Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Chocolate popcorn cheesecake

Before last night I had never heard of chocolate popcorn cheesecake, let alone tasted its tantalising delights.
Perhaps it’s a common delicacy in other parts of this world? Maybe I’ve had my head in the clouds when it came to cheesecake varieties, but I've never noticed it in the supermarket or on a restaurant dessert menu before last night. However, this has all changed. Chocolate popcorn cheesecake is now topping my favourite list of desserts!
It was my fathers birthday yesterday. 74 years young. And if I do say so myself, I think he could be mistaken for someone ten years younger. He keeps his mind and body active with walks, gardening, chess games, language tapes, and he plays the saxophone in a jazz band. Oh and he still works, he has a stock taking business, which means he excels in mathematics.
Academically my father is the complete opposite to me. Maths, languages and musical ability are not my strong points. Personality wise I would say I can be the mirror image of him, but unfortunately I can not speak fluent French and German or make any kind of recognisable noise with a musical instrument (apart from being able to play Kum Ba Ya on the piano).
I’d like to think I have inherited some of my mothers creativity. My mother is known for her floral art classes, china painting, copper and pewter designs and dough craft. And we once attended a calligraphy course together.
Between my mother and father there is a fairly big age gap, but my mum often jokes that my dads health and vitality puts hers to shame. Except for his mild case of diabetes, which he controls with his diet, he is in tiptop health for a 74 year old - touch wood!
(Unfortunately my family are riddled with diabetes, both parents have been diagnosed with it, my grandmother had to take insulin injections due to it and my great grandfather had his leg amputated as a result of it. I sincerely hope diabetes does not catch me up, injecting and amputation is not something I want to comprehend.)
Anyway, back to the cheescake. Last night I took my parents out for a meal at a local, family orientated restaurant. It has a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, with an open kitchen where you can see your fish / chicken / steak in the grilling process. And the legendary salad cart, with many tasty options and combinations, which you can help yourself to as many times as you like. My salad bowl was overflowing with all sorts of salad bits, but I decided one overflowing bowl was enough thanks.
For my main course I ordered the garlic and mushroom pasta, with garlic bread. Whoa betide any vampires who wanted to track me down. Garlic must have been oozing out of my pores at the end of the evening.
My father ordered a bottle of chardonnay to compliment our meal. And then my mother and I’s taste buds began to work over time when we read the words chocolate popcorn cheesecake.
“I have to try it!” said I, hardly being able to contain my excitement.
“I’ll have to try some of yours,” said my mother. Her heart was set on the upside down pineapple cake, but she was intrigued about this new dessert.
It did not disappoint. Heavenly chocolate and cream smothered the popcorn and cheesecake base, with a swirl of refreshing vanilla ice-cream on the side. Not a crumb was left remaining on my plate. I was one satisfied customer.
For your viewing, I remembered to take a picture, before the demolishing began.

Picture of the day:

Chocolate popcorn cheesecake.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Ancient woodland

Shall we take a stroll into the ancient woodland?



21 acres of woodland. It comprises mostly of hornbeam coppice, oak, sweet chestnut, birch and holly trees. And lots and lots of bluebells.







How romantic!



Looks like someone has been working hard, while I've been wandering around the woods.

The speech

Lights. Camera. Action!

When I was a little girl, another lifetime ago (pause for audience laughter), way before blogging had been invented, I used to keep a diary. It was hardly top literature material, the pages were full of dilemmas over spots, boys and maths teachers. And I couldn't imagine any of my diaries being of any interest to anyone but myself. Sometimes even I failed to find them interesting.
Dear Boz I used to write in my diary under the duvet every night. And every year I would receive a brand new diary from Father Christmas. I have no idea why I called my diaries Boz, I just liked the name.
Fast forward to the year 2008, and I’m still writing a diary. But this time I have called it Flying Pink Elephants. Again, I have no idea why, I just liked the name. But there’s a difference this time, as other people are actually reading it. Readers from Belgium, Singapore, Japan, America and Malta to name a few home countries. And in return, they allow me to peep at their diary and their lives. I think that’s a fair exchange. But you don’t even have to write your own blog to read mine, as long as you have internet connection, the sky's the limit. What a technical world we now live in.
It was only last week that I celebrated FPE’s first year, and how very apt that I should receive an award on this first birthday. The Special Friendship award from my friend: http://nyumix.blogspot.com/
Thank you, I am proud to accept this award and I shall look after it, keep it clean, and display it on my blog.
I would also like to pass this award on to the many wonderful friends I have met through Flying Pink Elephants. So without further ado, in no particular order, this award goes to:


