24 May 2015 @ 04:58 pm
I went on holiday and one of my citizenships utterly disgraced me.
I came back from holiday and the other surpassed all possible expectations.

Friday, my friends got married, a cross-border wedding, where the groom's party stopped off to vote in the Marriage Referendum on the way to the ceremony. We laughed, we cried, I was named as a guilty party in the speeches*, someone got Sean up throwing shapes, the bridesmaids shed tiny silver flowers all over the dance floor, and yesterday morning I stabbed blearily at my phone to find that the first tallies looked like Yes and all morning it kept going up, so that by the time we bade the newlyweds goodbye and headed home it was past the point of losing.

By the time I went to bed, Dublin was having the party of a lifetime, and the HSE press office were telling inquirers the transition arrangements with gleefully mendacious encouragement to have two parties.

Early days. Early days.

*"They were both very quiet about this whole romance. Sure, we only found out when her Mammy said 'Isn't Mary's boyfriend a nice young man?' and she had to be put straight!"
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Current Mood: contentcontent
01 April 2015 @ 04:23 pm
I collected my car this morning, and in the name of keeping my father happy and not breaking the law, went off to Halfords to acquire breakdown kit and R plates. In which I succeeded fully!

What I succeeded somewhat less at was getting the damn thing into reverse. You see, in the cars I have learned in, reverse is found by going far left and up, clicking a thing on the gearstick and going far left and up, or going far right and down. In THIS car, it is found by pressing the whole gearstick down and then left and up. Dear world, please standardize reverse gear, so that the next time I am in a new car I do not spend ten minutes swearing in Halford's car park.

And then I met Belfast city centre one way system. Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and the wee donkey. Yes, I was late for work. Very, very late for work.

But, car. Ridiculous green car.
26 March 2015 @ 09:02 pm
Today, I got turned down for a job, and bought a car.

This was not actually my plan for the day, it just sort of happened. I think I was riding a schadenfreude high from the epic crash and burn performed by the Government at lunchtime.

So I rang the car dealership on the way home, and asked had they anything in my price range, and went and had a drive around, and put the deposit on a car. It is a pale green Skoda Fabia, which given the friendly shape of the car, makes it looks alarmingly like someone bleached Kermit, it's going to cost a fortune to insure and ... I bought a car.

I may be insane.
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Current Mood: shockedshocked
19 March 2015 @ 06:30 pm
I raised a safety concern about a piece of security theatre and was spoken to as competent adult, listened to, and appropriate remedial action taken! Airports could learn a lot from the staff of the British Museum.

(Bag check set up at gates, no signage, nobody telling anyone what was going on, queue running into chokepoint opening up into a wider space then in again, add in hordes of teenagers on school trips and entitled male tourists barging the queue, someone was going to get hurt and I didn't want it to be me.)
12 March 2015 @ 05:20 pm
"AAaargwannawannaaaagongongonaargggaaaaBLOON!" which is the traditional sound of a very small child learning that with balloons, as with life itself, it is important to know when not to let go of the string. The whole point of balloons is to teach small children this.

There is a strange and fantastic irony that this scene is playing itself out in my parents' house today.
28 January 2015 @ 04:52 pm
Interview. Tuesday.

17 December 2014 @ 03:19 pm
Have now had lengthy conversation with manager about the ongoing issues.

Oh. Sweet. God.

Ye, I am aware that you think it's petty to be annoyed that you merrily told people they could change round the filing system just because I wasn't visible at that instant. I don't care. It's about professional courtesy and that includes letting the office manager manage the fucking office.

No, it is not just banter. The point at which I tell you that it is an issue and I feel bullied is the point where it has not only officially crossed the line, but the point where it crossed the line four months ago and I am done. Yes, my project management training does involve handling difficult people. This is not what is happening.
15 October 2014 @ 02:57 pm
So, many many moons ago, the lovely house beside us was bought by a guy my mother taught back in the day when she was an innocent young NQT. Apparently she was scary enough back then that when in the course of renovations he managed to drop a tree on our garage he made his father come round to apologise on the grounds he was a coward. When the children came along, my parents volunteered babysitting. These days, our house is their house and they stand at the fence and shout for my father when they want to come over, because they're not allowed to climb the wall unsupervised.

E spoils the dog rotten, to my father's consternation. C causes my mother to break out the teacher voice and then charms her the next minute. S is so solemn and shy that the day she sat beside my father on the sofa he rang all of us to share the news. M ... well, the Christmas Eve M was three, she decided she wasn't going home and danced at the top of our stairs proclaiming "You can't catch me, you GREAT BIG LOSERS!" while her pursuing parent laughed helplessly at the bottom.

