Thursday, 30 September 2010


Okay, so we're all agreed that one use of the apostrophe is to mark contractions - spaces in words where letters have been left out.



So what are we supposed to make of this apostrophe, spotted during a petrol stop at Asda, Cardiff Gate?

It definitely says Drive Thru'.

Er, Drive Thru-what?

Drive Thrush? Drive Thrum? Drive Thruppence?

Drive Thrumwort, Drive Thrutch, Drive Thrum-eyed?

Drive Thrust, perhaps.

Read as an imperative, it might stand for 'Drive Thrummingly', a sensible exhortation for us all to drive in a monotonous manner (the apostrophe being necessary because 'thrummingly' would never fit into that small space).

However, I suspect not.

I would like to meet the person who thought this apostrophe was a good idea, and shake him by the throat.

I'm with the panda on this.

PS It definitely wasn't bird shit.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Flatmate Moved To France Today

Worked late. A busy day.

Dawdled on the way home: admired the view of the river from the top of Rumney Hill; drifted up and down the aisles of Homebase, idly ogling the wares, thinking perhaps I need a Phillips screwdriver because after all, doesn't everybody?

Cooked a decent dinner, for once. Watched Who Wants To Be A Millionaire with the plate perched on my lap. Iceland has no public railway system! Who'd have thought.

Disposed of a behemoth spider sat waiting for me on my bed, with jam jar and a minimum of squealing. Spider, window; window, spider. First attempt failed due to dropping the jam jar when the imprisoned beast crawled at my hand. Second attempt successful after putting sock over the jam jar so the creepy little bastard wouldn't freak me out again.

Booked a bus to Kent for the weekend, did some outstanding paperwork. Watered the houseplants.

All very relaxing.

No need to rush tonight as there was no one eagerly awaiting me in the coffee shop. No text message demanding my company, no mad dash to get there straight from work, unlike previous weeks. No evening swallowed by his company after the coffee shop closes; no endless cups of tea and chitchat cwtched up on my sofa; no "See you tomorrow monkey?".

It's nice to have some time to myself again.


Who do I tell the river looked beautiful?

Who cares that I stroked a lovely black and white cat sat on a garden wall?

Who will nod approvingly as I explain how I cooked the vegetables real nice tonight, with a dollop of red pesto?

Who will laugh when I say the Welsh woman on Millionaire looked exactly like Anthony Hopkins?

Who's there to give me a cuddle to commend me on my spider bravery?

Who will share my delight that the flowering cactus is flowering again after a three-month hiatus?

Who will admire my Phillips screwdriver when I buy it?


Sunday, 26 September 2010


I am reading old diaries tonight.

An entry from February 2005, when I lived in Wellington, New Zealand:

There was a retarded man sitting in the seat in front of me on the bus tonight, with his carer.

The bus was packed, and he was looking around at the other passengers and commenting on what he saw, like a child would.

"That lady's fat," for example, to which his carer would shush him and attempt to draw his attention to something outside.

Then he turned round and studied me for what felt like an eternity.

My stomach curled, dreading what he would say. But I held his gaze. His eyes were amazing; clear pools of innocence, framed by thick dark lashes.

Eventually he said, "You have beautiful blue eyes."

"Thank you," I said. "So do you."

Then he turned back round, and forgot all about me.

Those were good times, the Wellington years.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Now Who's The Arse

"Good afternoon Weasel, thank you for your email asking when and to which email address the invitation to interview was sent, the email was sent to you on 12 August at 11.30 am by my colleague Joanne Bloggs and it was sent to this email account. Best wishes, Person Who Organised The Interviews."

Numb horror.

I vaguely recall receiving an email from an individual whose name I didn't recognise, with a non-specific subject line and an attachment, around that time.

And just like any other email I receive from individuals whose name I don't recognise, that come with a non-specific (or clearly idiotic) subject line and/or an attachment, I deleted it immediately assuming it was spam.


Okay, so the universe doesn't want me to work at the library.

Now what?

Monday, 20 September 2010

Er, No It Wasn't

From: One Fine Weasel
To: HR Department
Sent: 19/08/10 14:15:39
Subject: Application


On 23 July I submitted an application via email for your Library Assistant vacancy.

I haven't yet received an acknowledgement letter and am wondering if this might be because I sometimes have problems with post to my address.

Please could you let me know if you received my application?


From: HR Person
To: One Fine Weasel
Sent: 19/08/10 14:40:16
Subject: re: Application

** High Priority **

Hello Ms Weasel

Thank you for your enquiry. We do not send out acknowledgement letters due to the large volume of vacancies and applications received.

However the good news is you have been shortlisted for interview and will hear directly from the department. The method of contact ie phone, e-mail, letter depends on each individual department.

Best wishes

From: One Fine Weasel
To: HR Person
Sent: 23/08/10 15:15:28
Subject: re: re: Application

Hello Janet

That's great news, thank you.

