Monday, 27 July 2009

The Seven Seas of Wry

I'm back!!! Fresh off the boat - literally - from Croatia, I am tanned, relaxed and aghast that winter has arrived in the MIDDLE OF JULY.

Meh. Not that I should be surprised, I suppose.

Over the next few days I hope to have some time at work (because who blogs at home? Come on now!) to tell you of my adventures along the Dalmation coast in a Sail Croatia boat called Tvrdi (which means "hard" - endless fun with that one, as you can imagine). I will amuse you with tales of seasickness, drunken shipmates and how one of my party botched it and missed the boat one morning.

If I'm feeling really inspired, I might even upload some pics...but as I can't do it at work, I'll need to bleed some dedication into my couch vegging time, so I'm not promising it will happen.

In the meantime, a big thank you to I'm So Not a Blogger for nominating me for a Heartfelt Blog Award - and apologies that I can neither link you nor post the cute little pic of the mouse in the teacup...goddam these pc restrictions!!! If you'd like to check out the sweetie who passed on the goodwill to me, you can find her here:

Til tomorrow me hearties! (Sorry, the pirate talk was distinctly lacking on the boat, and I'm feeling strangely compelled to make up for lost time) Aaargh!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Oink Oink!

Hahaha, I seem to have inadvertently created quite the storm in a tea cup!!!

In addition to posting here yesterday about the potential swine flu on my doorstep, I also e-mailed Mini-Me and Bear to tell them that Shoes had been sent home as he'd been exposed to the virus.

Now while I will fully admit to a moment of panic, due not to the fact that my boyfriend might get swine flu, but rather to the fact that he might LOOK too sick to fly, the fact of the matter is that in the UK, we are more or less blase about the whole thing now. Most people who contract the virus have varying degrees of a bad cold or particularly miserable flu symptoms; others experience nothing more than a sniffle and a few aches and pains; but most are over it within a few days to a week, using good old paracetomol and ibuprofen to get them through the worst. The government here is no longer working on containing the virus, but rather treating the increasing number of cases and educating people about the facts. And the reality is that unless you are very old, very young or have other underlying health problems, you are unlikely to experience discomfort any worse than a normal strain of flu. People have stoppped panicking and running to the opposite side of the bus everytime someone sneezes.

However, this is not the case in South Africa. Over there, it seems people are still scared shitless. Between my blog and that e-mail, rumour has spread like wildfire, and our family and friends are extremely concerned that poor Shoes might be on his last legs! Shoes' best friend Fish called frantically last night to check if he's alright, and his sister BlackVelvet posted her worries in her FB status. All day I have been fielding calls and e-mails from concerned loved ones, asking if Shoes is alive / feeling better / able to travel.

As much as I never meant to alarm anyone, I have been thoroughly amused all day by the outbreak (excuse the pun, ohhhh I kill me) of concern. Not that it's not warranted - if Shoes does indeed have swine flu, I would of course take very good care of him and treat it with the seriousness it deserves. But he is feeling better today and still only has a sore throat, with no other symptoms rearing their heads, so I am definitely enjoying the funny side. :-)

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Fuck A Doodle Doo

Pardon my french, I usually try to keep at least the titles of my blog clean. But in this case it is completely justified.

Shoes has just been sent home from work because he woke up with a sore throat this morning, and 2 people in his office have swine flu. It would be kind of amusing - you only die from this if you are very young, very old or have other health problems which complicate matters, but he is young and strong and I have no doubt that he is in no danger of pegging anytime soon. In the meantime, the temptation to toss all pig-related puns his way would be hard to resist.

However, if he phones NHS - which he is duty-bound to do - and he gets diagnosed, then the chances that he can fly to Croatia on Saturday are minimal to none.

So last year - Mallorca - shigella virus.

This year - Croatia - swine flu?

Ok, don't panic. Maybe it's nothing. But I swear to God, if this really is swine flu, I think I will actually lose it. I am seeing the one thing, this holiday in the sun, that is keeping me sane, going up in smoke. Not to mention the the non-refundable £1200 we've already spent on this trip.

