Monday 30 July 2012

Google Doodle Olympics

From the Opening Ceremony on Friday Google UK have been putting an Olympic themed Doodle on their homepage every day.

I have come to the realisation that the Doodles must be Geo-specific as looking through the Gallery there are sometimes 2 Doodles on the same day; and of the 161 so far this year an awful lot I haven't seen!

I'm a huge Google Doodle fan... a lot of them are fun, and bring a smile to your face when you're searching the net. They've been around since 1998 and there have been over 1,000!

Holidays (1)

Today is the first official day of my holidays. Apart from a night out with the girls I have no plans. The weather of the weekend has vanished and left in its place sunshine and blue sky. This fits perfectly with my going and sitting in the garden plans!

Hope the traffic isn't terrible for those who did have to drive into town this morning; the incompatibility of trying to get to my office by car with all the Olympic rules and closures is the main reason I'm on holiday these two weeks!

Sunday 29 July 2012

Sunday Social (8)

Linking up with Ashley and Neely for the Sunday Social!

  • What is your dream job?
    I don't really have a dream job anymore. When I was younger I had quite a few (none very realistic). For a long time I wanted to be in the theatre, I even used to get 'The Stage' every week.

    Then I spent a brief period (probably coinciding with my A-level study of the subject) wanting to go into Politics. When I decided after school that I didn't want to go to University I wanted to go and work in TV/films behind the scenes (didn't happen). My first year at University studying music I wanted to be a singer (until I decided I wasn't thick skinned enough).

    So I ended up as a Quantity Surveyor. I can't say it's my dream job, it pays the bills.

  • If you had just won the lottery and didn't need to work for money, what would you do with your time?
    This is a question that has been discussed a lot over drinks in pubs and so forth. Unlike a lot of people I wouldn't go travelling (crutches and mobility issues make travelling a nuisance for me). I wouldn't keep my current job though either. I'd probably find some charity to work with... I know from several long spells sick in bed that doing nothing all day doesn't suit me!
  • When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
    Apart from those mentioned above... like lots of little girls I wanted to be a ballerina ('The Red Shoes' has a lot to answer for!). I also wanted to be a teacher, a lawyer and a pilot. I think this may reflect jobs of people my parents knew and my limited world experience! the pilot is because my Granddad was a pilot in the war... and I adored my Granddad.
  • What piece career advice would you give to someone just starting out in your field?
    Get the widest range of experience you can. Quantity Surveyors often get pigeon-holed into only working on one type of project (hotels, offices, residential, etc.). Make sure you get experience in every sector and at every stage you can. Get Chartered as soon as you can after your degree whilst your brain is still in study mode!
  • What are your biggest pet peeves in life, blogging, or at work?
    Probably too many to mention! I have a fairly short temper, and can be intolerant of weaknesses in others (whether Government, colleagues or myself).

    Right now it is the disruption of daily life in London caused by the Olympics - the Olympics has been annoying me ever since it was announced that they were coming to London 7 years ago, so that will leave a big hole to fill with something else!

    For the past several months it has been various follies of the Government, not least the Welfare/Benefit reforms.

    Generally poor grammar; for example the incorrect use of the reflexive pronoun deeply irritates me, "If you just send it to myself"... it makes me scream inside. The conversational place holder 'you know' - I am consciously trying to eradicate it from my vocabulary.

  •  What are your biggest fears?
    When I was younger everything frightened me - I think the Victorians would have given me a lot of smelling salts, I certainly was fairly neurotic! It was just 'worrying' about these things, it was full blown fear - I'd have actual panic attacks.

    Here are a few that I remember: the ramifications of a volcano eruption in the South Pacific (I was seven); the results of a lightening strike (nine); staying away from home (eight through sixteen); terrorism, this was the IRA and my mum worked in the City (eight through eleven); people I knew dying (started when I was five and realised people died); missile strikes, thanks to the first Gulf War (16 through 18); the flesh-eating bug (nineteen); the Ebola virus (twenty); the effects of a mental illness... I blame 'The Bell Jar' (late teens/early twenties); terrorism, this time Islamic fundamentalists - after 9/11 I wouldn't ride the tube for a year and viewed every passing aircraft with suspicion.

    I don't know if it is having MS which actually gives you something to focus on - but I really don't suffer from this anymore. I've become much more 'zen' and accept that what will happen will happen. I can happily say I hardly ever have panic attacks now! 
So now you've met the chaos inside my head! Be nice :0)

Tuesday 24 July 2012

Google Doodle

Today's Google Doodle celebrates the birth of female aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart 115 years ago. 

