Putting things in perspective – a year ago

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As I sit at my work desk copying up my timesheet for last month, I’m quietly frustrated (a la silent tears and digging fingernails into face) by my obscene slowness. (A task for how to hide away the 9 or 9 ½ hours I can regularly spend each day being so slow when the client will only be billed for 3 or 4 hours max?). However, as much as I hate filling my timesheets at work now, I came across my old time sheet diary things I filled in when I saw Celine last year, and am refreshed and reassured to see the clear change in tone between then and now, and it helps put things in perspective a bit:

This time last year

Still messy but ticks at least give illusion of positivity

Last week.



In conversation


Maybe it was because my friends, family and uni lecturers feared I’d be sensitive and take something the wrong way, but for whatever reason, last year anything mental related was strictly avoided in everyday conversations. So now at work, with people that don’t know about my past wobbles, I am caught off guard the way mental health speak is flippantly flung. Just within this past week…

I was being briefed on a new project north of London and at the end commented that I couldn’t get over how much the map of Epping Forest District reminded me of a taxidermied West Highland terrier’s head mounted on a wall.  The response? “Goodness what would a psychiatrist make of that?”

It heartens me to be fairly certain that a psychiatrist wouldn’t care less one way or another if it reminded me of a flying rat’s ass!

I know I’m not a fan of cold (or even luke warm) tea. So I was a bit grossed out when I’d offered to make fresh tea and then see my boss gulp down the last bit of his tea, which had been sitting around for at least quite a while, to give me his empty mug. Another colleague commented, “God you’d think you had a phobia of drinking tea, the way you recoiled with horror watching him!”

I may shiver at something, and can’t see why someone would want to drink something so disgusting when I’d just offered to make some fresh tea, but really, if they think that was a phobic reaction, I’d like to see what they’d make of someone’s real panic attack!

I was trying to explain a piece of work, but as I didn’t understand the work myself and knew she would have a better grip of it herself, I was having a hard time explaining and my words were all in a jumble (normal thing. I remember a uni tutor explaining she could mark any essay because ultimately if it makes sense, we clearly understood the subject and therefore she could trust that what we wrote was good, regardless of whether the topic was in her research area. Annoying that essentially it was our grasp of the English language that would affect our geography grade, but actually there is a grain of truth in her argument).

Anyway, another person overheard me and suggested I ‘might like to take time off for stress’. Haha very funny. I don’t think he knew that the previous time that had been suggested, they’d been dead serious.

By the way, try arguing that Epping Forest District doesn’t look like a highland terrier! (Or that the next time you see a westie in profile view, that it doesn’t look like Epping Forest District!):

Epping the Westie. Maybe with a touch of Schnauzer thrown in too.


Christmas Week in Pictures, 19th – 25th December

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I’ve felt like it’s taken a long time to start feeling Christmassy this year (not necessarily a bad thing!), but even without any snow, things have felt a bit more festive this week. Even the push on deadlines this week has added a certain je ne sais quoi to the spirit.

I hope everyone’s week and especially this weekend has been as least frazzled as possible, and maybe even fun!

Monday, 19th December

A chirpy robin who followed me a little way to work!

Tuesday, 20th December


My office met up with the company's other offices in London, and we went galavanting off along the Jubilee Line (mainly to Canada Water, the O2 & Canary Wharf) in only the way a bunch of landscape architects could, oohing, aahing and turning our noses up at various paving slabs, walls and tree pits!

Wednesday, 21st December

Two be-wreathed doors. Not quite a pair but I like them for their own tastes.

22nd December 2011

My last day in Suffolk til the new year. Deadlines not quite as bad as I'd feared, even managed to get out at lunch to do a tiny bit of Christmas shoppping, where I came across this windmill at the top of the town. I'm not sure of its history.

23rd December

Helping wrap up the London office's Christmas deadlines today, a familiar morning commuting sight again, though the mornings are a bit darker than a month ago!

24th December

We've arrived in Wales. My grandparents' house hasn't quite sold yet, so as consolation my family are able to use it again this Christmas! We're last minute people, the tree's still looking quite empty at this stage!

25th December

A Merry Happy Christmas!

A Cassava Pie lunch. Slightly out of place in Wales, but for that maybe even yummier!

Note to self


A public note to self (in the hope I actually follow it):

  • Don’t stay late at work. No one will thank you.
  • Don’t stay late at work ‘to catch up on work so I have something to show for my day’s work’
  • Don’t let a bit of rain put you off going home at a normal time
  • Don’t catch yourself saying ‘I’m ok with staying late as I’m enjoying it’
  • Don’t believe it when you catch yourself saying, ‘it’s ok, if I didn’t enjoy it I know I wouldn’t stay a minute longer than I have to”
  • Don’t eat a cupcake at tea and let that be supper
  • Don’t forget supper altogether

I like to think that if I learnt any lessons at university, it’s that work isn’t worth it for my happiness. (and that healthy eating is always a good thing to remember.) Except unfortunately, as much as I’d like to say, ‘well if my employers don’t like what I can manage, then I’d rather not work for them at all’, I don’t have the guts to say or do that, and ultimately I do want to try as hard as I can to make sure what I do do is ok at the end of the day.

