1st Class Surprise

I am travelling to India tonight for work, upon arriving to the airport I find out that I had been upgraded to First Class. In all of my years of traveling I have only flown First Class once and it was a short domestic flight which just meant bigger seats. Never have I enjoyed First Class on a long haul flight so after what can only be described as a tremulous few weeks I welcomed the the upgrade with all of the joy of a kid at Christmas who just got the one gift they were sure Santa would say was one step too far. 
I was checked in at the extra special secluded check in desks which led on to the new extra special Security checkpoint. I was then advised by a hush toned lady that I could proceed to the First Class lounge and yet another surprise, my upgrade included a lounge upgrade to the distinguished Concorde Room (which I never knew existed). It was a lovely, dimly lit area with fireplaces and cosy sitting areas. After a light dinner I boarded the plane. For the first time I got to turn left instead of right at the cabin door. I was escorted to my seat in “row 2” which was actually totally on its own with the nearest neighbours shielded from direct sight lines. 
I was handed over from my seat escort to Paul the Cabin Manager who informed me I could have whatever I wanted whenever I wanted it. It was lovely to hear but at that very moment the one thing I wanted more than anything else Paul could not provide, that was my lovely wife to share this experience with. 
The Business Class services I have been fortunate enough to experience have very good so I could not imagine how much more could be done to enhance the journey. My area could only be d scribed as a mini room instead of the Business Class pod I had in the past. There was seating for two, in case I was expecting a visitor to drop by. I had my own wardrobe, was given pyjamas, a wash bag and noise cancelling headphones. Wow, I was impressed!
It is now time to take off so I will finish my 18 year old whisky and enjoy my flight to the fullest because once I’m off the airplane I will be in the land of over stimulation. Never ending throngs of people,traffic, car horns, vibrant colours, incredible food and light very people. See you on the other side!

Another Sign of Getting Older

The other day I was thinking how as Pam and I are getting older our conversations are getting more like predictive text. Here is an example Pam is downstairs and shouts up “…has gone to pot” I go downstairs saying ” what has gone to pot? Expecting to find something not working. Pam looks at me and says “what are you talking about?” I said “you said something ‘has gone to pot’ so what is it?” Pam then begins to laugh, “I said I’m going to the shop!” (Depending on your generation you might relate better to Abbot & Costello’s “Who’s on First?”)
We tend to have loads of these cross purpose discussions, I blame it mostly on living in a 3 storey house so there is a lot of shouting up and down the stairs. Me “Have you seen my socks…” Pam “Why would I change the clock?”
I think you get the picture. It does keep conversations interesting.

First Post as a British Citizen

People have been asking me if I feel different expecting me to say no but the truth is that I do feel different than I did last week. Besides having an increased preference of tea to coffee (I know it is weird but it is me we are talking about), I feel more connected is the best way to describe it. I have felt at home here for many years so you would think it would be no big deal but it really is. I found the ceremony incredibly emotional whereas my expectation was that it would be perfunctory. I think that is when the different feeling started. I am no longer an American living in the UK but a Citizen of this country. I am proud to call myself a British citizen and I love my newly adopted country. I do apologise for my accent but it hasn’t changed in 16 years so I doubt it ever will.

Winter Cold

I have a nasty winter cold, I’m sure many of you do as well. This cold is so bad I’m starting to wonder if “man flu” can cross gender lines. It started out as a normal head cold which made me feel rubbish for about 4 days, then last Tuesday I thought I was well again. Only to wake up Wednesday morning sounding like a bad impression of Kermit the Frog. Friday followed with a character voice change to something between The Mime and Minnie Mouse! I spent most of the weekend trying to get well for Monday (today), no joy on that front because I woke up in the night thinking someone let off a grenade in my throat! What the Hell is this bug?
I’m at that fun stage where I cannot taste anything and swallowing takes great mental strength to prepare for the next thundering shock wave. I just tried to eat my dinner (minestrone soup) and the timing it took to breathe, take a spoonful of soup, chew and then breathe again could have been plotted on a project plan with a Gantt chart.
Enough already I want my body back.

