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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Drop some acid.I opened a box of Acetic Acid at work today, to find that three of the bottles were broken. I thought the delivery driver looked a bit spaced out when he arrived, but I had no idea he'd dropped some acid that morning. Anyway, never mind opening a box, by the time I'd finished it smelt like I'd opened a fish & chip shop. But whilst trying not to let my fingers dissolve, and fighting off the urge to eat pickled onions, I have to say I found the whole experience quite romantic. With the amount of crisps Lisa gets through, there's always a whiff of salt & vinegar in the air, so one lungful of fumes and I felt like I was at home with my beloved.

And talking of my beloved, I spoke to Chloe on the phone today, direct from her Essex holiday home. From the way she miaowed, I'd say she's probably very happy. Or possibly my Mum had just trodden on her tail. Either way, she's still alive, which has to be good news.

But not as good as this news from yesterday's Argus...

Whisked Off
That's the last time I criticise Lisa's scrambled eggs.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

This is currently taking place about a hundred yards from my flat...

Party on dude.
That's Kemp Town village, before you ask. And the less said about that apostrophe, the better.

Lisa's currently housebound, due to a combination of heavy pregnancy and the fact that she hasn't washed her hair today, so I was forced to party-on down alone this afternoon. It was very good though. I particularly liked the people twanging longbows while a woman kicked a rastafarian in the face...

Kick me baby, one more time.
Fortunately there was a first aid tent nearby. It was directly opposite the burlesque woman taking her clothes off on stage to the tune of 'I Will Survive'. Sadly I don't have a photo of that.

But I did get a few shots of these people...

No chemistry.
I admire anyone who goes out dressed as a giant speaker.

Anyhoo, guess who that is. Go on, guess. Yes, you're right, it's Astrophysics! Or to put it another way, 8 peice band, Atsro Physics! Two of them had obviously gone to the bar. Unless that's another typo. Spookily enough, they were due to be followed by Mean Poppa Lean (they obviously go everywhere together), but I left before they took to the stage. I wasn't sure I could cope with anything too hi octace.

It was all quite enjoyable anyway, although the most entertaining thing I saw this afternoon was this...

Invasion of the Body Fatters
Somebody call the diet police.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I'd rather have the biscuit.The trouble with pandas is that they're just too damn endangered. In Toys R Us they're practically extinct. Having scoured the cuddly toy aisle for a good twenty minutes, we did find one possibility, but frankly it put the word 'giant' back into Giant Panda, and would have smothered a baby quicker than Chloe.

So we p-p-p-picked up a penguin instead. It's not strictly black and white, but I can always colour in the yellow bits with marker pen.

More successful than our animal wrangling, however, was our attempt to buy a Top 'n' Tail Bowl, which is something I'd never heard of, but which Lisa assures me we need. Possibly because one of her friends has just informed us that he dreamt she gave birth to a cat. (Is it my imagination, or am I basing this entire blog post on Lisa's last comment?)

Anyhoo, if you're wondering why we rushed to Toys R Us last night, instead of crossing town at our leisure in the mid-afternoon sunshine, it's because Brighton's currently in the grip of Fatboy fever. As we speak, twenty thousand people are standing in the road, five minutes walk from my flat, warming up for the musical highlight of the year. That's if you like watching someone press the start button on a record player. So having popped out to Asda at 8am this morning, I'm keeping hold of my parking place til tomorrow.

I did walk down to the beach this afternoon to see what was happening, but they'd fenced off the entire pavement on the seafront side of the road, to stop people like me getting free entertainment. Mind you, judging by the sounds emanating from Madeira Drive, I wasn't missing much.

Anyhoo, my chances of seeing Fatboy might have been Slim, but I did spot some people having a good time...

I think it's an after-show party for Spinal Tap.
If they keep partying that hard, someone's going to put their back out.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Brighton Live started on Wednesday (and finishes tomorrow), so the city's currently chock-a-block with musical talent performing gigs entirely for free. Which explains why I haven't blogged since Tuesday. I've been too busy sitting at home wishing I had the energy to go out.