I caught myself doing/saying all of the above things today. I suppose it’s ok once in a while, and in the grand scheme of things I wasn’t very late back (although enough to be too late and tired to get ready for zumba this evening). But I really don’t want to find that becoming a habit. I know how slippery a slope ‘a bit of stress’ can be.

(Update Wednesday 7th Dec: Failed on work timings, but at least didn’t have excuse of rain and I remembered to eat, lots :S)

Stress Reduction Kit

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I found this sign stuck on the wall in my new job’s office:

Yep, quite apt.

I caught myself wishing someone had stuck this next to my university desk. Though I think/know I would have had a sense of humour failure over it at the time!

Probably closer to what the reality would have been at uni

But now it’s reassuring to know that other people do feel stressed, that it is a normal reaction to problems at work. This pleases me for two reasons: 1) it’s ok to joke/admit to feeling stressed sometimes, and 2) that feeling stressed is normal and won’t automatically tip over into anything worse.

On that note, I will celebrate now getting through two weeks over no melt downs or other issues. Maybe a few mornings of jitters, but nothing worse that the fear of not knowing what I’m meant to be doing that day and afraid I’ll mess up on the next project. Which I guess are fairly rational, and I haven’t actually let them worry me to the point of causing me to mess up, so that’s ok. It’s almost been too easy. Or is that just normal?

Morphing into a Country Bumpkin


I’ve been enjoying the past few weeks living the life of a city girl in London, but now I’m looking forward to the joy of becoming a country bumpkin!


The company I’d been working for on a month long temporary basis in London has now offered me a permanent job in their Suffolk office!  I’ll be starting there on 21st November. Woop, with a good dose of aaaaaahhh yiiiikkkkes mixed in!

I say I’ve been ‘enjoying’ London, but maybe just because that’s what I’m meant to say. Really there are a load of things I’m looking forward to once I’m outside the city:

  • a minute and a half’s walk to the office in the morning, rather than my 52 minute commute (if everything is clickety-click) via 2 undergrounds and the over ground plus walking at both ends!
  • going to the grocery shop and being able to carry back my shopping easily, rather than needing to take a bus, which invaribly is the wrong one anyway!
  • working in an office with a more laid back attitude – one where I’ll feel comfortable actually taking a lunch break and leaving at 5.30 in the evening (the audacity!)
  • shopping in at a farmers market stall where my first thought isn’t about the depth of traffic grime covering the veg.
  • roads that I’m brave enough to cycle along.
  • swimming, sailing and/or rowing without fear of touching septicemic water (or whatever nasties might really be in the Thames)

I’ve had a few underhand comments about where I’ll be living. Some are incredulous, along the lines of ‘Why? Just why would you want to live there?’, or else engaging on discussions of whether the place I’ll be is just a village out in the sticks, and not a town at all (though to the South African in question, he probably consider Birmingham or Manchester to be little towns compared to Cape Town!). Others a bit more specific, like telling me that ‘normal young people (or maybe she said ‘normally…’) leave here for London, not come to it!’. I also have to admit that til now I hadn’t even heard of the town, and the only thing I’d heard from the area was from news reports several years ago of five prostitutes going missing from the nearby city!

The area is one I’d probably would never have predicted, or chosen if I’m honest, but it’s on the water and seems very nice. Small enough to feel knowable, but big enough to have useful shops, a train station and a rowing club. So at the moment all I can think about is how happy I am that I’ll be somewhere properly permanent (well soon at least, initially I’ll be staying with a friend of my aunt’s, but I’m grateful for that anyway, that I won’t be stuck alone in a B&B for my first nights). After all I’m not from London (or England for that matter), and I feel like I’ve already ‘done’ city living when I was first at uni, so somewhere in Suffolk is as good as anywhere I think!

I have an Iranian uni friend who has ended up in Monmouth. I figure that if he, an ex-Tehran embassy security guard, can make a good go of living in a little Welsh town, I for sure can give living in a chocolate box town in east England my best shot too!

Mostly Picture-less weeks


It’s been a strange couple of weeks, since I’ve done a ‘Week in Pictures’ post, or even since my last entry – a mix of day-to-day normalness (really a giant win in the grand scheme of things for me !) that was not particularly photogenic, and some really exciting things that could not be condensed to a single picture!

As I still haven’t got my head round the big things – uni graduation ceremony shizz, finding out I somehow managed to pull of a distinction in my PGdiploma, and being offered and accepting a permanent job that will entail me becoming a country bumpkin – here is picture summary of my day-to-day stuff:

Flip flops on the Weekends

Flip Flops in Autumn (same flip flops, same jeans, slightly more chipped nail polish the next day)

Commuting on the Weekdays


Faffing with hair most days



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