leading high-performing teams and driving organisational effectiveness’.

Coach: What would you do if you could?’ My thought: Wake, drink Presecco in bed upon immediately opening my eyes and stay in my dog pyjamas all day. What I said: ‘I want to get back working in a commercial, fast paced dynamic organisation’.

Coach: ‘What get’s you all fired up?’ My thought: Singing the Spanish bits to Madonna’s La Isla Bonita and pretending to snap castanets. Animals and coconuts. What I said: ‘Working in a progressive organisation and delivering value to the business’.

Coach: ‘When are you at your best?’ My thought: Dancing to Chain Reaction, Reet Petite or sniffing coffee now I can temporarily smell. What I said: Developing and leading high performing teams in a global, matrix organisation where I have full autonomy and can be an authentic leader.

Coach: ‘What do you fear?’ My thought: Bumping into someone I’ve de-friended. Running out of tigers. That dream I had where Hitler was looking for me, wanting me to be his secretary and I was hiding in a green wheelie bin.

Coach: ‘Have you thought about setting up on your own and any business ideas’? My thought: Should I tell her about ‘Letter blox’, my idea to revolutionise the humble letter box so it doesn’t accept junk mail…no…my nephew Dean, let’s call him that because that’s er, well, his name, told me never to verbalise it to anyone because ‘only a twat would’ because it’s a stupid idea. Primarily because it doesn’t work! What I said: ‘Not really’.

That all clear, she told me I basically needed to re-write my CV. At this point it was like being in bed with a dementor from Harry Potter as that bloody thing drains my peace, hope and happiness. A CV is soulless and evil! I would rather unload and re-stack the bloody dishwasher repeatedly and hoover properly even with the pipe than do that again! And the narrative of ‘it needs a bit of work’, did not mirror the amount of notes I took, which concluded, ‘re-write me’.

The only thing I could do to make it bearable was to go and write it right there and then. If I went home, I’d put Judge Rinder on and that would be it, other than trying to dodge the sad donkey day time TV appeal.

So I found a pub. Bit grubby, the sort of place where you just know the baked beans would be darker than they should be, and had a glass of wine and cracked on. My only distraction a bloke eating crisps noisily.

Having done my CV, it was free time. So, after walking around in a bookstore for no apparent reason, I came home.

Quick change of attire and Tony (husband) and I spent time trying to get the perfect picture of Winston (dog’s) bum cheeks that have grown since he has been growing out his fur for a competition. They have grown at such a rate, it’s like watching the speeded up version of what happened to my own arse between 30 and 40!

They are hilarious and we wanted to capture them for our future enjoyment (there’s probably a register for that). He was onto us though, he kept following his butt round in a tight circle following his turkey twizler but never letting us get a picture. Nonetheless we spent a joyous afternoon trying. This is the sort of shit you can do if you get your work-life balance just right! It gives life a real sense of meaning and purpose!

Trump and the pineapples!

I need a job because I spent too long this week talking to the greengrocer about his views on the Trump administration during the exchange of two pineapples.

A job to me means many things – caring, kids, volunteering, housekeeping, looking after you…

Here’s my fun take on why since being made redundant I need to get a paid job and to learn to love Mondays again and it goes beyond Trump and the pineapples!

Top reasons I need to get a job:

13. I am thinking of following my tortilla wraps on Twitter and facebook.

12. I have far too many selfies with me as a bumble bee.

11. I’ve taken the dog out for so many walks his become lazy, no longer cocking his leg up for a wee but favouring the sit down release method instead.

10. I am showing the same level of excitement as the dog when the doorbell rings. I’ve yet to show the same level of interest in a used toilet roll and socks.

9. I only know what day it is if facebook shares a memory on my timeline.

8. I am showing an unhealthy interest in getting up in the loft and sorting it out, when it’s been treated like David Bowie’s nose for years in that we’ve been shoving all sorts up it.

7.  The only thing I have in my diary is an engagement with the dog to give him his monthly worming tablet.

6. I had a random conversation with a man about the origins of the poodle and his dog Spike, long since departed from this world and who was once chased by a bull in Torquay.

5. I have had long enough to ponder and establish that there is a clear need for agreed branding and regulation relating to the colouring of salt and vinegar and cheese and onion crisps. They should not swap between blue or green depending on brand.

4. I spent too long thinking about why the Argos screens in the collection area have never worked and remain an under-performing system since the mid 80s. I have never successfully once had my number called out to inform me my item has arrived. They are always behind. I just see my item, point to it, get it, secure another small red pencil and leave before my number is even on the flickering screen!

