Monday, 30 April 2007

Blue flowers

Bluebell field, Kew Gardens © Mellifluous Dark, all rights reserved

Kew Gardens – the Royal Botanical Gardens – is a splendid place. The botanists must have a battle with the seasons all melding into a sort of summery-autumn mono-season, though. However, there are currently messy carpets of bluebells to be seen, tulips of full skirts and intense colours in manicured flowerbeds, and among my favourite flowers, stunning wisteria. I must admit, I have a penchant for blue flowers.

My parents sought a 'blue moon' rosebush for me when I was a teenager. It blossomed almost all year round in the front garden, its petals almost exactly the shade of the wisteria pictured below. When I drove back to the house that I grew up in and stared from my car window several months ago, there was a paved driveway where my parents had once tended full, rich red roses with velvety petals that had smelled divine, large yellow scented versions with pink edges, white roses, plus, of course, the blue moon rosebush.

Around the roses, there had been fat dahlias, bluebells, multicoloured snapdragons, tulips, begonias, dramatic fuchsias, crocuses, snowdrops, chrysanthemums, those tiny purple flowers that you find in borders, and many more that exist only in old photographs now.

Wisteria, Kew Gardens, © Mellifluous Dark, all rights reserved

I couldn't help but shake my head a little at the thoughtlessness of the owners who had destroyed that small garden and the beauty that had been cultivated within it. Maybe the new people needed the driveway but it was such a small road – no more than 10 houses – and there was always space to park as it was a cul-de-sac.

I hope the driveway culprits struggled hard and had plenty of thorny injuries as they ripped up those roots that had grown solidly for 40 years. Silly perhaps, and it's none of my business, but I feel sorrowful to think of those beautiful plants being deprived of soil, water and life to make way for a bloody driveway.

Friday, 27 April 2007

Resonance

Hmmm... strange things are happening today. Strange: good.

Everything S told me last night about having to make myself not go under in terms of mood and confidence due to the doings of others (in situations where I cannot take control) was powerfully reinforced by what I randomly tuned into on the radio earlier. It was uncannily spear-like in its directness of message.

One of the speakers said something like: "You may feel pain, but suffering is a decision you make." Words to that effect, anyway. It sounds cheesy written down but the presenter and guest uttered words about happiness/unhappiness and making decisions about these feelings that were so apt and helpful that I can only marvel. Coincidence? I don't think so. I think we are drawn to certain things, and people, in life.

Life is art

Images from my travels...

St Vitus rooftop, Prague © Mellifluous Dark, all rights reserved


Stream, the Lake District, Cumbria, UK © Mellifluous Dark, all rights reserved


Hallway in a Gaudi-designed building, Barcelona © Mellifluous Dark, all rights reserved


Cormorant drying its wings, Bristol Channel © Mellifluous Dark, all rights reserved


These pictures are of creations that would be credited to either 'man' or 'nature' in terms of their physical manifestation. Who is the winner? Aren't they one and the same, all part and parcel...?

How can 'man-made' be unnatural? Are humans not the ultimate creation of nature? What Antoni Gaudi does in terms of architecture (the third picture) is amazing. The silkiness and fluidity of powerfully strong walls and ceilings such as the ones pictured must surely be inspired by nature? His work was at first ridiculed, apparently... Ah, I've literally just read that Gaudi had a powerful interest in the organic shapes that exist in nature...

Gaudi was run over by a tram. He looked so dishevelled that no one rushed to his aid. He was eventually taken to a pauper's hospital and died three days later. He was buried in the church (that is still being built) pictured below, the Sagrada Familia, and was mourned by millions:


Sagrada Familia, Barcelona © Mellifluous Dark, all rights reserved

I have no idea why I am in this philosophical frame of mind. But going through some of my pictures has inspired me today. No bad thing. I've focused on things that are detrimental to me far too much lately.

One of my favourite sayings is: action is eloquence, and a friend once told me "think long and you think wrong". I'm pretty good at taking action and doing, but one can always do better. I do not want to succumb to analysis paralysis. (Fat chance!)

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Weather with me


It's clich├ęd, yes, but how can a Brit be a Brit without talking about the weather? Today, it has been very sunny, hazy, rainy, windy, cool, hot and mild. I've had to carry sunglasses, sun cream, a thin cardi-type thing to go over bare arms, a coat, an umbrella and chose to wear boots. I was pleased with what I wore – somehow I'd managed to combine clothes that catered for all the aforementioned weather.

I went to see my guru sleep doctor – he says more sessions with someone who can help me figure out why I sleep so badly (when not helped by his magic tablets) are essential. These sessions are very, very expensive. But I am in very, very great need of this help. And all of that makes me very, very annoyed that I will lose so much money from a historically well-paying client who has chosen not to employ me for what can only be personal reasons. Well, it's just one woman, really. That's all it takes when the woman is a boss though, eh?

