take one woman with low self esteem, but quite good hair
add one moronic illness
stir in some medication which causes hair to fall out
mix it all up and this is what you get...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

We're talking telephone numbers 

Big jabbed at the landline phone, somewhat confused. Ordering the Chinese was not as straightforward as he'd hoped.

"I don't get it..."
"How come I have to dial the whole number, including the code? The restaurant is in Southampton too..."

I raised my eyebrow at him. I knew exactly what had happened: he, like so many others, had fallen into the trap.

"What number were you trying to dial?"

He showed me the menu and the six digits he'd been trying.

I nodded, both smugly and knowingly.

You see, Southampton numbers, like London numbers, have eight digits. The code for Southampton (and incidentally, for Portsmouth and surrounding areas) is 023. Just 023. Not, oh please not, 02380. Ugh, it makes me feel slightly nauseous to type that because it's just wrong wrong wrong.

Our home number is 023 80xx xxxx. The number of the Chinese takeaway is 023 80yy yyyy. So, if I wanted to phone a Chinese takeaway in Southampton from my landline in Southampton, I would dial 80yy yyyy. If I want to phone my consultant, who is based in Portsmouth, I would dial 92zz zzzz. It has been this way since 2000 and is really, quite simple.

Big is new to Southampton, so I'll let him off this time...

Unfortunately, people are so used to having five-digit area codes, they just refuse to comply with this régime. It is often not their fault, as businesses in the area are not consistent in how they print their telephone numbers.

The same is true in London. The code for London is 020. End of. If I'm in London, phoning someone else in London, I will dial an eight-digit number. So if people cite their London number to me in the form "0208 [pause] xxx [pause] xxxx", not only will I roll my eyes at how ignorant they are, but I will also secretly write it down as "020 [space] 8xxx [space] xxxx" with an air of superiority.

Because, for some reason I've yet to ascertain, it matters to me. In my defence, though, it's not just me...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I am swimming up and down in what has become my usual, steady style.

(Sometimes, I even overtake people who look quite fit!)

I stop for a breather and smile at the woman beside me, who has also stopped for a breather.

"I wish I could swim like you..." she laments.

If only she knew...

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

One of those days 

I skillfully avoided the dog turd on my way to the Co-op at the end of my road. I saw it there, glistening in the gentle gloom of the streetlamp and hopped over it. I congratulated myself on my turd-avoidance as I entered the store and grabbed the part-baked baguettes, which would accompany our home-made soup later that evening.

As I returned home, my mind wandered off to contemplate what had been a chaotic return to work after the Christmas break.

With the PA off sick for the entire period, I had been doing several jobs: supporting the Managing Director of [prestigious British brand, now owned by Americans] - which is a full time job in itself - on top of my usual job of supporting the Marketing Director, the Director of [other related company], the entire Marketing department and trying to sort out a new-starter.

I had been arriving home brain-dead and tearful, frazzled and frustrated from attending to everyone else's needs all day while mine had been left dangling and neglected. I had been snapping at Big, failing to drag myself to the pool and unable to summon up the energy to cook decent meals at night.

On top of this, I had been waiting to hear about the job for which I'd interviewed before Christmas. I'd been told verbally that I would be offered the job, but after the last job-related débacle, I wouldn't be happy until I received a piece of paper with my name, the company name and a dotted line for me to adorn with my signature.

As these thoughts swirled around my brain, I was vaguely aware of a squelching underfoot.

The glistening turd, which I'd so carefully avoided on my way to the shop, was now embellishing the sole of my shoe. A heavily cleated sole at that.

I rolled my eyes, took a deep breath and stomped home, stopping only to remove the shoes and leave them rather unceremoniously on the doorstep before entering the house. I would deal with them later. Much later.

It had been one of those days...