Monday, 31 December 2007

Post Christmas blues

It’s the time of year that makes the people that have taken off all their holiday off resentful. When Nige arrived this morning he asked Jason if he’d been in all week (except for Christmas Day and Boxing Day, which were bank holidays). He told him he had, because he’d got “no choice”.
I’m not sure if I’ve made it clear in a previous post, but Jim is not just renowned for singing throughout his working day. He also talks to everyone and anyone. The lady that cleans the toilets the security man that brings up the post, anybody he sees. In the mornings it’s a constant stream of “good mornings” as he has to speak to everyone as they come in throughout the morning. Everyone was discussing what kind of Christmas they had had. Jason moans that he’s been in here all over the holiday period, then goes on to say how many people were off sick on Friday. Then the people who were in were also coughing and sneezing everywhere, “like a doctors’ waiting room” says Jason. They carry on about how rough they’ve felt over Christmas and blame it all on the air-conditioning. Then Jim starts off :
Jim: “I was talking to this bloke the other week…who was I talking to…?”
Dave: “Everyone!”
They all have a big laugh at that.
Dave: “You walked into that one.”

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Coca Cola sign opportunity

Don’t like publicising Coca Cola, but here is an opportunity not to miss:

Simply type your details and a brief message to your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/mum/dad/sister/brother/friend/cat et al. into a form on Coca Cola's website and it'll be included in a rotating broadcast, in lights for all to see, at Piccadilly Circus, at some point before 9pm 2 Jan.

You'll get an email to let you know when your message is scheduled to be shown, and if you can't make it into Central London in person, simply watch it as it happens online.

Messages will be moderated before being displayed too, so no rude ones please!

If you can’t get into London you can watch it on the internet. I tried putting up one saying “Clive wears pink. Clive has orientation issues. Happy New Year,” but it didn’t get past the login page.

Nige's Ribena war

I missed this yesterday afternoon, but Nige kept getting his Ribena pinched by Mark (from another section). He was so blatant about it that he used to pour it out in front of him. I bought in some liquid/vinegar from a half eaten jar of pickled red cabbage. I told Nige to pour his Ribena into another bottle, then pour the red vinegar into his Ribena bottle. He did this and waited for a day. Apparently yesterday afternoon Mark came and pinched what he thought was Ribena. Dan saw him and had to go into the corridor because he was cracking up with laughter, even before he’d tasted it. Nige watched as Mark diluted the Ribena at the water dispenser by the coffee machine. He walked back up the office, taking a mouthful as he went.
“Have you done something to this,” he asked. “It tastes vinegary.”
They all had a good laugh, except for Mark who accused Nige of trying to poison him. He won’t be pinching people’s drink again in a hurry.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Secret Santa Day

Another year done and dusted for the Secret Santa scheme. The best bit was one of the guys wrapping Clive’s present up in girly pink Christmas paper with fairies on. I think he should get the prize for most attention to detail. His present was one of the top few too, an elastic band gun (knowing how much Clive likes to flick elastic bands around the office. I had a go with it when Junior was being a pain in the arse, you can fire three or four in quick succession. Look at the enjoyment on Clive’s face.

I gave Dan a dancing snake/mp3 player speaker (photo to follow), which wasn’t as big as hit as I thought with him. I think that he didn’t realise what it was to start with. Then I think he got a bit embarrassed when everyone wanted a listen, and it created a bit more noise than he’d have liked.
Junior rubbished everyone’s presents, then declared that he wanted to something a bit different next year. He got a ball scratcher from Eric (no photo available). I think he was a bit disappointed. Full marks to Eric for noticing Junior’s need.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Boss's Christmas Spirit

We have a section made up almost entirely of part-time mums, who do little more than answer phones answer correspondance, and the odd bit of printing. Today was their Christmas party. They were going out for a meal at dinnertime and had booked a coach to take them all to a nice restaurant. As they were leaving the boss said:
"Hey, this is crazy. All of you going in one coach. If ever there were a traffic accident on the way over it would take at least twenty minutes for me to recruit a new section."

Cruel, but very funny.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

What would have been a good t-shirt

This was what I'd got up to, designing something for my Secret Santa present. It ended up being a bit too late to send off and get printed up before the deadline.
I might still decide to put it on one of the T-shirt sites like Cafepress.

Crazy Helen’s Christmas spirit

Crazy Helen came over to Eric on her way to the drinks machine. Eric and a few others had been discussing the Secret Santa thing, because lots of them haven’t bought anything yet.
Helen: “You won’t have to buy me a present this year, because I’m not on your section anymore.”
Eric: “No, and you won’t have to exchange it.”
When she’d gone Eric explained to us that he had got Helen last year for his Secret Santa. He’d spent ages thinking about what to get, and quite a long time picking out a nice matching scarf and gloves set from Marks and Spencers (other glove sets are also available). He’d noticed what colours she wore to the office, and selected a nice colour that would go with the kind of thing she wore normally. Then on the day, as soon as present swapping was over, she collared Eric and asked if he had got the receipt, and which shop were they from. He said he probably did have the receipt and that he had got them from Marks and Spencers. To which she told him not to worry about the receipt because they would take things back anyway (I understand they are renowned for their relaxed returns policy).
Karen was first to say how tactless she was for doing such a thing. I couldn’t believe that someone would do such a thing, especially straight after the presentations.
Unfortunately I understand that she is going to come back to work for our section again in the New Year. Apparently she has made such a balls-up of anything she has touched for her new section that they want rid of her too.

Monday, 17 December 2007

Wierd walk lady

There’s a girl that’s worked on our floor for a good six months now who has a very peculiar way of walking. She has generously enough proportioned bosoms, but walks along with her chest out and an exaggerated arch in her back, to try and show them off to her best ability. She walks with her head raised, so that she wouldn’t see anything on the floor if there were anything there to tread on. Then, I’m not sure if it depends on her mood or what shoes she’s wearing, she really pounds the floor as she walks past. You can hear her approach and then walk away from you if she walks down the office, and you always know who it is just by the sound. Karen and a fair number of the ladies on our floor watch her in disbelief as she walks past. Jim and Jason talk to her or flirt with her quite a bit, but you wouldn’t want to be seen in public with her because of her odd way of walking. This morning I was leaving Karen’s desk to go back to my own, just after this girl had walked past (and we had watched her in disbelief), and I gave Karen a laugh by walking back with my chest puffed out and a big arch in my back. She burst into laughter and had to explain what she was laughing at to Steve and Eric, who hadn’t seen me do it.

Diary delivery

Dan is in before me this morning. He’s complaining that he didn’t sleep all last night. He did go to bed though (not one of those nights when he goes out all night). For some reason he’s drinking chicken cup-a soup and taking Pro-plus caffeine capsules to keep him awake this morning. He also gets a red bull from the canteen when we go down for breakfast. We noticed that they were giving out company diaries on our travels, so when they reached our floor I was prepared. As they came along they got to Nige side of the desk first. With no-one sitting in Neil’s old desk at the moment I shouted over to Nige “Don’t forget to get one for Neil.” To which they happily handed over diary number two. Then Junior was out of the office, so I made sure we had one for him. Then as they got further down the office I went down and asked if we could have another couple for the two guys who were out of the office today. They’re not bad diaries this year, nice plain black things, okay they have the company logo on every other page and a bit of company related stuff that nobody is going to read, but not bad for free. Although we do have a new bank holiday on 32nd Octember (joke).

Christmas Eve

Monday is Christmas Eve. In the past we have been able to go home early, in true Christmas Carol style. These past few years though, since we’ve been owned by a new lot, we’ve had to work a full day (leaving at 3.00 at the earliest). Now they lay on a buffet at 12.00 in the canteen, and the day often dissolves into a big mince pie/chocolate eating binge with e-mails of Christmas and End of Year quizzes being sent round. They have made it a “Dress down Day”. Not much work is usually done. The bosses however take it to be a good time to tour round the offices to talk to the staff, probably seeing how much chocolate and mince pies they can find, but it always feels like they are looking round to make sure everyone is working. I’m sure the bosses all think that they are talking to the staff, trying to give off the vibe that they are normal, human people, just like us, but it never comes out that way. I remember offices where we got bottles of Whiskey sent in by happy clients, so we would be drinking whiskey and eating mince pies all morning then go down the pub at dinnertime. You wouldn’t have any clue how you got home that evening (we would catch the bus into work, we never drunk drove).

Nige’s source

Last week things weren’t going great for Nige. His source for getting the music DVDs of new releases and chart music had been nicked, and he was looking round to find a new source. This morning though, everything is back to normal and he bought in this weeks DVD. It’s usually full of Christmas stuff and party/dance compilations, but occasionally I can find the odd bit of stuff to copy off onto my memory stick and have a listen to.

