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March 30, 2005


I’ve seen the film ‘Saw’, you know the one. People find themselves in bad situations. They have to escape or they die a slow death. Well let me tell you. That’s nothing.

It’s a three hour meeting. A chance to meet the new big cheese boss of the department. It’s a working lunch. A selection of frilly sandwich platters, crinkle chips and crusty bread. Your standard bottles of water, fizzy and still. The token silver coffee flask, albeit with two missing cups. Good to share I guess. The paper plates, as if it was a six year old birthday party.

Well, it could have been a six year old birthday party. That because precisely twenty minutes into the three hour meeting, I felt like saying “But I want to go to the toilet!”. But, in attempt not to completely scare the big boss cheese man, I decided to wait. Wait for an opportunity to slip out of the door. It’s just it never happened.

Whilst I was mentally debating the pros and cons of the ‘putting my hand up’ technique against the just ‘getting up and walking out’ technique, I started to hear my bladder telling me “I don’t care if you use the ‘piss on the floor’ technique, just do something about it now.

It was like someone standing on my stomach. I realised I had been a bit too premature in going up one belt notch that morning. My morning joy at tightning another belly belt notch was now coming back to haunt me. Whatever way I moved, the belt dug into my bladder like a bad blister on badly fitted shoes.

As I wriggled around in my chair, I started to become conscious that I probably looked more like mentalist in a straight jacket then a sensible employee. The torture was not only belt induced. It was mental. As I looked around the room for distractions, all I could hear was the flowing of water from the ice blue bottles around me. It was as if everyone else knew my level of pain, after all, the sound of running water on an inflated bladder is like putting vinegar on a fresh wound.

As well as the flowing water, the torture was completed by the clock sitting opposite me. It had stopped. I had no idea when this meeting was going to break, if at all. The pain was getting worse. To distract my mind I tried to justify why this multi billion dollar company that I was working for had banned the supply of sticky notepads for phone messages. Because they cost too much money. I thought about the instinctive laugh that morning when the new boss in the department asked for some sticky pads.
And got that response.

But it wasn’t working. I broke after fifty five minutes. By then it was too painful to think of the exit plan. I just got up and left. After my most pleasant break for a long time, I sneaked back into my seat. “Right everyone, time for a break, shall we take a fifteen minute toilet break?”. My timing had been as good as that clock in front of me.
All pain, no gain.

(Why do we call it Toilet? The literal meaning is ‘A covering of linen, silk, or tapestry, spread over a table in a chamber or a dressing room’ makes it seem odd that we use it to describe a W.C.

The word was adapted as a genteel euphemism for water-closet, perhaps following the French usage cabinet de toilette, much as powder-room may be coyly used today. This has been linked to the introduction of public toilets, for example on railway trains, which required a plaque on the door. The old trains had two rooms, a W.C and a toilet (to prepare yourself). With more space been required, the two rest rooms had to merged into one, and the word ‘toilet’ was used for some reason instead of ‘W.C’). As a result since the mid nineteenth century, the word toilet has been used.

March 28, 2005

How to confuse the easily confused

Twice a year, I get really confused. Ok, maybe I’m easily confused a lot of the time, but I mean really confused.

My state of confusion got a double hit this year, a four day Easter weekend and daylight saving at the same time. So all day Friday I’m thinking it Saturday, such is my five day on, two day off routine. On Saturday I thought it was Sunday, and on Monday, well I was just confused.

Now normally this confusion is manageable. I didn’t go into work on the Sunday, although I thought I should have. It was the smaller things that got me. Trying to buy my Sunday papers on Saturday, feeling slightly aggrieved that they didn’t have any Sunday papers, only old Saturday ones, but then kicking my arse into action before I complained about the fact.

At the height of my illness induced boredom, apart from succeeding in breaking Blogger, I was looking at the tv guide, you guessed it, for the wrong day. This time last year, well into my six month holiday (I mean travelling experience) I could not tell which day it was, and to be honest, didn’t really care, yet now my five working day a week life can’t take a step outside of it’s routine without blowing up.

Then, on Sunday morning, without any notice at all, some bastard nicked a hour from all my clocks. You see in the good old days I wouldn’t have noticed, but now all my clocks automatically reduce themselves when the clocks go back. That is, apart from my mobile, which was telling me one thing, whilst the other six clocks were saying another thing. It’s been an emotionally tough week. First they take away my electricity for nine hours, then they start fiddling with my week and clock.

Which leads me onto my final point. If everyone out there was like me (which thankfully they are not), all the terrorists would have to do, to cause mayhem, would be to give me an extra day off, activate daylight time saving, without telling me, and the world would collapse.

Or maybe not/.

March 26, 2005

The New Office

I noticed today that 'The Office', the American version, hit the screens for the first time in the States this week. It will be interesting to see how a show, based on a British format, will fare with mixed recent success.

If you take 'Pop Idol', 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire' and 'Big Brother', there have been signs of transatlantic success for some British made television formats. Of course there have been some failures, most notably 'Coupling' and 'Men Behaving Badly', but the early signs have been encouraging. The original British made version, based in the depressing outskirt London town of Slough, with politically incorrect paper boss David Brent, has been a success on BBC America, winning a Golden Globe last year.

