Monday, 30 July 2007

Very very tidy desk!!

As promised, please find below a photograph of my exceedingly tidy desk! Now that I have photographic evidence, I have a benchmark to keep to! It is actually really rather nice to leave work in the afternoon and feel satisfied - no messy desk to get me thinking "what have I forgotten to do today"!!

Sunday, 29 July 2007

The Great British Village Show

Well, the final, held at Highgrove, of the Great British Village Show was just shown on BBC 1. It was a tribute to middle England (and Wales, Scotland and Ireland!) and it's gardeners, bakers and jam-makers!!

I was pleased to see that the runner bean section was won by the only female entrant of that section! Go girl go!

The decorated cakes looked marvellous, although the judges seemed to have trouble figuring out where the actual cake was in one exhibit - it was all icing and very little cake! But still, the detail on those cakes is quite incredible, they must take hours to make - all those little carrots or cakes or faces (aptly the theme for the cakes was 'the great british village show'), I don't think that I could have the patience to create something like that.

The tomatoes, shallots, and carrots were perfection of course. The oversize marrows and pumpkins were simply enormous. The surprise of the show was that one of the exhibits in the longest carrot section actually became the World Record. The oddest thing about the longest carrot is that they include the root system, which to me is quite wrong! Anyway, if that is what they say the longest carrot is, then who am I to argue!?

In all - a very British Village Show!!! I love those things - everyone is very competitive and yet still showing the spirit of their local village.

By the way - Happy Birthday Ben!!

An odd sight!

I was in the local supermarket this afternoon when I saw a woman with curlers in her hair!!! I could not work out whether she had forgotten, couldn't care less or simply had such self-confidence that it didn't matter.

She appeared to be with what looked liked her daughter and grandson, so I reasoned that if she had forgotten, her daughter would have told her. Unless of course, she had such a mental health problem that telling her that she had curlers in her hair would have caused such an outcry that it was best to leave it well alone.

I was not the only one who noticed though - there were several people whispering to each other as she walked past them in the shop, you could see the raised eyebrows and funny looks that everyone gave each other.

What was she thinking? Was she about to go to a celebration later and simply had to go to the shops and decided that she would leave her curlers in and take them out when she got home? If that was the case, I would have thought that she'd wear a headscarf.

This one will remain a puzzler I think, I am never going to know the reasoning behind this one.

Break Silence for Emergency Use

Matt came up with the above great line that should be displayed on the desk of all Librarians that dont take themselves too seriously!

Not that my library is particularly quiet anyway! Sometimes it us libary staff that are guilty of the most noise, particularly when we are having a gossip-fest!

It is certainly the quietest time of the year for the library though (aside from Christmas) as most people seem to vanish during August. Having said that, the first week in August is always a bit manic in the Academy due to the intake of the new baby doctors!

They are fresh out of university and haven't a clue as to what they are doing!! It is well known amongst healthcare staff that August is never ever a good time to be ill! So, I am sure that we will be seeing these new doctors in the library as they register to be library members and desperately ask us where Kumar and Clark is! (for those that don't know, this is one of the standard medical textbooks).

Otherwise, the summer is a good time for the library to do a few odd projects such as tidy one's desk! I am still rather proud of that one!! Will be taking a photo on Monday in order to prove it to you and to give myself a benchmark to maintain!! ;-)

Saturday, 28 July 2007

Playing well!

Came across an interesting quote the other day. Apparently Martina Navratilova once said
What matters isnt how well you play
when you're playing well, what matters
is how well you play when you're playing badly.

Quite an intriguing little sentence! Clearly when you're doing well, you're obviously on top of your game and everything is going well for you, but if everything is falling down around your ears, how you cope with that says more about you and your skills.

I suppose that, if you just shrug, throw your hands in the air and give up then that doesn't say much for your sticking power. And if you start panicking then you don't have the ability to stay calm and sort out the problem. Whereas, if you can rally the troops and see your way past the problem then that matters more than being able to keep things flowing smoothly when nothing is going wrong anyway.

The trouble is that people cope in different ways; some may act like headless chickens, but at the end of the day all is back to normal, some may turn into dictators and demand solutions, but again the end result is normality (with a few alienated staff!), some may carry on as though nothing is happening, but behind the scenes everything is going nineteen-to-the-dozen (brings to mind that image of the serene swan with feet paddling madly underneath!).

So, does the end result matter more than how you got there? I think that what Navratilova is saying is that "playing well" also matters, for if you achieve what you want but look like an idiot or a bully in doing so, then that sticks too, possibly more so than the end result.