This site gave me a laugh. I think it was a link from Boing Boing which I looked at because the decorations caught my eye, but then I saw the name of the site and could only imagine Knock off Nige cutting his old CDs and DVDs that have failed to burn properly. With the prices they’re charging, he wquld make more money from his failed CDs than the ones that write correctly.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Eric’s family

I asked Eric what he was up to on his day off (Friday). He told me that he was doing the rounds of seeing the extended family before Christmas. The ones he was seeing on Friday lived fairly close, but then he started to tell me about the others that he’d got to get round.
Eric: “You know all families have relatives that they try to avoid or hide away. Well the ones I’ve got see next week live in Cardiff. You know that programme with Mrs Bucket in “Keeping up appearances?”
Me: “Oh, yes?”
Eric: “Well that family that she tries to have nothing to do with, with that character Unslow?”
Me: “Oh yes.”
Eric: “Well my aunt and uncle near Cardiff are just like that .They don’t have the scrapped car on the front lawn, but they dress in rags and are as common as anything. The last time I went, my aunty is registered as disabled and the doctor goes round regularly to look her over, the last time I went to visit the doctor was round, examining her in the front room. I walked in, her husband had told me to go through, and she was there being examined. She said “Hello Eric. Come and have a seat.” All the while the doctor was finishing examining her. We go and see them once a year at Christmas, give them a Christmas card, and that’s it until the next year.”

Plotter trouble

The big plotter broke this morning, due to the paper getting jammed, because people pile up their drawings on the top of the machine, until it gets too heavy for the paper to come out at the back. Usually we can clear the jam and cut the paper out, but this morning one of the metal plates that takes the paper in had warped, and the front would not shut again. When anything mechanical happens we have to get the engineer from OCE to come and fix it. We pay for a twelve hour service, so it should be fixed the same day, but I have to phone the internal service desk first. The service desk type in all the details on the system, then give me a ticket number. Then they pass on the message to our IT department. Depending on the priority level, IT then have to phone me to ask what the problem is with the plotter, because the description that the service desk write down is useless. Then one of the guys from IT will come up and see if it really is broken or if he can fix it. Then when he’s looked it over he will call out the OCE engineer. So that wastes 3 or 4 hours, and the engineer will either come late on in the day so that nobody is around to explain the problem, or often which machine needs fixing. Usually he will come the next day and he won’t have the part we need, so we have to wait another three or four days for the part to come over from Germany and then for the engineer to come and fit it. So our 12 hour repair service takes more like a week.

The IT eventually called me at 11.25 to ask for the printer number and serial number, having phoned the service desk at 8.30.

Trying the café for the first time (or not)

There is a previous blog that I never got round to posting explaining meeting Glen (who I used to work with in another section) who was going over the road to a café for his breakfast sandwich needs, instead of queuing up at the canteen downstairs. More and more people have taken to doing it since then, which is weird because the queues downstairs haven’t been any shorter. So on Friday of the first time I was persuaded to order my breakfast from the café over the road, instead of the usual queue at the works canteen/restaurant facility. Junior was very keen and took all the orders. I’m not sure that Junior’s argument that “the café was only more expensive because the canteen is so cheap” really held water, but I thought I’d give them a try and then the rest of the office followed suit. Karen was against him doing it because he would have to leave the premises. She said:

Karen: “I can’t be seen to condone you leaving the premises.
Junior: “I could just say I was having a fag break.”
What if anything happened to you?”
Me: “Yes, that’s a busy road you have to cross.”
Karen: “What if you get run over on the way back? What would we do?”
Me: “We would miss our breakfast…or have to come and pick it up off the round.”
Karen: “Road-kill.”
Me: “That’s only if the rest of the traffic has stopped, or managed to swerve round the bacon baps.”

He actually phoned in the order and they offered to deliver them in 20 minutes, or phone back if he hasn’t had them by then. He phoned back after 20 minutes, for them to tell him that it would be another 40 minutes wait. He asked if that was going to be less if he collected them, and they said no. So he decided another 40 minutes would be nearly dinnertime (10.30) so he cancelled the order and came round refunding everyone’s money (short changing me by 10p because he hadn’t got the change, somehow). So we trooped down to the canteen to find the queue longer than ever, and because breakfast stops being served at 10.30 they were running out of stuff, and having to cook sausages and eggs from fresh. Jason was so long at the counter waiting for his egg that we left him there. He came back up to the office about 15minutes later saying that they must have been holding a gun to the chickens head to make him lay thy eggs, out the back.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Secret Santa/ Shrek mugs in Sainsburys

I sent an e-mail saying that if anyone has got Clive for Secret Santa, Sainsburys had got these fantastic mugs, which come with marshmallows and some chocolate drink. Only £5:

I’d used this photo from Ebay to show them, and stated “Photo for illustration purposes only, I didn’t buy one.”
I heard Eric and one of the Steve’s going “He has, he’s bought one really.”

Coats on the third floor

One of the girls from the third floor comes up in her coat. She usually fetches any post we have for them, and brings theirs up. I asked her if she was cold. She told me that they are all wearing their coats down there. I ask if the heating isn’t working down there. She tells me it’s freezing.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Junior's telephone skills

Junior had cause to phone IT this afternoon. While he was on hold he was nodding his head. I asked “Is there any music playing while you’re holding?”
“Yes.” He said and put the phone on hands free for us all to listen.
Just at hat point in time though, a girl from the IT helpdesk answered. Hassled, he tried taking the hands free off, but hit the wrong button.
“I’ve cut her off.” He said. We all had a big laugh, and he went as red as Jim is orange.

Orange diet

Nige has stopped coming for breakfasts in the canteen in favour of eating oranges and satsumas. Hazel brought him a big bag of them this morning, then Mel came in from, dinnertime and had a big bag of satsumas for him too. Rick saw all these and said to him:
Rick: “If you eat too many you’re going to get ill.”
Nige “They can’t do you any harm.”
Me: “They might make you go orange if you eat too many. Then you’ll look like…(thinks for a while)…Jim.”

One (very busy) day in the life of PR - per week

This really infuriated me on the portal home page this morning:
"From Radio Devon to keeping The Guardian up to date - we hear from one of the team keeping Retail in the public eye.

8.30am – First things first, get to the office, read the papers – sounds simple but it’s of the utmost importance that we keep the business informed about anything from today’s news that could affect Retail’s decision making. Plus, I’ll see if any of our proactive campaigns have received coverage.

9.00 – Now that all of our stakeholders are aware of the media agenda for the day, I’ll just finish off writing that press release. It’s about xxxxxxxx at Christmas. Got to make it newsworthy as loads of other companies are vying for column inches at this time of year.

9.15 – Call from The Guardian personal finance desk to ask about the latest prices for xxxxxxxx. Quick visit to the pricing team for the latest figures and go back to the journalist with a response.

9.20 – Finish writing press release and send it round for approval.

9.35 – BBC Radio Devon call for an interview on xxxxxxxx, schedule it for 11.15am, on their mid-morning phone in.

9.40 - Start working on a new proactive campaign with the agency. This one is to encourage xxxxxxxx in businesses. It’s called ‘xxxxxxxx campaign’ because we’re trying to get businesses to label xxxxxxxx. It’s taken a while to get the statistics together to support the release, but it’ll be worth it when we get some good coverage through.

11.10 – Must go and get set up the Radio Devon interview, give myself 5 minutes quiet time before we’re live on air. When I come off air, I must let the relevant call centre managers know what was mentioned so that they can manage call volumes and responses. I’ll order the coverage too and get it circulated.

12.45 – When the phone has stopped ringing, I’m going to spend the rest of the afternoon working on the final phase of the xxxxxxxx. It’s a huge structure and takes a lot of work to plan and set up but the public are really enjoying the tour.

1.20 – Spoke too soon! XFM just called and they want to do a pre-recorded interview about xxxxxxxx to go out on tomorrow’s breakfast show. Quickly set it up and brief another member of the team to carry it out.

5.00 – Got to dash home and pack, taking 8 journalists to see Spurs in The FA Cup tomorrow. Phew!"

Some people have got a cushy number. This was on the portal this morning, “A day in the life of…”
He gets into work at 8.30 (I start at 7.30) and has to read the newspapers for half an hour when he gets in. I e-mailed this over to my boss and tried to convince him that we should start our day off reading the newspapers for half an hour, and suggested he gets them ordered in. He was having none of it. Then he finishes work about 1.30 in the afternoon to get ready for a football match he’s watching tomorrow afternoon (what does he do in the daytime on Thursday?) on top of which the company are paying for him and 8 of his mates to go to.
If I was putting a day in the life of my job, I wouldn’t tell everyone I was doing half a days work, skiving the next day off, then taking my mates on a jolly on the company’s expenses. I hope they don’t expect him to go in on Friday after a late night boozing after the match.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Coming down

No one was too shocked after Dan’s three day drug-fest in Amsterdam that he was phoning in sick on Tuesday morning. I was quite surprised he had turned up on Monday afternoon. I imagine that after spending three days solid smoking weed, he wouldn’t feel great when he had to return to earth. He had mentioned yesterday that he’d tried some of the special muffins they had in the coffee shops. I told him he should have brought some into work, like some people bring back cakes and sweets after they’ve been on holiday. That would have been a good Monday afternoon.
I e-mailed Lee (who used to work for us and now lives in Rotterdam). He’d met him over there. I asked if Dan had done anything embarrassing while he was out of it. This is his response:

“I was too tired, been working on the house. I came down to amsterdam for a couple of hours with Dan and a few friends. Tan was monged out!!! took him and a few other guys to find a bar called "lost in Amsterdam". couldn't find it but we got lost anyway! He brought a camera with him so I made him take some pictures. He didn't do anything embarassing just sat around like a statue.”