There have been 'lost in translation' problems previously when British comedies have been exported before. 'The Office', relies on generating 'wincing laughs'. By combining office characters that say and do all the wrong things, it hopes you will laugh at the sad, pathetic boss, who comes out with statements like these:-

"My proudest moment here was'nt when I increased profits by 17%, or cut expenditure without losing a single member of staff. No. It was a young Greek guy, first job in the country, hardly spoke a word of English, but he came to me and he went "Mr Brent, will you be the Godfather to my child?". Didn't happen in the end. We had to let him go, he was rubbish. He was rubbish!?"

Or the times the whole office looks on in dismay, as he cracks jokes that only he laughs at:-

"My parents had a paper shop, until it blew away."

But the funniest element of the office is portraying a manager who seemingly has not regard for anyone else, but himself. Combine this disregard for others with his shallow attempts at humour, and you get the following situations.

“I have got some good news and some bad news. The bad news, well, I have got to make you all redundant, the good news? I'm getting a promotion"

The office is a spoof documentary, made to look like it is set in a real office. And maybe, this is where some of the humour has been lost. When you have people complaining that David Brent is a ‘cruel man’ and a 'bad manager' its seems some of irony has been lost. Of course he is a bad manager, it's just this is spoof comedy documentary, poking fun at the office culture and the politically correct views enforced on us within society.

Which reminds me. I need to take a photo of the David Brent look a like in my office. Dead Ringer.

  • The original office (sample clip from the BBC)

  • David Brent

  • The new Office, clips from the NBC website

  • The new show...

    March 24, 2005

    Good excuse for being late?

    "Errrrm, yeah I was running a bit late. You see there was a power cut for eight hours last night. I went to bed at eleven thirty in darkness. Then at two am, I was awoken by the phone. It was the Electricity Company, saying the electricity had been restored. Which was fine, well sort of, you just don't expect electricity companies phoning you up at two am, when, quite reasonably, you have gone to bed earlier than normal becasue their was no power.

    You see I would have got a bit of sleep up to two am, it's just I was woken up at one am by all the lights coming on in the flat, the television turning on full pelt and the microwave starting to cook, well, nothing. So by the time they so politely phoned at two am, I already knew the electricity had come back.

    Ok, I got some sleep. But I overslept. Why did I oversleep? Well my mobile phone stroke alarm clock was dead when I got in that evening. I went to charge it up and.......... No worries I thought. My Ipod is my second alarm clock. Well, that was ok, but unless I went to bed with the earphone taped to my ears, I was hardly going to hear that at six am. Of course I normally plug it into the stereo, by that sort of needs electricity.

    Alright, I did wakeup, somehow. But the night before, when it was all dark, I knocked over a cup of tea (boiled just before the power cut) that I had been looking for everywhere. The tea spilled over my newly pressed shirt for the next day. So, in the cold light of day, I put my shirt on only to realise it was now a blue and brown shirt, not the blue one I normally wore. Which was fine, I got another shirt out, and ironed that. It just delayed me by thirty minutes.

    Now, even though it was so painfully true, I wouldn't have believed myself, let alone anyone else.

    To make my day worse, I sat in a new staff conference, listening to all the blurb. I know you normally have to pair up in these things, so I was thinking it might be a bit like airplane lottery, you could pick a good ball, or a really bad ball. I got there early, and let people fill in around me.
    I didn't make eye contact with the person who chose to sat next to me. Anyway, no bother, no nice young ladies, just a bloke this time. I did notice hoewever, whilst avoiding the eye line that they had particularly hairy arms, which made me remember about John 'gorilla arms' Stevens when I was younger. This guy could have been a gorilla in London Zoo. He even loved bananas. Well, he could have been, but when I turned to look at him, they, were in fact, female. I declined to think about the after thoughts, and just looked straight ahead for the next two hours. Such as sweet voice as well.

    Oh well, nice four day Easter weekend will make it all seem better.

    March 23, 2005

    2 hours, 20 minutes left

    The only thing that works is my laptop, I have two hour and twenty minutes left on that. Then complete darkness. The candle is on it’s last piece of wick. My torch is emitting as much light as the false optimism when someone says “Well there’s light at the end of the tunnel”. My newly purchased food shopping is well, sitting there on the bench, with a warminfg freezer to go into. My cup is sitting there with milk and a teabag, just no hot water to go in it. I cant turn the light on to find my other candles or torches. And yet I just sit and watch the houses opposite, why the fuck have they not got a power cut?

    Well you have to think of the cup being half full of water (cold water mind you, not a nice freshly made cup of tea) and not half empty. You have to see the light at the end of the tunnel (well the lights from the houses opposite) in these situations. I guess you just have to look on the bright side of life (even if the candle is on its last legs).

    my candle on it's last legs

    A quick look at the odd stories of the day, make you think, that a powercut, maybe isn’t that bad after all. Anyway, I know I can touch type in the dark now.

    Maybe this could sort my tea fix……… despite being a really stupid idea

    No time for a cuppa? Pop a "tea pill"
    Wed Mar 23, 2005 08:29 AM GMT

    GUWAHATI, India (Reuters) - Feel like a cup of tea, but don't have the time to brew one up? Pop a "tea pill" instead.
    Indian tea scientists have produced a tea-flavoured pill that can be chewed or quickly dissolved in hot or cold water.
    The brownish tablet weighs 0.3 grams and consists of 80 percent tea and 20 percent other flavours -- a combination the inventors at the Tocklai tea research centre in India's northeastern Assam state say peps you up just like a traditional cuppa.
    "You can suck it, chew it or dissolve it in water the way you like to have it and still feel the taste of a real cup of tea," said the centre's director, Mridul Hazarika.
    "As the liquid tea refreshes, this tea pill will also refresh the people because it contains pure tea ingredients."
    Hazarika said the centre had applied for a patent and the pill, with a bit more fine tuning, should hit the market in six months.
    Indians drink a lot of tea but in recent years its tea business, the world's largest, has faced growing competition from soft drinks.