Sometime around the start of the summer the girls and small cousin Teeny prevailed on my mother to let them have a pirate party, on the grounds that the boys were getting to go camping. Tori got added in on general principles. Sunday was the party. Saturday night my sisters, mother and I got a bit over-excited and made props. Including bandanas for all. My father wisely went and hid in the living room with the cat.

Somewhat carried awayCollapse )

In the end, we wrote them a quest - first a spiderweb treasure hunt for their loot bags and bandanas and maps and most importantly their first clue. Then in to Aunt E next door, dolled up to the nines as the Pirate Queen to be equipped with swords and Haribo. Photos do not do the sheer quantity of sparkles justice.

The Pirate Queen Is Sparklier Than YouCollapse )

In the course of the initial clues, we discovered that S is of a rather literal turn "That is not NOT monsters, that is MY HOUSE", that Tori is excellent at map-reading but terrible at clues, and that MillyMollyMandy may not have had any idea whatsoever what was going on but she was going to follow the big girls, damnit. Also if you arm small girls with swords, they will instantly turn on the adults who gave them swords. They took me down in the front garden. Sister suffered an undignified demise on the stairs. Toddler attempted to behead Eeyore.

Murder and mayhemCollapse )

Overall, I think, a success.
06 July 2014 @ 03:32 pm
I'm watching Thursday's The View. My desire to see what our politicians think they're achieving over-rode my common sense.

I think my brain is melting out my ears.

I still have no idea what they're trying to achieve (well, no, I know what they want, I just don't know what they think they're going to get), I am in the horrible position of agreeing with Gerry Kelly in his thesis that the UUP and DUP are making fools of themselves, (Gerry Kelly, the man who thinks surfing police landrovers is a good plan, thinks you are making fools of yourselves, please think about your life choices), and NONE OF THEM ARE CAPABLE OF SHUTTING UP AND LETTING OTHER PEOPLE TALK. I don't know how Mark Carruthers puts up with it.

As far as I can gather, the Unionist/Loyalist contingent feel the residents are making a fuss over a 'six-minute walk' and should just ignore it. So it's not worth making a fuss over if it happens but it's worth causing substantial disruption to state functions if it doesn't? Either it is no big deal or it isn't. For the love of god, pick one.

And I really hope the new Chief Constable is less naive than he's making out, because so far, every word they've said is code for riot. I'd really like if he'd actually enforce the law, too, but I'm not holding out much hope for that. He's singing the 'The Court of Appeal proved us right' song. So looks like the idiot collectives of Belfast will get to merrily riot and screw up everyone else's lives in the name of human rights.

I want to live somewhere where MY human rights are respected. You know, my freedoms of expression, assembly and association, all of which will be contravened by the police confining me to my home for the benefit of rioters, just in case they might have to actually arrest one of them and we couldn't have that.
09 June 2014 @ 09:30 pm
The TV Licensing Agency rang me back.

Turns out, they had a process. The process crashed and burned. In January, this was brought to their attention and the process was changed.

Do you want to know what the process was?
It went like this:

Person calls to change address.
Person is forced into voice recognition service.
Person tells voice recognition new house number, street and postcode.
Person tells voice recognition new house number, street and postcode again.
Voice recognition system sends person confirmatory text.
Voice recognition has actually failed out.
Recording is sent to ‘overseas’ office.
Recording is listened to, but not understood.
Recording is deleted.
Address is not changed.
Person receives nasty letter six months later.
Person calls up TV Licensing Agency and flips out.
I am more than a little boggled by the fact that they left out a fairly major step when they created this process. Two, actually. Because it’s kind of a dick move to have a foreigner listening for change of address details from the UK. Have they seen the way we spell street names?

Anyhow, in January this was apparently brought to their attention. They changed the system. However, they decided not to bother checking the black hole of calls which had already failed. I found this perturbing. I asked why they thought this was an acceptable thing to do, given that they were in fact leaving me vulnerable to fairly serious legal consequences as a result of their actions? I asked how I was supposed to have found out about this?

I was told I hadn’t been listening to his explanation.


Man, I dislike being told I’m being unreasonable when I ask a perfectly legitimate question. I think if you promise to call back with an explanation of your cock-up, and part of that explanation involves admitting you knew there was a problem in January, the next part should involve why you didn’t do anything about it until I phoned you in June. Since you have a record of the failed calls.

So. There we stand. If you moved house before January 2014, and you used the phone system to change your TV Licence, I suggest checking that they actually did it. And telling them why.