Friday, March 30, 2007

The Tesco Clubcard Challenge

I had an interesting call from Tesco the other day. It seemed at first to be the usual marketing survey - "It's only a couple of questions". "It'll only take a couple of minutes". etc. etc. What I hadn't counted on was that this was more exacting than most.

Quiz Master: "OK so we'll begin with the first question. What can you spend your clubcards on other than store?"

Me: "Ah, Erm"

Quiz Master: "I'm going to have to hurry you. Not sure?

Me: "On the internet?"

Quiz Master: "Yes - I'll give you one point for that. The correct answer was on the Internet and in deals sent to you in the post. "

Quiz Master: "Right on to question number 2. How can you increase your clubcard points?"

Me: "Increase clubcard points? Erm, not sure really, sorry.

Quiz Master: "No problem, it's through clubcard and internet deals."

Quiz Master: "You're doing well, don't worry it's all still to play for. On to the next question. When did you last receive Clubcard Deals information?"

Me: "I'm sorry, I really don't have a clue."

Quiz Master: "That's OK, I'll note that down."

Quiz Master: "Now onto the final question. What clubcard deals have you used recently.

Me: "Oh err, none I think".

Quiz Master: "No problem. Thanks a lot for your time. You have just taken part in the Tesco Clubcard Challenge. Thank you and goodnight.

OK it might not have been exactly along these lines but you get the drift. Soon you will have to have a qualification in Tescos Knowledge in order to take a phone call from these people.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Building Gets Interesting

What would Bob have made of it? The Builder Magazine has had a racy makeover this month. Gone is the usual front page photo showing, well you've guessed it, a well appointed building site. Oh No. This month's cover has more in common with Nuts Magazine, showing several attractive young ladies messing about with a racing car. OOh er missus. There's even a free glossy poster showing a couple of the aforementioned ladies and the car in the sort of positions and clothing that would never be replicated in real life. I was intruiged, and just had to discover what all this had to do with building itself so of course, further investigation was needed. It would appear that a saw manufacturer is sponsoring the Spyker Formula One Team this season and Builder readers are being asked to nominate their Builder of the Month. This may seem pretty mundane stuff but it just gets better (for the winning Builder anyway). The lucky fellow (as we must assume it to be in the circumstances) will receive a personal visit from one of the "gorgeous Rotozip Spyker Calendar Girls" (it says here and they aren't far wrong) who will distribute copies of their calendar and other goodies. It doesn't say here what the "other goodies" are but my imagination has run riot on it anyway.
I bet you thought that the construction industry was pretty boring. On this evidence it's time to think again.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Funky Blue with Shocking Pink Circles

Yesterday was P Day for one of our youth club rooms. No more boring white walls - Oh No this room was getting a teenage makeover. Just after lunchtime we arrived bearing bright turquoise and pink paint to give the room the shock of its life. We made an enthusiastic start on the walls, covering them in the bright turquoise before planning our assault with the pink. Then us (allegedly more sensible) older ones went downstairs to let the paint dry, and to get ourselves some drinks. We thought that the girls would follow us but no, they were having too much fun upstairs.

When we returned after raiding the tuck shop, bright pink circles were starting to appear on the walls like some psychedelic dream. I thought that I would join in by painting a couple of circles, but no sooner had I drawn the outline than one of the girls had rushed in, bright pink brush in hand to enthusiastically apply the paint.

By the time we had finished, the room looked very impressive (or scary depending on your preference). The girls were happy, albeit with more paint on them than the walls (how does that happen?) and I was ready for a long hot bath.

The next person to go in will get the fright of their life and will hopefully not have taken any hallucinogenic drugs before they enter.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The bread could be said to have been baked

This blog entry is a little later than planned because the end of quarter VAT returns are without mercy and the excuse of "I had to write a blog entry" just didn't cut it with the accountants, but anyway, taking a small break from the number crunching - Here goes:

I've finally done it. After many weeks of quite frankly not having had any spare time to do it, I have finally baked my first loaf of bread. It didn't go quite according to plan mind you. I don't have a breadmaker so am doing it the old fashioned way.