3. I have taken an entire walk with a local dog walker annoyed about the increasing number of poo bags left in our local meadow, and waited with him while he circles them using a yellow spray can to make a point! We also went looking together for the person leaving them in distinctive blue like freezer bags and I was far too engaged in the search.

2. I enjoyed way too much spending time with the dog sitter when collecting our dog Winston, even though Tony (husband) was openly punching me by the time we left to stop me engaging further in conversation. When we had an overly extended and informative discussion on the numbers of nesting woodpeckers spotted nearby, I think he openly sighed. I was just about to go in for my second cuppa because I was interested in learning more about the lesser spotted woodpecker when I got the ‘don’t you dare and shut up chatty mchatty look’ which lasted all the way back to the car.

But at number one, the real reason I need to get a job is…

I just can’t bear to watch the little loaded up donkey with overgrown hoofs on the day time TV fundraising appeal!

Of course there is the obvious concern too about not being potentially made homeless but I have to say the donkeys are worrying me more currently! Little respect for a species that many believe carried Mary safely on her way to Bethlehem. A willing helper who hung about waiting for the kid to be born so he could plod them back to Nazareth and we repay them by loading them up like Buckaroo!

But not working isn’t all bad. I don’t have to worry about spoiler alerts as much, particularly when I still haven’t seen the last Broadchurch, and I am using it as an opportunity to learn new skills, like trying to take the perfect picture of a coconut.

PS – the picture at the top is my Winston (aka fancy snout), helping me work on my blog.

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Coconuts and condoms

On the way into London for my latest meeting with a recruitment agency, I feel my soul leave through my back passage. It wasn’t just my soul that went, I lost my umbrella too, though fortunately that took a different exit. I left the blinking thing on the train and it was my favourite, a cat one. The fashion accessory of every City professional.

I’m later than I wanted thanks to the trains and have to take a pit stop at Liverpool Street to re-do my mascara after reading a blog, that made me cry, just a little, on the way in. Though it’s ending was upbeat and involved a banana bread.

Naturally, in a rush, busting for a wee, the toilet pay machine won’t accept any of my 10ps but is for everyone else. Mine, are all spat back out even though I keep shoving the same ones back in just harder each time and spinning them at different angles. Are we still actually doing this money in a slot thing!

Fortunately, I’m on strong steroids for my asthma and have just had a Red Bull, and the combined artificial energy is propelling me along, so I am making up time. I’ve not had this much speed mid-week since I used to wear my trainers in the office on dress down Friday.

Sat nav got me so far to my destination and then gave up, basically saying you’re on your own from here, like a tour guide abandoning a tourist in a less than desirable part of town. I need more data or a phone with a better signal!

Furious at not having previously checked out where I was going on google maps, deciding to purely rely on my phone, I walk up and down in my yellow mac swearing under my breath, like an angry big bird from Sesame Street.

I stop to ask someone for directions, hoping to apportion some of the responsibility for finding my destination onto someone else. The stranger’s pleasant smile when I asked for help set an expectation, a binding contract even, that we were now in this together and he would personally escort me to the venue.

It turns out he had no clue either. He did give me a cheeky wink when he told me he couldn’t help though, which did go some way to alleviating my stress and forgiving him for breach of contract.

Road located, I continued walking round and round annoyed at the distinct lack of numbering on buildings. It’s raining so hard now my glasses are like looking through bubble wrap!

I get to my appointment with just enough time for my glasses to steam up and to de-mist and take a seat, feeling like a damp groundsheet.

Out comes the recruiter. His hair is the height of a six foot fence and his trousers are so tight he’ll never have to worry about bicycle clips. He must be half my age, a teenager. I’ve got shoes older than he looks. Great, my future is in the hands of a 13 year old!

In a far too excitable and energetic way (and I’ve had Red Bull), he introduces himself and tells me this is his first year of work post a gap year his mum just made him return from.

Then, and looking quite nervous, he asks me some questions and I listened to myself blurting out standard business terms in every response and hating myself for it. Each one met with furious head nodding and the word ‘superb’.

Like he knows what I’m saying. He was watching telly tubbies last week and I am pretty sure they weren’t watching videos of HR practitioners discussing talent acquisition while frolicking in the overly colourful teletubbyland!

The guy writes down notes on his Ipad. What’s he writing? ‘Superb’ repeatedly, or maybe ‘eh-oh’. Should I be helping him with his a, b, c and check his spelling?

