Nearly done…!

And so, here we are at the end of another year and another busy one for me as you will no doubt have read previously.  I am not going to rehash what I have said but if you are interested in refreshing your memory, here is what I wrote a while ago.

Suffice to say that I still have my ups and downs in the old confidence department and I guess that is part of my character so I accept that and try and wade through the fog when I feel it descending on me.

However, I know that I am in a good place now.  I have a good job, I work with a great bunch of people and we got on extremely well.  In fact I think our section of the department have the most laughs and fun and I would like to think that I am a major contributor to that!

After all that, it only remains for me to wish you all a wonderful, wonderful New Year and I hope that 2014 is a great one for you.

Raise your glasses at midnight and enjoy!

Love Bintylicious xx

An unrequited situation…

I don’t tend listen to other people’s conversations when I am travelling to and from work as I am normally plugged in to my music.  However, recently as I was sitting trying to unravel my ear phones, (why do they always do that?  Honestly, I could lay them in a straight line and they would still end up in a knot at the end of the day!) I happened to notice two girls, both in their early 20’s it seemed, talking about some guy that one of them fancied at her office and my interest was piqued!

This young lass sounded like she was head over heels about this person and was doing all she could to make it known that she had a massive crush on him without actually saying anything to him.

She said that she would make sure she was dressed nicely and show a bit of cleavage, laugh at his jokes, flirt with him, always be on hand to help with a problem, make definite eye contact with him and often touch him lightly on the shoulder.

As I carried on listening she went on to say that she always accidently on purpose let him catch her looking at him and she would catch him doing the same.  Whenever he came over to her desk for something, she said that he would bend close to her and put his hand on her chair, that he talked closely to her in her ear and that he flirted with her as well.

Then she talked about a colleague’s birthday party that they went to recently and had to dress up for as it was in a club.  She had to get ready in the office as they were going straight from work and when she came back, she went to get something out of the cupboard near his desk and he turned round to look at her and complimented her on how she looked.  She had been to the club before so as she chatted about the place, he listened and looked directly at her then she said that he put his hands over his crotch, as if to hide whatever might be stirring in that area!  Something she said he had never done before when talking to her!

(I have to say that her friend was continuously interjecting with “he definitely fancies you!” and “he totally has the hots for you!” and other such comments…)

At this point, the train pulled into my station so sadly I had to get up and leave but to me, it sounded like that there was a definite chemistry there but also a fear in case she had completely got the wrong end of the stick and would ruin everything if she told him the truth only to have him say that he was just being friendly and didn’t see her like that.

On my way home I wondered: what are the signs about this sort of thing, how do you know for sure if you are reading things right?  How do you know the difference between someone being a friend as opposed to liking you as potential boyfriend/girlfriend material?  How do you be rational about this, especially when you are in the throws of a secret passion?

Questions, so many questions, but now I want your opinion about this and what you felt if you have experienced this.  Did it ever turn out to your advantage or fizzle out into nothingness?  Did it end as a one-night stand, even?  Did you just continue dancing around each other in a daze of mixed emotions or did you do something about it?

I would be interested to hear your thoughts!

Poppy

Today is Remembrance Sunday.

In the run up to today I have read quite a few bits and pieces and letters about this and it is the same thing every year: people not wanting to wear a red poppy because it promotes or glorifies war, people being made to feel guilty and therefore obliged to donate and wear a poppy, people moaning that they are happy to donate but don’t see why they should wear a poppy etc., etc.  The list of reasons/excuses for and against is endless.

Listen, the choice to donate, wear a poppy, remember this day is yours and yours alone, and I am certainly in no position to judge what you do, but here is my two-penneth worth.

I choose to donate to the Royal British Legion and wear a poppy and I am happy to do so.  To me, wearing a poppy is not a smug “look at me, I’m better than you because you aren’t wearing one!”, for me it is a way that I can remember both of my grandfathers who fought in WW1.  To me it is a way of remembering those who did not return home as well as those who did and who were and are scarred by their experiences.  To me, it is a way to do a little bit to support them and their families.

I certainly don’t like war, and my wearing the poppy does not glorify war, in my mind.  But I would say this, whether or not you agree with the whole thing, in the time it has taken me to write this and for you to bicker your way through the argument and put your point of view across, someone else has died.