During last year's event, Lisa and I saw both Chris Difford and Floors & Walls, and this year the four days of concerts feature my beloved Ben Poole (who's now quoting me twice on his MySpace site), and not one, but two (count them) gigs from Floors & Walls. Unfortunately I haven't made it to any of them. For the last two days I've been as tired as a pregnant anaemic sloth who's been up all night with backache. Actually, that reminds me of someone...

To be honest, it's not too late to hit the Floors tonight - they take to the stage a mile from my flat at 7:30pm - but I actually have somewhere far more important to go this evening. I'm off to Toys R Us to buy a panda.

According to Rachel Waddilove, our personal childcare advisor, no nursery should be without a monochrome bear. Well, what she actually says is this:

Panda to my daughter.
So it's pandas all the way in our house. Or zebras. Or possibly I'll just give her a newspaper to read.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Take it from me, you haven't really experienced the true horror of hell until you've spent an afternoon in a traffic jam in Haywards Heath, driving a pharmacy van with the radio stuck on Southern FM. Thank God Nicky Keig-Shevlin's retired, or I might not have made it.

I was expecting a normal afternoon at work, but oh no. I'd barely finished my first chocolate brownie of the day when I was asked to personally save the lives of numerous patients by driving to Haywards Heath, picking up six boxes of intravenous fluids from the Princess Royal Hospital, and delivering them urgently to the Royal Sussex in Brighton. Naturally I said yes. On condition that I could take another brownie.

Anyway, I'm not saying it didn't go according to plan, but to be honest, having been stuck in traffic for half an hour due to roadworks, I could have done without the news that the lift to the Princess Royal pharmacy department is currently out of order, and I'd have to take eleven boxes down the stairs. I eventually got back to work five minutes after I should have left. But still, it was all worth it. Or it would have been, had I not turned up at the Royal Sussex (where I couldn't park due to a laundry truck blocking the service road), only to be told that the Princess Royal had given me the wrong stuff, and my journey had essentially been pointless. You have to laugh.

But in other news, word has reached me from Australia that Big Sis has moved on from bears, snakes, kangaroos and aliens, and is now trying to stroke one of these...

Lone Shark
Apparently she swept up the coast to Broome at the weekend (which she describes as "a bit like Darwin but with water you can swim in"), and having waded out to sea, immediately found herself face-to-face with a shark. According to the lifeguard who dragged her out of the water with most of her limbs still intact, they rarely get shark sightings in those parts. I think the bears must have told it where to find her.

Anyhoo, it's hard to imagine what it must have been like to go for a quiet swim in the sea, only to find yourself staring into the ice cold eyes and gleaming white teeth of a man-eater. But I expect the shark got over it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

It's official: we're under attack. The elephants are marching on the Royal Pavilion (possibly via a trunk road)...

Jumbo Jest
... and even an army of pirates (and short people with blue hair) is powerless to stop them...

Safari, so goody.
It's like Cloverfield all over again. But enough about them, here's a tuba player on stilts...

StiltedI bet he can hit all the high notes.


Ok, back to the elephants. Guess what? They've been ridden by Fergie! I know, they're obviously stronger than they look.

To be honest, I'm not sure if the jumbo-sized bushes were an official part of yesterday's Car Free Day, but they were pretty hard to ignore. Walking through the Pavilion Gardens was like going on safari. Apparently they're part of The Survival Tour, a charity campaign to create more 'wildlife corridors'. Obviously that's something I know all about.

As for the rest of the day's entertainment, there was live music (and not just from people on stilts), painting, cycling, and 'Under Water Hairdos' ("have your hair turned into your favourite sea creature"). I went for the sea urchin look. Then there was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to answer this question:

"Ever wondered just how long Brighton's been a gay town? And why?"

I actually turned up to that one, but having heard that it involved walking around the Pavilion, down to the pier, along the seafront, up to Churchill Square, down through the Lanes, and back to New Road, I decided I wasn't that desperate to know. I'd rather find out over a cup of tea and a doughnut.

I did, however, make it as far as the "sandy beach area in front of Brighton Town Hall complete with deckchairs"...

I wish I'd worn MY pyjamas now...
Although obviously there were no deckchairs. If, however, you'd been standing in that spot three and a half years ago, peering through that very window, you'd have seen me sweating profusely with a camcorder. That's the room in which Lisa's sister got married. And it looks even more romantic now everyone's wearing pyjamas and Kiss Me Quick hats.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Oooh look, it's Lisa!

