Wednesday, 31 December 2014


Roller coaster year. Began with the start of a realisation that what I thought it was, wasn't, which led eventually to a heartbreak, not epic, but in part about why and how I'd let myself get to that. I was 44. Not a youthful age. I should know better by now. 

In the middle was a brief dalliance with online dating. Many men contacted me. There were dates. There was the expectation of phone sex. There were photos of people that rendered them unrecognisable in the flesh. There was shock that I looked exactly like my picture. There was possessiveness after good conversation. There were slights. And relief at not having to carry dates through. And there was exhaustion in a very short time of demanding texts and messages from men half my age or with over-egged egos who don't know how to measure in feet and inches. And then there was getting off back to the reality of real life.

And finally when least expecting it, after a night at the opera there was a flash of love that became a compelling and urgent desire that drove the end of the year. And I sit here now on the 31 December 2014 awaiting the imminent arrival of the panther with the last of his things and will begin 2015 living with the love of my life. 

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Merry Christmas one and all

From the mouths of innocents

At dinner today my nephew asked me if K (the current man) was a replacement of  B (previous man), and was B a replacement of E (man before B). Um, yes, I mumbled embarrassedly thinking how this easy-replacing of men in life must look to him. Since we see each other only once every six months or so he has short experience of any of the potential 'uncles' so far. If only the reality of it was as easy as 'replacement' makes it seem, like swapping batteries when they wear out or something. 

Tuesday, 23 December 2014


Gradually all these gasometers are being dismantled. When I was an art student I took lots of pictures of them - they were structures which you could see through, and I had a mild infatuation with them and scaffolding (in the days before they covered scaffolding always). 

Monday, 22 December 2014

Winter holiday

Today I am on leave. Until January 5th. Leaving work on Friday didn't really feel like anything. Weekend was great. But it was a weekend. Get those at the end of every week. 

But today I'm popping to the shops and left home at 12, coming through my local high street everyone is at work and at their regular duties (queuing in the post office, elders and their shopping trollies fighting to be on the bus first to bag the best seat, estate agents bored in their windows, banks open). 

And me, I'm feeling like, Yeah! I'm on holiday... It's been some time since I had 2 weeks off together. 

Friday, 5 December 2014

Open Plan Hot-Desking

I’ve always known open plan hot-desking is bad for me because I can clearly recognise the impact it has on concentration and increased irritation. Other people’s phonecalls at the top of their lungs, desk-side meetings, talking (well, sort of talking – not quite shouting) to colleagues across the space rather than going over to them, uncontrollable temperatures – blasting air conditioning or way too hot, and the need of the window-seat-hoggers to close the blinds on a sunny day to the detriment of those working further inside the building (if they don’t like the light why do they insist on sitting by the window?). - interesting article by an architect and access consultant (access consultant – no idea what that means) which says

“Our needs vary – but are significantly influenced by:

·         Physical comfort,

·         Our ability (or not) to cut out extraneous noise,

·         Preferences for access to daylight

·         Our commonly held preference for access to views of the natural world, and…

Our need to:

·         Adjust artificial lighting intensity, position and colour,

·         Adjust what is in our visual field and to reinforce a sense of familiarity and recollection to aid our memory”


Its not so much the need for privacy I don’t think but I had never considered that in addition the reduction in concentration there might be an impact on recollection, memory and productivity due to not being able to see a view that includes vegetation or have natural daylight. Our office rules include not eating at the desk (you are allowed a drink and maximum two biscuits, otherwise you are supposed to eat in the designated areas), no plants, no clutter, nothing left on the desk overnight,  no fixed positions, no storing things on top of the lockers. This makes it look nice and clean, reduces likelihood of mice infestation (although we have had visits coming up the cabling of the computers from the floor to have a peek at the working desk situation, but not regularly), and enables people to sit wherever is available when they get in.


On top of which I found a marvellous quote from Einstein (and who can argue with him…) which is a fantastic retort to the clear-desk police (to which we had to convert when we started open plan hot-desking), “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” Touche.

From The Evening Standard, 4/11/2014.