Tuesday 29 July 2014

North Walsham in Bloom?

Earlier today I was walking into town with my 9 year old when we passed some of North Norfolk's finest middle-aged ladies working on one of the many lovely floral displays in our town. There they were, sporting high-viz jackets in the sweltering midday heat pruning, weeding, watering and planting.
My son sidled up to me wearing a rather perplexed, concerned expression. He tugged at my sleeve and threw a glance in the direction of the gardeners. "Mummy", he hissed. "What do you think they've done wrong?" Now it was my turn to be bemused. I looked across at the bank where they were working, searching for a badly placed petunia or an overlooked weed, but all looked perfection to me. "What do you mean, wrong?", I asked. "Well", he replied. "Aren't they doing that thing that you get instead of going to prison?"
I had to stifle a guffaw. He clearly though that the good folk of the 'North Walsham in Bloom' committee were minor felons, serving their time in the public glare, and I began to imagine what sorts of crimes these green-fingered grannies might be guilty of. Perhaps one of them had been speeding round Waitrose on a mobility scooter? Another one looked the sort who might have been caught pilfering a packet of Tena Lady from Roys, during a senior moment, of course, not on purpose. Other possible misdemeanours included force-feeding grandchildren choc-ices (my own Welsh grandmother would have been hung, drawn and quartered for that one!) and wearing pop socks with a skirt.
The more I think about it, the more being a middle-aged delinquent appeals. I think I'd better start making my list now!

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Plus ça change...

It's been far too long since my last post. So long, in fact, that my line manager at work has told me that one of my performance management targets for this coming academic year is to start blogging again! So, here we go. I thought I'd give you a rough idea of what's been happening in my life over the past few months.

Things which are the same

1. My husband and I have survived to celebrate another wedding anniversary.

2. I am proud that I have managed to keep son, cat and hedgehog alive for another year, not necessarily in that order ...

3. Aforementioned son still knows more than I do about everything.

4. The mechanic at our local garage continues to hide when he sees me pull onto the forecourt.

5. I am still doing the same job and still threatening to go and stack shelves in Lidl instead.

6. I have not won Euromillions.

Things which are different

1. Michael Gove is no longer Secretary of State for Education.

2. We have a goldfish called Neymar. Ronnie is showing him a lot of love. He is currently under the protective force of the Baptist Hymn Book which is securing the lid of his tank against almost certain attack.

3. I no longer drink alcohol. This means I save money, don't get headaches and don't find myself, late at night, agreeing to take ownership, via Facebook, of random kittens.

4. Michael Gove is no longer Secretary of State for Education.

5. Did I mention that Michael Gove is no longer Secretary of State for Education?

Sunday 15 December 2013

Things Which Are Just Plain Wrong

Here are just a few personal favourites which spring to mind. I'm sure you can think of your own to add to the list.

1. Grown women wearing items of clothing with cartoon characters or animals on them.

2. People who use 'The Daily Mail' to inform their social and political conscience.

3. Michael Gove. No more need be said.

4. Radio phone-ins, or more precisely the kind of individual who has the time and inclination to ring in with their ill-thought-out, bigoted and often not-terribly-eloquent contributions. Haven't they got better things to do like polish their golf caddies?

5. Golf. What is right about it? The outfits, the 'networking', the sexism, the elitism...?

6. Having Christmas items in the shops in September. I LOVE Christmas but not until about December 19th.

7. Women who don't go out to work (that bit's fine - if you've found a rich husband you make the most of it sister!) but who then spend all their time complaining to the rest of us (who work and have a family) about how busy they are. Unless you have small infants at home or do masses of voluntary work then you have no claim to the phrase 'things are so manic at present'!

8. Porridge boiling over in the microwave. It's a conspiracy. The moment you stop watching it and turn your back, there it goes erupting over the edge. When I'm feeling reckless, however, I do like to play a game which I call 'porridge roulette' where you set the timer, watch it rising and see if you can stop yourself intervening to switch it off. This is not an activity for those of a nervous disposition.

Friday 4 October 2013

Being Insulted by your Children

My son has unfortunately inherited my rather wicked sense of humour. I say 'unfortunately' as I am often on the receiving end of it.
Today on the way home from school we were playing the game where you say what sort of animal, fruit etc. you would be. I foolishly asked him what type of vehicle I would be. Quick as a flash he replied, "A rust-bucket 1971".
This is the same child who decided he was going to sell his dad on e-bay (he'd obviously run out of old toys to flog) and said that the listing would have to be in the 'faulty, for parts only' category.
I would like to tell him that before he came along we were both young, beautiful and wild, but the truth is... I can't remember that far back!

Friday 13 September 2013

The Harrison Theory of Mediocrity

It would appear that the 'Harrison Theory of Mediocrity' is gathering momentum, with my own colleagues starting to pass my advice on to their own friends. I shall soon be running seminars on it at this rate, but that would rather defeat the object of the whole philosophy. For those of you who missed my post on it earlier in the year it goes something like this.

I am going to let you into the secret of a peaceful existence; mediocrity. I have spent much of my adult life perfecting the art of mediocrity and I like to think I am fairly good at it. Let me explain why being mediocre is the key to happiness, taking your working life as an example. I am sure you will agree that if you are bad at your job then you are in line for all manner of grief, although not if your first name is Michael and your surname Gove. Nobody wants to be on the receiving end of complaints from line managers, stern emails from the boss and uncomfortable appraisal meetings, so it doesn't pay to be too shabby.
This reminds me of a story I heard about a colleague of a friend who was having their annual performance management interview. He came out of the meeting fairly pleased with the way it had gone, saying that his manager had complimented him on the improvement in his work. The others in the office were mildly surprised as this individual was renowned for being lazy and incompetent. "So, what exactly did he say then?", one co-worker asked. "He said I used to be f****** sh*t, but now I'm just sh*t", came the reply.
However, if you are too good at what you do then people expect a lot of you and give you more to do. Some of my colleagues are constantly snowed under by requests to run a course, go to a meeting, organise an event. Why? Because they are too good at their job. I do try to give them the benefit of my wisdom but they are too busy answering the 150 emails they have received that morning to listen to me.
So, for now I shall endeavour to tread the line of least resistance and happily continue in my own little world with my delusions of adequacy.