You can tell it's her from the multipack of Skips in the background.

Yes indeed, while the rest of the world was out partying on Saturday night, I was sat at home in front of Family Fortunes, painting a cast of my girlfriend's body. Sometimes I wonder what I'm doing with my life. I eventually plumped for silver, having rejected gold and bronze in case they made her look too tanned. Lisa's never more than two shades darker than milk, so frankly no one would recognise her with a bronzed bump.

Admittedly you can't see much of the finished masterpiece through the purple haze, but if Lisa hadn't come up with the idea of dressing the thing, no one would be seeing it at all, and we'd be keeping the cast in a cupboard to preserve her modesty. I did ask if I could put it in a sexy crop-top to show off the bump, but oddly Lisa didn't have one in her wardrobe.

Anyhoo, if you're wondering why I waited a week before slapping on a bit of paint, it's because I was worried my cat would start rubbing up against it, and end up looking like the mascot on the bonnet of a Jaguar. But as of yesterday afternoon, this is now a pet-free home. No, there hasn't been a death in the family (although Lisa does struggle to keep pot plants alive), I've actually handed over little Chloe to my Mum for a few weeks.

As previously mentioned on this blog, cats are a bigger threat to children than either Gary Glitter or Calpol, and the safety net I bought from the Pound Shop won't stretch over our Moses basket, so I've had to take drastic action and evacuate Chloe to the countryside. My Mum's going to look after her until the baby's old enough to fight her off with a teething ring. It's a bit of a shame, because Chloe's the only member of this family who likes having her photo taken. This blog will be a poorer place without her.

But anyhoo, time flies when you're having fun, and it's already a year since I met some saxophonists in turbans and Romanians dressed as ducks. A lot's changed since then. The Argus have deleted my article about it, and I no longer have a moustache. But that's not going to stop me doing it all again (apart from the moustache), because today is Car Free Day 2008, and I'm off into town to celebrate Streets For People. It's a bit of a walk though, so I think I might drive.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I was just chucking last week's newspapers into the bin dilligently sorting my recyclables, and I noticed this advert on page 46 of the Sunday People...

Only God loves solicitors.
Are people really allergic to sofas? I had no idea. Frankly Lisa's life wouldn't be worth living. Which I suppose is why they need compensation. I must admit though, since finishing work and taking up residency in front of Jeremy Kyle, Lisa's experienced bruises, sores and shortness of breath. Never mind the late stages of pregnancy, I think we have a cast iron lawsuit on our hands.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The gifts just keep rolling in...

I thought there were only THREE e's in burfdeee..?
Yes indeed, two months after I hit my mid-thirties, Big Sis has finally pulled her finger out and posted my present. She'd already sent me a photo of it of course, but I'm pleased to say that in the flesh it looks even better. I can't believe I thought it was worthless. Its real value must be ten times that.

No, I wouldn't have paid that much to send it either.Interestingly, the postmark on the parcel reveals that my gift was mailed in Bullcreek, which is like Wolf Creek, only rubbish. According to Wikipedia, "The name Bull Creek is also often, but incorrectly, written as the single word 'Bullcreek'". Someone should tell the Australian post office.

Anyhoo, to describe my gift in the words of Big Sis, "IT IS A NEMO!!!!! Not just any plastic fish". It also has a Patent Pending sticker on the bottom, which seems a bit optimistic if you ask me. I can't see people queuing up to copy it. But it's lovely, so thanks Sis, I'll treasure it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Well ok, Lisa wasn't 10cm dilated after all. To be honest, the only labouring she did yesterday was under a misconception. But it's just as well, because it was vitally important I didn't miss work today. The pharmacy manager turns forty tomorrow, and frankly we had more cakes than drugs in stock this morning. We'd only just finished the leftover pizza from last week too.

Anyhoo, cheesecake, chocolate cake and carrot cake are all very well, but you need a bit of variety in your diet, so having polished off those three, I branched out into the world of Eastern European delicacies this afternoon, and sampled some Slovakian chocolates and Hungarian chewing gum. The latter was melon flavoured, so it counts as one of your five a day.

