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Story location: Home / Blog / work /

This afternoon I looked out of my office window and realised it was snowing. Apparently it had been snowing for a while but I hadn't noticed. The flakes are quite large now and it looks like it's starting to stick to the ground rather than immediately melt.

It was snowing when we left this evening, to drive home. By the time we got home (about 5 miles away) the snow had stopped. There was no snow on the ground so either it melted quickly, or it hadn't snowed as much here.

Strange Banana

Story location: Home / Blog / food_and_drink /

I normally eat some biscuits or fruit during my morning coffee break. There was something wrong with this banana. When I opened it it looked very dark as if it was over-ripe, although it was still quite firm. I decided not to eat it.

Strange banana with red bits

I ate one from the same bunch yesterday and it looked fine. Unfortunately I won't know if the other ones are ok until I try to eat them.

Annoying Car Alarm

Story location: Home / Blog / work /

There was a really annoying car alarm going off when we arrived this morning. It never stopped, and was still going off when we left at half past 5. We were hoping either the battery would run out or the Large Hadron Collider would destroy the universe, but no such luck.

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Conference Time

Story location: Home / Blog /

I've been a bit busy this week, spending most of it at a conference at the University.

We has some free time this afternoon, so we were all put on a coach and taken on a 'mystery tour' to the Kingsbury Water Park. It wasn't much of a mystery because we had been told roughly where we were going. There wasn't much to do there except sit and relax, or go for a walk. The narrow gauge railway was an interesting diversion, although it did feel like it would tip over if anyone leaned too far to the side.

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That's me in the corner, losing my revision

Story location: Home / Blog / work /

We have two exams next week, and everyone must be at home revising because I have the office to myself today. Revision is going slowly. I somehow managed to distract myself by watching the first few episodes of Black Books using the 4OD thing from Channel 4 to watch the episodes on-line.

I also managed to lose a tea bag. I keep a tin on my desk with assorted teas in it - at the moment it has a couple of types of green tea, some earl grey and some rooibos (aka Red Bush). I reached into the tin, grabbed a bag at random, picked up my mug and walked towards the door. I realised I was only carrying the mug, not the teabag, which was nowhere to be seen. Not on the desk. Not in my pocket. Not dropped on the chair or floor. I came to the conclusion that I must have put it back in the tin.

I've suffered from senior moments before, but this was one of the more extreme.

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Power Cut

Story location: Home / Blog / work /

We had a power cut this afternoon. I was attending a seminar on analysing the results of Combinatorial Chemistry experiments, and the projector went off right at the start of the presentation. The room lights were already off, and the laptop which held the slides was still on, so it wasn't immediately obvious what had happened.

There are roadworks nearby, where a gas main is being replaced. We later found out that they had severed the electric cable, cutting off power to most of the site (which includes the University and various shops and offices).

The seminar had to continue in the old fashioned way, by writing on a board. Only the end boards could be used - the projector screen couldn't be retracted because it was electrically powered. Within minutes of the presentation ending, the power briefly came back on, but it turned out to be a false alarm and everywhere was plunged back into darkness again.

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The Daily Commute

Story location: Home / Blog / work /

When I first moved to Coventry, I decided that when I started work, I would try to get a job where I could commute by public transport. I saw how bad the traffic was at peak times, and didn't want to be stuck in a car in the middle of it. When I was working in Birmingham, I used the train because driving would have been a nightmare. On the two occasions when I did drive in, it was no quicker than the train, and was certainly more stressful. At least on the train I can sit back and close my eyes for half an hour.

Unfortunately, where we're living now, we're not on a direct bus route to Uni, so what should be a 15 minute drive can be an hour on the bus. At peak times, it becomes a 20-30 minute drive, thanks to a few bottlenecks near the ring road or at certain roundabouts.

I might as well get used to it - I've got another 4 years of it to look forward to.

Last day in work

Story location: Home / Blog / work /

Today is my last day in work. Next month I return to University to continue my postgraduate education. There are a few things about work which I'll miss, such as the occasional social night out and the sense of cameraderie which exists within the department.