    Well, at the moment, I’ve got no electricity to power my alarm clock, so maybe worth a look……..

    Alarm clock set to wake doziest of sleepers

    LONDON (Reuters) - Can't get out of bed in the morning?
    Scientists at MIT's Media Lab in the United States have invented an alarm clock called Clocky to make even the doziest sleepers, who repeatedly hit the snooze button, leap out of bed.
    After the snooze button is pressed, the clock, which is equipped with a set of wheels, rolls off the table to another part of the room.
    "When the alarm sounds again, simply finding Clocky ought to be strenuous enough to prevent even the doziest owner from going back to sleep," New Scientist said on Tuesday

    Makes my temporary power cut induced blindness seem very trivial………..

    Woman kills herself so blind sons can see

    NEW DELHI (Reuters) - An Indian woman committed suicide so her two blind sons could receive her eyes and see, a newspaper has reporte.
    But doctors say the chances of success are bleak, The Indian Express reported on Monday.
    Thirty-seven-year-old Tamizhselvi's sons, Kumaran, 17, and Kumar, 15, have been blind since birth.
    Doctors in the southern city of Chennai say Kumar's condition cannot be helped with a cornea transplant and also suspect his elder brother does not have a cornea defect.
    "We had told the family earlier itself that a corneal transplant was not needed for the younger son," the Express quoted hospital official G. Seethalakshmi saying.
    The family is insisting Tamizhselvi's corneas can only be used for her sons and no one else.

    But then again…… it could be like this…….

    March 21, 2005

    Smoking. Maybe it's good for you after all

    No. Not any new medical research breakthrough here. You really have come here by mistake if you were looking for intelligent, life changing news. No, it's just my research reseults. Unproven, untrialled and probably, a load of pickled eggs. Here goes....

    I’m not going to claim it makes you feel better, even when your p.c has just crashed and lost all your work (of course that’s what you say to your boss) or even if you have just received some bad news (the boss knows you are lying, he can tell by your look, you can tell by theirs)

    No. I mean socially.

    Now, this certainly isn’t a new thing. I was a social smoker for a while (without being particularly sociable I must add), but my definition of ‘social smoking’ was just to smoke when I was out, I saw it more as sharing my smoke, I am after all, a ‘giver’, rather than a ‘receiver’. Now less digression. There is a reason for this, honest. So the story goes today……..

    Them : “I’m just popping out for a cigarette, should give up really, I mean I don’t even like it”

    Me: “Really? Why the hell do you smoke then?”

    Them : “Well, I started this new job at my previous company and I noticed the big boss was a smoker. So I pretended to smoke so I could get chatting to him. After a while, it seemed to work. We stated to get to know each other quite well, before I knew it I was getting promotions, but then it all went wrong……

    Me: “What, You did what I did when I was sixteen and put the wrong end of the cigarette in your mouth? (more of a hope to gain a little sympathy for that stupid act)”

    Them: “No, no. I’m not that stupid. (Well, I guess it was quite dumb at the time) No, it’s much simpler than that. They gave up smoking, we stopped going for cigarette breaks, and before you know it, I stopped getting promotions. To make matter worse he went on holiday, bought me 600 ‘cheap’ cigarettes, which I don’t even want to smoke. It cost me a fortune. Anyway, that’s why I left, and that’s why I'm here now. But I can’t seem to give up, its just habit now, three times a day in the smoking shelter.

    Now, I didn’t know whether to appreciate this degree of honesty, laugh or just cry, so true to form, I just stared and thought about it. And thought about it. This person, to advance in their career, had taken up smoking, which they hated, and now they were still smoking. It was also quite comforting to know they must have instantly thought that I couldn’t have been big managerial cheese material, otherwise they would not have risked giving their game away. Maybe it was the shirt, maybe it was the slightly creased trousers, or maybe, just maybe, it was face pulling and sly piss taking. No, got to have been the shirt.

    So look around you. Question smokers. Are they just being sociable, or is it just another motive? Well, here comes the ironic hypocritical thing. Well I haven’t smoked to further my career, of course not! That would be so immoral. Well, none of them have ever smoked, so I just tend to stalk them instead (same bars, shops, always lead with “Fancy seeing you here!!!”). But I have smoked for social gain.

    When I was travelling on my own, I met more people through having a cigarette than not. Okay, social deficiency maybe, but it broke the ice a whole lot better on both sides. Standing outside hostels, smoking a cigarette, asking for lighters, let the conversation flow. Here are a few examples……

    1) Fiji Airport, 4 am. On my own, first port of call on my travels. Get a lighter off Fred and James at the airport. Travelled with them for four months, count them as two of my closer friends now
    2) Lying on Bondi Beach. A girl called Trudi asks for a lighter. Yes, amazing,
    I actually got chatted up by a member of the opposite sex without the aid of beer. She later admitted she didn’t really want a cigarette, she just saw I was smoking and thought it would break the ice (or melt it)
    3) Laura and Alison. Two great friends from Canada, I would have never met
    Them if I hadn’t been part of the coach smoking crew in N.Z.

    Of course I met plenty of fantastic people after I gave up, for which I haven’t mentioned (A.J etc) , in fact by providing such a biased entry towards this argument I’m going to stop this entry before I disappoint myself any further with my unbalanced argument skills.