As for presents, the necklace and flowers we organised were very nice, but personally I preferred the gift that I received, courtesy of my colleague's partner, who works in sexual health. And I don't mean he's a gigolo. Well, not as far as I know. Anyway, he took a break from handing out condoms at Lewes Prison, to send me this piece of promotional material:

I Love Syphilis
Apparently Durex are using my name to stop the spread of syphilis. They obviously think I'll put people off sex. But it gets worse...

I Love Phil (Love is blind)??? I've never been so offended in my life. Just because I can eat six kinds of cake in one day, doesn't mean I'm unattractive.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I don't have a lot of time here - Lisa's taken to the sofa this afternoon, looking peeky with a bad back. She says she's ok, but just between you and me, I think she's 10cm dilated and putting a brave face on it. I'm typing this with my car keys in one hand.

But the good news is we're now fully prepared, having just completed a raft of baby education seminars. Last night we attended our final HypnoBirthing class in Lewes, so I'm now a dab hand at breathing through contractions. Having pictured myself as a human thermometer and drifted off into relaxation as the temperature dropped, we were led through a positive visualisation which involved chasing an elusive baby deer through an enchanted forest, before emerging into the light, cuddling the deer, and walking off into the sunset. I think there's some kind of metaphor there, but I've no idea what it is. I do have a strange urge to buy Bambi on DVD though.

HypnoBirthing done, I had the morning off work today so that we could attend our one and only free NHS ante-natal class at the Tarner Children's Centre. It was three hours long and we learnt a lot of interesting facts. The main one being that the midwife's 75-year-old godfather is currently cycling from Land's End to John O' Groats in his plimsolls. I'm still not quite sure why she told us that.

Anyhoo, back in the olden days, every expectant mother got a tour of the labour ward and a chat with a midwife. Now you get a fifteen-minute DVD and a photo of the birthing pool. That's what I call progress. It was quite an entertaining film though. Especially when they chose the only male midwife in Brighton to demonstrate the birthing positions.

Having sat through a talk on labour which felt longer than the real thing, we then had an hour of breastfeeding instruction, and a detailed lesson on poo colour. It was all very informative, and we were given our own lifelike doll to practice with. Unfortunately, having held it to her breast for ten minutes, Lisa complained she had a bad back and handed it straight to me. I think it's a taste of things to come.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Lisa and I spent the afternoon at her Mum's yesterday. In addition to eating ice cream, sponge cake and chocolates (which I enjoyed as part of a balanced diet), our visit gave me the chance to read the horoscopes in the Sunday People. So according to top astrologer June Penn (who last year sold her Brighton home for three million), here's what the week ahead has in store for Lisa:

"A newcomer on the scene could be bringing delight and amusement. Socially you will be in demand and can expect quite a few visitors calling".

So it's official: the baby's coming this week, and everyone's turning up at the hospital. Thank god Lisa's bought new pyjamas.

Anyhoo, back in June, during a moment of clarity at the Brighton Baby Expo, I spent twenty quid on a Bump Casting Kit. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Three months on, having waited as late as I dare, organised my entire weekend around this event, and given Lisa no say in the matter, I'm pleased to report that I now have a permanent replica of my beloved's body.

For anyone who can't imagine the scene in my living room at 9pm on Saturday night, here's a working example...

Unfortunately that's as close as you're likely to get to the real thing. I took the decision to mould Lisa's entire torso, from collarbone to waist, and the results are so lifelike that to publish a photo would be like turning this blog into Page 3. Needless to say, I don't have that kind of permission. Well, not unless the money's right.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I'm a bit disappointed with the size of our baby's ears.

Where's Noddy?But at least she's got Lisa's nose.

Anyhoo, earlier this week, in a rare moment when my car was actually working, I decided to buy a new baby seat. We've had our previous one for a good two months now, so it seemed like a good time to splash out. I'd been onto the Britax website, told them I drive a 1998 Skoda Felicia and, when they'd stopped laughing, they recommended the seat on the left. It arrived on Tuesday.

So having read the instructions and practiced strapping a cuddly pig into the seat, I attempted to fit it into my car yesterday morning. I'm not saying it was a saga, but if it had taken any longer, our child would have grown too big to fit into it. The problem is that despite being recommended for my exact make and model of car, my seatbelts aren't actually long enough to go round it.