I e-mailed him back saying that was all he did on Monday afternoon too.

We also found this, which we think would be a fantastic present for Dan’s Secret Santa. Only available at

Frosty morning

This morning I had to spend 10 minutes de-icing my car before I could get in to drive to work. There was a clear sky overhead, but a bank of cloud rising from the horizon, which in the semi-darkness looked like the place where I live had grown mountains overnight, and I was driving towards them everywhere I turned.
Then I witness one of the most foolish sights of the winter. Some motorists are lazy and don’t like de-icing their cars. Some just clear a little letterbox shape that they can just see out of and hope that the chilling wind will clear the rest as they drive along. This morning though I saw the laziest. I was driving along on the main road when I saw a vehicle approaching in the side street to my left. He stopped at the give-way lines at the bottom of his road and opened up his driver’s door. At this stage I realised that he hadn’t cleared the frost off his doors, and the only way he could see to the side was by opening his door. This seems okay for turning left, but what was he going to do if he wanted to turn right? Was he going to open up both doors, and enter the road with his doors open? How about when he gets into traffic and he can’t open his doors because there are cars in the lanes either side? Can I get this put in the Darwin Awards? Or does it have to be printed in a newspaper?

Good business sense

Late yesterday we laughed ourselves silly after the geezer from the third floor came and asked if Nige was still doing DVD copies, and Nige told him that he’d given it up. After he’d gone and we’d laughed ourselves silly, Nige told us that he had ordered 17 DVDs off him a couple of months back (including some boxed sets), hounded him for a couple of days to get them done, then not collected them. Nige had got them in his boot for a couple of weeks, until he started to sell them on to other people. He’d still got some of the DVDs lying around unsold. This was the same guy who had tried to haggle with him for money off as well. Then he had told him that some of his copies wouldn’t play to try and get another set for free. Nige was wise to this though, and told him to bring the faulty copies back. He never did.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Dan in Amsterdam

Dan returned from his long weekend in Amsterdam. A couple of his mates had dropped out, even though they had paid for flights and weren’t going to get a refund. He took some convincing earlier last week to go with his two other mates , who still wanted to go. He told us all that the first thing they did after dropping off their bags at the hotel was go to a coffee shop and get some weed to smoke, and was stoned all th etime he was there. He met up with Lee (one of our ex-employees, who now works in Rotterdam). He didn’t say much to him because he was so stoned. He thinks all he said was “hello” when he met them, and didn’t speak to him at all after that. He told us about the red light area, which they visited each night they were in Amsterdam, although they didn’t partake of the ladies. He explained that there were some older prostitutes there, about 40-45 years old.
“Nice?” asks Nige.
“Yeah, not bad actually. There were some really ugly ones as well though. Scary Isaw two guys going into the same door, for a threesome or something. There were some 60 year old men asking for prices.”
“Well you have to be careful when you’re relying on a pension.” I said.
They spent Saturday night/Sunday morning looking for a bar with a TV to watch the fight. The one they found was crowded and boiling hot.
On the way to the hotel in the morning he had a massive spliff, because he’d got a gram of stuff left, and he wasn’t going to throw it away. So he was high on the plane back as well.

Surprisingly, after his three day drug-fest, he wasn't up to doing much work and ended up going home at 3.00.

Christmas good will

Eb brings me over a cup of coffee when he comes in. It’s nice that some of them have been well trained.
I ask him how his weekend was. He says it was fine. He never lets anyone know what he’s been up to. I try to get more out of him:
Me: “Have you finished all your Christmas shopping yet?”
Eb: “I don’t do Christmas shopping.”
Me: “No? None at all?”
Eb: “I write Christmas cards, but don’t do Christmas shopping.”
Me: “What? Not even for your little niece?” (I once bumped into him in Morrisons and he had his little niece with him)
Eb: “No, I leave all that to the misses.”
Me: “I see. Your misses does the shopping. Not a bad attitude at all. I might try that for next year…So if I come in with a black eye, you’ll know I’ve suggested it to Janey.”
(He walks off laughing)

Nige's new box

Nige comes in telling me that he’s knackered. He stayed up on Saturday night to watch the boxing. I have only seen the end on the news where he falls over for the second time. Nige says it was a one sided fight all the way through. He then goes on to explain that it was only due to his latest investment that he was able to watch it. He’s bought a “dodgy cable box” (his own words) I think it’s called a “eurovox”. The way he explained it was that he has a normal cable box with the minimum monthly subscription charge. Then he has a box on top of that, with a splitter, which gives him access to the complete set of cable channels. His cable provider thinks he’s only looking at the normal channels and doesn’t pick up his added bonuses. He bought it off his “dodgy mate (again, his own words). He fits about 8 per week. It should have been £120, but he got it for £110, because of his connections. The bloke set it up for him on Saturday morning in about 20 minutes. He’s very pleased with it. He wants to watch all the sports channels mainly, but has also got Sky movies as well. I don’t know if his dodgy DVD business will suffer. The only thing he can’t get is Sky One, which no one can get unless they have the Sky plus, since Virgin and Sky fell out.

He tells Paul (Liverpool fan down the office) that Liverpool FCTV is crap, and that he would say that even if he was a Liverpool fan. “Not as good as the MUTV channel” he tells him.

Talking to Eric in the breakfast queue, they pay £110 a month subscription for his Sky package, which includes Sky sport and Sky movies. I ask if it’s worth it, he can’t watch that much TV. He says that his Mom and Dad watch it all the time, being house-bound.

Saturday, 8 December 2007


That reminded me of the old place, and the funniest thing I ever saw. Back in those days we all got paid monthly, but it was always on a Friday by cheque. So every payday we would all squeeze into a couple of cars and drive into town on the dinnertime to pay them into the bank, then get a bag of chips for dinner.
This one particular Friday dinnertime we had gone in the one lad’s car who had only past his test and got a car a few months before. We were driving down the High Street looking for a space to park, meanwhile there was a woman who had just driven into a space and was fiddling about with her handbag. The next thing we knew there was a bang, and I looked behind in disbelief as this woman sat in her car with no door on it. She’d swung the car door open to get out just as we were driving past. The lad driving our car stopped, got out. The woman was saying something that her couldn’t understand (she sounded foreign). So not knowing the protocol for this kind of thing he picked up the woman’s car door off the floor and handed it to her. Then he got back into the car and drove off. We ended up parking in a side-street. It was the timing that was the funniest thing. If she’d have stepped out of the car before we got there we might have hit her. If she’d only have opened the door a tiny bit, we wouldn’t have took the door clean off. The picture of him handing her door back to her has stayed with me for years

Wet the bed?

One of the women from another section was talking by the coffee machine. It was about 8.30, early for some people. Her friend walked past and said “What are doing in this early, Julie? Did you wet the bed?”
This took me back to my first job, when I would get asked by the office manager if I’d “shit the bed” if I got in a bit earlier than normal.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

More Secret Santa ideas

Some of the section are still on the look out for for things to buy for the Secret Santa (I’m very smug now that I’ve got mine), but I’m still passing on ideas that I’ve seen.
One of my favourites is sadly out of stock at the Urban Outfitters site:

Then I found this the other day:

Now you can get your goldfish working for you, rather than just sponging off you.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Back to the office

I've been off sick for some time. Having got back to the ofice today though, nothing seems to have changed.Dan is off sick, and in his place is Lorna (temporarily). Andy and Mark are doing their (almost) daily ritual of asking Nige hat DVDs he’s got in lately.
Andy: “Have you got Beowulf?
Nige: “No.”
Andy: “Have you got Fred Clause?
Nige: “No.”
Andy: “Have you got Jesse James?
Nige: “No.”
Andy: “Have you got Golden Compass?
Nige: “No.”

It then gets silly
Andy: “Have you got Pirates of the Caribbean four?
Nige: “Yes.”
Andy: “Have you got Shrek four?
Nige: “Yes.”

Lorna is sitting in Dan’s chair. She’s working away, but half hears the conversation. She asks Nige-
Lorna: “Have they made a Shrek four? I didn’t know it was out.”
Me: “No. He’s joking with them.”
Nige: “No. There’s no such thing. They ask the same thing every day.”
Lorna: “Are they making a Shrek four?”
Nige: “Not that I’ve heard. They’ve got to wait for Clive to become available.”
(Clive is nicknamed Shrek because of his likeness, although he’s not green in colour.)

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Wise words

There’s a character in one of the other sections down the office who has sparked a wave of Photoshopping and writing. It’s escalated into the stage where they keep a book of things he has come out with, which one of the guys is setting up a website for, and hoping to make into a book. Here is a sample of his outpourings:

His mates thinking of setting up his own business: “I’m the brains behind the operation”

“Missing episodes of Coronation Street and Eastenders can make you ill.”

One of the girls talking about cakes they had made: “They were made under the influence of alcohol..”
Rich: “Who… I was?”

Reading from news item: “A car bomb has exploded in a predominantly Shite are of Bagdad.”

Glen: “250 people killed in a plane crash.”
Rich: “How did they die.”

Rich: “Every year, close to my birthday, like, god curses down on me with a cold”

Ian: “But you don’t believe in god, rich!”