http://hle-patienceofasaint.blogspot.com/

http://jyankee.wordpress.com/

http://blurting.blogspot.com/

http://www.ramblingrebecca.blogspot.com/

http://seagrapejelly.blogspot.com/

http://katediggins.blogspot.com/

http://ladelirante.blogspot.com/

http://www.kryblings.com/

http://ailema4ever.blogspot.com/

http://nickphil67.blogspot.com/

http://mminzes.blogspot.com/

http://luxuriouschoices.blogspot.com/

http://worldofdidi.blogspot.com/

http://travelinoma.blogspot.com/

http://www.simhazel.com/

http://leighrussell.blogspot.com/




(Round of applause from the audience).

I should have been an actress!

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Three is the magic number

Have you ever noticed how things frequently happen in threes? Perhaps recently you've over heard someone saying, “Oh no, I’m waiting for the third incident now!”
Although it doesn’t necessarily have to relate to something bad.
I was reminded of the three coincidences this week, as I have seen three separate friends, three nights on the trot and eaten three different dinners with them. See what I mean? Three is the magic number.
On night number one, I embraced my friend Annie with my company. And I’ve just thought of another three coincidence, I have to board three trains to reach her house. Okay, perhaps I am taking this three thing a tad too far now. It has been known for me to get a little carried away sometimes. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, at Annie's house. Lovely to see her again. A very tasty and healthy salad, with potatoes and vegetable quiche. It’s the wedding count down in her house, the countdown for the dress fitting and the big day. Roll on October!
After dinner and after chatting, we settled down to watch a comedy on DVD entitled ‘Gavin and Stacey’. I hadn’t seen it before but it tickled my funny bone. Plus it’s won a BAFTA award and so I was curious to see what all the fuss was about.
On night number 2, I saw my friend Helen for our monthly visit to our favourite local pub. We always order the same dinner - chunky chips, with vintage cheddar and home made chutney baguette. But it’s yummy, so why mess with a winning formula?
Our friends wedding was discussed, as Helen is using her sewing machine for the bridesmaid dresses. How clever she is. I’d love to be able to create my own creations on the sewing machine. But I fear it would look like something a five year old had attempted to make, with their arms tied behind their back and their eyes closed.
We were having a fine time, until a member of the bar staff asked if we could drink up and leave the premises. “Is it eleven o’clock already?” I exclaimed. It wasn’t. Apparently the landlord’s daughter was ill so they were closing early. It was only ten to ten. We were outraged! Chucked out of a pub at ten to ten! What if we had wanted another drink? Or pudding? But then we realised the little girl could be seriously ill, and so another drink or a lemon cheesecake was not really important in the grand scheme of things.
On night number 3, I saw my friend Caron. For a welcome change, the sun was shining and the sky was blue, so we sat in her garden debating about life and drinking wine. The forthcoming wedding was discussed again, and we had a quick peep (on lap top) at hotels to stay at in the chosen area.
Next it was time for ‘The Apprentice’ while eating a scrummy fish curry. Thank you my spangleystar! For those who don’t know, 'The Apprentice' is a reality television show where candidates are fighting for the opportunity to be Sir Alan Sugars apprentice. Fighting is the operative word, what a load of argumentative, vindictive, back stabbers they are this year.
I’ll stick to being a production controller thanks.
And so that, dear readers, is the end of my trilogy.
Oh hold on a second, just when you thought it was all over – I’m about to tuck into 3 tuna rolls (they’re only small I hasten to add).
See you tomorrow. And watch out for that number 3!

Three pictures of the day:

The sunshine flower.


Friend at the pub that closed early.


What we could have eaten if the pub hadn't closed early.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

One today

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday, Flying Pink Elephants
Happy Birthday to you!

That was a not-so-subtle way of saying; Flying Pink Elephants has reached the grand age of one!
And what a blogging good way to spend a year.
Now I have finished my little sing song, I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every person who has read and commented and made FPE one of my favourite places to be.
It wouldn’t be the same without you!