C – let's call her Clover – just doesn't like other women, or she is jealous of me, or is insane. I'm not the first person to have said such things. The first time I met Clover, she gave off unfriendly vibes and had an absence of charisma so apparent that she'd be given a negative number if charisma levels could be scientifically rated.

Now, I do realise that one cannot get on with everyone else in life (that was a tough thing to accept but in the end you just get on with it)... But Clover must be one darn silly moo to think that such behaviour in a professional environment is acceptable. I wonder if Clover had a moment of regret at how she has treated me following my conciliatory phone call (which failed to have the desired effect) yesterday. And, now, does it even matter?

My darling mum massaged my neck and back yesterday when she and my darling dad visited me for lunch. It has helped ease the pain I felt after I fell over on Monday, so much so that I will try to go to the next kung fu class.

I met a friend, T, after seeing the doc. We had a catch-up over lunch – beautiful risotto – which was most enjoyable. Before I met T, I managed to do a bit of shopping, not much, but still... My oh my, I better secure some more work to replace the stuff Clover's taken off me, soon...

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Music and maths

Am working at home, listening to an old, much-loved CD I've just found, doing some complicated admin (VAT etc) and feeling very, very pleased that I spoke to the woman who has been so detrimental to my workload. Hearing her squirm on the other end of the phone was interesting. Goodness, it was empowering.

She actually said, to one of my points, (after an uncomfortable silence on her part): "Well... I have nothing to say to that," before reiterating her right to employ who she likes. Naturally, I was polite, calm and collected.

I slept well and my neck pain has eased off a bit, thankfully, although my head has hurt all day. My parents are coming over to see me soon for lunch – and they are such wonderful people that they will bring me lunch and some stuff to rub on to help my neck. It will be lovely to see them; they are unbelievably amazing.

Oh, and totally unrelated but I do love 'Munich' by Editors. Sums up some sentiments in my life right now.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Sleep fu me

SS, the editor, let me leave work early as we'd finished the mag early and also, because I probably looked rather pained. The issue went well – there are some good articles and layouts there.

I actually fell asleep on the train home. It was only 5pm, which meant I had two seats to myself and didn't do that thing where your body leans across a stranger's (with or without drooling). I went home but stupidly logged straight on to the computer instead of lying down. I faffed, made phone calls and emailed for a while and, at 7pm, lay down on my duvet and dozed until S came home twenty minutes later.

My 'can I do kung fu today?' test was to see whether I could lift my head from my pillow with ease. I couldn't – I had to roll on to my side to sit up – and it hurt like heck. Ridiculous. So, no kung fu for me, which is a shame as I greatly enjoy the exercise. Well, at least it wasn't our usual instructor that we'd missed. The stand-in is good but does let you have a relatively easy ride, and introduces new moves that are too advanced for our crew (well, me anyway)... not what one wants when grading is coming up, all too soon.

Ouch

Cor blimey, my bones are aching after yesterday's fall. I couldn't even raise my head off the pillow this morning, let alone sleep well due to the pain that grew like a triffid in my body last night... Might see if I can get to kung fu, I had really wanted to let off some steam, but it may be wiser for me to stay in and lie down as I can't move my neck to the right without making a screech.

It is press day and people are busy and look stressed. We are all taking paracetamol for various reasons.

Anyway, nada in the way of anything on the blacklisting situation and I don't think there will be from now on. Not from her. She has the guts of a smashed violin.

Monday, 23 April 2007

A fall and a blow

And no, we aren't talking kung fu.

I had an awful evening (and night/ early hours) last night. I wasn't even aware of what was wrong at first, as it was all so wound up – threads of this and that all knotted up inside me. OK, yes, I was tired (not too great a surprise for regular readers), but I'd had a good day with my parents while S was with his dad sorting out his little boat. I'd even nipped to Richmond for a brief wander. But there was an underlying feeling of unease inside my, well, I guess it was my solar plexus. It was quite a powerful feeling, actually. A sort of post-punch pain. In retrospect, I think it was foreboding.

Anyway, I eventually cried rather a lot – about the two major injustices I have suffered at work over the years through no fault of my own – and consequently S and I got to sleep very late as I let my feelings free from where they were bound up inside me. Of the two injustices, this current one has made more of an impact. The first time (which I won't detail here) caused me to develop stomach problems. This current issue needs to be scythed away, quickly.

So, I was very tired this morning, knowing that today was when I might finally receive an answer from C, who has blacklisted me from working for her department and has bad-mouthed me to potential employers for some utterly bizarre and unfathomable reason. I went to work still feeling tearful but trying to look normal.

I worked for a while, stood up to get some water with a glass in my hand and fell over, hard. I landed on my left side, hitting my head, elbow, hand, shoulder and hip. I was so shocked that I just lay there for a moment. A few people asked if I was OK but I think they heard the thud rather than saw me fall. A stray phone cable was the cause but I'm sure that had I been feeling good, and had not been so emotionally drained, I might have just stumbled rather than fallen. I went to the kitchen and cried a little bit. No one saw.

