31 January 2008

An odd one

A rather bizarre day, in which I have:
  • written a 500-word article about the dangers of spyware
  • dealt with a query about tin openers (not this one, but similar)
  • made (and eaten) meatloaf
  • taken M swimming, in what is possibly the coldest swimming pool in the world (not helped by the fact that the toddler pool is only 30cm deep)
Ah, the dichotomy of work/home life...

Actually, while I'm on the subject of leisure centres, have you noticed how they always have the unhealthiest looking cafe attached? The one in Byker did a roaring trade in chips, and stank of burgers. I'm not convinced this is the way to encourage the residents' healthy eating habits...

24 January 2008

Handbags at dawn

Pick your sides now....I'm voting for the right to veer wildly from side to side, as they've both got good arguments.

I agree with Clair's last point - the kids I like best (aside from my own one, natch) are the ones I like for themselves, not their parents.

21 January 2008


I do like a good rummage through the sales. It's hilarious seeing what shops are prepared to reduce things to, and gives you a good idea of the horrendous mark-up that's going on. As an inveterate TKMaxx shopper (friends, family, everyone...that's where all your Christmas presents came from) I hate paying full price for things any more, so it's a chance to stash away a few things for birthdays later in the year.

I pottered round Newcastle on Saturday morning, but didn't find anything appealing. Even at £10, most things were still awful - tops that looked like sacks, trousers at half mast. But then I remembered the M&S Penny Bazaar in the Grainger Market. It's a rummage and a half, that one - lots of boxes of assorted undies, clothes flung on rails in size (ish) order, and some lovely ladies run off their feet behind the counter. I came out with an Autograph cami (£1), and a beautiful lime green shot silk Autograph shirt (£3), that will look great with a belt.

The Grainger Market's an interesting one - there's things you'd expect like fruit and veg stalls, endless butchers etc and then an original Weigh House (does what it says on the tin - you go in, pay your fee, stand on the scales, and find out how much you weigh) and zany stuff like a Dr Martens shop. Stephen McClarence for The Times quite likes it as well (and you're right, Stephen - we should have won the Capital of Culture bid. How Liverpool managed to do it is beyond me.)

18 January 2008

Go Grrl

I do like the bit about the princess in the tower (scroll to the very end). And I'm quite keen on the idea of hiding all the lads mags at the newsagents behind copies of Good Housekeeping or Cross Stitch Monthly.

16 January 2008

Work-related stuff: journo words

Graeme Whitfield's got it so right - I hate journalese.

Sadly, years ago when I worked at the Beeb, I did on occasion use the dreaded 'probe', or 'slams' (as in "Experts slam BBC probe") due to sheer lack of space. It's not really much of an excuse, but when you're tied to such a fiendish system as Ceefax where your headlines are only 39 characters, it's 6.15am and you've got another 7 stories to update before you can go and get some appalling BBC coffee, your principles tend to fall by the wayside.

Great days out in the rain no.947

I'm sure it only ever pours down when we go off on a trip somewhere. This time we set off up north to Edinburgh - yes, I know it's even colder than Newcastle, but this was a birthday surprise for the other half. Not sure he'd have been too surprised with a day out three miles away.

Anyway, things to do in the rain with a small child:

East Coast Main Line: actually getting there on the train was entertaining. Although I'm not sure the rest of the carriage enjoyed the 55th rendition of Skimbleshanks the Railway Cat as much as I did (M is still in her Andrew Lloyd Webber phase, but seems to have moved on from Joseph. Although the "Joseph Man's" signed picture still has pride of place above her bed. But I digress.)

Camera Obscura: M hated the camera itself (to be fair, it was a pretty gloomy day, and you couldn't see an awful lot), but the rest of the building is full of excitement like plasma spheres, mirrors that turn your head into Marge Simpson's, and very odd holograms (giant tarantula, anyone?)

Museum of Childhood: lots of things to play with, as you might expect. And the very Dick Bruna frieze from 1973 that M has in her bedroom on the wall. Although bizarrely theirs has W for Walrus, whereas mine is W for Whale.

Shop: lots of nice ones on Cockburn Street, with some rather funky Highland Coos to play with (and not buy, as we risk being buried under an avalanche of small furry creatures as it is).

Eat pizza: although preferably not at La Rusticana, which was pretty overpriced.

After all that we collapsed in an exhausted heap on the train home. Except for the two-year-old, who was still going strong at 9pm....

08 January 2008


We've just had the most fantastic hailstorm engulf our house, thundering on the roof and lashing against the windows. Rather nice, in a kind of 'I'm nice and warm inside so I don't really mind what it's doing out there as it makes me feel even cosier' sort of way. I'm not sure anyone walking past would have taken the same view, given that there appeared to be about 1m visibility in any direction. But from inside, it was all rather dramatic.

Our house is perched on the side of a hill, with a view down to the twinkling lights of Team Valley and a bend of the river Tyne. Which, does in fact twinkle, if the sun deigns to shine. Hey, it's all twinkles round these parts.

I like looking out of my office window and surveying the landscape, especially the lights - it reminds me on days when I've been sat in front of my computer for hours that there are other folk out there. The view's due to change slightly in the next few months (the college over the road is moving, and the buildings are scheduled for demolition, with new flats/houses/blah planned), but the bit of the Valley that I can see through the gap in the two houses opposite should stay the same.

04 January 2008

Oops. I appear to have mislaid my life. Hang on...there it is, drowning under a sea of work.

I'm temporarily relocated for the evening, surrounded by a roaring log fire, two sleeping children and a snoring cat. Sadly, the work appears to have come with me, so I'm procrastinating by reading the news online and blogging.

You didn't miss much over Christmas. Not that Christmas was terrible, far from it. Lots of presents to send the small one delirious (it really is fun pretending that Santa ate the mince pies, and drank all the whisky), a rattling good time visiting hordes of rellies, and a very sweet Christmas day that involved a bracing walk in the park battling the ravenous geese. But nothing of any national importance to report.

In fact, not much on the telly either. Dr Who not bad, Ballet Shoes ok (but can't compare to the original), and the half hour I watched of Finding Nemo reminded me how much I liked it the first time round. Oh, and Alesha deserved to win Strictly Come Dancing, in this household's opinion. I'm going to miss getting dressed up in my sparkly shoes (it's mandatory in our house) on a Saturday night.