Shall we take a trip down memory lane together? Reminisce about the past year? Okay then, fasten your seat belts and shuffle around until you’re sitting comfortably. Anyone fancy a sweetie for the journey? Are you ready? Right, here we go…

It’s been a year of calorie counting, George Michael adoration, wine swigging, and cheese and chocolate appreciation.
Of course there have been many other things before, during and after, it's not all about my taste buds and my taste in gay pop stars!

I think one of the highlights for me has got to be ‘The unexpected twist.' Which in other words, meant possessing my own car again, following the sorry saga of Polly the Peugeot. (If you think that name was bad, I used to have a Peugeot 205 called Clive the 205.)
Not forgetting other memorable high lights, which were, my little cousin's engagement, and my medium size cousin's new baby boy. And the George Michael concert, 'You gotta have faith.' Aptly named ‘You gotta have faith’ as it was taken from a line of one of his songs (bet you can’t guess which one?!) and because my friend lost the tickets and we almost didn’t go. Can you imagine how she felt when she realised she’d lost the tickets and had to break the devastating news to me?! I thank the Lord (and so does she!) that we managed to purchase replacement tickets in the final hour. It was an incredibly stressful day, which luckily had a happy ending.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed describing and showing such places and events as the rainy day trip to Kew Gardens, the rainy picnic at Regents Park, The Natural History Museum, a wine festival, an asparagus festival, a boat ride along the River Thames, out door ice-skating and a winter fairground, a murder mystery themed hen night, a wedding reception, an evening at the theatre, an awards party, a conference held in Barcelona, and a visit to the sea side.
Oh and how could I forget the story about a man who married a goat, ‘In memory of Rose the goat.'

Unfortunately there have been some low points too, a funeral, a bike accident and my nans health. But that’s life I guess, along with the sunshine there has to be a little rain sometimes. (Especially if you live in the U.K. where it always seems to rain.)

Well, that’s the year summed up according to me.

And I would think you probably have a good idea of what I’m about by now. If not, there’s always ‘Eight random facts’ and ‘Weird things about me’ and ‘The love and hate theme (otherwise known as cheese and prawns)’.
Those who do know me, will realise that it’s not in my nature not to loose or break something. Therefore, in FPE’s first year there have been tales of a lost purse, a mis placed book, a forgotten camera and a smashed mobile phone.
And how could I not mention the stone in weight I have lost (yippee!) since FPE began one fateful day, and the hours I have lost writing these entries.
But quite frankly, I have to say, writing this blog is one of the best ways I can possibly think of to loose a few hours.
Here’s to many more lost hours!
Cheers everyone.
Thanks for listening.

Picture of the day:

