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Showing posts from December, 2009

Who do you think you are kidding?

The older mini-W was keen on buying a goat for Christmas - one of the 'living gifts' that charities invite you to send to the developing world. Delighted at her early sense of social responsibility, I said that if she saved up enough pocket money to buy one of the trusty ruminants, I would get one too. It was a kind of BOGOF deal with a benevolent twist. Little did I know that I was about to enter a world of extreme kitsch. On the Oxfam website , our goat 'couple' is pictured dressed for a wedding. Mrs Goat is wearing a veil, while the groom proudly boasts a top hat. All that's missing is the Best Goat making his after-dinner speech. 'Go on,' the excitable copywriter urges us. 'Do it for the kids!' It's good to know that the animals we're sending are happily married, as co-habiting goats are probably frowned upon in many parts of the developing world. Two goats of the same sex would be absolutely out of the question, even if there had been so

Nothing like the taste of hedgerow...

I have my doubts about the decision by M&S to name one of its jam products 'Hedgerow Conserve'. While the berries that come from the typical English hedgerow may be very tasty, I'm not sure I want to be reminded of the hedgerow itself. After all, I don't add Orchard Sauce to my roast pork, do I? Or wolf down Field Yogurt, for that matter. Where does it all end? Abatoir Nuggets?

My work-related travel during 2009

View Where I've worked in 2009 in a larger map One of the things I've enjoyed the most about self-employment over the past few years is the opportunity to travel more with my work. I've covered a fair bit of ground within the UK during 2009 and also managed a couple of short trips to Milan and Paris. Thanks to everyone who's made me feel welcome. I look forward to new friendships and business partnerships in 2010.

Christmas wrapped up

I've noticed that furniture store DFS doesn't just sponsor individual yuletide programmes on ITV. It sponsors the whole of Christmas. Maybe there's an appropriate sponsor signed up for Easter too? Pontins perhaps? Or Mr Kipling.

Spirits moving with the times

I've long wondered why spirits communicate through mediums. It seems a remarkably inefficient and old-fashioned method of contacting the living. Just imagine that you found yourself in the afterlife and were able to move freely through time and space, unencumbered by the restrictions of corporeal form. If you wanted to make a guest appearance in a haunted house or historic National Trust property, I guess that would be your prerogative. No one would be surprised if you decided to move some furniture around or maybe wander up and down a staircase. But when it comes to conveying a meaningful message to an earthbound former acquaintance, it seems that you're stuck. It's a case of join the queue at the Living TV studios and hope that Colin Fry doesn't get held up in a traffic jam. Very often, if you do make contact, you only come through faintly. It must be a little like shouting through a brick wall with a sock in your mouth. Odd snatches of conversation make their way thr

Sold a pup

Copy on an M&S poster: 'We believe in sustainable fishing. Hook, line and sinker.' Err... doesn't this mean that they have been told a lie about sustainable fishing and have been gullible enough to believe it? Or am I just a little too much of a perfectionist when it comes to this kind of thing?

Tales from the gym...

Overheard a middle-aged guy talking to his personal trainer about India. The customer was planning a trip to the sub-continent on the advice of his brother, who'd spent four months trekking around. "Once you get over the begging, it's fine," he said, relaying the frank advice he'd obviously been given. Personally, I wouldn't get over the begging, which is one of the reasons I'm not inclined to go. Who has the more morally dubious position, do you suppose? The first-world tourist who swans around a poverty-stricken part of the world and blots out what he sees? Or the one who stays at home because he doesn't want to see it in the first place? Meanwhile, a number of ladies were in the pool for an aqua aerobics class. They were working out to Shalamar and Odyssey, although I judged by their ages that Bill Haley & The Comets might have been more appropriate. I swam on the other side of the pool, the only man brave enough to intrude - even remotely - o

Thanks, Lucy...

Lucy is O2's online avatar. You can send her a question and she'll do her best to respond in real time. I asked whether the network was down, as people were getting a 'fault' message when they dialled my iPhone. Here's her instantaneous reply: "You are allocated an anniversary date the first time you top-up your Online Pay & Go account with £10 or more. This anniversary date is when your free 300 text messages or 75 media messages starts, and your 300 minutes of WAP allowance starts. If you wish to keep the same anniversary date, you need to top-up your account with a minimum of £10 each month at least 48 hours before your anniversary date..." The shame of it. I'm not even on pay and go. I have a proper contract and everything. But I like the concept of having an anniversary with O2. Provided, of course, that people are actually able to ring me between one annual celebration and the next.

Fancy a drink this Christmas? Sell your house...

A local estate agent is offering a crate if wine to anyone who puts their house on the market during the Yuletide festivities. You can just imagine those conversations, can't you? 'We need another load of booze for the party, love. I'm just nipping down the offy.' 'Wait a second, sweetheart. It says here we can get a crate of plonk for free. We only need to sell our house.' 'Hey, that sounds too good to be true. Let me have a look...'