    Latest news :

    My new boss smokes. I’m sure a couple a day won’t do any harm….. as long as I can remember to put the right end in my mouth

    March 19, 2005

    All booked

    A normal post for once.....

    I took the plunge today and booked my flights to Canada. I’ll be flying into Toronto on the 8th July, making my way across to Vancouver over twenty two days via the Stampede and lots of other random places, by random forms of transport, and leaving on the 30th of July.

    Although the flights have been booked, I’ve got loads more things to sort out……..

    1) Book flights (done)
    2) Learn how to ride a horse, apply to the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association before I go
    3) Spend some time sitting in my passenger seat to acclimatize to driving on the right
    4) Learn not to get embarrassed when I hear the term ‘Sweat Pants’
    5) Learn not to be scared when I see people in hockey gear, it does not necessarily mean they are going to rob a bank or start a fight with me
    6) Get some ‘Roots’ clothing, whatever that maybe
    7) Stop drinking Stella, get onto Labatt,
    8) Stop writing ….”ise” at the end of words, will have to realise, I mean realize that.

    ....Of course the list is longer, I prioritized it and cut it down.

    March 17, 2005

    My life enhanced, thanks Internet!

    Whilst trying to find some flights today, I realised just how much the internet has both enhanced my life,and more significantly, just made things easier.

    To demonstrate, I will share with you some of my most useful websites, but remember, it was me that told you about them first!

    Airline meals
  • Airline Meals

  • This has been a lifesaver. A lot of people book their flights depending on silly little fussy things, like “Will it cost half as much if I go with another airline” or “Will it fly from an airport near me” or even the ridiculous like “Will the plane actually get there” (no offence Areoflot, I’m sure your planes are safe now). I mean, what is it with some people? Next they will be wanting to know what time their flight arrives!

    Now, maybe I’m different. But I’m really not fussed about those sort of things. No, for me its all about the onboard meal. It’s a deal breaker. Give me an airline which costs £520 more than normal, I don’t really care. Its all about the type of chicken they serve and texture of the ‘juicy bits’ in orange juice.

    This is why before I do anything, I check out airline It should be the first port of call for everyone in my opinion. I bet you are all thinking “Come on Coops, show me an example of this fantastic venture, after all, you cant book your flights until I have told you! Your right!

    Well here is just a snippet. But remember, don’t tell all your friends, they might take all the flights with good meals on it!!!!

    Photo taken by: Steve Tompkins
    Route: KUL/DPS, 25 Oct 2004
    Ticket price: rm605
    Flight duration: 3hours
    Aircraft type & class: b737-400 economy
    Business or leisure trip: leisure
    Meal type: light meal
    Contents of meal: wholemeal roll, salmon salad, choice of steak or stir
    Fried chicken with fried rice and some kind of jelly dessert.
    Drink:mineral water, white wine and coffee
    Comments: no menu card given and fa didn't even know the names of the main Meal, when asked all she knew that it was chicken or beef! I decided on the Chicken but was given the steak. So i took a photo of it before returning it To the fa for chicken.the meal was edible but the dessert some kind of bland Green jelly, was tasteless.
    Rating 1 - 10 (worst- best): service 4 / meal 6
    Camera brand and type:fujifilm finepix s3000

    I can’t wait till I fly to Canada, I’ll update you with my photos and tell you all if my meal was pipping hot or a little stone cold!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The infinite cat project

  • The Infinite cat

  • Last month whilst I was talking to the local stray cat ‘dirty paws' she said there was no place for cats to look at each other on the internet. Cats tend to be creatures of leisure, they spend a lot of time laying around, licking their paws, clawing their owners, pissing in plant pots, hissing at dogs, turning their nose up at cheap cat food and being sick all over the place with fur balls. Which is why this website has been revolutionary in amusing bored cats minds.

    We have all been sitting at home, reading our mail, doing our online banking, when our feline attention seeking friends with bushy tails have got a bit jealous. So this site is genius at solving that problem. Show a picture of cat on your computer screen, and just watch your cats reaction! You know what? They might even think the cat on the screen is real and try and poke it! Hey, why not capture your amazement at looking at your cats amazement when it looks at other amazed looking cats on screen, buy taking a picture of it!

    In all seriousness, its not just human beings that wonder why they ever survived without the internet. It’s also cats like my friend 'dirty paws' the stray.

  • Blogger

  • I discovered this site the other day, it’s really weird! I cannot believe people actually write an online diary type thing in which the whole world can read! I remember the good old days of starting to write entries for the 1st and 2nd of January in a paper diary, getting bored and never touching it again. Then there were those that used to write their darkest secrets, of course they would hide it in a place that nobody would ever find it, like under the bed!

    But this site is so strange. It’s like finding a bunch of diaries on the floor, leaving a few comments in red and then putting them back again. Its also really strange that people tend to spend so much time keeping their diaries up to date, I mean its not like anyone is reading it. Some people!

    No, I think I’ll leave that one and stick to the airline meals and infinite cats.

    March 13, 2005

    The Village

    It’s been a while since I stayed in a village. And it seemed the people in the village hadn’t strayed out for a while longer.

    “Yes that’s your key. It’s got one of those swipe card things on it, good isn’t it!” came the voice from the receptionist, stroke barmaid, stoke cook, stroke cleaner. Well I guess it was impressive for a small hotel. It really was great that this credit card siized piece of plastic could act as my door key. In theory I could put it in my wallet with my other credit card size things for safe keeping. It’s just I couldn’t. Attached to this credit card swipe key was a solid ten inch plastic key fob. I suppose I could put the ‘key card’ in my wallet, it’s just the key fob was twice as big as it.