The exploits of the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic have inspired generations of adventurous young girls. Earhart's plane disappeared over the Pacific ocean 75 years ago whilst she was undertaking an attempt to circumnavigate the globe. A recent multi-million dollar expedition seeking the wreckage of the doomed flight returned with no results.

The Games are coming

Games lanes are everywhere
Driving Embankment (or indeed many Central London roads) you'll see signs like these, or their electric counterparts. Beware. Many roads so afflicted are already blighted by parking (which logic assumes will be suspended) or bus lanes. They will not be happy places to travel.

There are now signposts up for tourists who give up and take to their feet!
Assuming that people will give up and walk (I would if I could) there has been some forward planning and there are 'how to get there by foot' signs to direct you to popular tourist attractions and underground stations.

If you live in an Olympic borough you'll have seen these
These really are everywhere, I've seen them in Deptford and Hackney as well as these in Westminster. They are on pretty much every lamp-post on pretty much every major thorough-fare. The mind boggles at what that must have cost.

Banners come in several varieties, including locational
They come in several varieties, including ones that say 'London 2012' and some (as shown above) that tell you where you are. The lost athletes could have benefited from some of those yesterday!

If you hadn't guessed I'm one of the many that aren't thrilled about the Olympics. From some unscientific polls (asking people I know) the majority for DON'T live in London and the majority against DO live in London.

They irritate me for the following (very sensible reasons):-

1) I don't like 99% of the sports (and in some cases I use that term loosely) played
2) It has dictated when I take my Summer holidays; I drive to work and the closure of Greenwich Park and Horseguards Parade has added 20 minutes to my journey already - I don't fancy a 2 hour commute each way
3) Transport meltdown. Traffic, tubes, trains - it can't cope at the best of times. In 2005 they said that the infrastructure would be upgraded and it would all be fine. Guess what. They lied. Now they want you to work from home, work flexi-time or not drive in London. Do they think anyone drives in London because they choose to? They have to!
4) It is a stupendous waste of money. They couldn't have known in 2005 that a horrendous recession was about to bite, but it did and there are better uses for public money
5) They shut Greenwich Park (well most of it)
6) They diverted the bus that takes me to the hospital
7) They have some utterly ridiculous sponsors - sporting goods/clothes I get, and a few others - but banks, supermarkets - really. Before you ask me in a questionnaire, yes I am less likely to shop there!
8) Did I mention the horrendous waste of money.

The Games are supposed to be about peace, love and international unity (or something like that). If I was the Committee I'd only let countries hold them if they didn't build any new facilities.

Rant over. Let the Games begin.

Sunday 22 July 2012

Sunday Social (7)

Linking up with Ashley and Neely for the Sunday Social!
  • What is your favorite handbag you've ever owned?

    A few of my bags.
    Do I have to pick just one?! There have been so many (really, so many). None of them have been brand name, but I've had bags for every occasion. There was the 'silly little bag' which was basically a pocket on a long string; hippy cloth style - perfect for going out with a key, some money, lipstick and some smokes (it was that long ago that a) I still smoked and b) cellphones weren't around!). There was my giant pink bag (really a laptop bag) perfect for work. I've got a black leather briefcase my mum bought me for a professional exam and a pale pink leather briefcase I bought myself. I've got a carpet bag my Gran bought me for going out in the day along with a funky little black one for the evening. I've got tiny bags, sacks and everything in between. I love bags. The Better-Half tries to impose a one in one out rule on my handbags! In this photo, tan leather two compartment bag, ancient (expensive) black leather bag (very many pockets), cream bag (not practical), adored pink bag (sadly no compartments), pretend leather brown bag, small pink bag (matches pink briefcase), carpet bag from my Gran and little cream weddings bag.
  • What is your dream handbag you lust over?
    I would adore to own a Radley Bag. It would have to be leather and a decent size... which means it is a distant dream for me.

  • What are the daily essentials in your purse or work bag?
    Cellphone, wallet, keys, bus-pass. Anything else I can get by without
  • What's in your purse (with pictures)?

    Today's handbag contents
    My mother mocks me for what I carry around (although she was thankful for the water on one occasion)! This is bag-lite as I've been taking two bags to work some days this week. Pictured here: bus pass, card wallet, emergency cash wallet, cellphone headphones, normal wallet, folded shopping bag, portable manicure kit, hand-wash, office key, deodorant, tablets, emergency loo-roll, RADAR key (for disabled toilets), mints, cellphone, portable tangle-teezer, lip balm, business card wallets (work and personal) and two biros. Other regular contents (when I'm using a bigger bag): rain hat, crutch/wheelchair gloves, fan, water-bottle, folded cutlery kit, tissues, more pens, hand cream, make-up, book-light, Kindle, phone charging lead (sometimes USB plug too) and my house keys.