So, there you go, I thought that was an interesting quote; and I hope that not too many cliches appeared in this post - they kept popping up all over the place and I had a battle on my hands to keep them at bay! ;-)

Friday, 27 July 2007

funny quote

I came across this today:

Everyone wants to help Save The Earth,
but nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes.
-Tom McMahon

I giggled! Who doesn't remember whining at the breakfast table as soon as Mum asked for 'volunteers' to help do the washing up! It must be a rite of passsage for all children, although I must say that it has got to be going out of vogue now that more and more people have dishwashers (the mechanical variety rather than the human ;-) )

Other childhood rites of passage include tidying bedrooms (what's wrong with a bit of a mess, it's character-building!), sleeping until the crack of noon, racing home to watch Grange Hill (showing my age here!), and being able to walk home from school on your own.

Today's milestones will be quite different I am sure - probably something like - being the first to get that x-box game, or the first one with a mobile phone, and of course, whining about loading the dishwasher!!

OUCH dammit!

why oh why do us females do this to ourselves! I have just had my upper lip waxed!!!

As my youngest brother will tell you, I have a tendency to have a downy upper lip and it drives me mad! So, every now and comes off! I tried doing it myself once, but just couldn't get the knack of pulling hard enough to surprise myself so that I didn't go easy on myself!! (did that make sense, it did to me?!)

So, as I can't manage it myself, I pay someone else to perform excrutiating torture on me! I swear, my eyes now water even before I climb on the couch and subject myself to this. I am never ever getting anything more sensitive waxed! Believe you me.

Did you know that some men are getting themselves waxed now? Not the upper lip of course, as I can't imagine them doing that, but some beauticians (handsome-ticians?!?) could probably tell you a lot about a procedure that they nickname, "back, sack and crack" and I am saying no more about that one!

Thursday, 26 July 2007


There is something to be said for clearing out your desk at work!!

Anyone who knows me will also know that I am not the tidiest person in the world. So, it is rather startling when I suddenly decide that I have had enough of my overflowing desk and would rather not feel hemmed in by files and paper and other whatnots!

I am pleased to say that I have nearly finished and I think that I have about two square foot of clear desk space now, so perhaps I can achieve something now. ;-) In mitigation I have to say that the library does not have a lot of office space for staff, so we have to be creative about managing our own space.

Of course, my fit of tidying has brought on a spate of tidying across the office - everybody has cleared out their desks and have rearranged computers, monitors, etc, to make more room for themselves. I think that it says something though that I am still going when the others have finished!! (not that I am too finicky, but that I was too untidy in the first place!!) My other excuse is that being the manager, I have more paperwork to wade through, so naturally it takes longer....hmmmmmm...excuses, excuses!

Anyhow, I have now actually begun to use that strangely underused filing cabinet under my desk and now that I have a neat desk, let's hope that I can keep it this way! Perhaps I have been converted, yet I doubt it for my messy tendencies are never far away.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Gift of the gab!

Some people very naturally have the gift of the gab (or pen or keyboard or whatever your preferred medium is!) and I just wish I did.

Matt has just started a blog of his own (even though he doesn't do blogs! ;-) ) and I am absolutely positive that even if he has nothing to say, he will be extremely eloquent in saying so! For those who want to read it is , mind you there isn't actually anything in it at the moment as it is brand-spanking new!!

I am envious of blogs like Caffeinated Librarian or Anna Abroad, as they are created by people that simply seem able to create interesting blogs and I am hoping that with practice via my own blog, I will get a little better! Of course, it is only my opinion that the above blog is interesting; not everyone will like the same style of writing or subject content. But then isn't that the whole point of blogging, that somewhere out there there will be a blog that you find interesting while at the same time there are others that you couldn't bear to read!! (one person's blog is another person's Ikea manual!)

Monday, 23 July 2007

Monday morning

Well, you'd hardly think that we had such trouble getting home on Friday night - all the flood waters around here seem to have receded! The whole town was pretty much gridlocked on Friday - after about an hour of going nowhere, I gave up and went to see if Ann would give me a place to hide for a few hours!!

Fortunately, Ann was at home and so I spent some time there, before trying again at about 8:30pm, and this time, it was plain sailing (pun intended!!) - the motorway was still heavy with traffic, so I simply went through town without encountering any problems at all!

I do feel sorry for those elsewhere in the country though, and to think that, according to the Housing Minister, it is likely that more new houses will be built on known floodplains - this is simply idiotic, I cannot believe that anyone with any ounce of sense would even think about building more houses in such areas. The reasoning is that flood plains can be built on if good defences are provided, but with more and more land being covered with concrete, tarmac and other building materials, then there is less and less run-off land for the water to escape to. The water all has to go somewhere!