Do you think if I keep chanting a mantra of good health over and over again, this will all go away?

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Recurring Nightmares

Well, this is deja vu.

11 months ago, my old boss phoned me when I was on a bus in Mallorca to tell me he was leaving the company. He'd previously let me know that he was considering it, but when the official announcement went out he felt he should give me a heads up.

Today, after a few weeks of smelling something fishy brewing around my team, my boss told me in confidence that he will be leaving the company, possibly as soon as 2 weeks time. And I'm off to Croatia next week. Will I get a call while I'm river rafting down the Cetina rapids to tell me my P45 is on my desk?

At this stage he doesn't have any information about what will happen to me. I'm a lot more than a PA to this team, so what he will be suggesting to the powers that be is that I take over more business related duties that have opened up in our recent team reshuffle, and stay on as a team/business co-ordinator of sorts. I'm not panicking yet, there's no point. But I can't help but wonder at my cursed luck.

I posted a few days ago about the fact that so far my travel arrangements have gone off without a hitch - perhaps the Travel Curse has morphed into a Professional Curse. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Mass E-Mail

From: Jess Piggott
Sent: 06 July 2009 17:47
To: All @ Lopz' Work
Subject: Did you get pregnant on your first date?

Hi all,

I’m looking for case studies for the following story. If you know anyone who might be keen to get involved, please pass the details onto them.

Did you get pregnant on your first date?

"Motherhood" magazine is looking to speak to someone who got pregnant on a one night stand or on their first date with a new partner.

Please reply and I'll call you with details.


From: Cheeky Bugger
Sent: 06 July 2009 17:53
To: Jess Piggott, All @ Lopz' Work
Subject: Re: Did you get pregnant on your first date?

I thought I did – but it was just a massive dump stuck in the cargo hold...

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Proudly Souf Efrican

My saffa teammate at work, Heathcliff, just introduced me to an awesome blog.

Hayibo is a satirical take on all things SA. They sell T-shirts saying "Mlungu" (whitey) and poll their readers on topics such as this one:

Helen Zille and Julius Malema should settle their fight once and for all by:
*Sharing a good long hug
*Going on Dr Phil
*Going on Judge Judy
*Going on Ritalin


This article is my Find of the Day:


JOHANNESBURG. South Africa's finance ministry says the country can avoid a deep recession by embracing South African Airways' new business model of exporting large quantities of illicit narcotics directly to major transit hubs. According to a spokesman it was high time that taxpayers got a return on their involuntary investment in the international drugs trade.

Two SAA crews have been arrested in recent months for trying to smuggle narcotics into the UK, and this morning Finance Ministry spokesman Shekel Sepeng said that it was likely that more crews were smuggling drugs.

"We don't have exact numbers but it seems to be pretty clear that everyone's doing it," said Sepeng.

"They've stopped two SAA crews, and found drugs on both. That means 100 percent of the crews sampled have been smuggling drugs.

In other words, he said, it was statistically likely that 100 percent of all SAA crews were involved as drug mules.

"That's a lot of crews, and an awesome quantity of drugs. We're talking tons. Entire Boeing 747s stuffed to bursting with A-grade s**t."

He said that it was time for South Africans to benefit from the drug trade.

"Clearly SAA is a major cartel in the international narcotics business, but even though the South African taxpayer has been bailing them out for years, none of that sweet sugar has trickled down to the man on the street," he explained.

He said that the Finance Ministry was confident that SAA's trafficking system could be successfully expanded as they already seemed to have in efficient business model in place.

"As far as we can tell they take your suitcase, throw it over the wall to baggage handlers who rip it open and auction your clothes to the highest bidder, and then they replace your suitcase with a massive brick of skunk."

However he said SAA would need to boost its intellectual capital if it was to lift South Africa out of an impending recession.

"The problem is that we also seem to be dealing with startlingly stupid people," he said.

