Friday, 23 November 2012

A series of unfortunate mispronunciations

Prosciutto … delicious cured ham. Served with maybe some melon and some breads makes a delicious starter or snack around the family dining table. Goes well on pizza too.
Heard in Aldershot’s tescos last night as being ‘shall me get some of that expensive Prosky ooto or just cheap ham?’.

As a much younger child I recall going to a friend’s house where they serving some lovely cheese and tomato ‘Pizer ‘.

It gets worse. Also a nice delicatessen in Farnham offered me some Pecorina cheese … now I’m not a native of Italy, but I have relatives that are and I’m pretty sure no one should talk about pecorina in a middle class delicatessen. I’m quite broad in thinking but I like to keep my cheese separate to my karma sutra.

Another one that actually came from a relative of my husband was the mispronunciation of the word ‘Penne’ …. I thought it was so simple and common most people would get it right … but this relative has spent a lot of time in Australia … she elongates her vowels and turned the nice quill shaped pasta into Peeene … you don’t put pene in pasta .. and if you do it’s because you are a fetish based Hanibal lecture.

My favourite came from the lovely garden centre in between Aldershot and Farnham. A well-spoken upper class nicely groomed elderly lady was picking up Jam jars and reading what they were. The was a selection of Jams from Italy. In English we often call Jam ‘Preserve’ although it’s quite an old reference and falling out of favour with younger people. As the fruits have been preserved it is a jam based preserve. We also think that Italian language is like English but with an ‘I’ at the end of each verb. So she picked up a Jam jar which had a lovely rustic picture on it … and shouted to her husband that there was some nice Italian preservativi  for sale. In a garden centre. In surrey? I think not because on the wall of the toilet of the café in cetona is a machine that sells flavoured preservativi for men and women to enhance their sex life. They don’t come in jars.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

scum and ranting

So recently, my neighbours, burst out of their house attacking their tenant. The intentions of my neighbour were, for whatever reason, to cause serious and permanent harm to his tenant. We saw the dog attacking him, we saw the neighbours wife slapping him and we saw the neighbours brother run off after him wearing a knuckle duster. For whatever reason they were very keen to teach their tenant a physical lesson.
Because we saw what happened we were asked to provide a statement. Being naïve we thought we were doing the right thing. Giving an honest statement of what we saw.
However, [can I get a rewind!] My neighbours have spent 6 years being general  shit heads. Passing racial slurs over the fence, partying throughout the summer with speakers outside broad casting thumping music to all, and smoking drugs openly. Forcing us to leave our house to get some peace and quiet. I’ve had my wheelie bin stolen by them, I have had eggs thrown at my house and my car has been bashed here and there, doubtless as to who has done it. Additionally their ‘tenant’ was a drug dealer. Used to invite his friends to use my parking space, on returning home would laugh when I asked them to move and throw the nastiest of verbal abuse in my direction in front of my young son. So I have no sympathy for any of these people. Scum they name is my neighbours.
Fast forwards a few weeks, it seemed that charges were to be pressed and we were asked if we would go to court. At which point due to worrying about any consequences once they linked us with someone testifying against them. So we retracted our statement. Sadly the police failed to pass this onto the CPS so we had to retract a second time. Didn’t matter either way as the CPS then summonsed us to court [and failure to show up would mean a warrant for our arrest would be issued … seriously. I have kept on the right side of the law my entire life, I do not keep the company of criminals. I just want to be left alone and now all of a sudden I risk facing a criminal record if I’m not prepared to endanger my family … BIG hole in the judicial system].
So off we went to court. It was almost comedic … the second we walked into the court my neighbours were sat right in front of us. We were shown to a discrete room [abit late now] and in walks the tenant who has been abusive over and over again to us. We gave our evidence and left only to find that as there was room for doubt the verdict was not guilty. Since then our fence has all of a sudden come down [the fense post has been split … possible through force]. I have a series of scratches on the side of my car and now appearing on my new £3500 decking is dog poo. We don’t have a dog. Our neighbours do.
So the lesson I have learnt. If you see a crime. Unless you have an over whelming jolt of empathy for the victim [ maybe if the victim is a child?] do not report it. It causes you so much stress, the police want ticks in boxes and are as subtle and attuned to your plight as an amoeba .. mistakes are made and ultimately if you won’t play ball you could easily gain a criminal record at best or become a voiceless victim yourself. Brilliant.
Since the court case ended, I’ve become a social networking sleuth … I’ve located the tenants facebook account and amongst the racial slurs and salutes to Raul Moats are threats to end the life of my neighbours. Dead man walking references. Lovely. And on the twitter account of my neighbours 18 year old pregnant daughter is a glimmer of hope. Their house has been on the market for 6 months, 7 weeks ago a SOLD sign appeared which has over the past few days been taken down. However, her status is ‘I cant wait to move into my new council flat in 3 days’ … so if she’s going one hopes they are going also.