Lab Rat

Today I felt as if I was part of a lab experiment conducted to test the human threshold for the number of meetings sustainable in one day, without totally losing one’s mind. We have all had days with marathon meetings or even back to back meetings that test the capacity and robustness of your bladder. Today took things to an all new, almost unnatural, level. My day started at 07:00 and my first meeting at 08:00 just like every day however today once finished with the normal 3 meetings on the trot routine there was no break, then before I knew it 1:00 came and went with me still in meetings. By this time I was beginning to wonder if going to the loo while on mute was even remotely acceptable or professional. By 1:20 with an afternoon of more meetings ahead a miracle happened and my meeting ended 10 minutes early. My bladder was overjoyed! I even had time to get to the canteen for coffee before the afternoon barrage started. Mercifully my last meeting ended at 6:30. I’m not sure if I passed the endurance tests because by this stage I was babbling incoherently!

Interesting Discussion

Today we had the pleasure of having our eldest granddaughter with us for the day. As Monday is our “take Nonna to Northampton day” Ellie got to come along for the 1 1/2 hour ride. Ellie was rattling through the various subjects of conversation (as defined by a 5 year old), such as school, friends, little sister updates and then we got…”when we were with my mummy’s nanny last week, she cooked dinner and she poisoned me! ” At which point Pam and I exchange curious glances wondering where it’s “story” came from. She went on to say that she woke up in the night and was sick. “It’s okay to be sick in a bucket because the bucket will catch it.” By now Pam and I are in stitches! Ellie was still going on about the intricacies of being sick in the top bunk while your little sister is asleep in the bottom bunk. All said with her very serious tone. Ellie then realised that neither of us could speak because we were laughing so hard. “Being sick is no fun you know, I don’t know why you are laughing.” There you go sorted out by a 5 year old.

One has to ask the question why

This week I have had a new experience and one I do not wish to ever repeat. As humans we have evolved over millennia yet we still have a couple anatomical oddities, one the appendix, two the gallbladder. It is the latter that I had an unwelcome experience with. One has to ask why do we still have this organ that we can function normally without. Yes, it has a job to do but the liver is pretty good at holding its own, in the bile production stakes, considering we no longer have a need to digest such things as roots and bark. Yet the gallbladder remains and for many of us becomes an evil enemy causing literal gut wrenching agony. It is mostly due to these little stones made up of cholesterol and other biological goodies, that decide they fancy a vacation to another part of the body. So they pack their bags are hit the road. Their first stop is the bile duct and for some of our bulkier tourists this is a very tight squeeze. So tight in fact that it creates, for the owner of the gallbladder, excruciating pain that lasts over several days. Finally, when the human owner is ready to perform self surgery, using a steak knife and a hand held mini vac, the little bastards squeeze through and are gone on their merry way. The relief is tremendous, you come out of this pain filled fog back into the sunlight. Then it hits you, what if the remaining gallstone population decide to move on. The thought sends tendrils of dread through me. I can honestly say that never before have I wanted someone to cut me open and rummage around in my abdomen but the thought of those little bastards coming back makes it sound like a reasonable idea.

My New Most Embarrassing Moment

As it is a new year, new beginnings and all that I thought it was time to share my new most embarrassing moment. It has taken me the best part of two months to get up the courage to share this with you. Here goes…in late November I started a new job and on my first day with the company I had to go into London to the Head office before going off to the client site where I was to be based. So, you know how awkward first days can be, it feels like you are the new kid in class. It is one of those things you just want to get through. Well picture this, I arrive on time all ready to go and I am told I will be meeting with the Operations Manager to get all the paperwork etc. in order. After a few minutes this very nice lady comes to get me and we go into a glass walled meeting room, not quite a fish bowl but close from the middle of the wall to the floor the glass was frosted.