    “Okay” I said. “I’m coming back around 1am, that will be alright wont it?” I probed. And with that I got a look of astonishment. A look as if I was to break the ‘no going out after dark’ rule on page five in the Almondsbury village rule book. As well as breaking that rule I was also discrediting the local pub, was it not good enough for a nights entertainment?

    Once she recovered from the astonishment that I was actually leaving the village, she paused, then tried to remember the protocol for after twelve arrivals. Obviously it had been a long time since anyone dared come back after twelve, let along leave the sacred village.

    “Well you see, the door can be quite temperamental. Some times it just doesn’t work. But normally that isn’t a problem as the night porter is here till twelve. But you want to come back after twelve so he wont be here” she added. Not only had they completely missed the point of having a credit card sized key (with ten inch key fob) but they sort of missed the point about what a key is designed for. To open doors. Without other people having to be there.

    When I reached my room I started to see why they were having problems with their new door key technology. “Key card solutions, local solutions for local businesses” read the sign on the door reader. It looked like it had been the product of a Technology project for the local secondary school. And true to form, sixteen swipes later, the door finally opened. Of course the curiosity got the better of me, not only did it take sixteen swipes to open my door, but five to open the store room along the corridor, and three to open room number six opposite. They were now missing another point, keys are really meant to open just your door, not every other room in the hotel.

    Maybe I was being a bit harsh. The staff were friendly, I had complimentary biscuits. Complimentary shampoo. In fact I was so emerged in the complimentary compliments that I suddenly forgot the whole reason why I was staying in this hotel in the first place. I had to be at a birthday party in an hour.

    I went down to the reception, stroke bar, stoke restaurant to ask the waiter, stoke barman, stroke receptionist, stroke cleaner, stroke manager if they could order me a taxi as soon as possible. Then I forgot. I was in a village.

    “Taxi, you want a taxi?” came the response. It was if nobody had ever needed to leave this village before. “You want one now you say?”, this time giving me the look as if I had just asked for a steak and fries in a Sushi restaurant. After looking at his glazed stare for what seemed like minutes, I decided maybe it would be better if I ordered the taxi myself. With this he handed me a sheet of paper with all the taxi companies on it. Progress.

    I dialled the first taxi company. “Hello” came the voice. “Hello, is that a taxi company?” I asked. “Where do you want to go?” the voice replied. “Winterbourne” I responded. With the sound of astonishment as if I had just ordered peas to go with my steak and fries in the Sushi restaurant, came an eternal pause. The voice replied “Oh no, I don’t think I can help you there my friend, you really need to book it a day in advance, I could take you at ten o’clock as a favour though?”. As much as I appreciated his act of goodwill, it was now six o’clock. Waiting four hours for a taxi seemed a little excessive.

    I phoned the next number,

    With the muffled scream of kids in the background, the answer came back “Well you see, first I’ve got to take the kids to the cinema, then I’ve got to pick the missus up from Bingo, then I’ve got to have my dinner, what about nine thirty?”. It seemed the ‘taxi companies’ were no more than men driving around in their cars, answering their mobiles and taking people when it fitted in with their social calendar for that evening. Much as I appreciated John’s honesty in telling me that I couldn’t go now as his wife was at the bingo, it wasn’t helping me get to where I wanted to be.

    After ten calls I put the ‘taxi company’ sheet down and drove myself. Maybe I could book a taxi now, with plenty of notice, to drop me to my car in the evening. I waked back that night. I needed six hours notice apparently if I wanted to get a taxi back. But at least I managed to get in, with twenty six swipes.

    I love villages.

    noun [C]
    a group of houses and other buildings, such as a church, a school and some shops, which is smaller than a town, usually in the countryside:
    a fishing village
    a mountain village
    a village shop
    a village green (= an area of grass in the middle of a village)
    Many people come from the outlying/surrounding villages to work in the town.

    Now Almondsbury is'nt that silly sounding, but these villages are........

    -Compton Pauncefoot (near Yeovil)
    -Germansweek (near Launceston)
    -Goosnargh (north of Preston)
    -Haselbury Plucknett (near Yeovil)
    -Helions Bumpstead (near Saffron Walden)
    -Hopton Wafers (east of Ludlow)
    -Huish Episcopi near (Langport, Somerset)
    -Kettlesing Bottom (west of Harrogate, North Yorkshire)
    -Mabe Burnthouse (Falmouth, Cornwall)
    -Nempnett Thrubwell (between Bath and Weston super Mare)
    -Pratt's Bottom (near Farnborough)
    -Ryme Intrinsica (near Yeovil)
    -Six Mile Bottom (near Cambridge)
    -Westward Ho (Devon)
    -Yetts O'Muckhart (east of Stirling)

    The delightful 'Bowl Inn', pub, stroke hotel thing in Almondsbury near Bristol

    the village church

    A typical village house

    March 08, 2005

    Room 101

    Ok, I took the idea from Single Girl who took it from Dan's Blog. But here goes....

    1) I wanted to be a professional tennis player when I was younger. This dream started to fade when I played every Saturday at Crowstone tennis club. Sometimes I played eighty year olds and my standards started to drop.

    2) The first women I ever fancied (and wanted to marry according to my mum) was Olivia Newton-John after watching 'Greece' at the age of five. It was comforting to know that even then I could tell that a woman in a black all in one suit, would make good marriage material, a belief I still hold today.