Rich: “I know, dat’s why he does it.”

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Hamster for sale - name Hannibal

Karen spotted this item for sale on the intranet portal. It's a very sad tale. Researching on the internet, apparently hamsters will eat each other, or part so f themselves. See Davezillas old post about the hamster eating himself.

"Title For Sale: Hampster......Free!
Categories Misc
Description My brother HAD 2 lovely little Russian hamsters who lived in perfect harmony in there lovely cage until one ate the other!!!
My Brother says he can no longer love Hannibal and has asked me to rehome him (i thinks it’s a he). Although he ate his friend apparently that’s what hamster’s do he is a lovely little hamster and has always been handled and does not bite (humans) although obviously he has a thing for his fury friends!
Please make Mr Lector feel loved again - he doesn’t like it at my house as my dog just harasses the cr@p out of him!!!
I do not want anything for him just that he will be looked after and loved!
He comes with a fantastic cage and a bag with some food and some other bits and bobs (quite a pampered hamster actually)!
You will have to pick him up.
Go on make Hannibal Happy!!!"

I now have terrible visions of half eaten hamsters lying about their cages in pools of blood

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Very mange tout

Jim has a few phrases which he comes out with, such as “Very mange tout” when someone is eating. Although, he’s even started saying it at other times. It’s some king of Del Boy (Only Fools and Horses) thing, but after a time it just gets annoying. This morning I even had to explain to Dan what mange tout is. Sadly he now wants his own catch phrase that he can get on people’s nerves with.

Children in need day

If there’s one thing that annoys me more than dress down day it’s Children in need day. Already there’ve been people round (in twos for some reason) selling raffle tickets on all of the floors. Imagine the cost in man hours that some manager has allowed these people to go swanning off round the building for most of the day. It does make you wonder if the people that they send round are of the same calibre as our Clive, and they probably don’t miss them too much, or even get more work done with them gone. Anyway, it’s annoying enough on the day with people coming round for collections or raffles, when people are stuck at their desk trying to work. Like dress down day, I try and avoid the collections. If I see them coming I’ll pick my moment to go to the lavatory or go and ask a colleague something, further down the office. I’m already supposed to be paying £1 for the privilege of dressing down on the day. Then when you get home they’ve taken anything decent off the TV in order to beg for money all night. If you go out you are hassled by collectors wherever you go, even at the supermarket. I think they would raise more money by not doing it and people would be happy to pay for not having to go through the hassle.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Dan’s scans

Dan was scanning in a load of documents which had been found in another office, which all needed scanning in then shredding.
The quality on the screen of the finished article was terrible, so we suggested to Dan that he changed the settings on the scanner. Only wanting to go through the motions then shred them he said:
“60,000 documents to scan in …”
“And they’re all mostly black.” I added.

Monday, 12 November 2007

Andy loiters

Andy is standing against the wall, near the door next to the coffee machine, red faced.
“What’s wrong?” asks Nige.
“Jim’s out there, on his phone.” (He doesn’t like to be caught by Jim on his own, in case he engages him in some conversation or other he can’t escape from)
“You’ll be okay if he’s on his mobile.”
“Yeah, but he could be finished at any minute. I could step out there just as he hangs up, then he’ll follow me into the toilets and talk to me while I’m trying to pee.”

Someday he’ll end up wetting himself.

Smuggling Dan

Dan is off to Amsterdam with his mates for a long weekend soon. He was deciding if he should smuggle some stuff back. I told him when I went there wasn’t much security, but now they search you for liquids in your hand luggage. He’s thinking of hiding some stuff in his suitcase, but is a bit wary that they use sniffer dogs. I suggest he hides them in a bag of aniseed balls.
“What’s aniseed balls?” he asks. So me and Nige have to try and tell him what aniseed balls were and where we might find somewhere to sell them.
He decides a better idea is hiding some drugs in a box of Pringles.
“Once you’ve popped you can’t stop” says Nige.

Nige at the Motor show

Nige has been to the motor show at the NEC on Saturday. He paid £50 each for “gold” tickets, and took the missus. He spent from 9.30am until 8.30pm walking round it all.
“There were loads of birds walking around in skimpy costumes and hot-pants. There was one section with a crowd of blokes stood taking photos of these two women in hot-pants bent over the bonnet of this Bugatti.”
“Didn’t you take your camera Nige?” I asked.
“No. Mel had got her camera, but I couldn’t really ask her to borrow it to take photos of that.”
“I suppose you couldn’t have asked her to quickly take a photo of her for me.”

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Secret Santa 2

We also found these while we were looking for Secret Santa ideas:
take a look at the others:

Friday, 9 November 2007

Nige's nose

Nige has had trouble with his nose and feeling congested for some time. A few months back he went to see a specialist to try and get it sorted, then had an appointment where he got a camera stuck up his nose to see what was going on. They told him then that he had polyps.
This morning Nige tells us that he’s going back to the hospital at the end of the month to get his results and find out what the consultant wants to do about his polyps. I mention to Dan that Nige has to tell him that he’s not married, so that he can get a prettier nose. Dan had missed out on the previous installment of Nige’s nose saga, so Nige re-tells the story of his wife’s uncle, who also had polyps, and had to have an operation to remove them.
Mel’s uncle went to see his consultant, who asked if he was married or not. He told him that he was married. So the doctor explained that he wouldn’t be re-shaping his nose, because he was already married, and it didn’t matter what he looked like any more. Whereas, if he had been single he would have given him a bit of a nose job for free.
“What, like Michael Jackson?” Asks Dan.
“Yes, just like Michael Jackson.”

Nige has been having trouble coughing all morning. Lorna asked if it’s since he started the project he’s on where he’s using old, dusty archive files. He seems to be putting up with things at the moment by swigging cough medicine out of the bottle, because he doesn’t have a spoon. I’m sure he shouldn’t be taking as much as he is.

Secret Santa

While I was off sick for a few days they decided they wanted to do the Secret Santa thing that Rach started off a few years ago. She, and the rest of the female staff that used to work on our section, have now moved on to other sections or left, so I thought that we wouldn’t be bothering this year. Junior decided to resurrect it though, while I was away.
I’ve been looking on the internet for some ideas and someone’s in for a surprise for their Secret Santa this year:

Although one of the Steve’s reckoned that you wouldn’t get the proper taste of the ants because they’d be covered in chocolate. The year before last I managed to pull my own name out of the hat, kept it quiet, and bought myself a nice bottle of rum. They found out on the day of opening, because they all guess (or own up) to who bought what. So it ends up not being that much of a Secret Santa. Junior always tries to trick people into saying who they’ve got to buy for. Having organised it this time round, in the absence of any ladies, you would have thought he would have figured out a way of marking the back of the bits of paper so that he could tell who was picking who.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Chinese translations please

We found this site in the week, which we were all having a laugh at, dedicated to the misuse of Chinese characters in western culture.
Ever since I showed this round the office people have wanted their Chinese stuff translated. Here’s one of the steve’s who wants to know what his tee shirt says.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Eric's greeting

I’ve been off work ill for a while. I was in the office quite early. Eric came in and headed straight for the coffee machine.
“Ed’s back! …How are you Ed? Are you better mate.”
“Yes I’m much better thanks.”
“I’m pleased to see you back.”
“You too.”
“That’s a lie really isn’t it? You’re not really happy to see me again.”
I left him to walk away quietly, dejected.

Later on when Clive came in he was happy again.
“I saw you last night Clive.”
“Where were you?”
“Ducking behind a counter in Sainsburys,... when I saw you.”

Fat Dave update

I’ve been off work ill for a while. Coming back in I found out that one or two people had got a text off Fat Dave saying something like “Sorry I haven’t been in touch for some time, but I thought I should say goodbye because I’m moving abroad.”
Abroad is a very ambiguous tern to use, you would tell someone which country you are moving to. Apparently Raqueeb phoned Fat Dave to find out more about what he was doing. Dave told him that he was moving to Germany with his new girlfriend and her son. We think that he’s met her on the internet and are very worried (not that worried really) that she is one of those cannibals, who all seem to be German. I think she’s seen a picture of Dave and thought her luck was in (eating wise). I reckon she could freeze most of him and live off him for months. Either that, or she could be involved in a big network of cannibals, who meet up once in a while for a banquet. I can just imagine them wheeling Dave along, roasted, on a giant silver tray, with an apple in his mouth.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Paper models

Been away fof a while. here are some of the paper models I've made in the meantime. others proved too difficult (like the Wacky Races cars), so I gave up on some.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

R I P Raven

I know this isn’t a serious blog, but today I wanted put this on as a remembrance of Paul Raven, Killing Joke and Ministry bass player. I followed Killing Joke for years, and he was born in the same town as me. Here’s an old Tube interview followed by a live version of their “Love Like Blood” . Him nor Jaz ever interviewed very well, but the music was great.Paul Raven was found dead in a home in Geneva, Switzerland Saturday Oct. 20, after apparently suffering a heart attack. He was only 46.
(Paul Vincent Raven (Jan 16th, 1961 - Oct 20th, 2007).
Promise some silly stuff next week.

Rich Russell

I saw his name on some post for another department. Not sure if it’s his name or a nickname because he throws his money around.

