Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Autumn Days take 2

I have Sitemeter on my blog - you might have noticed the little symbol in the top right hand corner. One of the nice things that Sitemeter does is tracks people that access my blog, and sends me a little report every week - not a scary report, but one that means I know, in the absence of a traffic counter, how many people are reading my work, and whereabouts they come from (over the last week, as well as the many UK and US readers, I've also had visitors from Israel, Romania and France). It also tells me what Google Search terms have been used to access my blog, and one of the ones that has been coming up a lot is "Autumn days, when the grass is jewelled", which links through to my post from last autumn. The first couple of these I ignored, but I'm getting two or three a week - I never knew that the old school hymn was so popular! Even more scary, when I actually put the search into Google, without " " marks, my blog comes up 6th, and with them, it's third!

So, to help out those who are looking for the words to the hymn (which was one of my favourites at school), here they are:

Autumn days, when the grass is jewelled,
And the silk inside a chestnut shell,
Jet planes meeting in the air to be refuelled,
All these things I love so well.

So I mustn't forget
No, I mustn't forget
To say a great big thank you
No, I mustn't forget.

Clouds that look like familiar faces
And winter's moon with frosted rings
Smell of bacon as I fasten up my laces
And the song the milkman sings.

Whipped-up spray that is rainbow-scattered
And a swallow curving in the sky
Shoes so comfy though they're worn out and they're battered
And the taste of apple pie.

Scent of gardens when the rain's been falling
And a minnow darting down a stream
Picked-up engine that's been stuttering and stalling
And a win for my home team.

And for the people who have been looking for a download of the song - I can't find an mp3 version of it, but another website has a YouTube link (I can't actually hear the link from work, so I'm trusting that it works!):

Monday, 28 January 2008


It occurred to me as I walked home this afternoon that when my mother was my age, she was four months pregnant with her first child (me). She was considered to be an ‘old mother’, at risk because of the late stage of having her firstborn. Yet now, when I’m being told that another of my school friends is pregnant (only the fifth or sixth that I know of), it’s a surprise that she is having a child so young. I don’t know, maybe it’s because I still don’t feel old enough to have a child myself. The question of producing my own offspring has definitely moved from a “never” to a “when”, and the timing is going to be dependant on when we get out to New Zealand (I have to be working for 12 months with one employer in order to get maternity pay, which, even though it is very low compared to the UK (12 weeks of income), is better than nothing!). I am hoping that when John and I do finally decide to have our own child (whether that becomes children is completely open – we’ll have to see what happens with the first one!!), I will feel slightly less immature than I do right now, and better able to cope with taking on the responsibility for the care and upbringing of another life.

Round the corner

It might just be because the sun is shining for the second day in a row (nice weather at a weekend? Unheard of!), but it definitely feels like Spring is peeking round the corner. Not quite here yet – there is still a bit of ice in the wind (particularly when you are facing into it for half an hour at 4pm waiting for someone to try to score a goal), but that ice is starting to melt. The trees are still bare, but some of the bushes on the walk to the station are starting to bud – one has a few flowers hidden amongst its thorns, and one is coated with the bright green of new leaves.

I did some repotting at the beginning of January – the flat we are in doesn’t have a garden, but does have a garden path, so I have a number of plant pots with various bulbs in outside the front door. The gladioli are shooting up so fast that you can almost see them growing, and I’m sure that a couple of the daffodils are also starting to peek above the surface. What has surprised me is how fast the garlic is coming up – my mother-in-law gave me a bulb to plant out – I realised with about five cloves left that I probably ought to actually put some in soil, rather than just eating it, so there are three cloves in a pot. One of them has already broken the surface, and I’m now left wondering how you can tell when garlic is ready? I’ve never planted it before, so have no idea of when I’ll be able to dig it up and eat! (probably when the neighbours start complaining about the smell…)

The sun is streaming through the window right now (I’ve had to draw the curtain slightly so that I can see the computer screen), and the warmth inside the flat is lovely. Even better was the rather surprised observation from one of my colleagues this week; “It’s half past four, and it’s still light!” Even though the turning of the seasons is inevitable, it still comes as such a wonderful feeling to know that the back of Winter has been broken, and that the sunshine (and showers) of Spring is (are? Grammatically do you have to count something in brackets for is/are in a sentence?) waiting for us. It makes the walk to work a bit more bearable.

On My Own

John is in London this weekend at a Dr Who Fan Olympiad, so I have the flat to myself. However, this hasn’t been the weekend of rest and relaxation that I thought it would be when the trip was first talked about a few months ago. Aside from the getting John to the station for 7am (not something I begrudge – he has ferried me about far more than I have returned the favour – but still quite a difficult get up on a Saturday morning!), yesterday I also had a hockey match and an orchestral concert, and this morning, I was up at 9am (not overly early, but still not great for a Sunday…) to get into Bristol City Centre to buy tickets for the Beer Festival. I’m not a beer drinker at all (I’ve tried on numerous occasions – I have once managed to finish a whole half pint, but felt so ill afterwards that I’ve not tried again), but I love ciders and perries, and I am sure that, with 40 on offer, even with drinking half pints, I’m still not going to get a chance to have them all before the last train leaves (we are going on the Friday evening after work – the train companies in their wisdom have decided that the last train from BTM to Parkway should be 10pm) – I think if I try, I might end up in hospital!