Now, my neck hurts and is stiff, it keeps 'twanging', my shoulder tingles and my hip and arm are sore.

And the blow? Well, I received a short emailed reply to my 800-odd word document from C, which basically told me that I should fuck off, and that she could choose who she wanted to work for her because she is the client.

That was the message but in what one would call 'polite' language. It laughingly also said something at the bottom about being 'sorry' that I was so surprised. What, she is surprised that I object to having work taken away and being called a let down? She thinks I'll be OK with being slagged off and having my reputation dragged through her venomous lies? She thinks that her dismissive missive was an adequate answer? She really should think a little harder.

As my friend H said, "She must be mad to cross swords with you like that". Now, don't get me wrong, I am not vengeful but I have an incredibly powerful sense of right and wrong in everyday situations – the simple things that have a big effect. Like whether a nurse bothers to feed an elderly patient, whether someone stands up for someone who looks like they need it on a busy train, whether someone bothers to apologise for knowingly standing on someone's foot, whether someone cares a damn about screwing up someone's livelihood... whether someone does the decent thing, in other words.

I felt ill all the way home – a 1.5 hour ride on a crowded bus, crowded train then another crowded bus. I stood all the way as there were no seats.

Anger came spiralling out of my tearfulness as I stepped back into my home. S prefers to see me angry rather than in despair like last night. Understandable. He said many things that helped. Also, other people's anger on my behalf does help me and I am grateful to the friends and family with whom I've shared this for their loyalty and support.

Today has been a day for selecting my sword.

Saturday, 21 April 2007

12 hours...

...of sleep! I went to bed at 00:44 and got out of bed (admittedly having dozed a little from 11am) – at 12.53pm! Excellent. I am currently having breakfast at 2.30pm and intend to do nothing but practise the art of kung fu with S later in the park. It is sunny again – at least 21C – so it will be wonderful out there. The garden looks sweet, pansies of various vibrant colours have popped up, rosebuds have formed on the climber I planted in November and the patio plants are stretching upwards.

The latest with the work situation in a small nutshell: I have received no communication from C. She has not called, emailed, sent a letter, delegated a reply to a minion or come round to have a cup of tea. I emailed her underling, L, to reprise the situation in a pleasant, brief, open manner i.e: that I'm in shock at C's decision to write me off as a writer, that I'd been told I'd done a good job, and that I want swift resolution. I didn't expect L to reply but wanted to include him in the loop, in case he had been told by anyone that I had said bad things about him. You never know. What a mess.

Anyway, I'm waiting till Monday's over (which is when C is back in the office) and expect a reply to follow quickly or I will be forced to look into my options regarding the recovery of my work and reputation. You can't say I haven't tried to sort things out. I am excruciatingly fed-up with this situation.

Otherwise, the work I've been doing has been good. It's a long commute to get there but the trains aren't too bad (oh, and the two bus journeys either end!). I do, however, need to get to bed earlier as I was again totally exhausted last night; I'm not used to not working at home so much. I met R for dinner in Covent Garden, which was impromptu and enjoyable, and S brought me home from the station. I was so tired I could barely talk sense, but all was better once I went to bed.

Another thing is that I am now officially a director of my own company, VAT-registered, have a new website, new business stationery and a business bank account. I received letters addressed to 'The Director'. Very satisfying.

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Drained

I'm tired, drained, fed-up. On and on this work situation goes. Well, I've done all I can. Emailed, tried to arrange phone calls, written a letter...

Work was busy today but it was enjoyable – through my tiredness – as I'm working among friends and/or friendly people.

Out regular instructor, N, is away, so even kung fu wasn't as exhilarating as it normally is. The chap who covered was very competent and personable but, dare I say it, he wasn't as tough and as good as explaining moves as N.

Definitely going to try to get more sleep tonight. It's all I can manage. Hopefully.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Kicking ass

Wonderful endorphin rush tonight after kung fu (followed by sneezing fit that went on for hours). It hurts and I don't recall everything but, hey, it is early days.

Work is amazingly weird. I was trying to explain the situation to the assistant instructor and his assistant when I arrived at the session. They both shook their heads and said: "People are weird things." I have to agree. Can't even begin to reprise it here, and can't be bothered. For those who I promised an update: it's all just beyond ridiculous, I'm on the case, though. As ever.

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Lazy Sunday afternoon

Your Personality is Somewhat Rare (ISFP)

Your personality type is caring, peaceful, artistic, and calm.

Only about 7% of all people have your personality, including 8% of all women and 6% of all men
You are Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, and Perceiving.
How Rare Is Your Personality?