But after two hours of discussion, experimentation and swearing, we eventually found a solution. Although I still think my idea of just never taking the baby anywhere in the car was better.

It's a mug's game.So having spent the morning longing for the days when you were allowed to drive down motorways with a baby on your lap, Lisa and I jumped on a bus and went into town. Before leaving, I'd been through the Racing Post website, scribbled down the names of thirteen horses, and put £6.40 on the Tote Placepot. I've done it a couple of times before, but I never seem to find the time these days. Anyone would think I have a job and a baby on the way.

Anyway, the reason for our trip into town was to get Lisa fitted for a nursing bra. They refused to do it a month ago on the grounds that she wasn't lactating, but now that she's on the verge of labour, they're willing to get out a tape measure. Unfortunately September's obviously a popular time for bra-fittings, and all the seats in Bravissimo were taken, so rather than stand for half an hour while a stranger man-handled Lisa's breasts, I headed for the nearest charity shop.

Which would have been a good idea, were it not for the fact that the Brighton Food Festival is on at the moment, and the streets are filled with people selling free-range oysters and organic pheasant. Having spent ten minutes trying to walk fifty yards down the road, and come close to being trampled by a few hundred foodies, I was just about ready to give up and go home.

But fortunately God sent me a sign...

IT'S A SIGN!A new shop has opened in North Street, and something tells me I'm their target customer. It's surprising how therapeutic a cup of tea and medicinal donut can be. I had the 'New York, New York', stuffed with cheesecake filling and covered in biscuit crumb. Frankly it should be available on the NHS. Although I already eat enough cakes at work.

Anyhoo, the donut perked me up just enough to enable me to escort Lisa around Boots for an hour. How anyone can spend that long in one shop, I have no idea. I've never even worn boots for that long. By the time we'd finished I could barely lift our basket, but by way of compensation, Lisa's purse was a good deal lighter.

From there we staggered to M&S for some labour ward pyjamas, before collapsing onto a bus and returning home, where I checked the racing results and found that I'd won £65.88. The three bras I bought Lisa cost me £76. I knew I should have staked another pound.

Friday, September 12, 2008

One of the constant joys of my life is the regular contact I have with AA men. My social life wouldn't be half as interesting if I had a reliable car. It's barely two weeks since I listened to death metal in the Lidl car park with a bloke from Eastern Europe, but I've already had the chance to meet someone new. And for the fourth time in a year, it was a very nice man.

So there I was, reversing uphill into a parking space outside the pharmacy stores at thirty-seconds-to-nine this morning, when my car stalled. And wouldn't restart. It's done this before, and like a brattish child, if you ignore it for five minutes, it tends to get bored, give up, and agree to start. So I ran indoors and asked my boss to help me push it onto the naughty step.

We returned one minute later to find that (a) someone had taken my parking space, and (b) the owner of the car in front had emerged from the hospital needing to leave urgently, and found a blue Skoda broken down at her rear bumper, totally blocking her exit.

The next ten minutes are a bit of a blur, but I do remember that in a feat of superhuman strength, my boss and I somehow managed to push my car up a hill without losing our footing and getting run over, while the unknown woman got herself into a state, forgot how to drive, and ended up having to ask us to move her car out of the car park for her. I felt a bit guilty. If she wasn't at the hospital for her nerves, she certainly will be after this.

Anyhoo, despite trying the ignition at regular intervals throughout the morning, it never did start, so at 12:15 I rang the AA, and with perfect timing, they arrived five minutes before my lunch break. I have to say, of all the many AA men I've met, this one was definitely my favourite. We spent a good twenty minutes chatting about babies and the joys of raising girls, and as a bonus he even fixed my car. The problem turned out to be a blown fuse. But not the same fuse that blew last year for no reson. It makes you wonder wy.

As it turned out though, this AA man did a lot more than fix my car. He restored my sanity. For the past six months, my Skoda's been making a slight rasping, rattling noise every time I accelerate, but as luck would have it, no one else in the world seems to be able to hear it. It's been examined by friends, relatives, and even a mechanic, but everyone seems to think I'm making it up.

