Disciplinary Hearings

8 10 2013


This evening FFOMC and I were chatting to a friend about the disciplinary processes of major retailers.

I know what you’re thinking – that’s very serious…

But no, we found that we were in agreement about the fact that the approach to even minor infringements and the language used to describe the procedures was quite melodramatic. With that in mind we considered how the use of music could further enhance the experience.

It cannot be such a stretch on resources for a company already in possession of a tannoy system to have some theatrical type transmitting news of such calamities to the store? I thought that the addition of an electric keyboard could provide the odd Da…da…daaaaaaaa sound affect to create atmosphere and set the mood.


Imagine how much more entertaining a visit from loss prevention would be if heralded by the Jaws music…

…or a manager catching a staff member in the act of misconduct being rewarded by the familiar Eastenders theme.

The Benny Hill music would make a great choice when chasing thieves from the premises.

Being booked in for a disciplinary hearing should surely be accompanied by the sound track to the Bill.

There must be a million possible scenarios that would be improved by the appropriate musical accompaniment.


What options would you add?




The future father of my children…has Man Flu

26 09 2013

Man Flu

After a very successful open evening I returned home at the unreasonably late time of 9:30pm to discover FFOMC flat on his back on the sofa, nose streaming, eyes puffy and showing all the symptoms of man flu.

As any woman who has ever had to put up with this condition will know – the symptoms go way beyond a sniffle, temperature and slightly raised temperature. In fact according to the great little chart I discovered online, only 2% of the time spent by the sufferer are devoted to experiencing flu like symptoms.

A further 17% of the time spent suffering this condition is devoted to the incessant groaning and writhing of a man suffering. This is an important element as it guarantees that the woman in said man’s life will not have a moment when she can forget that her beloved is feeling poorly. Of course any acknowledgement by the woman of the groaning and writhing will lead naturally to the16% of a typical man flu when the man immerses himself in the process of describing the symptoms in detail, down to colour and consistency of mucus, scratchiness of the throat and suggestions of the favoured brand of ice cream that is believed may help alleviate the symptoms.

Now that the woman is fully in the picture of the gravity of the situation and the high risk of an early demise that accompanies the condition she is of course obliged to  address the 25%  of the man’s time demanding sympathy.

As FFOMC has sadly had man flu before and I have had an extremely long day at school resulting in a lower tolerance threshold than usual, I am going to bed enabling him to treat his ailment by taking up residence in front of the TV.

Good night all – I wish you good health and the absence of man flu in your own homes – but beware, I understand it is VERY CONTAGIOUS.


What Baby?

24 08 2013


We can all be guilty of making poor decisions.

Sometimes the worst kinds are those designed to protect other people.

I found myself making just such a poor decision whilst holidaying in the Dominican Republic.

It was the second day. FFOMC and I were searching for a table in the buffet restaurant for breakfast. It was rammed with people but we tumbled upon a table that had recently been vacated by its previous occupants and was being made up by one of the countless waitresses swarming between the crowds of hungry tourists.

I loitered next to the table to communicate my intention to occupy the table as soon as it was ready whilst FFOMC went in search of coffee, toast and tropical fruit juice.

The waitress (whose name tag read Vanessa), smiled and acknowledged my presence. She politely inquired about my health on that particular morning, cupping her stomach with one hand whilst she skilfully arranged cutlery with the other. I nodded that I was in good health.

The next question came as something of a shock.

“And how is the baby?”

In a heartbeat my mind raced through a number of subsequent thoughts.  What f**king baby? Do I look fat in this outfit? Who do you think I am? Do I have a pregnant doppelganger? Are you mocking me? How embarrassed will you be when you realise I am not in actual fact pregnant?

Having made similar errors in the past of enquiring about pregnancy and due dates with non-pregnant woman, my heart clenched in sympathy for this woman so desperate to please and engage with guests. Despite the multitude of responses competing in my brain, my overwhelming gut reaction was to spare the poor woman’s feelings and save her from embarrassment – after all she does not know me and after a fortnight was never likely to see me again. Even so, the response that issued from my mouth surprised even me;

“The baby’s fine.”