Everything was going fine until it got to the point of leaving the dough to rise. The recipe called for a damp towel to be placed over the bowl with the dough in it. For some obscure reason I decided that the towel should be soaking. This was a big mistake! Essentially the dough failed to rise. This was despite the fact that it was sitting next to a boiling hot radiator for two hours in what I shall describe simply as the smallest room in the house. I called my mum who said that there really was little more I could do. Undeterred I left it another two hours but again nothing happened. It resolutely refused to rise. However I gamely decided to carry on. I had spent a good 5 hours by this time on this piece of bread and I was not going to give up that easily.

I kneaded it again, rolled it into a rough baguette shape and baked it. When its baking time was up, I gingerly took it out of the oven. It actually looked OK so I was hopeful. The first thing I noticed however was that it was very heavy. It felt like the weight of possibly six loaves, not one. My heart sank and I was desperate to try some. Risking burning my fingers I took a knife to it and cut off the end and tested it. My joy returned when I found that it was still edible. It was, it has to be said, somewhat chewy but tasted quite good. My feeling of pleasure and everything being right with the world returned and I felt as if I had really achieved something - albeit not quite as it should have been, but an edible loaf nonetheless. I'm going to try it again soon, when time allows, with a towel only slightly dampened. Wish me luck.

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Noisettes

So there I was. My usual Friday evening, leaving work and bombing it down to Glasgow Central Station as fast as my little legs could carry me to get to the train for the start of my weekend - Hooray! I was perhaps about 20 minutes away from the station when I was approached by a young lady who was obviously somewhat lost. It turned out that her name was Shingai and she was in the band The Noisettes. Now I was pretty impressed because I had actually heard of this band. She had to be at the Arches by 5.30pm and it was now 5.45pm, so, with the future of her career in the band at stake (perhaps!) I offered to take her with me to Central Station which is not much more than a hop, skip and a jump from The Arches. She was a lovely girl and as we jogged sedately through the pouring rain she told me about their gig the night before in Manchester and we discussed the best recipies for a nice piece of trout (honestly, I'm not making this up!) We finally got to the Station and the poor girl was soaked through, but a good run through Glasgow and a full Scottish soaking had not put her off one bit. She was still extremely cheery and not at all worried that she would be half an hour late. It is lovely to meet someone who can remain so cheery in the face of the worst that Scottish weather can throw at them. I gave her directions from there to The Arches and wished her well both for herself and for her band. She thanked me and said that she had been to Glasgow before and always found it to be a very friendly city. I hope that I have further reinforced this view. I'm sure their gig went well on Friday night. I hope so and I will look out for their name in future.
Later I told a friend my story and he claimed never to have heard of them and said that she must have been having me on. But no! They have a website and I wish them all the best for the future.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Shaken, Not Stirred

I like to keep busy. Many people who know me would say that this borders on workaholism but you can never be sitting around twiddling your thumbs for too long (because when you do, you remember another job that needs doing).

The latest escapade keeping me out of mischief is organising a big James Bond Themed event to be held in a couple of months so no pressure there then. The event is held every year (this is the first year where they have been brave enough to ask me to co-ordinate it) and we always have a theme. James Bond seemed appropriate this year as it is 2007. I know, a bit corny, but that's the way we like it here.

As well as a theme we also like to have a celebrity to open it. This does tend to prove difficult as we are on a limited to non existent budget and celebrities just don't seem to go for that these days. We asked Madonna, and she would have loved to do it but she was going to be away in Malawi at the time. Something to do with a baby I believe.

So who could we ask now? Why Robbie Williams. Again he would have loved to have done it but he was booked into somewhere called The Priory. I've never heard of this place. It must be a luxury hotel I shouldn't wonder.

We were really stuck. Who would measure up to Robbie and Madonna. Then we hit on it. A Reality TV Show Contestant. And wouldn't you know it, someone in our team knew someone who knew someone etc who knew a certain former contestant in a Reality TV Show. That's six degrees of separation for you. By the way it's not Jade or Shilpa or both (which might make for an interesting day!). The said contestant has duly been approached but has "still to get back to us". We're not doing very well on this celebrity front are we but we are remaining positive that when this person realises that reality shows do not a career make, they will come running to us for a tiny bit of extra recognition. We can but dream. In the meantime it has been decided that we will get someone in our team to dress up as James Bond (he will have to dye his hair as it currently grey!) and open the event.