Today, however, in his search for the cause of my dodgy ignition, the AA man happened to notice that my oxygen sensor was loose. I couldn't believe it. I didn't even know I had an oxygen sensor. So having replaced my fuse, started my car, and bonded over baby chat, he offered to fix that as well. A few turns of a spanner, and I drove home for lunch - minus the rattling noise I've lived with since March. My engine's now purring like a kitten, and sounding better than it has for years. I should probably sell the thing before it breaks down again.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The trouble with not blogging for four days is that people are going to think Lisa's gone into labour, and I'm hanging about with hot towels at the hospital. Fortunately that's not the case. Although we did think the baby was coming last night. I'd explain why, but I don't want to put anyone off their dinner.

As it happens, I've had a busy few days. Sunday was spent turning the airing cupboard into a nappy storage area, whilst simultaneously tending to Lisa, who went out on Saturday night to meet her sister, strolled two hundred yards down the road, and promptly walked into a bench. Apparently she didn't see it coming. Which is particularly ironic as it was right outside the Sussex Eye Hospital. Lisa's been waiting for her pregnancy to enter a purple patch, and finally it's here - just below her left knee, and very painful to touch. So when people talk about Lisa's bump, they're no longer referring to the baby.

As for Monday, that saw the third of our four HypnoBirthing classes in Lewes. The course leader was slightly concerned that our baby might refuse to stay inside Lisa for another week, so she decided to cover the breathing techniques required for birth. I proved to be particularly good at it, so labour should be a breeze for me.

We were also told about a restaurant in America where they can apparently induce labour using nothing but an aubergine. And not by sticking it where you might imagine. You actually put it in the oven. So if there's no sign of a baby by October, I'll be spending my paternity leave in the kitchen.

Yesterday's excitement was a visit from my mother, who came down to Brighton on behalf of my brother. As the owner of this flat, he's naturally keen to find out just how much money he's lost in the recent property crash, so he sent my Mum to meet a few estate agents for some inside information. Having shown three of them around my flat, the good news is that if my brother had sold it eighteen months ago, he'd have made enough profit to buy his own island in the sun. The bad news is he'd now be lucky to get a copy of The Sun. But hey, I'm still glad I moved here, and that's what counts.

Anyhoo, back in April I mentioned chatting about babies with an I.T. trainer who knew someone who'd fainted at a scan. Well, five months on, she's handed in her notice and is off to work at a branch of Lloyds (the pharmacy, not the bank). That's the bad news. The good news is that we got to say goodbye to her via the medium of free pizza and cake. I spent most of today handing out cancer drugs whilst surrounded by balloons, streamers and Pizza Hut boxes. I almost had to answer the phone halfway through a lemon meringue pie.

But when the lady left at half past four, she said that if the people at her next job are half as nice as us, she'll be very happy. She then told me to keep her updated on the baby, and promptly burst into tears. I felt like doing the same. No one brings in cakes like she does. I'm going to miss her terribly.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Well the good news is I've thoroughly cleaned the Moses basket, bought a new mattress, and set it all up in the bedroom, where Lisa's now finding it very useful for keeping clothes in. We're actually struggling at the moment to keep our heads above the waterline of a tide of baby stuff which has been sweeping through the flat since Thursday night when I visited Sainsbury's, discovered they're currently offering a third off all baby products, and decided to buy up half the shop. Frankly I'm hoping our daughter's incontinent, because I think we have enough nappies to last her til she's 18.

The past forty-eight hours have been spent trying to find room for it all, but at 10am this morning I took a break from filling a bin bag with Lisa's possessions, and popped down to Asda for a bit of retail therapy. I've been in sole charge of grocery acquisition for the past six weeks, since Lisa became too pregnant to reach the handles of a shopping trolley, and overall it's been a good thing. I can do the entire weekly shop in the same amount of time she'd spend browsing the crisp aisle, and be home before she finishes her relaxation exercises.

Unless, of course, I meet a woman at the checkouts and decide to go back to her place. It happens more often than you might think. Well, it happened this morning. I was just emerging from the frozen food section at Asda with two of Lisa's regular requests - a WeightWatchers ready meal and a box of Soleros - when who should I see loading freshly baked cookies onto the conveyor belt, but the pharmacy stores supervisor, and the only woman ever to push me at high speed towards a walk-in fridge on a gas-powered swivel chair. That was one day I won't forget.