The pink birthday cake.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

People watching

I often people watch. It's free and it can be very entertaining. I've been people watching at the gym today.
I thought I'd mention my gym visit, before you think my exercise regime is nothing but empty threats, or a figment of my over-active imagination.
So, with green track suit bottoms on, my white top and my whiteish trainers, I set off to the sports centre. As usual, the first thing I did upon arrival was weigh myself. The scales can cause many reactions - a sigh of despair, an irritated tut, or a look of fear / bewilderment. On a good day they can be responsible for a sigh of relief, a look of satisfaction, or even a smile of contentment.
Today I would say the scales caused a look of satisfaction. No change, but no gain, so I was satisfied with the outcome.
First stop, running machine. Or in my case - walking, then jogging, then running, and then walking machine.
Next thing, people watching. Who was at the gym today, I wondered to myself.
One of the worst case scenarios is actually seeing someone that I know. In the past I have spied my next door neighbour, old school acquaintances, and an ex boyfriends friend who I would rather never see or speak to ever again. Most of the time I pretend I haven't noticed them, if I do see a familiar face. I don't find the gym the best place to hold a conversation when you are huffing and puffing, sweating or trying to hold your wobbly bits in.
Luckily, today I did not spot anyone who I could pretend I hadn't seen. My eyes fixated on the young, thin, pretty girl talking to her mobile phone. What was she doing here?! It was obvious she didn't need to loose weight, or that she was bothered about keeping fit. She was far too busy checking herself out in the mirror, wearing the smallest, tightest clothes in her wardrobe, while at the same time making her Saturday night binge drinking arrangements. She'd probably just used the sun bed, looked in the mirror and realised how great she looked, so entered the gym area to gloat.
Me - jealous, bitter and old? Of course not!
Enough of the irritatingly pretty, thin, young girl. My eyes moved to the serious trainer. You know the sort, the type who look like they have stepped out of a Nike advertisement. She was dressed head to toe in Nike and running at a very impressive speed. But she made it look so easy! I was reminded of the bleach stains on my green track suit bottoms (must buy a new pair one of these days) and the slow speed my running machine was still on.
I progressed to a faster speed setting, began to jog, and moved my eyes to the next person. What a contrast from the serious trainer. He looked like he would rather be anywhere else in the world. Watching paint dry, or snails sleeping would probably have been more fun for him. His face was a peculiar shade of purple, huge drops of sweat were cascading onto the tread mill, and every couple of minutes he looked like he was about to give up. It was painful to watch him. He soon gave up, walked out the door and never looked back. I suspected he was off to the cafe for a beer and a cheese sarnie, vowing to never put himself through such an ordeal again.
I then spotted the weight trainers. Actually it would be accurate to say I heard the weight trainers. Grunting and moaning, and competing at a very competitive level, with dangerously heavy looking items. My body ached merely watching them. I wouldn't be surprised if they had received their 'Strongest man in Essex' entry forms in the post this morning, and were off to the shops on their way home to buy XXXL T-shirts, as they were bulging out of their XXL T-shirts.
My jog turned into a run, just a short run, and I eagerly glanced at the calorie counter, willing it to move to triple figures.
Next stop, the machine which moves your arms and legs, and enables you to watch a television channel of your choice on the individual screen. This was when I noticed the nervous girl. She was looking very hesitantly at the machines, the mirrors, and everyone. I wondered why she was so nervous. First time at the gym? Low self esteem from her boyfriend, or lack of boyfriend? She mounted the machine next to me and stared at the dials in horror. Should I ask her if she needed any assistance, or would that make her feel worse? Would she then realise that she was not blending in and looking far too conspicuous? Perhaps I should leave it a minute or two before offering to help her.
My arms and legs were picking up a good pace now, and I tuned into the omnibus edition of Coronation Street, to pass the time. Lost in the world of dark David, a sloshed Audrey and a numb Gail, I happily burnt off calories and watched the fictional characters on my screen. Until I couldn't help noticing that the nervous girl was banging on her machine, desperately trying to work it out. It was then I stepped in to help her.
I thought nervous girl would have been grateful for my gym knowledge, but not even a thank you passed her lips! Maybe what I had mistaken for nerves was actually a trauma. Perhaps she'd had a very traumatic morning, which had left her unable to speak and unable to cope with life? Perhaps a relative had sadly passed away, or while she'd been toasting her currant buns she'd accidentally set fire to her house?
I thought I would leave the nervous / traumatised girl in peace.
Last stop, rowing machine. Back and forwards I went on the machine, avoiding catching my reflection in the mirror. Why do they insist in placing mirrors everywhere in the gym? It's bad enough looking in the mirror, without watching my hot and tired, hair scraped back reflection, trying to exercise.
My eyes scanned the gym for more people, but I noticed it was practically empty now. Was it lunch time, I wondered, or was there an important football match on the telly? Maybe it was time for me to leave soon. In my head I added up the calories I'd lost - 668, and I was happy with that. Not a bad result for a morning of people watching.
It was time to leave the gym and head home for a banana sandwich.

Picture of the day:

Roses in the conservatory.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Summer fetes and Christmas crackers

