Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Flats or Apartments

I was changing some of the address data we hold this morning, which had been updated by the post office. This entailed changing a load of "apartments" to "flats". Looking into the address history on the database the last entry for most of them read "address changed as per estate agents" on 14th September 2010. Obviously if you are an estate agent you are going to write "apartment" instead of "flat", because it sounds nicer. I wonder how many of the residents who receive their next mailing addressed to "flat" rather than "apartment" are going to feel cheated. I wonder if you could sue the estate agent for selling you an apartment which turns out later to be a flat? I also wonder who at the Post Office decides if a development is flats or apartments?
Also, is that a UFO behind it?

Monday, 22 August 2011

On the Fringe of Culture

Lester had been to Edinburgh for the end of last week. When he came in this morning Kerry had asked him about it and what he had gone to see. He explained that they hadn’t realised that the festival was on, and all he wanted to do was see the sights, but he couldn’t see much because of the crowds of studenty types handing out flyers and juggling. He hadn’t been to any of the shows, although he had picked up arm-fulls of flyers that he had been collecting. Everyone knows him to be a bit of a hoarder and laughed when he said that he was going to put them with his collections of bus tickets and beer festival flyers and beer mats.

Piercing surprise

To my surprise this morning Jason came in with a lip piercing in his bottom lip. He complained about how much it hurt and how swollen it was.
“Did they give you a local anaesthetic for it?” asked Lee.
“No just an antiseptic wipe.” …he continued “I went in and asked how they did it, and she explained she just sticks a needle in.”
He went on about how he wasn’t d fond of needles and how he had to keep his eyes shut. Then he went back on to how swollen it was. Lee said that it should settle down after a couple of days. Then he told us how he had felt like he was talking like Bubba off Forest Gump, followed by a really good impression which left us all in fits of laughter.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Getting bigger?

I had to answer the call of nature this morning after breakfast. John was in there washing his cereal bowl and mug.
Yesterday I had noticed him pouring his cereal into his bowl when I got in and had asked him "What are you having for breakfast?"
Before John could answer, Andy shouted over "Everything by the look of him!"
Back to this morning. I had entered my cubicle and doing my business, while John had finished his washing up and gone to the urinal. I'm not sure if he was at the urinal or was over at t he mirror when I heard him say to himself (I think) "Oh no I think it's grown."
This was followed by a second "Blimey, it has as well."...which I'm fairly sure was said looking in the mirrors by the sinks.
It has remained a mystery what he was talking about, or how big it had grown.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011


Sadly, this week we are all having our counselling interviews to see where we might all fit in with the new structure, or if we want to volounteer for redundancy. Lee came back from his interview around 1 o'clock looking flustered and a little red faced. I asked him how he had got on. He said it had gone alright, but he had ended up having a bit of an argument with the new manager. I asked how he had managed to start an argument and he told me that he had disagreed with one of the guys answers. He had asked what was the main reason for one of our processes and Lee had said that the main reason was safety. The new manager had pressed him and carried on asking forn the main reason. The one outcome was that we all know what one of the questions is now, and the answer the boss is looking for is actually cost. I agreed with Lee though, and tried to make him happier by telling him that he was okay to disagree and question the boss on their first meeting.

Looting law

Being a little older than most of the rest of my team I am often asked for my opinion, as the voice of reason. So with the rioting and looting going on last week, a few of the guys were thinking they were missing out being stuck at work. They were looking at the photographs of the looters and laughing that they hadn't got the sense to cover their faces. The biggest laugh came from the picture of a woman looting Poundland for a multipack of crisps.

I was shocked to be asked by one of them if looting was legal. He thought that if the shop was open, out of hours, then it was his civic duty to keep the contents of the shop safe from any unsavoury characters. It was a good job that we'd kept him off the streets for thye day.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Oppressed by ball difference

With it looking very likely that everyone is going to break-up as a section, Ned has been trying to organise one last team event away from the office. His favourite idea involves a pool tournament, which he has organised in the past. He has been asking everyone if they are intereseted without actually telling them when he is proposing to do it. Jason has been winding him up about the last tournament, where Jason lost the final to Dan. Ned has been explaining that everybody pays £5 to go, part of which goers towards entry into the club. The rest of it being prizemoney for the winner. Apparently there should have been a play-off between the two of them, being a final, rather than Dan winning on "ball difference"-having potted more balls. It was late by the time of the final and people were leaving, so they decided to award the winner on "ball difference". Ned had got it all typed out, with spreadsheets of all the previous tournaments, with the results of all the games, stretching back years.
Dan came up from the other end of the office to talk to me about preparation for his counselling interview. He used to work with me on my old section, but now works in the furthest corner of the office away from my current section. Jason saw this as an opportunity and quized Dan about what he remembered about the tournament, which wasn't much. Dan went back to his end of the office while Jason continued moaning. Then he came out with his - "my people are used to being surpressed" -he meant oppressed, being mixed race; he like to be black when it suits him.
"You're oppressed?...he's Vietnamese...his family came over on a tiny boat to escape the oppression." I pointed out.
I went on to tell them about Lee's family coming over as refugees, and his story about staying in a fenced off camp for weeks before being dumped in the dodgiest area of the city when they were housed where nobody else would live.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

New Era

Jason was amusing us with some of his warped morals when he came out with the fact that he keeps losing clothes. What he does is leave some of his clothes and other items at various girlfriends houses, which he imagines keeps them happy because they think he means to come back at some stage, which he doesn't always do. I asked if it was some scheme whereby he gets rid of his old clothes instead of taking them to the charity shop, but apparently not, he leaves some good stuff like addidas tracksuits, and his latest "New Era" hat.

Then he told us about this one girl who he had bored with. He had been round her flat and "Done what he had to do". Then left to go to the takeaway for some food, but decided he didn't want to go back. So he didn't, but he did want to get his hat back. So he decided to tell her that he had "lamped some geezer who was touching his car while he was in the takeaway." He then told that they had called the police and he had to spend the night in the cells.

A very complicated web.

Monday, 1 August 2011


Last week we had to complete a form to say which positions we were interested in for counselling purposes, to see who was going to stay and who was going to be made redundant. Most people had got theirs filled in and sent on time. Jason however was not particularly organised, asking anyone who came near him if they would fill in the form for him. Ned got so annoyed he agreed to do it. On the Tuesday morning we came in and Ned had filled out a form for Jason, along the lines of "Why are you interested in this job?...Because nobody else would employ me."
There was some other stuff, I'll have to sse if I can get a copy and scan it in to put it on the site.
We were in fits of laughter...he must have spent some time thinking about it.
Jason was flitting between just putting down that he wanted redundancy, and filling out his form properly in order to stay. He ended up going for the speedy option of saying he had no skills or training that would suit any of the vacant positions.

After maternity

One of the Debbies came back to work today after 6 months of maternity leave. She seened to spend most of the morning having her passwords all reset and even having software re-installed. Then just before dinner Sue started asking her how she was finding being seperated from her baby. She said she was okay today because the kid was with her mom, but Friday she was going to be concerned because the kid has to go to a nursery. She had wanted to return to work part-time, but with the redundancy thing going on, she wasn't able to get part-time.
Then, just before dinner, they had a terrible conversation about nappies. These days apparently they are so tight, with elasticated seams, that the doings stay put. However, this can make the nasty business all compacted. Then Sue went on about the fact that when she had her kids there was no such thing as disposable nappies, and she had to wash them all & re-use them. Not what you want to hear about just before dinner.