We get started going through the various bits of paperwork as she is explaining things to me I get this sinking feeling. Not emotionally, I mean sinking as if I seem to be shrinking away from the table. I start to think “what is going on, am I having some strange panic attack? No, that can’t be it because I’m not nervous in the least. What the Hell can this be?” The whole time this is going through my head I am continuing to feel like I’m getting smaller. Then all of a sudden bam! I’m falling backwards, but not far off the ground, now I’m somersaulting backwards onto the floor!! I am mortified. The poor Operations Manager jumps out of her chair to help me up looking panicked now herself. Asking if I’m okay. I was fine physically but unbelievably embarrassed and still unsure of what happened. When I unceremoniously got back to my feet, I looked at the chair that only moments ago was fine but now is flattened to the floor. It was kind of an S design that obviously my ass was too much for! Then I remember feeling this flood of relief as I realised the frosted glass had saved me from office wide humiliation. I have since learned that particular chair had been sidelined and bound for the bin that coming weekend. (I still think I just squashed the poor thing.) There you have it, my new most embarrassing moment.


I just heard an advert for Peppa Pig World that if you buy a ticket during a limited time you can get the second day free. I have a couples questions here; when they say the second day is free do they mean real days or Peppa Pig days? I ask this because Peppa’s days appear to be about 6 minutes long. Any parent or grandparent who has been subjected to Peppa Pig knows this. My next question is why? Why would any sentient being want to endure a second day? 6 minutes long or not!
I know the kids adore it, not quite sure why but I can confirm that my grandkids never and I do mean never hit the Peppa Pig wall. They can watch the same episode over and over with as much glee and joy as the previous one millionth viewing. How this is possible is beyond me but hats off to the creators of Peppa because they must know more about how our kids brains work than we do. Example, they can watch Peppa endlessly without complaint but get them to come away from the telly to do some other activity and immediately you hear “I’m bored!” You want to shout “you won’t know what bored is until you have kids and the Peppa Pig of their day is driving you nuts!” I realised my Peppa threshold was once and truly breached when I heard myself practically begging my 4 year old granddaughter to watch Doc McStuffins just for a change!!

More Funny Workplace Behaviours

As our project team continues to grow we are getting introduced to an even more diverse group of people and with that some new behaviours. As I promised you I would do I’m keeping you informed of the very best of them. One of my current favourites, which I have yet to personally experience, but have had been fully briefed on by someone who has, is the low volume murmur. My colleague/informant started hearing this quite yet persistent noise. At first she thought it was some background noise from the office equipment. Then realised no one was using the printer or other devices. She looked around to see if anyone else was reacting as if they too heard something. Nope, everyone was head done, hard at work. Soon after it dawned on her that one difference was that she had a new desk neighbour. By this time the noise was starting to burrow its way into her brain. So, she slyly watched the new arrival and saw her lips moving and could hear the “h
Now at least she had confirmation that she was not losing her mind, she felt marginally better. This lasted for a total of 2 minutes because now that she knew what is was and where it was coming from it was no longer possible to tune out. The questions started to bubble to the surface of her mind in rhythm to the “hmmmmmumm” “Is this noise because she is reading and thinks she is doing it silently?” Could she be humming the most tuneless song known to man?” “Or is she on a mission to drive me insane before the end of her first day?” At this point my informant could no longer suffer alone so she quietly started asking others sitting in the general vicinity if they too had noticed the additional undertone that had emerged. Of course she had to do this using messaging technology so as not to make the new person uncomfortable. It was soon confirmed that several other people were on the brink of migraines from trying to first figure out what the noise was and second trying to block it out. All had been extremely unsuccessful in the latter!
For clarification this started on Monday of this week, we are now at Wednesday and no one has broached the subject with the murmurer. The British politeness gene is still in clear evidence in our office. If this was happening near me I would have had to take swift action. Newbie or not something would have been said or duct tape may have been deployed as a solution!