MMM I wonder if we should have asked the reality show contestant to dress up as James Bond? Maybe that would have persuaded them.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Beware the British Weather

The good old British weather changes very rapidly. One minute it's brilliant sunshine and you think "How lovely, summer is on its way, I'll just take off my coat", and then as if by divine intervention with a wicked sense of humour the heavens open, leaving you coatless and soaking.
I considered this this morning when I saw my neighbour's washing being soaked by a nasty grey drizzle. Had she put the washing out the night before thinking "It looks quite dry out there. I'm sure I will get some good drying done overnight"? She may have got some good drying done overnight, but come the morning all the good drying work was undone by the rain.
Today's message is Don't Trust the Weather. The weather controller in the sky is watching you to make sure that it pours at your most inoportune moment. It will happen. There is no escape!
PS If it snows here this year again can I move to Canada? I'd love to live somewhere where they get proper snow and subsequently know how to deal with it unlike here where a couple of centimetres means the shutting down of the whole transport network.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Isn’t the English Language a wonderful, ever evolving thing? To illustrate this I’d like to share a new word I learned yesterday at my Monday Night Youth Group – Punk’d.

The context was as follows:-

The Group: Are we being Punk’d?

Me: Are you being what’d?

The Group: Punk’d.

Me: You’ll need to tell me what Punk’d means before I can tell you if you are or not.

The Group: You know, being played a trick on. (They snigger, realising that this silly adult doesn’t know the meaning of one of their words and consequently isn’t as with it as she would like them to believe she is).

The Group: Well are we being Punk’d?

Me: No you are definitely not being Punk’d.

The Group: Cool! (well at least that’s one word that hasn’t changed then.)

What I really wanted to know but was too afraid to ask for fear of further derision was how does Punk’d come to mean being played a trick on. Any enlightenment would be appreciated. When I were a lass Punk (without the ‘d) meant something entirely different. Admittedly it still does, allegedly, although the lyrics just aren’t the same nowadays. Anyway back to the point. Where does this term come from? Could it be from Johnny Rotten’s infamous words: "ever feel like you've been cheated?" Well I might not be Miss Cool, Hip and Down with the Kids but at least I know my music history.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Grand Designs

It was the second of the new series of Grand Designs last night. I quite enjoy it although Kevin McCloud (that is not how you spell that surname Kevin by the way) can be a bit condescending. "Oh I really think these people are being very foolish and just won't achieve what they want". Anyway I like the idea of something impressive being created from not very much to start off with. Last nights was a disaster scenario. A couple had lovingly restored a period English Cottage which then caught fire and was almost destroyed not long before Christmas, with the wife pregnant and their house insurance lapsed (you just couldn't make this up could you). How they afforded to re do the house even with a second mortgage I will never know. Kevin kept asking them why they didn't just walk away (he's such an optimistic soul). Anyway despite Kevin they managed to restore it to its former glory.
However my lasting impression of the programme was nothing to do with Kevin or the house. It was their daughter. She was very cute but, unless I heard wrongly, she appeared to be called Beaver. I mean WHAT!!!!! The poor child is going to be teased mercilessly at school with a name like that. What on earth is wrong with normal names. I despair.

Water Water Everywhere Part 2

Referring back to my previous post which concerned the mysterious black stain on my downstairs neighbours bathroom wall, my dad got into their house and had a look at it yesterday. My dad isn't a plumber but is handy round the house (my mum tells me I should find a man like that but I digress).
My dad does know quite a bit about these things but can't work out where the stain is coming from. Strangely it doesn't seem to be coming from under my floor (not directly under it anyway) or from the outside wall. Taking either her ceiling or my floor apart seems now to be the only option to find source of the problem. Of course my dad would rather do the former so it is up to me ask her today whether she would be willing to go ahead. We shall see.
The thought of having either her or my bathroom taken apart isn't a nice one but then I watched Grand Designs and realised how lucky I am that it is only the bathroom that might have to be messed with.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Richard Madeley Tackles a Mugger

You can just imagine Richard Madeley tackling a mugger can't you. From the safety of his TV studio of course!!

He shook his fist at the camera did he? OOOh he's so hard.