Ps – I really really miss my son … I see him for less than 3 hours every day. From 6.45am till 7.45am. And then from 6-8pm. That’s all you get being a working mum to forge a close relationship with your kid. 

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Day 3 of new job and the first fluttering’s of heavy emotion.


I miss my son.

I have sat and planned out how and when I can wisely spend my 24 days holiday allowance next year and realized I will have to rely on the childminder quite heavily.

I know he’ll be fine and looked after. It’s not that. It’s just he’s mine … my son and I miss him badly. 24 days a year doesn’t seem like enough time to spend with him one bit.

I can feel myself getting revved up inside. Massive hump lump in my throat and millimetres from tears. My hope is that I will soon become busy at work, too busy to fret over him as much as am doing, but between you and me, I don’t want too. I have loved all this time I’ve had being a mum this year and I don’t really want to let it all go. But I’ve wrecked my brains and know what short of a lottery win, for now and the foreseeable future I have to work and earn a good wage. No words sum up the aching bond between a mum and her boy and yes I have to make this work. The place isn’t that bad really. In the distance is the genuine possibility of occasional work from home. But I’m not at the school gates holding his hand listening to him talk about how good / bad his day has been. I have to complete 6 months probation here. I’ve spoken to him in doors and once my probation is complete I’m going to request I work a 4 day week OR one day work from home a week. If they say no, then no harm done. But if they say yes I’ll be over the moon. To be at the school gates once a week will be sufficiently meaningful for me.

And now I have to stop typing before I actually start crying at my desk. Dear god get a grip women.

Friday, 2 November 2012

SMS: Save my Sanity

In life I think it’s the mistakes we make that cause us to reflect on what makes us happy.


Recently I made an utterly dire mistake. I took a new job following redundancy. Let me set the scene and illustrate just exactly how blindly stupid I have been.


My interview was soft. No hard hitting technical questions or probing situational questions. One of the interviewers kept winking at me. I was asked about my marriage situation. I was asked about coping with children. I was asked about my mortgage situation. Let’s be clear here, the job wasn’t as the new head of the IMF, it was as a software tester in a tiny company.

And yet despite all of these misgivings I took the role based on a) the need to earn an income and b) the opportunity to roll out better test practises and automation.

On arrival day 1 I was asked if I would rather have a lap top or a static computer … which was odd as I’d explained during my interview that on occasion, and it really is occasion in order to balance life and work it is always good to be able to work from home. During my interview I was promised that this was completely acceptable. My new MD however informed me that it would be an absolute no to work from home.

OK. Deep breath.

New role as it transpires bears little resemblance to the one described in the interview. Time has stood still for this company in relation to software development. The last time I saw problems that these guys are having was in roughly 1997. They are looking at me to drag them out of last century and into this one. OK. Count to 10. Twice.

Over hearing my MD referring to ethnic people using racial slurs was rather unexpected. Hearing that the company is on a knife edge and at times has been waiting for a cheque to cash before knowing how long they can run for. Really at this point it’s clear I’ve made a judgement of error.

The overall atmosphere is additionally peculiar – silence with a tinge of hostility. The majority of people working here have been here for 15 years+ and have never worked anywhere else. Bless them, they do not know that life is much nicer elsewhere. If I wasn’t depressed to start off with I would be at the thought of staying here for much longer. No one talks, no one plans, no one mentions what they’re doing. At least not to me. Any information shared with me is incomplete and full of distractions. Nothing and I mean nothing is documented. They haven’t heard of ISEB/ ISTQB/ BDD/ QC/ Selinium yada yada. I’m a software tester get me out of here.


So the hunt began, desperately at first wanting to get the hell out of here asap. Then the offers started rolling in. TFFT! This lead me to hand in my notice after less than 5 complete weeks here. In predictable fashion my MD has informed me I must work my notice period out, despite the soft clause in my contract that states it can be waived by mutual agreement. Although, having seen how unprofessional and out of date they are, this has not come as a surprise.