Wednesday 18 July 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday (1)

I'm loving that...
... in a week and a half I'll be on my holidays (not going away, but a change is as good as a rest).

I'm loving that...
... the lift at the office is working again after not working most of last week

I'm loving that...
... the Summer is bringing lots of new series of TV to watch (not that re-runs of 'The West Wing' weren't great)

I'm loving that...
... we are having a Great British Summer - somedays sunny and other raining, who knows what is coming next!

Tuesday 17 July 2012

Another year older

This morning my mother rang me whilst I was on my way to work (lucky it wasn't a weekend, as she does this every year) at 7:30 to tell me that I was officially another year older.

I don't know if it is because I'm getting older or more forgetful (or both!) but I had actually forgotten (until the end of last week) my birthday was even coming up. This is even more ridiculous because I share a birthday with one of my God-daughters whose birthday I remembered!!!

Monday 16 July 2012

Miscellany Monday (1)

  • I love my gadgets and my technology. I do sometimes miss the days before computers and the internet when I'm at work. When I first started work we didn't have computers; we used huge pieces of paper with lines and columns instead of spreadsheets and documents used to 'go for typing'. If you really wanted to communicate you picked up the phone, otherwise you wrote a letter or sent a fax. Life was slower then!
  • My friend's daughter has just passed her first ballet exam. I wonder if I'd have been less of a klutz if after a case of extreme stage fright when asked to be a sunflower at the age of 5 or 6 I hadn't given up ballet. A friend and I tried learning years later... something about old dogs and new tricks?!
  • Two weeks ago I bought a very attractive 1920s style swimsuit; black with a little skirt; it even has cunning fabric pleats so that the lycra is less unforgiving. Now I need to get off my rear and actually GO swimming. The Charlton Lido (outdoor pool) recently re-opened after several years closure and I quite fancy the idea of gently swimming up and down in the open air.
  • My god-daughter and I share our birthdays tomorrow (although 35 years apart). I love that we'll always be able to share that special bond... and can't wait for the birthdays we'll share in the years to come.

Sunday 15 July 2012

Sunday Social (6)

Linking up with Ashley and Neely for the Sunday Social!

  • What is the best trip you've ever been on?
    Without hesitation in 1999 my two week trip to New York City. My favourite city, after London. It was the first time I'd ever taken a trip by myself... it didn't matter though, I had family and friends in New Jersey and upstate New York (who I visited on the weekends) as well as my Mum's room-mate from her time there in the 60s. I lunched regularly on pretzels in Central Park; I visited the Empire State Building and the World Trade Centre (the beginning of my love affair with sky-scrapers); I went to the Guggenheim, the Frick Collection, the Metropolitan Museum; I went to Wall Street, SoHo, Chinatown and 5th Avenue. I never took the subway or the Staten Island Ferry, I never went to Yankee Stadium (or Mets Stadium if it comes to that), I never went to Giants Stadium (my love affair with American sport was a couple of years in the future). I did have a Thanksgiving meal with my god-parents, I did see New England in the Fall with my distant cousins, I did stay in a genuine East-side walk-up. One day I'll go back... and pick up the bits I missed.
  • What is your best idea for a girls weekend trip?
    Country house, beautiful weather, a river, a spa. Brunch in the mornings, tea in the afternoons, cocktails before dinner. My mind is somewhere in the 1920s!
  • What is your best idea for a couples trip?
    For this couple a two centre holiday. Boston and New York; preferably when both baseball teams are at home; and if they could play each other even better. We're not beach type people, we like sightseeing and doing stuff.
  • What is the best vacation on the cheap?
    When the Channel Tunnel was new and shiny you could collect tokens in newspapers and take your car across and back for a few quid. I once took a road-trip all the way to Prague (not really that long after the fall of communism) and everything there was cheap (including the beer).
  • What is the place you most want to visit?
    Italy: Rome, Venice, Tuscany, Florence... I don't speak Italian; other than the smattering I learnt when I was studying signing and learnt a few arias (although I love the sound of the language) and I've spent so much time with Ezio in virtual Italy I'd love to see the real thing!
  • What are your vacation necessities?
    I can't travel light! Some sort of internet capable technology (bear in mind that I haven't left the country since 2007 so I'm not worried about data charges here); iron and hair-dryer. A huge bag of cosmetics I can't live without, a smaller bag of medicines I can't live without, bed-socks and if I'm without Rich a small model of R2-D2 to watch over me.