As mentioned in my first email, I do have problems with mail delivery to my address, so I would be very grateful if you could bring this to the attention of whoever is arranging the interviews so they contact me by email or phone as well as or instead of by letter.

I'm very anxious not to miss out!

Thanks again for your help with this.


From: HR Person
To: One Fine Weasel
Sent: 23/08/10 15:30:52
Subject: re: re: re: Application

** High Priority **

Hello Weasel

I have forwarded your e-mail on to the person organising the interviews.

Best wishes

From: One Fine Weasel
To: HR Person
Sent: 16/09/10 23:03:17
Subject: re: re: re: re: Application

Hello again Janet

I am very sorry to be a nuisance but I still haven't heard anything and was wondering if it was possible to find out what's going on?

Thank you for your help.

From: HR Person
To: One Fine Weasel
Sent: 17/09/10 08:59:14
Subject: re: re: re: re: re: Application

** High Priority **

Hello Miss Weasel

I have passed this e-mail on to the recruiter.


From: Person Organising The Interviews
To: One Fine Weasel
Sent: 20/09/10 15:39:23
Subject: 0297/2010

Good morning, my colleague Janet has forwarded your email to me. You were shortlisted for the above post and an interview letter was sent to you via email. It states in the interview letter for you to confirm attendance of interview. The recruiter did not have any confirmation from you, so therefore, assumed you were not interested in the post when you did not show for interview. This post has now been filled.

Kind regards.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Why Do I Do This To Myself?

In the corridor, there is a woman standing by the photocopier.

She appears to be trying to remove a staple from a stack of papers.

But look closer.

You will see she is actually trying to get the staple back in.

In this way, another few minutes of a grindingly dull day are disposed of, nudging the hands of the clock ever closer to five.

On her way back to her desk, she will veer off to the ladies, where she will sit and quietly study the pattern on the lino for a while.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Gotta Get Out Of This Place

"...and then the camel tried to eat my hair!"

They are talking about holidays.

I join in the merry laughter, and reach for the stapler.

There is a pile of paper on the desk in front of me.

A fluorescent light flickers above my head; a printer whines in the corner.

No jeans, no flip flops: I am wearing tights and a skirt and sensible officey shoes.

I have sold my soul to the nine to five.

It's such a long time since I've done this - the first 'proper office job' I've had since 2005.

As ever, I cling to that magic word 'temporary', a modest hoard of money to look forward to, and the promise of better-spent days ahead.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Knot A Problem

Last week's job-related events quite shook me up (...I haven't told you about the other interview).

If I cannot stomach the thought of answering a few phones and doing officey things anymore, I thought, then what am I; what have I become?

Yes, Weasel,
an inept, asocial freak.

But then I found this man's rather fabulous website, and it cheered me up enormously.

It seems that, what with eschewing permanent full time jobs since 1996, I am on the right track after all. Because, you know, I am actually a highly conscious evolved being and not at all an itinerant with antisocial tendencies.

But clearly I need to work on finding my life's purpose (assuming it is not just eating croissants, smiling at dogs, etc) in order to create and deliver 'value'.

I set about pondering what I can do, what I am really good at.

It didn't take long to find it.

I discovered I am really good at unravelling knots in balls of wool.


Say, for example, you are halfway through crocheting a cactus that doesn't look quite right, and you finally admit to yourself it is not looking quite right.

You start to pull the doomed cactus apart with the intention of reducing it to its component parts, viz., four balls of wool of varying thickness and hue.

But what is this? You are left with a monstrous tangle of green wool. It could be no worse if Satan's kitten itself had been at it with three hyperactive kitten accomplices.

However, you are without doubt a bit unemployed, and cannot afford to keep buying yarn. Furthermore, you endorse recycling, because you do not like creating unnecessary waste. Also, you have far too much time on your hands. So, you do not want to just cut the gargantuan knot away and bin it.

So you sit down and start untangling.

Many rapturous hours later, you realise your legs have gone numb and it is past your bedtime. You retire, satisfied you have already restored two strands of wool to their previous incarnations.

The next morning, you leap from your bed and, pausing only to make a nourishing mug of instant coffee (with soy milk), resume your untangling activities.

And then, it is done. You sit back to admire the four balls of wool you have wrested from the chaos. You have another nourishing mug of instant coffee (with soy milk), and feel quite pleased with yourself.

Your mind drifts to the nice man's website. Your heart sinks slightly as you realise this may be the only thing you have to offer 'of value'.

You are determined to frame your discovery in a more positive way:

Meticulous. Tenacious. Problem-solver. Attention to detail. Excellent hand-to-eye co-ordination.

But wait! This prowess is transferable:

Related skills: untangling balls of string, elastic, rope. Picking apart those funny little twisty bits you get in thread when hand-stitching. Undoing paperclip chains. Deconstructing knots.

I may need to work on this 'value' business.