As I said; just my two-penneth worth…

It’s been a long time coming…

MH910217243

This week has been a good one, and I say ABOUT BLOODY TIME!

Firstly, you will know what a journey I have had since being made redundant last year and how my confidence had taken a real beating.  That has been the hardest hurdle to get over and there were times when I thought that I would never feel good about myself again from a work perspective and that I would never have anything of worth to give to another company.  I have done so much work to reverse that attitude and thought process and it has paid off to a greater degree.

So, it doesn’t matter that I have only worked at two companies since leaving, because those places valued me.  They have really appreciated my hard work and what I contributed, and the first place wanted me to apply for the permanent post when it was being advertised, but that job was not for me.  I know that they really miss me, well, if I say so myself, I brought a lot of fun and laughter to that place, even if my language was a touch colourful at times/quite a bit/well, most of the time/on an hourly basis and that the volume could be as loud as a heavy metal concert!

I have been temping where I am now for nearly three months and again, was approached by my managers and asked to apply for one of the permanent positions within my department.  They needn’t have asked as I had already made the decision to do so.  Interviews always give me the heeby jeebies but I was not overly nervous this time and thought I did well, but I never am that optimistic and think that I will I get the job; I am not that cured!

Anyway, I must have done something good as they offered me one of the jobs and I was so relieved, you have no idea.  In fact when they told me I nearly burst into tears (wuss…).  Nothing has been finalised, obviously, as I only found out yesterday but it is going to be a challenge and I look forward to that and I’m already rolling up my invisible sleeves at the prospect.

So, once again, to the old place thanks for all the good experience that I gained that helped develop an excellent CV, but see ya, wouldn’t want to be ya!

And as L.P. Hartley said in his 1953 novel The Go-Between: “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there”.

 

Couriers: the inconvenient, convenient way to deliver your goods.

I wonder if this cartoon courier is delivering at a convenient time…?

Courier services are advertised as being the easiest way to get your goods.  Practically every website I visit screams that they use a courier service and that it is the best way to get your stuff, as they will deliver at a time to suit you!!

Really?  How do you know that it will be at a time to suit me?  It never is because you can’t be bothered to find out!

Well, this is where the supermarkets have you courier companies beaten hands down when it comes to delivery options.

Every time.

When you book a food delivery, you also book your time slot and that way you can make sure you are home to receive your grub ‘n’ stuff.

When a company uses a courier service, you order your items in the usual way and you get an email confirming this.  Then, if you are lucky, you will get another email or text saying that (whoop, whoop!), your goods have been despatched and are winging their merry little way to your merry little home as we speak!

Yes, but when?

When will I get them?  I work so will you deliver after 5pm when I am home, or will I open the door and be ecstatic to find a crumpled sorry you missed me, card on my doormat?  And that is if I am lucky to get a card as some couriers can’t even be arsed to do that!

It is at this point that I get a little ranty and after I have gnashed my teeth and banged my head against a brick wall, I think that these couriers are really missing a trick, because despite being told that I can track my parcel (which is pretty useless as that will only tell me that my parcel is sitting on the passenger seat enjoying the ride and that the driver has made sure it is wearing its seatbelt for the journey down that dusty road), but that is all!  Great!  By the way, I do know that it is not strapped in next to the driver, it has been hurled into the back of the car/van along with all the other poor battered, whimpering boxes…

So, my question is this: when I get confirmation that my parcel is ready to be delivered, why can’t I log a delivery date and time like I do if I order food from a supermarket?  Why is that concept so hard for these numbskulls to get their head around, pull their finger out and put that option in place?

Now I know that I am a bear with a little brain, but I can’t see the difficulty with that, so, courier peeps, get on with it and sort it out!

Is it THAT time of year, already?

Well ladies and gents, here we are again.  The last day of the year and one that has been a bit of an adventure for me, as you well know, and as I look back at 2012, there are quite a few things to reflect upon.

I knew that it would be interesting back in January, even then events at my old work place were smacking me in the head loud and clear and telling me that there would be changes afoot for me.  And what changes they were!

