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I am-aah micro man-aah gerrrrr

May 2, 2016

Or, an imagining in which The Fall’s Mark E Smith is every nightmarish micromanager ever.

  1. He just keeps saying the same things over and over. None of which makes sense.
  2. He’s always drunk (figuratively – with power, or literally – with alcohol, or both).
  3. He comes and fiddles with the volume settings on your amps (on stage), the line-spacing in your report (in the office) or the position of your monitor (both).
  4. He keeps changing the make-up of the team, assuming that there’s a problem with everyone else, rather than looking at the one constant in the WHOLE SORRY MESS (him).
  5. He’ll call a meeting at no notice, no matter how inconvenient to you or your customers.
  6. Ex-employees refer to each other using words like “survivor” or “recovering” on LinkedIn.



A catalogue of errors

January 27, 2015

When I was younger my Gran used to sell things through catalogues. Me and my sister would spend ages flicking through the giant shiny pages of underwear, clothing, toys and all kinds of household objects. Everything looked appealing in the slightly plastic, glazed-expression world of GUS and others. Even the most perfunctory, unsexy, utilitarian bras, sold in packs of three (black, white and beige), seemed to promise a world of smooth lines and subtle curves. Of being a grown up. Of being in control. Read more…

All at sea

January 22, 2015

My mum and sister are on a cruise at the moment. At least, that what they said they’d be doing. It’s not like we’re getting regular Facebook updates or anything. In fact, it’s been a while since we heard anything. But that’s how it is, apparently. Read more…

A pain in the gut

January 1, 2015

Pretty much instantly and without warning, my stomach decided that it had had enough of food, digestion and y’know doing all those alimentary things we take for granted.

A couple of weeks of painkillers were enough to put my stomach into theory mode. I was hungry, but a little while after I ate or drank anything, my abdomen turned into a solid burning mass. Read more…

Run, run, run, run, ruuuuunnnnn

April 16, 2014

I gone and did a marathon! It was horrible. I’m still waiting for the euphoria. It’s been two days now.

Here are some thoughts on my first only marathon.


Preparation is good. But don’t sabotage yourself at the last minute

Nerves do funny things to people. I tend to lose things. Around 20 minutes before the marathon started I realised that I didn’t, any longer, have my Garmin GPS watch with me. I had had it about 5 minutes before. I asked two women to hold my place in the infinite toilet queue and ran back to the baggage van to see if it was there. I couldn’t get my bag back, nor did I see the watch anywhere near where I’d been. I rejoined the queue, panicky, deciding that of all the things I needed to do, going to the loo was top priority. After that, I ran to the info booth and listened amazed as a woman said that they had had a watch handed in. My watch! How heartwarming that one of thousands of people getting ready to run over 26 miles could be bothered to find my watch and hand it in. Thank you mystery marathoner!

I sat down for a bit, you know, to get in the zone, and then joined the sea of vested people in pen 6 of the red start.

Read more…

Done, not-done, undone

June 6, 2013

It’s been well over a year since I posted here. The last entry before this was written fresh from the horrible news about my father-in-law being ill. He died in August of the same year.

Seeing someone go through the process of a cancer diagnosis, treatment, palliative care and, sometimes, premature death is a visceral experience, waiting to burst full-colour into your consciousness whenever a trigger word, smell, taste – anything – signals it to do so. Read more…

Shit is happening

April 14, 2012

It’s been a while since I last wrote. In that time, someone very close to me and Mr NS has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Most people have some experience of this kind of phase-changing thing. One minute, you’re worrying about whether the mince will have defrosted by the time you get home, the next you’re trying to think of the least horrendous way of telling your husband that apparently his dad’s got cancer. Somehow you’re also still supposed to care about the mince.

We’ve been caring about the mince for about two-and-a-half months now. From the disbelieving, freeze-frame horror of having to hear and share surreal news on the first day (news that is incomplete, ambiguous), all time that follows is suffused with a sense of altered reality. In this new world, you remember the bits from before, and everyday things still nibble and gnaw as they do, but it’s all a shade greyer than before. Around the edges, your existence is tempered by the knowledge that things are not the same. Read more…