Wednesday 29 February 2012

Friday 24 February 2012

My Life - by Jade: Things my Mummy Knows

My mummy knows all sorts of things about me.

She knows I like my IAMs, but I don't want to finish them unless she comes and plays with me, rolling them around so I have to chase them before I pick them up and eat them. Sometimes I can swing my head and brush them with my ears so they fly a bit further away and I can chase them again. Sometimes I push them with my foot for the same effect.

She knows I can have a treat if I finish up all my dinner and she tells me I am a good girl and good girls get treats. But she does like me to do a little dance for it first.

She knows I love playing with tennis balls indoors and pretending to be really fierce when she tries to take one out of my mouth.  I can play with two at once if I have one in my mouth and she throws another one for me to play football with.

But she knows that if we take a ball out I will chase after it, but I leave it then for her to pick up because I'm too interested in everything else.

She knows that when we go out in the morning to the wood in the park I like to find a stick to carry and chew. And I like to bring it home. I don't know why she never lets me bring it indoors. Sometimes I try to hang on to it, but she always gets it out of my mouth in the end.

She knows I like to snuggle up on the couch with her in the evening. Sometimes she takes so long to finish work in her office that I get cross with her and won't get up and sit with her straight away when she comes out, but I usually do in the end because I like to have cuddles with mummy.

Monday 20 February 2012

Things a Content Writer Learns About

I've been learning a lot about data for a recent but ongoing assignment. Mostly it's about the importance of data quality and making sure it's accurate before direct mail marketing campaigns and so on. Since we moved house nearly three years ago now, it's amazing, and really irritating, how much mail comes here for people who've lived in the house before us. Some of them I've never heard of, but I assume they must have been here at some point. There are lots of horror stories floating about the web about people receiving inappropriate mail for loved ones who have passed on, which is really hurtful for them.

It all comes about because of bad data which can be avoided if businesses have the right technological tools and expertise. Did you know that it's possible to get records of the deceased or people who've moved on removed from databases automatically. You just have to use the right software applications to 'clean' the data.

The same goes for duplicate records too, even where the name or address is not recorded in quite the same way. I did know about this before because in the late 1980s I got a job in the marketing department of a major accountancy firm which had been responsible for adjudicating the share applications for the UK's first big utilities' privatisation, British Gas.

The team developed something called 'fuzzy matching' technology to make sure that any fraudulent attempts to get more than the share allotted for each individual would be thwarted. Apparently quite a number of dastardly people put in multiple applications with slight variations in names and addresses to get a larger foothold on the register of shareholders, thinking they'd make lots of easy money from it. Of course my firm was proud of the part it played and we marketers were required to blow the trumpet.  Nowadays 'fuzzy matching' has a much wider application, but that's how it all got started.

Data quality goes right across the board in the business world too. But getting inappropriate mail is the aspect that affects most of us at home. And do you take note of the senders and vow never to do business with them? Do you tell your friends about it, too? That's a good way for a business to get a bad name. I wonder how much potential business is lost that way.

Saturday 18 February 2012

Remembering Egypt Helps me Feel Better

I've been feeling a little out of sorts the last couple of days. Yesterday I'd planned to complete my writing jobs for the week, but this feeling really slowed me down. I still have three pieces left to write, and I didn't get to write my usual Friday blog post either. Anyway, I'm making up for that now but the other writing, and some of my weekend housekeeping jobs will have to wait till tomorrow. So far, next week is easier work-wise, and I'm planning on taking Monday and Wednesday mornings off. Do hope that works out.

In the meantime, I'm resting up and daydreaming about past and possible future holidays. The last time we went anywhere warm was to Egypt in 2009, where our Luxor hotel grounds had this giant chequerboard and pool overlooking the River Nile.

Monday 13 February 2012

Sandbanks on a Sunny Day in February

The sun shone on Saturday although it was still quite chilly. To make the most of it, we took Jade to have a run around on Sandbanks Beach, and I took my camera. There were quite a few dog walkers there, and some intrepid families picnicking and playing games. But the beach is so long and wide, you won't see many of them in my pics. Jade of course was rushing around and impossible to photograph until we found a seat for a few minutes. And we did have to keep tabs on her to make sure she didn't terrorise any little children not used to a  waggy-tailed dog wanting to make friends and play with them.