I don’t know what I expected but of course this was not the end of this conversation.

“Is it a boy or a girl?”

“Err…it’s really much too early to say”

(Gushing) “Oh…you must be so excited – it will be a wonderful surprise”

“More than you can possibly imagine…”

I had a lovely morning breakfast. As a “Mum-to-be” I was treated like royalty by the gushing staff and received approving, knowing nods of approval from the waiters. FFOMC laughed when I explained the reason for these knowing glances and rolled his eyes in merriment. Yes for an hour or so, I enjoyed being “pregnant”.

However, my amusement was short lived.

After a sinfully blissful day of drifting aimlessly between my sun lounger where I caught up on the romantic exploits of Damien Stark and my time in the Jacuzzi FFOMC and I dressed for dinner and made our way to dinner followed by the bar. As I was about to place my order for my usual red wine I met the beaming face of the lovely Vanessa. Despite my earlier reassurance that I would not ever see this woman again after my annual fortnight in the sun; I baulked at the idea of being branded the world’s worst parent as I necked wine by the gallon load putting my “unborn child” at unnecessary risk.

This was the start of a very long fortnight.

We ate at the buffet restaurant and all three of the Al La Carte restaurants in no particular order. At each venue we were greeted with Vanessa’s smiling face.

I abstained from ordering alcohol in her presence. I approached other waiters when her back was turned and took large gulps under the table when she went into the kitchen to collect food orders. I guzzled water and soft drinks when she was in my sight lines and refused to partake of the liqueur trolley when it was wheeled to our table.

It became a standing joke with the holiday friends we made and this farcical routine continued until the day we left.

All in all it was a great holiday but for much of it, I was significantly more lucid than I had intended to be.

On my return to England I have thrown out the offending outfit that resulted in this gross misunderstanding and I am hell bent on catching up on lost units.


Time to de-fraggle my laptop

11 07 2013


My laptop is driving me mad. It does not share my sense of urgency and as such it is being ridiculously slow.

This evening, in a bid to stop me throwing the offending item out of the window of my second floor flat – FFOMC patiently pointed out that I do no maintenance or “clean-ups” to improve my laptops performance.

I have absolutely no idea what this means.

However, I am reliably informed that my laptop needs to be de-fraggled.

This advice confused me a little. My knowledge of the Fraggles stems back to my childhood and as I recall, Fraggle Rock was a based in a fairly complex world featuring different species coexisting in a fictional land. It was clearly allegorical and raised issues about society, identity, prejudice and conflict resolution. The Fraggles share their home in Fraggle Rock with the tiny Doozers and the giant Gorgs.

My memories are a little fuzzy but I do vaguely remember some good natured mischievousness – although the “good natured” part may have depended on which species you were personally backing.

The overall concept of the show does not sound entirely unlike my laptop. Beneath its battered maroon case: applications, network drives and various programs, all coexist in an uneasy truce of sorts. But as is the case in all environments playing host to multiple species – conflict is inevitable and never far from the surface.

Ideally I want all these aspects of the virtual life of my laptop to operate effectively and for all systems to function and flourish in perfect harmony. But that is not always the case. Apparently as my laptop flickers to life, each time I start it up, all of these systems compete for supremacy. This is causing my laptop to be extremely slow and evidently hampering its performance. But the challenge is to work out what systems to remove?

FFOMC isn’t touching this problem with a bargepole.

Maybe it is time for a de-fraggle – I might miss Red and Boober – but at least the Doozers and Gorgs may stand a chance without them.

The future father of my children…is a modern day Sampson

26 06 2013

Sampson and Delilah

When my parents first met my husband to be, my mother was deeply upset to discover that her potential future son-in-law came with an accessory she did not care for – his ponytail.

As long as I have known him FFOMC has had long hair and I absolutely love it.

At one point he even had dreadlocks following one of our early holidays together to Morocco – on our return flight we were stopped at every single check point and he was all but strip searched.