Growing old. I’m not sure if I want to grow too old. I mean really, really old. The kind of old where everything is beginning to stop working, or the kind of old where you look around and wonder where everyone has gone.
That’s one of my biggest fears, loneliness. I don’t mind being on my own, in fact I quite like my own company. For as much as I love being around my family and friends, I am also content in my own company and I never run out of things to amuse myself with. But being on your own and being lonely are two very different stories.
Another fear of mine is helplessness.
I’ve had a lot of time, and experience, to reflect on these fears recently. Over the past two years my nans health has rapidly deteriorated. She has been in and out of many hospitals, and I have witnessed things that I would rather not have witnessed.
One particular hospital my nan was transferred to was heart-breaking. It was filled with elderly patients, who were either senile and chatting to invisible people in bed, or they were hooked up to a machine, unable to feed or clothe themselves, let alone use a toilet without any kind of assistance. And no one to visit them, to break up their long, lonely day.
Lily was the name of the lady next to my nans bed, in this particular hospital. She had more or less lost the sight in both her eyes. When I first met her she told me she lived in the hospital, but was waiting for the day her husband would take her home. She said she didn’t know where he was, but one day he would walk through the door and take her home with him. Apparently, a nurse informed me, Lily’s husband died years ago. And she has no other family members. No children, no brothers or sisters, and no friends to drop by and look after her.
I sometimes wonder if Lily is still waiting for her husband. Sometimes it’s hard to shake certain visions from your mind.
My nan lost her husband, my granddad, a long time ago. But luckily she had daughters and son-laws, and then grand children and even great grand children, and not forgetting the kind neighbours and friends, to care and share her life with.
I have some lovely, happy memories of my younger, healthier nan. My fiercely independent, neat and organised, and very creative nan.
Every summer she would turn her garden into a summer fete. Her pride and joy, bright and colourful garden. The garden would be full of such games (with prizes!) as ‘pull a string’ and ‘catch a fish’ and there would be flags and home-made sponge cake, and even a goody bag to take home. How clever and thoughtful she was.
Every Christmas my nan would make Christmas crackers, filled with silly jokes and paper hats, and a little toy for the person who was left with the winning part of the cracker. Not forgetting her scrumptious, home-made mince pies to over indulge in during the festive period.
Thanks for those happy days nan.
Today, my nan is finally leaving one of the many hospitals she has stayed at, to be re housed in a nursing home.
She can no longer return to the care home, as her dementia has spread, and walking is not an option, she now has to be pushed in a wheel chair.
But she will receive around the clock nursing at this new home, and the nurses, and we, her family, will all do our up most best to make her last years as comfortable and pleasant as they could possibly be.
She may be frail and unable to walk and talk, but I hope she knows she's still surrounded by so much love, and those happy, fond memories of summer fetes and Christmas crackers.

Picture of the day:

The English countryside.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Why did I do it?

On a scale of 1 – 10, I would say I was a 5 when it came to superstitions. How about you? Are you constantly touching wood and saluting magpies? Or do you scoff and ridicule any kind of superstitious behaviour?
I am questioning this superstitious lark because I opened an umbrella indoors this morning. Oh yes I did! I couldn’t work out if the brolly by the front door was mine or my mothers. Mine has a tiny tear on it, which is why I opened it, to confirm who it belonged to. Fortunately my mother was in bed when I carried out this action, otherwise I know she would of screamed, ‘What are you playing at?! You know that’s unlucky!” (Just like the time I brought lilac from the lilac tree into the house.)
I then imagined the 'powers above' saying, “Got ya! Despite knowing that opening umbrellas indoors equals bad luck, you went ahead and opened it. We have no choice but to zap an unfortunate incident your way.”
I walked timidly to the train station after imagining this voice. Would a freak accident come my way? A gigantic hair-ball tumbling down the pavement perhaps? Knocking me out of the way at a ridiculously high speed, so that I fell into the road where a greyhound dog would urinate on me, and a red car would drive past and flatten me, turning me into something that resembled an overcooked pancake on Shrove Tuesday. For that would be a very unfortunate incident.
Or, maybe it would be more realistic to imagine a pigeon pooping on me. Oh hang on, isn’t that meant to be good luck? Or am I mistaking that for treading in dogs poop? Life and superstitions can be confusing.
Anyway, I am pleased to report that none of the above happened on the way to the station. It was quite a dull walk without any mis haps. I even looked out for any ladders which I shouldn’t walk under. But there was none.
The train journeys went smoothly too, no sneaky mirrors on the floor for me to smash with my boot heel, resulting in seven years of bad luck. No tables with new shoes on, or salt pots spilling salt for me to hastily chuck over my shoulder, counteracting the bad luck.
When I arrived at work, I avoided crossing anyone on the stair case (even though I always take the lift!) and prayed that the number 13 would not keep creeping into my day.
So far so good!
To be on the safe side, I have decided not to venture outside this lunch time. You never know what might happen. I don’t think my brain can take the strain. Surely it’s safer sitting at my desk?
Only another half day to go, dear readers. So fingers crossed, touch wood, cross my palm with silver, I am sincerely hoping that it's not really unlucky to open an umbrella indoors. Let's hope it's a just a load of silly nonsense and my day will pass by undisturbed and uneventful.
(Did I say I was only a 5 on that scale thing?!)

Pictures of the day:

Yellow fields forever.