Best f*c$ing business

We were all so happy to read this in the register:“Put simply, profanity can reduce stress and promote team bonding with a beneficial knock-on effect for business.”
We must have one of the best f*c$ing businesses in the country.

Friday, 26 October 2007

Mixed feelings

Andy comes down to see Nige. He’s done him a favour of finding him a CD he was after.
“Thanks mate for doing that CD. Sometimes I love you and could marry you. Other days I could just punch your head in.”


Dress down day 2

I didn’t get time to do a fake dress down day poster. In the end it got declared “wear pink for breast cancer” day. With no male colleagues owning any pink clothes, as it should be, it got re-packaged “dress down day”. Unfortunately there are going to be people coming round collecting money.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Human race

According to the Daily Mail

"Human race will 'split into two different species'
The human race will one day split into two separate species, an attractive, intelligent ruling elite and an underclass of dim-witted, ugly goblin-like creatures, according to a top scientist."

My lot will all be the dim-witted goblins.

Job seeking

Yesterday Mark and Andy both went for job interviews at the same place. It was a big deal, because they’d both got suits on, which is unheard of for Andy, as he usually appears as a right scruff. He had even straightened up his hair.He was trying to find out if the secretary had got any plans to marry her boyfriend soon.
“I’ve got a suit now, I’ve got to get some use out of it.”

First thing this morning Mark is telling us about his interview for the office manger job he went for. He’s looking to poach a few people with him. The pay and conditions are much better than here, although we’d have to travel a bit. After he’s walked back up the office with his coffee, I turn to Nige, who’s been listening too.
Me: “Do you think he could get Clive a job then?”
Nige: “Clive’s here till he retires, unfortunately.”
Me: “Clive will die peacefully in his sleep, at this desk.”

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Alan quits World Of Warcraft

Alan comes in all smiles and announces that he’s cancelled his World of Warcraft subscription. Technically he can play till the end of the month, but he managed to stay off it all last week. He’s been trying to give it up for some time and even half heartedly started his own blog “WOW Rehab”. I don’t think he added much to it though.

As a celebration I'm posting this video we found the other week. it's a bit long. Basically the guy spends too much time on WOW that his girlfriend decides that the only way to get him interested in sex again is to dress up as a character from the game and do a dance (which is supposedly a real dance that the characters do).

Dress down day

In response to the lifehacker’s “What workplace practices should be over?”

I hate charitable collections that come round at work. In our case though it’s almost compulsory, because they disguise it as “dress down days” or “jeans days”, so if you don’t want to part with your pound coins you have to come to work in your usual work wear while everyone else is wearing jeans. The people that collect the money don’t even tell you what charity you’re giving to any more, they just come round and say “dress down day” and expect you to give them a pound. I’ve taken to going to the toilet if I see them in time.
So being next in charge for this week I’m making up my own posters for “dress down Friday” and not collecting for anything.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Be careful on Thursday

This afternoon Eb comes over and talks to me a bit furtively. Looking round before he talks he says:
Eb: “Can I book Thursday off as a holiday?”
Me: “Why? Have you got a job on?”

Hitman movie

Following the recent idea that Eb is a part-time hit-man, Eric came in with a picture on his memory stick of the poster for the new movie Hitman (starring Timothy Oliphant) based on the game. With the picture being mostly silhouette it could pass as being Eb (He doesn’t have much hair- probably so he doesn’t leave any hair about at the crime scenes). We looked on the IMDB ( )
movie database to see who was in it, because you can’t tell from the poster. Steve E insisted it was Samuel L Jackson, he looked a fool when we showed him it was a white guy.
We also saw that it was written by Skip Woods. I decided that I fancy changing my name to Skip, jokingly. Then I decided that everyone should start calling me Skip as a nickname. Even more fantastic that Junior was missing, so that when he comes in tomorrow and everyone calls me Skip all of a sudden, he wouldn’t have a clue what was going on.

Junior’s portal profile

As I’d mentioned the boss is out this week which leaves normal working practices a little flimsy, people decide it’s okay to phone in and take the day off, or like Dan yesterday, deciding to book the afternoon off. Junior phones up this morning, having phoned in yesterday to take yesterday off as holiday, but this morning he’s not sure if he’s got any holiday left. He phoned me up to ask if I could go and log onto his machine for him to see if he had any holiday entitlement left. I don’t know what he would do if he hadn’t day any days left, if he would have quickly got dressed and raced into work.
In order for me to do this for him he had to tell me his log-in and password. While I was waiting for the machine to boot up I told him about yesterdays events, and that Eb was a part-time hit-man (which it took some time for him to understand). Eb overheard and said “Oh, no not that again.”
When I was ready he told me his log-in and password and I told him he had got some holiday left. He was happy, said that he was having the day off and hung up, leaving me logged onto his machine.
So I shouted over to Alan and asked what I could do while I was logged on. Then we decided the best thing to do was to change his personal profile on the company portal. We all have our photos with a brief description of our skills and interests. Alan had got an old Photoshopped picture of Junior with a distorted forehead, which made him look like Oddbod off Carry on screaming”. He quickly produced that on a memory stick while I kept the mouse moving, so that the screensaver didn’t kick in and thought about what to change in the text. I swapped over the pictures, then we decided that in the language section we would add advanced Welsh as a skill. The only things we could think of in interests was to make him sound a bit gay, so we put a sentence in saying that he enjoyed musicals and walks in the park. Steve E suggested we put “likes hanging around public toilets at night”, but we have a limit.
Alan says “It serves him right for being so lazy”.
I’m wondering how long it will stay on the portal though, because nobody checks their own profile once they’ve written it, only using it for looking up people’s phone numbers throughout the company. So I think it could stay like that for years possibly.

What I don’t understand is why anyone would want to be on holiday while all the bosses are away.

Monday, 22 October 2007


The bosses are out this week. It’s half-term, so they all have to spend quality time with the kids they avoid for the rest of the year. The atmosphere is already quite relaxed. Junior has phoned in asking to have the day as a last minute holiday (I expect he’s hoping we don’t do the paperwork, so he gets an extra days holiday for free). There’s some illegal elastic band flicking going on already as well. By Friday I think it’s going to get so relaxed that there’s going to be no work done at all.

Eb the hit-man 2

Eric comes back on Monday morning. He’s been on holiday fort the last week. He went to Weymouth, which I doubt is that much fun when it’s cold. Also he had gone home on the Friday before that with a migraine. This was the day of his interview for a promotion, although he didn’t really fancy the job he was going to get more money ( He didn’t get the job, but I’m told he did a very good interview and would probably get one of the next lot of promotions that are coming up soon.). Karen had sent him home as soon as his interview was over because she could see he was ill.
He asked what he had missed while he was off. I told him we had gotten rid of Helen, although not to the section we were going to get rid of her to. Then I told him about Eb not denying he was a hit-man. He looked quizzically at me, as if to say why would Eb deny he was a hit-man, I explained about Steve’s accusation while they were discussing what his sideline was, and that he had only laughed it off rather than deny it. So I explain that he should be careful what he says to him until we have cleared things up. Then when Eb comes in we ask him about his weekend, and if he’d done any business. Then we ask if he had bumped off anyone. Again he just laughed it all off, not saying NO to the accusation.
When the subject came up later on in the afternoon Alan said that he had just laughed, not denying it. Now we go around pointing two fingers at his head, like a gun, when he’s not looking.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Early breakfast

Dan comes in much earlier than usual. He’s down on his flexi-time, and has been working until 6.00pm to try and make up time. He asks virtually straight away if I’m hungry, as if we should go down for breakfast early. I look around to see if everyone who usually comes down with us is in. Everyone is about except for Steve E. He is in the building though, so I tell him we’ll go down when Steve E gets back to his desk.
“Do we have to?” says Dan.

Eb’s sideline
Alan , Dan and me are discussing who we would employ if we had our own company. All we know is that we wouldn’t employ Clive. He should have something on his CV by law saying that no one should be daft enough to employ him ever again. Although if we did that, we would be stuck with him for life. Can you imagine a 60 year old Clive, even fatter with either grey hair or no hair, wondering round the office trying to look busy. By the time he’s that old though he would be claiming invalidity benefit. He’s hardly mobile as it is. The way he slouches low down in his chair will certainly wreck his back in a few years time.

We got onto the subject of Eb. He’s always nipping out to use his mobile in the corridor and talking about meeting people in various places that Alan thinks are sinister “Drop-offs” for something. He’s always happy and always smiling. Alan thought that he’s most likely to be some drugs baron. Eb looks up and smiles at the three of us looking over at him. Alan calls him over and asks if he has a business on the side.
Eb: “I wouldn’t call it a business”.
Alan: “Is it legal?”
Eb: “I wouldn’t like to say.” (ending with a laugh, which left us wondering if he was serious or winding us up).
Alan: “Is it drugs?”
Eb: “No, no nothing like that. I’m just very busy with things”
Dan: “Are you a pimp?”
(Again he just laughs)
Alan: “It must be mobile phones.”
There are a few more shouts from the rest of the section .
Steve E: “Are you a hitman?” (He shouts)
The rest of the office laugh their heads off imagining Eb as a hitman.