    3) I'm not married. See Number 2 for reason.

    4) I have never consciously eaten fish. I was fed 'chicken' fingers from a young age, when in fact they were fish. This in turn led me to a deep psychological distrust of all things fish to which still scares me today.

    5) I like to use stories like (see #4) to make me feel better about being fussy. I'm not lying, I was fed 'chicken fingers', but saying some story like that sounds a lot better at the restaurant then saying "I'm fussy, fish stinks".

    6) I've always lived by the sea (Southend, Portsmouth and Bournemouth), and always will look to live by the sea despite not knowing why.

    7) I'm not really into doing anything on the water, despite always wanting to live by it. This is even stranger considering that my dad grew up on a surfboard, lived as a lifeguard, and sailed to the shops. But not so strange when you consider the only times my dad has taken me out to sea, we have sunk.

    8) I went Scuba Diving for the first time last year, and nearly drowned. When you combine q phobia of fish (see #4) and my experiences of water (see #7) you don't get a good result. Add friends trying to make you laugh underwater and minimal training, and you get panic and near death.

    9) I am not religious, but receptive to spiritual things. I believe in reincarnation,. The spirit world and regression. I have been to mediums and been convinced by their authenticity. On my last visit he said I was going to be 'incredibly wealthy' and 'a guidance for others'.

    10) I've just looked at my bank statement. Please ignore #9.

    11) I'm addicted to walking. I own a car, it's just I now walk everywhere where feasible. My ambition is to emulate Sir Ian Botham's charity walk from Lands End in the south to the tip of Scotland, in my flip flops from Australia (they have moulded to my feet and are the most comfortable things in the world).

    12) My biggest ever achievement is winning the 1989 Centre Parks Holiday round robin tennis singles competition. I won a fake cup and a chocolate bar. I since decided that because I did not specify winning Wimbledon in #1, this was the next best thing.

    13) I won a national competition run by Ford in 1992, designing new features that tomorrow's cars would have. They rejected my 'reverse parking sensor' as a 'bit unrealistic'. Two years later Ford implemented a 'reverse parking sensor' without my permission.

    14) I refuse to ever drive or purchase a Ford (see #13).

    15) I always have a tendency to buy cars with my heart and not my head. As a result I spend most of money keeping the things on the road, despite my addiction described in #11.

    16) I have a upper honours degree in I.T and Psychology. I guess that means I can design things that can go wrong, but in theory I should have analysed why it went wrong before it did.

    17) I recently achieved an objective I set myself in 1997, to bench press my own body weight. Okay, eight years late, but Rome wasn't built in one day, more like 752 and nobody complains about that.

    18) The type of women I go for are Kristy Gallagher, Kelly Daglish and Kirsten Dunst. It helps if they are intelligent, genuine, low maintenance and got a sense of humour.

    19) I’m currently single (see #18)

    20) The worst thing that ever happened to me was a broken wrist when I was sixteen. Not spectacular in itself, although playing a three set, league tennis match with a broken wrist was. I thought it was sore, but didn’t want to make a fuss. We lost the game, mainly because I could'nt serve.

    21) My favourite beer is Stella Artois, at 5.2%, one of the strongest beers available, but I just like it for its taste.

    22) I suffer from memory loss on a lot of nights out (see #21)

    23) I hate dancing, unless I’m pretty drunk.

    24) I tend to frown at women, not smile, if I like them (see #19).

    25) I rarely make the first move, even with encouragement (see #19).

    26) The last girl I was with was called Anna, she was Dutch. She made the first move.

    27) I currently fancy eight women in my office. It will stay that way unless they make the first move.

    28) I regularly keep in contact with five Canadians, two Dutch, one Swede and one German.

    29) I’m not a big fan of one night stands, not for moral reasons, just because I don’t get a lot (two night stands on the other hand maybe, although that hand would get sore).

    30) I’m a football(soccer) addict. I currently support statistically the worse team (Southend) in England over the past ten year, and I’m proud of it.

    31) My biggest ever win on the lottery was ten pounds. Of course I invested it straight back.

    32) My mum used to be a school teacher, my dad a lifeguard come account.

    33) I have got a brother who is 30, a sister of 28 and I’m the youngest at 26.

    34) I don’t really like my name, that’s why I’m known as Coops. Rich is okay though.
    Well it’s okay when you don’t get people saying “SO are you Rich then?!”. Ha ha.

    35) I hate big egos and falseness.

    36) I got my tongue pierced as a result of a dare in New Zealand. I just haven’t got around to taking it out yet.

    37) I need two fillings. I just haven’t got round to sorting them out yet

    38) My car needs some work done on it, I just haven’t got round to doing it yet.

    39) I tend to put things off quite a lot if I they can wait (see #37 and #38)

    40) I’m half Kiwi thanks to my dad. Thanks to my mum I was brought up in England.

    41) I used to worry a lot. Now I just don’t care.

    42) I worry sometimes that I am so stress free

    43) I contradict myself quite a lot (see #42 and #43).

    44) I have an IQ of 131, yet sometimes I forget the smimplest things, like setting my alarm.

    45) I hate anything Sci-Fi.

    46) I don’t really read fiction books, only fact based ones.

    47) I like any sort of Music, from Nine Inch Nails, to dance, to soul, to bands to classical.

    48) 'The office' and 'Little Britain' are my favourite comedies of all time.

    49) Steve Coogan is my favourite ever comic, his character Alan Partridge being a comedy masterpiece and my biggest influence on my life.

