Category Archives: Work


Adj sesquipedal or sesquipedalian (of objects or words) a foot and a half long — of words, very long and pedantic.  [L. sesquisemisquesemis, half a unit, que, and] © Chambers Concise Dictionary 1991

Hello 2018!  Woke up with that word floating about my head.  I have always liked its rhythm, and I quickly realised to my utter chagrin that I did not know what it meant, so off to the dictionary room I hied myself, with all possible haste, whilst maintaining the silence of the hour (04:20).

BTW wishes everyone a peaceful, happy, healthy and prosperous new year,  one without fake news and duplicity would be nice, but let’s not be carried away.

Here’s a pre-decimal conundrum —  why did Paul’s dad choose to paint a cottage ever so slightly differently for this stamp illustration?

Ulster thatch 1
Ulster thatch 2












I have looked this one up, since it was one I did not have in my collection.  I think it would have been most unlikely that a stamp valued at 1/6 (one shilling and sixpence), the equivalent of several pounds today, would have come my way, unless used to post a gift.  The decimal equivalent of 7½ pence gives no clue as to its real value.  It was one of a set depicting house claddings* from the four countries of the UK.  I have several copies of the Fife Harling (5d), but neither the Cotswold Limestone (9d) nor the Welsh Stucco (1s).  That must have hurt at the time; one of the chief joys, for me, of stamp collecting is possessing all the members of the set.   One job I had in John Menzies involved logging sets of OCR** documents posted in from all over Britain.  Heavy parcels used lots of stamps; it took me less than a day to amass a full set whenever there was a new issue.  Happy times.

Meanwhile, having had to admit to myself that I have lost my camera, I am researching the purchase of a replacement.  I do not often lose things, and in the upheaval of the festive season that is not a statement made lightly.  Yes, I have a more than adequate camera on my phone but the faff involved in finding and sharing a picture is major.  Hopefully I may then return to posting swathes of credible photo journalism (ha ha, that would be nice).

I have resisted the lure of the teapot for long enough, and there are calendars to change.   Onwards and upwards!

* sounds boring but isn’t.  Stamp collecting makes you look at things differently.  Philately will get you everywhere.

**Optical Character Recognition.  It was very new at the time and in one of those timey wimey twists, the documents were sent to a building which would become the home of RBS Registrars from 1988 – 97, my Sighthill office home for 9 years.

Bye Bye BP

And so it was with very mixed emotions that I left my office last night, for the last time, since we move into new premises on Monday.

We moved into the old ones around about the time that Diana, Princess of Wales died, and I feel as if that was a lifetime ago, so much has happened since then.  In amongst the virtual insanity of shredding 17 years’ worth of paper, I took some pictures of the views which have sustained me during many a long phone call.

Level 5 lobby sign
Level 5 lobby sign
Back of Playhouse and Omni building, Glasshouse rooftop terrace
Back of Playhouse and Omni building, Glasshouse rooftop terrace
Chimneys atop the Playfair terrace in Blenheim Place
Chimneys atop the Playfair terrace in Blenheim Place
Lobby window
Lobby window
BP with Leopold Pace beyond.
BP with Leopold Pace beyond.































What I will miss:-

  • watching cars trying to negotiate the cobbled street in the snow.
  • John Lewis, The Cat’s Miaou and Tattie Shaw’s
  • Greenside Church playgroup kids, and the Fringe performances, fond memories of the woman who ran round the corner screaming at 16:15 on the dot every day for three weeks.  Not so much the bongo drums.
  • watching cars drive down Greenside Row only to find out it’s a dead end, and having to reverse back up the hill.
  • Dofos’ parrots in summer
  • being asked a record three times on one journey, “Excuse please, where is castle?”*
  • the Giraffes

Won’t miss:-

  • walking along Leith Street past that bus queue that sprachles all over the pavement
  • walking past the Omni in winter, on Edinburgh’s most dangerous pavement
  • being asked a record three times on one journey, “Excuse please, where is castle?”
  • being ignored in Taste of Italy
  • trying to travel across town in a hurry (guess that isn’t going to change any time soon).