Surely, there are still plenty of brownfield sites available, but no, it seems as though we will be hearing tales of woe up and down the country again and again. Still, I count myself fortunate that I was able to arrive home on Friday to a dry house!

By the way - Happy Birthday to Josh!!

Sunday, 22 July 2007


For those of you that have never heard of it - I hereby introduce LibraryThing!! To be found at and if you look at the bottom of my blog, you can find a random selection of books from my very own LibraryThing, so that you can see what kind of books I read!

Anyway - to explain what LibraryThing is - you can catalogue your books here!!! It may seem a bit geeky to some of you, but to those that have what feels like a million books littering the house, it is a really really good idea! Plus of course, it appeals to the Librarian in me!!

Basically it is a web-based book catalogue, but at the same time it is more than that as you can see who is reading the same sort of books as you and browse their catalogue to see what you might like to read next. I suppose you could call it a MySpace for booklovers!

In any case, I haven't yet finished adding my collection to LibraryThing, so I had better get on with it!! ;-) At the moment though, I am on 213 books and still going strong!

And just to finish off - a huge thanks to Dad for creating wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling shelves for me so that I can bring all my books out of their boxes and arrange them in my study!

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Well, I bought the book today and snuggled down to read it! (it was not raining outside, but neither was it nice and sunny!).

I wont give away any details of the book just in case it spoils it for anyone else, but I did enjoy the book (yes I have finished already!) and I expect that I will read them all through again one day. Not quite just yet though as I am a bit Potter'd out at the moment.

It does make me wonder what JK Rowling will be doing now. Of course, she needn't write another thing for the rest of her life as Harry Potter has made her far more money than she needs! But what will she do now - will she write another book, another series, or will she turn to something else?

I wonder what she must be feeling now that the series is finished. Is she celebrating the fact that this huge undertaking has now finished, or is she sad that she wont be writing about Harry and his friends anymore? I would imagine that it a mix of the two, possibly along with a bit of "what on earth do I do now!"

Although the last book wrapped things up quite nicely, I am a bit disappointed myself that I wont be reading any more about Harry, Hermione and Ron, along with Hogwarts, nearly-headless Nick and Professor McGonagall, not to mention Hagrid of course!! I know that there have been people who have disparaged her writing as being formulaic and not very good, but they weren't meant to be the classics of the times, they were simply rather fun books that caught the imaginations of many people.

I, for one, am glad that they were written and have enjoyed them immensely! ;-)

Friday, 20 July 2007

splish, splash, splosh

Summer is turning out to be a strange one this year - it is raining quite hard at the moment and there are weather warnings up and down the country. As my doorstep is level with the pavement I am just glad that the local council installed larger storm drains last year!!

Still, if it rains all weekend, then I wont feel quite so guilty about spending most of my time curled up on my outsize armchair with the last Harry Potter book! No, I haven't actually pre-ordered it, but you can be sure that I will be buying as soon as I can tomorrow; not that I am staying up until midnight to buy it - I can wait a few hours longer!! ;-)

I saw HP and the Order of the Phoenix at the cinema last Friday. It is not often that I go to the cinema because of the lack of subtitles, but as I had read the book I was fairly confident that I would understand the film! The scary thing is that I had to turn my hearing aids down in the cinema, it was that loud!!! Anyway...I quite enjoyed the film, but as ever, the film couldn't possibly due justice to the book, I don't know of a book/film pairing where the film was better than the book!

By the way - Happy Birthday to Marielle!!!

Thursday, 19 July 2007


To Sarah and Phil in Australia! They are getting married in Adelaide next March.

So far, none of the younger set (as it were!) have gotten married in Great Britain! At this point, I think that I could waffle on about the world getting smaller, but it has all been said before and by people with a better turn of phrase than me!

What I will say though is - congratulations to Sarah and Phil and I look forward to seeing you at the end of August!

Just one thing though - does a typical Aussie wedding come complete with barbeque!!? (or perhaps I should say barbie! ;-) )

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

a fortiori

Occasionally I come across a word or phrase that grabs my attention and just doesn't let go!

"a fortiori" is one such phrase; I saw it some months ago and looked it up and puzzled over it. It popped up again today for some reason, so I had to remind myself of what it meant. (this is where google really comes in handy!!)

What it means is with even stronger reason or to put it more clearly even more so. But even though I could look up the phrase and it's meaning, I had to dig a little deeper to discover how it would actually be used in a sentence, and there are several examples of those on the internet.