Toys Out The Pram

There are two things I really don't want to do too much on this blog
a. Rant
b. Talk about my job.
Just for today this has annoyed me.
Why do some grown adults have to behave like children. You calmly and rationally explain to them why something is not possible and in return you get an irrational reaction and the person storms off in a strop. Is it just me or is this highly frustrating.
Sorry. Rant over. Normal service will be resumed shortly.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

DHL - Dead Heads and Livers

The next time DHL deliver to you, think twice before accepting the parcel.,,-6456010,00.html

Monday, March 05, 2007

Boogie Nights

Well Saturday was a funny old day. It was a pal’s birthday and three of us were going to see Boogie Nights at the Kings Theatre in Glasgow at 5.30pm. The only problem was that my party animal friend had only left a party in Edinburgh sometime around lunchtime on Saturday and then got a puncture on the way to Glasgow. She eventually made it to my house where another friend and I had started eating her birthday cake (which we felt we just had to start before the candle finished burning down and melted into the cake) while we waited and waited…….

So, on to Boogie Nights which we make by the skin of the skin of our teeth.

The picture on the left shows Anthony Costa looking a bit unsure about sharing a stage with Alvin Stardust (whose blurb reads 1970’s legend). However on Saturday night he needn’t have worried as our 1970’s legend was “indisposed” and was played by an understudy.

The show itself was a good slice of lighthearted fun with some good one-liners and an interesting twist at the end which I quite liked.

After a nice meal at a place called Elliot’s on Bath Street which was worryingly quiet for a Saturday night in Glasgow, we continued the nostalgia theme by going to an 80s themed pub/disco.

Oh how I remember the 80s. My hair was allegedly permed but was in fact a frizzy explosion. (Today it also happens to be a bit of a frizzy mess but I’m just having a bad hair day). I had an all-in-one electric blue flying suit which I wore with pride with bright red tucker boots and cerise pink plastic beads and bangles. My make up was a mixture of bright blue and bright pink. Oh how cool did I think I looked when in fact I must have looked like a riot in a paint shop. Those were the days. Ah the 80s. The decade that taste forgot. I can still get nostalgic for it though and was most upset when Jon Bon Jovi got his hair cut.

After the pub closed at midnight we still had some serious partying to do. Our party quest took us to Madness on Bothwell Street. Although I don’t mind nightclubs as such, I do find that you can’t hear anything so you can’t carry on a normal conversation so they are not the best places but they seem to be the logical conclusion to many a night out.

As is the norm, I believe, going by the reputation of this club I was duly chatted up by rather a nice chap as it turned out. Everything was progressing most swimmingly until he asked me what age I thought he was. Now most people would think – What age do I think you are? I will now tactfully deduct at least 5 years. Not me! Alcohol + More Alcohol = No Tact Just Honesty.

Well he looked about 40. How was I to know that he was only 36? Needless to say he wasn’t impressed. Any chances of a further date were slipping from my grasp as quickly as the look on his face shifted from pleasure to horror.

He went out for a smoke.

He returned still less than impressed.

Chances of a follow up date? – Currently Nil. He let it be known that he “was quite busy over the next couple of weeks but might be in touch a bit later.”

My friends don’t call me Bridget Jones for nothing.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Sticky Blue

I'm just looking at the lovely blue stain all over my hands this morning caused by a pen leaking all over them yesterday. I was taking minutes in a meeting so I couldn't rush out and try to clean up when it started. I just had to let the oozy sticky mess gradually get worse and worse, turning my hands a nasty shade of blue as I feverishly took down the minutes. Lovely! Of course when I got out of the meeting I couldn't touch anything in case it turned sticky blue as well. I went home soon after that and eventually after a good while not getting anywhere with soap and water I found that nail varnish remover took the worst of it off. I'm still left with blue finger tips and I hate to think what the nail varnish remover has done to my skin. Oh the joys!


In a radical departure for me - Here's a new(ish) song that I really like. "Ruby" by the Kaiser Chiefs. Only one problem - it really reminds me of another song from ages ago. I have gone through the internet and just can't find it. It may (or may not) start with the lyrics "Louis Louis Louis Louis" and I know the tune which is quite catchy but it isn't "Louis Louis" by The Kingsmen. Anyway I like the song Ruby but hopefully Radio 2 will play the other song sometime. When they do I will probably find that:-
1. Those are nowhere near the lyrics and
2. It sounds nothing like Ruby.
But you never know.