Mark’s hair

Mark turns up to work this morning with more “product in his hair than normal, with a fin effect on his head.
Me: “Mark’s hair’s looking a bit weird today. He looks like Tintin.”
Nige: “No, he looks like Cameron Diaz in that film… “Something about Mary””
“He’s got jiz in his hair.”

Andy not peeing

Andy made us laugh Thursday afternoon (the day after the England v Russia defeat). He was desperate for the toilet but he could hear that Jim was in there talking football to someone, from outside. He came back in to the office and announced “I was going to pee but Jim’s in there.”

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Business on the 3rd floor

Business on the 3rd floor is picking up for Nige and his DVDs. Although there seems to be one Indian guy in particular who’s always coming up and asking Nige for loads of stuff. He was up again this morning asking for two copies of Prison Break, Heroes, enquiring how much they were. Nige sticks to his pricing system of £2 per single DVD, £3 for doubles, then six DVDs or above are £8. After he’d gone back downstairs I spoke to Nige about him.
Me: “Do you think he’s selling those on at a profit, adding £1 on to each one?”
Nige: “He could be. I wouldn’t put it past him.”
Me: “He does seem to be bringing up a lot of orders, as if there’s something in it for him as a middle-man.”
Nige: “Well, last week he tried to knock me down in price. He came and asked me for two more copies of Lost series 3, he’d already had one copy before then he asked if he could have them for £15 instead of £16.”

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Paper models

Today we found the holy grail of paper models:
The complete set of Wacky Races cars


Genuine e-mail from boss
(Note poor spelling/grammar)

Subject: Arms Amnesty

A bit like the Police have done in recent months with both guns and knives, the Primary Section is going to have an Elastic Band Amnesty.

Starting Monday 08 October for one week, free of recrimination, those individuals who have a none business related stock of elastic bands are requested to hand them in to either Sarah or Sue.

Please cascade and although it can be amusing, lets stop the practice of shooting elastic bands across the before someone gets hurt or takes offence and reports the sniper!

I’m assuming legitimate use of elastic bands is still permitted.

IT Problems

When Russell came into the office this morning his machine was beeping constantly when he turned it on. Ii just assumed he was leaning on the keyboard, but he wasn’t. So he asked me why his machine should be beeping and I took a quick look. Meanwhile, one of the Steve’s who sits opposite him reckoned that it sounded like a major hardware fault, like the motherboard, and that it could explode at any moment. I couldn’t figure it out, so I called IT. We have a spare machine since Neil left, so I got Russell to work on that one. Half an hour or so later Matt from IT came up, tried it out, and as I suspected took the machine away. We expected that we would just get a replacement machine when one became available. A little later though he sent an e-mail saying that it had booted up fine downstairs and he was bringing it up to try again. He tried it back up here and it still beeped continuously. He figured it must be the keyboard, so we booted it without the keyboard and it worked. He said he’d get a new keyboard. I started looking at the keyboard and found there was a bit of silver foil (possibly from a chocolate wrapper) wedged in the keyboard, underneath a couple of keys. I prized it out with a bent paper-clip and tried rebooting the machine. This time there was no noise, and it booted up fine. I rang the IT guy back to tell him it was all fine now. I could hear them all laughing in the IT department when I told them it was just a piece of silver foil, and that I’d banned Russell from eating chocolate in the office again.

Monday, 8 October 2007

Staff moves 2

Then out of the blue the sods pinch Knock Off Nige, when we were told Clive was going to be moved off our section next:
Dear all,
As mentioned earlier, there are more moves afoot. One that directly affects us, Nigel has been poached to assist Carl and Lorna on the workflow cleansing programme.
They are dealing with unknown volumes, so I don’t know how long it will be for. I know you’ll join with me in wishing him all the best.
Kind regards

Junior says that he can't take part in the section's Bonus Ball draw we do each week. I hope he still sorts out our DVDs for us.

Staff moves 1

Copy of e-mail from boss:

Dear all,

Another staff move that directly affects us, Helen has been asked to help out on the bureau and has kindly accepted the opportunity.
Again, I don’t know how long it will be for but I know you’ll join with me in wishing her all the best.
Kind regards

Of course Helen didn’t appreciate it. She said “It sounds like I volunteered, or had some choice in the matter”.

Jim's return

Jim has been off for the week on holiday in Portugal. They all complain about him never shutting up while he’s here, but last week they were all reeling of his catch-phrases (You thought only comedians and quiz show hosts had them) while he’s been gone. They’ve also been singing his favourite song “I love it when you call..” (not sure where it’s from). He’d locked his drawers before he went, so no one could use his brown sauce or tomato ketchup on their breakfast sandwiches, until they found out that I keep sauce in my desk. So I’ve lost half a bottle of brown sauce while he’s been gone. (The previous regional office I worked in used to be stocked with brown, and tomato sauce, soy sauce, mustard, salt, pepper, vinegar. So depending on what
It had rained for the fist three days of his holiday. They had a nice time despite that, and he came back even more tanned than he went. He’s kind of a “birch” colour, if you compare him to the wood finishes in the IKEA catalogue.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Quiet day

I say quiet day, the whole week has been quite quiet work-wise. We’ve been discovering the joys of paper folding. I saw on the BBC’s Click programme. Then I printed off and made a basic character from there. I then started to customize the pattern and put Fat Dave’s face on. Then, when Alan saw it, Alan started looking for more ambitious projects and found a load of Tranformers and Star Wars stuff, which looks really good, but would take forever to make.
Take a look on and
Then on the site I found South Park figures to make, but when it came down to cutting out and making the characters it got very tricky. We also found some good, but less complicated stuff to print and make on So I’m going to do some pumpkins from there for Halloween.

Movement of staff

We got told yesterday (Thursday) that Clive and Helen weren’t needed for the new section that was being put together. I thought that it was too good to be true at the time, that we would be getting rid of a couple of duffers. We were quite depressed when the woman putting the new section together told us. We haven’t told Clive and Helen that they’re not leaving us yet. They were both quite nervous about moving section, so we were going to let then stew for a bit.
Then in the afternoon we were told that Helen would be going anyway, somewhere else. We could not be told where she was moving to. Then later one of the women who is moving came and told us that she was moving section. Then it became obvious where Helen was going to be going. Clive looks like he might be staying for the foreseeable future, but we did tell the woman who’s section he was going to that he would be upset that he’s not going now. We told that Clive was quite keen about the move, even though he wasn’t, so next time she needs anyone she might come looking for him and take him off our hands.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Calibre of 3rd floor staff

As I’m walking towards the print room with a couple of large drawings a middle aged woman who we’d not seen before walks into the office and heads towards the print room, but with her head scanning the room from side to side obviously looking for someone to help her. Not asking for help, she walks into the print room, and unfortunately I follow her in. Instead of asking for help she lets out some retarded sound “Ehh-eer” (a similar kind of sound to Helen when she wants help, but can’t be bothered to actually ask. There’s only me and Paul in the room with her, and having weighed her up already I ignore her stupid sound, I’m happy to say Paul does the same. After 30 seconds she realises that we are getting on with what we’d gone in for and decides to say “Help. Can someone show me which machine I need to fold this drawing?” Again I ignore her because I’m used to this kind of crap from Helen, and I don’t have any time for anyone who behaves the same. Sadly Paul comes over to her and points her in the direction of the folding machine, even though the sheet she has already has folds in it. He takes the drawing off her and shows her how to feed it into the machine, then carries on with his own stuff. She then unfolds her second sheet and tries the same with that. She manages to jam it into the machine to create an error on it then says to me “Which button do I press now?” I don’t know what she’s done so I have to go round and see what she’s done. I pull the paper out of the machine, which clears the error, then tell her that you just feed it in and the sensors detect the paper and it takes it in automatically. So I watch her fold her second piece of paper, pick her paper out of the catcher-tray underneath, then she starts looking around.
“Where do they come out?” she asks.
“Underneath, in the catcher-tray.” (I’ve only seen her with two sheets of paper)
“Where are they?” she says.
Half thinking that she might have had a third sheet I unscrew the part of the machine which lets you look inside. She tells me that none of the machines downstairs have worked properly since the power cuts on Monday.
Paul comes over and asks “How many should you have?”
“Two.” She says.
He holds up the two sheets she’s just put through the folding machine, “One, two.” He says.
“No, the copies.” She says.
“You wanted copies?!” Paul says, “This isn’t the copying machine, this just folds.” He takes her over to the large sheet copier and feeds one through for her.
“They’ve been folded twice now, look at the creases in them.” She says.
Paul makes sure she has copies and then takes her back to the folding machine and makes sure she’s folded them. Once she leaves Paul says “She asked for help with the folding machine didn’t she?”
“She did, she said can you show me how to fold this.”

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Power cuts

On Monday morning, about half past ten, the lights and monitors all went off for a couple of seconds. Just long enough for the computers to all reboot. There was an “OOOOHHH!” from everyone when it happened, then everyone complained that all their work was going to be lost. When Clive complained we told him that it wouldn’t be too much trouble for him to re-do the ten minutes worth of work he had done so far that morning.
The second time the power went off and on again there was a big cheer. Then a big sigh again when it all came back on. In total throughout the day we get four power cuts. No one explained what it was all about.