Being a librarian though and very aware of copyright and intellectual property, I wont steal one of those examples to show you how it works, so I have to make one of my own!! Here goes.....Ben is too young to be Prime Minister, therefore, a fortiori, Matt is certainly too young. (with apologies to Ben and Matt of course! ;-) )

Unfortunately, it is just not a term that I am ever going to be able to use in general conversation, even if I could remember what it means a few months down the line!!

Pronunciation is also going to be a funny one (particularly in my case, as I am sure that many of you will agree!!). Some say it is pronounced "ah-for-tee-oh-ri", others say "a-for-she-or-e". I am not sure which one I like most, but you can be sure that I'd probably get it wrong!

Anyway, despite the many latin terms we do manage to use on a regular basis, this is not one that I can see becoming mainstream!! Can anyone think of how we may use this one in regular conversation without sounding snooty!! ;-)

Monday, 16 July 2007

PDP Meeting

For those of you that don't know, PDPs are Personal Development Plans, and anyone who has to go through them will tell you that they are a pain in the neck! ;-)

But as I said yesterday, I was having my PDP meeting today and that I would update you on how it went. What basically happens is that I put my portfolio together - this is a file of evidence to show that I have kept up with the prescribed standards - and show this to my line manager, whereupon we then spend nearly two hours talking about it!!!

Everybody complains about it, but I have to say that it does help people to know that they are up to standard (or not as the case may be!) and what they have to do in order to maintain those standards and go further.

In any case, my meeting seemed to go well, the boss is happy with what I am doing and thinks that I am up to scratch! Which is nice to know of course! Based on how the year went and what I want to do next, what happens then is goals are set for the following year along with any personal development needs. This year, though, I am mostly concentrating on getting the library service through it's assessment (a bit like Ofsted for libraries) and picking up anything else along the way!!

Sunday, 15 July 2007

for my last post this weekend

I want to tell you all that I am now beginning to upload photographs on to the interwebnet (!).

Most of the photos that you see at the moment will be ones that are already on my blog or old ones. As mentioned in an earlier entry, I have a new camera!! So I am sure that I will adding more and more photos to the online album when I can! (most of them may well suddenly appear after our family holiday in Devon!)

And anyway that is definitely my last entry for this weekend - I have had enough of this computer!! ;-)

Mum has a blog too!

You can find it at

Sunday afternoons!

I always seem to find Sunday afternoons a bit of nonentity. It is 5pm and I am beginning to wonder what to do next...of course, there are always things to do, but I don't necessarily want to do them right this very minute! (right now though, I am chatting to Mum online and she just called me a thing!! As in "I forget other things" when she gets busy online and forgets to do things, including talk to me!!)

The only thing that I particularly want to do tonight is watch "The Great British Village Show" as I think that it is rather amusing. The people that enter such things get so very competitive and feel that everyone else is out to sabotage them! The judges are also worth watching as they can be very picky and make the funniest comments - "drops of burnished gold" was what someone called a plate of shallots! Although I must concede that a lot of hard work does go into the creation of the exhibits, some of the knitting looks fabulous and the cakes are quite imaginative!

Anyway, I am busy at work this week; well, not physically at work as I am in Bristol on Tuesday morning for a Map of Medicine workshop and then on Wednesday I am at Gloucester for an AGW Library Managers meeting. AGW being Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, which relates to the area that us Librarians manage. I don't quite recall how the rest of the week pans out, except that I have my PDP meeting on Monday afternoon - this is all to do with personal and professional development at work - will let you know how that goes!!

Photographic fun!

I've been having fun with my photographs! And not just my own photographs, but photographs that have been taken by someone else.

You see, I have downloaded something called Picasa2 and it can do pretty things with photos; obviously it can't match PhotoShop or any of the 'proper' photograph editing progammes, but I don't think that I need anything quite that fancy!

I found an old photo that Mum took while we were walking the coastal path of the Isle of Wight last year and messed about with it - here are the results!

I rather like that effect! It clearly helps that I am bang-smack in the middle of the photograph, but there was a little cursor that I could move to set the middle of the focus, so if I were off to the side, I could have simply moved the focus to where I was. It looks better this way though! ;-)


Phoebe, as you can see, is my cat! She drives me nuts in the morning with her gentle pestering to get up and feed her! She walks all over me, pokes me with her paw and generally makes it quite difficult to hit the snooze button!

So, of course, when she decides not to do that and leave me in peace, because she has her own thing to do, I start to worry that she is ill or has been run over in the night - which still comes to the same thing - I am wide awake! Naturally, Phoebe is just fine, just not hungry right now thank you.