I have been sent to Coventry and it’s one hell of a commute!. Petulance rules here defacto .. my punishment for being honest and informing them I didn’t want to waste any more time as I knew that this wasn’t the right role or company to thrive in for me is to be ignored. Work place bullying much? Left here, not understanding what they want from me. No one talking to me. Clock watching. The light at the end of the tunnel gets brighter every day.


Now this time I have [28 days now] I am using to reflect on what drove me to choose this as a potential good source of employment fulfilment, the negative signs were there in the interview.


I ‘think’ having been corporate for such a long time, I have romantic notions of what working for a smaller company is like. My very first job was with a small company and I loved the banter and the rapid decision making and the shared goals. That particular company though had a pulse and you felt part of a team. I can only state that wanting something different, wanting an opportunity and wanting to recreate this brotherly love I experienced some 15 years ago over-ruled my head. My wise head that deep down gets everything right even when my erratic romantic heart bullies it into submission.


So yet again, Lilly, on your path to enlightenment you’ve messed up something chronic.


On the plus / faith in human nature restoration side, I have had endless support from a lot of people. People who have noticed the rather extreme and rapid weight loss / being on the verge of tears 99% of the time/ chain smoking like a bitch thing/ incapable of raising a smile and floating off into a fuggy world of misery just isn’t me. People have checked in on me and told me off and told me to have confidence in myself. Told me the things I’d forgotten about myself. Let me talk endlessly about myself in a purely [and out of character] selfish way. The first time in my life, having been through births, deaths, marriages and divorces, I couldn’t think of anything else other than how pitiful I had become, how loathsome I was, how undeserving I am. Essentially, I think I was scraping my rock bottom. Ouch.


But the turnaround began for me last Sunday. I went to the Buddhist temple with friends and my son. It was a lovely family day and whilst it was bitterly cold we sat and chanted and through it I felt at peace with myself for the first time in weeks. The constant surge of vomitable sensation abated. I felt I was able to hold a conversation without looking for a get out clause that would allow me to go and mope some more. I felt that ‘you know what, I’m not giving them anymore of my energy, it’s negative and will cause other negativity to circulate me and I’m done with that. I let it go. My energy is best spent on making the world a peaceful place, not filling it with more sadness and selfishness. The offers started coming in on the Monday and as soon as I received my first paper contract through the door I handed in my notice. I have not vomited in 5 days. I have achieved 6 hours constant sleep a night and I have driven both too and from work without bawling my head off [oh yes Alice Cooper emulation – mascara everywhere].


Now the next step. Where to accept as my next job?


Job 1:

30 mins commute away.

Working with a real mover and shaker in the software testing industry. I will learn a lot from this place and gain some really important skills. They have a real drive and goal and energy, the company has a lot of heavy investment. I think I can be happy here.

More money than I’m currently earning.


Job 2:

10 mins commute away.

In a potential volatile industry that squeezes everytime it’s hit financially.

Lots of lovely nice friendly people.

Senior position.

Can work from home a lot – benefits are good.

On less money than I’m currently earning.


Job 3:

Possible the dullest job of all.

20 mins commute away.

Less money

Total safe ‘forever’ job.



Job 4:

Big huge giant cooperate.

I’ll be face less.

It’s working on security systems that compromise the bejeezus out of my morals.

Same money and same commute as I have now. [30 mins]





Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Trout Pout and Breeze Block Bum - i love the Daily Fail!

So I sat and watched Children in need with my 7 year old son the other day. We had a lot of chats about how it is that in 2011 people end up drug addicts / homeless / alcoholics / and how children are often embroiled in these problems and suffer the most. My son asked me why no one cares and I couldn’t answer it. So I was having a sneaky look at the daily fail [again] and sure enough it’s chokka full of ground-breaking journalism. One woman wants her lips to be the size of Jessica rabbit’s lips and as such has spent thousands on lip fillers and now resembles Pete Burns … specifically Pete Burns the morning after a really heavily loaded night.. Another required a larger arse and so filled hers up with concrete until again she appears farcically dismorphic and enters a room several seconds before her arse arrives.