"Any air crew can get bust trying to smuggle coke and marijuana into Heathrow. But for another crew to get caught just a few weeks later, when they know Heathrow officials are looking out for dodgy SAA crews, well that's just borderline retarded."

SAA officials could not be reached for comment, but a spokesman at their head office confirmed that they were currently meeting to discuss a way forward.

"It's just a standard get-together in a warehouse at the docks," he said. "As far as I know they're actioning a strategy to grow SAA's market share on UK routes. Something about leaving horses' heads in the beds of British Airways executives."

Go here for more, it's worth the look:

Friday, 3 July 2009

Cruel Summer

Aaaah, the London heatwave. I've been highly amused at all the cattiness on facebook this week from those Capetonions attempting to one-up their friends in London by criticising the summer here ("yes, but you only get 3 weeks of this while it's 26 degrees in the middle of winter here - take that!"). Why is it that many South Africans are so quick to diss the rare good fortunes we have with the weather over here? Jealousy, perhaps? A determined attempt to make Cape Town seem like the coolest place on earth? Never fear peeps, Cape Town IS the coolest place on earth (sorry Gautengers). But cut us a little slack and let us enjoy our diamond summer, alright?

Speaking of the summer, the Brits have a wonderful expression for this heat: steaming. It never fails to make me giggle, as for some reason I picture a giant steaming turd each time I hear it. So for example, when you get off the tube in the mornings with your hair plastered to your forehead, your thighs sticking together like gummy eyes after a good night's sleep and your armpits drenched with a mixture of perspiration and a healthy dose of Chanel No 5 to cover the smell, it is appropriate to say that it is steaming outside. Incidentally, steaming can also be used to describe a state of severe intoxication, as in "I was absolutely steaming last night", which would indicate that you had almost certainly done something very stupid / embarassing in your drunken state, and might lead the listener to harrass you for lurid details. Either way, both are unceasingly funny, and this is from someone who usually covers her eyes and ears during the toilet humour bits in gross-out comedies.

The problem with this heat, besides the inevitable sport of wet armpit-smelling in which you are unwittingly engaged on the tubes, is that people and places are just not prepared for it. Air conditioning is a luxury rather than a compulsory part of building designs. Sunstroke strikes quickly and unexpectedly (not us southerners of course, but the pale-skinned poms whose Edwards Cullen-like translucence is no match even for the weaker northern hemisphere sun). Passing out is common, and attracts very little fanfare. If you see someone lying prostrated on the pavement or in the tunnels of the Underground, check to see someone is attending them, and then step carefully over them and continue on your merry way, no questions asked.

My gym is a good example of How Not To Handle A British Heatwave. You'd think that Virginactive, with all their money and when combined with the anal levels of attention paid to Health and Safety in this country, might think to make their buildings safer places to work out in when it gets hot. An airconditioning system that ACTUALLY EJECTS COLD AIR wouldn't go amiss. It would certainly beat the current situation of having to locate one of 3 units across the entire substantially sized gym and stand directly underneath it to feel the very faint gust of slightly tepid air that barely ruffles the hairs on your arms. It would probably assist with reducing the vast quantities of sweat that covers everything from the handles of the stairmasters to the backs of the lateral pull-down machines. It would certainly have prevented the girl in my spinning class the other day from hitting the deck as she walked out, after we'd spent 45 minutes labouring in conditions so hot and humid that most of were slightly green in the face and more than a few had to sit down for 5 minutes to recover. And it would definitely improve on the pool situation, which is now so packed with exercisers seeking relief that the water is overheating and it's like doing laps in a hot bath. The only plus side is that I think I am losing my own bodyweight in fat everytime I work out, which must certainly be worth all the stars I've been seeing before my eyes.

Sod's Law though (Murphy's Law is only used in Ireland over here): my friend Britney says that it's been raining non-stop in Croatia despite the temperature averaging 29 degrees. With only 2 weeks to go til we leave for our island-hopping tour of the country, I am really hoping this won't be the Travel Curse of this particular holiday. I know the travel gods have something up their sleeves, because I got both my visas without a hitch. Oh, the anticipation!