Did this test above simply because I saw it on someone else's blog. I certainly don't think it sums up my entire personality but probably gives a pretty good indication of how I feel at the moment. The underlying aspects are probably true, depending on, oh, so many things. I'm an introvert until I know someone well enough to be an extrovert, that kind of thing. And I'm calm until someone takes liberties or takes me for granted.

Having studied psychology to honours degree level, I don't put much faith in these tests. But hey, maybe I just think that because I am so rare. I've taken 'proper' tests [I keep spelling 'tests' as 'testes' – why?] courtesy of various organisations. One of these is possibly the world's biggest company, for which I worked for a while. They test everyone's strengths and characteristics and let me have a go. The results, which I don't have to hand, were spot-on. You answered myriad questions and then were emailed the results. This was no plaything; people's entire careers were changed and carved up according to this company's tests. It must work – the firm is one you'd definitely have heard of, probably own a piece of, and, while I was there, I was inspired and amazed at how the employees worked together.

I slept until it was nearly afternoon today. Wonderful. My body was aching for it. S went out with his dad and they did stuff on S's boat until early afternoon, by which time I had done some tidying and was ready to spend the rest of the day doing nothing.

S lay on the bed and listened to me as I rearranged my wardrobe, carried out a mini-cull of some clothes that really were past it, and then I practiced some kung fu. It was too hot to do much. Later, I cooked sausages and veg, we ate in the garden and then had fun trying to catch the baby rabbit to bring her inside. She's so fast and strong. She took a fall – on to concrete – as she struggled while being held; I hope she is OK, poor little thing.

Tomorrow is another day. And this week is hopefully when I'll receive an explanation for the Blacklisting.

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Fiftieth post

Let's see where we are. I'm somewhat surprised that I have written 50 posts since I began this blog. The topics are wide-ranging, I think, but have a theme related to sleep and wellbeing throughout.

At the start of this year, I was allowed to drink wine, but it's not wise (or allowed) while I'm on my sleeping tablets. So, now I don't drink any alcohol, and the thing is, I don't miss it. Yes, there have been days, especially recently, when a glass of something cold and bubbly would have been nice but it's just not on.

The good thing is that my sleep problem is being looked at by a top specialist (although high quality sleep has evaded me and the tablets a bit recently due to work matters; see recent posts for further details)...

So, to work: I worked extremely hard, to the point of exhaustion, especially earlier this year. And I was 'thanked' by being having future work taken away from me by a woman who, from what I hear, just doesn't like me. That's something I've had hanging over me for a couple of weeks now. Such a shame – a real shame – that it happened when it did. I feel robbed of more than a week of calmness.

To regain some calmness and control, I have started kung fu classes. S and I try to go along as often as we can. I love the classes. I am not yet much good (again, partly due to being so bloody exhausted due to this same tedious work situation) but I am determined to improve and be good enough to spar.

I looked as though I was struggling so badly one day last week that my teacher, N, asked whether I was OK. I wasn't. But you can't really explain what's going on and why you are so close to tears in the middle of a kung fu lesson, can you? I hurried back to the car afterwards and bawled. S hadn't attended that session, so I was alone.

The shock of how low I felt was intense when I got home. I seem to have regressed back to bad sleeping and so much worry. I'm investigating methods of avoiding this feeling recurring; I have to. Now, I try to confront situations – there's nothing I cannot bear more than festering, ongoing, trundling problems that are on my to-do list.

I have spent far too much precious lifetime waiting to Sort Things Out and been an awful procrastinator but I am no longer happy to be that way. Bad atmospheres and being treated with such malice (because that is what it feels like) are a waste of my time and I resent it.

Anyway, I had a short but sweet holiday – a wonderful trip to Paris during which I shook off my malaise and saw a good friend who lives out there. Then I had a few days pottering in London, just relaxing, until the work situation... Yeah, yeah, you get the picture. But, yes, Paris was superb and I was beginning to feel almost normal, filled with energy and positivity. Until, yes...

My rabbits get on famously now and take care of one another – a sight to melt anyone's heart. The garden is beginning to look greener and more floral. My dear parents are back from very lengthy travels and S has been a supportive wonder, as ever.

I have seen friends again – been nice to have the energy to see certain folk a bit more. R stayed over last night for the first time since S and I moved here. It was lovely. Though tired after a day working on a national newspaper, I cooked us all a meal (admittedly a fairly simple one) and we caught up over many hours last night. I stuck to the Badoit, which is very palatable. S and R had a fair bit of wine.

Today, I took R to Richmond, where we shopped for a short time and spent hours on the Green and then by the river, talking and watching the world go by. It was so hot that people were jumping off Richmond Bridge into the Thames. It was a beautiful day. Hundreds of people were out, on the banks, benches and sitting at outdoor tables in bars, like R and me. There was an air of relaxation and holidayishness about the place.

I just want to sort out this work situation now. I've had enough of it: it is boring me and depleting me.