Monday, 14 April 2008

Cooking with Flying Pink Elephants

It started with a cookery book.


Progressed to a mixing bowl.


Then a chopping board.


A frying pan.


And a baking tray.


Two hours later.


Don't forget the washing up!

Thursday, 10 April 2008

The debate

Chocolate or crisps? That’s the debate today. In my snack experience, one usually has a tendency towards sweet or savoury.
Personally, I prefer chocolate. And I must own up to my chocolate addiction a few years back. I was on three bars a day at one sugary point. Morning fix, afternoon fix and evening fix. I simply had to have it! Otherwise I was capable of anything.
You’ll be pleased to know that the chocolate addiction is all under control now. These days it’s a special occasion rather than a compulsory part of my diet. I can even walk past the confectionery counter without palpitations and a little voice inside my head saying, “Chocolate, chocolate!”
As for crisps, I’ve always been able to take them or leave them. Cheese and onion are my favourite flavour, but they’ve never got my heart racing or my hands trembling!
However, this week I have found myself eating more crisps than normal. But I do have a very good excuse for this – I am collecting the Walkers Brit trip points. And guess what delights these points allow me? Well, where shall I start?! These points allow me access to such places as BirdWorld, cactus gardens, zoo’s, amusement parks, stately homes, participating hotels and restaurants, etc, etc. The list seems endless! What fulfilling fun I am planning on having.
Which reminds me, it’s lunchtime in the office so I’m going to nip to the supermarket to purchase another bag of cheese and onion, courtesy of Mr Walker. I must remember to work harder at the gym this weekend, to burn off these extra calories.
But hey, what’s a few added calories compared to 26 acres of aviaries and beautiful landscaped gardens? BirdWorld here I come!

Chocolate update: I have just been left in charge of a knife and two huge, gooey, chocolate cakes. I could feel the familiar feelings returning, and the glint in my eye for all to see.
One of the sales guys is celebrating his birthday today and he generously bought cakes for everyone. With an error of judgement on his part, he asked me to cut the cakes in several pieces so they could be distributed in the office. (If only he knew I'd not long ago confessed to once having a chocolate addiction!)
“You’re doing a smashing job,” he said to me, as he returned to the kitchen while I was still carefully cutting, and wiping crumbs from my mouth.
Okay, our little secret on FPE – there was more than enough cake to go round, so I didn't think anyone would object to the two hefty slices that I gobbled in mid-cutting?!



Picture of the day:

How much do you love chocolate?

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

The simple life

A production controllers life has changed in many ways. That’s me by the way. By day, Monday to Friday, I am a production controller. By night, Monday to Sunday, I’m erm, I’m not quite sure what I am? I’m just me I suppose.
I enjoyed a one week break when I left school at the youthful age of 16. This break consisted of sitting at the park with a friend and watching videos with a friend. Looking back, I wish I had spent this week wisely and done something adventurous and memorable, but I’m afraid to say I didn’t. Oh well.
I remember my first day in the working world. How grown-up I thought I was, despite the fact my mother drove me to my new office in her car, presented me with a packed lunch, and collected me after work. Not quite the independent grown-up I would have liked to have been, but the new office was only a ten minute drive by car. If I had used public transport, the walk to the train station would have been twenty minutes, the train journey a further fifteen minutes and the bus journey approximately twenty five minutes, traffic permitting. It was an awkward place to get to without the aid of a car. Lucky for me I had parents who drove and didn’t mind me using them as a taxi service. Incidentally, my mothers key ring says ‘taxi service.’ What a great sense of humour she has!
Anyway, my first job in production meant I was introduced to such magazines as Sea Fishing, Coin Monthly, Rally Sport and Treasure Hunting. I thought I was so important as I stamped pages with my stamper and logged them into my folder. And I even used a computer, to produce a print order for each magazine. This was the only reason I was allowed anywhere near a computer, it was a ten minute process which resulted in an order for the printing company, each time a magazine was sent to press.
Now days it would be impossible for me to complete my job without my Apple Mac. My Apple Mac with the built in Microsoft Entourage for my emails, Acrobat Distiller to check and create advertisements, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator to produce advertorials and flat plans. Not forgetting the Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel for various print orders, mailing orders, schedules and documents. How technology and the world of production has progressed.
Moving back to my first job, unfortunately this resulted in my first redundancy (it happened a further three times much to my shock / horror / bad luck). I realised all was not well before the first redundancy, when our pay cheque turned into four separate pay cheques, and we were requested to pay one cheque per week into our bank account. I don’t think anyone actually carried this request out, we needed the full amount there and then! The doors in the office were then fitted with locks and codes and we were asked not to open the doors to any strangers, as these strangers could be bailiffs. Hmmm.
So, I guess it wasn't a real surprise that my last day at my first job ended in redundancy. A meeting was called and we all made our way to a local function hall where tea and biscuits were served. “This is nice,” we all thought, until the announcement came that the company had gone into liquidation and our final pay cheque would be in the post. Farewell first job!
Thankfully, at the time I didn’t have a store card or a credit card or a loan, or any kind of debt (the good old days!), so I wasn’t too stressed. Although it would have been better to have left of my own accord.
Other jobs and magazines came and went - travel guides, computer magazines, science journals, medical publications, top shelf magazines (I despised the top shelf job and after the first week I called the recruitment agency and commanded “Get me out of here!”). You name a magazine, and I’ve worked on it.
Which brings me to my present employment. Nine years I’ve been here, and I have frequently felt part of the furniture. Which is why it’s been nice to learn a new skill. Recently I have been trained in InDesign and as a result of this I am ‘designing’ pages for the magazines.
I think it would be fair to say I've come a fairly long way since my first job, and I was thinking about this journey this morning, when my password failed to let me into my computer. I actually couldn’t do any work until IT fixed the problem, therefore I had to stare out of the window for goodness knows how long, wondering what the heck I could do without a password and computer that worked. Make a cup of coffee? Then make another cup of coffee? If only my job revolved around a stamper! If only life were that simple?! Then I could merrily stamp the pages without relying on all this technology. But those stamping days are long gone.
Life sure has changed in production.