We were both a little emotional when the dreads had to be cut out, and my mother harboured a – not so secret – wish that he commit, on a long term basis, to a short back and sides. But after the trauma of the shortest hair cut he had in many years, his hair continued to grow and by the time of our wedding he could have taken work as a Kurt Cobain lookalike. It is not the “done thing” in Northern Ireland for men to require a hairdresser to straighten their shoulder length hair on the morning of their wedding and my family were running a book on the likelihood of Mum sneaking into his room at night with a razor. He looked amazing on our wedding day so handsome.

During the speeches FFOMC’s hair and goatee beard were mentioned by most speakers and my good friend got a fantastic laugh from all of our guests when he outlined the reasons that I was too good a catch for a mere mortal and was a worthy partner for a god – but at least I had married someone who looked like the son of God.

I often wonder, if like Sampson, FFOMC’s strength lies in his manly locks. If he were to cut his mane I wonder if he would be less humorous, less attentive, less patient, or less loving. Clearly this is not a risk worth taking.

So long live the ponytail!

General Fluffy McMuffin

22 06 2013

General Fluffy McMuffin

People come up with the most ridiculous names for their pets.

The title of tonights post is the most recent in a long list of names that owners have come to regret with the passage of time.

The probem is giving young children the responsibility of naming family pets. Children can be incredibly creative and they read adorable books with comedy animals with daft names.

I remember a friend holding her head in shame as she described her embarrasment one evening when her Gobolina had gone missing and she stood by her garden gate for hours calling to the great amusement of her neighbours.

Even the children aged 4-6 who I was teaching today found great amusement in the name General Fluffy McMuffin.

One does wonder if the pets in question would approve of such names of if they would prefer something more mainstream like Steve or Karen.


The future father of my children…wants a “baby cage”

20 06 2013


There has been an ongoing dialogue in my household about who would be the principal carer for any future offspring.

FFOMC is desperate to become a house husband and mentions this quite frequently. It is a topic of conversation usually raised first thing in the morning, immediately after he has staggered out of bed and is confronted with the prospect of a day at the office. This does bring into question his motives.

I have been wondering how he plans to manage childcare, the responsibilities for maintaining our house and still find time to feed his gaming addiction.

That was until he let it slip last night that while he was otherwise occupied the baby would be in its baby cage.





Sufficient to say that my concern about his suitability for parenthood may be justified!

Game of Thrones Exhibition

15 06 2013

Iron Thone

Dear Game of Thrones,

I am terribly sorry that I had to do this by letter and please realise that this is harder for me that it will be for you; but our relationship just isn’t working out for me. It didn’t have to end this way, but due to your conduct lately I feel it needs to be done. If I am totally honest I feel betrayed and your latest screw up is the final straw.

I take none of the responsibility for this, as it is entitely your fault that we must go our separate ways. To be honest I have always felt like second best. After all, you only ever came to me after being with your American viewers – yes I do know about that, and I have always known, but still I forgave you because I always felt so good when we were together.

I feel you have neglected me and that is what is keeping me from being able to continue this toxic & obsessive relationship. Of course it will not take you long to move on and find a new conquest – probably from Toronto, New York, Sao Paolo, Amsterdam or Belfast, someone that can deal with you standing them up; like when you disappeared for a whole week mid season. And don’t think I have forgotten your cruel practical joke on April 1st, when you lied to me and said that Peter Dinklage was to be replaced by Warwick Davis. In fact it seems that you always disappear for months on end and expect to find me waiting for you when you eventually return to grace me with your presence.

But the final straw was when I learned of your G.O.T. exhibition, you cannot begin to understand my disappointment. Oh yes, I’ve seen the photos, they’re all over the damn internet. It looks like a fabulous time was had by all – including my little sister – how could you? Yes I have seen the pictures she posted on Facebook; looks like she made herself quite comfortable on the Iron Throne when you were in Belfast.

But I am not a jealous person, I applauded your success and immediately after discovering the existence of the exhibition I happily tapped away at my laptop trying to find out how I could attend to show my support, only to discover that I was to be excluded.

I will miss our Monday nights together. Remember the time you introduced me to Drogo? Or the Whitewalkers? I was there for the birth of the dragons and of course there was the time that you took me to the Red Wedding.