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Akimbo

That's how I feel. In some ways, I am all over the place. Well, to be specific, I had a kung fu session today and was not on the ball. But it is early days and I know for a fact that losing sleep these past days (or has it gone into weeks now?) when I am meant to be catching up, plus the stress of worrying about the work situation, has depleted me of energy and an element of focus, which would not be the problem had my dear friends at the Blacklisting organisation decided to play fair.

However, in some ways, I am doing well: despite this mess of work rubbish (which, as you can tell if you are a regular reader, has taken over somewhat), I wrote a "very good" article for a magazine run by a hard taskmaster, was complimented on my work for a national newspaper (if you do something wrong, you are told about it then and there; there is no taking one aside, which means you learn very, very quickly). Oh, and I am going to kick ass, in so many ways. I go to the lessons – kung fu, I mean – when I'm tired, not very good and feeling extremely unsure of myself. The latter point again due partly to what happened a week ago. S, who I am a worry to, says I am "being very down" on myself and he is correct. But that won't last.

Aside from that, I met a friend for lunch today as I was working based in the newspaper office, which was good. I have arranged for a dear friend to come and stay with S and moi tomorrow night (R, our best woman at our wedding), I saw my lovely, sweet parents yesterday for lunch (at my place), and I've been receiving some fabulous support from S and wonderful friends based in and out of England, who are genuinely interested and concerned at the stupid work thing that happened. I'm a lucky person and I do know it. However, at times I feel very, very low; my confidence took a battering over Easter. I hate having situations unresolved. It makes me feel out of control. Maybe that's why I get so frustrated with myself at kung fu. I need to gain control of certain things. I will.

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

May you live in interesting times

A tip for the day: remember the laws of karma: cause and effect, reaping and sowing, action and reaction. No one is immune. Of course, no one is perfect but, hmm...

Kung fu later.

Plenty to do in the meantime...

And, to the one person who will understand this: Scottle Cra... believe it, it is real. They were actually all there yesterday, scurrying, weaving events and words carefully and intricately. The near-silence was golden.

Monday, 9 April 2007

Matinee idle

This afternoon, we took the rabbits outside and let them enjoy the garden (the baby had immense fun springing around between the plants, while the older, serene rabbit tiptoed delicately and stood on her hind legs asking to be picked up by S so she could remove her feet from the dirty outdoors). It was peaceful. We read magazines in the little seating area I've created. GFG was not at home, our neighbours from two doors down were pottering outside and the sun shone. When it became cooler, I grabbed us some extra clothes, made us ginger and lemon tea and found some chocolate fingers to munch.

S, who had had to work until 3pm despite it being Easter Monday, wanted to take me to Leith Hill as he said I was looking 'brittly', saying that the view and fresh air would help me to relax and sleep tonight. I initially objected as I've been feeling tired and emotional all day/weekend and it would have been very easy to flop on the sofa and watch TV rather than make any effort (this brings to mind the Danny Wallace book I've just started reading, in which he decides to say Yes to everything). Eventually, I put on another two layers of clothing and grabbed a coat and scarf (I get cold easily).

The hill and woods were silent bar the creaking of the conifers, the twittering of birds and the call of pheasants. The deer, rabbits and squirrels were well hidden during our long walk. We had a good pub dinner afterwards and S drove home.

I feel better now – right this moment, now – but have cried a bit everyday and night since being blacklisted. I cannot believe how depressed a stupid work situation has made me feel, and I'm fed up with having Another Thing to Think About. I need to avoid this situation occurring again, that's for sure.

I know life's not a bowl of cherries – I've had my share of maggots in my fruit – but some things should be avoidable, surely, and my idealistic/hopeful/optimistic side is surprised when people are laissez-faire with the things that matter to others. I've said it once and I'll say it again: some people care only about themselves. Still never ceases to amaze me, though.


Anyway, thank you, S. You salvaged my day.

Last day of my holiday

I figure I've had a week-and-a-half off; the rest was just worry and I felt like I was at work. I'm sure the situation will be resolved, or at least I will get to the bottom of it, but I resent having another poor night's sleep despite taking three tablets designed to make me sleep! I have bags under my eyes again, and it's back to the grindstone tomorrow. Hurrah.

My parents told me not to worry when I explained why I was so agitated when S and I visited them last night. They understood my predicament but said that other things in life matter more, and that when one door closes another opens. I agree with all of what they said, of course, but what upsets me most is being robbed of peace of mind, which I haven't exactly had in abundance lately. I know it's pointless going on and on about something I can't do anything about right now but I can't relax.

Sunday, 8 April 2007

Fair play would be nice

S and I had a lovely afternoon at an Easter fair near Hampton Court. Poor S, he's done his best to cheer me up. The day was, however, overshadowed by the blacklisting situation that is obviously playing on my mind. I need to DO something about it. It has royally ruined my mood and Easter weekend, impacted on my sleep, too, but has strengthened my resolve to sort it out.