I love the fact he has an Ipad. The only mobile device I had when I started work was a pen! In fact, the word ‘mobile’ was only ever used with the word ‘home’ after it. Email was not understood and used purely for jokes or inviting your friends to lunch, the only thing trending was luminous socks and download meant telling your friend you were having a shit time!

In fact, this whole meeting is making me feel very old. This youngster would never understand that dancing once used to involve sitting on the floor in a line for periods of time, tapping the floor either side.

Towards the end of the meeting, he tells me he has nothing for me. Great, Ribena will have to stay off the consumables list and be classified as a luxury item a little longer and cashew nuts will continue to be rationed, limited to Sundays only!

Polite exchanges, uneasy hand shaking and promises of, ‘I’ll call you weekly’, when you know he won’t, and I head home. That’s when it happened. I walked into a coffee shop, and having had no taste and smell for god knows how long, I lovingly accepted the aroma of coffee.

The steroids I’m temporarily taking for my asthma do this. They reduce swelling in my nose from a rare condition and allow me to smell and taste just for a while. When the steroids stop, it will go permanently again.

So there, in the coffee shop of a bookstore, I danced romantically with the aroma of she, who calls herself coffee. With the seduction of books in my slight periphery, she came to me, her smell belly dancing in a skimpy outfit. My breath taken away by the scent of her beans.

I sniffed that latte almost all the way up my nose! Hugging my cup and groaning in a way I should only do in private or quite frankly, not at all. I was a coffee pervert. Worse still, a public coffee pervert.

I only recognised this when the bloke who brought me my cheese toastie was looking at me weirdly, extending my sandwich out in his hand without stepping the required additional few steps to set it down. Like I was a complete weirdo and he didn’t want to come any closer. Just because I was dancing with coffee and sticking my finger repeatedly in my froth.

I don’t think the overly joyous explanation of, ‘I can taste’, spoken like someone just receiving a healing miracle from their god, and just what that meant to me helped.

As I left, I put 10p in his tip box by way of a thank you. Good luck using that if you need a ‘p’ at Liverpool Street!

On the way home, I did what I always do when ever I can temporarily smell and taste. I went to Boots (other chemists are available) to buy all things coconut. The thing I miss the most. And while walking around smelling everything (having also just enjoyed the delights of sniffing the Evening Standard), I saw a shoplifter filling his jacket with condoms.

I didn’t know what to do but decided to admire the fact he was clearly up for one amazing night. I didn’t want to be responsible for stopping that kind of potentially life changing and definitely life enhancing event. Particularly as I felt I’d just come close to it with my mysterious, exotic, belly dancing lover. So I left him furiously grabbing his preferred method of contraception and went back to sniffing all things coconut.




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Beyonce, cheese, chocolate and weight loss

Six reasons I’ve decided to lose weight:

1/ My pants are taking up too much space on the airer, a whole rail pretty much unless applied vertically. The old slinkys of the past never took that much space and had the added advantage of being small enough to be wrapped over the airer’s side bars like a couple of shoe laces.

2/ I’d like to bend down without my trousers randomly unzipping themselves, only to be told repeatedly my trousers are undone by Tony (husband). I am clearly an above average bender as it happens a lot.

3/ My stomach arrives to all destinations a few minutes before the rest of me, it’s like driving a bendy bus. It would be nice to arrive together.

4/ I’d like to be able to reach up for the yogurts on the top shelves in Waitrose without my jacket ripping ever again! Yes lady looking at the butter, that rip sound was me!

5/  I’d like the self control of not always being the first to dip into the second layer of Milk Tray, always to be asked by my husband, ‘Jeez, you on the second layer already’?

6/ I have gall stones and apparently it’s because I have the ‘4 fs’ attributed to gall bladder issues…1/ forty, 2/ fat…and I stopped listening at 2. That was quite enough thanks, though I’m pretty sure one of the fs might be fucked!

With the diet decision made, I did what all dieters do. I binged. For me, that meant driving to Tescos and getting a smoked cheese sausage and a chocolate orange. It doesn’t matter I can’t taste. It’s cheese and it’s chocolate.

Sausage and orange secured, I went and got back in my car and started to drive forward out of my space. A large 4 x 4 started reversing and there was a near crash. I honked my horn. Of course, this was to warn him, as another road user, of my presence. Not because I thought he was a dick or because I was projecting my stress at currently having no job. Of course not, just one driver, helping out another according to the highway code.