I am glad we are going in our separate directions. In time we may be friends again – perhaps in time for the next season. No doubt you will not struggle to find someone new who will love you as I have done.

I wish you happiness and success.


If you want to read about the G.O.T. exhibition look here: http://game-of-thrones-exhibition.com/

If you need to draft a break up letter to someone look here: http://www.dumb.com/breakups/

10 Steps to amazing weight loss in under 6 months!

19 04 2013

drop a dress size

Just follow these simple steps to drop a dress size in just under 6 months and you to can look and feel as good as I do!

STEP 1: Arrive at work after your summer break only to discover that your line manager, (who has been successfully running the department with OUTSTANDING results for over 30 years), has been signed off ill and will be absent for a minimum of 4 months.

STEP 2: Foolishly agree to step into her shoes and take on her job role on a temporary basis.

STEP 3: Negotiate for several months before receiving any financial recognition that usually accompanies the additional responsibility, stress and workload.

STEP 4: Wave goodbye to any sensible or managable work/life balance.

STEP 5: Recognise that all of the paperwork you had previously rejected as an arduous and pointless waste of your personal time, is in actual fact – the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT aspect of your job role.

STEP 6: Accept that it is your destiny to remain on your laptop until midnight EVERY night. To maintain this you must be prepared to substitute you preferred (expensive) energy drink with a low quality, store only brand, that is inexpensive – but extremely high in caffeine.

STEP 7: Invest the money you save by buying additional vitamin suppliments and high quality concealers in bulk as you will need these to disguise your general ill health, pasty complexion, skin blemishes and constant exhaustion (evident because of the ever growing bags under your increasingly sleepy eyes).

STEP 8: Ditch your entire wardrobe as your waist-line will decrease at an alarming rate.

STEP 9: Check out upcoming job opportunities for malnourished size zero models.

STEP 10: Realise that without noticing; you have dropped an entire dress size and at least a stone in weight without even trying (in the process, rendering your entire wardrobe virtually useless). As everyone you come into contact with will tell you that you are looking extremely well, you will of course accept your new svelt figure. Pacified by this, you will spend an increased amount of your morning attempting to hide your sunken cheeks, ignore your contast hunger pangs and find the (previously) tightest fitting outfit that you own, all the while expending a lot of energy trying to remember how on earth you ended up in this position.

Or otherwise: Live healthy, be strong and realsie that there is more to life than work!

Happy Birthday Buttercup!

11 04 2013

Lynne and Buttercup

My gorgeous car Buttercup is a year old and in for her first proceedure today.

I experienced the trepidation of any parent entrusting the care of their baby to a stranger as I reluctantly handed over my keys and I reflected on our first year together. Between you and me, she wasnt planned, she was an accident. The product of a foolish impulsive decision to go shopping – I have only been in a car showroom once in my life, I promise! And I only ended up there because it was sunny and I didnt want to stay indoors. But truth be told, when I look at her now I feel no sense of regret.

From her first hesitant stutter as we pulled out of the forecourt together – we had a special bond.

She has been good for me. She asks so little in return. She does not guzzle petrol. She does not feel like a tank where she turns a corner. She does not splutter and groan and whine for the duration of every journey.

Lately she has been a little grizzley, so despite my nerves as I watch the clock waiting for news, I am lifted by the hope that the underlying cause will be discovered and corrected – however painful the cost. In the last year she has had her knocks and mishaps which were hard for me to bear witness to and brought a tear to my eye. Recently a small chip on her windscreen had to be treated and a confrontation with a brick wall some months ago has left a scar on her right hand side door. But to me she will always be beautiful.

As I waited anxiously for my taxi to return me home while I wait for news, I witnessed a strange man behind her wheel, steering her into the operating room and I uttered a quick prayer “Please be gentle with her”.

My husband only has limited access with her and must be supervised at all times. I am concerned that when he eventually passes his driving test he will want to have a car with me, something that is ours and not just mine, and Buttercup may end up being neglected and sidelined. I cannot imagine allowing this to happen but we will cross that junction when we come to it.

Happy Birthday Buttercup. May you be returned to me with a clean bill of health and your flawless service history intact.