There are other things which I won't miss so much, such as Mr Annoying Speakerphone, who inhabits one of the nearby offices. He insists on using the speaker for most of his phone conversations, oblivious to how annoying it is to other people.
The other day, he was on the phone and the two girls in my department were chatting and laughing. He had to close his door to continue his conversation. That must count as some kind of revenge.

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Bullshit Bingo

Story location: Home / Blog / work /

I think we should be issued with Bullshit Bingo cards in work.

Within the first 5 minutes in work, I was confronted with an email informing me:

The key objectives were to raise the bar in the design of our marketing collateral

You'd be well on the way to a full house by lunchtime...

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My Coffee Farted

Story location: Home / Blog / work /

My cup of coffee farted and everyone turned round and stared. I have one of those 'cafetiere' cups which takes filter coffee, and the rubber seal around the filter plunger is getting a bit old and sometimes makes a farty noise. I felt the need to explain to everyone that it was the cup and not me.

We're supposed to be stopping at Marston Green

Story location: Home / Blog / work /

On the train to work this morning, it seemed to be braking quite hard between Birmingham International and Marston Green. The train came to a shuddering halt just at the end of the platform at Matston Green. It sat there for about a minute then an announcement came on the tannoy: we apologise for the delay while we try to open the doors.

Still nothing happened then the train started to reverse back into the station. It looks like the driver wasn't paying attention and either forgot we were stopping there or forgot to brake in time.

Free Milk

Story location: Home / Blog / food_and_drink /

The 'free milk' people were outside Coventry railway station again this morning, giving away samples of a new semi-skimmed milk with less than 1% fat. I got a small bottle yesterday which I drank on the train because I was thirsty. The bottle they gave me this morning is sitting in the fridge in work. If nobody steals it*, I'll have it with cereal (we're not allowed to use the milk provided, that's for tea and coffee only. People have complained about the milk running out when the cereal-eaters start plundering the fridge).

  • There has been a spate of thefts from the fridge in work - mainly just a few scrapes of butter but on occasion an entire tub has vanished, along with a jar of marmite!

Jimmy Spices

Story location: Home / Blog / food_and_drink /

I was still feeling a bit full after last nights visit to the Oriental Palace so I don't think I managed to eat as much as I might otherwise have done. This was an office trip which also included the Senior Manager and Secretary/PA so I thought it wise to show a little restraint and not over-fill my plate. This plan may have back-fired because I needed more visits to the serving area, so it may have looked like I was eating more than I was.

Jimmy Spices is yet another of the Asian/Italian buffet places which seem to be quite popular these days. The starters included spring rolls, pizza slices, assorted types of salad and pasta. Main courses were the usual selection of curries but also a 'Live Stir Fry' where you select the raw ingredients and have them cooked for you. There was no sign of the Thai food which is advertised but there were a lot of empty spaces where the serving bowls were so I imagine a fuller selection is offered in the evenings.

Puddings were more limited than at other buffet places. There was Fruit, Strawberry mousse, ice cream and something resembling a stodgy cheesecake but on a thin sponge base. The one novel feature was the provision of ice cream cones but sadly no sauces or sprinkles.

Power Cut

Story location: Home / Blog / work /

Shortly before lunch, the lights went out, all the computers switched off and the entire office went silent for a few seconds. The electricity had gone off.

There was a rush to the kitchen as people wanted to make hot drinks before the water heater emptied or cooled down but after a minute the power came back on and all the computers re-booted.

We could log on to the computers but not the network server so at the moment we have no access to files or emails. Thankfully we still have Internet access so I'm posting this during what may turn out to be an extended lunch break...

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Anzac Day

Story location: Home / Blog / work /

To commemmorate Anzac Day, one of our Australian colleagues in work always brings in a tub of home made Anzac Biscuits.

The biscuits are based on the long-lasting ones sent to the soldiers in the First World War.