The other driver seemed to accept this warning signal and went into Tescos. Then, immediately upon entering, and I suspect somewhere near the veg area, he must have felt different upon quiet reflection by the broccoli, as he came out making hand signals.

These signals included making a pair of binoculars out of his hands. I think this was some sort of indication he would be watching me, but with makeshift binoculars, I wasn’t worried. Though I did hope I wasn’t going to come home to the cats skinned, and swinging in the porch one day.

I drove home and immediately coming in cut the end off my cheese sausage, and then started to tell Tony about binocular man, stuffing my face, before then going back in to cut another slice for the dog.

‘Hhhmmm, are you sure that’s what just happened, you did go out a little feisty’, Tony tells me. ‘Yes,that’s what happened’. ‘Well why didn’t you just stop, why did you honk your horn?’ ‘Because I was applying the rules of the highway code’. ‘Don’t be a dick. You went out annoyed and you got cross. An evil look would have sufficed and are you giving the dog cheese, he’s lactose intolerant?’. ‘Oh shit, I forgot’. ‘Did you cut me some?’. ‘No’. ‘Great, but you cut the bloody dog some and now he’ll have the shits for days’. Ignoring him I go off to watch a feature length ‘Are you being served?’, that great 70s British comedy.

After some dinner, we settle down to watch TV and tuck into wine and the chocolate orange. There’s nothing like the smash of a chilled chocolate orange on the coffee table before sharing out the segments. That’s my job.

Apparently, I am eating my half of the chocolate orange like a woman possessed. Every time I hand Tony one of his segments he basically takes it and re-stacks it on the coffee table, forming half an orange. ‘What are you doing’? I ask. ‘I’m shoring up my stack as I can’t keep up with it, it’s on some sort of perpetual motion’.

I am quite aware that even with weight loss my skin will still have the appearance of a just kneaded pizza base left to prove, and that it will never have any real structure. I will always have a bag like body that moves like a jelly fish.

I am not alone, obesity is a serious issue with over 50% of the UK adult population affected. So if you’ve been affected by the issues in this blog there is no number to call for help, just back away from the cheese and the chocolate.

If you have read this and like it, unlike Beyonce I am not asking you to put a ring on it, but instead if you like it then please like it, share or comment on this site and please don’t forget the follow me option at the top of the page!

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The real reason Henry the VIII beheaded his wives!

The reason Henry the VIII beheaded his wives was because his bed was too small and this resulted in insufficient sleeping space and major arse collisions during the night with his wives. Let me explain my day yesterday and how it led me to this conclusion…

It was my last day at work due to redundancy. Usually on your last day there’s all that, ‘don’t be a stranger malarkey’ and cakes. But being home-based I finished up, said goodbye to myself, wished myself luck and stroked my co-workers – not in a saucy way, it’s just one of my cats and dog.

Then back to the Dr, and on for a chest X-ray as my asthma has been bad all week and they wanted to check my pneumonia wasn’t back.

It was during the check over with my GP, which involved a quick look in my ears, I learnt that apparently and unusually, I have upward facing ear canals instead of downward facing. Not sure what to do with that information but decided I’d point my Q-tips in a different direction from now on.

Next, I was going to take a leisurely bath and get ready to go out for my leaving do, with my family (bit weird), to a murder mystery dinner where we were also staying over night in a 16th century hotel.

Just before getting ready, my friend texted and we decided to take our dogs for a quick walk. Unfortunately, the little buggers decided to chase each other into water and mud and refused any type of treat to get the hell out! At that point you start walking off saying, ‘bye, see you’, but they don’t give a shit or know. They’re a dog.

Eventually, they get out, and Winston normally cream, looks like Michael Jackson, in that you’re not sure if he’s black or white and his fur is tight curls like Wacko Jacko’s in Thriller. Annoyed, we walked home to lots of hilarious comments from funny strangers, ‘someone’s having a bath’…

So my luxury time to get ready went from 1:30 mins to 18 mins including washing my hair and packing an overnight bag. The rest of my time was spent giving Winston a hose down, a shower and a bath using the last of my blinking bubbles!

Winston is a Cavapoo and has been growing his coat out for a competition. It was like soaping up a polar bear and he has so much fur he floats in the bath like a marshmallow. His fur has got so big he’s actually now got bum cheeks.

Then came the blow drying. To his credit, he did just lay on his back with his paws up and let me do it, enjoying being pampered a bit too much which annoyed me even more.

Winston off to his sitters, then off to the hotel for murder and grub. Oh no, a U turn first, someone, after moaning he had been waiting for me forever, forgot his over night bag!