    50) Bill Byron is my favourite writer and biggest influence.

    51) I suddenly became addicted to writing when I read ‘Down Under’, promptly causing me to quit my job and go travelling.

    52) Thailand remains a taboo subject. So don't ask about it!

    53) I have fallen asleep twice at the cinema. Watching 'Star Wars Phantom Menace' and 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban' (Both times against my will).

    54) I walked into the wrong cinema once and sat in the front row for a film that was ten minutes from the end. Then walked out again two minutes later.

    55) My great, great Granddad was the Lord Mayor of London. He changed history, he fell off his horse whilst being drunk, since then Lord Mayors have never been allowed to ride by horseback.

    56) I have seen a ghost. When I was fifteen I saw a girl standing at the end of my bed. When my mum consulted the man who used to live in my house, he confirmed his daughter died in my bedroom at the age of six.

    57) I had my first cigarette when I was sixteen, drunk. I proceeded to smoke it the wrong way round and burnt my mouth. If only I had taken the hint at the time.

    58) I smoked my last cigarette ten years to the day later in Sydney. I gave up after being ill for a week, and have never looked back.

    59) I passed my driving test after 12 lessons, booking myself in early by ‘mistake’. I took the driving test drugged up on Beta-blocker, and two shots of whiskey.

    60) The worst day was on receiving my A-level results.

    61) The most nervous day of my life, in reverse order…. A) Best man speech at brothers wedding b) Driving test whilst intoxicated c) French oral exam with ex-mastermind champion French teacher.

    62) The best day of my of my life, in reverse order….a) Sitting on a balcony in Fiji four days into my travels, overlooking a perfect sunset b) Getting my degree mark and a) meeting a combination of people on my travels (who will remain nameless).

    63) I’m six foot, weigh 75 Kilograms and have size eleven feet. When I was younger I always wanted to be shorter and fatter. When I was older I always wanted to be taller and slimmer.

    64) I have never been involved in a car accident.

    65) I walk six miles to and from work each day and see the same people all the time. One day I will just say 'hello' to one of them.

    66)I never get lucky with seat lottery on airplanes.

    67) I have walked through the ‘Nothing to Declare’ aisle at the airport, with a lot to declare on a couple of occasions. And always looked guilty.

    68) I once nearly set my house on fire. I was on the phone to a girl for an hour and left a candle burning in my room. I had to throw a chair out of the window, must to the bemusement of my neighbours.

    69) No, I have never, unfortunately.

    70) The last time my heart was beat through my chest. Two minutes ago. Watching the last minute of Chelsea v’s Barcelona. I love football.

    71) Last good beat before that, unnamed girl, Syndey.

    72) … and before that getting my articles published in magazines.

    73) Last bad heart drop, Somewhere in New Zealand, not saying over who, but a big bad beat.

    74) Best thing I have done recently reverse order a) Gave my seat up on a train and stood for two hours b)Bought flowers for someone I wanted to c)Gave my parents a five star meal at the London Ritz.

    75) Biggest recent regrets in reverse order A) not working whilst I was travelling b) not going surfing in Australia c) Not taking more risks when travelling.

    76) Most expensive ever purchase – my Alfa Romeo 156 in 2002.

    77) Worst ever purchase – Greyhound bus pass round East Coast of Australia.

    78) Best ever purchase – my laptop I bought in Thailand.

    79) When time seemed to go soooo slowly – House Party in Brighton, New Years Eve 2001, I wanted to sleep at 1am due to illness. The only space left to slept was next to the main speaker in the main party room. It finished at 6am, along with my will to live.

    80) Best ten minutes – Sky Dive, New Zealand, 2004

    81) I achieved a lifetime ambition and drove a Ferrari around a race track in 2001

    82) I like reality t.v.

    83) I’m always thinking of ways to make money, and always watching people be successful with my ideas later on.

    84) I can tell what type of person people are within five minutes of meeting them.

    85) The people I want know, I do my best to keep in contact with.

    86) I should think less before I speak.

    87) I love taking things apart, and not being able to put them back together again.

    88) Show me a problem, and I will enjoy finding the solution. That's what I do for a day job, spend all day making complex things appear simple to people. Like a nice, calm swan floating across the water, but paddling furiously underneath the water.

    89) I spend too much time on the computer.

    90) I can be quite untidy.

    91) When I write 101 lists I can get a bit sloppy.

    92) When I go to the hairdressers I never look in the mirror.

    93) I don’t know where I want to settle down in life.

    94) I am really into gadgets, big style.

    95) I learnt the word 'procrastinate' for the first time last year, amazing considering I do it so much.

    96) The first time I took drugs was in 1998 at house party on the beach in which my brother was dj. One of the best nights I have ever had.

    96) The last time I took drugs was in 2001. One of the worst morning after’s I’ve ever had.

    97) Generally I’m happy being me, sometimes it sucks.

    98) I worry that I will never be able to afford my own house in this country.

    99) Then I revel in my complete freedom to do anything I want, whenever I want, wherever it may be on this earth.

    100) I hate people who do 101’s.

    101) I’m often misunderstood for being ironic (see #100).

    March 06, 2005

    The way it should be

    Following on from my When Things in life were simple post, I recieved some good news that from next year, life will be reversed. Expect to see this in the news soon, I think it's a good move personally, abeit to late for me.

    p.s thanks to my lovely friend Natalie for that, reminded me of that particular Seinfield episode.

