15 minutes with a Nun in Newport Pagnell

nun driving

Photo borrowed from HERE

So, there I was last week. Heading home from work. Took the back route that would lead me along winding, leafy, country roads. The type that has me sucking in air as I belt around a bend only to find myself swinging the steering wheel so my tyres touch gravel, and my paintwork takes on scratches as a gigantic 4×4 – actually I think it was a mini – on that note, MINI! who are they kidding? They are beasts. Certainly a vehicle on steroids. As I was saying a 4×4, err Mini, crosses my lane.

Back to the Nun. Well before I thrashed my way through the home counties there was a need to navigate Newport Pagnell’s High Street and its several roundabouts – circles to my SA friends. I digress once more. Is there anywhere in the solar system with more roundabouts/circles than Milton Keynes and any other town/village within a 10-mile radius?  Focus, Ruth. Newport Pagnell – home of amazing Aston Martin – High Street. Right, so about halfway up the street, my lovely Google Maps announces.

“Take the first exit at the roundabout and continue straight.” Perfect.

At said roundabout/circle I pause and give way to a sparkling, clean car, driven by a Nun, who from sight I would guess be around her 134th birthday marker. Seated next to her is also an elderly lady, not quite so old – I’m guessing about 127? Or thereabouts. Said Nun with a bestie in a smart hat at her side, inches sparkling car across the roundabout, completely forgetting the need to turn the steering wheel while keeping comfortably shoed foot on the accelerator until literally the last minute when she came practically to a halt, and I swear her next move would require a 3-point-turn.

I winced, and then cheered for Nunny to keep on moving that car, and all but got out with a mind to suggesting I complete the roundabout/circle for her. Suffice to say, divine intervention, or at least a little twitch of the hands on the steering wheel, and a flick of a foot to a pedal, and she was off and away.

And there endeth my tale of a Nun in Newport Pagnell.

 

This blog has no theme and is here purely for me to type for 15 minutes on anything that catches my eye. Thank you for reading and popping by

 

 

 

15 minutes snoring, talking, flying

animal close up donkey
Photo by Donald Tong on Pexels.com

It took an economy class, twelve-hour flight, no frills attached and supplied bum squashing seat to get me to Cape Town. British Airways, thank you so much for having a direct flight. Leaving me free of frantic stopovers where you end up running like a loon for a flight only to arrive at the gate flushed to the hilt, sweat pouring from places it should never pour from, begging for oxygen. Done that before. With the hubster. A stopover in Dubai. During that mad time when the fog was playing havoc – who knew Dubai had fog? – certainly not me. On our approach, the pilot and head flight attendant had announced words to the effect of.

“Tough lot you lot, chances are you’ll miss your connecting flights, but don’t worry you’ll get a free food voucher that will cover a big mac and some fries that with luck will plug your sobbing gob while waiting twenty-four hours for a next flight. As to me, well hey-ho, I’m heading home for feet up, glass of wine – is that allowed? – and a healthy meal that won’t leave my arteries straining. Hope you have enjoyed your flight, and hope to see you soon. Oh yes, to claim said voucher, keep your eyes open for the longest queue on the planet, and you’ll be in the right place.” And all in the sweetest, corporate tone that does nothing to satisfy a frazzled flyer. No, rather it’s more about gnawing the inflight magazine and wondering if you could get away with ankle tapping the cabin assistant when they next pass with a laden tray of plastic cups of juice and water.

Restraint in place, suffice to say we made our flight, along with with probs twenty others. We launched ourselves from the stationary plane, en masse, cabin luggage flaying as our feet hit the ground and the sprint for the gate begun. I swear it was like Moses with the sea as those waiting in the departure lounge parted with haste, if not from fear of the stampede as sweaty, day-old clad folk of all ages, belted like the clappers, eyes wide with panic, caring little of odd shoes and socks and underpants being dropped as we surged forward and descended on our respective departure gates.

Hubster and I, barely able to speak, slammed into our seats and hoped of all hope that oxygen masks would release, only to be told there would be a forty-five minute delay due to . . . FOG. Restraint, Ruth. Restraint.

Back to BA, while I am eternally grateful for said direct flight, sadly you haven’t banned snoring passengers. Just saying, but you really should add a snoring capacity to your booking process.

It could be a simple tick box, with an algorithm along the lines of:

Do you snore?

Yes. I don’t know. No

If NO, go to ‘continue with your booking’

ELSE IF, I don’t know, go to

‘Good try, however, YOU HAVE BEEN BLACKLISTED FROM OUR BOOKING SYSTEM. THINK ABOUT GETTING YOUR BIG FAT SNORTING NOSE FIXED.’

ELSE IF, YES, go to

“WE’RE NOT WASTING OUR TIME ON EXPLAINING THIS. NO SEATS AVAILABLE. TODAY, TOMORROW, EVER.’

Suffice to say the traveller to my left, a nice, polite, reasonable young man until he fell asleep was a mild snorer. Now, when said seat occupant is not your spouse, partner or whatever, you can hardly thump them and whisper loudly to shut the flucking shells up.

However, what you can do is tell people to shut the flucking shells up.

Being roused from sleep and having attempted to cover my ear with the thin, oh so very thin and itchy blanket, and even bunched my fist and pushed it in my ear, there was no blocking a LOUD American chap sharing his political views to an elderly English couple, who being English were politely agreeing and not managing to get a word in edgewise.

Breaking cover of my blanket I twisted my neck and settled eyes on the three of them. There they were standing in the spare area up by the toilets. I gave them a few minutes to shut the flipping heck up, and then that was it. Blanket flung, fight with the seatbelt to free myself, earphones untangled – how the heck do they manage to get around everything – neck cushion still in situ, up I get, march to them and ask them very politely to “tone it down a bit.”

