September 30, 2012
I cannot bear people who try to patronise others by using incomprehensible jargon. Especially when it usually covers up their own lack of understanding of what is going on. So herewith my list of phrases that I find particularly annoying, although I am sure there are plenty more that can be added to the list!
Top Ten Annoying Business Terms Translated in to Real English
- Going forward ; in the future/from now on
- Big ask; something that may involve working past 6 pm
- Stakeholder management: ensuring everyone is “bought in” to the project so the finger doesn’t point at you
- Bought in: convincing people your idea is a good idea so that they can share the blame when the shit hits the fan
- Empowerment : the futile delegation of meaningless decision making by a boss to try to make you feel more important
- To action deliverables: to do your job
- We are on the same page; I have no idea what you just said but I just want to move on
- Indicative: complete fucking guesswork
- I hear you : I don’t give a shit what you think.
- Scope that out for us : Just shut up, fuck off to a room and come back when you’ve thought it through a bit more.
And one that I actually like:
- Al desco: eating by your computer
July 1, 2012
We all have them. Those times when you realise you have just done something incredibly stupid. Usually accidentally. Even at my age I still blush like crazy when I make a fool of myself. Not if I am doing it deliberately of course, for the laughs, but when I realise I have said something seriously inappropriate or fallen over (as I am prone to do – see posts passim). That rising tide of humiliation sweeps over me.
And I relate for you here my most embarrasing moment of all time. It wasn’t when I was kneeling in front of a standing patient to feel the hernia in his groin and I had to hold his erection out of the way. It wasn’t the time I discovered the guy I had spent the whole evening with and brought back to my room only had one arm and I hadn’t realised. Nor was it the time I told a really good friend that his girlfriend was completely wrong for him and he replied he’d married her the previous week.
No, it was summer in the 70s. I was wearing my floaty Laura Ashley dress, bare legs and long hair. I was walking around the southern edge of Russell Square from our flat near Great Ormond Street to the hospital on Gower Street and had just reached a small road that I would need to cross. An MG sports car turned off the square and in to the road in front of me . He stopped to let me cross. I gaily stepped out in the sunshine, smiling straight at him and lifting my hand in thanks.
Whereupon I fell down the open manhole directly in front of his car. Scraped all the skin of the front of one of my shins and saved myself from completely disappearing down in to the sewers by virtue of my waving arms being caught on the edges of the hole. The driver rushed out of his car. I pulled myself up at lightning speed and he asked me if I was alright. ‘I’m fine, I’m fine’ I chirped, absolutely mortified at what had happened. I rushed back on to the pavement. ‘Shall I take you to the hospital?’ he asked. ‘No, no, honestly I’m fine’. Red as a beetroot, I ran round the corner simply on adrenaline. I looked down. My dress was soaked with blood. My shin was screaming and raw – the peeled skin sitting in a concertina-ed lump on my knee. My underarms and ribs ached where they had caught the edge of the manhole. The blood poured from my leg. The pain was intense. A waiter from Pizza Hut came out and gave me a load of serviettes which I stuck on to my shin as if it were a shaving nick. The blood just kept on coming and the tissues couldn’t cope.
It did eventually stop of course and I wasn’t physically scarred, but that moment is etched on my memory forever. And it only occurred to me a couple of years ago that of course he wasn’t actually stopping for me to cross the road. He had stopped because there was a fucking great hole in the road. Which, in my usual non-observant way, I hadn’t even seen.
May 27, 2012
Since walking (and falling repeatedly) in the Lakes, I have been sore and aching. But it escalated out of control after doing a step class last weekend so I thought rest and recuperation would do the trick. But no. Unable to stand or walk without agony, I realised I had better go and see someone so went to a physio in the hope they would sort me out. The falls were likely to have pushed some vertebrae out of alignment making my muscles spasm to protect them and the sheer extent of over use (compared to what I usually do) inflamed the piriformis muscles in my hip which also trapped my sciatic nerve heightening the pain that was all the way down my leg. So manipulation, acupuncture, exercises, drugs and hot water bottles are the order of the day with a 4 to 6 week recovery time and no real exercise during that period. And no sitting still for more than 45 minutes. All good so far. Still feeling shit, but hopefully less shit.
Nice hot bath this morning and then daughter suggests some deep heat spray. What a good idea I thought. We have three varieties in the cupboard. One expired in 1993, One in 1997 and one in 2002. So we opt for the 2002 version.. Only 10 years out of date. Husband is out doing a 10K so she gets the dubious job of spraying it on my back and buttock. I lie face down on the bed, shirt pulled up, trousers pulled down a bit on one side, but not too far. She is my daughter after all. I told her where to spray and she did.
Suddenly I realise the spray has trickled in to my arse crack. ‘My anus is on fire!’ I jump up (faster than I’ve moved in weeks)and as I stand up, more of the liquid trickles down in to my nether regions. I try bending forwards to halt it, and hobble towards the bathroom, legs getting tangled in my falling trousers. Holy shit. Ring of fire has nothing on this. I desperately try to wash the stuff off but water appears to inflame it. It feels like my whole pudenda will ignite. Two ice cold flannels later and things are starting to calm down in the nether regions. ‘It says you have to repeat the spray 15 minutes later’ shouts my daughter in to the bathroom, barely controlling her laughter. ‘Fuck off’.
