EDitorial ± 25-Nov-2003

Complaints Department

Heckofalot of rain, this past week. Would have fair put me off biking to work if the back wheel puncture, still not fixed from last week (the shame), hadn't already done the job. Now, rain has been known to depress people, including the great bespectacled one:
The sun is out, the sky is blue
There's not a cloud to spoil the view
But it's raining, raining in my heart
— Raining In My Heart, Buddy Holly

resent, get the hump, look blue, look glum, have a grievance, nurse a grudge, have a chip on one's shoulder, etc.

Flicking through the trusty Guide, saw this preview of a Radio 4 programme on Wednesday:

He interviewed everyone in the banking hierarchy about their thoughts on organisation culture. He also discovered that however much everyone moaned about the way things were done, nothing ever changed. This was because the employees were exercising their right to moan, which performs an important if not essential function and has nothing to do with actually changing anything.

(BTW, chap in question is named John Weeks, and his "discoveries" form the basis of his new book, Unpopular Culture: The Ritual Of Complaint In A British Bank.)

Hey, I thought - and perhaps you think this too - that sounds like my place of work. Last evening I then launched into a ten minute rant about (some of) my curent colleagues, and their unlimited capacity to carp. Could be about management, absent colleagues, the coffee (free!) or even the fruit (equally free!).

One possible factor: most of them are a little older than my Peter Pan-like self and have worked in the same company for 25 or more years. It could easily get you down, I said to wifey. That's nothing, she said: try working in local government. She described the series of steps she went through while working there:

  1. you believe the complaints — after all, you're new to the company, and what do you know?
  2. you begin to doubt — you start to see for yourself how things are
  3. you try to help the moaners — but soon realise that they don't welcome constructive suggestions or for anything to really change
  4. you then have a choice:
    • you ignore everyone,
    • you join in,
    • or you find a new job

I'm making my own sweet way through these same steps at present, being somewhere between starting to doubt and trying to help. Lucky I'm an optimist, eh what?!

Be seeing you!


EDitorial ± 18-Nov-2003

Synapse (Part 2)

I went to see Four Weddings And A Funeral when it first came out, attending a mid-morning showing back in 1994. Married, no kids. Step forward five years to Notting Hill, and we needed the services of a babysitter for our two young girls. Now, 2003, another Richard Curtis outing - the ultimate couples' film?
Make sure you're connected
— Connected, Stereo MCs

Boots Advantage card, hopefully laden down with points

  1. Me and t' wife were at the premiere of Love Actually on Sunday evening with Hugh, Emma, Alan and a generally stellar cast. Well, I say premiere, it was more of a preview screening, truth be told. Also, strictly speaking, the stars and starlets were no more than moving images on the screen, which was in UGC Cinemas at Cardinal Park, Ipswich.

    Everyone's in it, from Ant & Dec to Marcus Brigstocke to thingy who plays Jack Bauer's accident-prone daughter in 24. Takes a while to get your head around who's who. Lots of laughs, a fair bit of schmaltz, and Bill Nighy's ageing pop star pretty much steals the show. In the fortunate position of playing Keira Knightley's new hubby is a chap named Chiwetel Ejiofor...

  2. ...whose surname reads like a challenging Scrabble hand. Earlier on that same Sunday, a medical student named Harshan Lamabadusuriya became the 2003 national Scrabble champion. On the web you can even replay each of the three final games move by move, which is fun. First word on the board in the final was aloha...
  3. ...which can mean both hello and goodbye. Hello Goodbye was on Magical Mystery Tour, the Beatles' 1967 album. Unlikely cover stars of the current NME are none other than the Fab Four, thanks to their remixed version of Let It Be. This displaced the ubiquitous Dido on Amazon as number 1...
  4. ...and who should jump straight in at number 1 on the singles chart this week but those cheeky young whippersnappers Busted, outselling even Britney. They're due to play in Christchurch Park next summer, as Charlie is the local boy made good, which should please eldest daughter...
  5. ...who's been engaged in online auction frenzy with her younger sister. Both were asked to tidy their rooms and, as encouragement, I said they could have the money for any unwanted items sold on ebay. So eldest sold a cuddly pig for a quid, then middler flogged some boots for £3.82. So eldest dug out some riding boots, again outgrown, which went for £11. Then middler found some much nicer boots, final price £14.37. Current stalemate while both go in search of more boots...
  6. ...while the high street chemist of the same name (albeit with a capital) have been doing a rather good offer: spend £50 and get a new Philips Freeview box for half-price. Arriving shortly, following today's online purchase, should be stacks of razors, toothpaste and other "essentials", and hopefully a shiny silver digital box to pick up CBBC...
  7. ...so the boy can gorge himself on Balamory. Altogether now: what's the story on Balamory, wouldn't you like to know? I can already sing the tune without ever having seen an episode. It's filmed with real people, a shock for pre-schoolers, on an island location somewhere in Scotland...
  8. ...where Sarah-down-the-road was born. Been working with Sarah on Project X. Would like to say more, but can't. Very hush-hush. Might generate a tiny bit of income, though not enough to stop my day job in the office...
  9. ...in which David Brent is due back soon for a Christmas special. Wernham Hogg's voice of reason, of course, is Tim, played by Martin Freeman, who has one of the many parts in Love Actually...
Isn't this where we came in again?

Be seeing you!


EDitorial ± 10-Nov-2003

Autumnal Hues

Not wishing to sound like a complete girly - yuck! - but I do love the colours on the trees at this particular time of year. Hullo Clouds Hullo Sky, say I. The mellow yellows, the bold golds, the better red than deads.
This Autumn breeze shall strip the trees
And freeze me to the bone
— Three Sisters, The Divine Comedy

Ample words. Let's take a gander at some seasonal shades, some transient tints, some - if you will - autumnal hues. Oh, once this page is fully loaded, try rolling your mouse over the pictures.


Be seeing you!


EDitorial ± 4-Nov-2003

Five Hire A Cottage In Dorset (Part 2)

Dorset? Again? And why not?! We had such a good time on our one week back in August that we decided to return for a second week during half-term. Predictably the weather wasn't quite the same, but we still found plenty to do. No sign of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, alas.

A Hegley-esque warning: this week's entry contains rhyming language.

Sunday 26-Oct-2003
After walking round Winfrith we drove
A short distance to find Lulworth Cove
Had lunch up a tor
Threw stones, Durdle Door
Back for baths and a roast from the stove
  Durdle Door

Diesel at Swanage station   Monday 27-Oct-2003
A day out with Thomas for us
Down to Swanage, the line's terminus
Carriage filled with small boys
Making plenty of noise
Then we bumped back on Bulgy The Bus

Tuesday 28-Oct-2003
An early-ish trip to the doc's
Confirmed Theo had caught chicken pox
At the Blue Pool were trees full
Of squirrels, so peaceful
Then up and down Corfe Castle's blocks
  Autumnal hues, no less, at the Blue Pool

Spotty monkey-boy at Monkeyworld   Wednesday 29-Oct-2003
At Monkeyworld, pop in and you'll
Find chimps who've been treated so cruel
Then rain, it stopped play
So we hurried away
To find Nemo at UCI, Poole

Thursday 30-Oct-2003
Sherborne's considered a classic
Though conditions were nearing the brassic
Saw the ceiling, fan-vaulted
Of the abbey, then bolted
To a museum of all things Jurassic
  Sherborne Abbey in the wet

Studland beach   Friday 31-Oct-2003
Wonderland promised big treats
But no rides, no attendants, wet seats
This was Alice's dud-land
So a quick trip to Studland
And back home for Hallowe'en eats

Be seeing you!