Itchy & Scratchy

Nige comes in late this morning. He’s had to let the builder in who’s digging the foundation for his conservatory. As soon as he arrives Andy comes over and asks Nige if he’s got any new films. He reels off a list – Kingdom, Rambo, Run Fast Boy Run,Heartbreak Kid…
Nige tells him he hasn’t got any of them. He’s a bit bored of doing all the copies now. I have got Planet Terror .
“What’s Planet Terror?” I ask.
“It’s the 1St part of Grindhouse.” I am told.

After a while Andy leaves. Then Mark shows up. He’s been for a cigarette.
“Here’s the other half of the double act… I’ve already had Itchy, now here’s scratchy.”
“How was your weekend?”
“At least he butters you up a bit before having a go at you.”
“What new films have you got? Have you got Kingdom yet?”
“No, not yet. I can get you a rubbish copy, but you would only complain and bring it back.” As he leaves he asks: “Are we okay?”

Friday, 28 September 2007

Junior’s movie game

To ease the boredom a little, junior has started to make up games for the section to play. However, rather than being fun, they have become antagonistic mind games between the team. His latest game consists of someone picking a film, then everyone guesses the year it came out and the rating it got on the IMDB movie database ( Junior writes all the guesses down, then gives a point to the closest year and rating.

Eric wasn’t playing today, because he’d got an urgent job to get out, but the was in earshot of the whole proceedings. He wasn’t too happy with the calibre of some of the guesses. He got particularly annoyed at the poor guessing for the “Back to the future 2” movie. At one stage he turned round and had to interject.
He turned round and said “Can I make a suggestion?”

Everyone just laughed. Imagining that he could just tell them to grow up and do something more constructive with their time.

“Why don’t you play with people who have some kind of movie knowledge?”

It came round to Chris for picking a film and his mind went blank. So he asked if he could have a film from yesterday. Junior agreed, and he picked Quadrophenia. Nige had to guess first (who was the only one not in on the game yesterday). He questioned the rule about letting them pick a film from yesterday, but then proceeded to guess 1977. Quick as a flash Chris went for 1979.
“You spent a long time thinking about that one,” said Nige.
Then the rest of them in turn all picked 1979 as well. There was much shouting about cheating, then Nige piped up:
“I’ve found a flaw in the rules of your game. If you let them pick films from yesterday then they’re all going to know the answer.”
“What were the last two words in your first sentence?” asked Junior.
“I’ve found a flaw in the rules of your game?” said Nige.
“What were the last two words?” asked Junior again.
“…your game?” said Nige.

At the end of the game Chris was announced as the winner, to much shouting of “cheat”. He managed to get them all worked up. I’m sure he is only trying to antagonise everyone He’s now started handing out coloured elastic bands to the winners for them to display on the corners of their monitors.

Neil's communication

Neil sent Karen an e-mail earlier this week. He’d gone for an interview at a lab 10 minutes walk from his house (he had a chemistry degree).:
Thank you for the card I received last week. Can you thank the rest of the team for me. I have managed to get an interview for a laboratory technician vacancy in Telford. The lab is only a 10 minute walk from my house. I didn’t know it was there or I could have applied for a job earlier. The best thing about the job is that it is 4 days on, 4 days off. The shifts are 12 hours long, but I would be out of the house less time then I was when I was there as I have not got the 4 hours a day travelling.

Hope everything is going well at Tipton

I imagine there’s more of a chance of him turning up if he’s only 10 minutes away. Also, if he skives a day off, there’s more chance that someone might spot him skiving. Karen got a second e-mail from him telling her that he was starting on Sunday. He also wanted to express his apologies to the boss for the last time he phoned him, trying to tell him where to stick his job. I imagine he’s going to need a reference.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Never get caught out at work again

Last week, while I was away, they moved Clive to a different desk to try and get some work out of him. He’s not the most observant of people, and now he has his back facing the walkway. On Tuesday, after dinnertime, he was on the internet and he had found some “stealth buster device”, on, that you can plug in at the back of your computer, so that if the boss comes round unexpectedly, you can hit a button and it will minimise your internet explorer (I’m fairly sure that you can do that with the tab button on your keyboard anyway).
It had a big advertisement saying “Never get caught out at work again”. Unfortunately the boss had gone walkabout, and was standing behind him at the time, although he didn’t realise this. Acting quite furtively, he minimised his internet window and signalled to attract Junior’s attention. Junior got up and walked round, all with the boss standing quietly behind Clive. As Junior reached Clive’s desk the boss said “Are you going to show him that window now?” causing Clive to jump out of his skin. Junior was wetting himself with laughter.

It's Christmas

As you may already be aware it’s Christmas. Well not really, but the supermarkets have all got their Christmas wares out on the shelves, and everyone wants to know what everyone else is doing about Christmas meals.
The company isn’t doing a “big bash” like it has for the past couple of years, so each department is being given a budget of £25 per head and letting them organize their own thing. There was an e-mail going round asking for suggestions. We had a bit of discussion yesterday. Junior wanted an evening of bowling, which is a bit odd for a Christmas do (I suspect he goes bowling a fair bit, and is probably good at it and wants to show off). I’d suggested going over the Chinese quarter for a nice Chinese. Junior wanted to know why we should go over there for a Chinese, when we could stay local and get an “All you can eat buffet” for £10. I told him that if someone else is buying for a change, you might as well go for a posh one.
He said “You could spend the rest on drinks.”
I said “You have to claim it back on expenses according to the e-mail. I don’t think the company would foot the bill for a big booze-up. Plus you’re going to have to get receipts every time you go to the bar, and you’re not going to keep track of who’s got the receipts if you’re all drunk.”
Everyone feels in a party mood right now, but after a few months of cold weather and everyone has got colds and sore throats the mood changes. Everyone gets on each other’s nerves and people don’t want to socialize anymore.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007


I’m not sure if I mentioned that we have been covertly filming Junior at his desk with his cordless headphones on, nodding his head about and doing the odd bit of drumming on his desk. We were going to set it to music, originally some rock tune, but since reviewing it we thought the theme to Sesame Street would be better.
Since we got some good footage of Junior I’ve been dying to capture crazy Helen on film. She is amazing when she gets going. I can only describe her as a kind of female John Cleese. She gets out of her chair and keeps the rest of her body in the same shape as she was sitting down, then manages to just move her legs and waddle like a nervous duck, looking around her as she goes, moving about very jerkily. Then when she comes back to her chair she puts her hands on the arm rests and just hangs there in mid-air for 10 seconds before she decides to lower her bum onto the seat. I’m not sure if she is even conscious that she is doing all this stuff. It would be very difficult to film though, because I never know when she is going to be getting up from her seat. What I really need is a BBC Wildlife camera crew that could stay poised in position all day waiting for the right moment to capture on film.
She is going to have to work when she moves onto the new section. No more spending the whole of the afternoon on the phone while she just pushes her mouse from side to side with her spare hand in some kind of gesture of working. I will also miss all the jokes about Clive and his size. Like the running joke about him having his own gravitational pull. Yesterday he went to McDonalds at dinnertime with Dan and ate two complete burger meals. He didn’t want to go to McDonalds today. So they made a joke of having to let them re-stock before he goes back.

Extraordinary team meeting

Yesterday Karen (team leader) put round an e-mail inviting us all to a meeting. She’d even booked a meeting room on the first floor. I thought it was going to be about the employee opinion survey, or the ideas for a Christmas meal. I couldn’t have been more wrong. One of the managers, who has been off long term sick, has been replaced (until Christmas at least) by a new guy. He’s been taking a look at the organisation and is moving some of our staff about to make a new section (supposedly temporary) for clearing a backlog of work that he wasn’t happy about. Of course, when this all starts happening you worry about what other changes he would make, and if your job is safe. The good part about this was that each section has volunteered staff which they would be happy to let go. So Karen had put forward our two duffers, Clive and crazy Helen, who we would have difficulty getting rid of any other way. This has all been explained to Clive and Helen (that it’s only until Christmas) and they seem happy enough (not that they had much option). Karen suspects that it will be a permanent move though. So the mood of the office has brightened considerably, with each of the sections putting up there two worst staff to move onto a new section.
I’m expecting that we will get them back at some stage, but driving home yesterday I had a silly grin on my face all the way. A happy song came on the radio, the sun came out from behind the clouds, and the traffic on the dual carriageway seemed to part just to let me through.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Sleeping in Barcelona airport

Found an amazing site while killing time waiting for my breakfast to go down. People who have slert in various airports around the world, and how to get the best from the experience.

Having a great time, but it's very hot and I'm exhausted.

Sunday, 16 September 2007


Free internet access at the hotel. How civilized.
Currently on holiday in Barcelona. Been down to the beach today, but it was boiling hot, so we've come back to the air-conditioned hotel to cool off. Given up trying to speak Spanish. Reverted back to talking English very loudly, and pointing.
Will post some photos when I get back to England.