However, the rest of the day is mine to do with as I please (well, at least until 7.40, when I head out to Tae-Kwon Do) – however, I’ve already lined a lot up to do (and yes, writing a blog post or two was one of the items on the list – I’m aware that it’s been a while!), including attempting to get out to Sainsbury’s before they shut – the house is running dangerously low on food. Other items that will probably be procrastinated away include doing a bit of washing up (I got one load done yesterday, but there are still very few surfaces in the kitchen without some clutter on them!), clothes washing (well, I have actually done that – the clothes are sat in the washing machine waiting for me to get up and put them out on the racks), writing up minutes from the last Family Centre for Deaf Children meeting, which was at the beginning of January. To be fair on myself, I had intended to get these minutes done a lot earlier, but some very late nights at work, and working through lunchbreaks meant that the last thing I wanted to do when I got home was sit in front of a computer screen all evening as well!

I’m very aware that it’s been a while since I posted – since I last talked about playing hockey, I’ve had another two matches and a few more practices (one match in the rain, which, for the poor players on the pitch, turned into a wet t-shirt contest – whoever decided that white was a good colour for the away strip must have been a bit mad. I was lucky for that one – being goalie meant that I could wear my tracksuit underneath all the padding, and, though damp, was not as bad as everyone else!). We still haven’t won a game since I started playing, which I feel quite bad about (we are languishing near (or at) the bottom of the league). Playing Cleve last week, we expected to lose – the last time Bristol Ladies played them, Cleve won despite only having 8 (out of 11) players on the pitch and no goalkeeper. I only found out the final score a few days later, as I lost count of how many they put past me after the fifth! (it was 9-1…) However, yesterday’s match should have been won – it ended up being 3-0. One of those goals was a good one, which I couldn’t have stopped, but the other two were silly mistake ones (one was a through the legs shot – I need to work out how to move quickly *and* keep my feet together! The other was one of those kerfuffle shots – I stopped it once, thoughts I’d cleared it, and the next thing I knew it was in the back of the goal. Humph.) But I’m still really enjoying it – my back is aching a bit today (not sure why – all the work is coming from my hips and knees, but they don’t seem to mind. I think that my back is just trying to malinger...), but I’m sure that a good TKD session this evening will sort it all out!

Work has been manic for the last couple of weeks, and I can’t see it lifting for at least two more – every government body is wanting to go out to tender for something, and it seems at the moment that it’s all for software that we do. Unfortunately, as the deadlines are absolute (we have been thrown out of a tender when it was delivered 17 minutes late), and the answering of the main questions seems to get left to very late in the day, when it comes to collation and actually getting the thing out of the door (the bulk of my work), long hours have to go in to make sure that it arrives on time. When I started doing this, there were enough lulls between tenders to mean that we could put the time in to make sure that there weren’t too many late nights or missed lunchbreaks. They did occur on the odd occasion, but it was once in a while, rather than nearly every one, as seems to be happening at the moment. A good chunk of it, I feel, is down to organisation, which is my job, and the need to streamline the tender process. Unfortunately, I need a good couple of days with nothing else to do in order to focus on those processes and to make them work. But more tenders come in, meaning that I don’t have the time to devote to this, leading to more inefficiencies. Ho Hum. It looks like we might be getting someone in who could help out (working on the sales side of things, but being more technical, meaning that they could answer the questions that the sales team struggle with (we can cope with “What software does your solution integrate with?”, but “How does your solution connect with x, y and z” gives us more of a problem!), meaning that we don’t have to wait for a gap in the developer’s schedule, with the resultant knock on effect on the tender timings.), but with the pace of recruitment, I’m not going to hold my breath!

Wednesday, 9 January 2008


Definition of madness: Playing hockey in driving rain that turns into a hailstorm.

Definition of insanity: Enjoying it.

I love hockey! :-)

Friday, 4 January 2008

Happy 2008!

A few days late, but a very good change of calendar date to you all - I hope that 2008 is full of laughter and nice things...

We had a good Christmas break - not long enough (it never is!), but very relaxing, spent with both mine and John's families, and also taking in a trip to see John's best man, with his wife and young son (broody? moi? well, maybe a little bit...)

And now - lots to look forward to in 2008;

* The second Fforde Ffiesta: (3rd-5th May 2008) - I'm not getting at all nervous about this, really... Just wait till the date starts getting closer than 5 months, then you'll see nerves!

* Going to see the Teraccotta Army at the end of March - yay!

* Going to New Zealand for a holiday - we thought we'd better get it checked out before we started emigration proceedings...

* Starting playing hockey - I've joined a club, and am actually really excited about playing again!

* Our friends Sarah and Ben getting married in February :-D

It's going to be a good year...