May 13, 2012
My mother was a lovely woman – bright, sociable, caring and stoic. Growing up I thought all parents were pretty much the same as mine; I had no real idea of the luxury I was afforded by having two well-educated, left wing, cultured parents. Not just in financial terms were we lucky , it was also the intellectual luxury. The enjoyment of debate and discussion. Of having a house full of their bohemian friends. The glamour of parties at home and seeing Mum dressed up in her finery to go out. I wish I’d kept her black cigarette holder. I thought it so wonderful and decadent as a child.
She didn’t really work much past my early childhood, although she was a qualified teacher. And one that inspired adoration and love from her pupils. She was the only teacher in our primary school in Scotland who refused to carry the tawse – a two pronged leather strap for whipping the children with. But it wasn’t her refusal to use corproal punishment that made her popular – it was her lessons. They were so creative, so much fun. I was in her class and was not allowed to call her ‘Mummy’ – I had to refer to her as Mrs Morgan. That was hard, but she was desperate not to favour me over the other children. I must have been about 8 and after morning playtime Mum allowed us to come out to the front of the class and tell any news we had. Like we’d seen the first robin, or someone’s sister was getting married. Today I had news. Big news. I got up and told the class we were moving to Wales. My classmates looked wide eyed but accepting. Nobody was that bothered. Then someone put up their hand, “Does that mean you’re leaving too Mrs Morgan?” “Yes it does,” said my Mum.Whereupon the classroom erupted in to tears. From gentle silent sobbings, to loud gulps and nigh-on hysteria. I stood at the front of the class with a dawning realisation. They hadn’t been upset when they knew I was going, but were absoultely heartbroken that my Mum was leaving. She always seemed to have that effect on my friends. They loved her.
So I thought I would list the
Top Ten Things My Mother Taught Me
- You only get one chance to make a first impression. And it matters.
- No matter how shit you are feeling, put on a performance for your guests
- Children are more important than anything else
- The English language is a wonderful thing. Use it correctly.
- Good manners cost nothing and are essential
- You can never be overdressed so carry it off with aplomb, and never go out with a hole in your tights.
- A host of domestic essentials;
- How to make soup, sauces, cakes and biscuits (and traditional British fare like roasts, cottage pie etc)
- Spray starch makes ironing much more satisfying (and easier)
- Dylon can transform your wardrobe, towels, cushion covers and sheets for a tiny outlay
- You can always make something from scraps and leftovers in the fridge
- Don’t put daffodils in a vase with other flowers as they will kill them
- Lemon juice blondes your hair in the sun, brown vinegar a conditioning rinse for darker hair, or egg for any colour
- Vinegar and newspaper make for streak-free, clean windows
- Rescue food disasters (burnt, over seasoned) by adding a raw peeled potato to absorb the worst of it
- Use scissors rather than a knife to cut food during preparation or serving – often much easier and can do directly over bowl
- There is no need for the Terrible Twos as all the tantrums can be avoided by simple parenting tricks (controversial I know)
- Enid Blyton was an appalling writer; racist, sexist and classist (if there’s such a word) so we weren’t allowed to read them. She was well ahead of the pack on this one in the early 60s.
- Never break a promise
May 10, 2012
I love meetings where decisions are taken, actions agreed or ideas are generated. Unfortunately the vast majority of meetings are simply not like that. They are pointless arse-covering exercises for procrastinators. For lonely inadequates unable to make a decision on their own or prepared to defend it. They basically want everyone else to do their job; weigh up the pros and cons and make the decision. But even that would be progress compared to so many meetings where the desisions are simply deferred, they are not even taken.
People moan about being ‘so busy’ when in fact three quarters of their calendar is taken up with ‘meetings’; formally arranged, often weeks in advance running over an hour for something that could have simply involved wandering over to someone’s desk and asking them a striaghtforward question. Let’s say, for speculation’s sake, they were unable to give you the answer, but had to walk to someone else’s desk (taking you with them) to ask their advice. As long as you are asking the right people, then this process is likely to take less than 15 minutes and you have the answers you need. You didn’t need to invite all and sundry to use up an hour of their time for something that you could find out relatively easily on your own and then use that information to progress the project. But lazy people like to make themselves look busy and important by calling meetings. And their lazy mates are happy to go along and chat for an hour or two at the company’s expense.
Think how much it costs per hour having all those particpants sit together not doing their real job. Think how much it costs as they all have to listen to a fuckwit who hasn’t got the braincells he was born with drone on about an irrelevant side issue. When I get invited to a meeting I often ask what is the point of the meeting to be told ‘To discuss xyz’. What a pile of bollocks. Why are we discussing it? What is the desired outcome? That I am ‘aware’ of the issue. Who cares who’s aware – if it is important enough to call a meeting about, then surely there needs to be an actual outcome of the meeting – a decision about what to do or a decision not to do anything? If you just need to ‘make me aware’ then put it in an email with a line saying why I need to be aware of this issue (i.e how it will impact me doing my work) – don’t waste my time ‘making me aware’ at your snail’s pace in a meeting.