When we arrived at the hotel Tony (husband) and I were the first to arrive, and I instantly felt myself feel awkward when we met actors walking about in period costume with very theatrical hellos. They’re annoying and completely over the top, I thought. Only to be told by my sister when she arrived, ‘they remind me of you! I could see you doing this’!

Time to take our stuff to our room before the murder starts, leaving me just enough time to fall a third of the way down the narrow staircase and land with a bump on the mat at the bottom, which took off like I was going down a helter skelter.

Seriously, look how narrow the staircase is, how did my arse not provide some anchorage against those walls bearing in mind I had to basically get up it by going sideways! What’s the point of having fat cheeks if you can’t use them as brakes during a fall! Though they did bounce up like airbags upon impact on the mat.

No idea how Henry the VIII and his immense 52inch girth made it up those or any of the other similar sized stairs. Apparently, he and Queen Catherine were frequent visitors to this manor house and according to Google he had an ‘above stairs’ room of some standing.

The murder happened and then we were taken into the grand hall for dinner, to discuss/talk over each other/argue about who had done it and to admire the 16th century architecture when we stopped listening to each other.

We are deep in the heart of Brentwood, the birth place of the TV reality show about people living in Essex, known as, ‘The Only Way is Essex’ in which people are commonly heard to say, ‘Shut up’, every other word. We wondered whether this was Catherine’s response when Henry told her he was going to take off her head…’oh shut up’.

It was a good laugh. We decided who did it, wrote it down and why we concluded that and it was marked by the actors and scored. When it was announced that we came second there was a bit too much air punching.

Back to our room, the bed was comfortable but the smallest I have ever slept in. Tony likened it to sleeping on an ironing board while I resigned myself to the fact he was basically going to be sharing my pillow all night.

I didn’t get much sleep. There was a lot of arse buffing in the night every time one of us shifted. Our butts were like 2 poaching eggs in a rapidly boiling saucepan. Try as you might you can’t keep them apart.

It was at this point I knew Henry the VIII cut off his wives heads just for more bed space. Believe me I was seriously considering doing it to Tony, especially when the snoring kicked in, but there was only a teaspoon available for chopping purposes.

At one point there was an almighty head on arse collision instigated by Tony. The impact nearly booted me right out the bed. It had the force of a tennis ball being whacked in an upward serve by a racket. I wouldn’t mind but his arse is at least 1.5 cheeks smaller. Definitely no arse anchorage for him if he fell down those stairs!

I must have fallen asleep at some point, as I awoke to Tony repeatedly bumping into a wall in the corner of the room like a small child’s toy. I thought I was going to have to get out of bed, pick him up and turn him around and point him in a different direction.

He was up for the loo and scrabbling for the light for far too long, I did think about using that teaspoon! Instead I shouted to go in the bloody dark! Then I’m up for the loo with the same interest in the same wall, bumping about in the dark and also giving up finding the light.

A few more times up for the loo, and eventually some sleep before I was woken up by a loud bang. Not two arses knocking. It was different. I sat bolt upright and expected to see Henry VIII leaning over me gorging on a vast haunch of meat with greasy lips and fat fingers.

Tony in full snore, I rammed my ear plugs in my upward turned ear canals but still couldn’t sleep. I shouldn’t really take it out on my ears, they are good ears. They are only doing what comes natural.

I lay there for ages until Tony, woke with a start and said ‘urgh, what’s it doing, it’s staring at me like a weirdo’. ‘Er, you’re on my pillow’. Ignored, he tells me, ‘I didn’t get any sleep last night, you were snoring’! Whether or not I said it, I thought it, ‘are you f’ing kidding me’!

Then, another repeated request for me to move over, before me actually turning the light on to demonstrate how little room I had, and to re-draw the sleep boundaries onto the mattress with my finger.

I decided to get up, no idea what the time was as my phone was dead, but it was a long night and I felt like it should end. So, I decided to go in the ample bath and use the Jacuzzi jets.

While I was running the bath, I realised the bottle of complementary soap I had used in the dark to wash my hands was actually mouthwash. I thought it was just cheap and thin and I had no way of telling it was minty fresh as I can’t smell!

Revitalised, I went back in the room just as Tony was waking and looking at his phone to check the time. ‘What time is it I asked?’ ‘6:00am’. ‘Jeez, are you kidding me. I must have been in the bath since 5 with those noisy jets on!’ Now, the whole hotel would want to use that teaspoon!