Looking east to Bournemouth 
  Looking west to the ferry to Studland: in summer the dog friendly part of the beach
 is the other side of this end of the dunes. In winter there are no dog restrictions.
 Those expensive Sandbanks beach huts
 Jade of course was rushing around and impossible to photograph until we found a seat for a few minutes.
The Poole Harbour side of Sandbanks

In case you didn't know, Sandbanks is a mile long peninsula that divides Poole Harbour, the second largest natural harbour in the world, from the sea. Properties on Sandbanks are among the most expensive in England. One of the famous residents is Harry Redknapp, football manager of Tottenham Hotspur, recently tipped to boss the England side after being found not guilty of tax evasion in the courts.

Friday 10 February 2012

Life in Retirement

In the past week, I've been writing about building services, managing data and the UK job market. It's earned me about £165. Not bad for a retiree, don't you think? Nowhere near enough to run a home and live comfortably these days though, but I have to do it as the pensions aren't enough either. I do wonder how other people manage.

On a slightly brighter note, when I was walking Jade at Holes Bay today, I noticed half a dozen snowdrops sheltering under a garden wall.  It reminded me of our trip to see the multitudes of them at Kingston Lacey in February last year.

Monday 6 February 2012

Hospitals Again

Boy, do I need a break.  I've just finished writing 350 words all about plastering, and now I have to get my head around another 350 all about tiling. Feeling a bit tired actually, having been up since 0530 today, which is at least two hours earlier than usual for me. Well, I am supposed to be retired, you know.

The reason for the early rising was to take my hubby to the local hospital where he is to have a lump removed from a salivary gland. I thought they'd let me stay a while with him, as they did when we took my son for his last operation, but to a different hospital. But we spent about five minutes standing up in a busy waiting area where all the seats were taken, then his name was called and I had to leave.

If I'd known that was to happen I'd have left the car in a no pay zone and not had to pay £1.80 for 19 minutes in the car park. Once when I had day surgery and had to leave the car in the hospital car park for just over six hours it cost nearly £10, which we thought was really extortionate, so we avoid parking there when we can. When I go back to see hubby after his op, I'll probably leave the car in the Sainsburys car park and walk the rest of the way. On my return, if I spend a fiver in the store, I'll get £1.60 back for parking.

Anyway I'm left waiting for news, so I thought I ought to try and get on with some work. I still have three of these 350 word site pages to write by Wednesday.

In the meantime, here's what I see behind me if I turn around when I'm working at my computer - one silly, up-side-down dog - who's promised a bath after her afternoon walk.

Friday 3 February 2012

My Life by Jade - Waiting

I do know my mummy loves me but she can be irritating, you know. Everyday she keeps me waiting so many times.

When I wake up in my bed in the morning, I have to WAIT for her to wake up too. If I start to get desperate I jump up on her side of the big bed with my front paws. That wakes her up but sometimes she can be cross about it, and tells me I have to WAIT a little longer. Usually though, she gets out of bed, and then I have to WAIT again while she goes to the bathroom and again while she puts on all her clothes. Big sigh!

Finally she goes downstairs and I can follow her. And then, would you believe, she has to put on even more clothes and her big boots while I WAIT for her to open the front door so I can go outside. I really want to get to the grass at the end of the road so I pull mummy along until we get there and she'll let the lead extension go, so I can find the right spot to have my first wee of the day. What a relief.

After that I have to sit and WAIT at the kerbside until mummy says we can cross the road to the big park. Then I have to WAIT again while she fumbles around on my collar to let me off the lead, so I can run around. I tell you, it's all about waiting, all the time.

The poo bin is right at the end of the park by the road, and mummy makes me come close and sit and WAIT again, while she puts my bag of poo in the bin. I think she's scared I'll go on the road if she takes her eyes off me. Sometimes it's tempting if there's a cat on the other side, but I do know really that I'm not supposed to run into the road.

After that it's time to go home for breakfast, an would you believe, I have to WAIT till everyone else has had theirs before I get any. It's the same at dinner time, but I don't mind because mummy puts some delicious leftovers in with my kibble, and if I had mine first, there wouldn't be any of them.

Then I have to WAIT to get into my other bed in my office when mummy starts work in there. And in the afternoon I have to WAIT to go out for my longer walk, and WAIT in the car while mummy and daddy are in the shops. And in the evening I still have to WAIT for mummy to leave the office and go and sit with me in the lounge. Then she's never ready for bed at the same time as me, and we have to go out again before that, and it's all just WAITING, all the time.

Writing Tip

Add this to your site