What surprised me the most about the whole redundancy thing was how it made me feel and how much it effected me as a person.  I did not appreciate how low my confidence and self-esteem were and how I thought that even though I was happy with their decision, I was full of doubt about whether I would get another job, or that I had any talents of any description that are marketable and would make another company want to hire me.

That is where my outplacement consultant Sue, was an absolute godsend.  When I first met her I could not think of one positive thing to say about myself; I felt useless and really quite beaten and thought I was a waste of space.  I was scared of getting back out in the job market again after so long and was sure that no-one would hire me.  The only thing I did know is that I didn’t want a permanent job, I wanted and still want to do short-term contract/temp jobs and see how other places function.  I want to meet new people and go from place to place for a while until I make my decision about my future.

Sue gently steered me through my stupid maze of self-loathing and was the best thing that my old organisation did for me, well that and the redundancy money, of course!  With a revamped CV, a ton of hints and tips and always there at the end of the telephone or email, I was ready to face the world of the job seeker again and even though I was nervous when I went for my first interview, I had done my homework, was prepared and would have got the job, if there had been one to get in the first place!

I did get another job very soon afterwards and I am there until mid January.  The agency is pleased with the feedback they have been given and I know that my colleagues will be sad to see me go and wanted me to apply for the permanent position.  That is really good to hear and you cannot imagine how that has made me feel.  Finally knowing that I am good at my job and that people want me has been a real boost to my confidence.  Yes, I realise that it is my first job, but it is the start I needed and a good foundation for the future.

Usually I feel a little bit sad on this day and wish the outgoing year had been a better one, and yes, part of me was sad to have ended my career at an organisation that I once was so proud to work for.  However, not this time.  Today I am glad to see the back of 2012 and all that I went through, glad to see the back of that place where I had been unhappy for so long and curious and excited about my tomorrows and beyond.

It only remains for me to say that I wish you all a wonderful New Year, and I really hope that 2013 is a bright, brilliant and beautiful year for you all.

Bint.

The four seasons. No, this has nothing to do with Frankie Valli or Vivaldi, although the latter wrote music about it…

Those who know me well, know that I am not a lover of this time of year.  I don’t like the clocks going back, the short days and saying goodbye to summer always depresses me.  However, I do appreciate the physical beauty of the seasons and the memories associated with them, even autumn and winter, and the approaching bleakness does appeal to me.  Possibly, because I have a rather bleak outlook on life a lot of the time and am not always an optimist about things.

Anyway, as it is a rainy, late autumnal day and because I cannot be bothered to get the vacuum cleaner out, I thought I would do a piece on the seasons.  Also, I have not blogged for a while now and I need to remind you all that I am still here!

So, let me start with autumn, as this is the season we are still in.

On a bench in Blackheath

The trees are absolutely beautiful at this time of year; gold, yellow, bronze, red, copper and if the sun is out, walking through a carpet of freshly fallen, crunchy leaves is a joy and takes me right back to my childhood, when it was mandatory to do this.  It was the also the law of the playground that you threw bunches of leaves at your friends, and tried to outdo them by finding the biggest and the best and the most number of conkers.  I used to love finding one still in its spiny shell, and enjoyed prising it open to see how big the shiny brown nugget inside would be.  I played conkers but I was crap at it and always had bruised knuckles!  We also went blackberry picking in the hedgerows and ate as many as we picked, our lips and fingers stained with the juice.

Autumn also had Bonfire Night with grubby little boys pushing their makeshift Guy Fawkes around in a wheelbarrow shouting ‘Penny for the Guy…!’.  And there were the  garden fireworks.  Mum made something yummy to eat then we went out to watch Dad try to light the fireworks, not always with success and he would have to go back to the reluctant collection of colour, gunpowder and twisted paper to try again. (Remind me to tell you the story about the Christmas pudding and my sister when she was about 18 months old…).

Of course, this was in the 1970’s and Health & Safety was not so strong as it is these days, where you are told not to go back to a firework once lit, for obvious reasons.  Then, we just did it, and luckily, we never had any accidents.

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” –         Albert Camus. 

Winter.