The elderly lady offers a genuine apology and after my loo break – well I was in the area after all – I head back to my seat.

I should add, that on arrival and heading towards immigration I spied the elderly couple ahead. Their pace was gradual yet sufficient to allow a blue tog bag to gain momentum and gently swing. Hmmm, should I take this moment to increase my pace, reach them and offer an apology? For, to be honest, I was feeling much like a grumpy old cow. My heart said yes, go for it and I closed in, a little like a leopard stalking, waiting for the moment to leap. Edging in, just as my hand was about to raise and the words were on my tongue, I dropped back.

Suddenly I was aware of how sometimes you just have to let things go. But more so. Yes, more so, if said elders were tired and irritable, chances were the mild swinging of luggage could pick up momentum to warp speed and flatten me.

Oh the joys of flying.

 

 

NB this one took a bit longer than 15 mins.

This blog has no theme other than to allow me a place to write for 15 minutes. Thank you for popping by

15 minutes learning new skills

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Photo by Juhasz Imre on Pexels.com

 

Spending some time teaching myself Excel skills. I’ve never considered myself to be an expert with Excel but felt I had sufficient knowledge to complete the job I was doing. Lovely, until you get a new job and suddenly find you’re the biggest dope on the planet. As in, sure you have some skills, but you sure as heck don’t have the ones we need.

Suddenly I’m learning how to work with vlookups and conditional formatting and data validation, and loads of other things too.  Thank goodness for online tutorials, helpful colleagues and knowledgable family.

That’s the thing about being the senior person in the job market, it’s just not enough anymore to have some skills, you have to show you are still learning and still keen. Because let’s face it, there is ageism out there. Those interviewing will say there isn’t, but there sure is.

On that note, a question at a recent interview “what’s your favourite excel formula?”

Any takers?

 

 

 

 

calls to the surgery

Part of my life is taken up working at the local GP surgery. You hear many things there, some of which you wish you hadn’t heard, but these two recent calls left me speechless, if only because of the absurdness

I can’t come to my appointment today because I’m not feeling very well

What the heck were you coming for then? A casual chat over a cuppa and iced bun? Book a holiday?

Phone-answering-e1367320696544-338x266

(Photo: http://www.ipvs.net.au/montserrat-day-hospitals-save-thousands-in-call-costs-during-period-of-rapid-expansion/)

I cancelled my appointment because it was about to thunder

Was the thunder going to make you worse, better, scare the living daylights out of you? Or is it simply you loose the use of your legs?

thunder

What’s your best excuse for not going to your GP appointment?

 

 

 

 

Best advice when looking for a job, screw the advice

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Having done a spot of job hunting of recent, and having had no reason to put together a CV for well over 20 years, I set about seeking advice hoping to get it right first time.

Well. To be frank. All the advice given, Googled or otherwise gained was mostly a load of old rubbish. And why? Because all the advice given is by currently employed people with no reason or intention of keeping a CV up to date, probably ever. And to be completely blunt, my advice to them is to MOVE AWAY FROM THE ADVICE COUNTER SO FAST YOU LEAVE A DUST STORM THAT REMAINS PERFECTLY CLEAR IN OUTER SPACE AND BEYOND.

Take the advice regarding ageism – there’s a lot out there. I’m early fifties, and the advice given is: you don’t have to add your age, you don’t have to add the years worked at any given job, and you don’t need to add when you graduated from school/university/college. Oh really? Well have you attempted to complete an online application lately? Because practically every job you apply for these days requires mandatory data input of namely birthday/age, years at job etc etc. IF YOU DON’T ADD IT IN, YOU CAN’T GET PAST THAT SCREEN, AS IN, YOU ARE STUCK AND APPLICATION STATUS = FAILED. Do I hear a suggestion to lie perhaps?

My next favourite – note the sarcasm – is, do not exceed 2 pages. Bullet form key points of each job held. Oh really? Two agencies I used came back to me with, you need to expand big time if you want to get an interview, forget the bullets, give the employer detail and, if you exceed 2 pages so be it. MAKE YOUR MINDS UP PLEASE.

But the thing that really gets my goat going is the request for a lengthy personal statement to include examples of how you can fulfil the duties of this position, and how you would fulfil the personal specifications for said job – they even suggest adding an extra page if need be, meaning, you’d better tell us a lot about yourself or don’t bother applying.  And while yes, I raise my hand and agree a personal statement is valid, the reason my goat gets going is that after compiling anything from the requested 500 to 3000 words, you barely get a reply or feedback or anything that gives any reason to believe your hours of work for this literary piece was even read. HAVE A LITTLE RESPECT. HOW ABOUT YOU TELL ME WHY I’M NOT SUITABLE THEN? YOU DO KNOW I PUT MY HEART INTO THAT PIECE OF WORK, DON’T YOU?

Yes I’m having a bit of rant. Yes I am now employed. And yes I’d love to hear what advice you’ve been given, or have given, which you consider to be good, bad or just plain STOOPID

 

 

 

 

Dear Madonna

Dear Madonna,

link for images

Let’s be blunt here,  I know you’re in the middle of a custody battle, which must be a nightmare, but why oh why have you not shown your son how important he is to you by shutting down your tour to be in London with him?

Surely falling apart on the stage and maintaining a dialouge on Twitter can’t be the way to go, nor be doing you a whole lot of good?  And why you need to stand on a stage to call out to your son is beyond me. Pick up the phone, send him an email, but keep it between the two of you.

Parents sacrifice a lot for their children, children shouldn’t sacrifice for them. And if that means your bank balance is compromised, I think you’ll cope. Baked beans on toast will not be the main meal of the day for you.

Pull yourself towards yourself and do the right thing.

Ruth

#madonna