Friday, 14 September 2007

Raqueeb's stress ball

The one section of the office erupts with laughter, and it takes them a while to compose themselves so they can relate the tale to us. Raqueeb comes up and tells us that he was going through Jason’s desk looking for a stapler. He found what he thought was a black ball. Thinking it was one of those stress relief balls he squeezed, only to find that it was in fact a left over plum from fruit day, and the juice went all over his pale blue shirt. Steve was laughing so much that he was crying.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Bass and drum

Mark comes down and asks Nige if he gets any drum and bass on his dodgy DVDs each week, and can he do him a compilation of just the drum and bass albums. Nige has told him before that it’s not worth his while splitting up the weekly DVDs into categories.
Steve: “Why don’t you get Jim to do some human beat-boxing for you while you’re working?”
Mark: “Please don’t.”
Nige: (Shouting down the office)”Jim. Can you do any human beat-boxing?!”
Jim: “No problem. I’ll give that a go.”

Just at that point Jim’s mobile starts to ring, and he walks down the office to exit to the corridor to answer it.

Steve: “I thought he was going to give it a go then, I thought that was his backing track.”

At that point Andy walks in. He was having a dig yesterday because Nige was going for his induction at the gym.

Andy-”How was the gym Nige?” (With a bit of a laugh at the end)
Mark – “You’ve been to the gym?” (He laughs a bit too)
Nige – “Do you want taking outside?”

At this point Jim comes back into the office, putting his mobile back in his pocket. He comes over to finish the conversation.
“Yes mate”, Jim says to Nige. “I’ll have a go at a bit of Bass and drum.”
Dan nearly wets himself on hearing “bass and drum”.


Andy is fasting with Raqueeb, except he wants to drink tea instead of just water.
Raqueeb explains that he can only eat after sunset and before dawn.
“Do you stuuf yourself during the night then?” asks Nige.
“No. If you’re not eating during the day your stomach wouldn’t take a large amount of food over night.” It’s obvious that there is an exact science to keeping to your fast, which I don’t think Andy will be able to keep up.
Dave asks “Is this to please some god or other?”
Raqueeb corrects him “The god, there is only one god.”
Dave: “Well I don’t know do I. I try my best to converse with you ethnics.”

Later on Andy has a go at Marie for constantly eating next to him while he’s trying to fast.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Eric not really juggling bananas by anyone's standard

And here eventually is Eric juggling bananas. unfortunately he cannot juggle, we managed to talk him into having a go. He starts off with two, then (as he requested) I throw the third one in when he gets going.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Steve juggles left over bananas

Steve has a go at juggling with some left over bananas this week. He had a fair number of goes at it. It’s apparently much more difficult then the apples and stuff. The funny bit for us was Nige says “He’s in a rhythm now” just as he drops them.

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Nige's customer service

Mark comes down and starts riffling through Nige’s desk, while Nige is sitting at this desk. Nige turns and smiles at him. He doesn’t even ask what he’s looking for, he waits for Mark to ask:
Mark: “Where are your music DVDs?”
Nige: “At home. I don’t bring them in to work, unless someone asks for an old one.”
Mark: “You don’t have any here?”
Nige: “No I keep them all in one carrier case.”
Mark: “How about any other music you bring in to listen to?”
Nige: “No, I’ve got my mp3 player.”
Mark: “What am I going to listen to then.”
Me: “Listen to Jim singing live.”
Mark: “Very funny.”
Nige: “He’s got a great voice.”

Mark: “Have you done what I’ve suggested?”
Nige: “What’s that?”
Mark: “You know, put all the dance music on the just dance DVD. All the rock music on a rock DVD?”
Nige: “No. I don’t have the time to do that. You get them how they come.”
Me: “How about the people that have a wide range of music taste? Or the ones that like the rock, but their nieces want the dance stuff, they would have to buy two DVDs then.”
Nige: “I’m bringing in this weeks tomorrow, why don’t you have a copy, then you can split it up however you want to.”
Mark: “Surely you should give me it in the format I want it in.”
Nige: “It’s not worth it. It’s not worth my time and effort for a quid to mess about re-arranging things.”
Mark: “Why not? What else do you have to do with your time?”

Silence, while they both think for a while.

Nige: “I’ll tell you what. Just for you, I’ll bring in my back catalogue tomorrow and you can look through and see which ones you want copies of. But you won’t get the copies until Monday, because I’m off on Friday.”
Mark: “What am I going to listen to over the weekend then?”
Me: “Have you got your free memory stick from last week?”
Mark: “Yes.”
Me: “Well if he brings in this weeks tomorrow you can stick some on that for the weekend.”
Mark: “That’s not a bad idea actually.”
Nige: “Only as a sampler though, just so you’ve got stuff to listen to over the weekend. Or if you want some stuff for tomorrow have a look on this site…” (shows him the HMV internet site which tells you this weeks releases).
Mark: “HMV?”
Nige: “Yes HMV, the site with a picture of Clive on.”
Me: “Let’s see.”

I walk round to have a look, there’s a picture of Shrek on the top menu.

Me: “I thought it was going to be the cartoon drummer out of the Gorillas.”
Nige: “Take a look through them and give me a list and I’ll do them for you on a DVD for tomorrow.”
Mark: “See. That’s customer service for you.”
Nige: “You’re not the brightest firework in the box are you?” (As Mark walks away)

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Absence of manager

I am one of the more senior staff left in charge this week, with virtually all the bosses and team leaders swanning off on holiday. This is part of the e-mail my boss sent round before he left on Friday:
"Absence of Manager

As discussed this morning, as I will be homeless and likely to be living in the print room from the 21st of September, I am taking next week off as holiday to go ‘house hunting’.

As a consequence, the support of the Data Technicians will be more important than usual in ensuring that it is only a ‘holiday’ for those that have booked it!

As previously directed, there will be no overtime on Sunday the 26th of August. Now, given that the Team Leaders that usually do overtime are all out that week, there will also be no overtime on Sunday the 2nd of September. (Carl – Please ensure that Double Dee is aware of this!)

Kind regards"

That is the standard of his management skills, he really has sold his own house from underneath himself and is now desperately looking for somewhere to live.

Meanwhile- back at the "coal face" it was fruit day again. I've got lots more takers for fruit juggling since I put steve on You tube. There's been lots of juggling going on (a kind of audition), although once you've got one video of someone juggling with fruit, it does seem a bit much to clog the rest of my blog up with more of the fools.

Nige on the London Eye

Nige is off next week for a few days to go to London. One of the Dave’s is having a go because he is taking his missus to see “Joseph”, which Dave id telling him is effeminate, or even gay. On top of this Nige lets slip that he is also planning to go on the London Eye, which is not his choice because he is scared of heights. He says that he is going to stand in the middle of the car with his eyes shut for most of the time, which mark tells him is about 40 minutes. Mark has been on and enjoyed it, he didn’t realise there was so much greenery in London. Dave tries to tell Nige that the cars are very wobbly, and knowing that Nige can’t swim reminds him that the whole thing is above the Thames, so if any of the cars fall off, they’re going straight into the water.
“Surely that’s better,” I say “…being a softer landing than the tarmac.”
“Not if you can’t swim,” says Dave.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Boss's performance

Before the boss goes on holiday for a week,he sends us this e-mail(which I think is serious):

"Team, I need a favour!

I am looking to get some 360 feedback on how you view me as a manager. Now I could ask you to fill in the umpteen page on screen questionnaire and let some consultant dress the results up prior to me seeing them, but as you are no doubt already thinking, that isn’t my style.

So this is what I am looking for…….

• While I am away next week, as I value your opinion, I would like you to consider ON YOUR OWN - What I am good at? What I am bad at? How do you view me?

• I would like you type up your answers so that they are anonymous, put them in an envelope and then put them in the fruit bowl to the right on my computer. I would appreciate more than one word answers and if applicable without it implicating the author, any examples supporting your comments.

As I appreciate that the comedians amongst you will not be able to help yourselves, all I ask is that you only put in one entry and that you highlight any remarks that I should not consider to be serious.

When considering your responses, please bear in mind that:

• I am the Section Manager as opposed to a Team Leader.

• Whether or not your working conditions have improved or worsened in the last two and half years as a result of me.

• Your own contribution to the Section.

Should you not take part, I will be forced into sending you the electronic invite!"

Towards the end of the afternoon, when a few people have left early, we get onto discussing the e-mail and what we should put on our comments.
Eric comes out with the fact that he doesn’t really have anything to do with him.

Me: “Maybe that’s a good management style to have? You don’t realise that he is managing you. Kind of …effortless.”
Alan: “He doesn’t do anything.”
Me: “That’s it I’m putting “he has an effortless style of management, that everyone envies.”

Then the boss comes to the coffee machine and says:

Boss: “You’re not supposed to be conferring. Your supposed to put your own views.”
Me: “Eric just wanted to know how to spell crap.”

Japan getting rid of internet

Yesterday I was very shocked to read:
“Japan in plans to get rid of the internet by 2020”.
Apparently they want to replace it with something better. We spent most of the afternoon discussing how they could make it better. One of the Steve’s came up with the idea of a telepathic world wide web, probably needing implants:
“Brain implants…not…bosoms.” He qualified his comment by looking down at his chest area.

I did try adding our comments to the Daily Mail site, but they didn’t accept them for some reason. I’m going to give up trying to add comments to the newspapers’ sites, if they’re just going to ignore them.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Steve juggles with fruit

One of the Steve's juggling with leftover fruit.