Bleak, very bleak.  especially when the sun doesn’t shine and the sky sits upon our heads, because it is so heavy with rain or the possibility of snow.

My least favourite season; an oppressive density of quiet because the countryside has gone to sleep.  The repose of the land punctuated by the cawing of crows on the still air or a cow mooing in the distance.  And when it snows, the silence is deafening, and everything takes on another dimension as there is nothing to see but a white counterpane, with the black/brown stalks of the naked trees sticking out of it.  Of course, I am describing scenes from my childhood in the countryside, where winter was beautiful to look at, where we built snowmen and pelted each other with snowballs.  And there was a roaring fire in the lounge and hot, comforting things to eat.  Oh, and there was the fun of bunking off school if it snowed, because I lived so far away and the bus could never get up the hill into the village and beyond to Tunbridge Wells and my school!

I am an old, farty cynic now and snow in London is a right royal pain to negotiate and I don’t enjoy the cold, and the wet.  Yet, I do love the bleakness of winter; the anticipation of what is to become and after the 21st of December, the days start getting slowly longer, which always pleases me!

I have deliberately left out Christmas as it does not give me much joy now, but the Christmas’ of my childhood were wonderful and are worthy of a blog post of their own.

“I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the landscape – the loneliness of it – the dead feeling of winter.  Something waits beneath it – the whole story doesn’t show.” –  Andrew Wyeth

Spring.

My favourite.  The bringer of optimism and promise of new life.  The explosion of colour in nature that never fails to put a smile on my face.  When I see snowdrops growing, even though it is still winter, the tiniest of sparks is lit inside me and I know that I will only have to wait a few weeks until the riot of yellow and green of the daffodils will be screaming for my attention again.  The horse chestnuts will start to slowly unfurl their leaves until each branch is groaning with the weight of new leaves and flowers.

Yes, yes, I know I am coming across all Wordsworth now, but just close your eyes and see all that vibrancy that smacks you in the face at this time, even if you live in a city.  I think of the gardens of my childhood and the London parks now, and the colours inspire, uplift and make me happy.  It is new life in what ever shape or form and sort of balances me again.  It also helps that the clocks go forward now.  That helps me.  A lot.

The weather is temperamental at this time.  Oh, who the hell am I kidding?!  The weather gives us a two-fingered salute at anytime of the year, but you know what I mean.  My optimistic side taps into the thought of warmer weather, but let us not forget that we have also had snow in April before!

Then we have Easter.  Chocolate eggs, cards with fluffy bunnies and lambs on them and Hot Cross Buns.  Loads of them.  Whole packets at a time.  Toasted and slathered in butter.  Three times a day.  Nothing else.  And bugger your ‘5 a day’ nonsense.

“The force of Spring – mysterious, fecund, powerful beyond measure.” –    Michael Garofalo, Cuttings

Summer

OK, I know that our summers have been *cough* very, shite of late but let’s pretend that they’re good.

Because when they are, they bloody are!  Long, long days of warmth in the sun, picnics in parks and glasses of Pimms etc.  I love being able to sit outside a cafe or in a pub garden until dusk, being able to eat al fresco and just enjoy life.  Being invited to BBQ’s at a friend’s house and watching the men (because it is always the men!) hold a bottle of beer in one hand and the tongs in the other, valiantly poke, prod and turn the sausages and burgers over until they are burnt on the outside and raw in the middle.

As a child, looking forward to the summer holidays and going to the seaside.  Tumbling and rolling in sand dunes and puddling about in rock pools.  Sand castles and 99 ice creams.

The season is in full bloom, the grass lush and fat and green.  We would try to find the fattest blades to press between our thumbs to make that weird sound when blowing through them.  Making daisy chains and tickling our chins with the buttercups to see who loved butter.  Strawberries and cherries and the abundance of fruit and vegetables that are ripe at this time.  Carefree and innocent was my childhood then.

Now, if I can get away with not having to wear a coat during the day, then I am happy!  There is the anticipation of your holiday; two weeks of freedom away from responsibility and routine with the annual race to see who will get the best tan.  And when you return, you hope the weather will be good so you can show off how brown you are…

“A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.” – James Dent

So, that was my not so brief look at the seasons.  You know my favourites, what are yours?