What really fucks me off is that this is my HOLIDAY and life is just so short and here I am wasting precious time worrying about fucking work, the idiots I deal with, and what's been said about me. How can people so easily believe that I caused trouble or whatever it was I'm supposed to have done? I know I did a good job. If I hadn't, they'd have let me know, obviously! I think I slept with my fists clenched last night; my arms were aching this morning.

No apologies for the language, by the way. I'm waiting for apologies.

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Growls and roses

It's a tad cathartic to write stuff down while I'm powerless to take action over this current work 'blacklisting' situation. But I still feel rubbish and extremely, powerfully, stupefyingly enraged and hurt. If smoke could pour from my ears, it would. If fire could emanate from my mouth it would.

And I have had a sinking feeling in my stomach since Thursday, which rendered me subdued at a meal with K last night. I hadn't seen K for two years but happily she is still the same bubbly lady, full of tales and mirth. Hopefully, she didn't notice my preoccupation with what I shall now call the 'Blacklisting'. I didn't bore her with the details of what had happened and we had a pleasant evening, though I was tired through having my sleep curtailed because of worry about the effing Blacklisting.

I know this blog has been a little glum and work-obsessed over the past couple of days – apologies – but most people in my position would probably feel the same. When you are self-employed being bad-mouthed for no apparent reason is deeply hurtful – financially and otherwise. Sticks and stones may break my bones but slander makes my name mud.

I imagine the people responsible for my current mood are having very nice Easter breaks now. Well, mine is tainted and for that I am resentful. I'm afraid I'm not one of those people who can go, "Oh, alright, I'll wait till C is back on [whatever date it is] and then sort it out. Let me put my feet up and have a glass of Badoit." [Alcohol is sadly banned at the moment or I'd have hit the rioja, believe me.]

It was a beautiful day, weather-wise, as it has been since Blacklisting day (or should I say Thursday, although J was told (by C) not to employ me again back on Wednesday). S bought me a bouquet of beautiful pale pink roses to cheer me up yesterday after we went for a walk by the river. It was so peaceful sitting on a bench just watching the boats go by, and we even played catch, although I drew the line at using a proper cricket ball. For a female, I catch and throw well but my fingernails are currently longish.

S
and his dad did great work on S's little boat today. They worked literally all day while I pottered, went to Sainsbury's, tidied up, took some painkillers to counter my continuing cold (and Blacklisting headache), cried a bit, thought a lot and then fell asleep in the sun on the sofa until S and my father-in-law returned at dinner time.

I can hear S watching cricket on the TV and the rabbits are hungrily munching their vegetables. There's a lot to be said for home comforts...

Dark punch

Following on from my last post, I would like to confirm that I am still thinking about the matter at hand. Being slandered and misrepresented does not sit well with me and every passing minute spent analysing the situation stokes my simmering lioness rage. What a nice Easter surprise.

S became progressively angrier as I told him what had happened re what J has said about J's boss banning him from commissioning me promised work without any suitable explanation (from anyone) along the way, and was even angrier when I stumbled out of bed (after taking sleeping pills!) on Thursday night, unable to sleep, weeping with frustration. It was nearly effing three o-clock, after all.

So, yes, I have lost sleep over this. Great. Just what I need! When I got out of bed, S was watching the end of Natural Born Killers and had had some beer. It was great hearing him so angry and appalled on my behalf. Lovely S. He works in the same profession and cannot understand how someone can think that "she'll know why she hasn't been asked to work for us again; she won't be surprised" is acceptable in any situation. His language was excellently blue as he vocalised how I felt.

Speaking to my dear friend R (who also works in the meeja) helped, too. She says there are far too many people out for themselves. She also used the c word aplenty when she heard what had happened.

I should note that the organisation in question is not, in any shape or form, journalistic. If only. They are civil servants through and through, strangled by bureaucracy, bitchiness and a blame culture. No excuse, though. I've built up a good professional reputation and will protect it however I have to. Jugular veins are an angry Leo's speciality target. Funny, two people have asked me whether I am a Scorpio in recent weeks, whatever that means. Maybe having a combination of both characteristics will be rather interesting. Whatever, one thing I have learned in recent years is that I am most effective when calm, collected and totally focused. Sounds a bit like what's needed to excel at kung fu.


So, why I am so angry? Who wouldn't be? I was very ill at times with a cold that put most of London to bed but took calls and did the bloody work (and did it well – I am a perfectionist). I worked weekends, put up with ever-changing deadlines and changing 'project managers', and never received feedback to indicate that there were any problems. Also, no one bothered to tell me who was managing the project at times.