    March 05, 2005

    il y a un singe vers le haut de l'arbre

    My chances of acquiring a visa to live in Canada rely on a monkey living up a tree. Some people get rejected due to lack of work skills, insufficient education, a criminal record, insufficient funds or the immigration pen pusher in the office just having a bad day. But for good old me, it’s all about a monkey in a tree.

    I like exploring my options. If I can work somewhere, I will try and have ago. I applied to become a New Zealand citizen last year, and got it. Okay, maybe it was more to do with my Dad being from New Zealand, and okay, I didn’t actually work in New Zealand or Australia, but it meant I could.

    But Canada is proving to be a tough nut to crack. These people are really fussy when it comes to opening the door, just like my late Auntie Hilda, they just don’t let anyone in. And they pretend to be out in case you do call by.

    Now all this could be slightly premature. I mean I’ve never been to Canada, I haven’t even booked my flights yet. But, what’s the worse that can happen? Just like peering through the windows and seeing a plate of homemade biscuits sitting on Auntie Hilda's table, I’m tempted, even if she doesn’t want to open the door.

    So, here we go. How did that monkey get up the tree? Well, I’m on sixty seven points in the first phase of my application. The online points calculator asks you lots of questions, point scoring you on the way. Okay, I scored nil points on having family in Canada. Well, I don’t think I have got any family in Canada, I do get drunk quite a lot and suffer from chronic memory loss. Maybe a mini Coops could show their face and give me five extra points.

    I continued to lose five points for having no pre-arranged employment, five points for having never studied there and another five points for having never worked there before. I scored a big fat zero overall in the ‘Adaptability’ section then, these guys think I’m going to suffer from culture shock. That’s nonsense, I’ve watched Due South and I’m learning about Degrassi High, what do they know? Some people.

    So it looks like Auntie Hilda’s not in. But just as I walk back down the path, I see a light come on in the kitchen. I score top marks for work experience, good scores for education, top marks for my age group and top marks for my knowledge of the English language, althgh sme peple may grass me up on tht won.

    The door is opening, I can smell the cakes. I even passed the biggest test, having by the time of arrival, the 9,420 dollars they think I will need to support myself, cause they don’t want to. So my shoes are clean, I don't want to mark her beige carpet. I’m nearly there. Sixty seven points to get in, sixty seven points in my pocket. Then the dreaded the question “Have you done your homework?”.

    It seems my application could all depend on me being ambitious, ticking the ‘basic in French’ box and getting two points, or being a little more realistic and ticking the ‘Not really that good at French to be honest despite France being across the water” box and scoring no points (or points de zero maybe I should be saying).

    Now “il y a un singe vers le haut de l'arbre “ is one of the only French phrases I can remember from my three years of learning French at school. If I tick the ‘basic’ box, I will rely quite a lot on this expression if I’m tested. Maybe I’ll get away with the ‘Can describe a situation, tell a simple story, describe the process of obtaining essential goods’ part with my monkey knowledge. Quite why I have retained possibly the most useless expression is rather strange. It was probably the thought ‘Why the hell are we learning how to say there is a monkey up a tree’ in my green blazer days that made me remember this expression. I mean it is a pretty useless things to learn, unless of course I was working in Parisian Zoo, telling Monkey lovers to look up.

    So that it. After answering more questions than a Spanish Inquisitor on speed, it could be down to whether or not I say I can use basic French. I’ll put down basic. After all, how people can say 'there is a Monkey up the tree' in French. But just like saying I had done my homework to Aunty Hilda, I know I'll get caught out later

    March 04, 2005

    Appearances can be deceptive

    What a women would think.........

    "You are giving me evils, you must'nt be interested"

    What I am actually thinking........

    "I quite like you"

    March 01, 2005

    Things I’ve noticed at work this week……………

    I don’t get the lift up to the third floor anymore. It seems I’m the only one that doesn’t. Maybe it’s my conscious effort to do exercise. Maybe it’s the fact that you seem to wait ages for a lift that never comes. Maybe it’s the forced silence, triggered by the personal space invasion. Maybe I’ve had enough of those guilty looks when someone says “I did press the up button” when the lift suddenly starts to drop.

    Maybe I have got tired of the “no you go first, no after you” routine. Or maybe it’s the office whispers of lift failures causing twenty minute entrapments (I’ve already decided there is only a 2% chance of being stuck in a lift with someone I actually want to be stuck in with, and 100% of them work on the ground floor). Or most probably it’s my inability to cope with my unnerving ability to snigger when I’m not meant to. And I’m not talking about when a women asks me “are you going down” (they stopped doing that after I smiled too many times).

    I had two cups of coffee in my hand, so I decided to take the lift. It seemed a good idea at the time, there was no one else there. I had it all to myself. Then the crowd came. It turned into one of those “oh, is there room for a small one” type situations as we crammed in the lift. Silence. Some people looked at their phones, some people looked at the walls, some people looked at their feet. First Floor, Second Floor, oh dear. Oh no. The silence was broken by Flatulence. Then the silence was worse than silence, everybody came the accused. My snigger broke the silence, a snigger that could be construed as a guilty snigger. I was biting my lip but I could see the victim, a deeper shade of red. I felt sorry for them. Okay, maybe I didn’t feel sorry for them.

    The lift doors opened. Everyone scampered. I’ll be taking the stairs from now

    I’ve also noticed.............

    The huge amount of people coming in for interviews every day, sitting in reception first thing in the morning. Yes, the nervous ones. I don’t know what they have got to be nervous about. It’s not like my interview last year for the furniture store Ikea. Some people.


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