I don't know where she is right now, but I am pretty sure that she is on top of her cat thing! For the uninitiated, this is a cat activity centre (which does sound rather silly when put into words) that has scratching posts, dangly things and wide area at the top for her to sit and look out of the window at her domain!

Anyway, I think that she is a sweetie even if she has the knack of occasionally winding me up!!

Saturday, 14 July 2007

The Cotswolds Show

(Arggghhhh - this blogging business is driving me crackers!! The photos are now all at the bottom of the story as they were messing about with the text!)

Now that I have finally uploaded the software for my new camera, I can tell you about the Cotswolds Show in Cirencester that Mum, Dad and I went to because it has pictures to go along with the story!

It was a good show, I would certainly recommend it to anyone. I could have stayed longer and made sure that I saw everything, but we had spent long enough there! We were certainly very lucky with the weather, it was overcast and we have a little rain (Mum and I ducked into a marquee just in time!), but overall, it was warm and occasionally sunny!

Which was fortunate as I think that poor weather would have prevented the parachutists from jumping. Before the jumpers jumped (!) the plane dropped two pieces of crepe paper, which looked very odd until you realised that they were there to gauge wind speed and direction - of course, there is just no point in having people jump out and miss the main display field altogether!!

Anyway, one had a particularly large (or should that be small!?) parachute and came in very very fast indeed, the others took a little more time, but I think that they all hit the spot! One had a flag trailing behind him as you can see from the photo!

But before that, we saw "The White Helmets" - a group of motorcyclists that were just crazy!! They jumped over people, went through flames, missed each other at great speed and did all kinds of silly things like that! The photo below shows you that they also balanced on top of each other and drove around the field!!

There was one (not in the photo) that had a black-billed helmet - this meant that he was the last person to fall off his motorbike!! Obviously, the thing to do is not to fall off, but to pass on the black-bill for someone else to wear! It was all very exhilarating anyhow!

We spent time looking round the marquees and managed to be very restrained when it came to spending money! We saw a 15 day old foal - very cute; a man using a very old fashioned treadle to turn and cut wood into goblets - very impressive; the winner of the "dog with the waggiest tail" - very waggy!!

Although we all got home and ended up looking like this (see the last photo), I would certain go again! (And this time remembering to put suncream on as I underestimated the strength of the sun and got a bit pink!) By the way, the little magazine basket that you see on the floor next to Dad was bought at the show!

Now where did I put that flagpole!!?

Pyramid of White Helmet Crazy People

Dad about ten minutes after we got home! :-)

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

A telling off!

Andy has quite rightly given me a telling off for leaving too much personal information on my blog! :-(

So, it has been judiciously edited and if you don't understand what I say in future posts because I am just too darn cryptic, you will just have to either figure it out or send me an email asking what on earth I am wittering on about!!

But Andy is quite right of course (but don't let him know I said so!), as too much information could be dangerous in the wrong hands. So I am going to have to learn the art of saying all I need to say without actually saying it, which should be amusing!

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Locked out!

Whoops! I managed to lock myself out yesterday - I was running late for work and simply unlocked the door, let the cat out and followed her out, pulling the door closed behind me.....

.....of course, as soon as I shut the door, I realised that the keys were the other side of the door, still in the keyhole! As I was already late for work, there wasn't much I could do except go to work and hope that I could sort it out from there.

Fortunately, a friend of mine (who feeds Phoebe when I am away) has a spare key, so she went to see if she could get in. The short answer is that it wasn't easy as my keys the other side of the door was preventing her key from turning. Obviously at this point, I was beginning to wonder if I should call a locksmith or even the Fire Brigade.

In the end, Lucy managed to retrieve my keys for me - I simply bought a huge box of Thorntons Chocolates and gave them to Lucy when I went to pick the keys up later that evening! I really could not have thanked her enough for all she did!

Of course, I now have a spare backdoor key hidden somewhere safe (not at home of course, as that would be silly!!) So if it should happen again, I can at least climb over a fence, instead of calling in favours from various people!!

My very first post!

Hello and welcome to my blog! I cannot claim to be witty, interesting or even well-versed in any particular subject, but at least you can find out what I have been doing or thinking lately!!

This will be more fun than email cos I can upload photos and things like that (annnnd you can make comments!!) - just keep checking back to see what mischief I have been up to! ;-)

However, you may have to bear with me while I get to grips with my very first (and probably only) blog as I am still trying to find my way around this, so things may change, get deleted, added or whatever I fancy!!