Naturally she can't afford a car on an NHS salary, so I did the decent thing and offered her a lift home. I thought it might be good for my career. She in turn offered me a cup of tea and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet her husband. Naturally I accepted. Although I would have preferred a cookie.

Anyway, her husband turned out to be lovely, and he and I got on famously. His first words to me were "How on earth do you cope, working with that every day?". It's shocking the lack of respect some people have for their partners. I was quite taken aback. But I told him it's a doddle. Let's face it, after living with Lisa, mad women hold no fear for me.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

This bit of paper came fluttering out of a box at work today...

It's ironic, because their call centre's in Milton Keynes.
Supaiya. I bet she's a bit of a Goa. I think I'll send the slip back and ask her what 18 x 6 x 10 x 1015 is, before I start trying to count them all.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Sometimes you just don't realise how many blessings you have to count. Whilst relaxing at work today with a cup of tea and a slice of pear cake (the diet went out the window on Lisa's birthday, and frankly never came back in), I was informed that the keyring I received yesterday wasn't just a keyring. Oh no. Apparently you can also insert it into the pound coin slot of a supermarket trolley. Which is obviously fantastic news, because I never like turning up at Lidl with cash in my pocket in case I get mugged. On the downside, it means you have to wander the aisles with your car keys dangling from your trolley, right in front of people from the Whitehawk estate who've just spent their dole money on a half-price chainsaw. Frankly it's asking for trouble. But I'll let you know how I get on.

Basket CaseAnd on the subject of blessings, Lisa saw the lovely Lorraine yesterday, and I'm pleased to say we now have a Moses basket. This is what it looked like six months ago before Lorraine's daughter moved in. To be honest, little Leia was still sleeping in it until a couple of days ago, when Lorraine decided our need was greater than hers, and turfed her out into a cot. Mind you, I've seen the cot and it's worth more than my car, so I don't think she'll mind.

We need to buy a new mattress, and we've been asked to return it if Lorraine produces baby number two, but other than that it's perfect. On the downside, having removed the lining and stuck it in the washing machine, I noticed some kind of small dried spillage in the bottom of the basket, in what can only be described as a worrying shade of brown. Lisa suggested that it might be chocolate, but refused to be the one to taste it. Having spent a good ten minutes pondering how the bodily fluids of a baby could have got past a nappy, a bedsheet and a two-inch thick mattress, I eventually came up with an explanation. Based on past experience, I think I can name the culprit.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

It's been a day of death and tragedy at work today. One of my colleagues told me that an old friend of his had apparently woken up dead over the weekend. I've heard of Sunday morning lie-ins, but that's taking it too far. She wasn't even ill.

Sadly the same can't be said for the local Avon lady, who called into the pharmacy this morning to tell me that she'd forgotten to bring the forty quid's worth of stuff I'd ordered for Lisa, but that she'd pop back with it later, after she'd been for a routine doctor's appointment.

If I was living in a soap opera, that statement would have been accompanied by some ominous music, followed by an inevitable twist and the EastEnders drums. As it was, I found myself taken by surprise when she returned two hours later in floods of tears, saying that her GP had listened to her description of headaches and slurred speech, given her a thorough examination, and immediately booked her in for an overnight hospital stay, complete with emergency brain scan this afternoon. Fortunately she managed to hand over Lisa's order before she left, but even so, I expect the woman's had better days.

Up until then, I thought I'd been having a bad day, but funnily enough, being asked to load forty-one boxes into the back of the pharmacy van in the pouring rain whilst wearing a red NHS jacket that makes me look like Santa Claus, didn't seem quite so bad after hearing about everyone else's morning. I need to start counting my blessings.

So on that note, I'd just like to say how thrilled I am with the free pen-holder, keyring and pen given to me this afternoon by a drug company rep in the mistaken belief that I might have some kind of purchasing power in the NHS.

IDIS, therefore I am.
The pen's for writing all those cheques.
A typical healthcare professional.
Anyhoo, I like IDIS. Their website's filled with lovely pictures like this one, accurately illustrating what people who work in pharmacies actually look like. Notice the glasses in her top pocket to imply she's intelligent. Personally I spend most of my days smiling at bottles of medicine with a clipboard in my hand, so I know how she feels. She just needs a blue plastic pen-holder and a bright scarlet jacket, and we'd be like two peas in a pod.