M, the new chap, who actually seems nice, didn't return calls when he said he would (his meetings overran), didn't/ couldn't provide adequate answers and criticised his colleagues for failing to answer the questions I raised (in the interests of sorting the thing out!), empathising with me into the bargain. "I tried but again, they're not there." I sympathised with him because he sounded so frustrated at seemingly getting nowhere, even though it meant I, myself, was put out. I did have other work to do, too.

And then the organisation (or one particular person, who shall temporarily remain nameless) would dare to try to pin me down for the rest of the week in terms of my availability! What? Do they think I sit on my arse waiting for them to come off their (endless) leave? Fucking pricks. I do apologise to anyone offended by the swearing in this post but sometimes old Anglo-Saxon words are most appropriate). ARRGHHHHH! The 'people who must be consulted' were seldom there to answer questions and when they did, the answers were vague. But yet, I persisted and did a very good job.

Sir Alan Sugar would have polished up his AK47, lined the bastards up, and smiled that crocodile smile as he fired. I like no-nonsense people like him in business: firm, fair and fierce.

Yes, yes, I realise that I don't have to work at this place again (ha ha), and can leave all of those people behind. But that should be my choice, not the result of being misrepresented by people I worked with and regarded as professionals.

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Bang, bang...

Some civil 'servants' are the biggest bunch of cretins I have ever come across. With their endless holidays, working from home (the amount of autoreplies you get saying that they are 'unavailable' is hilarious), their lack of direction, huge capacity for flannel and endless packages of utter, meaningless fuckage, well...

Apparently, the woman in charge of one particular department for which I worked has told the person commissioning me, J, specifically not to commission me but to commission some bloke instead. J tells me that following his chat with her yesterday, he has no idea what it's all about, so this now leaves me wondering for more than a week, as to what my 'crimes' have been. Happy Easter.

All this when I had been told how "good" my work was. When the copy came back for amendments, it was fine, didn't ask for much, and I met all the requests. I do know how to follow a brief. I asked lots of pertinent journalistic questions and got by without losing my rag or being arsey when under extreme pressure. This woman in charge patently can't communicate. L, her underling, told me that he despises her. He says she is a nightmare to work with and treats him like an idiot (he is not). I cannot bear people who lack the guts and backbone to confront problems/ awkwardness and simply use Chinese whispers to convey a 'message'. Absolutely fucking pathetic.

Hmm, yes, that's just the way to communicate with a contractor, isn't it? No, don't have a single conversation/email exchange with me yourself for four months but do bad mouth me to a friend who you've employed (ironically, partially on my high recommendation and rave reviews because he is good at his job, and he needed a job at the time), knowing full well that this friend will have to tell me that I'm effectively blacklisted.

I am so angry I wish I could go to a kung fu class and kick the shit out of a pad, at least. I was having a nice day out and then, bang, phone call telling me I am 'banned', with no reason, and therefore will a) lose out financially and b) have had my name banded around in a negative way. I have a headache now.

Obviously, no one has bothered to stick up for me. I suppose it's easy when I'm not there in the office. As I said in a previous post, everyone's out for themselves. But just wait, the karmic boomerang will get them. Of that, I have no doubt. Its aim is true.

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Bleurgh

Kung fu was great – extremely testing (press-ups on knuckles, for instance) and a heavy-going routine. N, the instructor, who makes it look so easy, was in full savage mode last night.

However, I developed the beginnings of a cold during the class that brewed into a full-blown stinker, very quickly. We were doing some serious stretching at one point when I felt my nose running. So, I pretended it was sweat that I was wiping away. How utterly embarrassing. I hoped to God we wouldn't do the pairing-up exercises where some poor bastard would have had to hold my hands. God was listening, and I was saved that embarrassment (and the others were spared my germs). I snuffled through the entire class and hardly slept last night.

Am rather peed off as this is meant to be a holiday and I am sitting here sneezing non-stop with a sore, runny nose and shrunken eyes. An enforced day of rest for me, methinks. Grrrrr.

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Editors

"People are fragile things, you should know by now. Be careful what you put them through." (I adored – sucked up – the lyrics of 'Munich' when I first heard them.)

"You burn like a bouncing cigarette on the road... All the sparks will burn out in the end..." (Again, it just conjures up exactly what it should. 'All Sparks' is brilliant.)

"If something has to change then it always does." (This is from 'Bullets'. Yes, I rather intensely like Editors.)

Great lyrics. Tom Smith's voice is fabulous: his tone is serious, menacing and strong. 'The Back Room' is the only album I could find on my computer that doesn't (currently) sound melancholy. It has punch and aggression, which is what I feel I need now, thanks to That Blooming Marian Keyes and her Depressing Book.

Feel loads better now. Might have to go and listen to Jump by Van Halen quickly, though...

Anybody out there...

Hrmph: this is the noise I keep making (sort of).

