Sunday, December 30, 2007

With My Little Ukulele In My Hand 

Oh the weather outside is frightful and it's made all the doors in the house swell up and jam in their frames.
The other day I had to take half the back door off it's hinges - it's one of those stable doors; looks like it should have someone called Dobbin looking out from it, chomping on a carrot - and spent a couple of hours planing it down and generally bringing it all back into alignment. Man's work.
It opens and closes like a dream now, which means of course that next time we have a dry summer it's going to be terribly draughty.

I'm on my second chesty cough of December. It seems these last three weeks of coldlessness were just a temporary respite. Oh, it was lovely not snivveling or snuffling – I should have made more of it while it lasted.
Considering how I consume enough vitamins and vegetable matter to run a small family car for a month, this seems extremely unfair. I'm going to write somebody a stiff letter of complaint just as soon as I can summon the energy.

It's wrong to have favourites, but the Christmas gift I've been pawing more than any other is the ukulele which Girlfriend kindly bought me. I've already learned most of the essential chord fingerings, and if it's a ukulele version of The Rolling Stones' Wild Horses you're after, or perhaps Radiohead's Creep, then I'm your man.
And it's small enough to play in bed while Girlfriend's asleep and I've got the insomnias, so that's a bonus.

And the most inspired present I bought Girlfriend? Quite possibly the bottle of vodka to which I added two red chili peppers, thus creating – hey! - chili vodka.
Goes down very well mixed with a measure of Cointreau, which is easier to drink than it is to spell. I'm off to buy some ginger beer now and then I'm going to make her a mule. That'll teach her.
Chin chin, down the hatch, and so forth.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

You Can't Always Get What You Want 

My mince pie arrives!!!

Company X isn't having a Christmas do this year, but instead we've each been given a mince pie.
They were sent in the post – a nice personal touch - in green jiffy bags with an accompanying card signed by Charlotte, Bill Surname's loyal PA.
Bill Surname wishes you good luck for the festive period. Don't forget to come back on the 27th, Charlotte.”
I'm a contrary sort of fellow so brought mine into the office with me. I decree today take a pie back to work day.

The datacentre is blank, windowless, free from Christmas cheer in all its varied manifestations. Not a soul stirs and neither do many of the servers, which is a worry.
I was hoping for a winding down kind of week, but you can't always get what you want.
Hours drip slowly by under glaring fluorescent lights. You'd never know whether it was day or night as you wait for filesystems to go fsck themselves, find their feet, put themselves back in the frame.

Outside the cold takes your breath away. Everyone has gone home. Only Geraldine the Company X goat remains in her pen, blinking at you accusingly. What? What are you staring at, Goat Eyes?
You treat yourself to a coffee style drink from the wonky vending machine, skim over a newspaper you wouldn't normally read and eat the bashed about mince pie – a little dry you feel, but well seasoned - before making your way back to the server room.
Sometimes it feels like your loyalty is a given. Crumbs all over your cardigan.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Merry Christmas Everybody 

A hard frost and an early start.
I'd quite forgotten how beautiful motorway sunrises can be, the romance of being faraway before breakfast, the radio for company and Stay Hot For Ages Coffee for warmth. Six lanes of traffic, some of them moving.
I played counting how many aeroplanes I could see at the same time – nine! - wondering where their occupants were off to in such a perfect sky. Their vapour trails looked like scraps of wool wiggling across the great blue yonder; glowworms; giant kisses scrawled in silver ink by a child or a drunk.
By the time I reached The Faulty Sprocket Works I was toasty enough to eat and bursting for a wee.

I had a satisfying day solutioning miscellaneous problems, all the ladies in the office thinking I was terrific – Put that mistletoe away Ms. Purchasing! I hardly know you, etc. - and was back in Preston with time to spare. I put in a full load at the Company X launderette before barbershop practice.
Neil, my former team leader, folding away a T-shirt that read “Tell your Dad to stop texting me,” explained how I need to chuff my potatoes until they're almost falling apart. I tried telling him I already do but he was having none of it. After that it was all stuffing talk. I told him I didn't, but again, little odds. The fug was steamy.

Under a twinkling corrugated iron roof, the atmosphere in the rifle range is congenial tonight - “Here we are as in old-en days, happy gold-en days of yore. Faith-ful friends who are dear to us gath-er near to us___ once more (once more)” - and I've volunteered to do a turn at next week's Christmas bash.
Merry Christmas Everybody anybody?

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