*Edinburgh needs tourists, hard fact.  It costs nothing to be polite.

Within reach

Last night our office’s contact centre hosted telephone donation calls for  BBC Children in Need, as well as running a host of fund raising activities.  It was a busy old day, which could have gone either way, especially when we discovered that there were no winning tickets at all in the bucket for the tombola.  The excitement on the phone desks was pretty full on, we all whooped and cheered when the first call had been taken.  It was frankly a bit of a time warp as we sat with colleagues from long past, working together just like twenty years ago.  My first caller was a gem, spoke very clearly, used the phonetic alphabet and laughed when I got my fingers in a knot.  I am sitting below with Suzanne, although my Pudsey ears are just for show as you could not wear those things with a headset.  Well, you could if you wanted a self induced migraine.   Facebook was plastered with pictures of us all, have to crave your indulgence there for the number of likes which will be on your page this morning.

Photo: Ready to roll for children in need

Team Spirit

Had out office meal out last night at Tempus in George Street, the meal was lovely and the service excellent, so thanks to Jill for organising that one.  Sadly for the second time I missed out on the ritual of trying on Bruce’s glasses, but it was more important to catch the train before the train before the one with all the scary folk on it.

I make no apologies for shouting at the people who were jumping the queue for taxis at Inverkeithing.   You were bang out of order and you knew it.

Yesterday Emma and I went round to see Fiona & Callum, I was singing to him which seemed to surprise him a wee bit, in a good way I hope.   I had to keep away from the wonderful Scottish heritage of songs about folk cheerfully murdering each other  or being left with the baby, so that narrowed the choice somewhat.  Emma regaled us with more tales from Congo and some Congolese tunes.

Spinal tap

Tonight I went along to my Pilates class feeling like death warmed up.  I am on holiday next week and am rather busy making sure that all my work tasks are up to speed.  Every night this week I have fallen into bed and snored through to 6 a.m.  The dark nights are also having an impact, I can hardly move in the mornings.  But an hour under the expert tutelage of Caroline  – just an hour!  –  left me feeling like a new person, or maybe the same person in a newer body.   My vertebrae are stacked.  She rocks.

Waltzing, Matilda?

Anyone who has had the misfortune to be near me in the past few weeks will know all about our office’s World Cup Fever event, during which our team decorated our desks with all  things Australian.  Yesterday we took it all down, so if anyone is interested in a life time’s supply of Vegemite (one jar, unopened) please get in touch.  Please also contact me if you do not know about this initiative, and have insomnia.

Below (I can’t figure out how to embed them in the text, and Paul is in the shower) are some pictures from the event.

With Dingo Dave at Forth One FM

Oh, I can do it now, the draft post saved though, and that threw me.  I wore the Community Partnership tshirt, which is the colour of sixteen day old custard, for this photo shoot.  Look really hard and you can see.  We went to Radio Forth and met Dingo Dave from the Forth One breakfast show.  He is Australian, by the way.  Dave agreed immediately to our request to be photographed with us, big thanks are due.  Maybe he’ll want the Vegemite.

Partial view of our desks

Long story but stupidly the best pictures of our desks are on my phone, and it steadfastly refuses to yield them up to the pc. But spot the wee koala, on loan from Coupar Martin, in his Brasil strip and his Deutsche hat.  He represents all the teams on service delivery, and global harmony, in that order.

Work, A8M

Unbelievably bad day at work.  The only comfort, if you can call it that, is that it was the same for everyone.

Mincers’ practice last night was not too bad.  We are very keen to see Val and Mike return, circumstances have kept them both away for a while.

I just cannot wait for the weekend but there’s Friday to be endured, and that’s always a hump day.  Pooh.  Going for a wee glass of wine now.

Work, Music

Back in the harness at work, and having weird dreams.

I am into quoting Bare Naked Ladies just now, so it’s “La, la, la, I can’t hear you,” if you have found me from another dimension.

It’s been a long week.