Friday 13 July 2012

Feeling my age

I suddenly realised that today being Friday 13th and all it is my birthday next week. I'm past my mid-30s now and rapidly on the road to 40. Funny thing is it seems like yesterday that my friend and I were having a joint 30th party!

Things that have been making me feel old this week:-
  • talking to the work experience boy at work and discovering he was born in the mid-nineties by which point I was old enough to drive, vote, drink and half way through university.
  • having photos from my school-days posted on Facebook and realising next year it will be 20 years since we left.
  • seeing school girls on the bus on the way home from my health appointment and realising that 25 years ago that was me.

My old school tie
My memories of my school days are strongly anchored with the daily journey there and back. Growing up in a village meant that all the village kids (regardless of which school they attended) got the same bus into the nearby town. As buses weren't that frequent a group of us around the same age used to sit at the back and enjoy the journey twice a day. The group of girls today didn't remind me as much of my friends and I as school-kids usually do. I suppose that not having mobile phones made us a bit quieter, but by degrees! School work wasn't discussed much as we were different year groups in different schools; mutual friends, who was going out with who, TV (some things never change) and general gossip. We didn't seem to have much to worry about back then!

Sunday 8 July 2012

Sunshine after rain

There are still puddles everywhere but some watery sunshine too
And blue skies like it never even rained!

Great British summer

Sometimes the sun shines (not often)
After the wettest June on record...
...July is aiming to beat the record too
The rain is torrential - maybe because it is Wimbledon week...
Maybe because it is the British Grand Prix...
Maybe because it is the Summer Music Festival season?

Sunday Social (5)

Linking up with Ashley and Neely for the Sunday Social!

  • What is your favorite TV show of the past?
    Probably 'The West Wing'. The writing is so amazing and the characters are so compelling. Aaron Sorkin is a TV genius. But there are SO many others as well - Stargate SG-1; Deep Space Nine; Six Feet Under; Lost; Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Angel; Sex and the City; Friends; John Doe; Jake 2.0; Chuck - it depends on my mood, do I want Sci-fi, do I want drama, do I want comedy? Note that my favourite TV shows are from the US, UK TV doesn't really come close.
  • What is your current favorite TV show?
    Burn Notice (I don't even have to think) - "My Name is Michael Westen, I used to be a spy..." - I love the writing, it is so distinctive. Tod Goldberg writes novels based on the show and Michael's voice comes through so clearly.
  • Which reality show would you NEVER do?
    I'm afraid I can't bear reality TV so the answer has to be any of them. All the ones that I've bumped into are stupid people doing stupid things. If I want to see that I can go and sit in the High Street on an afternoon and watch people go by.
  • Which reality show would you LOVE to do?
    See above.
  • What is the TV personality/character that you feel is most like you?
    I'm not sure there is one! I think I'm going with Jed Bartlett from 'The West Wing' - he has MS the same as me; he also likes to impart trivia to those around him which is something else I've found I do.
  • Which TV character would you want to date?
    I can't actually think of one. All the guys are easy on the eye (they're actors, of course they are) but when it comes down to the character they all seem to have a flaw that says 'no, not this guy'. Let's face it - I often wonder why the characters are dating each other!!!

Sunday 1 July 2012

Sunday Social (4)

Linking up with Ashley and Neely for the Sunday Social!
  • What is your favorite store to shop at?
    I'm an old fashioned girl, it has to be the great British classic Marks and Spencer (commonly known as M&S). Their clothes are perfect in length as well as size; so for the short and the tall (I'm 5' 4" and my fiancé is 6' 2") it is perfect.
  • If you could afford anything and everything, which designer brand would you covet?
    Chanel. Total classic. There is a shop near my office but I'm too worried that I'm too scruffy to go in to those shops!
  • Must have closet staple?
    Black jumpers, shirts or t-shirts. They go with everything and cover a multitude of sins.
  • Favorite kind of shoes? (brand or type)
    Because I have difficultly walking they have to be flat. They have to be comfortable because my feet are wide and my mother (thanks Mum) made me wear sensible shoes growing up. I love Hotter shoes; they're comfortable but also stylish.
  • Best clothing deal you've ever gotten? (sale or amazing find)|
    Many years ago I got a fantastic purple leather jacket (which I wore until it fell apart); I'd seen it and it was too expensive, a few weeks later it was in the sale! Top Shop I think (that is how long ago it was).
  • Style you'd love to try?
    I've actually tried most of them! I've been a goth (13-14); I've been a hippy (17-21); I've tried being chic (22-24).