Bloody effing Marian Keyes and her great writing has depressed me. Chick-lit was never meant to be like this. Just flipping well finished her book 'Anybody out there', which was bought in haste from Tesco while I did the grocery shopping the week before my holidays began, and thought the pastel colours and little butterflies on the cover – plus the gold 'bestseller' thingy – could surely only indicate a good holiday read replete with laughs and more laughs.

I started the book in Paris but then, mercifully, was busy being in Paris, which is definitely a blessing. I continued reading it on the Eurostar home but didn't reach the most gruelling bits, and have dipped in and out of it when I've had the chance, over the past week.

I don't like to swear too much, but really, how fucking sad should a chick-lit book make the reader feel? Marian, you got me. If I start reprising the plot here, well, that would be silly. You may wish to read it if you fancy a cathartic cry (because, it will, if you have a heart, make you weep and will scare you with its darkness), and also, this Keyes woman does make most of the characters leap off the page into your lap. There were a few too many characters (get me, criticising a best-selling author, ha ha...) but I thought the bits about the protagonist's younger sister went on too long and I skimmed them.

So, I've finished the book and now want to read something that will reverse my sombre mood. Please.

At least I have a kung fu class later and can count on some endorphins from that. If anybody does read this blog – anybody out there?! – please comment and suggest some good reading material that will allow me to enjoy the rest of my week off. Thanks.

Hrmph...

Sunday, 1 April 2007

Sanctuary

It was all a bit like a pre-Raphaelite painting. Women in robes were draped here and there, some sleeping, some dreamy, some chattering quietly... Many were lying down, soaking up the soporiphic vibes (no bird/ wave/ whale music, thankfully). A few slept, others drank, ate or read magazines.

H and I had first visited the day spa The Sanctuary a couple of weeks before S and I got married. It looked pretty much the same, if a little more spruced up. I, like the last time, arrived later than I had wanted to due to train problems. Anyway, I found H lounging on a round sofa, holding a copy of Asian Woman so she could read about its current cover girl, Shilpa Shetty, and a profile of Jimi Mistry, who shares a similar genetic heritage to H's gorgeous, bright, charming little boy. She'll have her hands full in about 10 years when the girls (and hormones) start calling. I tried reading the magazine while H had a facial but the type was too small, the paper too shiny and it wasn't really engaging enough. So I lay down.

I had a body polishing treatment and a massage during the day. The first was good but the second was utterly amazing. I'm normally extremely ticklish but the therapist, with her hands that felt like flowers drifting along my skin, hit the exact balance necessary to render the massage neither too light, too heavy or – horrors! – ticklish. I felt, for the first time after a massage, that I had been in a trance, and when I found H afterwards, she said I looked as though I'd been asleep. We used the day to catch up, eat good food and relax.

Back in the changing area, I was so out of it that I washed my hair, conditioned it, dried myself off, and then realised I hadn't washed out the conditioner, and had to go and do it all again. H escaped quickly to catch her train. I, on the other hand, still in holiday mode and smarting slightly from the shop assistants' apathy in that beautiful shop in Le Marais, went to one of my favourite shops in Covent Garden (it is filled – always – with exquisite clothes – and not many people I know go there, which is good)... I – erm – discovered a 'perfect' skirt. It really does look good, and was not overpriced, unlike the silly French shop. Mmm. My most unusual (and most complimented) clothes come from this shop, funnily enough. Oh, and the garments were comparable to those in that snooty Parisien shop, as far as the level of detail was concerned.

Yes, yes, I'll stop justifying it now.

Kung fu session two went well. I still feel uncoordinated but I love learning this new skill and feel quite driven to become very good at it. The aches in my muscles weren't too bad, considering. The instructor is very good and doesn't laugh at what must look as elegant as a dog running over an iced-over lake. I felt a bit embarrassed trying to copy patterns (sequences of moves) but I shall persist, dogged woman that I am.

My parents are finally back from their long trip to the Caribbean and South America. I popped in to see them yesterday while S was out working. My mum and dad looked well but were very tired, having had no sleep in 24 hours or so. I should have stayed for only 10 minutes but, of course, there was lots of news to share (including reassuring them about my insomnia and the treatment; they had been very worried while they were away due to the way I had sounded on the phone). I left their place two hours later, leaving them even more sleepy-eyed, poor loves. I'll take S (who collected them from the airport at a very early hour) with me tonight for dinner at my parents' place. S is with his father at the moment, fixing up his little boat. The sun is shining, so their painting should hopefully go well. Then, we are off to do some afternoon culture, visiting an exhibition for which I have press tickets.

Talking of the press, my dear friend R is talking about maybe having to move to Dubai to find 'decent' work. This will be an awful shame (yes, I am being selfish), as she and I spend so much time together socially. I'll be very sad if she goes – indefinitely! – and will miss her lots. But she doesn't have a choice, she says. The type of work she does is in short supply in London and she needs to pay the mortgage on her new place somehow. Bugger.