Picture of the day.

My big calculator.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Is there anybody there?

I think we have a poltergeist in our house. Either that, or I’m stupider than I look. Hmm, don’t answer that last comment!
I’ve lost my book ‘Stranger on the train’ since photographing it for ‘The book I am now reading.' Therefore it has been necessary to re name the picture ‘The book I am now searching for.’ Let me know if you come across it, won’t you? I’m driving my mother nuts by asking her every day: “Are you sure you haven’t seen it / moved it / sold it at the car boot sale?" And I’m driving myself nuts by looking for it every day in my big white bag / big black bag / under the bed / on my bookshelves. Where the heck is it? I feel I have no alternative but to stop hunting for it, in the hope that it will suddenly re appear. Or that bloomin’ poltergeist returns it to its rightful place. For it’s not the first time that something has gone missing in our house….
Taps. You just have to ask my mother about the taps and she’ll raise her eyebrows and shake her head in disbelief. You see, once my mother bought some taps to be installed in the bathroom. These taps were placed in a drawer, in a cabinet, in the hallway. But when the day of instalment arrived, do you think the taps could be found? They have never been found. How can you loose a pair of taps?!
And that’s not all - one Christmas time, a George Michael CD literally vanished from my bedroom. Just like that. One moment it was on my bed, then dinner was eaten in the kitchen, and upon returning to my bedroom after dinner, it had gone. The exact same thing happened to a mug which was purchased for my father. I placed it in my cupboard to be wrapped as one of his Christmas presents, but when the time came to remove the mug from the cupboard, do you think I could find it? No, I couldn’t find it.
I know I can be absent minded. All you have to say to me is: “Car keys” and I’ll realise that I have no idea where I last placed them. I have spent way too much time looking for my car keys. But that’s different. I’m allowed to misplace my keys.
Sometimes I know I’ve put something in a practical safe place, but then it literally disappears. Like my book! I’m sure I left it by the green armchair. And yet it is not there. I’ve even looked in places I know I haven’t put it (my bags, shelves, under the bed), but it’s not there either!
Surely I am not alone in this mystery? Perhaps you have a friendly poltergeist in your house? If so, could you do me a favour please, and ask him if he’s moved my mothers taps? My mum would be ever so grateful. Thanks!

PS Latest escape ‘Shade’ is by Neil Jordon, who produced such films as ‘The Crying Game’ and ‘Interview with the Vampire.’ If I loose this book I’m really going to question that poltergeists intentions towards me. Or maybe he’s just bored and likes my reading material? Now there’s an interesting thought….

Picture of the day:

More blossom.