Poutus Troutus

Arsus Maximus

So how do we account for social responsibility? How many lives could have been saved if the money funnelled into cosmetic surgery … no heck .. the entire beauty industry is re-routed to GOS. To any of the amazing hospices around the UK / globe? To a cancer charity. To an orphanage.

If we did that, then we would all be happier. Or would we? Walking around in our hessian sack dresses using charcoal as eye liner owning nothing but knowing we will never go hungry, will never war again … it’s such a lovely utopic notion. Yet, the human hierarchy is hard coded in us, in 2000000 years of existence we’ve failed to build a society that cares for the poor, the disabled and the elderly across all boundaries. We’ve failed to redistribute the wealth to make sure that suffering is minimised for all. Across the world it’s just the same.

“I am better than you, but she is better than me”. Our sub categories are what dictate our lives. I am clever. I have 9 gcse’s grade A, I have 5 a-levels and a degree. I fit into this box. I came from a free spirited background exposed to classical music / folk music / art in all its guises. I danced, sung and acted my childhood away. I have travelled all around the world and my friends form a rich global patchwork quilt coming from all countries and religions. I have a thick mop of frizzy hair of indistinguishable colour and a grin the size of the Cheshire cat. I can call up on all the experiences I have had to enable me to forge ahead and turn misfortune and challenge into something positive. So on a sliding scale I tend to fair better in life than say someone from a socioeconomically challenged background. Someone denied education.  Someone denied an upbringing that centred on a peaceful, secure childhood. Someone exposed to an adult world when they weren’t done with being a child yet. So I’m privileged.

And yet whilst my body is the original 1976 model, I tame my frizz ball of a barnet with overpriced gunk from the hair dressers. I’m possibly addicted to benefit max lash mascara. I like to smell good. I have my own sense of style which involves an obsession with pashminas and silk scarves and shoes. I’d rather shop at Waitrose than asda. I drive a 4x4. I’m to the right of left. We own 13 guitars, multiple full sized weighted keyboards, saxaphones, mandolins, harps. I’ve spent more money on these material non-essential items than I have donated to charity. So I am no better than blubber lips and pavement arse in the daily fail.

If I had a thousand pounds and wanted to spend it on a holiday, surely by Plato’s republic I ought to simply look to whose need is greatest. Each time I would arrive at the bottom on the pile. A million starving / sick / neglected children come first don’t they?

This is the point my son was trying to make. It was mildly revolutionary if not communist the suggestion he made. If we all just had enough and not too much, then no one would suffer anymore. He doesn’t want children to suffer just because he wants a new toy.

Yet we chase happiness. I’m sure music came from banging a few rocks together around the camp fire, it accompanied stories and differed from civilisation / continent. It grew. We made instruments. I’m sure we started investing in these instruments.  Whatever its legacy … music makes us happy. Material items make us happy. Aren’t we allowed to chase happiness? Trout Pout and Breeze Block Bum … aren’t they just chasing happiness too? Shouldn’t we just accept it if they aren’t harming anyone other themselves.

At which point we hit the phone and made a large donation. He went upstairs and arrived back down clutching a £20 note … he was saving up for the new Harry Potter Nintendo DS game.

I don’t want my son to feel guilt to be in his situation. Grateful yes, but guilt no.  He has the nicest soul I’ve ever seen in a child. He knows he’s a child of the globe neither being black, white or Asian he is as ‘patchworked’ as they come and he belongs on this planet. He deserves everything he can get from it and I am solid in my knowledge that the upbringing we are giving him will in time allow him to make his part of the globe a better place to be.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

The natives are getting restless

In Aldershot.

I hear that there is a protest being arranged as ‘The Ghurkhas are ruining the town’ … having lived here for some 13 years I can assure you Aldershot is being ruined but more by the right wing, poorly educated ignorant bigots who also reside.

Apparently there is a social networking page up on arse book which is gaining attention. Great.

Yesterday a local mum who I thought was at the very least intelligent enough not to propagate the fallacy of what ‘them’ get up to informed me that ‘they’ are shitting and pissing in our streets. All of them and it’s really not on [meanwhile the under 30 generation neck 12 pints of wife beater and regurgitate their stomach contents on the pavements of Aldershot – this is ok though]. Oh deary dear. Have we not learnt by now how very damaging sweeping racist generalizations can be. Have we not already been down this route of victimization and segregation and figured out that only bad things can come of it.

I live in a relatively quiet part of town and I would say out of my immediate neighbours the Nepalese form roughly 30% of the population. In 5 years I have never seen one Nepalese family behaving in a disrespectful way. My immediate neighbours – shaved headed and pit-bull owning regularly delight me with parties lasting well into the early hours, throwing rubbish over the fence, taking drugs openly and peppering their outside daily conversation with certificate 18 expletives. But then again I’m one of ‘them’ by marriage. I have an Asian husband and a mixed race son .. We’re always crapping in the street – you know us we just can’t help it. Must go as I’ve got an appointment with the council … they’re offering me a huge mansion 50k worth of benefits and they’re bringing my husband’s family over all for free. 

Actually the only point I think I’d like to make as a generalization is that life is too easy here regardless of colour.  I’m surrounded by local people who don’t work full time as “there’s no point”. One generation after the other chooses a life of hand-outs rather than stopping the cycle, encouraging kids to do well at school and telling them that failure isn’t an option … this is the only opportunity you get.  I know what I’m talking about I really do. I lived in a council estate. I didn’t come from the gutter as my mother [an intelligent British feminist] always spoke to us about the future and what our opportunities were – she worked full time and set an example. If we chose to give up at school then we were choosing a life with fewer opportunities and that to an extent we had to fight for what we wanted. Not by pointing out how dreadfully unfair life is but by getting on with it and making the most of what we had. I just see lazy winey people who have given up. It’s like disciplining a toddler really, if they don’t get what they want, they have a tantrum.

Friday, 9 September 2011

March 31st will be a good day indeed [I hope]

Dear blog

I’m sorry I’ve neglected you.

I’ve had things on my mind plus I run 2 other blogs.

There is a real sense of understanding ‘time’ and a real need to somehow stretch it out and make everything count at the moment.

In the corner of my eye, just out of visibility there is this huge giant clock showing a count down. At the moment I’m at work and that count down is firstly to the end of the day when I can escape this festering landscape of repetition… then there is increasing awareness of the END date. Which for me is March 31st … and then I’m increasingly aware of time slipping through my hands like a large strand of bunting I just can’t quite grab hold of it and make it stop. My son has started junior school, be it the summer tan, the new haircut or the new uniform but he suddenly appears to have matured. He’s taking responsibility for more and more. TICK TOCK TICK TOCK. Sometimes it’s deafening.

2012 shall bring some relief to this work related lunacy I’m sure of it. Well I’m hopeful of it.

Time and what can be accomplished in the measured doses of it seems to be playing a large part in the microcosm I live it. My best friend in the entire world has Hodgkins Lymphoma stage 4b. This sucks. Rather a lot and it’s a case of here we go again. It takes x amount of time to be diagnosed and x amount of time to start treatments. Answers are vague and decisions seem nonsensical.  I’ve been in denial with her, angry with her and now we’re accepting it together. My role is one of clown, one of perspective giver and one of empathy provider.  

I’m very much aware though that this magical state of 31st March is one where not only my life, but hopefully hers will turn a corner. So much seem to be waiting March 31st.

Then in wallowing melancholy I think about people who meant a lot to me. People I’ve lost through life, through death and that too makes me fearful of next year. Who next ..? Who else is going to depart?

I watched a work related video yesterday. In this video they told us how everything is going to be great when we lose our jobs, how the only thing stopping us is ourselves. So that’s ok. Duh! If I make it ok it will be ok. That’s ok then. Whilst I was being subjected to this saccharin high fiveness of corporate crappolla I looked around the room to see a vast majority of ‘colleagues’ donning droopy slack jawed expressions like they were actually enjoying being told how great not having a job will be. I was sat next to one lady who applauded the positivity oozing from the egocentric speaker. I too could be like him if I made that choice. BLUGH. I guess its freedom of choice really. If people like this shit then who am I to gripe.

So perhaps I need to make the choice to stop being obstructive with my opinions, make the choice to take the easier path of acceptance. This is after all what Buddhism tells me. I’m just such an obstinate witch at times, although I’m told this is due to inherited Karma. Sometimes that’s crystal clear, like looking through a sheet of glass, other times it’s more like a mirror. I just see me cocking up and being shit and I’m frustrated that I can’t change and refuse to believe this is a cyclical and inherited.

Anywhooo enough of my negativity. Plaster the face of optimism back on and attempt to spread good cheer and happiness.